Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Style on the Run

I'm not a style-guru but I have some experience observing 'fashionista runners' and trying on multiple types of race outfits over the years of running. We tend to reminisce our race experiences by looking back at old pictures. And what do we see mostly? That race expression and of course that OUTFIT. 

As much as we train for races, we want to put our best face and (in essence of this blog post) best dress forward! It is often said, if you can't run fast, at least look fabulous. 

Be it that you are a newbie or professional runner, looking good is important as it makes you feel confident, brings positive vibes to those runners around and babe, you are gonna look fantastic in photos :)

By being an advocate of looking great and making fitness a vibrant activity, I try to coordinate my race gears as much as possible. Very often, I snap pictures of them to remind myself to keep dressing well and to keep that fire burning.
I will first share some of the functional basics that will help us be in the best possible condition and keep us away from general discomfort and it will follow with some tips to style up your race game.

Basics for Race Day:

1) Dress functionally and comfortably
2) Get sweat wicking gear like CoolMax or Dri Fit
3) Wear a supportive sports bra
4) Wear Sunscreen
5) Apply Vaseline/anti chaffing cream
6) Pin your race bib and timing chips to your singlet/shoes
7) Lay out your gear to avoid panicking on race day
8) Wear a seasoned pair of shoes that you are comfortable with
9) Wear blister-free socks or toe socks to prevent blisters
10) Keep your hair sleek and away from your face

Dont's: Over-sized Race Tee at my First Race

Dont's: 3 quarter tights

Dont's: Place a Towel over the neck. You are a Runner not Char Kway Teow Uncle

Level Up:

1) Wear fitting clothing. Big event race Tees are good to go without if they look like over-sized PJs. 
Imagine how much hindrance that excessive material is going to cause to your hands/hips or how enormous you are going to look when the camera captures your running shot? The camera usually captures the size of the full t-shirt and that is how you are going to look -Full Sized! LOL

2) Choose either short-shorts or long bottoms. 3/4 pants or Capris are never flattering as they make your legs look shorter. Besides, you do not wish to have tan lines just below your knees? 

3) Wear a tinted sunblock that will help even out the tone of your skin color and some lip gloss for some shine when you smile.

4) Coordinate your race gear with theme colors. Monochrome colours are very popular these days.
Mix those colours - yes, ladies love pink but do not wear ALL pink or you are gonna look like a babe literally.

5) Put on those sunnies. Sunnies increases your swag factor and helps to cover your dark eye circles especially when don't get enough sleep prior to race day.

6) Accessorize with a visor, cap or headband. They are useful to block out the heat and puts your hair away too.

Here are some of my recent race gears for your reference:

Race Gear for Green Corridor Race: Monochrome Colours - Mixing Polka Dot details with Stripes

Race Gear for 2XU Half Marathon: Monochrome Colours - Bold Statement Top with Printed Shorts
Add that Trucker Cap to stand out from the rest

Race Gear for 50 Hours Non Stop Run: Bright Colours for the Sunny flag off at 11am
Paddle Pop colours uplifts the mood for running in the hot sun

Find a Buddy who is equally gamed to dress up

Smile and Be Happy at a Race

Keep a relaxed facial expression, shoulders relaxed and run with a good posture

Hope you liked my sharing and perhaps it might add a little sparkle to your running journey. I will share more on the most flattering gears (best shorts, best tops, best brands, etc) in my next post.

In the meantime, keep your chin up, UP YOUR RACE GAME by looking smart and sharp....and don't forget to flash a big wide smile at the Photographer!

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

I am Cherlynn. 
This is my soul space where
I share my experience on Travel, 
Fitness, Style and just about
everything under the Sun! 
Happy Reading!

Mountaineering: Gunung Datuk

Having heard about Gunung Datuk and seen several pictures on my Friends Facebook albums, I just never thought I would be gamed to trek this mountain at all.

After gaining the confidence and experience from conquering a mini mountain at Gunung Lambak recently, I mustered that little courage to try this slightly tougher climb.

