Keep On Running

Thanks to one of my new climbing friends my first Singapore 10k came forward a couple of weeks with a spare entry into a local event. It was an evening run, a first for me, starting at 18:30. They tried to do an enthusiastic group ‘warm up’ which made me laugh as I was sweating just standing still, really no warm up was required. The day had peaked at around 35 Degrees and 85-90% humidity so it was a pretty tough run. The setting was stunning though, Jurong Lake Park is now on our list of places to go and see in Singapore and to run round its edges was really very lovely.

Despite the hard work I was buzzing and smiling at the end and feeling more confident having seen that everyone else was finding it difficult too, a great night and a great big chunky finishers medal to remember it by!

This morning my millage build up continued and it was only a matter of time before I got caught part way through my weekly long run in a thunder storm. At first I was quite happy, the rain was keeping me at a relatively pleasant temperature. However, as the storm rolled overhead and the lightening flashes were visible even through it was daylight, followed instantly by ear shattered claps of thunder I began to wonder how safe I was. Added to this the little stream that had started to form on the trail was now filling the entire path and around ankle deep.
So an interesting conundrum started…….seek shelter in the next little wooden huts I passed that are built for such things, for an unknown period of time in the middle of the woods waiting for it to stop. Or continue to try and run in the ‘river’ that used to be the path. In the end by the time I reached the next shelter I only had to wait around 10 minutes before the thunder rolled off in the opposite direction and I returned to the river path to splash my way back to base.
The reservoir is a beautiful place after a storm though, mist rises up off the water like some eerie horror movie. I think I was just starting to dry off when the rain started again. Bit of a lesson learnt, next time I am caught out I’ll be straight in the first shelter I see till the worst passes, that’s what the shelters are for after all!

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The ArtScience Museum

Such an interesting name for a museum, you don’t usually see Art and Science combined under the same roof. In their own words they are  “a museum that celebrates creativity  – the process at the heart of art and science” and well, you can’t really argue with that.

First of all I have to talk about the building. One of the iconic sights in the Marina Bay area, it reminds me of a big hand opened up skyward. According to Wikipedia it is supposed to be reminiscent of a lotus flower and perhaps the pond below it full of floating flowers supports this. However, it also says it is referred to as the ‘welcoming hand of Singapore’ so I guess I’m not the only one who see’s a hand. When in the upper gallery inside one of the ‘fingers’ the curved walls lead up to the skylight windows allowing natural light to flood in. Not just pleasing to the eye the bowl shaped roof collects rainwater which is recycled inside the building.

The museum does have a permanent ArtScience gallery but we chose to visit the two touring exhibits. Dinosaurs Dawn To Extinction was a journey through 600 million years. Informative, fun and lots of hands on items for kids, this was a really great, well laid out exhibition.  With plenty of real fossils and original art work alongside I could see that the Art Science could work.

The touring Art exhibition was Annie Leibovitz – A Photographers Life 1990-2005. I can’t say I had heard of her but I was familiar with some of the celebrity pictures that she has taken over the years when I saw them. This was a big exhibition, with many pictures and she had chosen to freely mix her own personal family photos with those she had taken as part of her work. An unusual photographer, often her subjects weren’t smiling, perhaps she felt this wasn’t a true reflection.

A great museum and with the touring exhibitions one that can be enjoyed again and again!

When the body fails the mind takes over

I wasn’t planning on doing a running update again for a while. I have a 10k in just over 3 weeks time so that would have probably been the next installment. Last week, for my long run, I set the alarm for 5:40 giving me time to have a snack and get myself organised and up to the woods ready to run at sunrise (6:45). This really seemed to help, the humidity was reduced, there was a breeze and I got about 3/4 of the way round my route before I really got all sticky and melting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still way slower than I would have liked but I actually enjoyed the run.

So, I had high hopes for a repeat performance this week as I edged the distance up a little. I even managed to eat a little more and was feeling good until I stepped outside. I could feel straight away the humidity was high even though the sun wasn’t up. From the moment I started running my body got that horrible layer of moisture and I’m not sure my choice of t-shirt was exactly helping to wick it away. Add to that a generally feeling of tiredness and it was a struggle most of the way round.

My time was even slower than last week when I passed the same distance and I had to dig deep to push out the extra few kilometers. Afterwards I stopped at a cafe for a cold drink, feeling a bit blue looking at my terrible split times on my watch. I was beginning to wonder if there was any way I could complete the 21km that I have entered in August. If I am melting after 13km I’m not sure how that last 8 will feel.

That’s when someone ran past me with the slogan on the back of his t-shirt “When the body fails the mind takes over” and that made me smile. A few simple words to remind me that its pushing your body that tests your mind. The only one who is disappointed in my time is me, the only one I am trying to beat is me. And with that note I won’t be aiming for a time in 3 weeks when I do that 10km, I’ll be aiming to finish and to enjoy it, thank you running man for putting that back in perspective!

S.E.A Aquarium

The South East Asia Aquarium is one of the many attractions on Singapore’s theme park island Sentosa. The local adverts and shuttle buses for the aquarium proudly announce it is the worlds largest but sadly China, not to be outdone by Singapore, has recently opened one which steals this title.

As one might expect from the (2nd) largest aquarium there is a lot going on inside this dark warren of tanks and tunnels. Probably easiest said with the pictures below we really enjoyed the sheer scale and variety of what there was to see. The highlights were the Jellyfish which were floating gracefully in tanks with changing lights and the hammerhead shark who really does look like he should be bashing his head off things!

These tanks were larger than anything I have ever seen and we had to look very hard to find where the glass had been joined and even then we had to walk back and forth along the tanks till the change in texture caught our eye……must be the engineers in us, a real feat of engineering and design.

Little India

One of the really amazing things about Singapore is the multicultural aspect of it. By that I don’t just mean there are people here from many parts of the world, its more the fact that the city has whole areas dedicated to certain cultural groups and in the case of this posting Little India.
Now, I should maybe mention that I have never been to India but I do get a sense this would is a fair representation, partly because there are a lot of India’s living there! 
Bright buildings and spice shops line the streets along with jewelry shops selling predominantly gold and costume jewelry. Bollywood tunes blare onto the street and there is a real hustle and bustle about the place. I really did feel like we had stepped off the bus into a very different place.
The Tekka Center hosts a top floor full of beautiful Indian outfits. I adore the bright colour and elaborate draped material.
On the ground floor of the Tekka center is one of Singapore’s wet markets where people buy fresh fish, meat, fruit and veg. Its fresh but we weren’t sure on the hygiene so we didn’t buy anything!
As we moved on down Serangoon road I was disappointed that the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple  (yes i had to look up the spelling) was covered up and being restored. I have seen it a few times from the bus and its picture would have been a good addition here.
Avoiding a rain we ducked into the Mustafa Center where on the first floor we found cheap spices, nuts and seeds (hurrah!) and to be frank the biggest supermarket we have seen so far in Singapore. As with many supermarkets here there was also lots of stuff that we just didn’t know what it was but its always fun looking. At the basement level of this superstore you could buy brightly coloured fabrics to make your own dresses and on the ground floor just about anything else you might ever need!
We ended out little exploration down Race Course road where we spotted some interesting restaurants and this even more interesting vehicle……a hearse perhaps?