Monday 31 December 2012

Reflecting 2012 & HELLO there 2013.

Well, it's the time of year again. The last day of the year. New Year's Eve. Time for reflection on things that come to pass and things of yet to come.

So apparently the Apocalypse did not happen and we are still in one piece. We live another day. Hooray~!

So let's see what has been up this past year (or in my case past 2 years).
The many photos I've collected the past 2 years; taken by many hardworking photographers at many countless events.
I didn't really had a pause during my last year's transition; so everything just kinda went on continuously. I'm not very good at expressing myself through personal reflections but I will try my best. So here are some highlights.

RUN (How is the progress of pounding the road for 2 years?) :
I've never would had thought that running would be a great part of my life. It was really unimaginable. Many years ago I would cringe and call the activity silly; despite my mom and uncle's efforts to encourage me. So it was a pleasant surprise that I picked it up seriously close to 3 years ago. What started out as something to try on has turned into healthy lifestyle choice. It was probably the best decision I've ever made.

Nonetheless I had a fair share of critical feedbacks along the way about my new found passion. Sometimes when you want to achieve something better in life; some individuals find pleasure in criticizing in what you do. It's very disconcerting but I try to learn something positive from all of it. I can only assume and deduce that it is probably down to jealousy and hatred. But I've learned not to let negative energy effect me and I continued on with my head held up high.

When I picked up the sport seriously, I was in for a ride. What started as a few km has churned out into a crave for more mileages. In a good way, of course. I've never rushed into doing a HM or FM when I began racing; opting to play around nothing more than 12km races in the first year. I think it was a wise decision as I wanted to get the feel and understanding of the sport; rather than rush into it hastily.

I remembered the first time I've ever broken a Sub-60 for a 10km. I was so happy that I was on cloud nine (LITERALLY). The endless amount of training to achieve the goal and I was very proud of it. From then onwards, it has always been less than 60 minutes for 10km. At times, I still couldn't believe it myself. From 01:30:00 to 54:00. The intensive training and hard work paid off.

The look of a person who for the first time breaking a SUB-60 for 10KM (Taiping Heritage Run 2011).
Photo Courtesy of Tey.
As time and stamina progresses, I've slowly ventured into the 21km and 42km playing field. ENR 2011 was my first HM event but I really counted SCKLM 2011 HM as my real Half Marathon instead since there was a distance shortage in the former.
That time, it was the longest distance I was about to venture to.  ENR 2011.
First official HM event. SCKLM 2011. Cried in pain at the finishing. 
My transition to HM & FM was quite an adventure in itself. I had loads of doubts and fears about the distance at that time and it got the best out of me. At SCKLM 2011, fear and pain got the best of me as I had to limp for dear life for the last 3km. For some of you who remembered my awful sobbing face at the finishing line (which I will not post), it was terrifying. But I learned to respect the distance and vowed to train more. I've since done a number of HM events without any difficulties and once done a coveted Sub-2 at PJ Half 2011. Another one of those personal achievement moments.

I've only done 2 FM in my life, Sundown SG and SCKLM (both 2012) between a gap of less than 30 days.  It was a crazy decision on my part as I was on my own uncharted territory and I had this constant internal nagging and pressure to do so. But I've never regretted the decision.

First Virgin FM. Sundown Marathon 2012.
Lousy timing but finished happily. 
Sundown Marathon came to me as a preparation for SCKLM and it came with it's own "blessings of rain". The first 25km were as per normal until a thunderstorm that lasted for almost 4 hours change it all. Cold, shivering and cramped so badly that I couldn't even walk straight. The last 16km was agonizing and brought me to the verge of breaking down. Despite finishing at a lousy time of over 6 hours, I was still happy and proud cause more importantly I didn't give up. It was a challenge to finish it but it was invaluable experience to prep me for my next FM.

Needless to say, my next FM at SCKLM was indeed a great one. Despite a few of my own hiccups along the way, I think I finished strong and shaving off more than an hour from my previous time is a feat. AND at least my finishing photo was a good one.

I shouted and pounded for joy at the finishing of SCKLM 2012. 
Running so far to me has been a journey of discovering many new things. I made loads of new friends and along the way learned a lot. Albeit I would say that my running activities this year has been reduced quite a bit compared to the last, I felt that perhaps the "quality" of the run counts more than the quantity. I may have set many PBs before (this year abit lesser), I look forward to be doing more the coming year but I'll be more selective.

CYCLING (Back on wheels?) :
I've just got my pair of wheels this year. The last bicycle I owned was in high school. Still learning many things and learning to take care of the bike. Not much to say about it at the moment but cycling has brought me to places and trying new things I've been longing to try. City cycling + random food joints has been the best activity so far. Although I'm still encouraged to put in a little more effort so that I consider some triathlon events. Well, it's part of the plan and it will take it's course.... soon. :)

BLOGGING (I just yap and yap):
I think it's pretty good since I've returned into the blogging scene since my absence a few years ago. And I couldn't had returned at a better time. Inspired to write and share my thoughts about running (and other random stuffs as well), the blog sorta gain a momentum. Slow but at least steady from the power of FB networking. I may not be the best blogger around. Sometimes I talk long and aimlessly but I've gained an insight and understanding of blogging from other fellow bloggers. It has been fruitful so far as I've got 3rd placing from the "Blog with Brooks" program held recently. To be honest, I'm still quite surprised.

