Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cake Balls

Once upon a time, a long long ago A few months ago, I was extremely fascinated with cake pops. I'd browse through websites and blogs online, and my eyes would shine excitedly as I devoured endless colourful pictures of cake pops.

Bakerella was known to made them super duper popular since 2008 (correct me if I'm wrong) and have you seen them?? They're just crazy awesome!!

You mean, you don't know what they are?

Here's a screen shot:

Cake pops are basically bite-sized cakes on lollipop sticks!

They are so so so so insanely cute!

And with all the hard work, you can expect them to cost a bomb. :)

So I went around, looking for lollipop sticks to buy. And I couldn't find them anywhere. (I later found out from my colleague that I wasn't looking hard enough!)

I even contemplated using toothpicks or satay skewers. *chuckles*

Truth to be told, my attempt to bake cake balls was purely accidental. It was in no way planned.

After our Batu Dam Trail run that morning, I firmly insisted with YB that we had to spend the afternoon at home because I wanted to bake.

The problem was, I ended up baking a really dry brownie which I didn't know what to do with it. (I used some cake version of a brownie recipe because I couldn't find the one Lynn had shared with me earlier.)

I don't like cake-like brownies. Bleh.
Chucking it out was the first thing that came into my head.

Then I thought perhaps some icing would make it better.

It was peanut butter icing.

But nope, it didn't work. It didn't make it any better nor tastier.
What a waste of good peanut butter! :(

I cracked my head, contemplating the alternatives to chucking it out.

It was only 30 minutes later I decided to turn them into cake balls.

A cake ball or cake pop recipes starts off with a basic cake recipe.
And then you mash it into pieces.

(A waste of cake, if you asked me. Sniff.)

Chuck in the cream cheese, sugar and butter (I can't remember which recipe I referred to but it could be this one here), and mix them nicely until you can shape them into balls.

Please don't say they look like edible poop balls...

Well, they do look like poop, especially when I had used chunky peanut butter for the icing. Haha! See the bits of peanuts?

In our Malaysian humidity, I found it hard to make sure the balls stay in shape. I left the balls in the fridge for a while before baking them. Every now and then I'd pop the tray of balls back into the fridge, and in between batches. I had to!

Generally most people would coat cake balls or pops with melted chocolate but I was't willing to waste more chocolate.

Used some decorative rice instead. :D

Now they just look like decorative poop balls. :D

YB and I found them rather sweet.

Next alternative was crushed nuts.

I pounded some roasted almonds and peanuts. I'd roll the balls into some chocolate before coating the balls with nuts.

It was a messy procedure.

I was rather impatient and made the balls pretty large, hoping I would finish up the 'dough' as soon as possible.

The balls turned out to be huge, which required 4 dainty bites to gobble it all up.

Despite the size, they turned out to be good!
I brought some to work the and a few of colleagues enjoyed them. They loved the nutty taste!

Will I ever make them again?
Not in the near future.

I made only 10 12 or 14 balls and I threw the rest away.

Cake pops was previously featured in The Star newspaper in June 2011. There was also an offer available on the Groupon Malaysia's website.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12

September 2012.

So I bought myself a pair of Women's Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12 to replace my worn out GTS 11. It was a bit of a rush purchase but I needed a pair soonest possible, as at that time, I was unsure whether the Skechers GORun Ride would be the One for Race Day.

I honestly believed that they were closely similar to the GTS 11, as there were no adverse reviews.

Honestly, I think I may have to break into them as soon as possible or I'm going to be stuck with them for good.

I wasn't too sure whether the GORun Ride was too deliciously comfortable for me (in terms of cushioning) and had somewhat altered the way I run or there is something just different about the GTS 12.

I've worn the GTS 12 for 2 runs now and I've come to realise that the forefoot padding is somewhat stiffer than the GTS 11. Just a few 100metres into my run and I instantly felt that the sole was very flat and hard. My forefoot sole wasn't too comfortable with it.