Prior to this climb, I had done some research online for the intensity of the climb, the 'risks and heights' I had to conquer; and scariest part was knowing that I had to climb a series of shaky wobbly ladders to reach the summit. I had mentally sabotaged myself and I kinda regretted for doing that research. Ha!

So on a fine Sunday three weeks ago, a Friend formed a group of 11, hired a Van and transported us 4 hours away from Singapore into Rembau, Negiri Sembilan, a rather small town just an hour away from KL.

We set off at around 6.30am, had breakfast at a coffeeshop in Johor Bahru and reached the foot of Mount Datuk at around 11.30am. 
The Welcome Signage at Gunung Datuk

While a handful had experienced the trek before, most of us were first-timers at this particular climb. So half went ahead with two loops and some of us 'enjoyed' a leisurely climb up the mountain.

For the leisure Trekkers, it took us about 2 hours up to the summit, where we spent about an hour having our lunch whilst enjoying the scenery and an hour down to the base.

Leisure Trekkers: Seb, Me, Margaret, Lawrence, Lizz and Frank
The trek up was pretty straight forward as it was a straight climb towards the summit. The challenging part was from the first half where there were endless 60 degrees slopes with loads of tree roots and rocks. 

Still looking fresh at mid-way
Navigating my way up and clinging on to roots for support
Stopping for a short photo break
As we approached the summit, we were greeted by huge rocks and boulders. Some of which were more than 20 feet tall. It was an intimidating sight; at least for Margaret and me. Just when I saw the sign after the strenuous climb, I thought I had completed my mission (I forgot there was another challenge ahead of me - and that was my real challenge!) To reach the peak, we had to climb 3 sets of ladders - the first which was the steepest one, followed by second which was relatively easy and the third was where my legs turned jelly.

2990 ft done....nope, not yet
Seb and me at the first steep ladder
The first ladder was the steepest and longest
My thoughts at that moment - just climb and don't look down or look back. For the sake of at least one shot of me looking 'gung-ho' I had to pose with one hand off the ladder (honestly, I was sweating cold droplets lol).
After the 2nd ladder, at one of the huge rock where we had our lunch whilst listening to Frank's jokes and having those bees buzzing around us
At the peak, we were pleasantly greeted with a stunning view atop the hills. It was definitely a much more rewarding view as compared to Lambak where we saw nothing but a view blocked by trees.

I did not pose for many pictures as I was trying to stabilize my feet from the fear of the final ladder climb. I honestly had mixed feelings as I was part enjoying the view and partially wondering how I was going to go make my way down those scary ladders.

Thankfully Seb was with me and he supported me with step by step instructions on how to turn my body towards the ladder as I made my way down (tip when going down the ladder: have your body facing the ladder - it provides better support). I hesitated several times and he was very patient with me. Frank too had helped me with the first ladder downwards and unfortunately he got stung by a bee whilst waiting for me to move my way down. Those were some very humbling moments for me.
The Final Ladder 
Mission Accomplished
Top down view from the highest peak 
Support Crew holding the ladder as I made my way down

While I don't mean to scare new Trekkers thinking of climbing Mount Datuk; in my opinion, the only scary part was the ladder climb.

I would like to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone: if someone like me who has a relative fear for heights and danger has done it, you too can do it!

For first-timers, perhaps below is a helpful tip on what to bring: a bag filled with adequate hydration of about 1 to 2 liters of water, a light lunchbox, some insect repellent and most importantly, a supportive partner by your side.
Logistics: Private Van transport (approximately SGD$400), RM$5 entrance fees (no guide required for Mount Datuk) and some cash for Breakfast and Dinner.

I am already looking forward to my next Trekking trip to Mount Angsi where there will be some challenging obstacles too. Can't wait to share my experience with you in my next blog. Till then!

Friday, 8 April 2016

My First Overseas Trail Race

Finally found some time to write about my recent experience at an overseas Trail Race. My Buddy and I had signed up for Trans Lantau 25, Hong Kong held on 12 March 2016.

While I have been participating in road races for about 6 years, I had no prior experience for any trail race at all. I never liked running in trails as I don't enjoy uneven terrain, nature and am especially terrified of creepy crawlies.

