Friday, August 30, 2013

TSH Walk Hunt—City Mall (Leg 3)

Last Sunday I ran a full marathon starting at 3am in the morning, and by the time I finished the run, had a bath and went out for brunch, it was close to noon when I arrived home again. The night before, I had about 2 hours’ sleep, so I was very tired. I then had an hour's nap, but had to wake up again for a quick bite before going to City Mall for a walk hunt organized by Treasure Hunt Society of Malaysia (THS). My knee was still aching from the marathon that morning, and I had to take Celebrex to numb the pain. 

The hunt was for a duration of 3 hours comprising 25 route questions and 3 treasure questions. 5 of those route questions were “cryptures”, i.e. clues made of pictures, while the rest were the usual cryptic type. Unfortunately, the CoC had to cancel 2 route questions because the signboards were no longer there. Of the 3 treasures, T2 was unavailable in City Mall. Although the questions were mostly related to the movies, in essence it still required a lot of cryptic-solving abilities rather than mere general knowledge. I shall not go into detailed discussion of every question of the hunt, but there are three questions worth discussing here. 

Let’s have a look at them. 

Q1) Some lighting is required to produce a movie regarding food. 

A typical cryptic question where that word “some” is an indicator that tells the solver we need to take only some of the letters in “lighting”. Those letters are then to be combined with letters found on a signboard within the sector, and then rearranged on account of the anagram indicator “produce” to form a new word that agrees with “a movie regarding food”.   

That was my position when reading the clue. That seemed simple enough, but it took me a long time to solve the question. In fact, it took me up to the dying minutes of the hunt when it suddenly occurred to me to look up for the synonyms of “movie”. Once I found FLICK, I immediately zoomed in on KFC, because I could combine “L+I” (taking only 2 letters from “lighting”) with “KFC” to make FLICK. The solution is sound, of course, but I don't really like this type of clue for the simple reason that the scope of search is quite wide in terms of uncertainty of that indicator “some”. I mean, “some” like how many letters from the word “lighting”? The only reason why I wasn't grumbling about this question was because that was the only “food” business within that sector, having shortened the sector based on the answer of the next question. 

Q6) At the start to find her height, take four steps left and you just might. 

A seemingly intimidating question which caused a bit of anxiety, because quite honestly, I was totally lost when I read it the first few times! Ordinarily, there is a simple and literal meaning to the surface reading of the clue. But here, even the surface reading is hard to make sense! Not knowing where exactly to start searching, I focused on that word “her” in the clue and then tried to scan the sector for any signboard that had anything to do with women in general. 

This signboard stood out from the rest because of “her”:

But I somehow couldn’t make the connection. It’s kinda embarrassing to have that so-called “Master Hunter” title, but couldn’t see the connection in this case. I stored it in my mind, however, and while I was dealing with the other questions, I kept turning the riddle in my mind. It wasn’t until the last few minutes that I revisited this question again; and somehow this time I saw that word “height” as “h8”, and the answer leapt to my eyes immediately! 

But the most "controversial" question of the day was this:

Q8) Where men and women are from according to Gray?

I think it's quite safe to assume that most people have heard of the book entitled Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray. But even if they haven't heard of the book, a googling exercise can yield the answer very quickly. So that's the easy part of the riddle. The problem, however, was that nowhere within that sector was there a signboard containing that answer. Instead, there was this:

And a different signboard located a few shops away:

Which of these two signboards should be taken as the answer? Each one is only half correct, and we all know that there is no half-correct business. It's either wrong or correct. The first thing we did was to search the sector thoroughly to ensure that there's no Mars & Venus on a single signboard. Once that's ruled out, I told Vivian to write down both those business names, as it was obvious to me that the CoC had intended to combine both signboards to form a single answer to the question! Vivian appeared unconvinced and seemed to doubt my decision, but eventually she wrote the answer anyway. After all, she couldn't come up with anything better!

In the end, it was indeed the intention of the CoC to use both signboards. But my two strong rival teams did not know that this was possible, and therefore did not use both signboards. Using two different signboards to form one answer is a new thing for the local hunting scene; an idea which I myself had been planning to use in my future hunts. In that sense it is a novelty, but of course this had been done in the west. 

