Sunday, 29 December 2013

Run 2013

I can't believe in 2 days' more, it'll be 2014!

Thought it'll be nice to just jot down my running memories in 2013. Don't really have time to do lengthy posts, so here are the highlights in point form! :)

1. Jan 2013 - Green Corridor Run - my virgin run which was a 10.5km trail run stretching from the old railway station at Tanjong Pagar to Bukit Timah. Most thought I was crazy to attempt a trail run for my first race ever but it wasn't really that bad and it wasn't really as trail-y as what you would experience at MacRitchie. I survived and finished it in 1:30 which was fairly good for me, considering the fact that there were a few bottlenecks because the ground was terribly muddy from the heavy rain the day before. The best part of this race was that I re-connected with two of my very dear friends. One was Sharon, whom I didn't meet after JC years (hell, I don't even remember we went to the same JC because I was from Science and her, Commerce). The second one was Esther, whom I haven't met since 2004 or so, I think.

2. February 2013 - Safari Zoo Run, which had a 6km route spanning both the Singapore Zoological Garden and the Night Safari. The run was on my 35th birthday and again, most people thought I crazy to get up bright and early on my birthday morning just to go for a run! Well, this time the hubby ran the entire race with me. It rained halfway through and we saw many people abandoning the race to take shelter. We didn't though, and I was so proud of the hubby for braving the rain to finish the race. How can doing my favourite thing with my favourite person on my birthday be a crazy thing? <3 Enough said. :)

3. May 2013 - JP Morgan Corporate Challenge with my colleagues. Even though the registration fee was pretty steep and there was no medal at the end (BLEAH! And yes, I am the superficial kind of runner who likes to collect nice race blings!), we still managed to form 2 teams in the end and got off work early to participate in this on a weekday. It was a short 5.6km and I finished it in about 38 minutes. :)

4. July 2013 - Race Against Cancer 15km run. I registered to be a charity athlete with the Singapore Cancer Society shortly before that set up a donation portal on GiveAsia to garner donations from the running events i took part in. Can I say, this was my WORST race ever? I didn't train hard enough because I had a super stubborn, recurrent upper tract infection that refused to leave me for the next couple of months. Didn't help that the race started at 7-ish and at about 9-10km, the sun was up and ready to fry me alive. I must say this was one of my most gruelling runs ever afterwhich I collapsed (well, voluntarily lah) after I ran past the finishing line and collected my medal (yes, going to die still must collect race bling first can!).

I suffered from extreme nausea immediately post-race and felt like I was going to black out. I couldn't get a taxi home 2-3 hours after the entire event ended and was stranded at ECP until my knight in shining armour sneaked off work to rescue me. The fact that i didn't eat or hydrate myself properly pre-race probably also played a part in all that drama. This race definitely takes the cake as the WORST race of the year, but I also learnt many lessons from it and realised the importance of a good training plan, hydration and fuelling up before a race.

 (Sorry ah, no photos of myself because I was about to die already...)

5. Sept 2013 - Army Half Marathon. To commemorate my 1 year anniversary ever since I picked up running, I signed up for the AHM (with my running 损友, Sharon) in a moment of recklessness I believe! Again, there were some people who thought I was crazy (Why are people such wet blankets and why do people bother saying I'm crazy, knowing I REALLY AM! :P) because I am not a seasoned runner and they deemed it premature for me to attempt a half marathon within such a short time after I started running.

You know what? There is really NO "good time" to do anything. The only "good time" is NOW. I learnt that in July 2010 when I lost many of the normal functions most people take for granted. Now, I seize the day and am thankful for every living, functional day.

Anyway to side-track, I wanted to join the Mt. Faber Run earlier in June 2013 too, but was persuaded out of it because some people thought it was too tough for me. It's not that i'm overly confident but i love a good challenge and really, what is the worst that can happen to me? Crawling to the finishing line? I can deal with that. :) I regret being swayed by those words that planted self-doubt in me and have made up my mind to conquer Mt. Faber in 2014!