And so what made me sign up for this race? I was celebrating the Buddy's birthday with a group of highly 'poisonous' Friends and naturally, I was challenged to join this race instantaneously. I reasoned that the cool weather would make up for all my dislikes and I always enjoy 'race-holidays' and so I signed up for something different.

The Buddy and I did some research on trail running and received some training tips from experienced Trail Runner Friends in the community. It was also encouraging to receive tips and occasional freebies (trekking/trail gear) from my Ultra Runner Dad who signed up for the same race ( the 100K category).

Given the cut of time of 8 hours, we would say anyone with some basic fitness level would be able to complete it with walking/climbing. We reckoned this category was created to introduce newbies to trail races. It was like the 'fun distance' category of Trans Lantau race.

The Buddy and I started training around end Dec for about 3 months leading up to the race. Climbing stairs on Tuesdays, short 8K runs on Thursdays and Hill Repeats/Trail LSDs on Sundays (usually packing in at least 2 hours training duration). Training wasn't intense as you can imagine all the seasonal celebrations from Christmas to Chinese New Year. We skipped several sessions and still managed to steer ourselves back on track.

All in all, we climbed a few thousand storeys, ran the many trails around Singapore and extended our training to a trekking trip at Mt Lambak.

3 months of training leading up to the Race

Carbo-loading Day in Hong Kong at a typical Hong Kong Char Chan Ting (Tea House) and a Pasta Dinner Causeway Bay.

For the first time, we had the most express fine-dining experience as we requested for our 3 course dinner to be served all at once so that we could return early to prepare for race day.

Cheryl and I in our 'NON-ACTIVE' wear :)
Little Note to Psyche ourselves up
The most dramatic race-prep ever. Cos Dad said gear up and I prepared everything including merino wool and headlights (as though I was running the an Ultra Race).


We boarded the 6.10am ferry that arrived at around 7am at Mui Wo, Lantau Island.
There were two types of Ferry Services: Speed Ferry (35 mins) and Slow Ferry (55 mins)

Walking to the Race Site
Our Runner Friends ready to flag off the 50K category

The final load that got us through the 13-14C chilly trails. The Buddy and I agreed that was the best meal we had in Hong Kong.
Best Meal in Hong Kong
Race Bibs: We have similar names :)
The Start Line

The Lion Dance Prior to Flag Off

50K Runners Flagged Off

At the first 3K mark, I just had to pose for a pic. The backdrop was just too spectacular

6KM: A very basic Checkpoint 1 

Much time was taken to pose for too much pictures and we found ourselves lagging way behind with little or no runners around us after the 5K mark. LOL.

We made up for 'lost time' by running on flat areas and downward slopes. Each time we were about to slow down, one of us would shout out: "LOST TIME".

Checkpoint 2 17km mark: where I enjoyed the most heavenly Nutella Bread and a big cup of Coke
At checkpoint 2, we shortened our break to only 5 mins after learning that the toughest 8km was ahead of us. So we gulped down our food and charged forward.

Some of the 'mild' steps from 17K onwards

The Buddy and I closed the gaps at the elevation phase of the race. We were sort of chanting: 'hard work paid off' and overtook several local racers. The moments where we knew our training had really paid off.

Negotiating my way downslope
Alas! 25kms done and dusted. Against the cut off time of 8 hours, we were quite happy with our completion of 5:10!

Finishers of Trans Lantau 25K
My MINI race medal versus my Dad's big biscuit 

Trans Lantau 25 in a nutshell: a very doable distance for any new trail runner with just 2 to 3 months of prior training. Awesome air-con temperature racing, easy accessibility and lots of good food to savour in Hong Kong (not to mention: SHOPPING!) 

The Trans Lantau training and race experience made me grow to love trail running and nature much more than before. Roughing it out has never been my cup of tea. But never say never...I am now looking to break new boundaries and have been challenged to sign up for the 50K category next year. As for now, we are training for a much more technical Vietnam Mountain Marathon coming up in September; which will see us climbing more stairs and trekking more mountains. We look forward to meeting you Trail Runners out there! 

More details of the race found here: