Thursday, December 31, 2009

January First.

What a great year for me, 2009 was. And I'm only positive that 2010 would be equally, if not better, awesome.

My great 2009 recap:


Impromptu bungee jumping
My sister and I and my bestfriend booked a 3 day trip to Phuket just to bungee jump (also because the tixs were cheap) and 2 hours after touching down we headed to the center to be the first jumpers. My sister and friend chickened out in the end, leaving me no choice but to jump alone (as I'd already signed and paid). Traitors!!


Annapurna Base Camp
The highlight of my 2009, I would say. The story was straight to the point: met my friend Aiman at the induction program for new executives in my company (july 2008), found out that we both shared the same crazy ideas of traveling, kept in touch and booked for the tickets in April 2009, did not talk about it until August 2009. It was 16 days of absolute hell and heaven. I have never known such extremities existed; some trails and days were so tough that I gave up on giving up, nighttime were as cold as it gets especially at the base camp. But we met good people, ate good food, and enjoyed each other's company.




Flying fox and water abseiling
A fun first quarter activities organized by a friend I got to know when I selamber crashed at her house in London 2007 (I went backpacking for 54 days - by the end of that I was brokeeeee and she was heaven sent). This trip is lightweight and fun: a short hike alongside the UIA highway and into the woods, flying fox and then water abseiling. The water abseiling was way too slippery and one poor girl banged her face to the rocks. 


Cycling at Bukit Cerakah
Favorite Sunday activity: whenever my boyfriend gets an off day, we'd wake up early, entered the park at 7am, rented the RM5 bike, and went crazy for the various routes. The uphills were a torture but worth it once you reached the highest summit. What an awesome view. Plus you get to go to various corny places like taman salju, rumah negeri sembilan and what nots. My favorite was watching the paintball game.


White Water Rafting
I am a huge white water rafting fan, and my aim is to do at least one or two white water rafting every year. This year I only got to do it once, but at a new location - this was at Sungai Selangor, tougher rapids than at Sungai Kampar. To be honest, I didn't really enjoy it as we had to stop before attempting the rapids as they were dangerous. I preferred going down the grade 2-3 kampar where there were no interruptions. In this picture I am second from front, right side. We were about to capsize. 

 That was my 2009. Can't wait to do more things in 2010. I've already created my 'training plans' in 2010 and hopefully I would follow them religiously. Maybe I would share them here if I think it's not too embarrassing. I've allowed 2 Off days, while the rest of the week would be an equal running, swimming and biking days. My weekends would be packed mostly, cause I'd be trying to squeeze either a long run, long swim or long bike plus my yoga classes! Wheww! Ni belum tambah kickboxing class lagi aiyoyo.

 I also need to remember I have a life. I have parents I have to visit regularly at Nilai and friends to meet up... this is not as easy as I think.

 How does you training plans look like?
 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chick with Speed

Today I welcomed my pre-loved, 9kg aluminum monster into my life alongside my worn swimming suit and resting running shoes. Picked it up at the owner's house around lunchtime.

When you buy secondhand, the phrase, "you get what you paid for," could be a reprimand you do not need. But I have anticipated all the shortcomings - I know I'm definitely going to get what I paid for - except that my boyfriend thinks I probably paid too much. I have to admit, it stretched my budget a little bit, but it is still below 1 grand.

The frame looks ok, but the paintjob has weathered and flecks of rust could be seen. The tyres look ok, and the owner did mention that I should replace the back tyre. We tested the brakes, no complaints there. Changed the gears, ok as well.

In the evening I decided to try it out. Earlier at the owner's house, I couldn't even ride on it as I was having a hard time getting my feet in the pedals - my experience with bicycle pedals was all the normal flat ones - these were curved upwards, like an encased shoe space.

After a few tries I managed to ride on it. Tested the gears and spent about half an hour cruising around the neighborhood.

What I found out:

1) The gear rings make a periodic clicking sound, especially when I switch into the first gear. I tried going to higher gear and down again, and the same noise appears. Have to get it checked.

2) The saddle feels uncomfortable, but I know that would happen.

3) The brakes are far apart from my fingers to fully grasp them. It hurts when going downhill and I have to brake continuously. My wrists hurt too! At the fleshy part of the palm.

Going to ride them tomorrow and tomorrow until the bike and I feel acquainted. Right now we're like wary strangers.

Anyway today went for a swim. Wanted to do a longer distance but had errands to do. My time is noticeably slower this time and I think it's due to the 800m. I probably swam slower.

Warm-up: 1x100m
Set: 1x100m, 1x800m, 2x100m (fast paced)
Cool-down: 1x100m

Total distance and time: 1.3km, 50 mins

Stretching and strengthening classes tomorrow! Back to back for 2 hours oh yeah.

(yes, I'm on annual leave until the weekends heheh)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lazy Year End

It's less than one week to the new year. So what have you achieved?

I used to go crazy with new year's resolutions. I am a list person - I make lists of my lists - and there's nothing satisfying for a 'lister' to check things off. My list of 'Things To Do in Year So and So' used to be long and somewhat unachievable. Over the years I have wisened up and wrote down small goals that I know I could reach with only a small push or shove.

I used to write, "Run a marathon," even when I wasn't trained for a marathon. And year by year at the last week of December I would stare at that one sentence and feeling shitty because I am unable to cross it off. That's the downside of an obsessive 'lister'. You chuck out your confidence when you didn't cross out a goal.

This year, though, I had a plan. Instead of putting "run a marathon", I wrote, "run in a race". And I made my goals flexible; I could add them on or rephrase them, no pressure. "Run in a race" is much more achievable than trying to run a marathon, which would take dedication and mindset. So I did. McDonalds run.

And then, inspired, I added another one, "Run a 10k race." So this time around I had a running schedule, and I ran until 10k is an ok feat. So I did, and I remember spending the rest of the Sunday hours walking around the house feeling like I could do ANYTHING. I ran a 10k. haha. Crossing it off the list felt even sweeter.

In fitness, I believe short term goals (run in a race) are better and more efficient than long term goals (run a marathon). My sister, for instance, stopped writing "Lose 10kg in 2 months" and wrote "Cut out sugary drinks" instead. The latter goal was easier, accountable, and gives the result you can see. Then she would add more and more goals, "To use brown rice in all meals" or "Have 3 portions of veggies everyday". These small goals, when crossed off a list, make for a motivating push for my sister who has always been failing on her diets. These goals, she could control. But losing 10kgs, she couldn't not.

Anyway, here's to another year of healthy resolutions, goals and achievements. I hardly put much stock in resolutions now, since I always have continuous goals, but if I were to write my fitness resolutions, it would somewhat look like this:

(January)
- Start riding your bike! (group rides)
- Swim up to 3km (minimum)
- Cut down on eating out
- Have oatmeal for breakfast
- Go for a walk (once also good enough)

Happy New Year, everybody.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Long Easy Swim

Went for a long easy swim:

warm up - 2x50m
set - 3x100m, 3x400m
cool down - 1x100m, fast.

total distance and time - 1.7km, 60 minutes.

The pool was basically empty when I arrived, there were about 3 other people. My timing couldn't be better; it is Christmas weekend and early in the morning. I was practically lapping the water the moment I jumped in, excited like a dog. The empty pool looked so inviting!

I hate the first lap. I always do. I would worry too much about my stroke and my form and my breathing that I would end up dragging. I usually focus after the end of 100m laps. That's when my subconscious takes over and I'm swimming in a trance. Exhale, breathe, exhale, breathe.

One thing I realized about swimming is that, you really need to be okay with the water if you want to be a somewhat good swimmer. A lot of my friends would tell me that they like to swim, but, "I cepat panic je."

The panic is the issue. If you are nervous about having water over your head and around you you're going to have a hard time. Swimming consists of being submerged underwater and slicing through it. That means water is going to be around your face, getting into your ears, splashing into your mouth, sucked accidentally into your nostrils. The feeling is not nice if you've never felt it before. If you panic and sputter the moment water gets into your mouth when you breathe, you're going to waste a lot of energy fighting to stay afloat.

