Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Penang Bridge Run.. n' More!

I did it!!

I finally did the Penang Bridge Run!! This run is a momentuous event for me, in more ways than one!

1) It's my first race in a year and a half (my last race being KLIM '06 half marathon distance)

2) Doing the Bridge is something I've been wanting to do for a long time. And it'll probably be my only PBM for a long time (if I go off to US, then it'll be a few years before PBM can happen for me!).

Anyway, here's a short report of my account in Penang, for the run and extra-curricular activities!


Penang Bridge Run (PBM). A race I've wanted to do for years, since I started joining races. When I could, they stopped the race for two years, I think. And when they started the race again in '06, I couldn't do it at all, as I had not trained for it due to lots of shows and traveling overseas.

I registered for myself and KT, and we were training a bit over the past several months for it. However, we weren't fully trained for it, as we didn't even cover a long run that went past 15km. But what the heck, we wanted to go for it anyway. KT had a business trip to Singapore, and he was due to join me in Penang on Friday at night, and he'll return to KL with me.

Friday (22 June):

11am - Bombshell-1 hits me: KT sms-ed me and told me he couldn't run, as his ankle hasn't healed, but will join me in Penang.

1pm - Left my house for Penang, making about two stops for toilet, and one for ice-cream (Baskin Robbins.. yumm!! Feeling hungry very fast the last few days).

5.30-8pm - Reached Penang Bridge... kau kau jammed! Headed straight away for Queensbay Mall to collect bibs and t-shirts. Took wrong turn and had to U-turn back... basket, I hate it when that happens. Collected running kits, walked around the Mall. Got lots of interesting shops. Had pancakes for dinner. Tempted to eat even more, too! Bombshell-2 hits: KT sms-ed me and told me he couldn't join me in Penang, as he was late to get into the terminal, and SIA refused to let him in (even though he was there 30mins before take-off! wtf?)!!! Great, means I have to run alone, and bear all accomodation expenses on my own, too! Sigh.

8pm-9.30pm - Looked around town for the YMCA, but I got lost around town, trying to find it. I'm such a "hero", thinking I could find my way. But eventually I did find the place, after making a call to YMCA, and making several rounds around the same street and going off some other streets. Checked in and took a nice warm shower.

10.15pm-2am - Left YMCA to town area near Penang Road to this place, Spice & Rice, where my friend Jonathan Yee (fellow sax-man) was playing with his band. Had some nice indian food (makan again!), and jammed with those cats. After I finished their last set with them, we headed over to Audee's Jazz and Wine Bar to see another Jonathan play. This one's Jonathan Chen, who plays electric bass. Btw, Jonathan Chen and I were schoolmates from Kajang High School, and we met through a variety show we did way back in '94. That time he was playing violin. We jammed some more after they finished their first set, and we had their usual supper session (didn't eat this time!). Went back YMCA and crashed.

Saturday (23 June):

9am - Woke up kau early, dunno why! Maybe too nervous about the race? Anyway, I was supposed to wake up at 9.30am, so I could do a short 20min run, just to loosen up my joints. But since I woke up earlier, I just went for one anyway.

10.15am-2pm - Met up with uncle for breakfast, and hung out with him at his place until afternoon. Headed back to YMCA, picked up my horn and my Macbook and went to Gurney Plaza, where I had some lunch at Dome and checked mail on WiFi. Jonathan (sax player) met up with me, chatted a while, and went off to teach.

4pm - Rendezvous-ed with uncle again to go to his friend's music shop to jam with this guitarist bloke. Went back to YMCA to bath and relax.

8pm - Met up with uncle again to for dinner.. had a nice pasta and mushroom soup at Food Loft @ Gurney Plaza. Nice dining concept, but not enough variety.

10pm - Back @ YMCA, packed my running gear for the morning - Asics Gel Kayano 13 shoes, running shorts and vests, Nike Dri-fit socks, bibs (official bibs and "In Memory of Terence Leong - Penguin 6" bib), Accelerade, PowerGels, PowerBar, and slept at 11.30pm.

Sunday (24 June - RACE DAY!!):

Read all about it here!

9.30am - Managed to get back to YMCA to shower and scream over my chaffed thighs!

10.45am - Went out to brunch with Jonathan and wife at a nice Indian restaurant!! Nothing like good Indian food (not the mamak variety, mind you!) after a heavy race!!

12.30pm - Went with them to check out the Fete De La Musique at Upper Penang Rd. Jonathan's band, Q Jazz Collective, played a 30-minute set. Had lunch with them, Wilson Quah and his colleague, Willis (MORE eating!).

3pm - Took a quick ride to YMCA, collected my horn, changed, and went back to Upp Penang Rd again, where I was gonna sit in with Wilson and his Areca Jazz Ensemble, to play a 30-minute set as well.

That was a fun deal... met Adil who also sat in with us, so there were THREE sax player up on stage. Me and Jonathan on alto, and Adil on tenor. Other musicians included Jonathan Chen on violin, Frankie on bass, Jon Skali on drums, and Calvin on guitar, with Wilson on piano. We jammed on three tunes - Au Privave, All Blues, and So What. It was pretty fun, I must say, we enjoyed ourselves to the max! But weather was hot like mad!!

4.30pm - took a nice half a mug o' cold Tiger beer (and a nice iced chocolate drink after that!) at Segafredos while hanging out with the cats.

6.30pm - dinner at the nasi kandar place with Wilson, Adil and his dad. They both left for KL shortly after that. I went back to YMCA to refresh and chill. Dozed off slightly.

9.45pm - Jonathan came to pick me up again, and headed back to Upp Penang Rd to catch Jonathan Chen's band, Ocean Of Fire, play the last set. Hung out a bit at Segafredo's again, until about 11pm. Jonathan and his wife left after a while, while I hung around some more with tissue stuck in ears watching some of the amateur rock/metal bands clown around singing inaudible lyrics and distortion guitars.

12.15am - Ocean of Fire finally came on, and they were a breath of fresh air from the rock bands, and they played their brand of instrumental rock, and pretty much kicked everybody's butt!! LOL!

Side note: OOF was the runner-up of the Yamaha Asian Beat competition last year, I think. They won some best instrumentalist(s) awards too.

1.30am - We hung out at the nasi kandar mamak place, and Jonathan Chen sent me back to YMCA, and I pretty much knocked out after that!

Monday (25 June):

I was supposed to return back to KL on Sunday, but I figured it'll be to crazy for me to drive back right after the race, so I stayed an extra night. Woke up almost in the afternoon, and when I got ready, I checked out from the YMCA, and met up with Wilson Quah for lunch at a nice economy rice vegetarian shop in town. Took a trip to Air Itam, and back into town for some really nice mango ice kacang and water chestnut drink, while chatting about a whole slew of topics on music! We also met up Paul Augustin and the organizer of the Penang Fete De La Musique. We chatted for an hour or so, before Wilson sent me back to YMCA.

After that, it was a nice, but relatively fast, 5-hour drive back to KL.

Even had a chance to stop by Tapah Dunkin' Donuts to use their open wifi network to check mails and post a quickie blogpost.

Ahhh.. I had a great time in Penang. Two vacations in two weeks!

Till the next race!!

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