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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Newton 25KM Challenge

Event:Newton 25KM/12KM Challenge

Place:Bandar Kinrara,Puchong

Date:26 September 2010 Time:6:30am



**The hard earned finisher medal...nice looking with unique design.Only limited medals for each category,so one has to "fight" or run for it.I was told this run will be tough and hilly but no one mention it will be blazing hot!!


Those from the Seremban group who was taking part in this run did a few hill practice around Rasah Kemayan few weeks before the run.There were 8 of us who registered for this run but Woon decided not to run at the last minute due to his injury.



**This is Francis,the fastest runner in our group.Look at him,comfortable and still able to pose during his run.Ha..ha..ha...He did very well with a time of 2h 5min.He has probably achieved his target of a sub 2 because Eric's GPS (and many other runners GPS) showed the actual distance was about 26km.


**This is Eric whom I have not met for almost a year.He did came to join the Seremban group for the Hari Raya long run but I was away for holiday.Nice meeting him again and we had a short chat after the run.He wasn't going all out during this run as he was following a very strict training schedule in his quest to do a sub 4h marathon by the end of this year.It is like now or never target for him to achieve in the coming Penang and Singapore Marathon.I am sure he can do it.

**For me...i think this is a very tough race because of the hilly route and the hot weather.It reminds me of Borneo Marathon which was also very hot but the terrain was flat.The hilly terrain wasn't much a problem to me compared to the blazing sun.There wasn't any sponging stations and the last 5KM was a torture because there wasn't any water stations.I was definitely dehydrated.How do I know?There was minimal urine output until late afternoon despite taking much fluids after the run.



**This is me crossing the finishing line.Look at my skin...so tanned after being "baked" in the Sunday morning sun.
**This is Steve who came very well prepared...with cap and sunglasses.He just recovered from flu a week ago and he had diarrhea the day before the race.What a bad luck otherwise he is sure to run better.He finished with a time of 3h 17 min.He is already looking for a revenge in next year's edition.
  • Can't find any pictures of Lau,Heng,KG or Alice.Lau completed with a time of 2h 39m,Heng 2h 48m,KG 3h 28m and Alice 3h 10m.
  • The above pictures were taken from....
1)Malaysia Runners Network facebook album:

2)Kevin Yew's facebook album:http://www.facebook.com/photos.php?id=624094023

Thanks to the photographers who sacrifice their time and money to snap pictures of runners.

**This is what most runners are looking for...the finishing line.The last 5km was tough for me.The heat,lack of water and the slope were contributing to my fatigue.Mentally I have to be strong to keep on going when many runners have started to walk in between runs.

  • Immediately after crossing the finishing line,I went to look for cold drinks and for a place to sit down.I was exhausted and too tired to talk when Francis met me at the finishing line.It took me about 15 minutes to recover,with the help of cold Milo drinks.

**Picture at the starting/ending venue.There were few stalls promoting some sports products.There were also booths promoting the Klang Pacer and Melaka upcoming races.



**Nice looking colourful Newton shoes on sale...30% discount.Very tempting to buy one but have to control my urge since I have just bought 2 pairs of running shoes recently.


**Happy faces after the run!!From L to R:KG,Lau,Steve and Francis.Where were the rest of the Seremban group?Heng and Alice came in their own car so they did not join us after the race.
  • The good points of Newton 25km run:
1)Nice vest and compression socks for runners
2)Timing chip provided even it was only a 25km run and 2 split timing were reflected in our final results.The best was...results were out the next day!Very efficient.
3)Very challenging route.
  • The not so good points of Newton 25km run:
1)Poor traffic control in certain part of the route.
2)Inadequate water stations especially towards the end of the race.No sponging station...maybe the organiser did not anticipate a hot weather.
3)Lousy finisher T shirt with such a big picture of Newton shoe printed in front of the shirt.This reminds me of the 2 big batteries printed at the back of Energizer finisher T shirt.Looks like this Newton finisher shirt will end up as my bedtime shirt.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Testing...testing....

