I Must Keep Running!

Drew this right after my jogging

My pair of spanking new running shoes are in tip top condition, the owner is not. Yesterday I jogged out of my lobby feeling light and especially happy that my shoes fit so well. I felt like gliding in air thinking that those gels underneath my feet must have been working real hard. Taking my “usual” 4.5km jogging route – by that I meant 5 years ago – my first challenge was to run up a small hill. Halfway, I felt like my lungs were collapsing, my heart was going to burst out of my chest, and my legs felt heavy. Not a good sign! I wanted to give up after … 45 seconds. If my 15 minutes of swimming is embarrassing, 45 seconds of running would not go down well in my history book. So I kept going … then I noticed something …

Initially I jogged with my eyes looking at the ground. Once I started to look at the sky and the far away scenery, I felt lighter. When I completed my 4.5km run, I was 40% slower than my “usual” record of 17 mins. Let’s see if I can be as fit as I was 5 years ago.

PS:

  • I had this image in my mind while I jogged and have decided to draw it out after a nice long rewarding shower.
  • Today my body aches like crazy.
  • I love my new running shoes.

Shopaholic Hit City Hall

People usually comment that women love to spend time in shopping and men shop with objectives in mind – just zoom into what they need and hit home run. I had my mother and sister’s jaws dropped when I walked straight to the pillow section of a departmental store and grabbed two of them in less than 5 seconds. These days, I am a changed man. This money saving mode has definitely lengthened my wish-list in every possible ways. And the real fun of shopping is to know that I have made a wise decision after exhausting all available options. Because of that, I was stuck in City Hall way longer than I have – how time flies when you shop! – and got Cynthia kept texting and calling me as subtle reminders. Look, it is really rude to pick up a call in the mist of an … engaging conversation with a salesperson, no?

Actually, I did have objectives in mind – besides the box of brown sugar and the can of WD-40 that I have conveniently forgotten – I needed a pair of goggles for my swimming and a pair of running shoes too. How else am I to hit my target of 8 hours of exercise a month when so far I have clocked in … ahem … half?

My buddy TK recommended Running Lab at Funan Center and indeed, I must say, these folks are professionals. This specialist Marc first asked me to take off my shoes and socks, roll up my pair of jeans, and he gave me a concise introduction on what we would be going through. Had he not told me so, I would have screamed: dude, take your hands off my feet! And when he ran his fingers along the sides of my feet as part of the diagnosis, I tried so hard not to giggle (yes, I am ticklish). After which, he asked me to run on treadmill and I gasped and told him that I have never run on a treadmill in my life!

He nearly gasped and put me on speed 2. I asked him what sort of speed do people usually run and he said 7 to 8. Okay, that hurt my ego a bit. Nevertheless, I did my best on speed 2 and he was observing how my feet landed on the treadmill. He kept asking me to run normally and … I really did my best to act like running on speed 2! I mean, it was sort of slow you know.

His diagnosis was that I need extra support on the inner sides of my feet. I countered that from the wearing and tearing of the heels of my shoes, I may need support on the outer sides instead. He counter-countered that from his observation, my feet landed on the outer side of my heel and then they curved inwards. Alright, sold! Extra support on the inner sides then.

He took out a couple of his recommendations that ranged from S$169 (gasp) to S$269 (gasp to the power 2). I chose the cheaper ones and we narrowed down with two models. I recalled that Marc did mention something about being able to try those shoes on the treadmill and hence, I asked if I may. Marc hesitated and said: you know, since you have never been on a treadmill before, it is rather dangerous for you to do so. But … this month’s motto is “nothing is gonna stop me!” … so I begged and he conceded. I did a speed 8 – proudly – and how I love those shoes! Still couldn’t decide which one to go for and he took out … an orange one. The orange one looked (still do) absolutely fabulous. He touched the heart of a customer and I fell in love with the orange one instantly. At that moment, I didn’t care which brand is which. He surely knew how to help me in making decisions.

So … a pair of orange running shoes worth S$169 … a pair of goggles worth S$30 … two CDs from HMV and an accessory (don’t ask) worth S$45 … BreadTalk snacks worth S$11 … guitar strings for my 12-strings worths S$13 a total of S$268!

Gasp! I really should have stayed at home.

Edit: Thanks to Tong Kiat who pointed out that my pair of running shoes cost S$169 instead of previously written S$269. Dude, you are good!

Edit: I have forgotten that I have bought guitar strings … till I emptied out the plastic bags.

Of Courts Megastore and Mustafa

Courts Megastore (left) and Mustafa (right)

Thanks to my VCR that has proudly served me well for 8 years and recently went out-of-order, I have finally set my feet onto the brand new Courts Megastore and the famous 24-hrs Mustafa.

