Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Last Day of 2009

Today is the last day of 2009 and I have to fulfil a promise I made to my son.....bringing him fishing before the new school term starts.

I managed to get some help and useful information from Roman regarding fishing.Muney agreed to follow us for this fishing trip.

We reached the fishing pond at about 2.30pm.It was about 20 minutes drive from my home.

It was not easy to get a fish.We spent about 4.5 hours sitting and waiting for fish.Personally I think fishing is one of the most boring activities unless one manages to get some fish.

Ha..ha..ha...finally managed to get one big fish.Muney also managed to caught one.A good ending to 2009!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My 2010 Resolutions

In just a few days,we will welcome 2010,a brand new year with a brand new hope and as usual a brand new resolution.

The year 2009 was a good year for me.Everything was smooth, peaceful and rewarding.I hope and pray for the same next year.

My most important resolution for 2010 is to increase my knowledge,meaning I have to spend more time studying and reading instead of wasting away my precious time.I have to be strict and set up a timetable.In other words,I have to force myself to study and to refresh my knowledge.No more procrastination!!No more unnecessary distractions!!

My running resolution....nothing yet for 2010.I will continue running for fitness and health.Maybe,I will take part in few running events if these events do not clash with my working schedule. will be a very simple for 2010.STUDY...STUDY...STUDY!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Reflection of My 2009 Marathons

2009 is almost coming to an end.Have I achieved my marathon resolutions?Partially,I think.

I did achieved my target to run 4 marathons in 2009.Instead of Borneo Marathon,I opted for Penang Marathon.So I can surely said I managed to complete a marathon(this is all this blog is desire to run a marathon).

Of the 4 marathons,I can conclude that:

The most difficult was The Sundown Marathon:probably that was my first time running a marathon and also the different terrain and running conditions.

The best was Singapore Marathon:everything was very well organised and it was a big grand event.

The "easiest" was the Penang Marathon:easy because I was running at a slower pace and there wasn't a big crowd of runners around me.There were not much stress for me to keep up with the crowd.

One of my 2009 running resolutions was to try involving my children and wife in running by sharing a km or two with them at their pace.In this aspect I think I failed badly.They hardly have any interest in running or slow jog.

The last 2009 running resolutions was to involve my family if possible by taking them for a weekend to a race and making it a family short break.Well,this has been achieved.They were with me during the Penang and Singapore Marathons.

Overall,I am quite happy to be able to do a few marathons this year and be able to achieve one of my 2009 resolutions:to run a marathon!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Kind Soul

This evening I was planning to do a short 10km run.I have been resting for past 10 days after Singapore Marathon.The weather was cool and cloudy.

Midway during my run the sky started to pour!!It started to rain and I had to increase my pace to run faster to reach my house.

Suddenly a car slowed down beside me and I saw a 60s year old lady behind the driver seat.She rolled down the car window and offered me a ride home.I was soaking wet and she was willing to give me a ride in her new Honda City.I politely declined her offer and continue running.She reminded me to take care and not to fall sick running in the rain.("kam"-in Cantonese)

I was surprised there are still good and kind hearted people around.In this crime infested world,one is usually very suspicious of strangers.Everyone is minding their own business and taking care of their own interests but this old lady is different.

May God bless this old lady..

Friday, December 11, 2009

SuperStar Virgo Cruise

Immediately after finishing my marathon,I went back to the hotel to pack my luggage and headed to Singapore Cruise Center which was not far away.The taxi ride cost me about SGD6.80 per cab.

We checked in our luggage and headed upstairs for ticketing and immigration clearance.There were many people and the queue was long.After a tiring run I still had to stand in the line to get all the documentation done before boarding.

We were given access cards in exchange of passports to use for foods,going into our cabins and as a cashless "credit cards"for our expenses on board.The credit limit for spending on board was SGD 1000 per person.If one needs to spend over the limit then he has to put in some cash deposit or sign a credit card deposit.