Although I haven't posted thorough discussions about hunt questions for a long time now, I have committed to contribute an article (with the consent of the relevant parties) for the next edition of the THS Tulip Newsletter, where I can give proper analysis that this question deserves. Therefore, I will spare my non-hunter readers from long and boring discussions here.

Well, in the end, Vivian and I won the hunt. The top 3 teams were like this:

Champions: Vivian Cham & Cornelius Koh (77/90)
Second: Alvin Wong & Audrey Chin (64/90)
Third: Bernard Liew & Christine Netto (56/90)

My legs were so tired, and my knee was killing me. But in the end, it was all well worth it! Special thanks to the CoC, VK Chong, for organizing an enjoyable hunt. A good blend of trickery and amusing twists including a singing baboon! I'm sure my fellow hunters in KK are looking forward to the next hunt already!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Borneo International Marathon 2013—Take 2

The Borneo International Marathon 2013 (BIM) was supposed to have been held on 05 May, but it was postponed to 25 August. A few months ago, I signed up for the Sundown Ultra Marathon in Singapore, and all along I've been preparing for that race. Since I've achieved my PB for a full marathon in Hong Kong earlier this year, I decided to use BIM as my LSD training run, and not for PB hunting. My running buddy, Dr Peter, who'll also be running the Sundown Ultra in mid September, agreed that we shouldn't race BIM. Instead, we would try to stretch the run as much as we can to reach a target workout time of 5 hours. Accordingly, I made the announcement of 5 hours marathon in our Kota Kinabalu Running Club, and invited some of our members to tag along on the race day.

A number of our members were running the full marathon for the first time this year, so you can imagine the excitement in the days prior to the event. Some of them were trying to achieve a sub-5hrs marathon, so they had planned to run with us. There were discussions on racing strategy, pacing, race attire etc.

Mia was also trying to achieve a PB. Her PB for a full marathon in several races so far was 5:50. It made no sense to me as her PB for half marathon stands at 2:30. On paper, she should be able to achieve 5:20-5:30. Her main problem has always been starting out too fast as most people do. For this race, however, because I was not in time to buy her a Garmin running watch, she had to rely on her Fenix, which isn't really a road running watch. But at least it could help to check her pace.

Anyway, we found ourselves at the Likas Stadium at about 2am last Sunday morning, and mingled around till the flag off a few minutes before 3am. As we passed the starting arch, I turned to Peter, saying that we've been flagged off about 5 minutes ahead of schedule. Peter replied thoughtfully, reminding me that actually we've been flagged off over three months late!

We duly made our way out to the road outside the stadium and then head for Tanjung Lipat. We started at a pace of 7:30mins, and then gradually eased to about 6:50mins when we hit the highway. A bunch of those who said that they'd tag along had already gone ahead as expected. As I've always been saying, running too fast at the beginning is almost everybody's weakness in a marathon.

It was a warm and humid morning, and I was rather concerned that the first water station was about 5km from the start. I'd imagine that some of the new runners in the 10km category would suffer a bit of thirst to reach that water station. Peter and I weren't really thirsty at that first water station, but we had a sip anyway. While we were at it, Boyd came passing by.

We started climbing up to Bulatan Nenas and then down to Jalan Tuaran. Shortly after we passed Sunny Garden, we caught up with Mohan. At that stage of the race, running at 6:53 average pace, it felt like we could run forever! Soon after that we were already approaching the Likas stadium once again, and making our way to the highway for the second time. However, this time we turned north, passing the bridge and then heading to the direction of UMS. 

I was fairly surprised to see Christy Kong, my team mate in treasure hunt, running ahead. She had started her race too fast, but at that point she seemed to be holding a steady pace. At the drink station in front of the Government offices, I took an energy gel in anticipation of the coming "hill challenge". About 10 mins later, we arrived at the famous UMS hill. The climb was perhaps 700m or 800m only, but we saw many people reduced to a walk. That was about 20km into the race, and we finally caught up with Lim Young Peing, Dr Din, Douglas, Theo and some others. One of these days, I'm sure they will learn not to start their race too fast.