It's just like any other sports. When you first started to play futsal, your toes are going to ache, or turn black, your calves will hurt, your ankles are tender from body contact. But after a while, you barely feel them as you get accustomed to all the aches and pain. Every sport, swimming included, have some sort of an additional baggage you have to endure. And in swimming, if you get over the fear of water, you're going to be okay.

One thing I always tell my friends who are nervous around water is to completely 'drown' themselves. Go to the deep end, try to jump up and down in the water, try to touch the bottom of the pool, play underwater games, get used to the feeling of water all around you. Over time, the water won't intimidate you so much.

Anyway. The weekend is going to be spent bike hunting, and probably some muscle stretching/strengthening classes. Hope all of you will enjoy the long weekend as well.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Slow Run, Fast Run?

I read Haza's post about running slow with much interest.

I have been both. In fact, I am both. I was a slow runner, and I have also been a fast runner. My verdict? Both running style, although produce different timing, give me the same feeling: a sense of achievement and pride.

To be honest I could relate both runner's school of thought. When I was running fast in a race, slow runners bothered me. Maybe not bother, but annoy. I was a young runner, all pride and prejudice, only knowing to pass people and to win. I felt that all my hard work of weekly hard sprints, fast tempo runs, and countless staircase drills were made fun of when I held the same medal my shuffling friends held. I felt that they didn't know the meaning of pushing hard, of not giving in to the cramps and side stitches. I had a friend who, in a middle of a race, stopped to take pictures of flowers. We both later posed with our medals.

Now, I'm a slow runner. Not because of my injuries; I was running slow even before that. I found out that I enjoyed running for hours without getting tired, without stopping. And the only way to do that is to run at a slow steady pace, never breaking the motion. And I've always enjoyed it. Prior to joining all these runs, I have not been doing serious tempo runs for about 3 years. It was all about, well, running. And when I joined big events, it appealed to me that now, I am the slow runner. I am the annoying shuffler who might have demoralized a hard-working runner.

It's a really humbling realization.

Now, I realized: Running slow does not defeat the purpose. A runner is someone who runs, regardless of their speed. Running have different effect on people; people have different running goals. Some run to vent out, many run to lose weight. Some run to find peace, and so on. In a race, all runners want to do is finish. And it doesn't matter when, but you've got to finish. When I was running in PBIM, I spent about 30% of it walking. The rest, I was running very very slowly. I was mad at myself; this was the first time EVER I walked in a race. I hated to be grouped with the rest of these runners who posed for pictures and gossiped on the way. An uncle, who had finished the race earlier and stood by the road, saw me limping.

He said, "Cramps?"
"No," I said, "Knee injury."
"That's awesome!" he exclaimed. "You're going to finish this race with injured knees. You persevered."
I said, "But I'm slow."
He only said, "Respect. I could never do this. What is time?"

I read an article about a race somewhere in the States where they give out Elite medals to runners who finished last in the race. It was the mastermind of an elite runner, who said that he can't fathom lasting that long in a race and still could make it to the end. Used to finishing a race in 2 hours, he is awed by the dedication the slow runners gave. He would have passed out from mental breakdown. It was the best kind of respect from the best kind of runners.

So runners of various finishing times: run the race. It's you against yourself, not anyone else.

Swim Fan

I went for a swim tonight: and I had FUN.

I always hated the first few laps of a swim. It's not like running where your form instantly falls into motion; swimming takes some time to feel like it's natural. I tend to struggle with my form and stroke and only smoothened out after I've warmed up. Reading too deep into the mechanics and dynamics of swimming strokes have turned me into a hopeless novice swimmer. I just didn't know what I was doing, and whether it was the right thing.

Anyway, I did some sort of a pyramid.

Warm up: 2x50m.
Set: 3x100m, 2x400m. The last 50m a fast speedy one.
Cool Down: 1x100m.

Total km and time: 1.3km, 37 minutes.

Tuesday I went for my muscle stretching and strengthening class, otherwise known as Yoga. I do not call it Yoga because Yoga means a mind and body workout, and to truly practice it your body has to be aligned to your mind. This does not happen to me in the classes. I enjoyed these classes simply because they were hard, challenging, and really really worked my muscles. They remind me of the strenous stretching session after my karate class.

Yesterday was no different. The instructor is my favorite, simply because her classes are ALWAYS tough. The first one I went to, I sweated buckets. My thighs ached for one week. Yesterday, after some realllly tough poses, my heart was pumping hard like I just did a fast sprint. I was almost relieved when she said we could rest for 2-3 breaths. I have never felt so mislead my whole life. I thought Yoga was nothing bun a zen dopey workout. This one was TOUGH!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Malakoff Run 12km Dec 20th.


 The race day and the race itself is 90% awesome and 10% hell.
 
 Awesome was because this is the first race I was surrounded with people I know AND love. My dad, who is my bestfriend and role model and good friend and mentor. He's one of my best friends, honestly. I could tell him ANYTHING (and I did - still do). When I was a teenager and started acting angsty and adolescent-y, he adapted to it amazingly. Most parents, (like my mom), would check their kids bag, or read their diaries and prevent them from doing this and that and this and that, but my dad's strategy to raising his 3 daughters is simple: treat them like a friend! My friends started smoking and doing crazy stuff at 14 or 15, which causes my mom to panic and reign me even more tighter, but my dad's response was: "You know it yourself what's good and what's bad. I have told you enough and I have told you repeatedly. I'm trusting you as a young adult to make your decisions. Remember I'm always here for you." I have never let him down. Not even once. I could tell him about my friends openly: who smokes what, who does what with who, and he'll listen with either horror on his face or a smile. He made me feel like I have a 'good' friend that I could relate to while all of our 'bad' friends were doing stuff. 
 
Anyway WHAT am I doing yammering about my dad?
 
 My oldest cousin - abg zual - is also joining. He's an avid gym goer and have only recently started to race. His only vice is eating fried oily food. Other than that, he's somewhat 'healthy'. My boyfriend is also suckered into running the race! haha. Me and him were always arguing about our own sports of choice - he played football professionally before, and I just run - and he always said that running does not have a point and he can't imagine just running without getting a prize or the top spot. But my dad cajoled him into joining and he had no choice but to say yes.
 
 We left subang jaya early in one car. My cousin gave us this Powerbar to try and to me they tasted like mushed chocolate. I didn't enjoy it. We parked at Kiwi Express Bistro to avoid the hassle of looking for a parking and also to meet my cousin and her husband who's joining the 7km run. we boarded the packed bus to the running venue. My stomach started to feel funny. My boyfriend wanted to pee badly. My dad looked like he just inhaled the laughing gas - all smiling and excited. My cousin was rubbing himself all over with this 'ubat berangin' which permeated the whole bus and had some people covering their noses. hehe
 

Leaving the apartment. My dad's vest and harris's tshirt are the only thing you could see.

when we arrived my cousin deposited the bag, while me and my boyfriend looked for the port-a-loos. They were crowded! My stomach was already rumbling and I know if I were to just 'release' them, even teran for a second, they'll, well, you know. But we have less than 10 minutes so I had no choice but to mentally will my stomach to hold on for another 12km or another 3 hours or so. My boyfriend did not manage to pee too. my dad and my cousin thought my predicament was funny and decided to call me Cik Mek Kemut. As in, "lari atas bukit kemut jgn tak kemut... terkeluar kang."
 
I had reservations running this race. My knees hurt. and my PF too. But I figured it was the last race and all... except that I hated racing when I was hobbling all the time. There's no quality in that. I vowed to myself to try to run all the way. Run, no matter how painful, since I'm going to take a 17 week rest after this.
 
 My PF acted up on the second km. My knees surprisingly were okay until the second lap. On the first lap, my PF pain were bearable, and I soldiered on. I lost valuable minutes when I went downhill because I was a tad too careful with my pace... I went realllll slow that many people passed me. the uphills were a killer - no one was kidding when they said the hills would be hell! but I enjoyed it. I passed a lot of struggling people uphill. i just concentrated on my breathing and maintaining my pace. I think i kept to my slow and easy 7min/km - my easy run pace.
 
 all this were ok until I reach the first downhill for the second lap. My knees started to hurt - intensely. my PF at this point had become more unbearable, and that, coupled with my knee pain, made me stop. i think I stopped twice; another one was towards the end, that time slightly longer walk period, about 10 mins.
 