*The view of the ship from Singapore Cruise Center.The ship looked small.I was expecting a bigger ship.

On our way to the ship,there were many occasions where the ship crews would take some photos of the passengers.They would sell the photos to you a very expensive price!!

The view of Singapore when the ship was leaving Singapore harbour at about 4.00pm on that day.Surprisingly,the weather was good throughout the day.

As usual there was the security briefing on what to do in case of emergency.Everyone has to be on the deck for the briefing.We were informed where to gather,how to recognise the emergency ship's siren,how to put on the life jackets and what to do in an event of emergency.

For safety reasons:no smoking in beds or throwing cigarette butts overboard.Do not burn incense,lucky paper in the cabin(most probably done by gamblers),Do not use any heating devices.Do not lean over or sit on the railings and barriers on the outer decks.

The lifeboat:the crew claimed it can carried 150 persons with basic supply to last up to 10 days. In case of evacuation,the children will board the lifeboat first follow by ladies then men.Pity..the men.

The first thing we did after checking into our cabins were to eat.Since I was hungry after the long run and I did not take lunch,we headed straight to the Chinese restaurant to have our lunch near 3.00pm.

There were plenty of foods and we ate a lot during this trip.The best would be the Chinese restaurant-Pavillion Room at deck 6.We went there a few times for breakfast,lunch and dinner.
At the entrance of the restaurant,we will be given a table number based on number of persons dining.Then the waitress will swipe our cards before we proceed to our table.Better if able to sit

next to the glass window where one can have the nice ocean view while eating.

The Bella Vista Restaurant which served western food.Surrounding looked nice with the dim lighting and soft music.Better for couple on honeymoon.My kids were restless waiting for the foods since there were a big dining crowd.

There is a dinner dress code where no shorts,bermudas,swimwear,rubber sandals and flip-flop allowed.All garments for the gentlemen must have a collar with no sleeveless shirts and open toed footwear.

They even had morning tea for early riser at 6.30am,then another morning tea at 10.30am,afternoon tea at 3.00pm and supper at 12 midnight!!This is sure good for those who can eat!

*TV screen showing the route and position of the ship.The safety video and any public announcements can be heard on the same TV.

The room we stayed were small compared to hotels rooms.It has the basic amenities but no kettle for boiling water.The TV has few programme channels and also information on our cruise.We hardly spent much time in the room;we were in the room just to take bath and sleep.So it was not necessary to upgrade it to a more expensive room.

The main swimming pool:The Parthenon Pool with water slide and few jacuzzi.It is on the top deck 12 together with the gym.Children below 12 years old are not permitted to use this pool or the jacuzzi.

The children pool:Neptune's Wet N Wild is a bit too small in size and always crowded with children.The deepest end was only 4 feet.

One of the activities was basic dancing lessons;there were basic cha-cha line dancing,boot scooting line dancing,modern dancerise,ball room dancing,hip-hop dancing.We tried the cha-cha dance and I think hip-hop dance was difficult.

The captain of Super Star Virgo giving a speech before the Captain's Gala Dinner where we can dine with the captain at the Western Restaurant.However I did not see the captain during the dinner except for some other crews in their uniform.We just took our fast dinner and went off.

This is the captain's deck.We can observed the activities from outside.Nothing much to see except few ship officials handling the ship.I don't even understand what they were doing so we took some pictures and went off.

The higher rank staffs are mostly from Europe while the waiters and waitress are mostly from China and Philippines. Captain Jan Blomqvist is from Finland.Staff captain from Sweden.Chief Engineer from Finland.Hotel Manager from Great Britain.Cruise Director from Philippines and Executive Chef is from Austria.Where are the Malaysians???

The replicate of SuperStar Virgo outside the captain's deck with many other information about the ship:size,technical infos and number of crews,their nationalities,how much food the passengers consumed per,000eggs /per week!

