death by paper cut

{October 13, 2013}   Fartleks at Bishan Park

Looking back at my track record (linked in mileage in this side bar), I realised that it was 10 years ago that I first started running sustained distances of up to 10km in organised runs. I decided to get of my ass and challenged myself to get fit and reap a host of health benefits.

I was glad that at the opportunity for such a run at the 2003 Terry Fox run (in pre-revamped Sentosa), I had a friend to participate with me. He is a very seasoned runner, so 7km is chicken-feet for him while it was daunting for me. I tried to prepare myself though, and this involved walking/running the route in advance on my own to be physically and mentally ready for the uncharted distance and undulating terrain.

After that, the subsequent 10km runs became manageable. I have not signed up for runs longer than 10km because it usually gets very hot by then and also my feet would feel that they had enough. In recent times, I have not signed up for any organised run firstly because I’m tired of having to pick up a race pack (sometimes at Expo) in advance; secondly, waking up at 5am on Sunday to start a 7am run gets trying; and thirdly, I’m capable of my own runs at comparable distances free-of-charge.

Last week however, I signed up for a 7km run because it was rather different. The annual Great Eastern Women’s Run now has fringe activities and running clinics are one of them. For just $5, you can choose to take part in such a running clinic organised by Polar in the “Come Run With Polar” events at increasing distances of 3km, 5km and 7km.

Come Run with Polar - Bishan Park 1

I promptly signed up for the 7km run when I serendipitously stumbled upon it while browsing the Great Eastern Women’s Run for this year. It was perfect for me at a bargain as I’ve always wanted to cover running ground at Bishan Park.

I achieved all that, and got more than I bargained for because at the start of the run, I was informed that it involves fartlek training and running in stages together. Out of the window went my impression that the run would be at my own pace and completed under an hour.

Since I was already here, I may as well make use of this chance to go beyond my comfort zone and yield all the goodness that running magazines gush about since I would never bring myself to fartlek on my own.

The first 2.6 km was spent going in circles, for good reason. One portion of this circular route was on a landscape bridge where at stretches of 200m or so we did a mix of exercises such as lunges, squats, and others I don’t have a name for. One of which involved lifting my thighs in elaborate arcs to resemble something between climbing huge boulders and a dog marking its territory.

Come Run with Polar - Bishan Park 2

This part of the run was meant to be more intense than I allowed it to be. In any case, I know for sure that the exercise did what it was supposed to do because my thighs ached like they never had in a long time the next day. I had to brace myself to ascend and descend short flights of stairs at work.

The play and pause icons in the map tracked by runkeeper indicates where we stopped and started as a group, usually for a change of pace or exercise.

What no one counted on was to leave Bishan Park, although just for a short while, to climb the overhead bridge and do P.E. type exercises at the void deck across the road. Here, we did exercises to strengthen the back and core muscles. And yes, including the dreaded push-ups – I don’t think I’ve done push-ups since JC.

Come Run with Polar - Bishan Park 3

Having covered about 4km, we returned to Bishan Park for a longer continuous run along its length and made the 3rd stop near the end start/end point for a step workout. After the final 500m burst, we ended with arm exercises.

The whole workout was at no point intimidating. It was as bootcamp only as far as you allowed it to be. The instructor from Polar kept the atmosphere lighthearted and tried his darnest to humorously motivate the bunch of us. All in all, it was enjoyable and if this was organised on a regular basis, I’ll would sign up in a (resting) heart beat.

Come Run with Polar - Bishan Park 4

To top it off, I was one of the three lucky winners to fartlek away with a Polar Heart Rate Monitor at the conclusion of the event.


{November 21, 2011}   weekly runs

i was not born hitting the ground running. the inclination to run mid and long distances is not inherent. i picked up running by challenging myself to complete a 10km marathon. i found a friend to sign up with me so that that maiden voyage in 2003 will not be so daunting. my first 10km stretch felt forever and i alternated between running and walking several times. but once the first 10km is conquered, all distances below that feels very do-able without much training.

my enthusiasm for running was reinforced in my time in melbourne where the weather is cooler most times of the year and where the running culture is very strong. near where i lived is a popular running spot – princes park that takes me about an hour to loop beginning from my doorstep at leicester street. the dyer air and tree lines avenues made running a walk in the park. of course i have to qualify that a prerequisite for me to run is my mp3 player. i cannot run without fast tempo music. over the years, i have accumulated more than 100 songs just for my running playlist. and since i do not normally exceed more than an hour and a half i do not ever exhaust the playlist.