Winning 3rd prize for Blog with Brooks.
Photo courtesy of Piffles Inc. 
But from all this "rambling blog post of mine", I told myself it's alright if nobody reads it but if I could touch one reader's soul to change his life to be a healthier one; I'll be very happy.

And it happened....

I received a note from a fellow reader that I've inspired him to start running and he wanted to make a change in his life for a healthier one. With that he started training and signed up for his first run.

I had tears in my eyes when I read the note. I've never thought I could had made such an impact and I felt blessed by his sincerity and words.

Like I said before, small gestures of love without the expectancy of any return is the biggest reward one could have.

PERSONAL LIFE (In general) :
Like you and me, we all have ups and downs. I'm not going to say "YES, it was an all good year for me". I also had my personal battles and moments.

"I'm only human, born to make mistakes..." - Micheal Jackson (Human)

But as I get older especially now I'm at this point in my life (the 3 decade moment), I've learned to stay calm and be mindful of things. Negativity is always around no matter how much you try to sweep them away. Take it in stride and learn to overcome. And with God's love and will, I always look forward to another better day. :)

And for those of you who keeps bugging me about my love life, I say it again, "When it comes; it comes."
Shan't elaborate more. ;)

In a kulit kacang (Nutshell) :
Yes, it has been great so far. It really was.

As the year ends, I wish to thanks to all my readers, family and friends for their wonderful support and I wish everyone the best for next year. Have a quiet moment to reflect upon the happenings this year and make it better for the next.

With HIS blessings, I'm also hoping for greater things to happen for myself next year as well.

Till then, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all~! :)

Tuesday 25 December 2012

The smartphone thing-a-jing-ga-ling

An old collection of my previous old phones. 
Random thoughts of the day.
Is technology making our life better or for the worse : The smartphone thing-a-jing-ga-ling or the smartphone debate.

Pretty much a technology question asked in recent years about the hype and existence of smartphones.
Bare in mind, what I say is pretty much a personal point of view and in no regards slandering any brands or users. To a few certain individuals who glorifies a certain fruit brand, please do not  hammer me.

In recent years, the smartphone scene has significantly changed the face of humankind. I for one, has fallen into that category of smartphone user 3 years ago; during the increasing hype of the Android platform. Before then, I can only stare in awe at a few friend's Iphones. My first experience with the first generation Iphone was so mind blowing that I could only gawk with mouth wide open. But alas the price of such gadgets are too far to reach.

Now this was 5 years ago.

At a glance today, we are blast with countless, endless advertisements of the latest (or the best) smartphone available. Technology is moving SO fast that it's so hard to catch up.

Price factor value? Almost anyone can afford one. In fact I saw one piece that cost less than RM400.

So this has got everyone chasing after the latest smartphone available; whether is it even necessary or not.

But I've seen the worse of people when it comes to this.

Here is something that happened recently.

My aunt recently told my mom that my youngest cousin is "behaving" again cause he demands the latest Iphone. In my thoughts, "Why the heck does a 12 year old wants an Iphone for?" Let me repeat, he didn't asked for it BUT he demanded for it. The excuse given was unreasonable; claiming that all his friends have one, hence he "deserves" one too.

WANT and DESERVE is two words too strong to be used in this context. I've heard of the strawberry generation but never have I thought it will hit so close to home. Alas, young cousin finally gave in to a "copy clone" of an Iphone after much persuasion with the intent of telling the world "I have one too".

I know this doesn't make any sense but back in my days, the most a 12 year old brags about is his Sega Gamedrive, Gameboy and comic books.

I've once asked little cousin "why?". And his reply was "Why not me when Papa, kor kor and che che all have one too." I see; so he was following by example? He also commented that I have one too; albeit mine was an Android device. I calmly and logically told him with sense that because I'm working and I earned the money to get it. I don't ask my parents for one. His next reply was a mean one. "I don't understand why you got such a lousy phone when Iphone is so much better". Partially shocked by his reply (and not really cause I know he is a brat) , my only reply to that was "Wait till you start earning then we have this talk again."

Although it sounds very shocking and crude but that's the way it is. Sometimes technology does change the way we are.

Another ongoing debacle is between friends about the IOS and Android or popularly known as Apple VS Samsung (or whatever other brand that uses Andriod's OS). I find this extremely amusing when I see such scenarios; almost too popcorn worthy. The debates can be so entertaining and some points pointed are incredibly hilarious.

To make a person say such things are like :

"IP better to hold than GNote"

"Tab better to write than Ipad"

"It's few grams heavier, so no good"

"Cause Steve Jobs says so" (this is one of the best unlogical reason I've heard)

"Screen colour too warm, so no colour accuracy" (what has this gotta do with making calls?)