Activity for the ladies: Food craving demonstration by one of the ship's chef.Flower beautifully craved from watermelon and papaya,bird craved from oranges.

There are many other restaurants to choose from if one is willing to pay on his own.There are Asian Bistro:Blue Lagoon,Italian food:Palazzo where children below age of 12 years are not allow to dine her...why?.The Japanese food in The Samurai,Chinese foods in The Noble House,Indian Cuisine in The Taj and international snacks in The Taverna.

For the children there is a kids club specially from them:Charlie's Kids Club where parents can put their kids there so the parents can have their own "quality time".There are staffs who will take care of the kids and to make sure the kids are having a great time "spending the parents' money"because some activities like computer games,Nintendo are chargeable.

One of the best dinner was the barbecue dinner on the ship deck.There live music and plenty of foods

Nightly musical showtime at 8.00pm eg Maestro&Muse-musical dances and acrobatics performances.Another was The Land of Make Believe-a musical show performed by the crews itself.Very talented indeed.Then the Gala Showtime:a musical from Philippines...The Little Mermaid.My children and I found this one hour show was too boring.

Near midnight will be the "adult show":Love Bites "A Las Vegas Styled Topless Show".We were not allowed to take pictures during these shows except for the Land of The Make Believe.

The special evening fashion show before the Gala Dinner titled "Gala Fashionista"where different section on board representatives doing the fashion show.

*This is the lobby area of the ship with 3 big horses statues.

As usual..there will be gaming on the ship.There are plenty of opportunities to gamble.The crews will always promote the Bingo games after each evening shows.Then there is The Oasis Club with slot machines and table games.They even provide gaming guide on TV to make sure passengers learn how to gamble!!

Our ship arrived in Phuket at 8.00 am and docked far away from the beach.We transported to the beach using the ship's lifeboat.The journey took only 10 minutes.It was still early and many tourists were still sleeping after a late night of clubbing(as told to me by the local guide).

When we arrived there were many local tour operators waiting for us at the beach.So many tour operators pestering me to take up their tour.

Finally one persistent local tour operator named Chriss managed to persuade me to take his tour around the Phuket island. He was willing to take our family around the island and places of interests until the evening before we headed back to the ship.He charged us 600 Baht,that's was after some bargaining.

The ship:view from Patong's beach.Patong beach is a tourist area full of foreigners mainly Caucasians.So everything is expensive here.To use the toilet,one has to pay 100Baht.

We went to a cashew nuts factory.I wonder why almost all the tourists ended up in this place.Sure the factory manager has some arrangement with the tour operators.Nothing great of this place except for the and buying nuts/foods as souvenirs to bring home.

*This elephant pee and shit at the same time!!See the amount of urine and the size of its shit...gross!

The fun was riding the elephants.It was quite expensive for a 30 minutes ride which took us around the elephant sanctuary.Adult price was 800Baht/person while children was 400Baht/person.My children loved the ride.

Then we went to Phuket town for shopping and we had our lunch there.Soon it was almost 2.30pm and we headed back to Patong beach.Everyone has to be back in the ship by 5.00pm,ship time.Phuket time is 1 hour earlier.

The ship crews set up a tent on the beach specially for the passengers.The security will checked our luggages and cards before allowing us to proceed to the life boat which will ferry us back to SuperStar Virgo.

The kids can't resist the temptation to play in the clear sea water.We can see small fish swimming around us .The kids had a fun time trying to catch these fish.

It was a short stop in Phuket.I found there were more places to visit and probably we will make another trip back to Phuket next year.

From Phuket we sailed back to Singapore.We arrived Singapore the next evening.There were many people at the Singapore Cruise Center as passengers from SuperStar Libra were disembarking the same time.

There were plenty of cabs waiting outside Singapore Cruise Center.Everything is every convenient in Singapore.We took the cabs to Concorde Hotel in Orchard Road.

Every year there will be the usual Christmas Light Up along Orchard Road.

