Rise and Shine – Swissotel Vertical Marathon 2013

November 28, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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For a glimpse of sunrise, how far, or how high (in this case) would you go?

Itchyfingers had trekked and climbed up hills to see the sunrise. But this was the first time I had to climb concrete staircase to catch the magnificent sight.

But Itchyfingers were not alone. We were joined by another 49 pairs of crazy people in our quest to race up one of Southeast Asia’s tallest hotel to its helipad to view the sunrise against breathtaking panoramic view of Singapore!

tee
This will be Itchyfingers’ fourth time up the 226 metres hotel…wow, 
that’s even taller than our Bukit Timah Hill… :p

report
The Swissotel Stamford is in such a convenient, centralised location
so no problem at all to reach the starting point in time.
 Here, we were
all standing in line, waiting to scale the stairs…

Last year, my fingers were too slow and we missed the registration for the Buddies and Besties Category, which was to replace the original Lovebirds Category, where a team of two need to finish the race together. In the end, Itchyfingers  joined the individual category separately, and gotta say, I didn’t enjoy it as much. Last year, I suggested a night race to the organiser on their Facebook page. Though the suggestion was not taken maybe due to logistic problem, the organiser had added a new category – the Sunrise Team Challenge. Slots were snapped up within one hour or so, and I think we managed to get the last slot! Wahahahah….!

bag
Drawstring bag instead of the usual shoe bag for this year. The
goodies seemed to be more suitable for ladies…so many washing
powder…wahahah…Even Tisu Boy got a Shape magazine and not
the Men’s Health magazine…No teddy bear…Well, at least they changed
the logo…

Patiently, we waited for our turn while eyes kept checking at the sky. Recently it rained heavily in the early mornings, and I was so glad that the weather was very good today! Otherwise, we would have to stop at level 69 at the restaurant instead of level 73 at the helipad!

We were among the last third of the 50 pairs. Even though Itchyfingers had done this three times already, I still felt nervous. We had been practising at our neighbouring HDB block of 40 storeys for only 3 times, and strolled up Bukit Timah Hill once before race day. But it is always not enough cos we would have to climb non-stop up 73 levels now, unlike the HDB flat where we got a rest while taking the lift down to level 1 for a second round of climbing.

As usual, slow and steady is the way to go. This year, I made sure I use the hand rails to help pull myself up. I think it really helped a lot, except when I had to use my weaker left hand. The landing between the flights of stairs for the initial levels also helped to relieve the lactic acid build-up on the legs…Not sure how many flights of stairs had that big landing space cos we had purposely worn caps so that we won’t be tempted to steal a peek at the number of floors we had climbed…haha…Nah…the caps were there to help stop excessive sweat dripping into our eyes…

I think I was doing consistently okay until we reached the higher levels where there were no more big landing area between stairs. That might well be about 60plus floors? Fourth time up and it was still a challenge to scale up 73 levels, especially when Itchyfingers wanted to beat our own timing. Last year, Tisu Boy managed a 14-minutes plus when he was climbing alone. So I had secretly aimed to match that time. But the darn stairs were too much a demon to beat! My heart was racing fast; my breathing was hard but my legs were feeling weak! I know we were at the last 10 odd levels, but the legs weighed a tonne and it was so difficult to lift them up fast enough! Tisu Boy gave words of encouragement, and so did the many volunteers. Swissotel’s volunteers had always been one of the most cheerful lots of all! Finally, one volunteer shouted “last five floors!”

After what seemed like an eternity I finally reached the last floor! Got to dig deep and use the last bit of energy to run up the last long steps towards the finishing line and the helipad! Itchyfingers did it again!!!!

itchyfingers
No lah, we did not manage to beat our timing. Finished the climb about
15 minutes plus, similar to our previous races…How did the record
holder managed to rush up in six minutes?!?! Superman!! This year the

organiser seemed to be a bit slower in releasing the official result, hence
we could not verify our timing nor could we even know if anyone broke
the record for the elite category…

sunrise3
And what a view we had here!

sunrise
Beautiful!

sunrise4
It was worth every effort to climb up here!

tisu
Yeah!

sunrise2
I think everyone gave their best as the incentive to catch the sunrise
was too attractive! I think all the Sunrise Team manage to catch the
beautiful sight…

light
Warm glow on the HDB flats….

volunteers
Warm smiles on the volunteers’ faces…

medals
So many medals!