It was then that I caught a glimpse of Jiki running from the other side, and Judy hot on her heels. But I told Peter that Jiki will beat Judy this year. Shortly later a long pleasant downhill slope on the other side. I was happy to arrive at the midway point in almost 2:30. We were still on target for a sub-5hour finish, but I didn't know how much longer I could keep my cool running that slow! Volunteers were distributing bananas and after I took one, we had to climb the hill again. Slow and steady up and up and up, and then all the way down again to the main road.

It wasn't long after we were back on the highway that we caught up with Bryan. He had said that he wanted to achieve a sub-5hour marathon, and I had told him to run with us. But somehow during the race, as usual all the pre-race plans would disappear; he started fast, and obviously he's gonna finish slow. We overtook him and then proceeded with our consistent pace towards the turning point near Indah Permai. Along the way, we saw Kevin, Ahmadul, Erwan. Then a little later, we saw Jiki. I had expected Judy to be close behind Jiki, but she was quite far behind. I knew then she was in trouble.

It was just about daylight when we reached the turning point, and on our way back, we met some of the familiar faces once again. I thought it was still possible for some of them to make the sub-5 target, but by then it was quite an uphill task. 

Here's Douglas on his way back from the final turning point.

I find it rather amusing to see his running style with both his hands dangling all the way down like that. It's an interesting style indeed!

Boyd was becoming slower, but was still able to offer a brave smile.

Jennifer did not want to waste the opportunity for a fantastic pose. So this was what she did upon seeing Tey approaching.

Jumat ran a cautious race, staying true to his game plan. But I don't think that's how he's supposed to carry that water bottle. I think he got that (wrong) idea from Audrey.

When we reached the traffic lights at UMS, we merged with the half marathon runners, although it was still not too crowded. We were approaching the Kingfisher roundabout when I realised that we were a bit too much ahead target. Accordingly, I told Peter that we might as well walk a little to waste a bit of time. So we walked, and then we ran, and when we reached the bridge we walked some more.

After crossing the bridge, we had a little over half an hour left for our 5-hour target. I said to Peter we should be able to make a sub-5 finish very comfortably, but just to be sure, why not we run a bit faster? So we ran an approximate 6 mins pace until we reach around Taman Awam. About 2.5km to go, and we had about 20 minutes left. We walked again to waste some time. Until Peter reminded me that none of our friends were following us anyway, so it's OK to finish a little faster. Well, we made our way back to the stadium and eventually finish in 4:52. I suppose that's close enough to our target. Of all the marathons I've run so far, this one is easily the most relaxed one of them all. Such a pleasant morning run!

A few minutes later, Jumat arrived at the finish line, obviously very happy to achieve 4:55 in his debut full marathon. But I'm still unimpressed with the way he carried his water bottle.

Unfortunately, the rest of them who had wanted to do the sub-5 failed by just a few minutes. Dr Izzuddin missed the 5-hour target by a mere minute or two, but it was still a PB for him.

Theo fought hard to the finish line, but missed the 5-hour mark by about 5 minutes.

One by one the rest arrived at the finish line, all too painfully close to the 5-hour mark! Georgina had time to arrange her hair, of course, for the photographers. If all else fail, the hair must be dealt with!
Bryan finished strong, but missed the 5-hour target by about 8 minutes.

Boyd finished in 5:10. It's so close to his sub-5 target.

I guess he will have to go back to the drawing board, because obviously his game plan didn't quite work out as he had hoped. See for yourself! (Click on photo to get a clearer view)

 Jennifer did it in a decent 5:14. By the way, I'm impressed with the fact that Jen and Georgina actually ran in uniforms!

Tony did it in 5:19, obviously in a lot of pain.

And then the biggest surprise of all. Mia arrived at the finish line in about 5:23, an improvement of almost half an hour from her previous PB; no cramps. So remember, folks, don't go all out at the start of your marathon!

Douglas arrived shortly after in 5:25, still with his hands dangling down.