Besides Christmas light up,there are many places to waste!!So many megamalls with Christmas sales. was time to go home.I missed my home sweet home.It was a tiring trip but an enjoyable one.Thank God everything went smoothly.

I enjoyed running the Singapore Marathon despite not getting a good timing.It was very well organised.

I enjoyed the cruise too.Too many activities in such a short cruise.

We reached home at 10.00pm....everyone was too tired but I am sure each of us enjoy ourselves during the trip.

SCSM 2009:Seremban Group Results

Eric did not run as he wanted to concentrate fully on his quest to do a sub 4hour in Penang 2 weeks ago.Steve with an injured knee decided to run full marathon using Chai's bibs instead of his registered half marathon.He took the risk of trying to do the 42km and did not managed to complete.I think he ran up to 32km before giving up,that was the timing shown on the official result list.

So the glory goes to Francis for his sub4 marathon.Also to Wun for his great timing improvement of about 30 minutes compared to KL Marathon.Yee got his personal best despite doing 2 marathons in 2 weeks.

The results of the Seremban group:

3h:59m:59s (gun) / 3h:58m:44s (net)

4h:13m:9s (gun) / 4h:11m:3s (net)

4h:18m:24s (gun) / 4h:17m:20s (net)

4h:49m:57s (gun) / 4h:47m:42s (net)

4h:54m:22s (gun) / 4h:52m:18s (net)

4h:58m:27s (gun) / 4h:56m:10s (net)

5h:25m:21s (gun) / 5h:23m:17s (net)

5h:42m:45s (gun) / 5h:39m:8s (net)

Half Marathon
3h:11m:56s (gun) / 3h:8m:31s (net)

Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2009

Event:Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2009
Venue;The Padang,Singapore
Date:6th December 2009

This is my 4th full marathon for the year 2009.My family and I took a flight to Singapore early Saturday morning.We reached Singapore at 8.30am and immediately after clearing the immigration we took a premium cab(a bigger version of MPV cab) to our hotel-The Peninsular Hotel which is very near the venue.

This time we managed to get a connecting room and after putting our luggage we went off for our breakfast while waiting for my sister and brother in law to arrive.My sister was holding my running Bibs and race pack which she collected earlier.

Later part of the morning we went to a nearby public library and also visited the Toys Museum.There were nothing much to see in the museum but visitors have to pay to get in.I personally think it did not worth the money spent.

Later we went around shopping and sight seeing around Suntec City.There was a Barbie show for the kids that afternoon.Nothing great of the show except the children like it.Later my girl pestered me to buy her a Barbie doll!!What a waste of money but sure a successful advertising gimmick by the Barbie doll's organiser.

*The lady was the emcee for the show,not the "Barbie".Barbie was a Caucasian lady and she was not pretty.Her hairstyle was awful!

Then it started to rain in the evening.Wee,my brother in law told me it had being raining almost everyday for the past week.He jokingly told me there would be a heavy down pour at 7.00am on the race day and the runners would suffered.However God decided to listen to more than 50,000 runners and supporters praying for a good weather on race day.

*Christmas decorations in the middle of the rain.The organisers were also busy setting up the tents.

We went back to our hotel at 8.00pm.My sister would be flying to Manchester on the same night and I decided to sleep early.

*Alice Tan-the only female runner from our group running the full marathon.
I couldn't sleep well and woke up frequently at 1+am and 2+am.Finally decided to make myself a early breakfast at 3.00am while the rest of my family were sleeping.At 4.30am,I woke up my wife as she had earlier agreed to snap some pictures of our group before the race.Together we walked to the baggage deposit area where the whole Seremban group were waiting.

*From L to R:Steve,Francis,Yee,Tay,Wun,Lau,Heng and myself.Picture taken in front of the war memorial.
My wife took some pictures before heading back to the hotel while we walked to the starting point.There was a massive crowd of runners and soon the Seremban group was separated.I was with Lau and Wun.We can't locate the rest so we decided to start the run together.We were waiting at the middle portion about 500 meters from the starting line.

