Sunday, June 27, 2010

Boardwalks, wildlife and the death of a runner

Running in the heart of Singapore does not mean running in the Central Business District amidst all the gorgeous people going to work or choking in the exhaust fumes, although I have heard of gung-ho diehard runners who happened to be workaholics doing that (hhhm, sounds like a familiar description of someone…)

As for me running in the heart of this island means encircling the series of reservoir that fed millions of Singaporeans for years (until Newater came along)…yup, the MacRitchie, Peirce, Bedok reservoir then reaching to Bukit Timah Trail and also the Northern areas…runs that could stretch from central to north, west and east. I feel it’s one of the most beautiful running trails in Singapore.

I guess I didn’t prepare well for the run. I mean, running treadmill is very different from running the real deal. Being surrounded by thick canopy of tropical trees and shrubs, it’s akin to being zapped to the prehistoric past. Of course I don’t expect dinosaur trudging through, but we managed to catch a glimpse of two of some wildlife in the short time we were there.

The MacRitchie Reservoir is quite popular and well-maintained. Although not as packed as the East Coast Park, I feel that it’s a lot more rugged and less flashy. It’s like Tennessee vs California. Totally different class of parks…almost like comparing apples to oranges.

The moment I arrived, I glanced at the sky and thank God for the awesome weather. It was 5-ish and it rained in the morning. The cloudy sky lowered the temperature as we entered the park and decided on which trail to explore.

Being the only girl, I was given the choice and of course I am a sensible person. I mean, running 5km indoor is almost like running 2.5km outdoors. Therefore, I choose the shorter Lornie Trail, which will take us 3km to and 3km from the starting point. 6 km will be just nice (fingers-crossed)

After about 5 minutes, I cursed myself. Aaargh, why am I doing this? My turquoise Zoot shoes is in the process of destruction. It’s not made for muddy jungle trail. It’s made for cosmopolitan running. Aside from the fear of getting a concussion and losing my precious neurons, I was also not used to the heat and humidity….what the heck! Yeah, I know I am born and bred in the tropics, but that doesn’t mean I train in the jungle. I work out in sterile gym conditions okay.

I pushed myself on as SC zoomed on ahead while J accompanied me. I have a feeling that J hasn’t ran for a long time as well. I’m glad someone is of my pace. Running up and downhills on rocky and muddy paths is definitely not my forte.

I’m glad we pushed on. We were rewarded with the boardwalk paths which is IMHO, the best part of the trail. A couple of guys were joyfully fishing and throwing the fish back into the lake and I managed to catch some pics with the fish before they go back into their habitat. It was huge!!

We also found some colourful red-breasted birds, terrapins and of course, monkeys. When the trail ended, I think SC wanted to carry on to the other side but I was wary of spoiling my shoes and also worried of slowing him down. Therefore, I decided to turn back. The two gentlemen complied and we ran back.

The way back was very beautiful. As the sun was setting, the lake seemed so surreal and serene. The best thing was that the boardwalks were built on the water so we could see the trees by the shoreline as well as the aquatic plants in the clear water.

Although I did only 6km today, I felt quite pleased with a pretty neat and awesome discovery in this island. This new-found treasure is nearly as good as the shopping bargains all around the city and the hunt for most ‘shiok’ food. Would I come again? Definitely! With better shoes and much improved stamina. All thanks to SC and also to JL!

On a separate note, my condolences to the family and friends of Mr Lim WJ, who passed away in the 10km run during the Standard Chartered KL Marathon today. During the 8th km of the race, it was noted that he was sitting down by the roadside, then was observed to have a 'seizure' and collapsed. Few doctors running in the race attempted CPR while waiting for the emergency medical services. The boy died in HKL. May he rest in peace..

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