Army Half Marathon

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I took part in the 21km Army Half Marathon a couple of weekends ago.

I was fighting an infection a few days leading to the run and woke up at 4 am on race day contemplating whether to call in sick.
But I went ahead thinking that I could stop anytime.
I realised it was a fine line between listening to your body and knowing your limit.
I confess I’m not good at both.

Anyway I thought I had my medic with me, aka my beloved husband; the race was supposed to be one of our dates. These days our couple time almost always involves some form of outdoor sports.

The event started at 5.15 am but I was too nervous to have a good night sleep.
The turnout was massive, about 40,000 people participated in the run and I found myself surrounded by testosterone raging young men who were half my age.
It was intimidating and I was glad to spot a head of grey hair among the crowd 10 minutes into the run.

The man was probably in his 60s, with a hunch back, not the best posture for running, and was shuffling his feet as if to conserve energy to last through the race.
He was obviously not the ultra fit kind but his look of determination was a touching and humbling sight. I was secretly cheering him on as I passed him.

I started to feel the strain in both my hamstrings at the 3/4 mark and I swear my legs would have given up if not for the copious amount of heat rub that I splattered on.
The last 1 km was painful, didn’t help that I got shoved and pushed over by faster elite African runners who were sprinting to complete their 10km.
I was just glad I didn’t fall over with my very tired legs.

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After what seemed like forever, I finally crossed the finishing line.
And I think the proudest person wasn’t even me.
It was my husband.

He had kept at my pace throughout the run even though he was a much faster runner.
He was there to cheer me on, to help snap pictures along the way and to grab me drinks.

Someone asked me what was the hardest part for the run, I was quick to tell her that it was the last 1 km. On second thought, the toughest part had to be the registration.

My husband had gone ahead to sign me up for the run even before I could find the courage to say yes.
Could I have completed the run without him ?

I like to think yes but the fact is, if not for him, I wouldn’t be running, simply because I wasn’t suicidal enough.
I realised that to make a commitment like this can be scary especially when it involves hard work, discipline and some sort of rigorous training.
Multiply that by 10 if you are a mom and have passed your 40th milestone.

In any case, I am really glad I did it because I can now confidently tell my kids that,
sometimes all you need to be is like the little blue engine
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can …

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Rainbow Bath Salts For The Teachers

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The boys are celebrating Teacher’s Day in school today.
And we made bath salts for their favourite teachers.

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We made these 2 days ago when it was pouring outside.
It was too wet to go outside and this was fun enough to keep itchy fingers busy.
We had wanted to mix in some food colouring to make them pink, since all their teachers were ladies.
But it was so so easy to colour them that we decided to make rainbow colours.

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Then I found these Pink Grapefruit Bath Salts labels.
I know, our bath salts weren’t exactly pink but I was too lazy to edit the labels, so we just leave them as it is.
I packed them up using some bottles bought from Ikea and dressed them up with labels and tags.

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I couldn’t help smiling after seeing how beautiful they turned out.
And the benefits of these bath salts go beyond looking beautiful and smelling great.

Magnesium that is found in Epsom salts helps to fight stress and combat fatigue and is especially good for sore muscles.
Calcium keeps water retention in check, promotes healthy bones.
Bath salts also help detoxify our skin by drawing out impurities from our skin.

My boys couldn’t wait, they already helped themselves to the bottle we made for ourselves.
It was too wet to go out for a swim, but just nice to soak in a tub of wholesome goodness.

And I bet after making this yourself, you would think twice about buying bath salts from outside ever again.

 

Rainbow Grapefruit Bath Salts
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Ingredients
  1. Rock salt
  2. Epsom salts
  3. Baking soda
  4. Grapefruit essential oils
  5. Food coloring
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix 6 parts rock salt; 3 parts epsom salts; and 1 part baking soda.
  2. Add a few drops of grapefruit or any of your favourite essential oils, and combine.
  3. Add a few drops of food colouring.
  4. Mix the colour thoroughly by rubbing the mixture with fingertips until you achieve the desired shade. (The kids love this step the most)
  5. I worked with primary colours of red, blue and yellow to get the rainbow colours.
  6. Because the rock salt that I bought was a tad too coarse, I poured the mixture into a grinder and ground them to get the texture I wanted.
  7. Slowly scoop in each colour into a glass container.
  8. Flatten the layer before scooping in the next colour.
  9. Work all the way till the top.
  10. Tighten the cover to keep out moisture.
  11. Dress up the bottles with tags and labels.
Notes
  1. Epsom salts helps to soothe tired muscles and reduce inflammation.
  2. Baking soda helps to soften waters and alleviate skin irritation.
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Homemade Bath Salts
MalMal Our Inspiration http://4malmal.com/
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National Day Reflection