I also then realised that my calves would begin to tire after halfway through the run.

Hmmm, surely I hadn't changed into a forefoot runner, thus the aching calves?


I guess it took a while to break into them.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12.

I was hoping I could try out the Ghost 5 instead of getting the GTS 12 but after some deliberation (an hour in the store!) I decided to play it safe and stuck to the GTS.

Not much of a difference between the GTS 11 and the GTS 12, though the latter looks a wee bit chunkier.

My first reaction to the GTS 12 can be summarised as follows:

1. What's with the metallic shiny bling bling colour?? Ack!!! Is there a pastel colour I could get instead?
2. It's heavy!
3. It feels the same as the GTS 11. Phew!

The upper has been improved to make it more breathable yet with extra moisture wicking. The silver mesh underlay gives it an updated look.

The tongue seemed more plumped up and more cushy than the GTS 11.
Or it could by imagination.

Only available in Medium (B), or I'd go for the Wide (D).

Chunky heels are usually seen in support shoes, where the heel cradle has to be secure enough to cushion your landing impact.

Love the cute mini Brooks logo on the toe front!

The GTS 12 has diagonal grooves in the forefoot which the GTS 11 lacks.

The diagonal grooves help to increase forefoot flexibility upon landing. With Flextra, it provides excellent traction when running on wet and slippery surfaces.

The caterpillar crash pad helps to create a smooth heel to toe transition for a natural stride.
Resilient stuff.

The award winning BioMoGo sole, which is made of non-toxic material and has unique dampening properties. They biodegrade faster!

The Brooks' DNA responds to the amount of force placed on the foot and disperse the pressure for an ideal amount of resiliency.

When I first put them on for a few times, I was unaccustomed to the weight of the shoes. Yet the upper mesh overlay and laces kept my feet snugly in place and it definitely felt much more breathable than the earlier models.

The immediate difference, besides the weight, was definitely the 'hardness' of the sole. My forefoot somehow was more sensitive to feeling the hard ground as I pounded on the roads.

When running at an easy pace, there was a lack of responsiveness which made me think I was very sluggish. It forced my legs to pump harder in order to make it a smoother ride.

However when I pushed faster, I am oblivious to all the issues above and the ride proves to be a much better one. You'll forget the shoes because they are so comfortable!

My only minor grievances are:
1. The tongue needs to be slimmer, like the ones on the Pure Project shoes. The cushioned tongue reminds me of the days of Nike Air for basketball. :D
2. The weight of the shoes. (The shoes weigh about 260 grams each.)
3. The white/viola colours isn't my thing. 

Well, they are really trivial issues, I know. :)

Nevertheless, the GTS 12 is my "reliable pair" which I have no hesitations to grab and go off for a last minute run.

The comfort and resilience remains the same as the GTS 10 and 11 I had previously worn so religiously.

The sockliner is removable if you want less padding.

And hey, they match my nuumuu! :)

Other reviews:
Running Shoes Guru

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Who's Your Running Role Model?

I was reading an article in the November 2011 issue of UK's Runners World the other day and the above question made me smile.

Have you ever given thought to such a question before? If I asked you right now, who would it be?

Kara Goucher, Usain Bolt, Meb Keflezighi, Geoffrey Mutai, Paula Radcliffe, Marion Jones, Carl Lewis, Scott Jurek, Kilian Jornet, Marco de Gasperi, Anna Frost ...?

We probably spend a lot of time envisaging ourselves running alongside these people, perhaps forgetting what it took/takes for them to get there. Blood and sweat, people. And tears.

The term 'role model' is defined as a person or individual who is looked by others as an example to imitate. We can always hope to emulate their discipline and focus, their commitment, their desire to be the best that they can be and their willingness and dedication to put in the efforts to achieve their dreams.


If you think about it, you really need not look very far for role models in running. In fact, they don't even need to be podium finishers or somebody famous.