In all this, I'm not forgetting my friend, Teo Chen Lung, who decided not to push himself in this race, opting instead to run the half marathon in style, accompanied by sexy legs, Claire. He put on an intimidating outfit as if he were in a modelling job, and then finished with a subdued smile. 

This was of course a complete U-turn of his trademark killer face which he demonstrated when he achieved his half marathon PB in Hong Kong earlier this year.

To me, the Borneo International Marathon had raised the bar a notch higher. A lot of improvements, and I like the new routes much more than the previous years. I'm confident that it can only get even better in the years to come!

* Photos courtesy of Tey Eng Tiong & Deo Runner

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Surviving Heart Attacks (The Story Continues)

On a peaceful evening a few weeks ago, while I was surfing the net at home, Mia dropped a bombshell—she said that she's bringing our 11-year-old daughter, JJ, to shop for bras. I almost fell off my chair; I didn't even realise that JJ had breasts. I mean, I've been waiting for over 20 years for mommy to grow a pair of breasts, and now JJ beat her to it? When did it happen, for heaven's sake!

I'm not sure how much longer my heart can take all these shocks. The last time I survived a heart attack was almost a year ago as reported here. Now if I'm not careful, my heart is bound to fail one of these days, and then that's it—this world would suffer that loss of a mischievous chap!

Yesterday morning, I went for my annual stress test at BP Lab. Because of the kind of sports I indulge in, I make it a habit to check my heart for signs of troubles, if any, but thankfully I always get a clean bill of health from the doctor so far.

But this morning, while I was busy playing online sudoku and Candy Crush Saga, Mia did her thing with updating me about JJ again. The way she stood at the doorway, I knew it was gonna be another heart attack report. I braced up for the news; I thought if I prepared myself for it, it wouldn't be such a big blow; whatever it is.

"JJ received a note from her classmate," she started. And I could already feel my heart racing. "I love you, Jamie...," she read it out to me. I almost collapsed to the ground in an epileptic fit, but I somehow managed to fight it off. I thought that was all that's written in the note. After picking up my jaw from the ground, Mia finished reading with: " you accept?"

For a moment, I wasn't sure if those last few words were actually a question directed to me. But after a split second, I realised that it was a question for JJ. Mia left the report hanging just like that, but I wasn't gonna ask what was JJ's answer to that question. I think I would have fainted with whatever answer she'd given.

I suspect it must have been the modern day diet that's causing some sort of hormonal imbalance in boys these days, thus resulting in the small head developing much faster than the big head. It gives me the creeps, but I'm willing to revise my plan a bit—I think I will allow JJ to start dating when she's 30, instead of 35. In any case, I will try to make sure the guy is not from Terengganu.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Extended Adieu

It is quite common that a contestant sings a particular song in a singing contest, and then when he eventually wins it, he gives a repeat performance—an encore, usually on popular request—of the same song at the end of the show.

If the performance is great and well-received, at the end of the show when the curtain falls, the performer sometimes reemerge on stage despite having said his goodbyes earlier. But repeat performances, as are many other things in life, will quickly become stale.

Such is the case of Datuk Lee Chong Wei, the badminton hero of Malaysia. He is the most decorated Olympian of Malaysia, and I'm convinced that it will probably take a long time before there is any other Malaysian who can measure up to his achievements. He had a wonderful run in the sport of badminton for so many years, and there is little doubt that he deserves to be within the category of a badminton legend. He has been, and still is, a class of his own.

The biggest tragedy, however, is that Lee is born in the era of Lin Dan, the giant of an opponent. On paper, Lee is the No. 1 badminton player of the world, but it takes a brave Malaysian to admit that in reality, Lin Dan is obviously a better badminton player. 

During their last encounter, Lee had to retire due to severe cramps. But he was trailing in that rubber set; and against a formidable opponent like Lin Dan, I didn't think the result of that game would be any different had Lee been able to continue playing anyway. Too many people have since spoken of a purported conspiracy in the switching off of the air-conditioner during that game, which eventually affected Lee's game negatively. Much have been said about people behind the scene who planned an evil strategy against Lee. I don't know if there is any truth in that theory. All I can say is that when looking at the record of encounters between these two badminton greats, it is clear that the results lean overwhelmingly in favour of Lin Dan. It is based on that that I say Lin Dan is obviously a better player.

