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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I am most probably gonna start a real job soon.  'Most probably' cause it is still subject to some stuff before finalization and 'real job' means 8:45am-5:45pm (I wonder how am I going to drag myself out of slumber at those ungodly hours!), 5 days week (no more hanging with friends for 4 hours lunches!).  

The strangest part is, I am actually *excited*!

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Sensational Energizer Night Race 2011

By now, I am sure most of you already aware of the whole Energizer Night Race's fiasco that took place last Saturday.  Both Energizer Malaysia (the title sponsor) as well as Expose Media (the event organizer) had issue apology letters to all runners of the night.  It was such a pity really.  That was one event that many look forward to.  And I, was one of the many. :)  When I said 'many', believe me, it was really MANY.  A total of 10,000 runners to blow your mind away!  If each of them gonna fart simultaneously, I think it would be toxic-er than Fukushima.  Ok ok, erase that last part out of your mind.  It's disgusting. :p
There were many reasons why the Energizer Night Race 2011 was a highly anticipated event:
  • It was an international format race - done in South Korea, Argentina, Philippines and South Africa.  
  • Every registered runner would receive a unique Energizer LED Headlight to be worn on while they run.
  • This year's race will be held in the Sepang International F1 Circuit (SIC), barely a week after the Petronas Malaysian F1 Grand Prix leg, where many would never have a chance to set foot in if they are not a motorsports enthusiast.  If try hard enough, one might still sniff some leftover smoke! :p
  • Winners would have a chance to stand on the very podium Sebastien Vettel, Jenson Button & Nick Heidfeld stood less than a week ago!
  • Plenty of big sponsors.  Meaning, plenty of goodies too!
  • Get to run alongside iconic runners such as Mohd. Shariff Abdullah, the 'Singapore Blade Runner' who runs with a prosthetic leg.
But, despite of all the awesomeness listed above, there was just one reason for me running.  I ran because it was a night race.  Just that.  I love running at night.  Somehow the night air seems to suit me better.  Less allergens in the air to trigger the whizzing plus I am usually more 'energized' too unlike running in the morning when I would still be half asleep.  Lols.
I didn't managed to register a place for the run actually.  By the time I dilly-dallied, the registration was already closed.  My running buddies were grumbling at me.  I was actually secretly celebrating it :p.  Can kick back and relax a little :p.  (I know, shame on me!) What can I do? It wasn't my fault the 10,000 places was filled in 45 days!  An average of 222+ registrations per day!!!  Mad crazy right?
Unfortunately, my celebration was short-lived. A week prior to the run, Evie (3bittersweetlemon), my run buddy (who dengki (jealous) that I didn't signed up) called.  She mentioned something about running as 'Media' and that she will be forwarding an email to me and all I have to do was just to register.  That was how my fate was sealed for the 5.5km run.  Evie kept instigating me to go for 11km.  Mad woman.  I seriously don't want to torture myself that way. (And now they are conspiring to sign me up for 21km!  I might as well just go dig myself a hole and die!)
Overall, the run started off rather pleasantly for me.  I was not caught in the tunnel ('tunnel of death' some claimed) to the paddock nor did I have any issue at the headlight collection point.  The husband & I arrived at 6pm where the human traffic in the tunnel were still alright.  Didn't collect the headlights at the end of the tunnel cause I was under the impression that I ran under 'Media' and was not entitled to any goodies.  Meaning, even if I break the world's record time, I would still not be entitled to prizes.  I was just a 'free' runner. :)  
Met up with the rest of the gang at PowerBar's booth and was informed by Evie that I should go register myself at the Media Center.  And so I went. (7)
I was surprised when they gave me not only a big bagful of goodies (a photographer vest, a sigg bottle, shavers from Schicks,  tampons from Playtex, battery charger from Energizer & etc) but a run bib as well.  :)  I certainly didn't expect anything like that.  I just wanted to run at night.  But now that they gave me a bib number, I like :).  Felt that I am part of something big. :)  Luckily the husband came along or I would have no one to jaga (watch over) my loots.
Together with my bib, I return to the end where participants are emerging from the tunnel to queue for the headlight.  Evie said I won't be able to see on the track without one.  I doubt.  Nevertheless, I don't wanna be left out.  :)  I got my headlight without much drama.  I was told  that the headlight collection point was later abandoned by the person-in-charge when all hell broke loose.  Runners agitation for being stuck in the tunnel for too long (1).  Everyone was free to help themselves to those headlights.  As usual, in this part of the world (unlike Japan), when something is free, they would grab as many as they can.  A defect in the mindset that would take many more generations to perfect.
Upon collection/registration of everything that needed to be collected/registered, I joined the rest of the group at the carnival site.  The carnival site was set up actually for people like the husband - supporters & spectators, so that they will not be left out of the fun and at the same time get to kill some time while we ran. :)  Besides the many more free goodies given out there from the event sponsors' booths, there were also screenings of movies and an in-line skating competition.  :)  The husband should be very well entertained right?  But he prefer to stand by the pit waiting for me to finish my lap. Lols... Probably he was worried that his blur wife would roll into a drain or something or lost her way.  Hahahaha...(8)
One photo with the battery!
There was a session of massive group warm up exercise too led my trainers from Fitness First.  
The atmosphere was nice seeing so many people warming up at once with loud music blaring in the air.
Of course I didn't follow the session or you wouldn't have all these 'funtastic' photos.  Actually, it was because there were these three girls sitting on the floor right behind me.  I don't like people staring up my butt from that angle when I sway them left and right. -.-  Unless of course if that person is some yummilicious hunk, I wouldn't mind swaying them all night long. ;)
Spotted 'man of steel' flashing his undies while we were chilling out waiting for flag off time.  I was joking with the girls... 'Let's grope and see how 'steel' man of steel is'.  Hehehehe...  Seriously, 'Man of Steel' undies????!  And flashing it still????  What was he thinking?
Soon, the time has come for flag off.  The kompang group (malay traditional drum) can be seen here leading the 42km runners to the 'start line'; the first category to be flagged off.
Our F1 circuit at night.  Beautiful.  :)  There was a line of marshals on bikes getting ready too for the flag off (2)
And hooligans climbing up the concrete divider, to get a better view over the fence above the divider.  Seriously, sometimes I wonder where did they came from.  Some jungle or something?  Didn't it every crossed their mind the fence is there for a reason?  Or, with so many people hanging/leaning against it, it might collapse?  I guess, again, 3rd world mentality, when it collapse, they will cry foul and sue the organizer.  