It was then I decided that i MUST stop running in order to recover. No training or running in between races have finally caught up to me; I felt mentally tired, drained of energy and sucky. I could always handle mental running, most of the times I enjoyed it because I know I am capable of beating through it, but I knew it then that I am simply not fit. My pace were not steady, and my breathing were uneven and at times, laboured. This is not how I want to be running for the rest of my life. This is not how I SEE myself running. I was a strong runner. I was a competitive runner. I was someone who enjoyed running, not someone who was wishin for the race to be over with (I was thinking it all the time during the race). 
 
 Having said that, I actually enjoyed the route. I would never step foot at this part of the city, and I'm glad I got to run through it. There were cute dogs, nice aunties in caftans waving us good luck, a house with funky windows, colorful shophouses, and some sort of a peace to the neighbourhood. And the hills, well, have i mentioned how much I love the uphills?
 
 I think I arrived at the finishing area about 1:30. Yes, it's slow. and it's my cross to bear. ButI wasn't bothered. I am going to recover: that is my plan. I am going to bike and swim: that is my plan. When I have plans and goals, I am happy.
 
 I joined my boyfriend and cousin who have already enjoyed their meals, and also my cousin and husband who have also finished the 7km, AND finished their meals, waiting for my dad to finish collecting his food. My dad took it hard: he's been doing a steady 10km but not with hills, and he usually get caught up in race events where he would try to 'tunjuk macho' and start out real fassst. both my cousin and boyfriend passed him on the second uphill. he is finally humbled! I think his time was 1:20.

Why does my dad look sad? itu muka orang sedih naik bukit pancit. i look like minachi pocahontas.

So my running days is officially on hiatus until April. I am actually looking forward to this. i cannot wait to recover well and come back to running a much better, stronger, and faster race. Oh I can just feel me sprinting towards the finishing line already!
 
 and Project Tri will oficially commence January. Or maybe next week if I am joining kookykash biking. Next year Powerman? wooo.
 

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Project Tri

Supposed to head out to Tri Kidz event this morning but woke up to my parent's text message stating that they are going to be on the way after Subuh and we're all having breakfast together (I'm living with my sister in Subang Jaya, my parents moved to Nilai after retirement).  Damn. 

 I was really looking forward to go to the event because it would be a great way to get a feel and learn about triathlons. For some unbeknownst reason, I am strangely driven and motivated, to a point where when I read the articles from beginnertriathlete, I get nervous butterflies. Like some sort of a silly anticipation to an event I have yet to register. It's the same sort of positive trepidation I felt before PBIM, all that nervous energy like coiled spring. I miss getting that.

 Anyway, to kick start my 'project triathlon' into start, I have finally enrolled myself to a swimming program. Actually it's a masters program, but I told them that I am 'attempting' to try a triathlon therefore need a lot of guidance. I would start in January, once a week, until I complete. I guess who knows along the way I might be suckered into competitive swimming since they are coaching their club swimmers as well. hhaha yeah right. 

 Finding a bicycle proved to be a bit harder. I have called my male cousins up asking them for a bicycle - ones they've left behind in favor of growing up and dating and playstation 3 - and got various responses. One cousin of mine replied, "ya rabbi, triathlon la pulak, kahwin je la!" I don't know how to explain this to them: most of my friends and family think I am insane for running so much and - to them - so hard. I am relieved when my dad started getting the race bug too; now running races don't sound too crazy anymore since 'Aki Tam' joined races as well.

 Anyway my dad is looking for a secondhand bike for me in Nilai, nothing too fancy - basic gears, etc - enough for me to get myself used to riding. I'm also on the lookout for one - one of my guy friends is an avid biker, although his interest points toward the trendy, fixed gear 3k bikes. My option currently based on my measly budget would be a secondhand road bike, and I don't really care about the brand as long as it could serve the purpose. I'm hoping I could get it soon (either my cousin's or secondhand) so I could join Kookykash riding (I wanted to write bike excursion but then it sounded too touristy).

 As I'm writing this down my cousin and his family are in my sister's tiny apartment, along with my parents. Earlier we've all threaded the timing chip to our shoes and tested the vest. My dad as usual laid out his running gear, being a nerd like always hehe. My mom, sister, my nieces, my cousin's wife are all caught up with the excitement too. Right about now we're having the customary Malay dinner of nasi lemak (carbo loading okkk). It's true really, sports really do bring people together.

 Have fun tomorrow peeople. Let's all say hello!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Swim Bike Run? I want.

While going through the Pacesetters events calendar, I saw the Chin Woo Biathlon. To be honest I was really interested but have no idea how the event goes, no idea what to expect or no idea how I would fare with the others. I googled and read race reports.

I felt weird reading them, like some sort of a nervous regret.

I am interested to try to do a triathlon. I have no idea why the thought suddenly appeared but I realized that I've always have some sort of fascination over triathlons. I like the commitment put, the effort and hours and dedication a person needs in order to compete in one. Best of all, I like the fact that most of the time, it's not really a competition about speed, but strength. The strength to finish whatever you started. The strength to overcome barriers and mental blocks.

I'm about to go on a running hiatus soon, where I will not be running until April. 17 weeks of not a single running activity to be exact. As always my mind has started to become restless and I caught myself going to the website beginnertriathlete.com. I already love to swim, especially long slow swimming (not speed) and well, I like to bike but never had the privilege to own one currently. I'm thinking, while waiting for my knees (and most importantly, my plantar fasciitis) to recover I might as well add biking to my swimming - which I plan to do a whole lot of in the coming months.

The only gripe I have about triathlons is that there is not a lot of resource in Malaysia for people who are interested to do this but have no idea how/what. Triathelete virgins. Like me. They have many triathlons clinics overseas or even small workshops for triathletes but I don't know whether they have those in Malaysia. The only thing that came close to it when I googled was the Trikidz thingy, and I believe I have reached waaaaay past the age to be a participant. I always wished I was a kid again so I could benefit from all these programs starting to dot in Malaysian sporting industry.

Here's what I need to have:
1) A bike. I'm going to ask my cousins whether their shoddy bikes are still available so I could borrow and start to put some 'oil in the gears' (both gears, mine and the bike's)
2) Swim!
3) Find out more about this event, which includes...
4) finding out friends or a a gang that I could do all these activities with. I have no idea where I could have a decent bike mileage and I bet if I were to be serious in this thing I really would need a training buddy or buddies.

Anyone here that could shed some light to this matter?

To finish this off, here's a funny, humorous article from a triathlete detailing out his first ever triathlon... with only 32 days of training. Here's another of my favorites.

Monday, December 14, 2009

To Malakoff or not to Malakoff?

My dream is coming true for the second time!

Malakoff this weekend and I'm feeling both excited and nervous. Excited because I am so looking forward to run this race due to:

1) I like the course
2) It's hilly - I love hills... uphills that is.
3) It's 12km. After 2 back to back 21km, the mirror effect looks very appealing.
4) Not only would I be joined by MY DAD, but I would be joined by my boyfriend and my older cousin too! (abang sedara la senang) Plus another cousin of mine with her husband who's doing the 6km. I'm so happy to be running this race with family!

And I am nervous because:
1) it's hilly... which means I'd have a horrible time with my knees as is.
2) My knees are bad. It's majorly inflammed still... I guess I need to ice it all the time.

I wanted to skip this race after standard chartered because my knees were giving me horrible times, but I guess maybe I could squeeze in this final race before I stop completely for the next 4 months. I don't know... I figured maybe I should start resting now since it's not going to get better, but on the other hand, I'm not going to RUN at all until April... might as well run for the last time this year right?

Also, my dad has been training real hard for this race. I've said it before and I'll say it again, my dad is so cute. I bought him the Glucosamine supplement and every morning when I call him I'd ask him, "Have you eaten your supplement? Have you put ice on your knees and feet?" It's really fun playing trainer to someone. Although my dad and I have been running around the same time (we've been running together for 8 years - but I started out 2 years before), I'm the reader and he's the 'jaguh kampung' type - the one who probably will snort at the idea of LSD, speedwork or mid strike. "Ape susah susah?" I could imagine him say that. In fact, when I bought him his first proper pair of running shoes, he was tsk tsk-ing my fussiness; asking for his footprints, looking at his arches, etc. He was running in my youngest sister's old pair of Nike's before!