Anyway, I really, really enjoyed the AHM because it was my first half marathon and I completed it without having to ride the ambulance back to the finishing line - I trained pretty hard initially until a couple of weeks before the event when i suffered another mild relapse. In fact, I was having some problems running properly, especially during that stretch at Gardens By the Bay, but hey i made it in the end, unscathed! It would have been perfect if there weren't so many smelly, army boys but hey, Life isn't perfect, is it? :) My unofficial timing was 2:54 but official timing (because of the irritating bottleneck that kept me standing among SABs was a good whole 30 mins) was 3:30. BOO!

6. Nov 2013 - Great Eastern Women's Run, Half Marathon. My 2nd half marathon just barely 2 months after finishing the AHM. Again, I signed up with my race buddy, Sharon who is always so game to do this with me. I just have to ask and she will agree in a heartbeat. :)

Another relapse in between September and November, this time more severe than the previous one, knocking me off balance (literally and figuratively) so much so that I couldn't train at all. From the AHM to the GE Women's Run, I only ran a couple of times and did not do any LSDs. :( My neurologist was hesitant about letting me participate in the GE Women's Run but he left the ultimate decision to me and of needless to say, I went ahead. You know, my life is pretty much NEVER about who is going to let me, but who or what is going to stop me. And usually, no one (not even my Papa or Mama) dares to stop me. Heh!

In the end, i achieved my personal best of 2:48 in this race, by the grace of God! The weather was forgiving (it was actually drizzling -- the perfect weather for running IMHO) and I never felt as good. Well, at about 7km, my vision actually screwed up and everything was just blurry and out-of-focus, but I thought about the many friends who (like me) have their daily battles to overcome, and that gave me the strength I needed to soldier on. :)

Well, this about sums up my running events for 2013. I know I said I wouldn't indulge in anything lengthy, but really, there is so much to say and I want to put those thoughts in words so that if the day ever comes when I lose my memory, there is this blog to look back at. :)

Happy New Year my dear friends! Stay calm and run on! :)

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Project Happyblog

You know how you open Facebook everyday and you see all kinds of negative status updates - people complaining about their lives, about their jobs, about their spouses, about their children, about other people, and the list goes on. I'm just not one of those people because I believe in being positive and attracting positive things. Yah yah, most people think i'm just too prescriptive but I can give you many, many examples of how I've been attracting good things in life now and how I've attracted many, many bad things in my life in the past because of the negative person I was.

Anyway, I've decided to start "Project #Happyblog", which is basically to pen down all the good and happy things that I'm grateful about in my daily life. Shall start by writing about something which the hubby said last night over Teh-oh-ais and Tandoori Chicken.

So did I mention I'm officially a charity athlete for the Singapore Cancer Society? Anyway, I have been trying to promote my cause the past couple of weeks and have requested that friends do the same. A few friends have donated and amount currently stands at $1,100. :)

The hubby as usual, has been supportive and even got up early to ferry me to my 15km Race Against Cancer run. When I told him the night before that it was really okay and that I could take a cab myself, he brushed me off in his usual manner and said, "Aiyah, I always fetch you one mah!" I know he's shy that way and he goes all red in the face when I tease him about being sweet. Heh heh.

So back to last night. We were talking about my cause and the donations that have come in and he said he knew my target amount was 5K and he had already helped share my donation portal on his Facebook profile. I knew of course, that he hadn't donated to my cause yet but I didn't want to put a gun to his head and force him to donate his life savings, but what he said to me then really, really shocked me.

His exact words were, "You know why I haven't donated to your efforts yet? It's because at the end, I want to settle the balance for you and top up the donations so you hit your 5K target..."

I thought that was extremely sweet and thoughtful of him. We're not dirt-rich folks who have a lot of spare cash - granted the hubby earns more than me (much more on good sales month), but I really didn't think he would do something extreme like that just to make sure I achieved my goals and that I was happy at the end. Not saying it's bad to donate a few grands to charity but I just wasn't expecting him to make such an "extravagant" (for lack of better terms!) move. Well, if he was going to spend money buying branded bags which I really, really don't need. I'd rather he spend his money this way.