There was this young mother, carried her young son up the already packed divider and asked him to hold on tightly.  Then she pull herself up too followed by the husband!!!  My spot was without the fence for photography purpose.  The son just kept inching till right in front my lens!  I was very tempted to bite him.  Wtf man?  The mother apologized hoping I would be kind enough to let her son stay where he was.  Kindness went on leave that day :p. I just gave her a look and told her to please remove him.   I've no issue with the boy but the parents.  What kind of parenting is that?  Anyway, enough of bad parenting.  Like I said, it would take many more generations for rectifications.  
All hyped up runners getting ready at the start line.  I wonder what's going on in their mind at that very moment ~ "Oh shit... wtf have I put myself into?"... hahahahaha...  For me, I know it pops up halfway thru my 5.5km.  Lols... Somehow, 5.5km seems so much farther in that F1 circuit.  It was like a never ending stretch!  One corner after another, and another and another and another..... Usher's OMG kept playing over and over again in my head for every corners I turned!  Just the chorus part though... hahahaha....
The runners dashing off on sound of a horn :)
Slow and steady pace. :)
Check out the coolness of that LED headlights caught in this photo which runners had them strapped on while they ran.  It look like a long stream of lights!  :)
Runners for the rest of the categories packed into the pit waiting for their turn.  This is more or less the point when more chaoticness set in.  The music were just blaring too loud, announcement over the PA system were too echoey.  Runners not sure where to go.  I am alright though cause the itinerary was given to me at the Media Center.
5.5km category was the last group to be flagged off.  I managed somehow, got myself to the starting line, amidst hundreds/thousands of sweaty bodies and smelly armpits. :p  It was exciting standing there, all ready, waiting for the cue to run!  
I just sprinted the moment they counted to 1 followed by a loud horn indicating the flag off.  I know I should pace myself but there were just too many obstacles to pace myself properly.  I just wanna get myself out of that mass! :p  I think I ran for about 1.5km before I slowed down to walk to catch my breath before continuing on with a walk & sprint pattern.  Seriously, all runners should be educated with 'running etiquette'!  Common sense mostly.