Look at that guy I see every morning. He walks his son to school and then runs around the neighbourhood before heading home to prepare for work.
Or that couple.
That lady.
That boy.

I see them on the road all the time when I'm driving to work and I get jealous that they're out there running while I'm rushing off to work. Lucky people!

In actual fact, it is the qualities in them that aspire you to be like them - the dedication, the commitment, the discipline, the anything.

Who is my running role model?

The mother, the career woman, the wife - all three in one. As much as they love their job and family, they love running as well and are often forced to squeeze in their runs before the morning begins, before the night ends or during tuition hours. Any available time they have.

They have to juggle each commitment as much as possible and I feel exhausted just thinking about the boundless energy they need to have. They wake up at 5am before the kids and husband wakes up, before preparing their breakfast and dropping the kids off at school. Time is precious, and they have to manage it well.

Their dedication is amazing. And I guess it's the same level of commitment and focus that one needs to have in achieving one's desires, whatever they may be - to lose weight, to run faster, etc.

Karen Loh, a mother to 2 adorable boys, who is an ultra marathoner with a million friends. :) I aspire to be like her when I grow up - a fit mom!
In the white cap is Madam SH Tan, Yin Yin's running mom. :)

It is the qualities in a runner which shape him/her to be someone's role model.

Do you remember this aunty I told you about in my Mizuno Wave Run report? She doesn't know me but I know of her, no thanks to Jeff for pointing her out ever since we started running in 2009!

Aunty (her name is Madam Lum PY, by the way) runs 10km in an hour. She has been consistently doing so for the past few years. She's just AMAZING in my eyes.

She is my idol and inspiration ever since I started running. All I wanted then was to be as fast as her. (You read the race report above and you'll know how I probably petrified her to bits.)

Whenever I am down and gutted with a shitty race, the husband would gently remind me of Madam Lum's advice.

"Oi! Remember what the aunty said to you?" YB would nudge me.
"She told you to keep running and you will GET THERE somehow, remember?"

I'd nod glumly, still annoyed with my performance.

Someone once said that one day she hoped to be as fast as I, which actually took me by surprise. Never had I imagined someone would aspire to be er, like the runner in me.

Another friend said he picked up running again because of me.

An ex-schoolmate once said that she used to envy us athletes in high school who were always running and representing our fractions/school. She is probably now one of the top marathoners back in Kota Kinabalu, mind you.

She's definitely a much faster runner now than I am.

Hence, it doesn't matter how fast a runner you are, but you are an inspiration and motivation, a role model to someone out there. 

You just don't know it yet.

Whatever your reasons are for running, just keep running

p.s. Madam Lum clocked 59:xx for 10km in Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2012 and 49:57 for 10km in Seremban Half Marathon 2012. [see The Star.]



Saturday, November 17, 2012

Riding The Rapids

Don't get me wrong, I am NOT an adrenaline junkie. I don't do crazy stuff and I have always rated white water rafting as one of the crazy things I would NOT to do.

The husband (then boyfriend) has always wanted to shoot the rapids at Padas River in my lovely hometown, Kota Kinabalu. He has been asking me for YEARS to do it but somehow, I have always managed to dodge it with a billion excuses.

"I can't swimmmm," I'd screech.
"We don't have the time! Our trips to KK are usually very short!"
"No time, no time! We've got a lot of things to do!"

I had always hoped that he would find a friend to accompany him but regardless, it was his strict orders that I was to join them on their excursion as well. I wouldn't be a proper Sabahan if I didn't experience the Padas rapids. *grumble*

With a lot of apprehension despite Joanne telling me that it's OK even if I couldn't swim to save me chubby life, the day finally arrived and I couldn't escape it no more.

Monday, 7th November 2011.

We met outside Riverbug's office at 545am for the pick up. But we were late and they had already driven off. Thank goodness we managed to call up the manager who called the driver to return to pick us up.