Thinking of what he said, the way he said it while looking into my eyes so earnestly makes me very, very happy. I thank God for a supportive hubby like him who puts my happiness above everything else.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Back on Track

I wish, i wish, i wish i had more time to update my blog but with so many things on my plate at the moment, it's really a feat. I'm sure i can find time if i want to, but that will probably mean sacrificing time that i set aside for other things and i'm not ready to do that. I'm already sacrificing lunchtime to work out, sleeptime to read among other things, so i don't think i can afford to pu blogging on my priority list at the moment.

Still, i think i will start using this place to chronicle (i just found out you can use the word 'chronicle' as a verb too!) my running journey - preparing for my very first half marathon this September and really, really looking forward to it! 我不要宝马,我只要我的半马! :) After which i plan to train harder and do a full marathon next year. Before i hit 40, i hope to be able to attempt an ultramarathon (anything >the standard 42km full marathon). So far i've only told one person, which is Adeline whom i was whatsapping a few days ago. She probably thinks i'm insane ("50km?!?!?!?") but was still nice enough to tell me to train with care.

China's 5 most scenic marathons - something that Sharon sent me last week. In her words "all the China marathons" damn sexy and i can't agree more! I would really love to attempt the Great Wall Marathon or the Genghis Khan Grassland Marathon someday but again, the few people i've expressed my wishes too think i'm nuts.

Why liddat? If i never had wild dreams of being a vet (even though my sister told me "young dreams never come true") and if i never had clear, passionate goals of achieving anything in agility, i would never be who i am today.

Anyway, I have about 2 months more to the Army Half Marathon and i will start to really focus on training right and training hard. I don't believe in bullshit like not training, not because i'm afraid of injury but because i believe in always giving my best in whatever i do. I don't give a shit about beating other's people timing, i just want to continue beating my own timing. For the AHM, my goal is to complete it sub-3hours.

Starting to also get back on track for eating healthy. I've slackened in the past week because of the hubby's birthday and our wedding anniversary - hanged out at Aquanova that night too so as expected, there were drinks and what-not. Have to constantly remind myself that i only have one body and in Dr. Lim's words, i really, really need to be fitter than the average person.

Good news today, i smashed my own record for fastest /km timing. When i started running in September 2012, my timing per km hovered around approximately 8:30-9 mins/km. I know, i know, i know, that's damn freaking slow - think Tiffanie my 10-year-old niece runs at that pace too! I started getting fitter though, and my timing improved to approximately 8 mins/km. There are good days when i can do under 7:30- 8 mins for both short or long runs and today,  i actually did 6:48/km!! First time my pace was below 7 mins/km so that's a milestone for me.

I will continue trying to be fitter and faster. Just need to be focused and disciplined! :)

Today's training:
  1. 2.4km in 16:14mins
  2. Hill training
  3. Mat work - abs. (Standard crunches with raised legs x 20, Oblique crunches x 20 each side, Oblique twist x 20, Lower ab rocks x 20, Lying leg raise x 20)
  4. Push-ups x 20
Need to start developing my core muscles so i can use these to propel myself. Funny i know because most people think you just have to strengthen your quads and such and that's all. Need to find time to plough through the "Chi Running" book which promises injury-free and pain-free running. According to the authors, running a marathon should be pain-free and people over-glorify pain too much in such events! for thought, shall find out and share more when i've finished the book.

Over the past few months, i've also tried to cut down my meat intake, mostly inspired by Scott Jurek (still reading his "Eat and Read" book while simultaneously trying to finish the Chi-Running book). For the past few days, i've also heavily restricted my carb intake and have stuffed myself silly with greens. I feel good and clearing my bowels have never felt easier (too much info!). I feel less bloated and most of all, i think my drive and motivation is back. Eating carb and putting crap into my body have somehow made some of my symptoms re-appear again so without a doubt, eating healthy is definitely the way to go (like DUH).

Ok, i should get back to doing proper work. See, for blogging i have to sacrifice work time!

Monday, 3 September 2012

[The Story of Neo - Part 1]: Meeting Neo

If you remember, i've said at the beginning when i started this blog, that i would really like to write about my experiences as a vet and the animals i've met throughout this journey.