Anyway, I'm not looking forward to be sharing the whole 12km with my plantar fasciitis, but 12km is an ok distance and I've done it a couple of times and plus, if I could slog through 15km of pure plantar fasciitis misery who says I couldn't do 12km? Right??

Just this last time! see you guys there :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon


My second half-marathon preparation was - from the start - messy with many unplanned details. I was late to book for the bus, I accidentally double booked the hostel, this and that. Since my bestfriend had accompanied me for the Great Eastern and my sister for the PBIM, my boyfriend decided to become my supporter. Friday night, he told me that we might have to change the time on our bus tickets since he had an important football selection on Sunday evening.

So early in the morning we were at first coach bandar utama asking if it was possible for us to change our tickets back from 5pm to 10am. they said no. Not wanting to give up, I called the singapore;s first coach whose response was, "sure!" But we decided to change the time to 1045am in case I did not manage to finish within 3 hours.

The ride to Singapore was uneventful. I watched one of my favorite movies, armageddon, and cried buckets much to my boyfriend's dismay. He later told me that the whole bus heard me sobbing. I could not help it, the touching father-daughter scenes at the end will always make me cry, no matter how macho I believe myself to be. and it's Bruce Willis!

When we arrived (at 3pm) we went straight to the expo to get my race kit. as I walked towards it I was surprised to see that the Penguin Book sale was just beside! It was all I could do to stop myself from entering. I am currently financially unstable ever since I signed the SNP of my first property ever (my first thought upon signing: rasa macam adult!) and adding to the fact that I (might) be going to L.A in January I am not even in the state to buy a pencil.

We checked in at our hostel, a comfy, laid-back building in the little india area. The 6 bed mixed dorms were the only ones available when I booked but only 4 people including us was in the room. As usual i opted for the bunk below hahaha.

Fast forward to the race day. No one in the hostel were participating in the race so we were the only ones who got out at about 550 am (I thought subuh was at 545) We walked to little india MRT but it was closed. I was taken aback and stunned. This was poor planning on my part as I had stupidly expected that it would be opened. We had only $4 with us and I left my atm card at home - we did not have enough for a taxi fare. and I have no map that could lead us to City hall. We alked blindly for a few minutes asking random sleepy people until we bumped into another malaysian runner Jeff, who was on the way to do his 10k. By that time (610 am), Bugis mrt was open.

Me and Jeff on the way to Bugis MRT.

At the starting line not only was I sweaty (from panicking and walking fast) but i realized that I am way unprepared. I was holding two water bottles: one filled with OSR and one just water. I did this with PBIM and had no problem running holding two bottles, in fact, my running was better because I had something to hold on to. But this time around I was also carrying my two ointments - a counterpain and some analgesic ointment prescribed by my doctor for my knees. I had wanted to buy an SPI belt but did not get the chance to the night before as we were lost in the city after having dinner. so in desperation I did the unthinkable - stuffed them in my sports bra with a quick prayer to god that they won't chafe me until I bleed to death.

I started the race ok, running at my usual relaxed 7mins/km pace. I sipped the OSR, looked at other runners, enjoyed the view.

And then my feet hurt.
And hurt.

Im sure all of you have experienced plantar fasciitis. Mine is highly serious due to bad recovery (or none at all!) and it hurt like you have no idea. Mostly I have problems with my arches and not the heel itself. Still, it's a bad bad bad bad thing to have when you need to use your feet to run another 16 km. And then, came the second bad thing: I started to worry about the race.

I hate it when it happens to me. The moment my mind goes, "Damn... this is tiring," the feeling will NEVER stop. It will not stop until I finish the race. The were races where I felt this: Siemens, Great Eastern 10k, and races where I felt wonderful: Mizuno, PBIM. This time, I felt the BIG BAD tiring feeling. And guess what? It continued all the way until the end. I tried tot hink about something else: my new shoes, ..... but nothing came to mind except, "When is this going to end this HURTS!!"

At 10km mark I felt mentally drained. My knees started to hurt so bad that I was forced to slow down and walk. I repeated this cycle - walk, run, walk - for a good 5 km. I started to feel insanely hungry. And because I've been bracing my whole body from the knee pain, i.e, trying not to put pressure on the left leg I've accidentally tightened up my entire body which resulted in cramps in my stomach even though I've been steadily drinking the OSR. I can't remember how many times I stopped to re-apply the counter pain to noth myknees and my arches. and I've never been so relieved to see the km markers on the way. One km was a horrible distance to cover when your feet's on fire!

At 15km I looked at my watch and it was 1 hour and 59 minutes. That means I could cover the remaining 6km in about 30 minutes or so, allowing me to finish it in 2hrs 30 mins (my target time, walaupun tak practice langsung boleh lagi nak berangan...) YEAH RIGHT. My feet were screaming bloody murder and I was forced to walk until I reached 18km - slow painful steps. By that time I've passed my 2hrs 50 minutes time from PBIM and I could not care less. I just wanted to finish it! My wristwatch came off and luckily someone tapped me on the shoulder and I had to reverse a couple of steps to retrieve it.

At the last 1km, knowing my boyfriend would be at the sideline waiting, I forced myself to run (hahaha ego gila!), thinking that I'll never hear the end of it if he saw me walking to the finish line. I guess it was adrenaline and knowing that my pain would soon be over, but i didn't even remember feeling the pain in both my feet and knees. I was busy trying to look like I'm some sort of a pro-runner carrying two water bottles, for the benefit of my boyfriend who had the camera. But I was soon humbled as I crossed the finish line with the time ticking above to
3:00:50 (official time, 2:58 was based on my wristwatch).

My favorite quotes (that I can remember):
1) Quitters never run, Runners NEVER quit.
2) I like men chasing me.
3) For Grandpa :) (I just think there is a story behind this. I always have a soft spot for male role models)
4) Breakfast after the run! YUM.
and my personal favorite:

"Nothing is Impossible. The Impossible JUST takes longer..." The lady wearing it was a slightly chubby girl with a determined look on her face, slowly running. It literally made me go Wow when I read it. It's true. Whatever you think is impossible - it just takes a little longer. you only have to go through with it, grit your teeth, and finish. Throughout the race, whenever I felt sucky about finishing with a bad time, I thought of that lady runner whom I left behind 10km back, who probably would finish late but I bet she would be super proud of herself. Because I am too. I hoped she had a really good race because her quote really helped me.

Anyway to top the crazy weekend, without having the time to shower, me and boyfriend hopped on our bus (1045am) so that he could catch his football selection at 530pm. I only managed to change my underwear at the immigration stop.

Yay Me!! Look at my running form - heel strike. No wonder I have all the injuries!

Spiderman runs too! I wonder how he could withstand the heat.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Running with Injury: Post Standard Chartered

 I completed my second half-marathon for this year at the much talked about Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. I am back now at home, nursing my massive swollen knees and foot. One look at them and my doctor went, "WHAT DID YOU DO?" I think I might not be running for the Malakoff. I know I'm swearing off (or have to) running next year for about at least 2 months. I can't stand running any more races feeling like hell throughout. For this race, I suffered body cramps - at my stomach, upper back - from bracing the severe pain of my knees. At 7km mark, I told myself, "Maybe I should stop this." And then I saw a message on the back of one runners: Quitters never run, Runners never quit. Oh WELL!

 I finally finished the whole 21km of running on hot coals and hot rods at the horrible but gratifying time of 2:58. I do not care what anyone thinks of this time. I completed my second 21km without so much of a training, with runners knees and plantar fasciitis, and after 5 months of jumping into this running scene. To think my first race was McDonalds run, and back then 7km felt like going to Johore. I was so proud of myself. Still am.

 I want to thank my boyfriend for being a great total support and a great fan, waiting at the sidelines (patiently) until I appeared. Here's to many more years.

 How about you guys?

 Detailed stories and pictures later. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

FRUST MENONGGENG

To tell you the truth, I am looking forward to Pacesetters 30k next year. Nevermind that I have nonexistent mileage sheet and that I probably haven't had a proper run since ages, if you count out the races.

