Xtend Barre class at Upside Motion

If you have been following me on Instagram (@Paleorina) you will know that I have been moaning about my knee injury. I have been unable to run without a throbbing soreness in my inner right knee and it has been driving me mad. Without running to help me expand my energy and keep me from bouncing off the walls, I needed something else to do that was low impact and interesting.

Yes, I have yoga but yoga was something very familiar to me. I wanted to try something different and exciting. Enter Xtend Barre. This is a pilates cum ballet workout that was created by an ex-ballerina in the US. The aim of this exercise was to create the long lean lines of ballerinas without actually having to take a ballet class. I mentioned in a previous post that my favourite body types are that of gymnasts and dancers so I was quite excited to try these classes!

I signed up for a one-week trial at $55 with Upside Motion that allowed me to take not only Xtend Barre classes, but also aerial yoga and pilates. In that one week, I managed to take three Xtend Barre classes under two different teachers, Laura and Saniya.

Xtend Barre Singapore

Continue reading Xtend Barre class at Upside Motion

Hiking in Taroko Gorge, Taiwan

My new-found enthusiasm for trail running has seen me planning more trips that involved hiking in nature. While it’s quite difficult to find friends who want to run with me in the forest, it’s much easier to find people who enjoy walking. So it was with incredible excitement that I started my recent December Taiwan trip with a hike in Taroko National Park. This is one of the country’s eight national parks and is located near Hualien City in the east of Taiwan.

We spent three days and two nights at Taroko. This trip was arranged by a freelance tour guide Ricky, who was introduced to us by a friend. I usually don’t like going on tours and being escorted around by other people but Ricky was passionate about hiking and was not your usual conventional tour guide on buses.

We went on two trails. The first was the Zhuilu Old Trail and this was supposed to have the most magnificent views in the gorge. We spent about six hours on this trail, including rest time at the top. The second was the Lotus Pond trail, which took us four and a half hours in total.

To hike the Zhuilu Old Trail, we had to get a special permit from the park that Ricky arranged for us. We started off from a bridge that spanned a valley.

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Namaste Yoga Festival in Jakarta – Nov 2013

A weekend of yoga with great teachers, amazing Indonesian food and relaxing hair spas – what more can I ask from a short weekend jaunt overseas?

In late November, I attended the Namaste Festival at Hotel Sultan in Jakarta. This was three days worth of workshops ranging from yoga classes to martial arts to recycle art. The yoga classes were the main attraction naturally. Because we signed up very early for the festival, we paid only S$130 each (it was a one-for-one deal) for the full festival pass. Barbara, who attended a similar festival in Hong Kong earlier this year, paid about S$500 for that event. This Indonesian one was a very good deal indeed.

The festival took place in downtown Jakarta at Hotel Sultan. We were fortunate that we were able to bunk in for three days with our Indonesian friend Rosiva who lived just 10 minutes away and didn’t have to waste money on accommodation.

The hotel grounds were humongous. All the tennis courts were converted into marquees for the yoga workshops. Here we posed at the pool.

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Kilian Jornet and his inspiring movie about scaling mountains

Reading about sports such as running or mountain climbing inspires me to go outdoors. Well-written books move me and compel me to get off my couch.

Recently, I’ve discovered the power of movies. I started with Fast Girls, which is a 2011 British film about sprinters. It was good but it was fictional. I wanted something more like a documentary.

Then I found one yesterday starring Kilian Jornet called A Fine Line:¬†Summits of my Life, which documented the athlete’s run and ski to the¬†most important peaks of all continents in his minimalist style and trying to break all the speed records on those peaks along the way.

iRunFar¬†and A Trail Runner’s Blog has a review of this film. I watched it last night and the cinematography¬†was just breathtaking. There were also some good quotes about how Kilian views and manages risk in life.

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Endurance athletes…I’m a fan

This post was inspired by Dan’s April 2013 post on endurance athletes. He personally doesn’t like the physique of endurance athletes because they look scrawny. Sprinters look better than marathon runners any day, he contends.

Aesthetics is always personal and everyone has preferences but I must say that I’m a fan of endurance athletes. ¬†Here we have US marathon runners Kara Goucher (left) and Shalane Flanagan (right) competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics. They look so sad because they didn’t manage to win any medals.

