Saucony Kinvara 5

The Saucony Kinvara 5 has been released so long ago in 2014 and now the latest edition is the Kinvara 8 and believe it or not, I just started wearing my Kinvara 5 this year in April! And it was actually purchased way back in June 2015 at an outlet sale. That made it like 3 years late.

I only took this out to replace my well worn Kinvara 4 and now barely 1 month later, it has clocked almost 100 km. But since it is such an old shoe, there is no point in doing a review suffice to say that I really like it. But there is only 1 problem with this particular edition though.  And that is the topline of the shoe where the shoe meets the ankle bone is rubbing against the foot but only on the left foot. So its either the shoe is not properly aligned or my left ankle bone is lower. And despite that, I raced it in once without any problem so I gonna keep on wearing it. Review online has it that it is not lasting. Let see whether it will break the Kinvara 4 record of 1000 km!

And of course when will I be getting the Kinvara 6. 

Income Eco Run 2017

At 4.15 am on Sunday, I found myself at the start line of the 2017 Income Eco Run at the F1 race track. It has been a long time since I joined a local race and being at the start line filled with the stank of sweat and heat rub at such an ungodly time for a half marathon simply reminded me why I have not signed up for more races in recent years. Running Shots got some complimentary slots from the event organiser and I thought since I have not been doing much running recently, to take up 1 slot just as an excuse to get fitter. So here I am $%^&*(# feeling damn sleepy and smelling in that awful stench of sweat and deep heat! Why in the world do people put deep heat before running?

Back to the race. Because we came early, we managed to get quite upfront maybe 30 metres before the start line.  The race was started off right on the dot which is a good thing. From the F1 track, we ran towards Republic Boulevard. It was fairly dark but the route was fully closed or so I thought, until we hit the road when it narrowed down to 2 lanes width. :(….. And it got worse. 2 lanes to 1 lane and then back to 2 lanes and then 1 lane again. You get the picture? Luckily for me, since I managed to snag an early start, there wasn’t that many runners and despite the narrow route, I was able to run quite comfortably but I can imagine the frustration of the main bulk of the runners having to constantly merge in and out. There is one particular bad area coming out of Kallang Riverside Park onto Kallang Road where at the top of the staircase was an opening that leads to a small pavement that everybody has to squeeze through before going onto Kallang Road.

Believe it or not, despite the many races being held in the area in the past, this was actually my first race where 90% of the route was ran in the core Marina Bay and Kallang area and I was certainly not used to it. There were too many turns. U turn at Crawford Road; U turn at Republic Ave to Nicoll Highway; U turn at Stadium Drive; U turn at East Coast Park;  turn at Marina East Drive; U turn at Garden by the Bay East, U turn at Marina Promontory; turn up Bayfront Ave;  turn at Youth Olympic Park…….So many turnings and then having to run through the deserted Sports Hub area. Actually, the whole route was deserted. What do you expect? Starting at 5 am! Who will be crazy enough to come out to give support?

So anyway I started at what I thought was a fairly comfortable pace. I have no hard target. Just a prayer that I won’t finish slower than 2 hours 15 minutes. So when I saw the 2.15 pacers in front of me at the start, I was tempted to follow them. But around the 2 km mark, I actually overtook them. I was still feeling good and decided to continue on rather than slow down. I have no doubt they will overtake me somewhere later when I get tired. M had started with me but I saw here ran ahead soon after and I didn’t see her until we reached East Coast Park. And surprise surprise, she was behind me! Haha I thought, maybe this time I can be faster than her. She caught up with me at the Marina East Drive. The first word she said to me was “No more energy liao. You go ahead”. And then guess what – she ran ahead leaving me eating her dust! I think she was trying to “suan” me 🙁  

Along the way, I met a few known faces. Some I overtook, some overtook me and some played catching with me. Every now and then I look behind me to see where the 2.15 pacers were but they seem to be a fair distance from me. At the 15 km point I had more or less decided that I should try to not let them catch up and that was my motivation to keep pushing onward. When we passed the 9 km signage for the 10 km, I was like (E#_&%#%#(. So near and yet so far! We had to continue to run down pass Marina Bay Sands to Marina Promontory and make an u-turn back to MBS before going up that little incline on Bayfront Avenue. 

I saw Sotong, my fellow photographer from Running Shots there, busy shooting away and with only less than 500 metres to go, I know I was home free and well ahead of the 2.15 pacers. Not a personal best not a really good timing but hey with the limited mileage, I take that anytime. But no more 5 am race anymore. 

Looking back now on my performance with the official results out now, I surprised myself.  With no major races to train for the past years, the weekly mileage averages around 30 km and yet my timing at this event was closed to the 2015 Sundown Marathon’s HM time and that was achieved on the back of part of a built up to an ultra! So I haven’t really deteriorated that much hahaha.

Knee Support

I been running much lesser in recent years and doing more hiking and trekking. The latter usually involves some form of climbing up and down stairs, hills and mountain. And with a cranky worn out knees,  it can be quite painful and I end up with either a swollen or locked knees for the next few days.

Some friends have suggested that a knee support can be useful. I generally don’t believe in pseudo medical aid and I am old school that if there is an injury, it is better not to run through it but rest. But in my case, it is not exactly an injury so recently since I am intensifying my climbs, I decided to get a knee support to try. So while I was at a mall one evening, I walked into a World of Sports outlet and just picked the coolest looking knee support there is. And volia – 

According to the product specs, 3D shaping of the fabric, contours to your knee area, providing optimum support. Recommended use for indications of tendinitis, patellar (knee cap) pain/tracking, arthritis, minor soft tissue tears/strains, general knee pain. It is breathable, multi-directional stretch and non-slip gel prevents migrations, allows full range of motion while maintaining high level support. 