We stayed for 10 minutes or so before leaving the helipad to make room for people from the other category to enjoy the view. We returned to the starting line to cheer for those in the other categories…

thumbs
The Above 50s Men category. Thumbs up for the oldest participant,
the uncle at the right is over 60 years old! I don’t know if I can still
walk at that age, let alone climb 73 storeys!

oldest
And off they go at the sound of the horn! Some of these men didn’t 
look their age at all! Must be the benefit of regular exercise!

50W
Ladies from the Above 50 Women category! All the way!

under20
We also caught the young ladies from the Under 20 category! Oh my
goodness…Itchyfingers was still a couch potato when I was their age!

Would love to stay to see the elites in action but Itchyfingers had to rush off to freshen ourselves before making our way down to our little booth at the Christmas market. Will itchyfingers be back for a fifth time? Not sure…Really hope they do a night race next year so everyone will get to see the beautiful light up!

See related posts:
> 20.11.2011
> Scaling New Height
> Taking Baby Steps
Stepping Up @ NLB

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Live Great – Great Eastern Women Run 2013

November 22, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
Tags: ,

At 4am, the weather didn’t look too good…I thought I saw a flash of lightning in the distant while preparing to head out of the house. “Will it rain?” It really worried me….

When Itchyfingers reached the starting line, it was unusually windy. Flash of lightning again in the distant. But there was no word from the organiser that the event was to be delayed. (Only found out later on Facebook that they were monitoring the weather and would delay the starting time if necessary). I had been running with Great Eastern, an all-women run, for their 10km category for the past three years. This was the first time I joined their 21km run since the category started last year. It would be my sixth Half Marathon run. But like every other times, I am always never fully prepared and trained for it. The last 21km at the Army Half Marathon I didn’t experience any cramps, but I wasn’t sure if that was because we were forced to “rest” for more than half an hour cos of the bottleneck, or if that was because my body had gotten more used to the longer distance. So, in my mind, I set myself a new target time: 2:30hr, though I thought 2:40hr would be more realistic since my trainings were still quite inadequate.

In order to achieve this timing, I reckoned I would need to complete each 10km within 75 minutes. Shouldn’t be a problem for the first half of the distance, but to keep within pace for the second half? I wasn’t too sure…Just hoped I won’t get cramps….There were pacers for the various times but they were all positioned together at the front of the pack, unlike Shape Run’s pacers who were more evenly spread out according to their targeted times. I couldn’t see the time on the balloons these pacers were holding as they were standing too far ahead. I guess I had to try to catch up with them later….

The elites were flagged off first at around 5.30am, with the rest of us running across the starting line few minutes later so as to give the elites a good head start. Not too sure if the sky was cloudy or if it was just dark. But it felt cool enough for a good run! Alas, just about 1km into our run, I could feel a few small drops of water on my skin…”Oh no! Rain?!?”

Unfortunately, it started drizzling! This was the first time it rained on a race day for me! Was really worried that it would pour and we would have to be asked to stop….But luckily, it only lasted a short while and stopped slightly passed 2km…maybe we outran the rain? Hahah…. But it was getting more humid. Saw a pair of elite runners flew passed us mortal beings at the other side of the road!

Maybe it was the extra half piece of red bean bun that I took or the relatively cool weather that made me feel good and was able to keep within my projected pace. It drizzled and stopped at least three more times along the route. But no one was complaining! I think the rain really helped and it pushed us to keep going and finish the run in case the weather got worse. At 10km, I took a peek at my watch – 1:10hr. I was feeling good but didn’t want to go faster in case I were to suffer a cramp at a later part of the run. Slow and steady shall be the way to go!

Meanwhile, the first lady had emerged at the finishing line!

champion
Miss Kim Hye Gyong from North Korea crossed the line with an 
amazing time of 1:15:59 hr! Where was Itchyfingers? Hahaha….

2nd
Tisu Boy said he thought his eyes were playing tricks! Why did that first
lady run pass him again? Simply because this was the twin sister! 😀
She came in second at 1:17:52 hr! They must be the ones I saw running…

run
Miss Yuko Watanabe came in very close at 1:18:29hr. Though the weather
was cooler in the early morning especially with the drizzle, it was still
much more humid than these elites’ hometown…so it must had also
affected their timing by a little….

jap
The fourth lady, Miss Yukiko Okuno from Japan, with a 1:20:29hr time

ann
Miss Ann Qi Hui, who originated from Inner Mongolia, was the first
Singaporean in the Elite Category

doc
Doc Lim Bao Ying had done very well too!

good
Miss Neo Jie Shi came in first in the Closed Category for Singaporean
and Permanent Residents. She did us mortal beings proud by running
a better timing than some of those in the elite category!

It was the first time I ran past Marina Reservoir. Wished I had my camera but I had thought it would be so dark and decided not to bring it. Well, a blessing in disguise…cos if I had brought it I would be worried about it getting wet…The sky turned even gloomier. But luckily the organiser was so nice to plant official photographers at the Marina Barrage and we were all reminded to smile at the camera! Hahah…I love the cheery mood at the area! 😀

visual
While running on the bridge across the Barrage, these two ladies
ran past me…The lady in pink was running with her friend who should be
visually disadvantaged. Must be tough running when it rained cos she
wouldn’t be able to avoid potholes and puddles of water well. I didn’t try to 
run faster to overtake them, cos I think their spirits had already won
many of us physically abled beings. This was taken near the finishing
line, some minutes ahead of me….

pacers2
Pacers for the 2:10hr timing…

Surprisingly, I passed the 18km mark uneventfully…the dreaded calf cramps didn’t come back to haunt me! Three more kilometres to go! But it also started to drizzle again….

pacers
Pacers for 2:20 hr. Nice legs!

breast-cancer
I only saw a lady with this pink tutu dress along the way…There
were a few of time actually, running in support of breast cancer patients

I couldn’t believe myself when I called Tisu Boy at the 20km mark…I was very close to achieve my timing if I pushed on!!!! Then…last 500 metres!!!!!

tisu2
Tisu Girl running past the Floating platform…almost there!!!!

Wanted to do a final sprint across the line but we had to turn to the right and run onto the grass field. Would risk tripping over if I did that…But I guess a few split seconds wouldn’t make a difference….

finish
Tisu Girl (in orange cap) crossing the line…When I saw the timing board,
I was initially quite disappointed although I was still faster than my more
realistic target time of 2:40hr…

finished
My official photo from the organiser…

But I forgot that I crossed the starting line much later than official flagged-off time at 5:30am! A check on my watch…Oh my goodness!!!! Tisu Girl did it!!!! I had achieved my personal best timing of 2:29hr!!!! Last year I also got my best race timing for 10k at Great Eastern! Double happiness!

pacer
Aiya, my 2:30 hr pacers were nowhere to be seen even though they
 finished just slightly faster than me…

cheers
Cheers! We made it!

camera
Must take photo!

bottle
There was a contest to spot the lady with this sponsored Tupperware
water bottle at the after-race carnival. But this lady actually ran with
that big one-litre bottle! Wonder if it was fully filled up before? Actually
I also saw a lady running with a half-filled 1.5 litre mineral water!

hands
Great buddies running hands in hands!

hands2
Another pair of buddies! Think they were running under the Team
Category

live-great
A very happy Tisu Girl. I remember first finishing the 21.1km run at
Sundown Marathon with moist eyes and cramped legs…but this time my
whole body was wet cos the rain got heavier! 😀 By the way, I actually
got abrasion near my collar bones from the necklace!

Tisu
We were awarded a finisher tee too! Love the design and color! This
tee was worn with much pride cos I did my best and got my best timing!
It was a great race, with great weather, great volunteers support and no
bottlenecks!

route
The route was slightly different too! Looked really long here!

There were lots of activities and food for runners but as the rain was getting heavier, I was also getting a bit cold…Luckily I had my extra layer of finisher tee on…

rain
But these ladies were still running in the rain…All the way!

medal
Live Great!

back
Back of medal and tee

Also see related posts:
> Men Don’t Get It – Great Eastern Women 10K
> Life is Great – Great Eastern Women 10k Run

Join Itchyfingers at TripleOne Somerset!

November 20, 2013 at 11:20 am | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,

Come this coming Saturday and Sunday, 23 and 24 November, at 1-7pm, Itchyfingers will bring our latest batch of creation to TripleOne Somerset, Level 16 for the Christmas Market!

totoro2
Totoro will be going with Itchyfingers to TripleOne Somerset!

totoro1
Created with love using 100% pure wool and beads, they range from
around 2cm to 4.5cm in height…

So, how to go to TripleOne Somerset?

By MRT:
Nearest MRT Station is Somerset. Take Exit B. Upon reaching street level, there will be a traffic light in front of you, please cross the street and turn right. You will reach TripleOne Somerset and go through the entrance, walk straight ahead. The office lift lobby is behind Imperial Treasure Bakery. Locate the lifts serving the even-numbered levels (it’s on your right side) and take the lift to Level 16. You will be able to find us there!

By Car:
There is direct parking on Basement 1 & 2 for shoppers within TripleOne Somerset.

Hope to see you there! 😀

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