Friday, November 17, 2017

Spartan Race Super Japan, Sagamiko Pleasure Forest [21 Oct 2017]

On a whim, I flew to Japan to participate in the Super leg of the Spartan Race, intending to complete part of my 2017 Trifecta in a country I absolute adore. Also because I missed the local Spartan Super because I was in the country I absolute adore. Go figure.

Anyway, this trip was...different from my other OCR travels because 1) it was in Japan, 2) I was running solo and finally 3) I can't converse fully with other racers. I was excited and nervous and admittedly, a little scared because it would my first Spartan Race abroad without my teammates whom I found myself missing midway through.

Race morning was rainy rainy rainy.  It was so rainy that the race village became a mud pit with people tiptoeing across the field to get to the bag drop tent. If it wasn't for my trusty Inov8 Ultra shoes, I was sure I would have face planted multiple times. It seemed that Spartan Race Japan needed to work on the bag drop system because it took racers over an hour to bag drop! I think the fact that we had to pay 500yen for the big plastic bag to store our bag made it worst because we were slowing down to dig into our bags and had to step aside to repack and etc. MOVING ON.

I missed my 10am flag off time but managed to wiggle my way to the startline for the 1030am flag off. After the usual Aroo Aroo Aroo and Who are You, I am Spartan ceremony (I really missed Australia's Spartan Races at this point because the spirit wasn't the same), were unleashed into the course.

To sum it up, the route was hard. Sagamiko Forest was an amusement themed park on a hill and boasted a beautiful forest with leaves turning red and yellow to greet autumn. The first half of the course led us up up up and away into the hill right up to its ferris wheel at its peak. The route alternated between road and trail keeping it fast and slow all at once. Scenery-wise, had it been sunny, it would have been stunning. As it were, it poured the whole way, a teaser to the torrent rains of Typhoon Lan that hit the following day. The rain made the trails twice as slippery and muddy, the obstacles twice as hard and the river crossings twice as fast.

The difficulty in obstacles varies. Obstacles I used to struggle with like the atlas carry, I found easy here and obstacles I would usually ace were surprisingly challenging such as the rope climb and the herculean hoist. Due to my stunned growth, wall obstacles can be a challenge. It was here I had to open my mouth and say, "Onegai tasukete..." aka, "help me please."

In all fairness, I only had to use it once out of the three times I needed help. The other two times I lucked out and had two english speaking westerners help me out. Somewhere along the 10km, I was chitchatting with an American dude who had come to Japan on a holiday and was conned into doing the race by his friends.

I know how you feel, dude. I am still wondering how I conned myself into spending RM666 (17,500yen) to participate in this race. ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, I am just glad that my race wasn't cancelled due to the typhoon because the Sprint race on Sunday was called off due to Typhoon Lan hitting mainland Japan hard.

All in all, I think this video of the race that I compiled on my iPhone while waiting for the train in the shivering cold, gave a good walkthrough of the race. I really need to get myself a GoPro if I am going to be doing more of these races solo. (ehem coughsponsorGoProcough)

I am giving this Super a 4 out of 5 Buck Furpees because the weather brought on a whole new set of challenges to the course.

Some tips for racing in a foreign country abroad (where English is NOT the first language)
1) Learn the local language of 'help me' and 'thank you'
2) Contact the organiser on transport plans. I found out too late that the organisers had buses through back and forth to the race site from Shinjuku. Having said that....
3) Try to stay as close as possible to the race site or somewhere accessible to the race site.
4)  Bring extra money because sometimes the organiser might neglect to mention additional costs such as the connecting buses from the station to the race site costing 250yen one way. It wasn't mentioned in the race guide.
5) Plan ahead. Seriously, don't leave everything to chance and luck in a foreign country.
6) If you don't want to bring your passport to the race site or in my case, forgot to bring it, snap a pic of it beforehand and keep it on your phone/camera.

Thanks for reading/watching!

Spartan Race Trifecta 2017 
Sprint in Semenyih 
Super in Japan 
Beast in Johor Bahru (coming soon!)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

SCKLM Bags Two Gold SPIA Asia Awards

Guess who won an award recently! Me! #shamelessplug

Okay, I am not the only one who won an award recently. The Standard Chartered KL Marathon (SCKLM) cemented its position as the premier running event in the country by clinching Gold in two categories at the annual SPIA Asia event (Asia’s Sports Industry Awards and Conference).