"Neither too big, neither too small. What is the point?" (referring to screen)

"It's a great invention; that's why people queue for it" (I say you are stupid, cause you are queuing to "give" people money).

and etc....

I'm saying this as a joke, so don't get offended by it. My point being that there is a time we really need to draw a line when something is born of necessity or want.

Once my Sunday school teacher lamented, "Next time you see something, ask yourself this. Do you NEED it or WANT it? When you want something, the WANT is born out of the feeling of immediate gratification. A feeling to satisfy yourself momentarily but not be contempt with it for a long period of time. But when  you NEED something out of necessity, the justification is answerable."

Sounds like a cliche but every word said is true. But don't abuse the word NEED. You don't NEED everything.

Yes, I've been criticized for still using an old HTC phone but then so what? It still serves me well and working fine. I'm not a celebrity wannabe trying to prove something.

So don't be a generation where our faces are stuck looking down to a small screen even when we are out socializing. Look up and see the bigger picture. ;)

And to my cousin who might be reading this. The phone is just an object. Don't let it control you cause you own your life and not the other way round. Who cares what people say, you don't owe them anything. To prove ones worth is his good deeds and not to be measured by physical wealth.

Monday 17 December 2012

Hello Club "Three-to-the-O"

My Obi-Wan holds the banner for me.
Blink! Blink! Has it been 3 decades already? How time really flies.

Well, it's the time I have to officially say good bye to my 20's and say Hi to the 30's club.
Though I'm still not abandoning my "young at heart" spirit yet. ;)
Like a friend just recently told me, "The 30's is the new 20's". We had a good silly laugh when I asked if my previous 20's the 10's instead then?

First and foremost, I would love to thank to all my family and friends for all the well wishes I've been getting the entire week (and it's still coming). It's unbelievable how overwhelming it was and most have very kind words to share. I really appreciate it and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I had some heartfelt wishes and also some comical ones.

I've personally replied to each and everyone of you and here are some comical ones I've picked out from our "conversations" with a few guys & gals. It was either through Facebook or if we had a chat face to face.

"Yes, the cake has been digested. Already 2 days."

"It's not my time to get hitch yet; cause habuk pun tarak" (referring to a friend who recently announced her engagement)

"Welcome to the club! But, you still the youngest"

"30 is new 20"

"Only 30? young. Still can play around."

"Surprise! Ngek Ngek Ngek....." (Quote, unquote from an inception of an inception of a surprise birthday party)

"It's your birthday, you want ketchup bottle or tobasco sauce?" says the TGIF waiter asking me to make a speech.

All these are pretty much silly gibberish comments and there were many more. But at least it drew some laughter and smiles along the way. :)

The Dutamas Runners gang.
Thank you so much for the Dutamas Runners gang for the "surprise" birthday gathering (which happened earlier than my actual birthday). Especially to Kenny who skillfully had this whole inception plan planned out. And the others were very skillfully blind siding me the whole day since morning. Brilliant work guys and I tip my hat to you all.

Thanks to also friends who kept wishing me at Malakoff; even along the route where we were running. Really kamsiah. :)

And so, now this is it...

What lies ahead of me I do not know but I'm ready for the adventure.
With God's will and blessings, just hoping for a better tomorrow.

To quote what the late Yasmin Ahmad once often times said, "I'm just a tiny drop of water in this vast ocean."
I may be small but I can always learn and continue to learn more in the vast sea of knowledge.  :)

Monday 10 December 2012

I got pick-pocketed. What I learned from it.

There has been a certain quietness in my blog lately. Sorry bout that as I've been busy with stuff lately that requires my attention. No worries as I have a few blog post on standby; just that it's sitting in the draft folder waiting for me to refine the posts a bit more. 

But for this special post, I'm giving it an extra push due to concerns of safety.

As some of you know, I got pick-pocketed last Sunday inside the KTM train. I didn't elaborate much previously as I was pretty much in a state of shock and disbelieve. 

So here is what happened :

Kenny and I were out on our spontaneous weekend adventure and made plans to go to PC Fair on Sunday. We decided that morning that we should take the train instead of driving there just for the adventure. Besides, I really wasn't into parking at KLCC (for it's unbelievably expensive weekend rates). 

We had to make 2 train transitions. KTM to Putra LRT and vice versa (via KL Sentral) when we come back. We had a great day and was really enjoying our day out.

By early evening, we headed back home and was waiting for the KTM train at Central. KTM trains are notoriously famous for being delayed and you have to wait for at least 30 minutes for a train to come. The train platform is slowly filling up with passengers and we expected it's gonna be a "packed" ride.

When the train did finally arrive, the "Malaysia Boleh" spirit of our people is to rush into the train even before the other passengers inside can exit. Me and Kenny can just stand at the sides and shake our heads. It took quite sometime for us to get in but we managed. But at the same time, we somehow saw this one very suspicious looking chap who was forcefully pushing himself in and he refused to move when clearly there are some more space to maneuver around. Kenny sternly but politely asked him to move but he ignored. We just slowly made our way to any clearing possible and the coach was almost pack. 

And just when the doors were about to close, I naturally reached into my pocket to take out my phone. It was gone.....!

I quickly poked my head out of the door and the floor just to see if it fell off. Nothing.

The doors closed and I can only looked at Kenny stunned. I tried not to panic as I slowly search my other pockets and bags if it was misplaced. Nothing too.

I was mad and I couldn't believe my phone was just gone like that. Albeit it's a long outdated 3 year old HTC phone, but it has been serving me well all this years. I came close to telling Kenny that I would probably need to stop at the next station and return back to see if the phone is lying around the previous station. My suspicion was probably it fell onto the tracks. 

Then suddenly something flashed before me eyes. I looked at Kenny and immediately asked "Where is that guy?". Yes, that guy that was forcefully pushing around. We scanned around but he was no where to be seen. I slowly calm myself down as my heart was really pumping fast now. Fortunately I had my office mobile phone  (spare phone) with me and it was still in my pocket. I quickly made a quick dial and it was ringing!

I tried to slowly scan if my phone was ringing nearby. Luckily I was using a ringtone that has a very distinguish tone that seldom people use. It makes a certain thumping sound.

I could hear it nearby! My initial thought was I really did dropped it on the floor but the ringtone got significantly softer. I started moving towards the faint sound through the crowd and finally saw THAT guy suspiciously trying to back towards another coach. 

But luck would have it, he was stuck. As if the crowd knew what was happening, the crowd behind him blocked his way. I was about to call him out when he suddenly turned around and threw the phone back at me and shouted "Ada orang kasi aku punya!". 

I was shocked and fuming mad. I felt like punching him right in the face. What a bunch of bollocks excuses he was giving. If he said that someone gave him the phone, why did he threw the phone back to me if he already knew earlier it was mine?

At this time, I really got everyone's attention as I firmly and almost too loudly asked him "Kenapa kamu ada pegang telefon saya dan macam mahu larikan diri?". I PUT him on the spot. 

From his eyes, I knew he is in deep shit as everyone was watching. He quickly said some gibberish that I couldn't make out and forced his way again away from me. By this time, we almost just reached and stop at another station and he quickly got off! Lucky sod!

I slowly walked back to Kenny and I was shaking. What the heck just happened?
I had this adrenaline rush but I was very grateful that I recovered my phone. 

So what I've learned from it?:

Take extra care of your belongings and be extra aware of your surroundings. I was actually very alert and cautious throughout the period. I also have this OCD problem that made me constantly check my phone where ever I am. Even that, my phone was easily slipped off from my tight pocket without me realizing it.

I know many of you had mentioned that I should had punched him right in the face. That would had been my first reaction but you never know if they work in groups and in some way harm you later. 

My only regret was that I did not immediately snap a picture of the culprit. The whole thing happened too fast. I know I should have but I had loads of eye witnesses staring at him at that moment. I hope someone did. 

So my advise to everyone is again, be careful of your belongings when out in public areas. Like be really "paranoid" careful. 

I had my phone back and the experience (although shocking) is something to learn from. 

Monday 3 December 2012

Have you thanked anyone lately?

Have you complimented or thanked anyone lately? I mean, like really meant it from deep within your heart.

I came across this heart-warming video and I have to say it really brought tears to my eyes.

Sometimes it's just hard to say a kind word like a simple "Thank you" and yet we easily trash verbal abuses to others. Sometimes we need to put our egos aside and see it's so much better than carrying a negative burden.

The over said quote of "Life is too short to be pissed all the time" is very true. If we spend all our life just being pissed, we do not have another chance in life to be happy.

So start by just saying, THANK YOU!

So to you, mom : I just wanted to say THANK YOU and I love you. I know you know that. Sometimes we disagree a lot about things but we always come into terms. I've never said this to you but you have always been my biggest rock whether I needed you or not. You silently lend your support when I get disgruntled so that I wouldn't loose face. You lend me your shoulders to cry on when I was in my deepest saddest period. And I know you always give me the support and encouragement even when I don't acknowledge it. So again, Thank You and a million more loves to go with it. :)

Happy December everyone! :)

Saturday 1 December 2012

Brooks Malaysia Year End Sales Update

The Brooks Malaysia Year End Sales are back! Go grab a new pair of trainers to prep for the coming new year runs.

Here are some quick info :

Discounts up to 70%. While stocks last!

Venue: Forum 19, Lot 1, Jalan 19/1B, Petaling Jaya
Date: 1st Dec 2012 to 9th December 2012
Time: 10.00am to 9.00pm
For enquiries, please call Mr. Cheah @ +6016 229 9561

Concurrently, the Brooks Boutique shops are having a 50% off on a wide range of selected Brooks Shoes. But hurry as sizes are limited. So far I can confirm that Brooks The Curve and Brooks Sunway Pyramid are having this promotion.