Runs - Princes Park 2

Runs - Princes Park 5 Runs - Princes Park 7 Runs - Princes Park 10

back home in singapore, i managed to find my running rhythm again only after a few year upon returning because of the hectic pace of life and onerous work commitments. i’m glad however to have found my groove in my weekly sunday runs around pandan reservoir after a few overhauls in my living and work arrangements.

aerial view of the architectural model of pandan reservoir at the ura gallery

Architecture Model of the City 14

true in its representations in this model, pandan reservoir is not shady and neither does it have much trees for shelter.

pandan reservoir is surround by factories and industries along most of its circumference. only along one straight side of the reservoir (west coast road) is where the housing estate is located. however in recent times, there has been several new developments along the stretch nearest the housing estate to make it more enjoyable for the residents. pandan reservoir comes under the care of PUB, not NParks. these developments are part of PUB’s Active, Beautiful and Clean (ABC) programme. Kudos to PUB!

paddle lodge and sheltered area

Pandan Reservoir 23 Pandan Reservoir 24

greenery along the edge of the reservoir

Pandan Reservoir 26

water polo court
rowers can be seen in the distance

Pandan Reservoir 42

Pandan Reservoir 40

electric boat deck and board walks

Pandan Reservoir 15 Pandan Reservoir 19 Pandan Reservoir 21

Pandan Reservoir 18 Pandan Reservoir 16

since the route along pandan reservoir can be very harsh under the scorching sun, most people tend to only run in the evenings just before dusk. that period of time also affords the opportunity to witness the colourful sunset hues on certain days.

with the photosynth app, i managed to capture these panoramic views on a good day at pandan reservoir. click on image to enlarge

Pandan Reservoir 50

Pandan Reservoir 51

other views

Pandan Reservoir 47 Angel Rays 2

Pandan Reservoir 48 Pandan Reservoir 49

fishing along the reservoir is now allowed. jetties for fishing have even been constructed. however, not all fishing enthusiasts fish at these jetties and would rather cast their bait along less crowded parts of the reservoir. at a stretch of the reservoir when i was fortunately walking and not running, i felt a tug at my feet and realised that i could not move them. upon closer inspection, i found that someone’s fishing line had looped around my ankles and the fishing hook had lodged itself into my shoelaces. i was more amused than angry and proceeded to dislodge the hook, which proved to be more tricky than it looks. the fisherman, obviously an amateur, was very apologetic. thankfully, nothing more serious resulted. i could have tripped over or have the hook pierce my legs. now i know why there are designated fishing areas.

{November 23, 2010}   Pandan Reservoir

i recently began jogging along pandan reservoir again and noticed some changes. water flora has been cultivated near the circumference of the reservoir and board walks with fishing jetties are now popular gathering points in the evenings.

the jogging path nearer the residential area (away from the industries on the other side) is actually quite pleasant just before sunset.

Pandan Reservoir 2 Pandan Reservoir 1 Pandan Reservoir 3

the other new development in my jog is the use of the run keeper iphone application. it uses gps to track my distance, time and therefore speed, not just the average speed but also the real time indication of my pace. it also tracks changes in gradient. each run is saved and uploaded on my online run keeper account.

Pandan Reservoir - RunKeeper

this jetty is my usual mid-point u-turn. i used to walk to the end of the jetty before the closed sign was put up.

Pandan Reservoir 6

it is from here that i note the progress of the new blocks that should be ready in another 2 or 3 years. my current block and the surroundings ones are slated to be demolished under the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS). there are pros and cons to this. on one hand, the new flats will be well, new. however, new flats are always smaller in size and these new blocks are much further away from the main road making commuting a bigger bane than it already is.


future developments of pandan reservoir are also in the works. the plan has been been featured in the marina barrage’s sustainable singapore gallery.
Marina Barage Gallery (24)

now, how will i be able to get to that island in the middle of the reservoir?

Marina Barage Gallery (27)

{September 9, 2009}   on the run again

i never really had the opportunity to rev back into my running momentum since i returned from melbourne. running momentum here means train and take part in at least two 10km marathons a year.

today i met that quota after signing up for the nike human race 10km. the other run is the GE 10km a week later.

i’ve sworn off the run of the year in singapore – standard charted marathon because queuing for the run pack every year at the expo is crazy insane. and since i don’t run more than 10km at a stretch, its no point pitting myself against the 21km or full marathon runners for space and logistical considerations.

incidentally, i picked up a book from a national library based on the interesting title: i run, therefore i am nuts by bob schwartz.

he is a veteran runner who takes a light hearted jab at the idiosyncratic behavior of runners, especially those living in urban environments.

I Run, Therefore I am Nuts by Bob Schwartz

“runners are no different from others when it comes to the two-prong philosophy of consumption. if something is free, it’ll be snatched up irrespective of need. if it’s free and edible, it’ll be devoured without concern for content or taste.

for runners, the free is wonderful mentality is best illustrated by an increasing popular event of race weekends. it’s a combination auto show, star trek convention, and culinary extravaganza for runners. it’s the exhilarating, spine-tingling, eye-popping running expo!

there are a few thing that excite me more than those words. i don’t pick races on the basis of flat courses, crowd participation, or course beauty. for me, it’s the expo. better known as racing-brochure paradize, free-energy-gel nirvana, and locker-room-bag-heaven. Ah, the bliss of being surrounded by endless choices of moisture-wicking clothing.”

{April 11, 2009}   me time

when i run, i do something for myself.

its 100% me time.

Ulu Pandan Park Connector - AYE to Clementi Road (7)

7 april 09

time clock: 53:50

distance: 4.6km

max heart rate: 193

minimum heart rate: 160

calories burned: 555

et cetera