Saturday, October 4, 2014

Monkey wrench

What do you do when a major intercontinental move and work/ life throw a spanner in all your racing plans for the year? (Not that I had any other racing plans besides the aquathlon - ankle rehab, ouch - and the Great Eastern Women's Run in November.)

You keep busy...

- volunteering at another ultramarathon - the Craze Ultra (I was second-shift team lead at the 100-mile turnaround point); alas, between feeding all our runners watermelon, Coke, chips, sandwiches and juice, huddling beneath the tent with the logistics director and runners at midnight when a drizzle turned into a HUGE thunderstorm, and cleaning up after our station closed, it completely slipped our minds to take any photos.

There is one photo I know that exists somewhere out there, and it was taken by Ripley (aka Kelly) of Ripley Runs. She's a local ultrarunner who is very, very tough - she recently completed the Badwater ultramarathon - and at the same time an incredibly nice person. It's such a stereotype, but the ultrarunners I've met here are so much friendlier and more laid-back than the type-A jostler/ medal-junkie/ complainer you get at the average road race here. 

- hanging out with all the little kids at our friends' kids' birthday party last week (their kids are 7, 5, 3, and one month and the older three all had their church/ kindergarten/ elementary school friends over too - oh the cuteness!) 

Out of privacy concerns I won't put up their photos but here is the adorable birthday invitation. Having a soccer coach come over and run games of freeze tag, What's the Time Mr Wolf, and other ballgames for a birthday party attended by 40 kids is a GREAT idea. (If you are an unwary adult, it is also a good way to get beaned in the head with a stray plastic ball or balloon.)  

Please excuse the badly-done privacy airbrush.
- appreciating the local wildlife. This morning there were THREE fat little striated herons on my usual route, AND a baby water monitor lizard, AND I left my phonecam at home because I was just out for a quickie 5km. 

But you can have a picture of this cute little fellow I saw on my run the other day. 

Grey heron, just doing its thing. 

Speaking of monitor lizards, here is a public service announcement: Know your varanid lizards!

(These guys are fairly common in Singapore and can grow to...uhh, unusual size. You'll see them in canals or basking on boardwalks in parks and reserves. And people frequently mistake them for the much more menacing Komodo dragons - which don't live here at all. Water monitors are mostly harmless - don't put your fingers near their jaws, duh - and will generally run away from you when disturbed.) 

Image by Ivan Kwan


  1. Wow-you ultra volunteer experience sounds much more intense than mine last weekend! Thunderstorm at midnight? Yeesh. I just got to hand out medals all day :) Trails relax a person much, much more than roads do, hence the stereotype which is generally true, but I do know many nice road racers!

    1. I do know plenty of lovely road racers (this was a mostly-pavement ultra, actually) but I think it's got to do with the distance. For one thing, shorter road races here can be SUPER crowded (like, ten thousand people) - so I can't really blame people for jostling or complaining about bottlenecks, which are really the responsibility of organisers. When you're running 60 or 100 km, the number of people loony enough to do that in this heat goes way down. And everyone's nice to each other because they realise they're all in this together and will often still be seeing each other lap after lap, 6 hours later. But yeah, that thunderstorm at midnight was immense. The station was in a seaside park, and we had lightning hitting probably less than a mile away - scary!

  2. I had a conversation about ultra runners along a similar vein just yesterday. We decided that their friendliness and supportiveness comes from the nature of their chosen sport. It's all about survival in ultras and support is what helps get you over the line.