  • If you need to walk, walk on far left lane.
  • If you are running slow & steady, middle lane.
  • Keep the right lane clear for average to fast runners.
  • And if you need to stop for whatever reason, do it off the course.
I find the run quite bored cause there were not much entertainment to look forward to along the route or perhaps I was just spoilt by Nike 10.10.10 Run where entertainment were abundant (3).  Over here, the only entertainment I had was a medic kiosk and a water kiosk.  Both of which I gave it a pass cause nothing in me cramps and I am not thirsty.  The water kiosk was packed to brim I tell you.  Cups & cans were littered all over the track!  Sigh... (4).

It was pitch black mostly save for the headlights strapped on the runners - head, leg, waist and everywhere they can think of.  I had mine on my arm instead.  Didn't want to strap it on my head cause it somehow gave me the urge to tap rubber, just kidding...hehehehe... (used to see rubber tappers wearing a light on their forehead when they goes out to work in the wee hour of the morning).
I got back pretty fast, faster than what I clocked at Nike I think (5).  The husband pointed to a counter for 5.5km finisher to queue for 'something' and I queued.  Another reason I think I got back pretty fast also cause the finisher queue was just less than 5m long when I joined.  Upon collection of my 'something', I turned around and saw that the queue had suddenly grew so long!  Lucky me!
The 'something' that I collected was actually more goodies :)  More or less the same stuff found in my Media's goodie bag, minus the photographer's vest, plus a 'Certificate of Participation' for me to fill my name in and a 5.5km finisher qualifier medal!  Wow... they actually gave us a medal!  Unlike in Nike, it was just a plastic figurine.  I was a little disappointed when I got that at Nike's.  But now, on second thought, I think a figurine would be better as compared to a medal right?  At least it can be displayed.  Hmmm.... the heart never contend.  Lols...

Watched 'Transformer' being aired on the big screen while waiting for the rest of the group at our agreed 'after-run-meet-point'.   Waited for about 45minutes and still no one turn up.  Decided to go survey the area for them for just in case we messed up the points.
It was then that I witness how crazy the finisher's goodie bag points has turned into.  It was no longer that orderly line I was in earlier.  Everyone just helped themselves to the bags.  Sigh... (6).
I saw runners carting away bunch of bananas, crates of mineral water & etc and I was so tempted to walk up to them ..."Hey monkey, you never eaten a banana before is it?" but thought better of it.  I only got a husband with me for protection.  Not a whole squad of SWAT team.  Seriously?!?  Bananas?!?

Luckily I only ran 5.5km and I managed to skip all these madness.  Just pity my friends who ran for 11km & 21km.  They smacked right into all these nonsense.  Those 42km runners were the worst.  They were still running outside when the organizer abandoned the venue/when we drove off.

Like what I mentioned earlier, it was a much anticipated run event.  It was just a pity it has to turn out this way.  From what I've observed, these are my findings:-

(1) Headlights collection point was unstrategically placed.  Organizer should have study the venue more carefully and take into consideration the massiveness of the crowds before deciding on the points of collection.