 But I WANTED to. I think 30k is such an appealing distance. Daunting, and intimidating, sure, but at the same time appealing. 

 And then it just came crashing to me today: I won't be around January 17th. I would be in Los Angeles, freeloading my sister's overseas trip.

 Never had I felt soo... frustrated despite the fact that the alternative plan on that date is not exactly a bad thing, in fact, a great thing to many. My sister is going to L.A on a job thingy and she asked me along to which I said yes (of course) even if I have to cough up the flight ticket.

 I was in the midst of doing my Asar prayer today when it suddenly came to me - eh, yang 30k tu bukan 17 january ker? (nampak sgt tak khusyuk kan, ish ish ish). The trip is from 13-17 January 2010.

 FRUST NYER! 

All the way back from work I went between consoling myself to berating myself. I mean, going to L.A is once in a lifetime thing, I would probably never have the incentive to save money to go to L.A, whereas Pacesetters 30k is an annual event (let's hope so it remains that way). But I have been to L.A before, when I was 16, and it's not like I have enough money to have a shopping spree there pon! I mean, coughing up the running fee is a cheaper option.

 But then maybe it's a sign that I should take some time off running with my bad knees and all. I barely have enough rest after Nepal with Mizuno and Great Eastern 10k and PBIM and the upcoming SM and then Malakoff. I should be sated with all the running on my plate. My knees never had the chance to recover properly. They still hurt a teeny bit when I do my prayer or when I go down a long staircase.

 Yeah, maybe I should take a month off from all the running. Start again in February.

  .
  .
  .
  .
  .

 eeee, frustnyer!!!!

 30k, in Putrajaya. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

Great Swim

You know how runners always get that high? It doesn't happen often, but we are all lucky enough to have felt it. Your body seems to respond. Your legs feels springy and light and your heart doesn't hurt and you just feel awesome. I've felt it enough to know that I love running. And today is no exception, except I felt it during swimming.

 I've felt it before in a swim. After struggling in the water suddenly it's like entering this 'zone' where you're just gliding through water. I was struggling the past few swimming sessions because I was so determined to 'correct' my swimming form to no avail, and today after struggling for the first 2 100m, I just, glided. Everything worked in unison; my strokes, my bodyroll, my balance were in sync and I stopped caring about my overturn and anything else. I just swam. And swam. It felt wonderful... like falling in love. hahahah it's true!

 I was so psyched that I continued till I did 1km. 

 10x100m of bilateral 5 strokes each.

PBIM 2009

The place we stayed, B-Suite hotel. It was a family room as the studio room was all booked. The hotel does not have its own restaurant therefore no room service which forced us to walk to the nearest shopping complex for dinner. We had Marybrown which isn't the healthiest of choices but well. I bought bananas and some oat drinks as well. But the room is well kept and clean and comfy. I love.

Me at 210 in the morning. I slept early; dozed off at 8pm and woke up feeling quite refreshed. I think I just ate a banana and was about to head out to walk to the mall. I was hoping to bump into other runners who would accompany me along the way. I ended up walking with this orderly uncle who wants to be called as PK and we exchanged anecdotes on our Annapurna Base Camp memories. I think he has done 9 full marathons.

Wish I could write 'hard earned medal' but to be honest I didn't really do any training and I walked for maybe a total of 10-15 minutes combined. I knew I could have gone faster! This is the problem when you were in a competitive sport before; you would want to try going harder longer or faster then anyone who passed you by. I forced my mind to think about how awesome for me to be doing this under 3 hours when I thought I'd finish waaayy later due to my knees. 

Things I want to write down:

1) I was kind of hoping that they have someone with one of those deep heat ointment because I so badly needed it during the race. Yes they did have 2 'stations' where they would spray those muscle ointment thingy but it didn't do much justice. When I was in the Mizuno Waverun, they had a guy with a huge tube of deep heat and it was useful and easier as I could apply the ointment myself and on any of my body parts as I wished without showing to other people (I had a nagging inner thigh ache when I was running in PBIM... no one could spray THERE). Also ointment would be easier to reach into hard to spray places, like the arch of your foot... where it was hurting the most! Must remember to bring my own ointment for the next race.

2) No Milo station! I've said this before - I look forward to the Milo drinks as much as the medal and certificate and finishing. I was already robbed of this luxury when I did the Great Eastern 10k in Singapore but I thought running events in Malaysia would have the Milo station since its... deeply embedded in our hearts ever since kindergarten. So all I did was ice my knees and feet, took my bag and then walked home.

3) The bagging system was a bit hassled. You know how you would receive a chip with the number your bag has on so it would be easier for them to locate your bag? Almost every place uses the system - the bowling alley, the library, gym - so it's a surprise when PBIM system consisted of just asking for our names and the description of our bag, which was why it took them about 20 minutes to find mine as I was using the yellow Digi bag that 60% of the participants used as well! Kudos to 2 volunteers who were energetic, chirpy and friendly even after looking for 2947728 bags all with the description of , "yellow digi bag."

4) I didn't really like that they gave out water bottles. I especially hated it when I see most of them were half empty and some were quarter full. What a waste! I feel like I have the right to feel indignant since I've been saying no to plastic bottles for 15 months now and hate to see excessive use of it anywhere when you're forced to use them. they could have given water in paper cups like most races.

5) This lady runner who sprinted like mad when going down the hill and later stopped due to knee pain. I was cringing when she was slop slop slopping down the hill. 

6) This lady runner who had a funny running form. It looked like her right shoulder is yanked by an invisible hand every 3 steps.

7) the uncle who shouted encouragements to runners at the roundabout near the finishing line. He was noisy and could be annoying but I enjoyed him. He was shouting in chinese but when he saw ladies in headscarves he went all, "Lari lari jangan jalan saja! Hanya 500m sikit saja!!" Loved it!

8) the run itself. I was going at a slow pace and carefully monitoring (or feeling) my knees and ankle. My feet or rather the arches started to hurt at 2.5km mark. And they never STOPPED. At times it got so unbearable which forced me to limp for maybe 1-2 minutes before I ran again. But I enjoyed it. When we reached 15km I was like wow really? It felt like a short distance. But then again, maybe t was because the run was in the dark without the heat. I might sing a different song in Standard Chartered!



Sunday, November 22, 2009

bad knees again

my knees are starting to swell up. even after icing, etc.

 im starting to wonder if I could ever run normally again. and I've been running since i was 15.

 I refuse to even think it. 
 i am dreaming for the day to come when I run without piercing hot rods sticking through my knees and arches.

 pictures later!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I Did It!

And it was for me a great first time!

 I didn't know what to think, or what to anticipate. I haven't been running for 4 weeks if you count out the two races. I was not even in any runner's mode - physically and mentally. So to not freak me out I just pushed the race out of my mind. I went to sleep at 8. And woke up at 2am.

 I thought many things: I would faint, or collapse from exhaustion. I would suffer from the run so badly that every step is my mind screaming to stop and give up. I thought I would be running solo. I thought I would be running a horrible horrible race.

 But 21km didn't feel like 21km at all. In fact I was so surprised when we reached the 15km mark. I was enjoying the race with the runners all around me, some limping some eating and drinking and what have yous. My only regret (or complaint) would be that I have to slow down to a walk due to the relentless, unbearable pain in both the arches of my feet. It was so horrible that I walked quite a number of times... 5 or so. It's a bit disheartening actually; I've always wanted to finish a race running. I only allowed myself to walk when we were going downhill as I did not want to jeopardize my knees. But the arch pain persisted. I just didn't want myself to get used to walk in a race. And furthermore I read somebody's race reports that he too, had the arch pain but he pushed on and on until the end. It made me feel like a failure, somewhat.

 My time according to my RM10 wristwatch is 2 hours and 50 minutes. Which makes the pace to be 8:05 per km hahahhaha. But hey, with recovering knees, my maiden half-marathon run, and ZERO training (the LSDs being the 2 10ks), I consider this to be a great achievement. Kita tunngu bila lutut hilang sakit! hahahah

 Syukur Alhamdulillah!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

2 more days!

I was realllly nervous the weeks before, but right now I'm a mixture of really nervous and totally excited. I have no idea what to expect but at the same time I know what I would be facing.

