F4 Runner in Singapore

8 04 2008

Posted by F4 ‘Drats’ Trail-Runner Wendy Drake, from Singapore

To begin this trip report, let me be blunt. It’s not any easier to run at sea level when it’s 80 degrees and 95% humidity by 8am. There’s an active running community in Singapore and these dudes/dudettes are easily as hard core (dare I consider myself in that category?) as the crazy stuff we do here…enjoying, as T Brown says, getting up earlier on the weekends than weekdays to play.

The terrain in Singapore at the Botanic Gardens is similar rolling to Teller Farms, but mostly paved vs our soft dirt paths. Two unpaved diversions: “Red Brick Path” is, you guessed it, a red, brick path strolling through a rain forest; the second, raised wooden bridges above murky waters where turtle heads solicit little kids tossing bread crumbs. I did my “shorter” runs there among some of the rarest orchids, trees, plants in the world. What a privilege.

I didn’t encounter many hills in Singapore but they exist and I barely scratched the surface in a week. I mountain biked near Bukit Timah Nature Reserve dodging monkeys after a long run on Sunday (which in retrospect was a physical mistake…but that’s an “in search of epsom salts and ice” story). Bukit Timah is an adventure I hope to repeat highlighted by running…all the way up the steep incline to the highest point on the island, without dying. I ran out of time for this adventure, but judging by some of the athletes I saw warming up, I’d have my work cut out for me.

The jungle run the local hash group invited me to join on Wednesday started innocently at the Heavy Vehicle Car Park next to a local pub and what looked to be a green space. I can’t think of anything like it here and it was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I was not only drenched head to toe after the run, I was covered in mud and god knows what else. My palms and forearms were embarrassed to be seen in public the rest of the week due to splinters acquired failing to arrest an 8 foot muddy, stickerbush-strewn chute. Once I managed to get a proper shower at about 1am (another “let’s take her to try durian” story), I discovered cuts all over my thighs, calves, and ankles. The “trail” was 90% encased in tall, wet grasses and gigantic, slimy, green leaves. I expected the plants to come to life like the forest’s trees in the Wizard of Oz. Thus went one hour, 15 minutes of running head games battling fears of being lost in an unmarked jungle as the light faded. [Yes, I have an active imagination. :)] Trusty adrenaline kept me going looking for the next plop of flour or toilet paper squares. This is a how a hash group marks trails. It was crazy, insane running with Bushy Brows (all hashers have nicknames, I learned) and the rest of the Hash Harriets…a fantastic drinking group with a running problem. Can’t wait to do it again. Thanks for inviting me Jennie L!

Saturday’s long run from the city to the beach…what a fantastic way to see an island. I started with a short warm-up and dynamics at Clark Quay (pronounced “key”), 1st picture below. The run ended stretching at East Coast Park on the beach, 2nd picture. Lots of adventure from here to there including learning how to use my iPhone’s mapping software when I found myself running in circles near Little India.

If you run in Singapore…I recommend not sleeping in for your four hour long run. Go at 5:15 with Animiles and be done by 10. Take plenty of electolyte replacement. I drank everything I had and bought the Singapore version of Gatorade along the way. Then, find a good, cold beer and a nice group of runners, the same all over the world.

Wish F4’d been there too!

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