(2) Lack of race marshals.  With more than 10 corners along the route, there should be a lot more marshals on site to make sure runners do not cut thru shortcuts as well as to assist should someone injured or something.  (I know, I don't know why these cheaters ran in the first place.  As I had mentioned, 'mental defect'.)

(3) Have every kilometer marked along the route so that runners know how much they have completed. Also, can set up cheer leading groups at every corner to cheer the runners on!  Thus creating a merrier atmosphere with more entertainments.  

(4) More water & medic kiosks certainly!  These are very very important.  Again, more hands to get the drinks ready in paper cups instead of handing out cans which proves to be a nuisance when it was thrown all over the track.  I've to make sure I don't trip over one as I ran pass the area.

(5) Invest in disposable time recorder strip for every runners to be strapped onto their shoe not just for the 21km & 42km runners.  Then all runners can be flagged off at the same time save the messiness.  All that is left to do were just big signage at cross junctions for different categories to be branch off.  Recorded time would be automatically uploaded into a system and every runners would be able to know their time.

(6)  Simplify process of handing out finisher's goodie bag so that the queue can be cleared as soon as the runners come in.  Instead of just having one queue handing out goodie bag + water + banana + medal + certificate, have 5 queues per category to just hand out medals & water.  Set up this queues say 100m from the finish line.    Have big signage showing queues for 5.5km, 11km, 21km & 42km so that runners knows where to go to.  As for the goodie bags, have few booths set up at the carnival area for runners to collect later.  Not only will this clear the traffic, it brings them to the carnival where sponsor's booths are.  Good for publicity too.

(7) Again, more signage please.  If not for Evie, I would probably never find the 'Media Center' .

(8) Non runners shouldn't be allowed into the pit.  

As I was writing this, another Media Statement was issued from Energizer Malaysia stating that they would now take over Expose Media's prior commitment to fully distribute all certificates, medals, finishers' t-shirts, headlights and complimentary gifts to every registered participant in the race.  Not only that, they will also refund the full registration fees for every registered participant as previously announced.

Well, as of now, the event has already came and gone.  Good or bad, no point crying over spilt milk.   Whatever happened, has happened.  Whatever shouldn't happened had also happened.  At least the organizer as well as the title sponsor (Energizer Malaysia) has came forward and taken full responsibility of the mismanagement of the event.  I just hope that all future organizers of such events would be more meticulous in their planning process.  Put runners well being first priority.  It was just fortunate that this time round there was no more untoward incidents.  Worst could have had happened.

Nevertheless, I still think it was a sensational race.  Both in good & bad ways. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Short Getaway To Avillion PD (plus some points to ponder)

In the midst of dinner the other night, I was chatting with the husband.  I said, "Darling, if a Genie were to jump out now and give me two options to choose one from...

(1) blasting me back to the past to school days time where there were no worries; or
(2) blasting me to the future,

... I would ask the Genie to go fly kite instead :p.  I love life so much that there is not a thing that I would like to change if I were to relive the past nor would I want to fast forward to the future and miss the process of getting there be it good or bad.  Good or bad, I want to embrace it all.  They are just life experiences that adds value.  :)  Don't believe me?  Let's take a walk down memory lane.  Identify the 'worst' part of your life.  Does it even feel that 'worst' now?  Not really isn't it.  If you allow yourself to, you may even smile at it now. :)


Anyway, two weekends ago, went for a short weekend getaway with Flor & Mambo to Port Dickson to unwind and chill out a little.  Just a short 2D/1N thingy.  Nothing elaborate about the short trip.  A less than an hour journey to sun, sea and sand and not forgetting a whole lot of imagined fresh air too.  Still good.  (Imagined cause I think it is still too closed to city for any quality fresh air!).  :)
We stayed at the much talked about Water Chalet at the Avillion.  A perfect idyllic little place for a short getaway :)  It was really nice and I fell in love with it immediately.  It was my virgin trip to Avillion.  My other two friends had been there before.  So they are not as mad about the whole place as I did. :p
Each of our unit came with a private sundeck, a huge bathroom with an open air shower (which I forgotten to take picture.  No, actually I don't really fancy taking pictures of toilets to share... :p), a really nice day bed to chill plus a huge four posted king size bed!  