For further info, do contact Peter (Brooks The Curve - 03-7725 8775) or Manson (Brooks Sunway Pyramid - 03-5631 7831)

There is a wide range from the Pure Project Series and the usual "go-to" shoes available. Selected Trail shoes are also available. 

So hurry! :)

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Quick Microwave Fix : Salmon Bone with Brown Rice

My life as a bachelor, I've learn a lot from being independent. When I was studying in college, all I had was a rice cooker. There wasn't a stove or fridge at the student house I was staying, so I had to improvise with what I have. My rice cooker was my only tool to boiling pastas, rice, porridge, maggi mee and etc. It was really my "One-Pot-Wonder". Mind you, it was my mom's old National brand rice cooker; as old as me. So you could imagine how durable it was. 

Nowadays with the advancement of technology, we have access to tools that can cook with just using the microwave. Gone are the days when microwave are just used to heat up food.

Cooking for one person can be quite a hassle to fire up the pan and waste cooking gas. So sometimes I would resort to the alternative. I've always been experimenting with what sort "real meals" I could conjure up with microwave cooking; besides the usual instant noodles. So this is one of them.

Salmon bones. Pre cut from the supermarket.
The other day I was experimenting with one of my own dishes of Salmon bones cooked with brown rice. A simple dish that is easy to make and probably good for carbo loading (as long as keeping the high fat condiments in check)

Salmon is one of my favourite fish to cook. But usually a block of salmon is quite pricey. Recently I've discovered from Ben's Supermarket that they sell the Salmon bones; basically remanence cut off from the fish. Usually used for deep frying or making fish stock, I was wondering what else I could make out of it. I've picked a pack that has a good balance of fish meat, bone and fat content.  I will throw them in the freezer until I find the time I need them.

Brown Rice soaked overnight.
The preparation is fairly simple. One cup of brown rice is needed; enough to make 2 bowls. I love brown rice since it has a lower GI content. Soaking it overnight is preferable. Skipping this step is fine but takes a little longer to cook and may not have that fluffiness outcome at the end. For this, I soaked them in the morning before I go to work. When I return home to cook, I will wash out the soaked rice and prep it.

Here in a nutshell the ingredients:
1. One cup of Brown Rice (soaked overnight) - equivalent to 2 bowls of rice after.
2. 2-3 cups of water
3. Salmon bones (with a good balance of meat, bones & fat) ; roughly cut about 1-2 inches block size.
4. Salt & Pepper
5. 1 teaspoon of olive oil. (not too much as you will get some good fat content from the fish)
6. Dry herbs (Parsley used)

All the ingredients in microwaveable bowl. 
 Basically that's it. Throw all the ingredients into a microwaveable bowl and cover. Heat at Medium/High for first 15 minutes. Then remove it, give it a stir and check the consistency. I prefer mine to be a bit wet and sticky, so I add in a bit more water. Back into the microwave for another 15 minutes.

The results.
 Immediately serve while still hot. I carefully separated out the fish and added a bit of Japanese soy sauce (basically Kikoman). To finish off, topped the rice with some sesame seeds and a side of spicy fermented beancurd.

The finished product. Ready to serve. 
There you have it. A bachelor meal for one on a cold, rainy night. Enough to fill a hungry tummy.

Sunday 18 November 2012

The Love of Cooking & Homemade Beef Patty Summer Wrap

Friends who has known me long enough knows that I LOVE eating and I LOVE cooking. Most of the time, most would comment that moi would be constantly have his mouth chewing on something or asking when is eating time. It's true. I constantly have an appetite for food. 

Sometimes when I feel stressed after work, I will hide myself in a supermarket!

Friends also have been complaining that I'm always cooking for myself and posting pictures of my culinary "masterpieces"online but not a single invitation for "food tasting".

To be honest, I'm SHY.

Me and so many others, are more or less self-taught "chefs". I've learned mostly from my grandma and mom during my young age. First experience, tumbuk chili paste with a mortar and pestle. I grew up watching Wok with Yan & Kuali too and I was seriously hooked.

I see my cooking style as a little bit of everything; but mostly rustic. I DO have an unorthodox method of food preparation and I do sometime put in certain ingredients that doesn't belong. That is why sometimes I'm afraid to share in fear that I would be "criticized" by foodies.

But after much pestering, I think I shall post out something a little "safe". Taking inspiration from Tri Stupe's recipe of Homemade Burger; but with a few tweaks of my own. 

First of all, the main thing to get is minced beef. 

Fresh Australian minced beef. The main ingredient. 
 Fresh Australian minced beef is not cheap. The pack I got was about 450 grams and it cost at about RM17++. That's the thing about shopping at Ben's where everything is quite pricey.

Vegemite & Blackstrap Molasses.
The next main ingredients are Vegemite and Blackstrap molasses.The molasses idea came from Tri Stupe and I've been experimenting with this ingredient for a few dishes. A brilliant alternative/substitute for sugar or honey.  Love the taste of it. It has a slight after taste of sweetness on a beef patty through it's cooked juices. The Vegemite is an additional ingredient of mine since I love the taste of it. Brings a little earthiness taste to the meat.