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Salomon X-Trail Run 2013

I had a lot of fun at the Salomon X-Trail Run 2013. This year’s race was at Tampines Mountain Bike Park and Trail, which is an area normally reserved for cyclists.

Barbara and I arrived just minutes before the 730am race start but the start time was delayed by about 15 minutes so we had time to stretch and muck around. She refused to wear the event shirt because she didn’t like running in shirts with sleeves. I thought the shirt was really comfortable and the material was the best out of the event shirts I’ve received so far. I was able to keep cool throughout the run and I really like this baby blue colour. I also wore my football socks to run. This was the singular best decision I made in any race – the socks protected me from itchy grass and horrible mud (more about said mud later).

Salomon X Trail shirt Continue reading Salomon X-Trail Run 2013

Chua Chu Kang BIG Farm Walk & Run 2013

Last Sunday I took part in an 8km neighbourhood run at Chua Chua Kang. This run, unlike the more fancy ones organised by Bloomberg or Standard Chartered, was planned by a number of community centres, including Yew Tee Community Club and Bukit Gombak Community Centre. The entry fee was a mere $8 ($10 if you are a non-PAssion card member).

It took me more than half an hour to drive to Chua Chu Kang in the wee hours of the morning but I was seduced by the thought of running through our local farms, imagining that it would be¬†picturesque with rolling fields (it wasn’t).

The starting point was at Brickland Road. We arrived about 10 minutes late, by which point the 8km runners had already been flagged off. The start point wasn’t clear at all. There wasn’t a big banner or anything. This photo shows the start point.

chua chu kang run Continue reading Chua Chu Kang BIG Farm Walk & Run 2013

Cold Storage Triathlon 2013

Last Sunday I took part in my first triathlon at East Coast Park. Granted, it was a mini¬†event – 200 m swim, 10 km bike and 2 km run – but it could just the mini¬†impetus I need to get me started in the world of triathlons! I think that there is something quite mysterious about triathlons. It’s quite easy to find runners and cyclists in Singapore but it is quite rare to find people who are willing to compete in three events in one go. I think it’s because the swimming portion tends to put people off. I mentioned the event to several of my sporty friends and the response ranged from “I can’t swim!” to “I can swim but not that far!”

I am extremely fortunate to have very close friends who enjoy sports and are willing to indulge in my newfound interests with me. When I ran 10 km for the first time at the Yellow Ribbon Run, Serena accompanied me. This time, it was Barbara who kindly agreed to join me at the Cold Storage Triathlon. This is a friend whom I have known since I was seven years old. Her boyfriend Ivan also came along to take photographs for us so we have amazing shots of us in action!

Triathlons are a lot more complicated than just running events because of the equipment involved. We arrived an hour earlier because we had to stamp our bib numbers on our bodies for the swimming portion.

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Yellow Ribbon Prison Run 2013

I’ve been getting into running recently. I think it started when I realised I like sports autobiographies very much; I’ve devoured books on fell running and triathlons recently. I was so inspired I decided that I would sign up for some races as well.

Last Sunday, I ran my first 10 km at the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run. I couldn’t have chosen a better race to do my first 10 km. It was the most well-organised running event I’ve attended! I was actually moaning about the race two weeks before because I forgot to collect the race pack at Bugis+ and had to travel all way to Sembawang to pick it up ($48 cab fare for both ways). But turns out the money was well spent because it entitled me to an excellent goodie bag.

yellow ribbon run

The race started at Loyang road near Changi Village. They were very punctual and started on time. Serena and I were still stretching and strolling to the start line when the bell went off for the start of the race. It didn’t matter anyway, we had timing chips in our bibs so we took our time to begin six minutes later.

I don’t have many photos of the race itself because I refused to stop in my very first 10 km race. Continue reading Yellow Ribbon Prison Run 2013

Yoga workshop with Briohny and Dice

Last weekend, I was convinced that I had developed visible stomach muscles after practising yoga for seven hours over two days.

“Look at them! I seem to have some muscles now!” I crowed, pointing to my non-existent abs. My friend Barbara wasn’t so convinced.

We were at a three-day yoga workshop conducted by instructors Briohny and Dice. This workshop was held at Pure Yoga at Ngee Ann City. It was going to consist of very strong poses, such as handstands, arm balances and various other athleticism. Actually, it was more like a slow gymnastics class rather than yoga, and that was the way I like my yoga.

Take a look at this picture below and you will know what I mean.

briohny dice

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