Monday, July 16, 2007

Sleepless in Seremban

It has been 5 consecutive weekends that I spent away from home. It started with Phuket for the Laguna Phuket Marathon. A week later, I flew to Penang for Penang Bridge Run. Then, off to Singapore for The Milk Run, followed by 7th Sutera Harbour 7K run on 07.07.07 in Sabah and last weekend, I went south to for Seremban Half Marathon.

Wowow! 5 consecutive runs, in 5 different cities. Looking at the plan, I think it is possible for me to create my own personal record for running 8 road races consecutively in 8 different cities. I have 3 more runs to go

1) 22.07 NB Kuala Lumpur 10K (Federal Territory)

2) 29.07 Melaka International Half Marathon (Melaka)

3) 05.08 Adidas King of the Road (Petaling Jaya, Selangor)

I took the train down to Seremban. It cost RM 6.90 from Setia Jaya Station and took around 2 hours (inclusive waiting time for connecting train). The train ride was comfortable and smooth.

I reached Seremban KTM Station about 2pm. My tummy was growling but first thing first. I walked to Seremban Seremban Municipal Council Hall to collect the race kit. There was about 3 other people who came to collect the race kit in the hall. I was out of there in 5 minutes.

What’s in the Race Bag?

Event T-Shirt (Love the design!)

Number Bib

1 x tooth paste (Apple mint flavour – Yum!)

1 x Deep Heat ointment sachet

1 x packet of floor cleaner (Hmm…after the run, the last thing that I want to do is mop the floor. What kind of sampling strategy is this?)(Insert eye rolling ceremony here!)

I was quite disappointed when I was told my room was not ready when I checked in at Angsana Inn. So, lugged my backpack and I took a short walk to the Pasar Besar Seremban (Main Market) to look for the famous Seremban beef noodle stall (recommended to The Star Guide to Malaysian Street Food book).

The food stalls are located on the first floor of the Pasar Besar. The wet market is on the ground floor. It was not difficult to locate Stall 748 as the stalls are sequentially numbered. I ordered the soup-based noodle. SSSSSlurp!Yummy! Link to my VT review at the end of this article.

After lunch, I took a walk about the Seremban town like a backpacker. My room would be only ready by 3pm.

Historically, Negeri Sembilan has been influenced by the Minangkabaus. The Minangkabau ethnic group (also known as Minang or Padang) is indigenous to the highlands of West Sumatra, in Indonesia.

They are also famous with the practice of an ancient malay tradition called 'Adat Perpatih', where women are give a higher social status than men. Seremban is the centre for Adat Perpatih/ Minangkabau culture.

Minangkabau, derived from the Malay word menang kerbau, which means "winning buffalo". The roofline of traditional Minangkabau houses curve upward from the middle and end in points, in imitation of the water buffalo's upward-curving horns.

Many buildings in Seremban adapt this feature, such as the Seremban Municipal Council Hall and the Wisma Negeri (see photo above).

I took shelter from the afternoon heat in the Angsana Inn, only to venture out to the Seremban Terminal 1 Shopping Mall for dinner. I noticed that the Seremban town is easy to navigate. The main activities are located along the Jalan Dato Bandar Tunggal. I went to bed at 10:30pm.

I was rudely awakened from my deep slumber around 1:30am. Tires screetching. Thunderous roars of engines. I popped my head out the window to investivage.

It was an illegal car race in the middle of the night! People are trying to sleep here! KNN! CCB! WTF! (Insert your choice of expletive here!)

I was not able to sleep. I went downstair to complain. But the security guard and reception said they cannot do anything but watch. Apparently, illegal car races have been going on here every weekend. I can't believe my eyes when I saw even a kancil (a small locally made car) joined the race! It looked like a kancil but it roared like a lion! It was so noisy!

About half an hour later, I saw a patrol car passed by. It was trying to flag down the little Kancil I saw earlier. Not sure if the driver got caught. I was very sleepy and went up to my room. (Insert toss and turns here).

By the time I fell asleep, it was time to get up for the run! (Insert yawn here!)

What? The 20th Seremban Half Marathon

Where? Seremban (Where else? Hahah), Negeri Sembilan

When? 15 July 2007, Sunday, 6:45am

How long? 21km

I crawled out of bed and quickly put on my running vest. 10 mins later I was at the starting point! Yes, Angsana Inn would have been the best place to stay for Seremban Half Marathon if not for the noisy illegal nite car races.

The route was quite flat for the first 10km. We ran through the kampungs and some light industrial area.

This is not the official water station! It is set up by the entrepreneurial locals to wrestle RM1 from thirsty runners. Anyway, big improvement from last year, the water stations provided by the organiser were adequate, so I do not have to buy my own drink.

Distance markers are set at every 2kms. I found one under the rambutan tree. Look at the amount of rambutans on the tree. If only I had the time to stop and have a rambutan buffet.... Heheh!

Collected a blue rope from the official at the half way check point. I was still going strong until the next turn. (Insert The Hills Are Alive......here)

After making a turn at the check point, we were greeted by a long and winding stretch of hilly terrains. Yikes! Had to run and walk. I felt my ankles almost dislodged from their positions here.

I have seen cows, goats, sheeps, chicken and buffaloes in the villages I passed through during my runs. But ostriches? That was the first time! I wonder why didn't I notice those big birds last year?...The birds are reared at Jelita Ostrich farm.

The ostrich (Struthio camelus) is a flightless bird native to Africa. They are reared for their meat (Hmmm…taste like chicken!), eggs and feather. Ostriches have been known to reach speeds in excess of 70km/hr (45 mph), and can maintain a steady speed of 50 km/ hr (30 mph). Wowow!...What a runner, eh?

I had to take this shop picture. If you miss pronounce the shop name in Cantonese, you will end up going to a place called ASS. ROTFLOL!

Tired and weary!

Last 1 km. Go! Go! Go! The last 1km is the most scenic. We passed by many important landmarks if Seremban. Another proof that running is the best way to see a city!

A old colonial white building being restored near Wisma Negeri.

AMAN TASIK EREM?? No, it supposed to be TAMAN TASIK SEREMBAN (Seremban Lake Garden). You would want to do your training rounds in this most picturesque gardens in the country. Among the lush greenery and landscaped lawns, you will find the jogging tracks, play grounds for the children and lots of lovebirds. Heheh!

Negeri Sembilan State Mosque. The design is very unique. Notice it has nine pillars, symbolising the nine districts of the State.

Seremban Parade - I was so happy to see this building. No! I was not happy because it had the Malaysia Mega Sale going on there. It was because the finish line was just next to the building! Come on! Almost there!

Another stop before the finish point! I must stop to take a picture of this absolutely beautiful Indian temple!

Swaggering towards the finish line.

Winner of the corporate fancy dress category! Bravo! Very fruity this.

Seremban beautiful lasses in traditional costumes. Aren't they pretty?

Me precious SHM medal. I have four of them now!

I enjoyed my Seremban trip so much despite the sleeplessness. I see a lot of improvement from the previous years. Water stations were well stocked. (They still have water for slow runner like me). Distance markers - there were none last year. Different route for the 10km runners - didn't run smack into those school children whose cause massive jam at the last few kms.

Will I return next year? Yes! Yes! Yes! But I better find a quite hotel far away from the main road.

Please click here for runwitme's Restaurant Guide in Seremban

Bye bye Seremban.

Trivia: The title of this posting is a take of "Sleepless in Seattle", a box office romance movie starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Incidently, due to its heavy grunge culture, Seremban is known as the Seattle of Malaysia. (Source: Wikipedia)


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