Last Friday while i was driving home in the rain, i suddenly thought about Moose - a racehorse i met during my attachment at the Singapore Turf Club), and Neo - a Golden Retriever i met when i was still in private practice. I've met a lot of animals and i like most of them, but there are some animals i just share an inexplicable connection with. Neo is one of them, and he is a dog that has stayed at the back of my mind even though i've left private practice for a good, whole 6 years (gawd, has it been that long?), and it's often during rainy days that he comes into mind because i still remember how he loves taking walks in the rain....


I first met Neo about 7 years ago, when he and his sibling, Daisy came in for their annual vaccination. Actually i can't remember if they're from the same litter but i've always referred to Daisy as Neo's sister anyway. Neo was a 2-year-old, male Golden Retriever who was strikingly handsome. He had a nice, broad head and was of a good size with a shiny cream-coloured coat. Daisy was slightly smaller, but was also of a nice, healthy size, with the same glossy cream-coloured coat, though paler than Neo -- if i remembered correctly.

"These dogs must have good owners..." I thought to myself when i saw them walking into the consult room. 

As you probably know (or do not know) i'm not much of a Goldie person because i always thought they were too friendly for my liking. After i joined private practice, i realised, to my horror, that there were actually more ill-mannered Golden Retrievers than friendly ones. I think it's simply because people who buy Golden Retrievers think that just because dogs from this breed generally have a good temperament, they do not require any sort of obedience training -- which is of course utterly wrong.

Anyway, Neo was different. He was neither a slut for affection (Daisy was!), nor was he one of those snappy, uncooperative ones that made life difficult for their owners (and the vet). Doing a physical examination and vaccinating him was a breeze because he didn't try to lick, head-butt, paw me, or did any sort of typical GR-thing (sorry, Goldie owners!). He was friendly but didn't sought for attention excessively.

He carried himself like any dignified dog should, and maybe because of that, he left a very deep impression on me the first time i saw him....


Next up, Part 2 will be on Neo and his Human Family. Stay tuned.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

God Is So Good...

Sang this hymn to the children 2 nights ago and after i finished, Big T looked me in the eyes and said:
"God is so good, 因为他给我一个这么好的妈妈..."

Last night, i sang this hymn aloud again when the whole family was in Big T's room before bedtime and the hubby held me and said:
"That's why i have all of you..."

I have everything to be grateful about, and nothing to complain about. Life's good and it's all because God is so good.

My yellow roses are in bloom again.


Food Review: {Dim Sum @ Tampines}

I love dim sum and my best memories of eating dim sum was when i was doing my veterinary studies in Perth. There were many Chinese restaurants there (run by Hong Kees, or Hong Kongers if you like) and a few of us would always gather during weekends to have brunch at one of these dim sum joints. Family members who visited me there were never short of praise of the quality (and price!) of dim sum there. My Papa lurrrrvvveeddd the fried squid especially (there was even once i tapao-ed it back to Singapore for him, when i came home during the semester break), and the hubby simply lurrrvvveeeddd the giant crab cakes.

I still remember my favourite dim sum restaurant was "Yummy BBQ" located along Leach Highway. Just a couple of years when i went back to Perth for a holiday with the hubby and Big T, we even brought the little boy there for some bao and cheong fun!

You know what i really dig about dim sum in Perth? It's the fresh, succulent whole prawns in their har gows/ shrimp dumplings (虾饺)! The har gows in Singapore just don't make the cut. Tak kana, we say.

The ones you get in Singapore either have prawns that are not fresh or prawns that are okay in terms of freshness but small/not succulent. The worst of the lot are the har gows with meat stuffing - these should be renamed meat dumplings (肉饺) instead!

Anyway, i digressed. This dim sum stall at Tampines which i'm reviewing in this blogpost is the hubby's favourite breakfast haunt on his off days, after he drops Little T off at his mum's. I've only been here twice, but i think the quality of food is decent and for such good food, i'd say it's really pretty cheap. The 6-dish spread (shown in picture below) costs us only $14.30!

According to the hubby and the stall auntie (who knows him because he's a regular there), the hubby only orders 2 dishes when he's here and they are the chives dumpling or 韭菜饺 (See No. 1 on picture above) and the steamed beancurd roll or 鲜竹卷 (See No. 5 on picture above). The hubby was more than happy that i was with him that morning because one more mouth means more food and more variety!