We forgotten to request for a twin sharing or probably the agent who handled our booking at their KL office thought we are just a hot lesbian couple on honeymoon!  Lols.....
This little town where Avillion is used to produce charcoal a long time ago.   Other than charcoal, tin ore were plentiful too in Lukut (an area within the district) which attracted Chinese immigrant miners.  The British envisioned the little town to have great potential as a harbour.  It was later developed as a small port by the British.  It was believed to be named after a Sir John Frederick Dickson who was the officer in-charge during that era in 1889.  Since then, it has evolved into a busy trading centre with construction of railways to facilitate growth.  Today, Port Dickson is no longer a busy port nor trading centre.  Just a little town with beautiful tourist destinations. :)
All three of us agreed that though the resort is pretty near to the city, it still able to emit the 'feel' of a vacation.  The only downside was, the people working at the resort were not as hospitable as resorts in Bali or Phuket.  One don't get friendly smiles or greetings whenever path are crossed.  Hmm... probably is just a Malaysian to Malaysian thingy.  Maybe a local tourist is not considered a tourist.  You save  your smile for another more worthy tourist. :p
There is even a petting zoo in Avillion that housed many cute little animals which include a variety of rabbits, beautiful pet chickens and colourful peacocks.  There was a time as we were walking past, we found a chicken outside the fenced up little zoo, pecking at the fence wanting to get back inside.  Worrying about it's safety, we rounded up on the little chicken with the intention of getting hold of it and putting it back to it's rightful place.  As we were closing in on it, it suddenly flew and went across into the zoo.  It really caught us all by surprise.  We were in shock for a sec before breaking out in hysterical laughters.  We forgotten that chicken do fly!  Lols...  With that, we realized that the fence was not built to keep the pets in, but, to keep the human out.  Dang...!
The birds are free to roam/fly anywhere they like in the resort.  This peacock was seen taking it's evening stroll by the pool where we were sun tanning (Flor)/swimming (Mambo)/lazing out (me with a book!).  It was so cool isn't it?  
Nothing beats a cold beer by the pool on a beautiful hot sunny day except for Coke Light of course cause I am having it!  I was pretty tempted to go for a beer but was watching my weight.  Somehow, I just bloat madly with beer.  Better watch it before I crush my dance partner to pile of nothingness. :p
What I love most at Avillion (besides the fabulous water chalet) is their other pool which is strictly for adults only.  No, nothing of that sort that is currently playing in your mind.  We don't swim in nude.  Lols.  Just no children.  Rather nice actually for a change.  Can just sun, swim, read, drink and doze off there! :)  Peaceful.  What more to ask for for just RM200?  Yeah, just RM200, about US$70.  Not RM2000.  :)

What happened was, sometime in March, Flor and I was in desperate need for a short vacation.  Then she remembered a friend mentioned something about some Avillion package promotion that was going on.  She immediately called up to enquire and the next thing I remembered was, the two of us marching into their office in KL and purchased a 1 year membership for RM599!  With this membership, we are entitled to:

1 night stay in Avillion Port Dickson
1 night stay in Avillion Admiral Cove
1 night stay in Avillion Legacy Malacca
plus a whole lots of discounts vouchers, free meals and special room rates.

RM599 divided between the two of us were just RM299.50!  I would say that is like super cheap!  And that, is how we ended up with a 2D/1N getaway to Avillion Port Dickson! :) As for Mambo, he couldn't resist the deal when we told him about it during one of our happy hours session. 