Getting to Courts Megastore was not as easy as I thought it would be. Though I saw the huge buildings (the brand new IKEA is right next to it) on the other side of the highway, it took me a few maneuvers to reach it. Suffice to say, Courts Megastore is huge and spacious, but I have my doubt over the variety of goods. Identical to IKEA, Courts Megastore dictates the flow of the human traffic. You are advised to start from the 3rd floor via the escalators and work yourself down. Of course you could take the lift and get to whichever floor you want. However, they do encourage you to shop in a clockwise direction.

I asked for a Hitachi Plasma TV and they don’t carry Hitachi brand (huh?). I needed some advice on DVR and the salesmen of Courts are as useless as ever – just reading off labels.

Complains aside, it is a wonderful place for me to spend hours inside trying out new stuffs (I didn’t as I have to make a dash to VivoCity shortly after). I love the XBox 360 corner. There are huge LCD TVs and sofas for you to try out some of the games. It has been a really long time since I have played console games and gosh, this XBox racing game is brutal. Not only do I need to take over other cars, I need to “take them out”. If I was to play that game for hours, I wonder how would my driving habit be changed.

Getting out of Courts Megastore is a nightmare as there are no road signs that get you back to the highways. Having absolutely no idea as in where I was heading, I got onto Tampines Avenue 10, followed the road to a nice smooth and new flyover, and into … Bukit Kaki. Where on earth is Bukit Kaki anyway? It seems like an old industrial town with narrow streets (sorry if you are an elite resident of Bukit Kaki, it’s just my first impression). I kept going straight and I saw signs saying “Eunos”. I punched my fist in the air (YES!), happily got myself into the highway PIE – though, I must say, not without hair raising moments cutting through a jammed traffic in rush hour gambling if the highway entrance of the correct direction was to the left or to the right – and arrived at VivoCity on the dot.

I thought I have traveled lots of extra miles but I did a check and realised that going through Bukit Kaki was the shortest route in reaching the highway PIE to the city direction from Courts Megastore. Moral of the story? At times you feel lost, just keep going straight and keep an eye on your surroundings. You may find yourself better off in the end.

Mustafa, on the other hand, is the opposite of Courts Megastore. It has a wide variety of goods and it is one of the favorite shopping places amongst the Indian community. I can find hundred and one types of can openers inside. There is a floor full of jewellery in gold and there is a floor full of jewellery not in gold. There are so many entrances guarded with 2 to 3 Indians that I did not know which one to enter. I asked one of the guards for electronic goods and he pointed me to basement 2. I thought he thought I was heading to the car park and when the life door opened, lo and behold, a huge floor cramped with all sort of electronic goods. They even sell electronic pets inside.

I did not get anything from Mustafa but it was certainly an eye opening experience.

My Windows XP Went Ka-Boom On Me

Every so often, my Windows registry gets corrupted and as a result, I can’t even boot up my computer. Microsoft programmers ought to get shot. If registry is so sacred, shouldn’t the programmers at least implement a robust approach to at least restore the last-known registry when it is evident that the registry is corrupted?

Spent more than one whole day re-installing Windows XP and all my favourite applications. You know what? It took me 46 steps to get back to where I was and it is no joke.

Day 5 of 2007

According to the January edition of Reader’s Digest, 40% of people have already given up their New Year Resolutions by the 2nd week. Also, it is motivation rather than discipline that keeps the momentum going. Interesting. Since the first two weeks of New Year is so crucial, I better buckle up and really do something about the ten things that I said I’ll do.

After a nice lunch with my buddy Mark, I returned home and the sky outside was blue, weather was warm, the swimming pools were … inviting. So I have decided to kick start my exercise initiatives and start to score some points. As I was fiddling with my computer, its health started to deteriorate and I was glued onto it minutes after minutes as the sky turned dark, thick cloud was forming, and a heaving rain was looming. I got out of my seat and made a dash into my bedroom looking for my swimming gears. Nothing was going to stop me …

… I took out my goggles (with degrees) and gasp, it was broken! I opened my second drawer and where was my swimming trunks? Finally I found it buried underneath some places that I wouldn’t even dig into in any given day. I changed, grabbed my towel, and made a dash to the swimming pools downstairs.

The water was so cold! But nothing was going to stop me. Not even the water that kept irritating my eyes. It must have been years since I swam. I did a round of breaststroke (my two swimming pools are sort of round in shape) and I was breathless. Remembering how one time I couldn’t even walk out of the swimming pool due to lack of practice, I have decided to take it easy. I regained my energy and made another round. And there was this man who kept surpassing me with freestyle. Men, how competitive we are, I am sure one day I will get back at him – but not today. I found myself another spot and did a backstroke instead (how wonderful that water was not getting into my eyes this way) and this guy did a butterfly! If only I am fitter …

Anyway, raindrops falling from the sky and time for me to head back to shore with my … freestyle. I swear my head was spinning due to such an intensive exercise. I looked at the clock when I returned to my apartment and how I hate the honestly of time. It certainly felt much longer than 15 minutes of swimming, I swear.