Monthly Archives: March 2014

Hoover Dam Tour

Wednesday (12th March 2014):

And so the usual cycle – get up, pack, breakfast – repeated itself.

We gathered at the same meeting point to board the tour bus to the Hoover Dam. Instead of going via the highway, the guide took us through Boulder Dam City just to give us a glimpse of the quaint little town. The hotels there are named after the hotels that are on The Strip, which I thought was pretty interesting! This town is relatively quiet with lush greenery, very different from the other parts of Vegas.

The bus took us to the top of the Hoover Dam where we got down. The foot of the dam was where we did the Canyon Float Tour. We were then taken into the dam……135 ft down the canyon.

History of the Hoover Dam:

*a little wordy but do give it a read*

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View of the Hoover Dam from Nevada.

The Colorado River had the potential to sustain life and bring prosperity to communities. However, without the dam, it was extremely limited and was a constant ongoing battle against nature.

In 1905, torrential spring rains had caused the Colorado River to flood. Nearby settlements (Imperial Valley) were flooded for over two years, destroying many homes and lives. With the continuous battle between bouts of droughts and floods, the Hoover Dam was built in order to tame the Colorado River so that the surrounding settlement and agriculture could continue to flourish.

In 1928, a bill on damming the Colorado River and diverting the water to California was passed by congress after failing three times. In 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed the authorization of the construction project which was the largest government contract awarded at that time.

Soon, a massive concrete mass began to rise from the noise and dust. 5000 men worked on the Hoover Dam and most of them were housed in Boulder Dam City which was built in the desert solely for this purpose.

Before concrete for the dam could be poured, the Colorado River had to be rerouted. Four tunnels, each between 3500-4300 feet long, were blasted and drilled through the canyon wall. Fun Fact: 96,000 gallons of water flow through these tunnels each second! The tunnels measured 56 feet in diameter with 3 feet of concrete along the sides. 19 months and nearly 600,000 tons of concrete later, the diversion tunnel was completed.

3 dams: The Upper Cofferdam, Lower Cofferdam and Rock Barrier were built so that nearly 1 mile of riverbed could be kept dry for the building of the Hoover Dam. Once the area was dry, 135 feet deep of silt, mud, rock and sand had to be excavated to expose the bedrock where it would support the dam.

Railroads, roads, tunnels and the world’s most extensive cableway system were among the many features that had to be built at the dam site in order to ensure success in the building of the dam.

In 1935, the project was finally completed, 2 years ahead of schedule. The Hoover dam has since transformed the desert into productive farmland, supporting thriving communities around the area.

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The 17 turbines that spin to generate electricity.

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Dam facts.

Considering the technology and resources at that time, the building of this dam is pretty damn amazing!

Fun Fact: The dam can last for at least 2000 years.

If you were wondering, I was taking notes throughout the tour.

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View of the Hoover Dam from Arizona.

After the tour, we were able to walk across the dam.

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The Mike O’ callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge!

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The Hoover Dam.

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The dam is right in the middle of two states: Nevada and Arizona.

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So, I can now say that I’ve walked all the way from Nevada to Arizona! Pretty cool huh!

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Lake Mead!

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We met at the parking lot where our tour bus was waiting for us.

Fun Fact: it was more expensive to build the parking lot than it was to complete the whole dam!

As we had a bit more time on our hands, the guide drove us to a point where we could walk across the Mike O’callaghan – Pat Tillman memorial bridge!

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1905 feet long! I ran all the way across and back! Phew!

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Jump shot!

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Feet First!

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We stopped by at a park on our way back to have our lunch. Spinach tortilla, mini cup of pasta, apple, cookie and crisps!

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The founder of DDI wanted to have his lunch with us. Classy.

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At night, we were scheduled to catch the “O” show, Cirque Du Soleil! It was an amazing production. “Amazing” is an understatement! It was nothing like I’ve ever seen before. Definitely a must watch if you’re in Vegas!

The cast, the crew, the costumes, the coordination, the timing, the set, the music, the backdrop, the props, the performance, the dancing, the balance……were just PERFECT!

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We had dinner and gelato at the Gelato Cafe at The Bellagio after the show. The best way to end this fun-filled day!

Next up: The Grand Canyon

Thanks for tuning in. Now, get off your computer and go for a run!

