The 5 Month Journey

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During the last week of school in June, I decided on a whim to sign up for a half-marathon. I was gently encouraged to sign up from a few colleagues of mine before hand, who were planning on the running the race in Cambodia during Thanksgiving weekend. I fully blame it on the end of the year craziness I was going through, which meant I wasn’t thinking very logically or clearly.  After signing up online, and realizing what this meant, I started to feel the anxiety. In the following few months, there were multiple times where I convinced myself that I could always back out and not run in the race. I mean I would loose the money, but it’s ok, save the humiliation and trouble.

Fast forward many months, I’m down to less than a week until the half-marathon. It’s been quite the journey, training, and pushing myself to run more than I’ve ever run. Also, training in Singapore has proven to have it’s own set of challenges, like finding a good time, which usually is early morning or late at night to run outside in the tropical climate.  I’m not really sure how I’ve made it up to this point, since running is still not something I really enjoy doing.

This past Sunday morning, I had my last long run. We ran  19.3 km (12 miles) at East Coast Park. When we got there, it was still dark at 6am. The first few kilometers are always difficult for me. This time, as I started running, I wondered why I was doing this to myself. Around 6km, I had my chocolate gu (energy gel) and things seemed to get better. As I slowly reached the halfway point, I felt a glimmer of hope that I could make it.  I started to mentally count down the number of kilometers left, and I started to think about the end and what delicious foods I would eat afterwards…

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Then, I was at about 16 kilometers, and I just felt like I couldn’t run anymore. My knee was bothering me, the hot Singapore sun was finally up, and I didn’t know how I could possibly run anymore. I kept drinking water and the second Gu I ate didn’t seem to help at all. I knew my friend I was running with was probably almost done and I had to finish. So I started to make smaller goals for myself. Run to at least to one more song, then walk, then run again until the end. I honestly wanted to cry or stop, but I knew the end was so close. That last two kilometers took all of my mental will power to keep going. As I started seeing the palm trees that lined the path towards the car park where we started, I kept running. I finally managed to finish my longest run ever, and felt ready for the half-marathon. So please keep me in your prayers as I run this coming Sunday morning in Cambodia!

Here are some photos from my early morning runs at East Coast Park. It’s definitely my favorite place to run in Singapore.

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Slice of Life Tuesdays are sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.

a taste of durian

I finally feel like I’m embracing Singapore, now that I’ve tasted durian. It has been a personal mission of mine for a while to try durian.  I wanted to know what this hype was all  about. This was my first time encountering this controversial and banned tropical fruit. Yes, durian is banned in the MRT, buses and in some public places.

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A few weeks ago, we went to one of the durian stands on Balestier with some of my durian-loving friends.  We went around 4pm, because that is apparently a good time to go! We ended up getting a cut up durian, which cost $28. I was a bit surprised at how expensive it was!

The texture of the durian when I held it was pretty unpleasant because it was mushy and got all over my fingers.  The taste was custard like. I didn’t think the durian tasted as badly people said. I was more disturbed by the texture and appearance of the durian then the smell or taste.  After eating one piece, I didn’t feel any desire to eat anymore.  Even though my friends happily ate more, I was done.  I was definitely thankful that there was plenty of water for us to drink with the durian.

A big thanks to all who came out and ate the rest of the durian, which meant I didn’t have to eat any more!  I am willing to give durian another chance, when I have some brave visitors that are wanting to try it! 🙂 DSC_0896 DSC_0897 DSC_0898 DSC_0899 DSC_0900 DSC_0903DSC_0905

taipei: the food

Let me say that I pretty much loved the food in Taipei. It was cheap, delicious and abundant. From the night markets, bubble tea shops and dessert places, there was never a lack of options. I tried to get in as much of the good eats during my short time there. I tried the beef noodles at one of the “best” places on Yong Kang Street. I tried multiple bubble tea places including a place that had the white pearls! Also, I enjoyed trying the different foods at the Shilin Night Market. Even though I wasn’t brave enough to try the stinky tofu, I definitely ate my way through the market. And of course, I tried the mango shaved ice dessert at Ice Monster!

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taipei: the landscape

I really enjoyed the beautiful mountains and the cooler weather of Taipei. It was a nice change in scenery and pace from Singapore.  The first day I was there, we went to the public hot springs in Beitou, than afterwards went to Tamsui. Tamsui  was by the water and had nice views of the mountains. Despite the rainy weather, I managed to get a few good photos.  I also enjoyed the  lively market place that had plenty of cheap food options.

Towards the end of my trip, I was determined to hike up Elephant Mountain, despite all the rainy weather. So one afternoon, I braved the drizzling rain and hiked up many sets of stairs.  Even though I looked up directions beforehand online, the walk from the Taipei City Hall station to the base of the mountain was a bit far and a bit confusing. It’s supposedly a 15 minute walk from Taipei 101, but it took me a bit longer. It’s a good thing my google maps was still working on my iphone! When, I finally reached the top, it was still rainy and cloudy, but the view was still worth it.  I highly recommend the hike if you are visiting Taipei! More posts coming on the delicious and cheap food of Taipei! DSC_0008DSC_0010 DSC_1068 DSC_1078  DSC_0045DSC_1082DSC_0048 DSC_0063 DSC_0078DSC_0081DSC_0069