Thanks you Steve, for volunteering to collect the Newton Race Kit for the whole of Seremban runners.There are 8 of us going to this Sunday 25km Newton Run.


The Newton running vest is very nice-colour and design.I like the bright colour and it fits me perfectly well.Initially I requested for a XL size but it ran out of stock,so Steve got me a L size.Thanks Steve for making a good decision on my vest size!






Three days ago,I decided to test out my new running apparels which are the new Newton vest,my new Adidas running shoes which I got from Hong Kong,my new New Balance compression shorts also from Hong Kong and the new 2XU compression socks.

The socks is supposed to stabilise muscle to prevent fatigue, muscle damage and promote circulation to flush out by products.Impressive...right?






I decided to do a 8km run with my new apparels.Feeling very awkward with the tight high knee level socks and the pressing tight pants.Don't really feel comfortable in it.Probably I don't get used to wearing them.



This is how I look like in my "new gear" with my two "bodyguards"Rottweilers behind me.


Post Run verdict:


  • Compression socks:I am not going to wear it this Sunday.Feeling very funny with the long socks.Don't feel any specials /differences compared with my normal running socks.

  • Adidas Adizero running shoes:nice and light.Only weigh 8oz.Need to run more with it.Hopefully I will like it.I bought this because it was cheap and it was on offer.

  • New Balance shorts:No..no..!!Did not like wearing it.I still prefers my loose running shorts.Probably this pants will end up in my closet for a long time.There goes my RM100.

  • Newton Running vest:Good.I like the bright colour.Will use it this Sunday and in the future.

Finally.....



  • All the best to runners participating in this Sunday Newton Run.I will take it as one of my practice long run but still need to put in more effort to run faster..."kiasu" lah,afraid of losing to other Seremban runners except Francis...just can't beat him.He is too fast and in different league from the rest of us.

My Holiday In HK-Day 5

Date:13th September 2010.

Weather:sunny bright sky


Today is the last day of our holiday.We are due to leave Hong Kong in the afternoon.Our flight is at 3.05pm.



There are many places which we are not able to visit today since we need to go to the airport by 11.30am.






We woke up early to visit the flower and bird market near Prince Edward station.The bird market is situated not far from the flower market.The bird market has about 70 stalls selling birds,cages,bird's foods and various accessories.The garden has a special architectural features of bamboo shaped ceramic roof tiles and carvings of many bird species on marble screens mounted on the parameter walls.




Although the info stated that market will be opened from 7.00am onwards,there were not many shops operational when we arrived at 8.30am



We only managed to see some old guys sitting on the bench doing nothing.Maybe it 's their way of spending their morning hanging around in the bird market.



It was the same for the flower market.Only few shops were opened.Not many activities at that time.It supposed to be a whole street lined with flower shops and florist selling different kind of flowers and plants.


I think one should visit these places at a later part of the day.


Picture taken from outside of Terminal One showing flags of HongKong and China.What about the blue flag???

Checking in at HK airport for our trip back to Malaysia.



It is a big airport and we did some last minute shopping here too.We also had our lunch in airport.The price of the food was not expensive if compared to those I took in Mongkok.

There were many shops and we spent too much time walking around until we almost missed our flight.We had to run to the boarding gate which was very far away from the immigration/departure hall.



The view from my seat as the plane took off from HK airport.It was definitely an enjoyable and memorable holidays for my family.Everyone enjoy the trip and we have already plan to return to Hong Kong again probably next year.


The next trip we plan to do more shopping,to visit Ocean Park and some places away from the central business district.When are we going?So far there is no definite date yet,probably we will go during the autumn or the winter months as the weather will not be that hot.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Holiday In HK-Day 4

Date:Sunday 12 Sept 2010

Weather:cloudy and raining


How time passed.We are going home tomorrow and there are many things which we have not done.


We decided to witness the flag raising ceremony outside Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) due at 7.50am.