Canyon Float

Tuesday (11th March 2014):

We had a list of tours to choose from and we settled for the Canyon Float and the Hoover Dam tour.

First up: The Canyon Float!

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Mini Ketchup and Tabasco.

After a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, BACON, pork sausages, croissants, muffins, pastries and the like, we rushed to the meeting point where the tour bus was at.

The drive to the Hoover Dam, where we will be hopping on to the raft at the foot of the dam, took roughly 30 minutes. Along the way, we passed Bolder Dam City which is the only town in the state of Nevada where gambling is not allowed. The town was developed back in the 1930s for the workers who were building the dam.

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The area where we boarded the raft was within a restricted area assigned by the government since 9/11. We had to pass through strict security checks before we could enter. The tour guide said that we were lucky enough to be able to go on this tour because we wouldn’t have been able to if we were on our own. Only one company is allowed to bring visitors into this restricted area.

It was a long and winding road down to the foot of the dam.

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Two rafts, each with a capacity of 60 people, were waiting for us.

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Our tour guide and driver of the motorised raft that day was Jerry. He looked like a typical ol’ grandpa with a good sense of humour. After briefing us on some safety raft rules which were nothing more than making sure that we didn’t fall off the raft, we were off to cruise down the Colorado River.

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Before that, Jerry steered nearer towards the dam so that we could take our DAM pictures (HAAAAA!). He also explained the many different parts of the dam and how the water flowed to generate electricity.

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The Colorado River within the Black canyon is located at the state line between Nevada and Arizona. From the picture, the right side would be the state of Nevada and the left would be the state of Arizona. Black volcanic rocks are found throughout the area, hence the name Black Canyon.

 

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As we cruised along the Colorado River, Jerry shared many interesting facts about the Black Canyon and pointed out some wildlife/livestock that were unique to the canyon. We were asked to spot the Bighorn sheep which is the state animal of Nevada. They are usually seen hopping up the slopes and edges of the canyon and grazing on the scarce vegetation. They are so good at what they do that they can even out run mountain lions and coyotes. Sadly, we didn’t manage to spot any of them.

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There are several hot springs along the Nevada side of the canyon. He brought us to one of them where the hot spring water was flowing out from a rock (above picture). He explained that the water from the hot spring flows through magma beneath the surface of the Earth, causing temperatures to reach about 120 degrees F whereas the rest of the Colorado River is constantly at 52 degrees F.

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We stopped at one of the popular rest stops within the canyon to savour our lunch that was packed in cooler bags.

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We hiked to a spot where we had the best view (almost) of the canyon.

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Wrap, crisps, cookies, apple and a bottle of ice cold water!

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We settled down, making sure we were not near any holes or burrows for they may house poisonous snakes or lizards.

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Honestly, with a view like that, it was one of the best lunches I’ve had……EVER!

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That rock sitting on the edge is known as the “Dangerous Rock”, not knowing when it will eventually roll down to hit something or someone. 1794515_10152337484311388_985546358_nAfter lunch, we continued on for about 1 mile. We passed through the last rapids of the canyon known as the Ring Bull Rapids before the Canyon ride came to an end.

1960025_10152337484226388_1074093331_nI was very satisfied with the tour. Definitely one of the best tours that I’ve been on!

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Came back to the hotel and rested for a bit before deciding to put in an evening run along The Strip! All the way from Mandalay Bay to the Stratosphere tower! It was pretty tough maneuvering through the crowd. Still, it was an awesome experience!

Your turn to move, move, MOVE IT!

Updating from Las Vegas!

Sorry for the lack of updates recently (although I don’t think anyone is waiting for one!). I am and will be in the US for the next 2 weeks.

Currently updating from Las Vegas, Nevada! How exciting! I plan to keep a travel log so expect more travel-related updates.

Most of you would know that this Vegas trip is my mom’s VIP incentive (award) trip. This is DDI’s 30th VIP trip and my mom has won more than half of them. So every year (if she wins), we would take turns to go.

Ok, moving on to the updates……

Sunday:

The journey took more than 30 hours with two layovers: Hong Kong (2 hours) and Los Angeles (6-7 hours).

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Killing time.