I know it is late but it is still the month of August
So it is still legal to hang up the red and white flag outside the window
Or stick flags onto your car and put red and white side view mirror covers
The flag that signifies a nation that born only less than 50 years ago
So it is still an appropriate time to reflect
What it means be a Singaporean

Despite the many incomplete posts that are still sitting in my draft, I felt the need and urgency to finish up this post.
I was too busy to put up the flag or the mirror covers
In fact, I was even contemplating going away for a short holiday
over the long National Day weekend

But I stopped myself
It just didn’t seem right
My husband and I went for a morning ride instead.
And we bumped into a group of jovial senior citizens out cyclying in the predawn hours, decked out in our national colours, with music and flags, all ready to celebrate the country’s birthday.
It was a heartening sight and a great way to start the day.

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We have spent a few years away from Singapore
And I think I have seen some things about National Days
both our own and others that stopped me from making that little getaway

For my American friends,
The Fourth of July is a day of immense national pride
Whether they were Republican or Democrat
Whether they were rich or poor
In fact, Americans must be one of the most patriotic people in the world
The American flag hangs on almost every doorway
regardless of the time of the year

And Americans are one of the most diverse in the world
There are Americans from all over the world
Some are black
Some are Chinese,
Some are Hispanic,
Some are Native American Indians
Some are first generation Europeans
But all are Americans
And they declare themselves as Americans above everything else
Bonded together by their star spangle banner
and the values of liberty, democracy, and exceptionalism
They are the loudest and biggest (including monster trucks and implants)
But make no mistake, they are Americans

Then I have friends from elsewhere who perhaps are from much humbler countries
but with far longer histories and cultures
swamped by American pop culture
And yet managing to maintain proud national traditions and language
To some, it may seem trivial
The traditional costumes and music
The food and the customs
But these are some of the things that bond them together

As I watched the National Parade via the internet, a day after it was broadcast live, I was teary eyed on many occasions.
Tears welled up in my eyes as I saw the old Mr Lee being helped to his
seat during the National Day Parade
If you worship him, you would know of his achievements and
sacrifices for our country
If you hate him, you probably disagree with the policies he has made
Perhaps you even blame him for what Singapore is today
Either way, you are agreeing that he is the founding father of modern Singapore
For whether you like it or not, great men are often hated
Even one of the greatest Presidents of American history, Abraham
Lincoln, was hated by many, even today
And he was eventually assassinated by a single shot to the head

It was our founding pioneers,
Who toiled hard, in the docks, in the office, or in government
and created a world that we grew up in
that is far from perfect, but which was safe, in fact safer than any
other city I have been in.

It is this heritage that we share
the national day songs that we grew up with
that my children are singing now
the horrendous traffic jams and the astronomical COEs
and the ultra competitve schools and the kiasu parents
And the splattering of Singlish that gives us a common identity
And our infatuation with and claim that shopping and food are our
national pastimes
It was all these that defines us as Singaporeans for good or for bad

Perhaps the propaganda has worked
On the other hand, who cares?
I am happy to be back in Singapore eating my bak chor mee
And complaining about the traffic and the weather
And feeling safe where I belong
I remember a video clip put up on FB by my Israeli friend recently
She and her family, like us had moved back to their country after a year in the States
The video showed balls of light shooting into the night sky which looked like the fireworks that lit up our sky on National Day.
But hell no, they weren’t fireworks. They were rockets shot by their neighbours and she wished they hadn’t returned home.
I wasn’t sure how to console her and felt embarrassed to tell her that while her country was waging a war, the biggest issue that preoccupied our local news was a debacle over a penguin book.

So while I sometimes lament about things moving too fast around here
It is better than not moving and becoming derelict
So, in short, I am perhaps irrational
a proud irrational Singaporean

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