The view from HKCEC side looking at Kowloon side of Hong Kong.The sky was ready to pour but the flag raising ceremony proceed as usual.There were not many tourists/people attending this event probably because it was still very early and it was a Sunday,a non working day.


The story behind this flag raising ceremony:


On July 1, 1997, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) was formed following Great Britain's return of the territory to China. In celebration, China's Central Government presented a gilded bauhinia statue to Hong Kong. The statue was placed in the square next to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre facing the Wan Chai waterfront. This location is now called Golden Bauhinia Square.

Flag raising ceremony is held daily from 7.50am to 8.03 am while the flags are lowered at 6.00pm daily.


The ceremony was over by 8.10 am.The initial plan was to take the Star Ferry from Wan Chai Pier across to TST but my children decided to visit the toys street along Tai Yuen Street near Wan Chai MTR.Again we were disappointed as many shops were closed probably it was a Sunday or we were too early.However most Internet sites/guides stated that the shops are open from 7.00am daily which is probably not true.




However we managed to see the old fashion tram going around in Wan Chai area.It is called the "DingDing" by Hong Kong people, after the double bell ring trams use to warn pedestrians of their approach.



Next stop:to Mongkok by train for shopping spree.We have a long list of items on our "to buy list".


Mongkok is not only Hong Kong’s most populated area, but the world’s. According to the Guinness Book of Records Mongkok is the most densely populated place on the planet, squeezing in over 130,000 people per km2.


Mongkok means busy corner in Cantonese, and Mongkok is just that. It is now one of Hong Kong’s liveliest districts, jammed full of shops, street side stalls as well as Hong Kong’s famous Mongkok Ladies Market.


Market sells everything and anything. While clothing is the markets bread and butter, Chinese themed gifts, toys and electronics are also available.




Bargaining at the Mongkok Ladies Market is a must. All prices at the Ladies Market are negotiable, and the sellers will waste no time in trying to fleece naive tourists.A seller trying very hard to sell me a set of 5 fake Disneyland key chains at the price of HKD 250.I told her it was a fake key chain and it definitely not so expensive.She lowered the price from HKD 250 to HKD 150 then to HKD 80 but I refused to buy.I was thinking a counter offer of HKD 20 but since I wasn't really interested in it,I just walked off!!


Hong Kong is flooded with fakes, or copies as they are known here, from handbags to teabags, everything is produced in China, shipped over the border and sold at rock-bottom prices. Fakes and copy products at Mongkok Ladies Market are on offer openly.I also noticed many sellers are from mainland China from the accent and the way they speak.




This area is crowded and one can spend the whole day shopping and strolling along the three major shopping streets which are located next to each other.The streets are the Ladies Stret,Fa Yuen Street and the Sai Yeung Choi Stret.


Fa Yuen Street has over fifty stores selling sport shoes.The street is famous for selling sport gears and is known as Sport Shoes Street or Sneaker Street.There are also shops selling bargain-priced trendy fashion and casual wear for men, women and children and they usually open between 10:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. daily.My initial plan was to buy running shoes here but I change my mind after looking at the human crowd,the sudden heavy rain pour and my tired groggy children.


Sai Yeung Choi Street has grown into the "grand central station" for consumer electronics shopping.I was looking for a mini HDMI cable but looking at the crowd,I decided not to search for it.



The Goldfish Market, or the "Goldfish Street" as known by the locals, is still flourishing. Its real name is Tung Choi Street.My children and I love going through this street.

They sell turtles, corals, fish food, fish tanks, and all kinds aquarium supplies.They also sell dogs,cats,lizards etc!! And if you would like to have a jelly fish for a pet, you can find one there too.


The shopping outing to Mongkok can be considered a failure as we did not managed to get what we want because of the sudden heavy down pour at about 1.30pm.We decided to take the train back to our hotel to rest and change.


Later in the afternoon,after an hour of rest in the hotel,the urge to shop return.It was still raining outside but the urge to buy was intense enough to make us take another train ride to Mongkok!!


