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New Year Resolution for 2008: Swim faster, Run longer, maybe return to cycling.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Live To Be Your Best

How uncanny: A SAF Captain collapses and dies immediately after running his best timing (1hr 34min) at last Sunday's Army Half Marathon. SAF's most recent commercial epitomises the very axiom of the late Capt Ho Si Qiu - a military leader, sportsman, and inspiration. It's even more uncanny when the slogan for the commercial is "Live to be your best". I'm sure Capt Ho did.
My deepest condolences to the fellow endurance athlete's family, and may Capt Ho rest in peace.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Subaru WRX drivers have small balls! Show 'em your pinkie!

Ad Campaign Should Target Some Singapore Drivers

No-speeding ads hit below the belt
Sydney targets male ego after previous scare ads fail to reduce accidents

SYDNEY — After failing to scare young men into driving more slowly, Australian authorities have hit on a new tactic: Questioning their virility.

An advertising campaign features passengers and passersby waving their pinkies — suggesting a certain lack of physical endowment — at show-off male drivers. “The message is: If you’re trying to impress people, this doesn’t impress anyone. People see you as a clown,” said Mr John Whelan, business director for road safety and policy at the New South Wales Roads
and Traffic Authority. “For a long time, nothing has challenged the fast car/big man image that car sellers sell,” added Mr Russell Watsford, a road safety marketing manager at the authority.
“This does.” The US$1.6-million ($2.4-million) state campaign, launched in late June, aims to cut a stubbornly high road death toll in the Sydney region. It is trying to slow down some of the main speed offenders, young men aged 17 to 25. From 2002 to last year, those drivers were involved in 34 per cent of the province’s fatal crashes, though they represent only 7 per cent of the state’s licence holders, figures show. “How do you make this behaviour socially unacceptable?” Mr Whelan asked.

Previous efforts to scare youths into slowing down — with ads showing bloody car crashes — failed, he said, largely because widespread violence on television, in horror movies and in video games has made younger people “more desensitised to shock-horror kind of images”. The new ads appear to have made an impression in a nation noted for its irreverent sense of humour.
Within days of their appearance on TV, in cinemas, at bus stops and on buses, the road authority’s website, which also carried the ad, registered more than 100,000 downloads and crashed three times. Now on YouTube, the ad has drawn more than half-a-million views. “It’s overwhelming,” Mr Watsford said. “What’s in the media resonates strongly with this group, far better than straight advertising.”

The slow-motion ad opens with a young man in a fast car, stopping at a red light as two young women wait at a crosswalk nearby. Grinning, the driver accelerates hard, smoke pouring
from his tyres. The two women lazily wave their pinkie fingers in the air and give each other a knowing glance.

In other segments, a grandmother also waggles her finger, as do teenage passengers in a show-off friend’s swerving car. “It’s great,” said Ms Katherine Ho, 27, a Sydney resident. “If you’re
in a car with your mates and they do it because they think you’re an idiot, there’s an immediate effect.” Road officials say they’ll look to year-end road death statistics as an indication of whether the new campaign is working. But, as with previous ad campaigns that helped cut the country’s rates of drunken driving and encouraged seat-belt use, the ad will be backed up with regulatory changes tightening penalties for speeding.

Under the new laws, provisional drivers — generally from 17 to 20 years old — can lose their licence if caught speeding. Road officials received overwhelmingly positive feedback from test audiences for the campaign before its launch and only 34 complaints on taste grounds. “People said, ‘This is a government ad?’” Mr Whelan said. “They found it empowering. A lot of women
of all ages said, ‘I do that anyway,’” referring to the key gesture. “We’re not trying to offend or be funny,” he said. “We’re trying to get in the head of these young guys.”

Impressed with the ad’s popularity, English and Irish road safety authorities have inquired about using it and “variations on it will get used everywhere”, Mr Watsford said. The United Nations, he said, has a new “empowerment” ad campaign urging bystanders to get involved
and take action against drunken drivers and speeders. The Australian authority is considering
following up with a positive reinforcement sequel to the ad — perhaps with careful young male drivers getting a different sort of reception from the state’s women. — MCT

Friday, August 24, 2007

Preview of Army Half Marathon / Marina Bay Run 2007

The mood is set for this Sunday 26 August. I'll be finally taking on the Army Half Marathon after missing out on last year's due to injury.

I've actually not done the AHM before; not the 21km segment. I did the 12km one 2 years ago with Chad from the US Marines, but a bad tummy forced me to walk most of the way.

My last half marathon was in KL in March 2006. Timing was 2 hrs 33min if I recall correctly.

This year, there were some twice-weekly training runs with my colleagues at Maunsell. It's heartening to see so many colleagues getting sucked into the healthy lifestyle campaign. Work gets tensed and immense, but it's great that they manage to find time to unwind by going for short runs around the office. The motivation level even went up a few notches when we adopted the 'go further' attitude; literally running that extra mile or so and conquering the Singapore River portion by portion up to Robertson Quay. Within a span of 4 weeks, newbies to running were doing distances up to an easy-pace 10km from the initial huffing and puffing 3km.

Progress has been awesome.

This year, I'll try to at least maintain my timing. I just hope that the sheer crowd will not be a hindrance to covering the distance.

Otherwise, I'm ready!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Now It's Time To Say Goodbye...

Now it's time to say goodbye
To all our company
See you real soon!
Why? Because we like you!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Were Frogs Harmed?

Mediacorp is in recent news because some frogs were supposedly harmed during a variety show. Mediacorp says the amphibians were not harmed, and in fact were later released into the wild after the show. The SPCA claims the frogs were treated in an abusive manner (frogs were let go at a high level, subjecting them to undue stress and body harm). Part of the Straits Times forum can be found within. And the SPCA also mentions in the letter that it is against the law to release animals into the wild without prior permission from NParks.

I don't know what to make of it.

All I know is that SOMEONE has graciously passed on his/her germs to me so that I'm pretty much physically bogged down by the dreaded flu bug.

And now this frog in me is very frustrated that taking part in tomorrow's Frog Race will be a medical risk!


Monday, August 06, 2007

Primer: Non-Elite Age Grouper Strategy for Frog Race

Everyone, including myself, are aware that cramps are likely to occur when we swim after a hard and hilly run.

That is to be expected for this Saturday's Frog Race, especially since the organisers changed the venue to the much-dreaded NTU hills.

A strategy has to be in place. Note: This is not for those who are going for their PB or who are elite. This is only for those who want to enjoy the race without much suffering (I hope).

Here's my plan:

Do an easy 5km run at average 8.5kmph speed. I know it's slow, but I said 'easy'. Slow down to a deliberate walk (almost forward lunging) in the final 200m to stretch the calves and ankles.

Swim 1.5km in normal speed. Aim to do a 30-32min timing. Glide as much as possible. Kick only for balance. Propel with turning torso and arms.

Remaining 5km tempo run; easy peasy; pick up the pace in the last 1km to complete.

Aim for a total time of 1hour 45min. I think can lah.... it's for the kids at SAC anyway.

PS: I just recieved an email from organisers that my wave start is at @#$!% 11:30am! That will be HOT!! (Gotta have reason for the new shades)

PPS: I just sent an email to organisers to change my wave timing coz I have to be back at work by 1pm! I'm hoping they can accede to my request.