The van brought us to Beaufort train station to catch the old locomotive train at 750am. The old locomotive was used in the last 19th century in Borneo.

It was nice and red, definitely retro!

It was a long ride and it was fun during the first 15minutes of the journey but after a while, we were tired.

We picked the cargo carriage to ride in. We stood at the entrance, feeling the wind gently caressing us while watching the scenery as the train rumbled by greens, the river and small villages.

We eventually sat on the floor after a while. No way were we going to stand for 2-3 hours!

We finally arrived at Rayoh Station to change into our swimsuit, tshirt and shorts and sandals before getting back onto the train to the starting point at Pangi Station.

This time, we grabbed a place to sit. Our delicate derriere(s) needed some cushion!

Upon arriving at the starting point, participants were divided into groups/rafts and we were briefed on what to do and what not to do.

Our raft consisted of one big gwailo called Stephen (whom I later learned was from England), a Chinese couple (from Hong Kong), YB, Foo and myself. YB and Stephen were made to sit in front, while the girl and I were seated in the middle, her partner and Foo behind.

There were a total of 4 rafts in our group. 
I was getting edgy, silently freaking out as we slowly headed into the river.

I'm not a big fan of water sports.
I have a fear of drowning. *touch wood*

Unfortunately for me, the excursion by raft covers 9km of the muddy Padas River which should take almost 1.5hours or so.

(pic source from ITravelKaki)

Certain sections of the river has a different name for its rapids. If you think Scooby Doo was a delight, you're wrong.

The first person to fall out of the raft was YB. Stephen grabbed hold of him and I think I may have freaked out at that point.

At least there was one casualty. Nobody can say ours was a boring raft. :D

We paddled hard whenever required, and cruised at gentler rapids. There were instances when we would almost tip over, but somehow we managed to stay on board. I did advise everyone that should we lose grip of our seats at the sides of the raft, don't roll out of the raft but roll in instead. That way, we need not rescue anyone.

True to that, everyone would fall in each time we overcame a rapid!

Each time we went over huge waves, I'd tense and grip my paddle and the side of the raft as tight as possible.

Closed my eyes, too!
I didn't want the river water to irritate my eyes as I was wearing contacts. 

The other girl was equally terrified as I was, but I think she was even more so. Her knuckles were white from gripping her paddle tight as if her life depended on it.

We arrived at the body rafting area where our lead guy (forgot whatshisname!) told us that if anyone wanted jump in to body raft, now was the time.

Stephen jumped in, followed by YB. Foo and I looked at each other and contemplated, "Should we??"

Foo then jumped in.

I got up and was about to jump in when the guy seated at the back (who manouvres us over and through rapids) shook his head at me.

"Lelaki sahaja," he advised. ("Men only.")


YB was gesturing me to hurry up and get into the water. I looked at him, and I looked at the guy.

The guy then grinned evilly and shrugged.
"Terpulang kepada kamu lah." ("Up to you then.")

I should have known there was something he wasn't telling me.

I jumped in and just before I could reach YB, the rapids took everyone away.

I found myself spinning and facing backwards, with my back facing the front. I tried to manouvre myself to body raft properly but struggled against the current.

The current pulled me down a couple of times and I gulped down some disgusting water. The minute I surfaced, waves would come crashing over me.

I hung on to my life jacket tightly, and tried to stay afloat.

It felt like a life long struggle in the waters. I tried not to panic, but instead, kept trying to surface while clinging to my life jacket. The life jacket was too big for me and I was afraid it would slip out and over my head.

Then the water was calm again. I could breathe again.

What seemed like forever was in probable fact just 3-5 minutes.

I screamed in frustration.

The raft came by to pick me up and I saw the guy laughing at me.
I was not amused.

But at least he thought I was brave. :D

The other 3 rafts cruised by with its passengers all intact.

