Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Multiple yellow lines: a weekend two-fer

A first-timer's Yellow Ribbon 10K

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, when I was just a baby reporter, all the rookies went on a field trip to the courts and watched a few cases of people being sentenced - from drug offences to petty theft. I used to wonder what would happen to them when they got out of jail.

As it turns out, the best rehab programme in jail means nothing if society at large doesn't give an ex-con a second chance. That's why the Yellow Ribbon Project was started by a group of government agencies and community organisations: it campaigns to give people another chance, and helps ex-offenders find work, get family counselling, and stay off drugs.

The Yellow Ribbon Prison Run is a 10K/ 6K fun run meant to highlight (in bright yellow) this cause, and runners get a chance to fundraise for the project or donate directly. Oh, and you get to run around the prisons at Changi - a part of town most of us will never see (at least not from the inside).

The race is astonishingly well-organised. Shuttle buses are provided from the nearest carpark/ MRT station (Expo) to the start point (except for one minor quibble: the bus ride took nearly 50 minutes including 15 totally unnecessary minutes of being stuck in traffic). Husband and I got to the start point half an hour late and started with the 6K runners - this was our own silly fault.

The course has gentle rolling hills, and can be narrow in places. It's way out at the eastern edge of Singapore, and is completely different from all the city road races that take you around and around downtown. To give you an idea of what a normal-sized race in Singapore is like - 10,000 people did this run. If you plan to PR, do not for the love of all that is holy start with the 6K fun runners and wrassle your way through the tail end of the 10Ks like we did.

This was a regular old tempo run for me - I'd just run 14km the day before - so I wasn't too fussed, and simply enjoyed the view; I wound up moseying in in 59:17, no PR but a decent enough time (I've been doing sub-1h 10Ks consistently for only a year now), and to my astonishment was 18th in my age group. At the start, husband immediately zoomed off ("I love you! See you at the finish") and was done in 49 minutes. This is testament to an unjust universe, as his entire training consists of running 4 to 8 km home from work four days a week.

Schoolchildren came out to cheer - so cute! Even the guards at the women's prison were out cheering us on. And the goody bag we got at the end contained a miniature mooncake (it is mooncake season) with a yellow ribbon on it - baked by a service run by ex-offenders! Unfortunately I had to go to work right away after that, so wasn't able to stick around for this...

Photo from the Yellow Ribbon Project Facebook page. 
I'll probably be signing up for this run again next year. Everyone deserves a second chance, after all...

I have these in yellow: A short, tight review - Mizuno Inspire short tight

I have two pairs of these - one has that bluish-purple stripe and the other has a yellow stripe. I wear them a lot (though I did not wear them for the Yellow Ribbon run, alas). The length (3 inch inseam?) is perfect. Note - I am 165cm/ 5'4 with stubby legs and I won't get arrested for wearing these in public. If you are taller, you may disagree. Despite the name, the size S was neither too short nor too tight for me. So what's the catch? Read on.

The tights have TWO pockets - a small one in front (I put my keys in there and there was no bouncing) and a larger one at the back (my Ezlink card, ID and a bit of cash fit in there just nice). With so much pockety goodness you'd think they'd be perfect for a long run.

So I took them out for a long(ish) run on Saturday, a lovely, unplanned, go-where-my-feet-take-me morning run. (This is what I do when I'm not training for marathons.) I ended up running about 14km downhill, uphill, and through to a trail that took me halfway around Macritchie - one of my usual routes, with some variations.

And then I got on the air-conditioned bus to go home. And I froze my butt off because my shorts were so soggy.

Use for: short sharp races (10K and under) to carry all your essentials around in if you don't want to deposit a bag, short runs before work, track workouts when you are running late
Don't use for: long runs, anything where you might sweat a lot and can't change out immediately after, sitting around straight after a soggy workout if you mind leaving damp butt-prints


  1. Wow that is a huge 10K. One day, oh one day maybe I'll get below 1 hour for a 10K. I think that's a great time!

    LOL on the butt prints...I've left those a few times.

    1. I have absolutely no doubt you'll get that sub-1h 10K! And that there will be whooping and hollering when it happens. Do your speed intervals! And one day the stars will align :)

  2. That's such a great cause for a run. I was watching a program just the other day about things like this to stop offenders re-offending and getting on with a normal life. It was about giving people skills and work so they felt valued and worthwhile. So few of the participants re-offended. And, shamefully, it's programs like this that our government wants to cut just to save a few dollars. I personally think that if they spend the dollars here they won't have to spend more by putting people away in prison.

    1. So true. It's an investment, not an expenditure... if you're not willing to spend on that, you're wasting perfectly good citizens and wasting people's lives. How does it work in Australia? Singapore's both a city and a country, so it can do this sort of thing on a nationwide scale, and ensure people don't fall through the cracks when they move, for instance.

      - Grace

  3. I find that taking public transport is soaking wet shorts to be a fabulous way to get some bonus "icing" out of my ride home... But I have to ask: What, exactly, do you wear that DOESN'T spend the ride home soggy? Even my quickest drying apparel is plastered to my legs by the end of a long run...?

    1. Hm. My Brooks and Oiselle shorts don't seem to get that soggy. Or at least they dry pretty fast, so that they're still kind of damp, but fairly dry to the touch after a long run.

      My tops, on the other hand...I just accept that all of them will be soggy and deeply, unglamorously sweaty; it's just that the tight ones (eg UA tanks) bother me much less.

      - G