In the sport of badminton, 30 years of age is considered "veteran", i.e. time for retirement from competitive games. Lee, of course, had collected way too many titles, but because of Lin Dan, the World and Olympic titles have been elusive. He's been trying for many years now, but always ended up playing second fiddle to Lin Dan. He planned for, and said his goodbyes, but being the fighter, he craves for the World and Olympic titles.

Despite all that's been said and publicized, I thought the London Olympic Games would be the last I'd see of Lee. I think it would have been still an admirable close to his career. And then the itch for the World title, since Lin Dan had apparently gone into retirement. I thought Lee would eventually get that elusive World title this year. Unfortunately, Lin Dan came back for that title too! 

Shortly after the Olympics, it was announced once again that Lee may want to give it another shot in the next Olympic! The goodbyes that never ends, and he is fast running out of time.

I'm proud of the good Datuk; he has done very well for Malaysia, but some things are not meant to be. I just wonder how much more can he extend his adieu.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Signature For A Cause

I was enjoying my dinner while engrossed in Level 350 of Candy Crush Saga this evening, when a woman walked up to me, seeking my signature for a petition document. I couldn't quite make out what she was saying, but I saw the word LYNAS on the piece of paper she was holding. I have of course heard of that word LYNAS many times before, but I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't have a sound knowledge of what it's really about. I just know that it's something that many people are convinced may be harmful in the long run, but I don't know the scientific explanation of it. I suspect that the majority of those who're against it don't really know why they're against it anyway. Someone said it's bad; and so it must be bad, the truth of it regardless!

Incidentally, just a week or two ago, I received a text message from a close friend, asking me to vote for a beauty pageant contestant from Sabah in the hope that she could win the contest eventually and then represent Malaysia. But, you see, as a matter of principle, a beauty pageant is about who is the most beautiful of 'em all. Well, OK, I suppose there's some credit for brains too. To vote for this Sabahan lass just because she's a Sabahan, or because she's a friend of a friend, isn't really about being beautiful or intelligent. What's more, I didn't even know who were the other contestants—apparently from west Malaysia—I would be voting against. If the other contestants were indeed more beautiful and intelligent than our Sabahan representative, is it fair that they lose because they failed to accumulate the highest number of votes?

I have in fact posted an article a few years ago when our Sipadan Island was nominated for "7 Wonders of Nature", as can be found here. Now this may be surprising to some of you, but I haven't been to Sipadan myself! I'm sure it's a beautiful island based on what I've heard from many people, but I did not see it with my own eyes. Moreover, I couldn't bring myself to vote for Sipadan against the other nominated places because what if those other places were more deserving of the title?

This reminds me of a time some years ago when I was walking the Gaya Street Fair one fine Sunday morning. There was a group of people conducting a signature drive to petition a court verdict that found someone guilty of the crime he was accused of. I saw many people signed the petition document because "a signature doesn't really cost anything anyway". But I did not sign. I'm thinking; I did not even know anything about that accused person; absolutely zero knowledge of the case, and for all I know he might have been guilty as charged! I couldn't bear the thought of freeing the accused, however remote that possibility was, on account of my signature which was foolishly given without knowing anything about the case.

Many people would readily sign petition documents or vote for a cause for the sake of making the numbers, but don't really know what they're signing or voting for. As you have probably guessed by now, I did not sign that petition document this evening. Not that I think my signature has a profound effect on the total number of signatures they're gonna get anyway. 

But the good news is that, after at least 50 tries, I finally conquered Level 350 of Candy Crush Saga! So those of you who've received a Candy Crush request from me, send me a ticket please!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Activity Report

Yesterday morning, Mia went to Tun Fuad Park at about 6am for her final long run prior to the Borneo International Marathon (BIM), but she gave up after wasting a long time trying to get a parking space. The  BIM is of course on next Sunday, having been postponed from the first weekend of May. It's a strange reality, but many people had just realised that the race is next week, and then suddenly were inspired to run this week in the hope of achieving a major breakthrough during the race.