A brief rundown of what i think of the 6 dishes we ordered that day:

1. Chives Dumpling (韭菜饺): I usually eat this depending on my mood and i don't particularly like or dislike this. I thought this was not too bad and the good thing about it was they didn't use too much fatty meat which would otherwise have made this a very jelat dish.

2. Shrimp Dumplings with Salted Egg Yolk (咸蛋虾饺): The hubby and I loved this! He's never ever noticed this on the menu but he swore that this will become his staple for future visits. They used whole shrimps (not shrimp paste and not mixed with meat, yay!) and the shrimps were fresh and firm, not too big though but i can deal with that on the account of the salted egg yolk. Heh.

3. Siew Mai (烧卖): I'm not usually a siew mai person because i find that many stalls use meat that is wayyyy too fatty! This was a pleasant surprise though because like the chives dumpling, i think they chose to use leaner meat, which doesn't make me sick and is definitely a much healthier choice!

4. Chicken Glutinous Rice/Lor Mai Gai (糯米鸡): Don't like this because of the mushy texture. I think it's because it's been left in the steamer for too long and because of the condensation process, water droplets on the surface of the lotus leaves have seeped inside and caused the rice to become too soggy. I'd rather eat Khong Guan's Lor Mai Gai in the aluminium-foil container any day!

5. Steamed Bean Curd Roll (鲜竹卷): This is the hubby's favourite dim sum dish and i really like this too! As with the other dishes, leaner meat was used - when i scrutinised the ingredients after i took a bite, i could actually see bits of chicken meat and it was not just minced-meat-that-you-can't-tell-what-animal-or-what-part-it-came-from. Nice!

6. Deep Fried Bean Curd Roll (腐皮卷): This was good too (and you can see from the picture that both of us had already devoured most of it by the time the picture was taken). Definitely a must-order the next time i come here.

Another thing worth mentioning was the 2 aunties at the stall were really chatty and friendly. The older auntie who served us, after realising on her own accord that she forgot to bring us the mayo for the 腐皮卷, apologised and immediately went back to the stall to get us some. I thought that was a nice gesture which sets her apart from the usual grumpy kopitiam aunties who would snap at you like you owe them money.

After the meal, i went back to the stall to take a picture because i wanted to post it on my blog. Told the two aunties my intention, asked both of them to smile for the camera, but the older one ran away and half-covered her face, saying, "不要啦!不要啦!". The younger auntie was also shy but continued to do her work while consciously making sure she was not facing my camera. Haha!

If you live in the Tampines or if you just want to indulge in cheap but much better than average dim sum, this is the place to go. It's located at Block 828, Tampines Street 81, New Century Coffee Shop. Go try and let me know what you think!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Food Review: {Hide Yamamoto @ MBS}

The hubby and I are foodies and we're always out on a hunt for the best food in Singapore.

For our 5th anniversary (which was also 1 day before the hubby's 35th birthday), we had an agreement that i would buy him a nice (read: expensive) dinner. I know he loves a good steak anytime, and since we were going for a staycation at MBS, i thought Cut by Wolfgang Puck would be a good place to go.

I did some research online (scoured through forums and asked friends on Facbook) and everyone said Cut was a good choice. Unfortunately (or fortunately, for my bank account), we had late lunch that day at Carnivore and couldn't bear to eat another piece of meat for the rest of the days, so our plan to go to Cut for dinner was shelved.

Then, i remembered a friend suggesting Hide Yamamato and since both of us love Japanese food and preferred something lighter, why not try this place?

So after lunch and some window shopping, we ventured up to Level 2 to check out the place and to make dinner reservations. Okay, i must admit i found the location a bit strange (it's just not where i would expect a restaurant to be at) - if you look down from Level 2, you see a huge atrium which is basically where the casino is. From here, you can get a  bird's eye view of the whole den, the gambling tables and slot machines...

Quite impressive lah, except that i had already been to Las Vegas when i was young, so this was really 小儿科 (child's play)!

