Wednesday, September 29, 2010

29/9/2010 Wogabout at Bukit Timah, Hume area

The day began early for me today. After sending everyone off to where they are supposed to be, I settled down with the usual morning routines with a flourish. For today, I will be doing a walk-a-jog of my neighbourhood.

I half hoped that the exercise will be aborted by a cloudy turned rainy weather but when things brightened up at 8.30 am, it was a signal that I was to go. Still one never knows, so with $10 in my pocket enough for a short ride home, just in case of inclement weather, I set forth.

8.30 am is the twilight zone of schools starting classes and the ebb of rush hour madness. It lends a pleasant wakeful purposefulness yet relaxed air on the streets. Starting from Bukit Batok St 25, I took off with a brisk walk on the pavement. I took in the cool shade , that will soon be gone in half an hour, provided by the elevated forested area on my right because of the low but climbing sun.

The familiar cries of warblers dominated the morning space, as they extend their territories beyond the Bukit Batok Nature Park. Down at the junction of St 25 and Bukit Batok East Ave 6, I made a right turn towards Old Jurong Road. My limbs has by now overcome the morning lethargy. With quickened steps, I tackled the long shady inclined pedestrian pavement opposite the park along BB East 6, thankful I am not riding a bicycle today. I crossed the road near Autobacs, intending to continue the walk on the cycling path behind and below it . However to do so would mean redoing the inclination to Old Jurong Road and energy conservation was top on my priority. Anyway, past the Shell petrol station, I made a note that petrol price has sustained for quite a couple of days at $1.786 ( 95 octane ).

It is now 10 minutes into the walk, not bad by my standards, since I am normally tardier. Encouraged, I marched forward like an amateur race walker. I estimate that I am now achieving my optimum walking speed of about 5 km/hr. My mind was alert, strides optimum and posture straight. Not a bad start.

The pavement along Old Jurong Road was relatively quiet today and bereft of the usual morning exercise crowd. Whatever. I had the pleasure of the entire pavement all to myself. At Bukit Timah Road, I made a left turn in front of the old fire station.

13 minutes now and another uphill walk. The section is exposed to the morning sun, without the benefit of the shade from the trees at the fringe of the park. I would deem this part as the most unpleasant because of the ongoing mrt construction all the way beyond the Old Ford Factory.

At this moment, walk gave way to jog ( Yeah, run out of an unpleasant situation ). Fully warmed up by the brisk walk, my muscles are now on GO mode. Leaning forward, I fought gravity and passed the bus stop at The Hillside. That is the first milestone -a little mental reward to keep me going.

Pass the Old Ford Factory on my left, I tut-tut at the entrance fees one has to pay to visit. The sun was beating down with a new vigor after a night's rest. A grey Malaysian bound train gave a couple of toots as it speed down the leafy corridor towards Johor, behind the boarding put up for the MRT construction. Now that the train will soon be gone, the hollow whistles of the train seem a lovely sound. I bet those living behind Railmall may think otherwise.

A quick visual assessment of the road works beyond the Bukit Timah and Hume Ave junction and I chose left. Another reason to escape the awful miasma of the generator used by the road pavers at that junction.

A nasty uphill task greeted me at the beginning of Hume but luckily , in this case, what comes up must come down. Straining past Hume park 2 and Symphony Heights, the slope turned into a little plateau, offering respite and shade. Maids walked dogs and office stragglers waited for taxis. The mood was wonderfully relaxed. Now, 25 minutes into the walk-a-jog and I was tempted to slow down and enjoy the morning.

From Parc Palais and Hillview Green, it was all downhill, the only kind I like. For fear of rolling down Hillview Ave, I maintained my strides, reminding myself not to take more than I can handle.

Another left turn into Hillview Ave, I reached the second stretch that I do not particularly like. Here Lam Soon Industrial Bldg and a couple of factories dotted an otherwise bucolic residential estate, bringing with it heavy vehicular traffic. Pavement is shaded by the long shadows of the grey building and this is one kind of shade I do not prefer. I summoned all my will power and residual strength to clear this stretch and was rewarded by space that opens up just before Meralodge and with it welcome light.

30 minutes into the run now. Beyond the Petals, I savored the last bit of peripheral greens of the nature park. Jog slowed down to a walk at the junction of Bukit Batok East Ave 4. From here, I turned right and joined the many joggers to retreat to the coffee shops behind the Bukit Batok Police Station.

It seems that I have accomplished the same distance with similar timings as when I usually set off with a jog. Still, 30 minutes into this junction from the start is a very satisfactory timing for me. All in all, the walkajog had been invigorating after all the unpleasant bits are overcome.

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