It took us about 2 minutes to cross the starting line after the race was flagged off.There were too many runners.Soon I lost sight of Wun and Lau.I ran my usual pace and was looking out for the 4:30 hour pacer group.I couldn't see them throughout the race.I was running at a pace of 6.50min/km for the first 10km.There was nothing much too see for the first 10km except for surrounding tall buildings and massive crowd of runners.
The best part of the run was along the East Coast Park.There was a live band singing for runners.
There were also many supporters cheering the runners.Some even offered runners free ice creams,cold drinks and strawberries.
This year the SCSM organiser started another carnival in the East Coast Park area.The other carnival was in the main venue:The Padang.
*Carnival in The Padang;Since the was another carnival in the East Coast Park,the children crowd in The Padang was less compared to last year.My children managed to take part in many games and activities.They also managed to collect many gifts after participated in the games.
*Having games for the children while waiting for their parents is definitely a very good idea.I think only SCSM does this.As my children were playing in the carnival,I was still trying to keep up with my pace along the route.
First 20km was comfortable for me.The weather was good.It was cloudy and was not hot.At about 25km I overtook Lau and Tay.I called out at them.Tay was surprised to see me as he thought I was far ahead in front of him.So he decided to up his pace and overtook me.Lau was looking tired.He did not talk and I continued with my usual pace hoping to maintain 6.5min/km pace throughout.
At 30km,my watch shown 3h 16min.I was still hoping to maintain my pace so I can improved on my final timing even my legs started to feel sore.I stopped a few time to apply on the rubbing gel-Dr.Joint(the official SCSM rubbing gel).Personally I think this Dr.Joint gel was not good!!It did not gave the warmness sensation.I don't feel much difference after applying it.Finally I decided to use my own Deep Heat Gel which I carried along.
Despite rubbing on deep heat gel and stopping for frequent drinks,my legs started to feel the impact of too much running.Both my calves and hamstrings were sore.The whole legs felt very heavy.I started to know I can't achieve my target of a better timing and I started to walk and run.

Felt disappointed as I had to start walking.I had to walk run during my first 2 marathons but not the Penang Marathon 2 weeks ago.My mind keep telling me to run but both my legs refused to go along with my body.
The 4:45 hour pacer group overtook me at about 38km.I tried to follow them but they were too fast for my legs.There was only 4km to go but the fighting spirit had been destroyed since the legs can't cope and the body was tired.

Finally only 2km to go...but I still walk and run!!I tried doing a slow jog and resist the temptation to walk.By now I knew I could not get a better timing but it would be definitely below 5 hours.The last portion was the turning near City Hall heading straight to the finishing line.The last 500 meters I tried to run with a good posture, looking comfortable and smiling as I knew there were many supporters and cameramen looking.Ha..ha..ha...trying to look nice for the finishing photos.

I like this finishing photo.There were 4 pictures of me taken at the finishing line.Probably I will buy this photo.However it is expensive.Each photo will cost me SGD 38.95!!!...convert to Ringgit Malaysia will be...OUCH!!
After crossing the finishing line,runners were directed to their respective tents to collect their medals and a finisher T-Shirt (FOR FULL MARATHON ONLY)

*Finisher T-Shirt:nice looking and made from nice material but no space to print the finishing time???!!!Not that I want to print my timing on it but YS did remind me earlier of the SCSM organiser offering runners to print their finishing timing on their shirt to show off to the world!
After collecting my medal,T Shirt and drinks,I went to look for my children who were playing in the kids section.It was about 10.30am and the children had play many games so we decided to go back to the hotel as we had to rush off to Singapore Cruise Center for our cruise to Phuket.
Overall I am not satisfied with the final timing:4h 52 min but I think this is the most I can do with the limited amount of time I put in for training.
I shall return....