When we got tired of the pool, we went fly kite at the beach.  Literally.  Actually I was busy taking pictures most of the time.  They were the ones who flew the kite.  
Flor was smart enough to bring a kite or we would have one less thing to do there (or I would have one less object to shoot) :p.  The vivid colours of the kite against the blue sky were simply awesome!
One of the many shots that I like :)  My unsuspecting targets enjoying the sunsetting beach.
And another of a golden sunset with tiny stretch of dry land with trees plus an oil platform caught in the far distance.
And of course two hot babes by the beach to complete the picture.  Afterall, what is beach photography without babes?!? Hehehe...  It was also at this very moment that I was attacked by sandflies.  I tell you, they really are the most annoying little bunch of creatures in the world.  The itch..... can die arr!!!  I have counted a total of more than 10 nasty big red bites on my legs and arms.  Just perfect when I have to look my best for a dinner event!
That's me having a go at maintaining the kite up there and oh boy!  They were surprised when I could handle it so naturally.  Come on, flying a kite is like the main hi-light of my childhood ok... (and adulthood too but that is a totally different aspect altogether :p).  I was like one of the best kite flyer along my jalan (the street I lived in).  Under 'little girls' category that is.  :)  But still.... it is worth something. :)
We had a simple dinner of chilli crabs, fried rice and eggs/vege (I couldn't quite recall) with help of a GPS which pointed us to a rather presentable place listed under 'restaurants' in Port Dickson.  The name of the restaurant was something .. Seaview. :p  Lols... I was too hungry to take note of it.  But, I also believe there are many other equally yummy restaurants scattered around Port Dickson too.  Just be adventurous when you are there next time.  Mini myni mini mo to pick one :D
We collected our pre ordered complimentary marble cheese cake from the hotel's coffee house before adjourning back to Mambo's suite (cause we don't wanna mess up our's :p) for a small belated birthday celebration for Flor.  The cake were simply delicious.  Not too sweet and the texture were just right.  It was just a pity that we were not able to finish it and it was too big to be stuffed into the mini bar.
Our one and only group photo for the trip.  Can tell we had had a great day!
It was monopoly after that.  I tell you, playing a game of monopoly with filled tummies + good wine can get pretty, ermm... pretty crazy.  Everything just seems extra funny and hillarious.  We laughed so much that evening, at practically everything.  The best part was, we only had a bottle of wine plus a sip of tequila which eventually had me swore off it for good.  It was yucky!  I don't like TEQUILA.
Here I got bored building so many houses, I gave myself a silly teenager's hairdo while waiting for them to settle their debts :p
I was never into monopoly much but this set that Mambo brought really had me fallen head over heels with the game.  It was a cashless game.  Transactions of million dollars are done strictly thru credit cards.  Monopoly credit card that is.  Impressive.  Now I am itching to get a set for myself. :) Oh, did I mentioned that Mambo collects Monopoly set from all over the world?
Picture of my properties in London and New York!  If only they were real... I really can goyang kaki already (shake legs)... :p
The first one to hit a balance of 600k and below and a bankruptcy eventually.
The other bankruptcy.
And the millionaire for the night was yours truly :)  Millionaire, millionaire, millionHAIR got la....

We relax out at the patio after that enjoying our wine together with the sea breeze and the shimmering lights from a distance shore chatting away at nothing of importance before calling it a night.  I love an easy outing like this one.  Going home smelling of sun! 


Even though I may stand a risk of not remembering a thing at the end and still, I wouldn't want to miss a thing.  I simply love being alive and welcoming what each day would bring be it exciting or not.  I love breathing in a lung full of fresh air (though they are usually not fresh in this part of the city we are living in, but still...), I love irritating the hell out of the husband, I love running through the dance choreo in my head over and over again, I love making silly jokes out of myself, I love having nothing to do though sometimes it bores the hell out of me.
What's the point of living life complaining about it?  At the end of the day, we just wasted our lifetime away.  I really don't know what's the meaning of 'a lifetime'.  Is a lifetime now?  Or now is it just a small part of a bigger thing?  Like in a game or something.  Like this is just a stage that we have to get thru to get to a bigger picture.  Hmmm... points to ponder.  But then again, whatever a lifetime means, does it really matters?