 I've gotten over the fact that I have not been doing any sort of training since I came back from Nepal. The only running I did was for the Mizuno Waverun and the Great Eastern Women. Other than that, the only form of exercise I did was a couple of slow walk around the vicinity of my neighbourhood and a lot of swimming. But although swimming is as good a cardio as running, it is not running. It is not going to help me mentally in terms of carrying myself for 21km.

 I keep telling my friends who know I am going to PBIM, "I cannot even imagine 21km. I have no idea how far it is and can't gauge the distance." The longest distance I ever did ever since I started competing was... 12km. And that was in a race. I have never attempted anything longer than that.

 But you know what? It doesn't matter. When I first started entering races, my target was simple: to finish a race. Well, my actual real target was to finish a race running, but for this one I'll go easy. I'm going to walk as much as I could and run as long as I could without seriously injuring my knees again. I know at some point I would suffer, my ankles would hurt and my feet would ache and my knees probably would be singing. I know my shoulders would be heavy and my lower back hurting and I would feel like stopping. but I'm just going to take it easy, enjoy the whole race, and say hi to people that I know or want to meet (hello fellow bloggers!).

 Two days back I was nervously googling about the things you should have when you run a half marathon. I always go to a race with just myself and my shoes. No water, no nothing. But 21km is a long distance. I'm thinking that maybe I should equip myself with some tiny muscle rub, and OSR packets to drink at the water stations.
 
 Also, the biggest misconception I had for half-marathon was that you don't really stop unless you want to drink. And you definitely don't stop to eat either. But the blogs have all these suggestions on food to bring, and some even suggest a 2-3 minutes break. I never knew you could stop and sit and relax! I always thought you'd.. well, just run non-stop! 

 Also, I thought that you had to hold in your pee too. It never occurred to me that you could actually wander to the nearest petrol station and do your business. I guess the race mentality in high school and uni is deeply embedded in my mind. You certainly don't stop mid-run during a 1500 race. And going to the nearby 7-11 during cross country felt more like a rebellious thing to do than a normal thing.

 I'm going to Penang with my sister who'd be sleeping as I am waking up to go for the run. I hope I get to meet some of the people whose blogs I've been reading. In case you don't recognize me, my bib number is E25121. Say hello!

 And Good Luck everybody!

 BTW, I swam today. 8x50m, 2x100m, 1x300m. Total 900m. Awesome session! I love.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Swimming 3k

I spent lunchtime at work going through the SwimSmooth website and staring at the animation for long minutes. According to Mr Smooth and the site, I have horrible swimming style. As I mentioned in the earlier post, I overturn when taking air, my strokes cross the midline and I do not have the 'catch'.  I was determined to at least correct my bodyroll today.

 The attempt was horrible. Obviously, a self-taught swimmer's not going to get any better with her form if she's the one teaching herself, and have no idea how she looks like in the water. I had to idea what I was doing. Somewhere in my 4th lap, I actually breathed in water through my nose and I was at the 25m mark. I had to struggle to the end, swimming short strokes and trying not to choke and cough. My breathing was awful because I was concentrating on too many things: my strokes to go straight, to 'catch' and to breathe with one goggle underwater. When catching a breather I noticed that all swimmers overturn. Finally after trying in vain to breathe properly, I chucked them all off and swam just the way I know how. I mean, I'm not going to the Olympic or even competing. I was just going to swim for as long and as much as I could for my fitness.

 I did 1000m of easy freestyle with maybe 2 laps of side drills. Can't wait to swim on Wednesday. No, I can't wait to RUN.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

7 DAYS

My dad used to tell me, "The more you know, the more you don't know."

 I remember my first 10k race. Prior to that, the longest distance I ran was 3km. Tired 3kms. But I made it through 10km on sheer race-day adrenaline and perseverance. 

 And then I started to read running books, blogs, forum, whatever you have. And I started to do all the right running things - speedwork, hill runs, lsd, tempo runs. And that's when I found out that it's sort of impossible to do a 21km without training. 

 But at the same time I know of some friends who jumped into the 21km race without proper training, that I know of. They did it again this year for BIM with minimal training that running blogs would have a heart attack on upon finding out. One dude even did the full marathon and I think the longest LSD he did was 18~ km. He finished.

 In 7 days, I'm going for a 21km. I'm freaking out because everyone says it's not easy, especially the last 7k part. Mentally mostly, and your body takes some toll on it too. My serious lack of preparation as stated by all these running blogs and magazine is freaking me out, bit by bit. But  on the other hand I'm trying to remember these set of friends that ran 2 half marathons with just hard motivation. They didn't know that running without training was suicide.

 I'm just going through with it. I wouldn't know how hard it would me on the race, but I'll try my hardest to finish it, whatever time it takes.

 

cardio: badminton

What a tournament! haha.

 We came in third, all because we lost the crucial first game. Being in mixed doubles lets me know for the umpteenth time how much I hate team sports. I hate having to rely on other people for the outcome of the competition. Solitary sport, like running or swimming, is muuuuch better. If you lose it's your fault, and if you win, it's your triumph. Yesterday at the game it was hard because my partner and I didn't really have a good playing chemistry. And plus I have a lousy attitude of 'membolot'. I did that during my field hockey days. I always don't trust other people to do the work for me. I'm telling you, I'm the worst teammate in any sports ever. 

So we lost the first game. It was a boring set! 

 The best part was when other teams were playing, and I played a single game with Hameed. He was my friend in university, we took the same course right up to having the same final year presentation slot together. Hameed was actually a pro tennis player. But he'd played badminton once or twice. We started playing and it was awesome. It was supposed to be a warmup for the both of us before our game started but we were exhausted after the first set. We played a mean net play and both of us had each other running to other side of the court. I was drenched after the game. Tired to the point of ten.

Planned to go for a swim today but..
Have no idea what my excuse would be yet.
Boleh tak?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Easy Light Swim

Yesterday went for a swim after 2 days of being stuck at some work meeting in Cyberjaya till late. I went with a friend this time, and we decided to go to the nearest, 3k, because it is an indoor pool (it was raining). 

 I've always liked 3k pool. Maybe because I'm just so used to it, but swimming there feels so much smoother than any other pools I've tried since. Of course, in my opinion, nothing beats Shah Alam Aquatic pool yet - it's amazingly deserted even during peak hours. I think that would be one of my main criteria in choosing a good public pool. Others include:

  1.  warm water
  2.  even 10 ft depth
  3.  proper swim lanes
  4.  DESERTED
  5.  separated for women and men
  6.  open till 10 pm
I have yet to find one that has at least 3 or 4 of the above. UITM pool has no 5 and 6, but is cold as ice and is gradually sloping instead of being even 10ft. Shah alam aquatic center has no 2 and 3. Which I like cause you just feel professional. Kelana Jaya has no 1, a great surprise and a pleasure during these cold nights. 3k has... well to tell you the truth 3k has none but I still like it anyway. I'm such a creature of habit!

 I also realized that when it comes to sports or working out, I'm the solitary type. Bringing a friend yesterday was not exactly a bad idea, but it disturbed my swimming goal (to do 1km) because I sort of feel guilty leaving her hanging at the pool sides. She is starting to swim regularly but since she smokes so much she could only do a short breaststroke before getting winded. I usually charged ahead with my laps without talking to anyone but yesterday I had to stop in between laps so that we could talk for a while. I realized then how I enjoyed going to the pool alone and having nothing but myself and the water around. What a great release to be focusing on just your swimming. We planned to go swimming regularly but I hope she gains fitness soon so that she could join me in doing laps. I don't want to make her feel bored waiting for me to finish my laps.

 so yesterday was an easy 600m, left and right (or bilateral? or whatever), 5 strokes each. Planned to go swimming today but felt extra tired so probably Sunday morning would be great. I need to work on my form - found out that my stroke is bad: i sliced using my thumb, my catch is awful, my stroke crosses the midline, and I overturn too much when exhaling. Urgh, what a downer!

Kertih Video


 My friend is lucky enough to live in a cute apartment just 25 steps away from the beach of Awana Kijal. Whenever I have to go to Kertih for work, I would always take the chance to run along the shores. It's a nice feeling - it doesn't feel like a workout, you totally feel like you're the star of a music video and some hunk's chasing you (nevermind if in reality it's the abang jual kepok leko) and at the end of the session you get to dive into the ocean. The length of the whole stretch I think is just about 1.8-2km, nevertheless it was a bit taxing due to the wind and the soft sands. 