When we arrived in Mongkok the crowd has grew larger.The minute we stepped out of the Mongkok MTR station,it was people everywhere.The place was packed!!


We did some shopping but luck was not with us.It started to pour heavily again!!We decided to go for an early dinner in a nearby restaurant while waiting for the rain to stop.After about an hour,it was still raining and we finally gave up our intention to shop.


That evening we went to SOGO and iSQUARE in TST.

SOGO the largest Japanese-style department store is one of the major shopping landmarks for Hong Kong people and tourists.



iSQUARE located at the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui a massive shopping and entertainment complex is the home to many renowned international brands.I bought a NB running compression short in iSQUARE for RM100.

Later we went to Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront between Arena of Stars and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre for the symphony of lights show at 8.00 pm.


The show...."A Symphony of Lights" has been awarded the world's "Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show" by Guinness World Records. This nightly spectacle combines interactive lights of 44 key buildings on both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon with musical effects to showcase the vibrancy and glamorous night vista of Victoria Harbour



The Show comprises five major themes, taking spectators on a unique journey celebrating the energy, spirit and diversity of Hong Kong:

The first scene "Awakening" begins with flashes of laser lights that give life to a nucleus of light-energy which gradually illuminates participating buildings using an array of dancing lights and rainbow colour. This scene symbolizes the genesis and powerful growth of Hong Kong.

The second scene "Energy" is represented by the display of rising colour patterns and the sweeping of the lasers and searchlights energetically across the night sky, signifying the vibrant energy of Hong Kong.


In the third scene "Heritage", traditional lucky red and gold colours are displayed across buildings on both sides of the Harbour, complemented by the introduction of music using Chinese musical instruments, symbolizing Hong Kong's colourful heritage and rich cultural traditions.


The fourth scene "Partnership" features a display of laser beams and sweeping searchlights scanning across the Harbour, representing an illuminated connection with the opposite side. Beams reach out to symbolically connect the two sides of the Harbour into one greater and unified partnership.


The finale "Celebration" brings out a powerful rhythmic display of swirling, kaleidoscopic patterns of lights and beams dancing lively across the Harbour. The exciting final scene signifies the celebration of the close partnership between the two sides of the Harbour and represents an even brighter future for Asia's world city.


After the show,we went for our second round of dinner in a Chinese restaurant in iSQUARE before going back to our hotel.It was a tiring day with lots of walking and also a frustrating day due to prolong duration of rain which spoilt our shopping plans.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Holiday In HK-Day 3

Date:11th September 2010.

Weather:gloomy and raining




We woke up to a wet morning.It has been raining the whole night.The children were sad because they can't use the swimming pool.The pool in this hotel is a whimsical piano shaped pool complete with keys and a water slide.



It was also a depressing day watching cable TV news on anniversary of 911.






The view from the 8th floor of Hollywood Hotel,Disneyland.Disney's Hollywood Hotel is one of two hotels at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort in Penny's Bay,Lantau Island,HK. It opened in 2005 along with the rest of the resort. It is themed to 1930s Hollywood. The hotel has 600 guestrooms which offer different views; the garden view, the sea view and the park view which overlook the Hong Kong Disneyland park.

There are five restaurants in the hotel. Chef Mickey (the main restaurant) offers international cuisine buffet, while Hollywood & Dine offers quick-service food and beverages. Studio Lounge, located right next to the lobby, is a full-service bar offering specialty drinks and snacks. Sunset Terrace opens seasonally offering outdoor BBQ cuisine and the Piano Pool Bar gives guests refreshing drinks while they enjoy sitting around the piano-shaped pool.



We had our buffet breakfast at Chef Mickey restaurant.Breakfast was not included in the room package so we have to pay HKD188 per adult and HKD 88 per child.



For those staying in any of the Disney hotels,they are entitle for a free 2nd day entrance to Disneyland.The initial plan was to do 2 days in Disneyland so we decided to stay in Disneyland.Later I discovered that HK Disneyland is so "small" that one can complete the rides and shows in a day.