It seemed like we were the only 4 people who opted to body raft. Everyone else was b-o-r-i-n-g. Hah!

The ride then continued on over the Washing Machine, Merry Go Round and something else. We were again allowed to body raft to the end point.

Without hesitation, the 4 of us jumped in again. This time, a few guys from the other rafts followed suit.

Some of them even had their swimming goggles on.

Eh, I think that's clever.

Finally, back on dry land.

No more crazy scary activities, please!

Back at Rayoh Station, we were invited to a small buffet for lunch. Everyone dug in, clearly hungry from the excursion.

Foo, the Pied Piper and the gang of black dogs.

The people of Riverbug are very enterprising. They had 2 photographers stationed at two different spots along the river to capture our photographs.

We were eager to purchase at least ONE picture for keepsake, but we were informed that no, you had to purchase the entire dvd of photos (of your raft) for RM100. Or was it RM120?

We mulled over the idea of forking out that much money.

Stephen and us agreed that perhaps we could share out the cost.

Waiting for the train to bring is to Pagoh Station to catch the locomotive back to Beaufort. We were knackered!

The train was hot and humid, with poor ventilation. Despite the heat, we dozed off in the train.

We arrived back in KK about 4-5pm and proceeded to Riverbug's office to settle the bill.

That's when YB and I realised we were in such a hurry that morning that we forgot to bring enough money.

Oh gawd.

Foo had to drive out to find the nearest available friend he could borrow money from in order to settle the bill for us first.

My adventures with my husband never fails to include some hilarity of some kind.
It's a good thing we could rely on Foo to help us out.

And here are just 3 photos I selected for your viewing pleasure.

For the excursion, we were charged about RM200 per person which I thought was rather steep. I'm not sure if you are able to get anything cheaper than that, but I hope so!

We were lucky that we managed to make a last minute decision (the day before) to make our bookings. Maybe it wasn't peak period.

Anyhow, now that this is out of the way, can we go and climb Mt Kinabalu via ferrata please?

Other write ups:
Borneo  Trekker
Fondue Of Life

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2011

This was a year ago and well, Ms Procrastinator here has not yet published her race report!

But do not fret. I have it handwritten in my notebook and so, this report is not a figment of my failed imagination. :)

Pre-race worries

I must have caught a chill right after last week's Mou Man Tai 2.0 run (on 13th November 2011) because since then, my flu worsened and my nose severely blocked.

It was so frustrating - I hadn't run since MMT and come Friday (18th November 2011), I could no longer taste my food.

Nevertheless, I followed the gang up to Penang, stopping by Ipoh for breakfast. The parents-in-law met with us and everyone chatted with them so easily. 

My favourite eating place is at the 'Big Tree Leg' in Pasir Pinji. 
But I couldn't taste my food!

We then set off to Bukit Tambun, Penang for a seafood lunch. I didn't think we could still eat but we tried, anyway.

Say cheese, everyone! :)

Joanne and Leong joined us for tea when we arrived in Penang. Off we went to Lorong Selamat for char kuey teow and then to Penang Road for cendol.

Was it good?
I don't know.
I couldn' taste my food at all, remember?

Race Day - Sunday, 20th November 2011

YB's car wouldn't start that morning! *panic*

We eventually hopped into Alicia's car as the five of us (Captain, YB, Lynn, Paul and I) were doing the half marathon, while Geoff and Mien Yee were running the 10km later on.

 With Lynn before the women's start. (pic is courtesy of Alicia/Paul)

YB and YK rushed off for the men's start which was 5mins earlier than scheduled. Paul was nowhere to be seen and we found later that he was in the loo!

Likewise, the women's start was 5mins earlier than scheduled.


I was feeling pretty good up to 3km. I wanted to quit thereafter.

I berated myself for running in this condition (blocked nose and feeling a tad bit chilly), "Why the HECK did you start the run, knowing that your body isn't up to it?"