If you ask me, their wins were well-deceived because the event was organised as heck (in my humble opinion). Dirigo Events, the owner and organiser of SCKLM, won for the Best Mass Participation Event and SCKLM technology partner MYLAPS earned the Gold in the Best Sports Digital Platform category for the SCKLM App.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Starbucks Works with Hope Worldwide MY to help post flood Penang

Starbucks Malaysia has teamed up with Hope Worldwide Malaysia (HOPEww), and Penang State Assemblyman for Kebun Bunga, YB Cheah Kah Peng’s officers to distribute coffee, tea, and bread to affected flood victims at Jalan Lumba Kuda in Bukit Gantang, Penang after the flood subsided.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Kuala Lumpur 2017 - The Music Run™ by AIA Vitality

The 2017 Music Run™ by AIA Vitality just wrapped up and it was a blast! I should know, I was there! When running a run with booming speakers at every 50m or so, it seemed about right (at least to me) to do the 10km distance. More mileage, better pacing, better for health.

Friday, November 3, 2017

One Sleep Away to The Music Run™ by AIA Vitality

One sleep away to prepare for #LiveTheBeat. Whether you are walking a gentle 5K, running the 5K or training for the 10K run, preparation is key to crossing the finish line this 4th of November at the The Music Run™ by AIA Vitality. If you're new to running, keep these six tips by Madhat in mind to enjoy yourself at KL Sports City for The Music Run™ by AIA Vitality!

1. Get ready

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Tsuta Tokyo, Michelin Star Ramen

I do love my ramen and it seemed natural that I would try to hunt down the best ramen place in Tokyo. To me, Ichiran Ramen currently holds the title for that. However when I heard of two ramen joints in Sugamo that had been awarded the Michelin star, I knew I had to try at least one.

So I picked Tsuta simply because their ramen had truffle in it. I thought, how much of a difference can truffle make to something that was meant to be comfort food? Initial research informed me of the odd ticketing system the restaurant had in place to avoid customer disappointment as they only had 150 bowls a day.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Imano Tokyo Hostel, Shinjuku review

Shinjuku is the home to Kabukicho aka Golden Gai and of course, the hub of the busiest station in the world. Staying within the vicinity of Shinjuku means access to almost every part of the city and even to the outskirts. It is also easily accessible to and from Narita and Haneda airports via train and bus.

On my recent trip to Japan for a Spartan Race, I stayed at Imano Tokyo Hotel, a 10 minutes walk from Kabukicho. For only 7,533yen (RM280 est as of Oct 2017), I got myself a bed in the 4 bed- female dormitory room for two nights.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

2017 Climbing Mount Fuji with Willer Express Tour

You know that famous saying about Mount Fuji...something something, only a fool would climb it twice? Well, say hello to aforementioned fool *waves*

On my 30th birthday, I summitted Mount Fuji for the second time in my short life on earth. The first time I DIY-ed the entire trip. But having dealt with the hassle of it, I wanted a stress free adventure on my second time and so and this time, I did it with the Willer Express Mount Fuji Tour. This meant everything from the bus to the accommodation to the timing of the climb was managed and overseen by the experienced guide and mountain guides under the Willer Express group.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Music Run by AIA Vitality 2017 is back

The fourth edition of The Music Run™ by AIA Vitality will take place on 4th November at a new home at the rejuvenated world class sporting complex, KL Sports City. This year’s event will be the first in the world to see the addition of a new timed 10k track, allowing Music Runners in KL to take their fitness game to new highs.

This year, the Music Runners can choose their level – either the 5k or 10k distance – and run through either one loop or two loops of an upgraded run course, dubbed as the Sound Track. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Nagoya Women's Marathon 2018: Ballot Results

Last year, on a whim, I balloted for the Nagoya Women's Marathon. I didn't get it but I did get into the Tokyo Marathon 2017 so it was cool. In September, I balloted yet again for the Nagoya Women's Marathon because I really wanted a handsome hot guy to give me a shiny Tiffany necklace after running 42km.

And on 10 October, exactly 2 weeks after the balloting opened, one week after it closed, I got the results.