Since we are not going to the theme park again and it was raining,we decided to check out earlier and proceed to Tung Chung.The picture above is the free shuttle bus from hotel to the theme park and Disney MTR.


Tung Chung is where we go shopping in the Citygate Mall before taking the cable car to the big Buddha.


Citygate Outlets shopping center in Tung Chung . There are 3 floors of outlet shops - mainly sports wear and other clothing.


The place was crowded with weekend shoppers and tourists.There were few sports shops with sales up to 50% from the listed price.The sales assistant were too busy to entertain me,so I just go around looking and trying the shoes on my own.Got myself a pair of Adidas running shoes from Adidas outlet for HKD 350.




The cable car station is located within walking distance from Citygate Mall.Everything is very convenient here.The staircase going up to the cable car station with many Welcome words written in different languages (picture below).







Ngong Ping Cable Car is a visually spectacular 5.7km cable car journey, travelling between Tung Chung Town Centre and Ngong Ping on Lantau Island. Visitors will enjoy panoramic views of the Hong Kong International Airport, South China Sea, the Tian Tan Buddha Statue, as well as the flora and fauna of North Lantau Country Park.





Due to heavy and prolong rain from last night,it was very misty on top at Ngong Ping.I could only snap a picture of the Buddha from cable car since I don't intend to climb up the 482m high hill to view the Buddha close up.

It was a waste going up to Ngong Ping in such a bad weather.I practically can't see anything.I think it will be very scenic when the weather is good.



The description on Giant Buddha:

One has to take a flight of 268 steps leading to the world's largest outdoor bronze statue – the Giant Buddha. Walking up the steps, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of Lantau and the South China Sea from the podium. The huge statue body is a breathtaking sight, and the kind smile on His face instills a sense of peacefulness. The Giant Buddha sits solemnly atop the 482m Muk Yue Shan. The whole complex stands opposite to the monastery and is 6,547 m2 in size.

It was selected as one of the "Ten Engineering Wonders in Hong Kong" and was awarded the "Merit of Unique Artistic Features" by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers in 2000.





Po Lin Monastery, established in 1906, is known as "The Sacred Place of the Buddha in the South" and is the first of the four most popular monasteries in Hong Kong. Ngong Ping sits high on the uplands some 460 metres above sea level at a 102-hectare plateau in the western-central part of Lantau Island. .

Po Lin Monastery is a renowned attraction and a holy Buddhist ground in Hong Kong. The gardens and pavilions are well-established to blend in with the natural environment in Ngong Ping.



It was so misty on top at Ngong Ping.It was raining but my children were enjoying themselves walking and playing in the rain.

The 120-metre Bodhi Path is flanked by statues of the "12 divine generals" and 40 lotus-shaped stone lanterns on both sides. At Di Tan, four lotus ponds have been built to provide a spacious venue for religious ceremonies held by Po Lin Monastery.

Important lesson learned:Never visit Ngong Ping if the weather is unfavourable.It is just a waste of time and money.On a clear sunny day,I am sure it is worth the money.




Later in the evening,we went to Times Square in Causeway Bay.Times Square was one of Hong Kong’s first mega-malls and, with 16 floors holding 230 shops. This is one of Hong Kong's Top Five Shopping Malls.Hong Kong Times Square offers an excellent mix of mid-range stores aimed at the average shopper. The mall is also a winning mix of local Hong Kong brands, such as the Fortress electronics store or Lane Crawford department store, with major international brands, such as Marks and Spencers and Kookai. One draw back can be the huge crowds the mall draws, and it can be crushingly packed at times.We had to queue to get our seats in a restaurant for our dinner.

Here at Times Square,I bought another pair of cheap New Balance running shoes for myself and my son.There were sales everywhere...what we need is money..money and money.Ha..ha..ha..