 I enjoyed it. Just as much.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Written 2 years ago: August 10th 2007

The thing about running that I hate is that no matter how good you had it before, the moment you become careless with it and it bites you on your butt back. It is so easy to lose the momentum of running and so hard to get back to the stage you were. I haven’t been running for the whole duration of my trip and two days back, thanks to my wonderful host who herself loves to run, I went for a run. And this isn’t some ordinary run - we went for a run at Hyde Park, a place I’ve only heard about. I felt like I’m on some sort of a luxury cruise for runners.

In school, people always assume that I love running because I am so serious about it. The funny thing is, what I love about running is totally uncalled for; I actually DREAD going for a run, I just LOVE the feeling I get after a good run. My friends mistook the enthusiasm I show everytime I want to go for a run for my honest love of running, in actuality, I just can’t wait to get that runner’s high. I get seriously wistful when I see other joggers breathing hard, sweat making their presence known on their t-shirts.

Everytime before a run, as I am tying up my shoelaces, or when I am wearing my sports bra, or even when I am walking towards my destination, I feel seriously heavy. The trick about running that I have never fully mastered is the skill of distracting your mind away from the running itself. This isn’t like swimming where every single second is focused on the breathing, and feels awesome. When you run, you don’t want to think about running. You don’t want to think about how you want to stop, or about the increasing tightness in your chest, or the stitches you’re getting, or how your legs feels like spaghetti. I usually succeed in thinking about something else for a few seconds, and then come back again to the thoughts screaming inside my brains - STOP! STOP! STOP! The only thing that could prevent me from stopping is imagining that a rapist is chasing me and I am gaining speed away from that motherfucker. Or other strong runners, be it aging grandmas, athletic women, or seriously hot guys with to-die-for calves muscles.

Today I am going for a run again and honestly I can’t wait. Not for the heavy breathing, or the shallow breaths or the rubbery legs, but for the after effects that will make me walk around afterwards like a moony lovestruck lover, smiles on my face and the feeling that I can be whomever I want to be, like, Marge Simpson.

Monday, November 9, 2009

knackered!

My usual daily routine starts at 520 am. That's when I usually wake up. I leave for work around 6-610, arrive in the office at 655. I'm usually tired at the end of the day. 

 Today, I vowed to go swimming. And I did. Planned to go with a friend but he bailed out at the last minute so it was just me. I jumped into the pool and did a straight 50m x 16 laps of freestyle, right and left, 5 strokes each. It was awesome to have your lungs burning up and your heart pumping. The only difference between swimming and running is that when you run out of breath you can stop and catch it if you were running but when you swim you have no way but to manage your breathing the best you could. But it was an awesome half an hour spent.

 I went to Kelana Jaya pool and i was told that the pools were open to both men and women. However, the pool I went to (they have 2) were all full of males. I swam there wondering why they are giving me weird looks and later, ONLY WAAAAY later, at home and finishing my isya' prayer that I realized: that pool is for males only. i mean, my friend who went there lately told me the pools are separated for men and women but when I called them in the morning they said it's only separated on Fridays. But apparently not so, as I found out today!

 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Starting again


That's one of the flight of stone steps we had to endure during my 10 day trip to Annapurna Base Camp. I think this was on the way back, and if I remember correctly, I was heading to Bamboo village. At this point even seeing 2 steps was enough to drain my energy. The best thing about this one was that you couldn't see another 3 flight of stairs up above. Only when you reach the last few steps of the first one that you could see the second and third peeking up, each one even longer than before. I was glad that I am a stair loving girl. Even during my field hockey off season in high school I would run up and down the flight of stairs at home for 30 minutes straight. It's the best way to get fit and work your legs at the same time... of course, you could always stop then. In this trip you had no choice but to brave through all. 

But one thing I noticed that doing these steps helped me a lot in my uphill run after that. Especially the Mizuno wave run - I overtook more people than possible when I ran uphill - to which almost all of them passed me back downhill! hahah. But I realized that running uphill for me has never been a bad thing - I never really hated it even when I ran in the TTDI hills, even in Bukit Tunku. I enjoy the huffing and puffing and especially the burning sensation in my thighs. 

On the way back from the base camp, I decided to head down with these 2 Nepali boys whom we've befriended along the way. They were around my age - 24, and friendly and speak English well. I wanted to go down with them because I was bored of walking alone plus I just wanted to go down as far as I could. The boys were FAST. I lead for the first part of the trek, and I was going faster than usual just so that they wouldn't think I was a sissy girl (hahaha ade jgk part ego) but when it was Mukhti's part to lead he charged ahead. I stumbled down a couple of times especially going down the stairs (at that time my knees were hurting steadily) but I remember it was also the only time I felt excited and, well, alive. I mean, I was continuously pacing myself and playing with my breathing and mentally motivating myself to keep up with the pace. I was so glad that I didn't give in and said, "Stop!" We arrived in Deurali in one hour - a good one hour less.

The crowd in Singapore. I was glad I joined this race. It was well organized, of course, but I think so were all the other races I've been in back home.  Two things were missing in this race that races back home had - Ice and Milo! I was a bit disappointed - I look forward to drink Milo as much as I look forward to the finishing line. Milo from the van always tasted sooo good and it's a great thirst and energy quencher after a run. Also, Ice is always an important part in a race - there will always be runners with swollen ankles or knees, like me. I had to request for an ice bag and had to wait for a while for the lady to get it for me. I sipped the isotonic drink slowly but not really enjoying it. I never missed Milo so much as I had at that time. Still, it was a nice race.
Me seconds before running. You couldn't see the patellar stabilizer I had on both knees but let me tell you that they worked WONDERS. My knees didn't hurt one bit. They felt sore after the race though but that's to be expected since I just ran on an inflamed set of knees for 10k, but it was as bad as the mizuno run.

Yesterday I walked to a friend's house instead of driving. It was my first attempt on a road training after the race. I guess the looming penang marathon freaked me out. It was a short distance - my online pedometer mapped it as 3.47km and true enough I hardly broke a sweat. Well, but at least it got my legs moving. I'm going to train as much as I could and whenever I could -  going to take the longer route whenever I can and walk instead of driving. I just need to get my legs used to the distance. I thank god that I'd done the nepal trip. We walked for about 6 hours a day. I think I could do another straight walking. I'm nervous though!

Going for a swim Monday. My friend the basketball dude hurt both his knees too, although worse - he got ACL, so he said swimming would be good for him. We're going to swim every monday and wednesday. I'm adding another day - tuesday - with another friend. I'm also adding kickboxing class again on thursday. Then that saturday I have a badminton tournament for my department - mixed doubles! Urgh, I hate mixed doubles. I enjoy single sets more. Well, what can you do, I'm just going to (s)wing it!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

UNDERTRAINED

I'm freaking out.

 My first half marathon is in 2 weeks or so, and I have yet to cover any respectable mileage. AT ALL. I've only done 2 10 k races. 

 I'm going for a long walk today to get my legs used to the exercise again. And lots of swimming. and lots of kickboxing. maybe just boxing.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

too lazy to write

so I'm going to put in pictures...

My dad posing before we head out to UPM at 545 am. He looks like an excited  7 year old school boy on his first day of school. He ran a good race, considering that the route had double hills at the end and that his knees weren't really good as well. He thought that the Milo and 100 plus drinks that were being served out weren't free, so he just waited there dying of thirst until I arrived (I had the money in my pants). When I told him that they were gloriously free, he was ecstatic. I think he must have had 10 Milo cups.


The Great Eastern Women 10k. The elite runners were in front of the pack. This was just minutes before the race begins. It was cloudy. I don't like running in cloudy weather. 

 The race for me was quite horrible. I didn't know why but as I was just starting I started to have that discouraging thought, something like, "Oh, I'm going to get so tired," and sure enough that was what I felt throughout the whole race. 3km was a LOONG distance to cover. I was so surprised at my lack of mental strength. It was a flat route mostly, for which my legs were grateful for, but I was kinda hoping some hills were involved. I like hilly courses, especially going uphill. I think I run even faster uphill than downhill. 