I forced myself to continue on, stopping every now and then. It was a walk-run-walk-run situation.

They ran out of water at the 2nd water station. I wanted to curl up on the ground and howl like a banshee. My lips were dry from breathing through my mouth, so I was desperate for water.

But I continued on, running along the side of the bridge, hoping to come across half-filled bottles of mineral water that were left behind by the earlier runners. I was desperate!

I met up with Fred and we both trudged on to the 3rd water station, crossing our fingers that there would be water.

And this time, I wasn't taking chances, I grabbed a bottle to run with.

I started to feel chilly on the bridge and I had nowhere to seek shelter from the sea breeze. No big sized men I could run behind either.

I remember a drum performance which I thought was quite cool.

I caught up with Lynn after the u-turn (I lost sight of her after the gun off) and we exchanged a few sentences before I left her. She told me she was trying to catch up with an aunty up ahead, and honestly I didn't know which aunty she was referring to. 

Run, walk, run walk.

As I approached the 2nd u-turn, I told myself that I'd better make sure I completed the run below 2:30. Treat it like an LSD, I cajoled myself. I need the mileage before the marathon in December.

But no, I seriously felt like shites and I thought there was no way I could push myself towards the finish line in a decent time. Arrrrggggghhhh.

Seeing Eastin Hotel from a distance was a huge relief.

Kept on going until I crossed the finish line at about 2:24. (My first reaction was, "WTF, so lousy!")

Alicia was there, looking out for us and the boys. I told her I didn't see any of the boys, not even Paul, who should have finished ahead of me.

We found out later that Paul had a really bad nature call and was in the bushes for a while. :D

With two hours to kill before Geoff and Mien Yee completed their 10km event, we sat around with the cold breeze tickling our skin.

We were getting hungry, too.

Captain takes a nap. (pic is courtesy of YB Wong)

Bumped into Seng Chor and Chae Yin, too. Oh hey, nice legs I have there. :D
(pic is courtesy of Alicia/Paul.)

Finally the skies began to lighten up and the morning was about to get warmer. We headed on to the finish line to wait for Geoff and Mien Yee.

 The lovebirds.

 All done! (pic is courtesy of YB Wong)

With everyone too tired to do think of anything else, we ended up having breakfast at the hotel.

My total average pace was 6:35 min/km. :(


1. As the event is very crowded, you should at least sign up for the half marathon so you can be there earlier to find a parking spot. We stayed in town, as the nearby hotels were fully booked or beyond our budget.

2. Bring a change of clothes for after your run as the air can get very chilly. You don't want to catch a cold in your sweaty clothes.

3. Don't get angry at the volunteers as they are doing the best that they can. Instead, give them a smile and thank them.

Question: Would I run this again?
Answer: No. The start time is too weird to begin with (3am thereabouts), making it a bit difficult to sleep and rest well the night before. 

Question: Why did I run despite being unwell?
Answer: I am stubborn. 

I didn't want to regret not running on the bridge (or part thereof) and make myself come back for it the following year. I also needed my mileage in preparation for my Fubon Taipei Marathon.

I also remember what my dad said to me back in 2008 when I was at Laban Rata. The organiser of the Mt Kinabalu charity climb advised me not to climb up to the summit as I was just recovering from a bad cough. My mum (who was there too. She made it to Laban Rata!!) urged me to heed his advice. He said that I could catch pneumonia if I wasn't careful.

During difficult times as above, I called my dad for advice. 

He just said, "No one else knows your body except yourself. If you think you're strong enough to do it, just do it. Don't listen to them."

And so I ran the PBIM 2011. It may not have been my best race, but at least my muscles had their workout.

The hubby also knows me too well not to talk me out of running the race. Everyone else tried to but too bad for them, I refused to listen.

But I apologise to my friends and in-laws for lying to them when I said I wouldn't run in my condition.

AND, boys and girls, please don't be stubborn like me.

Enjoy PBIM 2012!