It was a frustrating day because our travelling plan was disrupted by the prolong rain.We were hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Holiday In HK-Day 2

Date:10th September 2010

Weather:clear sunny and hot


Today we are going to Hong Kong Disneyland and later spend a night at Hollywood Hotel Disneyland.




This is the mickey mouse train to Hong Kong Disneyland.The windows have the mickey mouse shape while the interior of the train have disney characters.It is so easy taking a train to Disneyland from Jordan station to Lai King station then Sunny Bay station before to Disneyland.The trains are very punctual and frequent so no need to rush.


We arrived at Disneyland after 10.00am.There wasn't many people at that time.Getting the tickets only took me a few minutes.At the entrance,the security personnel will checked our bags for prohibited items like food,alcoholic beverages and beverages in cans or bottles.Looks like the management wants us to buy foods and drinks from Disneyland outlets only!!


This is the floating Mickey on surfboard near the entrance to Disneyland.Those bringing luggage for their night stay in Disneyland can keep their luggage at a special counter near the entrance for a fee of HKD60 per piece of luggage irrespective of the size.




This is the first main structure we saw after we enter Disneyland park.It is the Hong Kong Disneyland Railroad attraction where tourists can take the excursion style train which goes around the park.



Then we walked along the Main Street USA towards the roundabout in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle.There are shops on both sides of Main Street selling Disneyland souvenirs.Nothing much to see along this short street.


At the roundabout in front of the castle,we can either go straight beyond the castle to Fantasyland or turn left to Adventure Land or turn right to Tomorrowland.Either way,one definitely can finish touring Hong Kong Disneyland in one day.It is not a big theme park.



We decided to start with Adventureland since my son wanted to try the Jungle River Cruise.The picture above is the Tarzan's tree house where one can climbs up to the treetop to look at Tarzan!!


To get to Tarzan tree house we need to take a raft (picture below) which took us across a small man made river.



Other attractions in Adventureland includes the Jungle River Cruise which took us cruising along a small river to look at some "remote controlled" wild animals along the way.


Then we witness the colourful musical show about the Lion King in the "Festival of the Lion King"(picture below).It is a half an hour show,presented in English.



The High School Musical (picture below) presented in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle.It is about dance and singing by a group of youngsters.A lot of these performers are Filipinos (my personal observation)



Then we proceeded to Tomorrowland with attractions like Stitch Encounter where children talk and play interactive games with Stitch;Orbitron the flying saucer ride;Autopia the electric cars ride;the interactive Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and UFO Zone.Not many attractions in Tomorrowland.



There are many restaurants in Disneyland and the prices are relatively expensive.However one can buy a special coupon which covers lunch and dinner at a special price.Their best seller is cold drinks since the weather was hot and outside drinks are not allowed.



The much anticipated street parade by all the Disneyland characters along the designated route inside the park.




There are many toys in "it's a small world"attraction with the toys singing and dancing to the song"it's a small world (after all).....picture below.



Later we went to the Fantasyland with attractions like Mickey's Philhar Magic-a 3D show,Cinderella Carousel ride,Mad Hatter Tea Cups spinning ride,"The Golden Mickeys"-a musical and The Many Adventure of Winnie the Pooh.




**Picture taken from the outside of "it's a small world" attraction.Those with young children are advisable to bring a stroller because children can get tired easily after a long walk in Disneyland.There are many places inside the park where one can park their stroller and a Disneyland employee will look after them.



The final show of the day is the fireworks in front of the the Sleeping Beauty Castle which started at 7.30 pm and lasted for about 10 minutes.Then there will be a massive crowd of people heading towards the entrance to go home.


Going back to our hotel in Disneyland was very easy,there were many buses waiting for us.Everything is so convenient for tourists.One only needs MONEY!!!


Conclusion:

1)Hong Kong Disneyland is a small theme park.One can finish it in a day.No need to stay a night in Disneyland for a second trip to the park the next day.
2)The attractions are too few.We even tried some rides twice.

3)Most of the attractions are suitable for younger children eg.those in primary schools.Children in early teens will definitely find these rides unexciting.