Yesterday evening, Judy texted me to post a run for this morning on KKRC facebook page. But I told her there's no need, as I was sure that many people will run anyway. As I had expected, there was a big crowd of runners this morning for the so-called final long run prior to the race. I ran with Lim starting at about 5am since we're running 21km. Most of the rest ran short distances. My legs were still very tired from yesterday's cycling, but after a while, it felt not too bad. We decided not to do the UMS loop today, opting to turn at Orange at Sulaman instead.

On our return leg, just as we were approaching 1Borneo, we saw Sarah on the other side of the road. We overtook a few other runners within the last few kilometres of the run. It was a surprisingly hot morning. When we finally finished the run, there were many familiar faces at the car park.

Of course everyone was all out to outdo each other with their bombastic stretching routines. John was there again with his favourite stretch.

But let me say to my readers that this stunt is not for the faint-hearted; please don't to try this at home.

Then, Jiki, not to be outdone by John, did her favourite "lipat kaki" stretching thing, assisted by her sister, Marilyn, as usual.

But that's not the only routine; she did other styles too!

Marilyn would normally stretch after her runs too, but I don't like her routines very much. I mean, they're all very common stuff, you see. Besides, there's no clear shots of her. It doesn't really matter, of course, as their parents were really good at what they did, so these sisters obviously look like they came from the same oven. But I searched the net anyway in my hope to let my readers have a better idea what Marilyn looks like in person, and the best that I've found is this one, which I reckon what she'd look like while taking a bath.

I was just chit-chatting with the other runners, when I suddenly realised that Jiki was walking around with an intimidating plastic knife. I thought she wanted to expand on her idea of that murderous stretching routine of hers by stabbing somebody with that knife. It was quite a frightful experience seeing her like that. Little did I know, actually they had a surprise birthday party for Alice. Just as Alice arrived, everyone started singing Happy Birthday, and John was the most enthusiastic singer of 'em all. They had a cake ready too! And then they continued a second time with the Happy Birthday song for Peter whose birthday also falls on the same day.

These are the happy faces who're now 18 years plus, obviously still very young. Just don't ask about that plus. For a moment, everyone seemed to forget about the morning run and BIM. The birthday party was the main focus. 

I don't know if they will expand the idea for future birthdays to include life band or some sort of fancy stretching demonstrations by our very own special guest stars John and Jiki. Gives me the creeps just thinking about it!

Well, folks, the countdown has begun; one week to the Borneo International Marathon. Here's to breaking new records and new frontiers!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Customer Loyalty & Its Big Reward

There are so many people out there who're active in the food supplements "direct-selling" business. If one were to consider the supposedly good points in each product, he is apt to end up buying all those products—there is in fact no need to have a regular meal—might as well consume the food supplements as the regular meals, and treat the regular meals as the supplements! Therefore, I don't normally buy "food supplements". 

However, because of my active lifestyle, I do consume some vitamins which I'm convinced may be beneficial for my body. For example, I take glucosamine and B-complex. I'm not sure if they're really of much use to my body, but I don't mind to consume them on a daily basis.

Anyway, this post is not really about food supplements; certainly, I have no intention to promote anything here in this post. I just want to share a little bit about customer loyalty and its big reward. 

You see, I've been a loyal customer of Abbott for some years now. Never mind which product and why I've been consuming it. I usually buy the product from a pharmacy near my office. And each time I buy the product, I'd fill up a form with my name, address etc. Apparently, I get to earn some sort of points from each purchase, and that can accumulate over time. When I've accumulated enough points, then I'm entitled to get a "free" product from the company.

Well, I've never really hoped for any reward for being a loyal customer, but then again if I can get something out of those so-called accumulated points, why not?

Today a big parcel arrived through a courier service at my office. Gave me quite a surprise it did. It was from Abbott. Some of the office folks were fairly excited just looking at the size of the box. 

Curiosity mounted, everyone was eager to know what's the content. Quite honestly, I was curious too. Usually, I would open deliveries such as this at home. But today, I couldn't contain my excitement—I just had to open the box there and then.

I went to the room where we keep all the site plans and started opening the box, all the time wondering what has gotten into those folks at Abbott. I mean, have they all gone crazy and suddenly became so generous?