All the ingredients put in a bowl. 
 In a nutshell, here are the ingredients thrown into the mix.

1. Australian Minced beef (450g). A bit of oily fat from the meat is preferable. Good enough to make 12-13 patties.
2. One tablespoon of Blackstrap Molasses. (previous experiment used 3 tablespoons; too much and "burned" out colour)
3. One tablespoon of Vegemite. (personal preference - just love the earthy taste)
4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
5. Half of a large yellow onion. Bronoise (meaning chopped) into dice. Too add a bit of bite and crunch to the patty.
6. Homegrown Dry Basil. (Yes, I specially ordered Homegrown dry basil from mother's friend who grows, dry and pound her own dry herbs.)
7. Salt and pepper to taste
8. Balsamic Vinegar ( A few dashes)
9. Sesame seeds.
10. An egg. As a binding agent to bind the ingredients together and give it a more thicker consistency. 2 egg whites can be used too if concern about yolk. You can use a bit a flour but I prefer eggs instead.

Adding in sesame seeds last into the mix.
The patty all mixed and ready to be rested.
All the ingredients are all mixed in a large bowl and let it sit for a few hours.  

Meat patty quenelle into a football shape with 2 spoons.
 Once ready to cook, set non-stick pan on low heat. In the meantime, prepare you patty "shapes". You can always do the traditional flat shape but I always preferred the small football shape; almost like a cutlet. Use 2 tablespoons to scoop the patty and quenelle the patty into a football size shape. This method is usually used for sorbets and ice cream but works well with anything with this sort of consistency.

Pan fry low with NO oil.
 Place each patty on the pan and NO oil is required. Just make sure the pan is a non-stick coating one. Oil from the fat and olive oil will secrete from the patty. Make sure both sides are cooked but not to overcooked it till dry.

Insides of cooked patty.
 The other reason why I cooked them in this shape is to have a slight crispy burned outer skin but also have the insides cooked with it's own juices. The outcome is a luscious burst of sweet, earthy flavours from within. Great accompanied with red wine or spicy relish.

Pan fried Onions (julienned) and sear some fresh tomatoes. 
 Once all the patties are done, the pan will leave some residue of burned up molasses and oil. Do not let it go to waste and continue to fry it with the remaining balance of the half chopped onion (julienned it) and sear some fresh tomatoes with it.

A nice sunny side up to be added to the plate.
And now, all is pretty much done. For serving, I've decided to do a summer wrap by using huge Iceberg lettuce leave that I've found. Just another alternative besides sandwiching it with bread.

Spread the green over a plate flat and douse with a sprinkle of olive oil & Malt vinegar (balsamic is alright too). Lay the cooked patty together with a sunny side up egg, the julienned onions, seared tomatoes and topped with a spicy cranberry relish and sesame seeds.

Spicy cranberry relish. Bought from a supermarket. A bit pricey but very delicious.
The final product!
Finally, time to eat! You can use the lettuce to warp everything up. I prefer to serve and eat it by means of "deconstruction". Meaning to eat and taste it as separate components but still able to make out the final outcome of taste. 
Meat dipped into the runny egg and relish. 
 I love runny eggs as well. The meat dipped into the egg with some relish is just delicious! Told you I was unorthodox.

So there you have it. My first recipe/ cooking experiment posted online. Crossing fingers the scrutiny wouldn't be terrible. I'm still learning. ;)

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Brooks PureDrift (Men) Unboxing Review

You know how excited I get every time I get a new pair of shoes. I can self proclaim myself as a Imelda wannabe judging from the shoes I have. I lost count (actually I could, but it's just plain scary). No I don't have any shoe fetish. Don't get any ideas. ;)

The good people of Brooks Malaysia recently selected a few individuals (runners/bloggers) to give a test drive on the new Brooks PureDrift. How can I say "NO". I can't turn down shoes, u  know....

This is just a quick review from the unboxing and merely a review on the aesthetics and the technology behind the shoes. An in-depth review will be up as soon as I give them a few more trial runs.

Get it? The "UN-BOX-ING".
Hello there! What have we got here?
 When I first receive the shoes, my first reaction I got was "Wait, this box can't be this light?". The box was unbelievably light, almost as if it was empty.

Opening the box reveals a bright yellow pair of shoes. So majestic, so royal, so ME!

Yes, I do have a thing for funky colour shoes. I usually like something that is out of the norm.

Brooks PureDrift revealed! A thing of beauty.
 The shoes were extremely light upon holding it. Even holding it feels like a glove. The Brooks PureDrift would be the lightest shoe in the current existing Pure Project range. It weights only 5.6 ounces. It's a new addition on top of the existing Pure Connect, Pure Flow, Pure Cadence & Pure Grit. PureDrift would be launching in early 2013 (that is January 2013) under the Pure Project 2 line.

Let's look through and see up close on the PureDrift.

