Friday, May 31, 2013

Champions in Chiang Mai - Part 2

Friday, 19th April 2013.

I think the highlight of this trip was our trip to Maetang Elephant Park. My roommate had told me that she had previously ridden on an elephant with her daughters in ... Hatyai or some place else in Thailand so this time, she won't go on the elephant rides again.

Spotted an elephant at work whilst on our way to the elephant park.

The first and only time I rode on an elephant was in Zoo Negara when I was probably 10 years old.

Es was supposed to partner me (each elephant takes a couple) but somehow there was a confusion later on and I ended up going with Amran.

Everyone was so excited!

The elephants were 'free' to roam on their own with their mahouts riding on their back.

(I must confess that I couldn't look the elephants in the eyes because they looked a bit sad. :S)

Taking a bath at the stream.

We were in time for a show and it was so crowded. I was hoping it would not be a boring show, and I was pleasantly surprised. Everyone enjoyed the show!

Four elephants demonstrated their painting skills to us and WE WERE SO AWED!

It was amazing! They are better artists than I would ever be!

Suda was the best painter among them all and you can purchase her paintings for RM100 each.

After the show we went on an ox cart ride. The fee we paid for the elephant ride included an ox cart ride as well.

Along the way, we chatted about how we couldn't imagine our forefathers riding on  bullock cart for days to get from Point A to Point B. Gosh, it was slowwwww.

Riding on an elephant and gripping hard on the bar to stabilise yourself was fun, but my butt would clench every now and then, tensing as I adjusted my butt-hold on to the slippery PVC seat. I had to make sure that I didn't slip off or unintentionally fall into Azman's lap!

Azman took a video of our ride and plenty of nice photos, of which I have yet to obtain from him.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Champions in Chiang Mai - Part 1

Thursday, 18th April 2013.
I had to reach the main entrance of my company's headquarters by 2.45am for the bus to take my colleagues and I to LCCT. About 40 of us were flying off to Chiang Mai, Thailand for the weekend, courtesy of the company.

FREE TRIP, woohoo!!!

Each year, the company treats the winners of any sports event to a free trip. I, by virtue of being part of the Champions' team for last year's KL Rat Race, managed to get on this so-called "Champions Trip" this year. Hah! First and only time, if I may say.

Aerial view of Chiang Mai and the Ping River.

I only knew my 3 teammates from last year's KL Rat Race. Most of the colleagues were either from badminton, darts, tennis, bowling and ... well, the rest of the colleagues from futsal, football, etc were traveling in the 2nd batch which arrived on Saturday (20th April 2013), the day before we left.

A view of the canal from the bus.

Chiang Mai previously had a moat and walls surrounding its city to prevent attacks from Burma and armies of the Mongol Empire. (So says Wikipedia!)

Upon arriving in Chiang Mai, our first stop was the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Situated 15KM away from the city, it is a popular destination for tourists.
"Ommm", says the dog at the cable car station.

We had an option of walking up the stairs or take the cable (car) ride up to the temple. Thankfully, our guide paid for our fare and we could take the ride up. It was too hot to walk up the stairs, no thank you!

Queuing up for the ride up. I would call it the elevator, actually.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Skechers GObionic Ride - Initial Review

With hints of pastel pink and coral blue, this pair of Women's Skechers GObionic Ride just screamed "girly" to me.  

If pink is enough to throw me into an excited frenzy, imagine what pastel pink can do to me! *hops around with glee*

Hello there, my pair of lovelies!

Like its predecessor the GObionic, the GObionic Ride (hereafter fondly referred to as "GBR") retains its ultra lightweight synthetic and mesh fabric upper. The upper wraps around your feet with breathable material and keeps your movement flexible.

With a 4mm heel drop for a minimal heel lift.

The GBR has a 4mm heel drop which does not compromise the natural position of the feet to remain low to the ground. 

18 articulated Bio-Responsive cushioning zones.

The sole looks almost similar except for a rearrangement of  its rubber traction pads. You will note the missing piece at the arch area.

S for Skechers, not Superman. :)

The toe box also remains extremely roomy, providing a natural splay of the feet. Flat footed people like me will not to worry about the lack of toe space.

An option to go for a 'barefoot' feel is to remove the sockliners.

Should you prefer to go for a more 'barefoot' feeling, you still have the option to remove the Ortholite anti-microbial sockliners. I am however, still conservative and prefer my sockliners in place. :)

Key differences between GObionic Ride and GObionic

Saturday, May 18, 2013

GCAM Group Run - Training Towards The Marathon

Today's run was 20KM and was supposed to start at 6.15am but I was late. My bad!

I couldn't find some of the things I needed (anti-chafe cream and band aid) which I eventually had to forgo.

The route was the usual route from Padang Merbok to the Petronas station in Desa Sri Hartamas for a quick breather before returning to Padang Merbok.

Our hero for the day was Nick, who abandoned us right after the break. At first, we could still see him in the horizon, but we soon lost sight of him. Not sure if it was the sun shining into our eyes and he disappeared witin a blink of an eye, or the spirit of Meb was with him! :D

He must have waited a loooooong time for the rest of us to return.

I bet he will be writing about how fast he went today any time soon. *cough cough*

A nice group picture after a run is always necessary. A big grin or a smile is compulsory.

What's even more necessary is a wacky photo to end the session. And here is one of all of us giving Nick a warm welcome for being the Runner of the Day.

Actually, I'm not sure if there is such a thing as 'GCAM Group's Runner of the Day', but he's a first and probably more to come. :D

Oh wait. I think CY was also Runner of the Day for running his longest distance ever of 18KM today!

I did a sub-2, woohoo! 
For 19KM. 

And that is quite shitty, you know. Booooooo.

p.s. This is a filler post because Facebook reduced the reso of my photos somehow and they look pretty crappy on the GCAM 2013 - Team MY Facebook page.

Related posts:

Monday, May 13, 2013

Deuter Trail Fun Run - Race Report

Due to the General Elections, the Deuter Trail Fun Run was postponed to 12th May 2013 and it was only upon that announcement did I take up both CY and Nick's suggestion to join them for the race. Might as well keep them company, haha!

I drove to CY's place so we could carpool that morning but gawd, it was such an ungodly hour for a 8am event!

We arrived shortly before 7am and took our time to chill out around the start/finish area.

We saw some runners warming up already and we were puzzled. It was only 7.15am and they were warming up already? Definitely some serious runners there!

We assumed that the road above was the one which would lead us back to the finish line.

Warming up with instructors from the Original Bootcamp Malaysia.

The Men's Open category were flagged off first at 8am sharp. It put a damper to our plans of running together (for photo opportunities in the trail) as the Women's Open and Boys/Girls' Junior started together at 8.10am.

Although I didn't know what to expect, I can honestly say that I was hoping to finish in the top 5 for my category, just because the usual podium finishers were nowhere to seen. *huge smile* I think most of them were either at Larian Bomba, Penang Run, Larian Hari Keputeraan Sultan Azlan Shah, Pisang Relay or Hope Awareness Run.

Gosh! I do like the colour of my hair - it matches my cap! :)
Photo courtesy of CY.

We were given a yellow lily as our checkpoint band to wear on our wrists but there were some women who chose to tie them in their hair. You can imagine how the guys look with theirs? Hahaha!

Adding some softness to their masculinity.
The guy behind thought I was taking his picture at first. I told him he could photobomb instead!

Coincidentally, the lily is Deuter's way of indicating which of their products are for the ladies. I looked it up when Jamie mentioned it. (See Deuter's website here.)

Anyway, about the race.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Skechers GOrun Ride Ultra

Being in a community where running is an up and coming scene, the place to be seen (pun! :D), our attire and shoes may sometimes attract the attention of fashionistas and well, people in general. :)

I am extremely pleased to see more women runners wearing bright and colourful shoes these days. Years ago when I started running, I hated the limited choice of bright coloured shoes (save for Nike), especially when I could only choose the ones suitable to my foot type. Old fashioned white and grey or blue were sooooo dull!

Grey and blue, instead of my usual love for pink shoes! :)

Last year, I had the privilege of being provided with a pair of Women's GOrun Ride from Skechers Malaysia for a review. (My first impression and take on the shoes were previously stated here and here.) Loving the bounce and responsiveness of its soles, I decided to buy the Women's GOrun Ride Ultra to add a bit of colour to my collection of running shoes.

I *love* the hints of pink beneath the mesh

The only visible difference between the two is the slightly thicker mesh to the upper as well as the colour combinations. Otherwise, both shoes remain similar with its nearly weightless synthetic and mesh fabric upper. 

Ooh please disregard my mud-stained socks.
I love the pink and blue in my shoe - it rhymes!

The more cushioned Resalyte midsole provides sufficient comfort without compromising the flexibility of the shoes.

In fact, there so nicely cushioned that I tend to treat them as the shoes for traveling.

On an elephant ride in Chiang Mai.

Even if you don't want to take them running, the GOrun Ride will you serve you well as a pair of walking shoes.

You do know the reason why I chose the blue pair of GOrun Ride Ultra, don't you?

See this post. :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Weather Forecast Says Evening Rain

Good morning!

I have holiday weight to lose but my muscles are still sore from goodness knows what, and it keeps pouring in the evening, thus making me hungry all the time, and I'm bored with work but I have to work, anyway, and I'm tired, I need sleep, when will I find the time to workout again? Gah!

Anyway, it was a great break away from the usual routine, albeit only for a week. Spent the week in Melbourne and out of Melbourne, nothing fancy, just some running and loads of eating. Shopping was dismal (too expensive!) and looks like I won't be thinking twice when I shop here in Malaysia now.

I mean, for necessary items, of course.
Like new trail shoes, long running pants, new shoes, new working clothes, new shades, new glasses, ...

Phase 2 of Transition is in motion.

I am currently serving my notice and will officially be unemployed next month. It would be great if some of you could spare me a free meal and coffee every now and then ... doesn't have to be much, 2 capatis will do. :D

Just kidding.
I can make my own capati, if I wanted to, but I would be deprived of your lovely company!

Many thanks for the birthday greetings and well wishes. I loved the unexpected messages I received from friends and family. They made me smile wide (despite my chubby cheeks being in the way) and I was happily reporting to the hubby about them. My mum was the FIRST to wish me on Labour Day (she is very competitive!), love her to bits for it.

Upon arriving from Melbourne at KLIA on Sunday morning, I hopped onto another flight to KK to cast my vote for the General Elections. My station was my old high school and as it was on the way home, it took about 10 minutes for everything to be done.

I was quite nervous, in fact, and stared hard at the ballot papers. Being a first time voter, I didn't want to mess things up!

It was EXTREMELY hot and humid in KK and you would have wanted to spend the entire day in an air-conditioned room if you could. Poor little munchkin of a niece was equally sticky from the heat but regardless, play time continued for her. :)

With less than 8 weeks to go, I have not started on my half marathon training for Standard Chartered KL Marathon. I don't know where to start! So I'm going to do my best to try and follow an intermediate plan and hope I will improve when the time comes.

I also contemplated being vegetarian during the weekdays and go back to being a carnivore on weekends but ... it is still in contemplation.

I finally finished reading Scott Jurek's Eat & Run book and I must say, if I may, that I was horrified with how competitive he is (or 'was'). I don't know. I read about the first few races he participated and lost or won and I was in awe. I respected the hunger and craze he had to push and pull through. I wanted to feel what he felt too, as he ran through the trails (not bitumen, mind you). But as he won race after race, years of constant practice and determination to always be a winner, I gradually got fed up.

It's like how we average runners wish we had the chance to excel, to occasionally be recognised for our efforts, despite not being identified as an 'elite', Race after race (I'm referring to our events here in Malaysia), we see the same people on the podium, treating prize monies as their extra income. Every race, I see their face and name appear.

Is competition the only thing that drives them? Is that how they enjoy their runs? When was the last time they had an easy run with their regular friends, chit chatting along the way?

Anyway, back to the book. I was relieved to find out in the end that there were occasions where he let go of the competitive streak in him to enjoy some of the runs. Thank goodness and thank you! He reminds us all what running is about, that is to take your time* and enjoy your surroundings because it's not always about winning.

(*But I'd like to impress that you should also take your training seriously. Just because you take 7 hours to complete a marathon does not mean that you should continue with this track record. If an event provides for a cut off time, do your best to train towards it or faster.)

*throws up hands in the air*
Alright, I'm not a professional runner so you don't have to listen to me. :)

Expect it to rain elephants and hippos every evening until next Tuesday. That's what the weather forecast said. Boo!

I was on the verge of a panic attack last night as my car pushed through puddles of rain together with plenty of other cars on the road. The lights on my dashboard were growing faint and flickered (I was staring at the digital clock) and I prayed like crazy that the engine wouldn't die! I didn't want to be part of the statistics of car breakdowns and contributing to the massive traffic pile up during a thunderstorm. :D

Thank goodness I arrived home more than an hour later. Phew.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Food Pictures ... Again

Sometimes, I tell myself to stop taking pictures of my food because there are just too many useless pictures kept in my phone and I don't do anything with them until I remember to.

I don't really post them up on Facebook because that would be a TOTALLY Asian thing to do! *laughs*

Tonkatsu @ Eat Paradise (next to Isetan)
2nd Floor, One Utama Shopping Centre
Petaling Jaya.

If you're looking for a place which serves you a second helping of rice and cabbage salad for free, do try out this place.

I opted for Negi Miso Rosu Katsu set and boy, was I STUFFED.

You can always have some prawns with your pork loin/fillet.

The meal was served this way with brown rice in a separate bowl. Generous heap of spring onion on top of the pork.

It was good to have the meat only partially covered with the miso rosu sauce as I found it a bit too cloying after a while. The cabbage was doused with roasted sesame dressing, making it so much better tasting. I love roasted sesame dressing!

Note: I would advise you to either share the meal with someone, or only have it on your own when you're really, really, really hungry. Like, you ran your 32KM that morning, perhaps? :D

Other reviews:
Eat Drink KL
Sassy Urbanite's Diary