Opening the top, there were clear plastic bags filled with air in them; I mean, seriously, just air. I then worked my way through those plastic bags, removing them one by one, until the box was almost empty.

But as I was taking out the plastic one by one, it began to strike me that this might be a hoax! And then the anti-climax—voila! right there at the bottom of that huge box, was one small box of the "free" product!

The feeling was akin to what Christopher Columbus must have felt when he found the New World after a long and dangerous journey across the Atlantic Ocean. But after several hours turning the matter in my mind, I still can't figure out what's the idea with that monster of a box to contain that small product. I'm really curious to know what's the explanation for that!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Sunday Workout

We have a group of runners on facebook—comprising mainly KK folks—who'd run together on Saturdays or Sundays; and as one of the Admins of that group, I have the habit of posting a summarized Activity Report on Sundays. The reports are mainly focused on our weekend activities, since we hardly ever organised any during the weekdays as a group.

However, this lately, my so-called "summarized" reports are becoming increasingly longer as I've been having a bit of trouble controlling myself from giving too much info in my reports. Besides, I sometimes would like to throw in some photos in between the paragraphs to complement my reports, but for the life of me, I just don't know how to do it through facebook! You see, I'm one of those creatures who are too lazy to learn new stuff unless if I'm really forced to! That is why I've decided to post this week's report here—since I'm a little more well-versed with my own blog—and then I will provide a link from that facebook account to this blog. I hope this is not too complicated for the members.

So here goes nothing!

I've been doing quite some long workouts over the past few weekends as my preparation for the Sundown Ultra in Singapore, so it was quite a relief that this morning we only ran a mild 21km. When I arrived at the Likas Sports Complex at 5am, I was quite surprised to see a big crowd. And not to forget that there were other smaller groups which had started even earlier than 5am.

Although we started at the same time, the front pack quickly left some of us behind, and we lost sight of them within a few minutes. Peter and I kept a steady 7 mins' pace, and some of the ladies were tagging along behind us. It was a mainly pleasant run and it felt like we could continue running that pace forever!

Upon reaching the Shell station, however, Marilyn and Ndutt (why.... oh why she had to choose that nickname of all the names out there in the world?), crossed the road. The rest of us continued running. It was just about daylight as we were entering UMS. We reckoned that it's already quite safe for the ladies then; so Peter and I decided to run a tad faster. Up the hill we went (though thankfully not to fetch a pail of water) and then the familiar long downhill after that. One big loop before climbing the hill from the other side.

We saw several other runners on our way back. But we stopped at the Shell station for hydration. Now just to be very sure that you won't get the wrong idea, we run on sports drinks, not petrol or diesel. We bought out drinks inside the convenient store, not filled up at the pumps like all those motor vehicles. Some people may get it wrong because of the mention of Shell station, you see.

It was a beautiful morning. KK has the potential to be hot as early as 7am, but today the sky was cloudy; so much so, Peter and I had to run a little faster those last few kilometres to get a decent workout. It must have been about half an hour later when we arrived back at the sports complex. Most of them had long finished their runs. One by one the rest arrived. And then Tau Sama Tau arrived in his car from who knows where, having run over 30km earlier. He had in his car a coolbox filled with much welcomed drinks.

As usual, we mingled around, chatting about running in general. I had the opportunity to share the little that I know about heart rate monitors.

It's nice to see Sarah Burns back to running again after several weeks' break due to a knee injury. She was all smiles after her run.

And as you've probably noticed, Marilyn and Jiki was up to their weird stretching routine in the background, which looked a lot like a murder was in progress. Here's a better view; see for yourself.

I'm not sure where these people got the ideas for all these fancy stretching rituals, but in this particular case, perhaps Jiki was just trying to outdo John Chin's obscene stretching routine?

Well, the fasting month will be over by next weekend, and incidentally it would be about 2 weeks to the Borneo International Marathon. Some of us will be running the "peak" long run then (but some ran it this morning). I'm guessing perhaps we will be seeing a bigger crowd next Sunday, all eager to burn off the Raya calories!