I put it on my more troublesome right knee when I went Bukit Timah Hill last week. And immediately up the first flight of stairs and I can feel the difference. Which left me pretty amazed. Gone was the sharp stab of pain when descending and there was a noticeable improvement in the joint movement.

One week later I am back at Bukit Timah Hill. This time the knee guard goes onto the left knee. And again it works! 

Not too sure whether it is this particular product or all knee support in general but I am pretty pleased and impressed. But while it works for climbing, I wonder does it work for running?

What is the Best Shoes for Running?

A friend asked me recently what is the best running shoe to buy. I told her she asked the wrong person. I used to believe that there is such a thing as a “good” running shoes and some brands are better than others but I no longer believe in that. Apart from not believing in so call “branded” shoes, I also do not follow the conventional advice like a shoe is good for only XXX mileage. Cannot buy warehouse shoes because the foam will have dried up blah blah blah….. 

Most people I know will go for the 4 big brand Nike, Asics, New Balance and Adidas. In recent years my choice of shoes have been getting a bit erratic. If I am lucky to get preview shoes, I will wear them. Like this pair of Puma Faas  which was given to me by Puma in November 2014. 

At this point in time, I don’t know any other runners who wear Puma shoes. Me? At of todate, 2 years 5 months later, I have clocked 903 km in it – more than the usual life span of a typical running shoes. Look at its condition now. And I reckon it still good enough for another 100 km or so!

And I wear Skechers running shoes as well. Oh, at least I know one other runner who wears a pair of Skechers. And the only reason I started wearing Skechers was because I read good review about it and I found one going for a discount. But since then, I grown to like it and am now into my second pair after killing my first with over wear.

And just by looking at the above 2 photos, one can tell I really make full use of my running shoes but this last one has broken the record. Tadah! 1008 km on my Saucony 4! Saucony shoes have a reputation of not being very lasting. But I think I certainly got my money worth considering I bought it a discount in 2015!

So long story short. I am not the right person to ask about running shoes. Go ask the people at Running Lab or read the very detailed review of one of our top local runners.

Sundown Marathon 2017

If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. The people at Hi-Velocity, the organizer behind the Sundown Marathon (SDM) should have remember this wise saying when they set up to “improve” this year edition.

The Sundown Marathon is an event which is close to my heart and which I have fairly good opinion of, unlike the SCMS. I seen the SDM grown from a small little race in 2008 with just 800 + runners to a mega race involving more than 20000 runners in 4 different categories. In its early days, the SDM could be considered a true heartland race running through the Eastern part of Singapore. It was also the first race to have a 84 km distance – probably the first ultra race in Singapore. While I didn’t run the SDM in those early days, I had many friends who did and those of us not running had a great time providing support to the runners as they ran through the Eastern Park Connector. We were there for the runners in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Those time, we made many friends and got a lot of appreciation including this nice little cap. This was also the only race that I won something – haha not a running trophy but a photo contest in the 2009 race expo. I did ran the SDM eventually – twice in fact, in 2011 where I had a horrible time and again in 2015. By then, the SDM had moved from Changi Village to Changi Aviation Road and eventually to the current Marina Bay. Along the way and over the years, it has became a race catering to the mass instead of being a niche event and I guess as it grew bigger and bigger, it became more and more difficult to manage. First to go was the run through the heartland making use of the park connector. Next was the 84 km Ultra Distance which I feel was unfortunate as that was to me the main highlight of the annual event. And by moving to Marina Bay, it has became just another race in the area – nothing really great or special other than it being held at night. But I guess to many marathon wannabes, this race was a much welcome introduction to running a marathon as it enabled them to avoid the harsh heat of a day race. And so years after years, the numbers continue to grow…… Continue Reading →

Chestnut Nature Park North Loop

Almost one year after the opening of Chestnut Nature Park South Loop, the North Loop officially opens on 25 February 2017.  Has the wait been worth it?

The initial signs are good. The North Loop is a smallish Loop which is all of 1.5 metres long. What a bummer! But it is in my opinion one of the best trail in Singapore. For one, it is not flat and straight like say MacRitchie or even the South Loop. Instead it is undulating and with many twists and turns. This will make it a very good run for those who loves cornering. And the best thing about this? Like the South Loop, the mountain bikers have their own trail and so there is no danger of being run down by one of them bikers.

In addition to the nice and I must add, natural trail, there is also a fast flowing stream. This was a big surprise as I have no idea there is such a big stream there. And the water looks clean although I won’t drink from it. As a result of this “stream” there are several crossings including a sort of suspension bridge, a wooden bridge and even some rocks crossing. 

There ae also 2 or is it 3 shelters. 

In addition to this loop, there is also another longish trail which used to be part of the trail from Butterfly to Woodcutter and Zhenghua. This is the previous Gangsa Trail and has also now been re-open with segregation for hikers and bikers. This is actually a continuation of the South Loop and does not lead directly to the North Loop but to Zhenghua and on to Track 13.

The best part of this Chestnut Nature Park? – combine all 3 and one can get a reasonable distance on it to hike and run without concern for bikers. Too bad it is still short of 10 km.

The worse thing about the whole place? – the Visitor Centre which still has no vending machines for drinks, no shower facilities and no locker facilities. There is a bike shop though which provides water for cleaning bikes for a fees although washing shoes is free.

 

 

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