The PureDrift logo on the back of the shoe.
Features the Ideal Heel for a more secure lift off and support on every foot strike. 
Features 2 split toes for a more natural lift off.
The 2nd split is on the lateral side of the shoe for a more natural feel.
Close up of the tongue. Features a one piece tongue so that it wraps around the feet like a glove. A Navi band further secures the foot for more natural support. 
Side view of shoe sees a more curvier outsole to mimic the feet natural shape when running.
Outsole is made with the same Biomogo DNA material for adaptable cushioning. 
A close up view of the tongue with the PureDrift logo and featuring the P2 (Pure Project 2)
A slightly wider toe space to adapt weather you are wearing it with or without socks.
Shoe is made with a breathable mesh for comfort.
Bottom sole of shoe.
If you look hard enough it's shape like a human feet.
So there you go with the technical aspect of the shoes, but wait... there is more!

Here is something that I wouldn't had expected from a running shoe. PureDrift is designed in such a way that the runner can customized it accordingly to their running needs. The runner can either use the PureDrift with or without the insole. By default with the insole, the runner will feel a 4mm drop giving it a minimalistic feel to the wearer. By removing the insole, the runner will feel a 0mm drop and every strike will be closer to the ground. That is like running barefoot (almost). Let's have a look.

With the insoles intact. 
Insoles removed. Very lightweight. Comfy too.
All the components spread out.
I've been asked if once the insole is taken off, wouldn't the structure of the shoe change and in turn become loose for the wearer? Not really. Because of it's glove like design and one piece tongue, removing the insole is not an issue. It would still give the wearer a secure feel as it wraps around the feet like a glove. The breathable mesh is not a rigid material and very flexible. It still works the same with or without socks.

All in all, it's an impressive looking shoe. I've tried on with or without the insoles and with or without socks.

Look at that sexay beast!
I will write more about the PureDrift once I've given it a few more trial runs. I've given it a spin a few times and I'm pretty impressed. I would say it's a shoe worth looking at for those transitioning towards a more minimalistic lightweight shoe.

ps:/ I've also a user of a Vibram Fivefingers KSO and the barefoot feel is definitely (almost) identical to the PureDrift. More about that in my next entry. :)

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Great Eastern Live Great Run 2012 - Running on homeground

Just over the weekend, The Great Eastern Live Great Run 2012 just took place. If this sounds familiar, it's actually quite like the Great Eastern Women's Run in Singapore. In our country, all gender mesti participate. ;)

Held at Martrade and route around the Dutamas area, the Dutamas Runners gang was of course pretty excited about it. After all, this IS our training ground. So when registration started, we quickly did it in a jiffy. 

The DR gang early bird registration : From left Seng Chor, Kenny and myself. Sequential numbers!
So you could imagine Seng Chor, Kenny and myself were quite surprised when our bib numbers were running sequential numbers. Talk about being kiasu! (ps: actually we didn't know we registered at the same time and it's purely coincidental.) 

I was pretty excited the day before but I tried to get as much rest as possible. I told myself not to get overly excited like other races where I loose sleep over it. For once, I decided that I should skip my compression wear and GU gels this time round. Probably didn't need it for a short race and not wanting to rely on it so much. 

The main stage area and gathering point.
Morning started out early as I calmly left the house and head to the venue. It was a short drive since I stay nearby. Already there was a large crowd of people slowly swamping into Martrade.

Clockwise from top : (1)The official photographers and photog buddies - Jason, Darren & John "Katak" Ling, (2)Sue Leng , (3)Part of the setup team - Winnie & Grislle , (4) Crystal & Alex.
 After leaving my bag at the baggage counter, I was ready to do some warm ups. Not before I met up with some of the guys along the way. Pleasantly surprised was to see Jason and John "Katak" Ling (my photog buddies). They were part of the official photographer team covering the event. I made sure they take my photos and checked where they were positioned at the run.

Walking towards the startline, met up with the setup gang that I've worked with during the recent We Run KL 2012. They have been working since the day before and they were still pretty energetic. Great job!

The startline already crowded.
I'm usually quite kiasu when heading towards any startline. I prefer to be close to the start rather than start at the back. From previous experiences, this was to avoid zig-zagging slower runners after the gun off. 

From top left to bottom : (1)My DR buddy - Kenny G , (2) Therese of Hivelocity, (3) The Real Ho & Weng Woo, (4) DR gang - Raymond T. (5) The ever fast, Edan Syah, (6) The Forever Young - Uncle Oli, (7) The ever fit - Herny. (8) Mrs. Moey of Ton Ton, (9) Michelle Eves as bike marshal
Being 30 minutes early before gun off, I'm bound to always bump into friends inside or outside the pit. Since I was in a "Korean" mode, I kept calling everyone Oppa (which soon I found out was a wrong term to use on anyone. Apparently only young girls can use it on slightly older guys). How embarrassing. (-_-)||

While inside the pit, I kept my legs moving so I don't cool down too much. Must keep the heart rate pumping. The gun off was delayed by 6 minutes, which felt quite like an eternity. The crowd began to feel anxious and the emcees were trying to keep everyone occupied with some music and some activities. I was beginning to feel worried as the sky is getting brighter and the sun rays can be quite glaring at some parts of the route.