Anyway, moving on to the restaurant. First look - it was rather small and dingy, not a place i would associate with fine dining. A secondary-school-kid lookalike asked us whether he could help us and after ding-donging back and forth, he finally got a more senior staff to attend to us. First impression of the place wasn't fantastic, but we made our reservation for 830pm that night in the end, and left the place feeling a little apprehensive.


We came back to the restaurant again at 830pm sharp and were ushered to a table right at the corner of the Ramen & Dining area. The restaurant is actually divided into 5 areas with five different concept - Sushi, Teppanyaki, Robata, Ramen & Dining, Sake Bar. I didn't know what "Robata" was but from the menu, it was supposed to be "Petrified wood charcoal grill, emphasizing fine meat, poultry and vegetables in the purist form". Okaaaaaay.

We had great fun looking through the menu and deciding what we wanted to eat. Just so you know, the hubby is very particular about "wasting space" (according to him, my salad was a waste of space when we went to Carnivore earlier in the day), and since we were still not terribly hungry, we decided to forgo the ramen and try abit of everything instead.
First up, sushi! The hubby ordered the Premium 5 Kinds of Sushi.

Honestly, i really love this even though it looks pretty normal. The rice came in the right amount and the sashimi was perfect. I loved that it was served at room temperature because then, you can taste the sashimi at its finest. 

Next, my "Chawan Mushi" with Black Truffle Flan and Sea Urchin.

First mouthful and i had the classic "幸福的感觉"! You can tell i love my eggs!

The steamed egg had "substance"and packed a heavier, more custardy texture (i don't think "custard" is an appropriate word since chanwan mushi IS custard anyway) rather than the kind i'm used to, the kind that just disintegrates in your mouth the moment you eat it. The broth which sits on top of the chawanmushi was really yummy - tasty but light. This is the first time i'm eating sea urchin though (first was 5 minutes ago when i ate the sushi!) but being a seafoodie who indulges in hum and all, i love how it just melts in your mouth! The bits of black truffle were at the bottom of the bowl - i didn't think this was the most perfect thing to go along with the lovely chawanmushi but that's okay, the rest of this more than made up for it. 

Then, the hubby had his Saikyo Miso Foie Gras with Crispy Rice. This was cooked the Robata way.

For obvious reasons, i'm not a fan of Foie Gras but the hubby said it was delectable! As he was eating this, i went on and on about how geese or ducks were forced fed and it made him disgusted for a few minutes i think. He managed to get me to eat a small slice but i shuddered as i swallowed it. Cruelty aside, it was too jelat for me! Pass!

Another Robata dish - Grilled Squid Stuffed with Cod Mousse in Light Clam Butter Sauce.

If the other dishes before this were great, this one was heavenly! The squid tubes were tender and cooked to perfection. Be careful though, when you sink your teeth into the squid, the smooth codfish paste oozes out from both ends! (P.S Before i came here, my friend Angeline told me i had to try the codfish sperm (?!?!?). Can't find that anywhere on the menu and in restrospection, i'm wondering if this "codfish mousse" is actually the codfish jism?!)

Oh, and i forgot to mention the sauce was oh-so-yummy too! Although it's a "butter" sauce, it didn't have a heavy texture and was so so so flavourful.

Last but not least, we had the Teppanyaki Japanese Wagyu Sirloin Beef!

This gave me the "幸福的感觉" again! What else do i need to say - it's wagyu beef.

The yellowish bits in the middle (that look like almond slices) are actually deep fried garlic chips. Innovative, and it goes well with the beef. As we all know, wagyu beef is the premium cut of beef and is so good because of the marbling in the meat. The ah beng at the next table obviously didn't think so because he called the manager to his table and started complaining crassly that the beef was too fatty (?!?!). I mean, like seriously, isn't the fat flecks in the meat the best part?

Anyway, to sum it all up, it was a fabulous dining experience. The food was scrumptious, the company was excellent as always, nevermind the lack of ambience even though it would be really nice to have a lomantic anniversary dinner. Oh, best part was the hubby decided to pick up the tab (i knew he would never let me pay!) and for the quality of food, the damage done was considered reasonable.

I would definitely go back again and the next time round, i want to try their Ramen!