1947825_10152328212416388_1362711563_nDinner at the airport. Organic Vegan meal of Tofu, Kale and Quinoa! So fresh and healthy. NOM!1974987_10152334820131388_1750377197_n

The not-so-healthy meal. Burgers and fries are a MUST in the US. It is ok to eat “bad foods” once in awhile.

1209258_10152334820031388_241241076_nFIJI!

We finally settled in at the Bellagio hotel on Sunday night (9th March). The Bellagio is one of the main hotels along the strip of Las Vegas. At 11.30pm, the hotel was packed like a shopping mall on a weekend. I guess the saying “Las Vegas is a city that never sleeps” stands true.

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Our personal limo driver who picked us up from the airport.

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After checking in, we rushed to catch the final musical fountain show right outside the Bellagio. It comes on every 15 minutes from 8pm-12am every night.

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We walked along the strip for a bit before calling it a night. 6 comfy pillows to myself!

Monday:      

1932308_10152331368301388_915854230_nWaking up to THIS!

Monday was free and easy. The official VIP program only began at night so we had the whole day to ourselves. Due to the time difference, I woke up early at 7-ish.

After sitting around for so many hours on the plane, my legs were stiff and itching to run. It was too hot to run outside so I decided to check out the Fitness Centre at the Bellagio. The hotel was so big that it took me 15 minutes to find the place even after asking 2 different people for directions (epic fail).

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Pre-workout selfie.

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The gym was very well equipped. It had so many different machines it took me a while to adjust.

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I checked out all the machines although the only thing that I ever use is the treadmill. I hopped on one of the treadmills and survived 20 gruelling lifeless minutes (4.1KM). I was not tired (barely broke a sweat), but I gave up.

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I wore my Puma Pacer tee and it actually spiked interest in some of the gym-goers. After much chatter,  I drank a few cups of water and left.

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Sprinted down this never-ending hallway back to the room.

For the rest of the day, we took a bus and toured along the strip.

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Wrap and Snapple! My kind of grub.

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Huge serving of egg, toast and hash brown (although you can’t tell from the picture).

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FRESH FRUITS.

Did some shopping and ate all sorts of junk food along the way.

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At night, it was DDI’s VIP awards and welcome dinner where the DDI employees and VIP guests (us) were acknowledged for their hard work and support respectively.

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Front row! The President of the company.

Mom was named as the lifeblood of DDI Malaysia! Way to go mom! Indeed, my supermom.

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It was a buffet dinner but I only managed to capture the desserts!

Stay tuned for updates on the Canyon Float and the Hoover Dam tour!

Till then, get movin’!

For the LOVE of Running!

Today was one of the best running days, as far as I can remember! Not because I ran my fastest or the furthest, but because I had FUN, lots of it. I made it a point to enjoy it and I told myself that I would.

I ditched my watch. Some runners depend solely on their gadgets to tell them their distance, time, speed etc. They tend to pay less attention to themselves and over time, they lose their sense of pace. At least once a week, leave your watch at home and FEEL your run. Although I don’t usually time myself down to the very second, I left my watch behind. I didn’t want a sense of time, I didn’t want to know how long I was running for. It was simply just me, some tunes and the road.

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Faas 300 V2! I love these.

The weather was almost perfect. Not too sunny (definitely not hazy) with a cool breeze brushing against my face as I zoomed by. As soon as I eased into that relaxed, flying rhythm, I remembered why I started running. It felt like the first time I set out on my first run. You know, when you get into that soft flow, it really does feel like your legs can go on for days.

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Throughout my run, I greeted all my neighbours and played with their four legged friends. I was running around with a huge smile plastered on my face, tapping along to the music that I was listening to. Sounds more like a lunatic on the loose eh?

I also managed to do some reflection, thanking God for the life that I have right now. It was one of the most productive “me-times” ever! I ran until exhaustion started to set in and when the night sky finally took over.

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Snoopy was trying to get into the picture.

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Such a poser. I meant Snoopy.

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Sometimes, we set too many running goals for ourselves that we lose sight of the whole point of running in the first place.

LOVE RUNNING

Amidst the grueling hours of training, sweat, pain, tears, exhaustion…… you must find that joy, that love for running. That’s the only way to keep going. You must love what you’re doing.

Take some time off your training and truly enjoy your run. After all, isn’t that what running is all about?