Once the gun was off, I wasted no time overtaking as much runners as possible but conserving energy at the same time. I'm mentally prepared as I know what waits before me - hills, hills and more HILLS!

Bumping and over taking Sharon.
The first 2km was pretty easy as the road was going downhill. Loads of runners were speeding through. Part of me wants to go with them but I stayed with an easy pace. I need to conserve energy for the later parts.

Clear skies! After 3km mark heading towards Publika.
As expected, the glaring sunrise!
Capt overtook me around the 4km marker. I thought he was at the front being that he is part of the "elite". More added pressure as he encourage me to push. We were pretty close to each other for about a kilometer before he sped off. I had to slow down a bit (as expected) cause of the glaring morning sun. Even with my sunnies on, my eyes were squinting.

Next up was the turn heading towards Hartamas. This is the part that I started to speed up.

If this was the scene of "Sound of Music", better start singing "The hills are ALIVE....." cause this is where the terror begins. Jalan Sri Hartamas is a popular road for runners doing their training run. It's famous for it's continuous ascends and descents. KM6-KM9 is gonna be FUN!

First obstacle course - Climbing over Water Barricade.
 Arrival at Plaza Damas is greeted with the first obstacle course : Climbing over 2 walls of water barricades. If you are wondering, this is kept with the organizers theme of "Over coming obstacles in life". How fitting. It was pretty easy actually but somehow I saw some people cheating by bypassing them.

Made up a bit of time as I quickly jumped over the barricades as many were struggling. I need to quickly make it downhill and make a U-turn to catch up.

The rest of the route is pretty much straight forward. After the U-turn, the route was in reverse and we need to head back towards the finishing line.

Running pass the infamous coloured wall structure outside Publika. 1.5km to go!
 The last 1.5km I really pushed hard. Basically because I was hungry! A couple of hills and we were back at Martrade again. About 200M to the finishing, one more obstacle course to go.

CG guarding the last obstacle.
The last obstacle - Zig zagging through a "maze".
The last obstacle was a "maze" (or the lack of one). A quick left-right-left and you're out of it. A good and fun addition but could be further improved next year. The team of supporters (including CG) were at the obstacle course giving support and encouragement to every runner.

Out of the maze, a quick turn to the left and the finishing line is just a shot away. I quickly blast through the finishing and was very happy with my timing. At the same time, I was cringing cause the DJ decided to blast a certain "Gangam" song when I crossed it. Happy nonetheless. ;)

Ever cheerful Jolene. 
Walked through the welfare area to collect my finisher medal and was greeted by the ever cheerful Jolene. Dun play play. She has done more FM that I did.

After collecting the goodie bag and a quick change, it's time to meet up with friends at the staging area and finishing line.

From left : Yin Yin, Gilbert , Tan Wah Sing and me.
Cute little boy helping out to pass Tau Hueh for the participants.
Such a joyful sight to see young ones helping out.
With Ultra-Marathoner Frank Chong of Running Lab Malaysia.
Jason was so busy snapping away that he wasn't aware that I was calling him. Well, he needs to do his job.
Closing to the finishing line, Kenny G & David.
Showing off our sequential bib numbering. Except Capt's bib number was a bit later.

It was Uncle Oli's birthday, so I decided to do an impromptu birthday song for him. Please don't mind my suara sumbang la cause I can't sing properly for dear life. Happy Birthday Uncle Oliver. Stay forever young and continue to inspire! (ps: Uncle Oli does Full Marathons and Ultra-Marathons! No words can expressed how incredible his feats are). 

Top Podium Finishers.
Edan pointing out his winning results.
Group photo with all podium winners and the GE team. 
Mr & Mrs. Moey. Congrats to Moey on his 4th placing in the Men's Junior Veteran Category.
Congratulations to Mr. Tan Wah Sing on his 3rd placing in Men's Senior Veteran Category.
Edan and his 3rd placing mantle. Congratulations Edan!
A quick pic with the fastest Human Snail. Amazing costume bro!
All in all it was a great event and I honestly can say I enjoyed it very much. I'm sure many would agree. Everything was very well organized.

Later I found out that I did a personal PB for 5km by shaving off 3 minutes! I'm so glad. :)

Here are some breakdown points:

Pros :
1. Sufficient water stations and the sponging station was an additional bonus.
2. Excellent route with obstacle courses.
3. Race venue was huge and catered well with more than 5,000 people.
4. Finisher Medal - One of the best I've received. Very solid and well made.
5. Volunteers and support team were helpful in all areas.

Cons (not really but if I had to nitpick) :
1. Gun off should be on time. Not a big issue for me as long it's not delayed too long.
2. Obstacle courses could be more challenging. Always room for improvement.
3. Suggested parking areas may seemed a bit far from venue but a good warm up before the run.

The organizers definitely did well in this event considering this is the first one done by Great Eastern Malaysia. If ever there is a Live Great Run 2013, count me in! :)

The awesome looking and solid finisher Medal for Live Great Run 2012.

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