Yellow Ribbon Prison Run 2015

September 15, 2015 at 12:17 am | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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Itchyfingers has always wanted to join the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run to try out its many challenging inclined slopes along the route but somehow it always clashed with some other runs or dates that we couldn’t make it. This year, we finally signed up for it after deciding to try a new run.

Unfortunately, thanks to our neighboring country’s annual oil palm plantation burning, our usually clean air has been badly polluted. The sky had been covered by haze for at least a week now and getting worse. The organiser had to pre-empt participants of a possible scaled down event if the haze reached a PSI reading of over 100.

Alas, at 5am on Sunday morning, a final announcement was made that the 10km competitive run was to be cancelled, and the 6km run will be changed to a fun walk, so the participants would not be over-exerting ourselves under the bad weather condition. It was very disappointing when I woke up at 6am to read the message, but Itchyfingers decided to go ahead and join in the walk anyway.

The shuttle bus pick-up point at Expo took about 20 minutes to reach Changi Village, and by the time we walked to the starting point a few traffic lights away, it was already past 7.45am. So if the 10km run wasn’t cancelled, a lot of us would have been late for the run…

start
My first time walking this route…hahah

start2
We were more than three minutes late….

ribbon
Many people were seen taking photos with the huge yellow ribbon tied on lamp posts and trees. Itchyfingers also want! Hahah….

security
We were not supposed to take photos of prison facilities but I guess an unused old prison site is ok?

slope
Walking on the Road to Acceptance, to give ex-offenders a second chance in life…This was one of the upslopes…

2km
Took about half an hour to reach 2km! Didn’t even see the 1km marker!

trail
Soon we reached the “Happily Ever After Running (in this case, ‘Walking’) Trail”

Quak
The first fairy tale characters were the Ugly Ducklings…Will you be kind to it and accept it? If yes, say “Quack”!

johore-battery
When we saw this, we thought it was a replica since it was inside a restaurant….

sign
But apparently, it is the real thing!

no-photo
Itchyfingers fooling around again….

bird
Was looking for real birds…

swans
Then realised Ugly Ducklings had turned into Beautiful Swans…hahaha…. 

chapel
We passed by Changi Chapel and Museum, which Itchyfingers visited few years back

princess
These Princesses appeared without warning and they were popular! I thought it was cleared and ran in to take photo, but apparently the other guy still hasn’t had enough yet! Hahah….

princess-ahead
The sign came too late! Hahaha….I think I missed the Frog Prince…

prison
Didn’t turn on my GPS so lost count of how long we walked….Before we knew it, we were at the end of the 6km walk….Did I miss the distance markers again? This is the old Changi Prison Gate

finish
Wow! We took so long for our leisurely walk and photo taking!

After this finishing point, we had to walk quite a distance to the tentage to collect our finishing medals….Was wondering why made us walk so long…Then we realised only 6km runners were supposed to walk so far…For 10km runners, we had a separate finishing point which was just next to the carnival tentage….

10k
The unused 10km finishing point…Next year, ok? Next year we will pass through you!

medal1
First time collected a medal and felt no sense of achievement…hahaha….Maybe the achievement is having survived walking in the hazy condition….

medal2
The medal featured the old Changi Prison Gate

Will definitely try to come back again next year for the 10km run!

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Going Banana! – Penang Pisang Relay Run 2015

June 28, 2015 at 12:56 am | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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Recently, Itchyfingers did our first overseas run in Penang, Malaysia. Having done quite a number of races locally, I have always wanted to join overseas running events for a change and for the experience. But a lot of them are quite expensive to join, especially after you add the price of air ticket and accommodation, it can be quite a big sum of money just to go for a run! Hahah…So I thought maybe joining a race in our immediate neighbouring country should be friendlier on the pocket…hahah…

After looking around, this sounds-so-funny relay run – the Penang Pisang Relay Run attracted my eyes. “Pisang” in Malay means “Banana”, so yes, it’s a Banana Relay Run, which requires a team of three to run 8km each to complete a total of 24km. Why is it called “Pisang Relay”? Cos the banana is supposed to be the baton that you would be passing around while running! How funny is that?! The registration fee was RM155 for super early bird, which was less than S$55, and that would be less than S$20 per person. Not so expensive, and doing a fun run overseas sounds less stressful than a more serious competitive one. But we would need another person to run with us. Luckily our friend, Butterfly, who recently returned from her overseas postings was available and keen to go. So Itchyfingers were set to go banana in Penang! 😀

Race pace collection was just one day prior to actual race day. So it would be perfect for us overseas participants since we would not need to arrive too early in Penang just for the collection. But we flew over two days earlier for our sightseeing anyway. The venue for collection was this MyTriathlonShop at Penang Plaza. Race pace collection was just outside the shop, pretty easy to find. But we only saw two or three people passed by us with the tee-shirts in their hands…Not a popular event maybe?

collected
The race pack was pretty fuss-free – just the bib and running tee, unlike most runs in Singapore where we always get a so-called goodies bag which is supposed to have sponsored goodies inside but both the quality of the bag and its contents seem to have gone downhill these days. It’s a good thing to have none of those if they can keep registration fee low, cos sometimes the goodies are quite useless if they ever exist in the first place, as some runs only give you useless vouchers that you never use. Waste of papers and ended up with so many lousy bags. But I only realised later that there wasn’t a timing device inside….Well, maybe that’s why the registration fee was so low? :p

But there wasn’t even a race map inside! Even the website didn’t have it. When enquired, the lady just told us we were supposed to run around Straits Quay. Er, but where is that har? Oh, nevermind, we would just have to google it then…

The next day, after early breakfast, we drove to this Straits Quay place. Quite a nice place, something like our Robertson Quay or Clarke Quay. Oh, not a bad turnout actually! There would be a race-briefing at 6.45am but we were required to reach at 6am…So with too much time in hand, what was the best thing to do?

pre-race
Take welfie! Our friend Butterfly will be the first runner, me will go second, while Tisu Boy will be in charge of making up for the time the two slowcoaches lost…wahahah!!!! I like it that they colour coded and numbered the tee…But as usual, there will always be people who dun wear the official shirts, which made it tougher for marshals to differentiate the three team members

pre-race2
More photos…going bananas! Maybe the organizers should have some people dressed as Minions…hahah

The atmosphere was fun. The only complaint was there weren’t any portable loos, and the toilets were too far…

6.30am, first runners in red queued up for their first bananas….

shirt
We just realised only the first runner’s bib had two bananas, a medal and fork and spoon icons…

For all three runners doing the first 4km loop, we were supposed to hold one banana while running. For the second loop, the first runner would have to collect a second banana and we would have to then run with two bananas in hand…how funny…At the end of the 24km, we had to make sure no bananas were “hurt”, that is, eaten lah! Otherwise, we would be disqualified…Hahaha….To make sure no one cheats, we were given rubber hairbands to put on our wrists once we passed a certain checkpoint. So each team must collect six rubber hairbands in total for the 6 x 4km loops to claim our finishing medals.

start
Soon, it was time for all first runners to assemble at the looked-so-humble starting line….This Straits Quay area seemed to be quite a up market residential precinct… 

go
7am – first runners, go!!!! 

We were supposed to wait at this side and not cross over to the opposite side under the trees so that we could spot our first runners coming back via the road outside.

About less than 15 mins later, the first two runners came running back! That was fast! Many other first runners soon also passed their bananas to their second runners. Couldn’t really take photos cos it was quite chaotic with many second runners crowding around waiting eagerly for their team members to come back…Then finally, I spotted Butterfly!

wait
Wow! My turn to go forward at the starting line to wait for my banana…hahah….so exciting! 😀

pass
And there! I got the banana! Aiya, Miss Blue Cap why you blocked Tisu Boy’s view….

So off I ran! Didn’t dash passed the spectators like most runners who just began their run. I just kept to my normal usual pace cos I didn’t wanna go too fast for the first loop and lose steam for the second. It had been very hot the past few days while we were in Penang and this morning it was getting warmer as the time passed. The route wasn’t anything exciting cos we were just running on the road passing some landed properties. There was no partial road closure so we still had to look out for traffic while crossing or making a turn. Luckily it was Sunday and the area seemed to be quite quiet at that time. But at some parts the air lingered with garbage smell…too early for workers to clear the wheeler bins? It was so hot my throat felt like sandpaper rubbing on it, and that made me cough quite a bit…No water points, and I didn’t run with my bottle since I thought I had the banana on one hand and would be taking photos using my mobile with the other. But no photos taken since the route wasn’t that exciting…

Not that many markings along the way but since I was not the first runner, there were always someone in front of me. Only remembered seeing the distance marker for the last 1.5km, which felt much longer probably cos of the heat…Then the blur me took the wrong turn when I was finally reaching Straits Quay! I hastened my pace and passed the runners in front of me but instead of running onto the pavement back to the starting line, I headed back to the road! Hahah…the marshall did shout to me, but as it was in Malay, I couldn’t understand! Only realised my mistake after about 20meters or so…hahah…

Tisu Boy must be shaking his head…hahah! Now you go and make up for lost time! 😀

Took a look at my watch and was surprised I was slightly faster than my usual 4km speed…But second loop gonna be tougher cos the weather was getting hotter…

While Butterfly was doing her second loop with two bananas, the first team completed their race!

champion
There! First to finish their 24km relay banana run! The finishing line was the same as the starting line, just closer to the trees…First and second runners had to wait at a spot when their third runner was approaching. It was still okay for now but later as more teams finished together, it would be very chaotic…not a good idea…All this while, the organiser was appealing to runners not to block the official digital timer so they could record the winning teams’ time! Wow so primitive need to record manually? The timer was placed low at eye level just behind where runners were standing and waiting for their members to return. A simple solution would be just raise it higher so everyone far and near could see it, right?

My second loop was initially smooth until I felt my tummy growling, probably from too much water? Or could it be the Milo I drank in the morning? It was so loud and uncomfortable that even when my legs and heart felt okay, I didn’t dare to run any faster cos I feared I might get stitches on the side. That would be more painful and slow me down…So for the next 3km or so, I ran with a noisy stomach…hopefully those running besides me would not hear it…so embarrassing…

This time I didn’t take wrong turn. Was glad to finish my run with bananas intact! Hahaha….

finished
No, we didn’t come in top three…hahah…the organizers held up the banner for most of the teams to take their finishing photos…

Was pleasantly surprised to get packs of fried noodles after our run…It was more like a fun run for us to experience an overseas event but I think we didn’t do that bad actually…about slightly more than 2.5hours for 24km…hahah….But besides the top finishers, there wasn’t any official timing for the rest of us. So we won’t know how well we did compared to the rest of the teams…Hopefully there will be more chance for more overseas runs in the future! No frills is fine, as long as it is well-organised, and low registration fee please! 😀

medals
Our medals with different colored shoes on the bananas…hahah…the design failed cos cannot join up properly! Hahahah….But still a cute medal lah! 😀

Blazed Through the Night

June 25, 2014 at 4:59 pm | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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I don’t think I ever remembered smiling so much during a run…normally will only smile widely when there are photographers around, especially if you are those who breathe in or out through the mouth when running. But last Saturday, I was smiling a lot…

Itchyfingers were at the Jurong Lake Run. Just 11 days ago I had a bad fall in East Malaysia and suffered from a swollen shin and multiple big bruises on the left leg. After coming back, I did a 5km super slow walk and was glad that I could still do a slow 4km run despite the injury. But I wasn’t too sure if I complete 10km, cos the shin was still swollen though there wasn’t much pain….

leg
A selfie of my still bruised left leg…The plaster covered the yet-to-recover abrasion. Will write about this incident in the coming posts…

start
Itchyfingers were at the middle of the queue to the starting line…

I didn’t wanna strain my leg too much so was running at a rather slow pace…The evening was hot and humid when we started running at around 6:30pm. But as I ran, I couldn’t help but felt so glad that I was still able to run…The fall could have been much worse…That really brought on a big smile on my face…hahah….

eagle
White-bellied Fish Eagle flew across as we ran onto the bridge. Coincidentally, I saw one here when we did our first run with Jurong Lake in 2012! Hahah….

When I finally saw the 9km distance marker, I was really so happy! One more kilometer to go! The sky had long turned dark…hahah…

tisu
T
isu Girl completed her run with a big smile!

This was the first time the organiser changed the race to a night race. But I think I prefer my experience running in the morning cos you can appreciate the garden better…

ghost
Cos at night, the green spotlights shining on the trees just made them look so eerie, as if a Pontianak (a female ghost in Malay and Indonesian mythology) was hiding among the branches…wahahahah!!!!

medal
I think there were some MediaCorp artistes running with us since they are one of the sponsors, but I never seen any one of them. Maybe they were all so fast that the slower runners couldn’t catch up… :p

back
Second night run for this year…I think I still prefer running in the early morning to see the sunrise, rather than see the sun setting…so depressing, as if telling you are running too slow…hahahah

Also see related posts:
> Bring on the DARK Night
> Run For a Cause – Jurong Lake Run 2012

 

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