Happy Feet! *Tap Tap*

Running Clinic by Pushmore & Puma Malaysia

Yesterday, Puma Malaysia organised a running clinic exclusively for Puma Malaysia Pacers and its running club members. The session was held at PushMore Crossfit Centre and led by PushMore’s very own two lead trainers (their names of which I cannot recall right now, SORRY!).

10003940_10203692923383224_1913910577_nThe gym

1623677_10203692923903237_486873320_nHaving some fun before the session

It starts at 8.30am, which meant that I had to crawl out of bed at an ungodly hour on a Saturday morning all in the name of Puma. Yes, Puma Malaysia, I had to cut short my sleeping time by about 5 hours (at least) to attend this workshop. I cannot say I wasn’t looking forward to it though! I just wasn’t fond of the idea of waking up so early on a weekend.

So anyway, the session started when everyone (more or less) had arrived. Trainer 1 (you will know who Trainer 1 and 2 are in a bit) kicked off the session with an introduction to the Puma running shoe collection.

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The Faas and Mobium series. The Puma Faas series is light, efficient and built for speed. Whether you are a fore/mid foot or heel striker, the Faas series offers options for both with a heel-to-toe drop scale ranging from 100 to 1000. If you are a minimalist runner, you would consider the lower end of the scale and vice versa. I’m currently using the Faas 300 V2 and I’m loving every bit of it!

As for the Mobium series, according to Puma, it is a “Running shoe that expands and contracts right along with your foot, without constraints”. It is modelled with the human foot in mind with a high arch. There is also a unique outsole pad that is supposed to model the tarsals of the foot. Its adequate cushioning at the heel makes it suitable for long distance running. Accordingly, mid foot strikers would love the Mobium.

The Pose Running Method

After the introduction to the new range of Puma running shoes, we got to the highlight of the day – learning the Pose running method. The Pose running method is basically running with your feet directly under your body as you fall forward using gravity. By using gravity, as oppose to muscular energy, you are able to thrust forward using the least amount of energy and effort. This ultimately translates to more efficient use of energy. To complete the running cycle, the supporting foot is pulled upwards, instead of pushing it against the ground. This movement should be repeated, again and again……well, until you finish your run.

1098146_10203692934343498_2143407164_nBefore the method was introduced, we did a few laps for them to assess our running

1619359_10203692925303272_752181818_nSerious stuff

So again, to summarise:

The Pose – Standing on the ball of your support foot (with knees slightly bent), the ankles, hips and shoulders should be vertically aligned. When viewed from the side, the other foot should be off the ground, creating the number “4”.

1977133_10203692937743583_1503606276_nOn the balls of your foot

1507753_10203692938743608_1213647428_n The number “4” (close enough)

The Fall – Remember that gravity is your best friend. Work with gravity and allow it to pull you forward.

1619530_10203692945983789_2130704636_nThe Fall

The Pull – Use your muscles to pull the support leg off the ground while allowing the other leg to drop. Remember to pick your heel up.

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Trying it out

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If this method is done correctly, it will improve your running performance while minimising the risk of injury. Trainer 1 also mentioned that we should aim for shorter and quicker strides instead of one big leap. The foot should land under the knee and not in front of it. Also, there should be minimum movement from your upper body, keeping it compact without any swinging.

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Armed with new knowledge, we went outside to practice

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3 by 3

1898021_10203692935023515_1232334268_nGroup run!

Hydration Advice

The next thing on our agenda was on hydration. Here is a quick summary of what was advised:

– Start hydrating a few days before a race

– Drink about 500-600 ml of water 2 hours before a race

– After a race, with every kilogram of weight loss, 800-1500 ml of liquids should be consumed

– Try to drink at every water station

– Only consume sports/energy drinks if you’re running/working out for more than 60 minutes. If not, you’re just expanding your waistline

Running Strength Training:

Due to time constraints, squats were the only strength exercise mentioned. I guess you all know what squats are so I won’t be elaborating on that (maybe in my next post!).

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SQUAT!

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Ass to the Grass babeh!

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A good way to stretch out tight hip muscles

Ok folks, that’s a wrap!

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Thanks to Pushmore and Puma Malaysia for running this running clinic! I had a lot of fun and I’m sure everyone else did too! Cheers to many more workshops ahead!

Keep Running!