 When I reached kilometre 5, I felt lightheaded. I wasn't sure what the reason was; I actually nibbled on a piece of bread earlier in the morning when I never ate anything in any of my race before. They had drinks out ever 2.5k. I drank some at 5k. 

 I was actually struggling at the 8km. My breathing was a bit labored and I felt sick. The last stretch was near to the ocean so it was nice to see the sun peeking through the clouds. The whole time I was using this matsalleh girl as my pacer - she was running steadily which was was I need, and I told myself to not lose the sight of her. 

 The best part of running in a race for me is that - pacing. I like to target someone or a couple of someone in a race and then challenge myself to try to keep up or beat them. During KOTR, I had several pacesetters - and whenever I sped by one I targeted another one. I find that doing that appeals to the inner competitive geek in me - I get to compete with my pacesetters - and its either I win or lose.

 Anyway I'm going to retrace back to Mizuno run, which was a greeeeaat run. I wasn't even tired. I was pacing this girl in a blue headscarf and at kilometer 5 she picked up the pace and left me waay behind. But since the end of the race were just hills, I caught up with her. I was so proud - hey my knees were burning and throbbing like they're Brazilian dancers on fire.

 One thing helped me a lot in the Great Eastern with my knees. I went to this shop called Motion Sport in Paragon Mall, initially wanting to look for a pair of headbands for my boyfriend's shaggy hair during football, but I went out of it with this knee contraception called Patella Stabilizer. And it was AWESOME. My knees didn't even utter a squeak. After the race before we head back, my friend and I headed back to  the shop where I bought another pair for my dad.

 I'm having a headache... guess I have to cut this supposedly long entry with many pictures short. i know what a downer!


Monday, November 2, 2009

Energized

I'm back! 

 I have been terribly busy the past few weeks. I know it's a shitty excuse to use, but I AM really busy with work. My new job's amazing, but that's not what I wanted to write about. I'll keep this update short because I want to do a longer one with pictures.

 Last two weeks, I ran the Mizuno wave run with my dad. It was my dad's first official running event - and he was so CUTE! He laid out his pants and running shoes (I bought for his birthday) and knee guards and what not, and got excited when I gave him his running bib. He reminded me to bring my receipts and i.d for verification, cautioning me that it's important. The next morning he woke up at 5, told me he couldn't sleep really well. And he insisted that I snapped a picture of us in our bibs. SO CUTE. I was amused and happy and nervous and glad that I was doing it with him. 

Last week I went to singapore for the great eastern women 10k. The race was the worst 10k in history, but it was also a good one since I ran a good time - with injured knees, I mean! I was so surprised with myself. My timing in the mizuno run was bad - normal with my swollen knees and the hills and all, but the great eastern was also better than some of my 10ks, especially my earlier ones. I think with mizuno I did 11km in 1:20, but for the great eastern I did 1:06 mins. haha ok it's NOT FAST. But I haven't been running - the last time I ran was the mizuno race, plus my knees were so bad, and before the mizuno race I didn't run for weeeks.

 okay the phone's ringing for the third time. later!
 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Running Withdrawal

"Let's talk about stress.

It is defined as a ratio of force per area.

Stress is when your muscles clench up, usually between your shoulder blades. It also applies to when you pronounce a word even longer and more defined than normal, more often than not to imply that the situation is serious. 

In everyday life, you stress out conversations to emphasize meanings. A stress test in material science determines which material is stronger by not showing signs of straining first. Stress to civil engineers is a computer software - STRuctual Engineering Systems Solver. What lucky fools. In the world of fashion, when you 'stress' your jeans, it means that you dragged some rough materials over them to achieve that semi-frayed, distressed look.

In an academic setting, stress has many possibilites. It could mean staying up all night blinking in the dark, going through equations. It results in either rapid weight loss or alarming weight gain. Hair turns gray. PMS cycles are frequent, sometimes faked. You body resorts to causing pain to alert yourself that your systems are frazzled. 

Stress: The gift that keeps on giving."

 I wrote that 3 years ago, when I was a student and dying over my final exams. Engineering was a tough course; sports was the only way I get to unleash all that wound up feelings. Studying after a great run, or running after a great studying session, both were rewarding. I get so tired to think afterwards.

 My knees still hurt. It hurts when I walk down the stairs. They throb for no reason when I watch the television. I eat medication like candy; I am on one everyday for the rest of my life from now on. My knees is more fucked up than Bart Simpson...

 On my calendar at work, today is my running day. I'm supposed to do a short 3.5km of speedwork, running in intervals of RPE 8 for 200m, 400m then 20 seconds more. It's a shoddy speedwork, but it gets my amateur heart pumping. I would be hating the warm up run. I would long to go straight home and read books. I would want to stop.

 Bet you don't know what you've got till it's gone. 

 I'm not having such a great week, even though its only Tuesday. My new job requires me to recall back technical terms I have left in second year. My new colleagues are friendly, but distant, of course, like all new colleagues are. I'm also juggling with some sort of a personal issue that defines adulthood. I'm worried and stressed almost all the time now. I miss running, getting my heart pumped like I'm about to die. I miss feeling awesome even for seconds. I'm feeling horrible and stressed all the time now. 

 Mizuno wave run is this Sunday. I was very looking forward to it because it would be the first race I would be running with my dad officially. My dad is very excited; his first race with an official t-shirt and all. He told me he's been upping his mileage now. I didn't have the heart to tell him I can only hobble to work. 

 The doctor that I went to told me, "Some people aren't born to be runners." He is talking about my legs, their bone structure, apparently I have this genetic bow-legged that was the sole reason why my knees hurt even when I play bowling. The x-rays of my knees were stark and scary - almost too honest and blunt - the wear on my left knee plus the obvious bow-leggedness that I only noticed then. 

 But. I'm still going to run. Maybe not now, but definitely after recovering.

 Anyway, that's a picture of me against the Macchapuchre Mt, fondly dubbed as Mt Fishtail by the locals. This was the first day of the hike.

 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

She sounds spanish

but the injury feels like its from hell. Chrondomalacia Patella, that's the name of whatever's been bugging my knee. It doesn't really require a rocket scientist to figure it out; I'd done some googling of my own and when the doctor confirmed I actually lip-synched him. I mean, who can pronounce those two words unless they've got some practice during work hours thanks to Google? 

 Some people dub it the classic Runner's Knees, but whatever it's called, I got a nasty case of it because the intensity was heightened during my trekking trip. Especially the last 2 days or so when the course was just downhill and included thousands of steps (a porter we met said that we'd just covered 2 thousand or so steps on that day... but I was incredulous) 

 So no nothing for about 7 weeks... at least nothing intense. I've been fasting the whole week to compensate my inactivity - at least I got something good out of this month - but I think I should start swimming at least... or kickboxing. It's hard to find swimming pools that don't close at 8pm or get too crowded with little kids or rowdy college students who make it hard to swim smoothly, especially when they splash around until the water gets choppy. I could do badminton with the boyfriend again, but he's busy with school and also sporting an ankle injury of his own. The most I could do is swimming on weekends or maybe one weeknight, and kickboxing (maybe just boxing!) one weeknight.

 How safe is it to run early in the morning at KLCC park? My previous job was relaxed enough to allow me to leave at 5pm sharp and arrive at Subang's lake to run for 30 minutes or so (I usually arrive in subang at 630pm), but my new job seems to demand after 5 working hours. I hate running in the evening especially at the park where most of my colleagues would be ambling back to their cars, and the only option I could think of to run is early in the morning before work starts. I usually reach my office at 7am (one hour earlier) so I was thinking I could run for half an hour and shower in the gym (my department has a membership). Wait... but that's my previous department. Rats!

 There goes all my careful planning. I'm running out of options with my future running schedule. Is there anyone you know who is looking for a running partner to run throughout the week? Maybe I should join the Adidas running community since they run at klcc park every tuesdays.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

what a predicament

i miss running.

it's been nearly a week - i'd just arrived on malaysian soil late saturday night. While in nepal my parents sold the house my siser and I were living in and all my stuff are currently in my sister's new apartment. I have no idea where most of my workclothes are, let alone my running shoes (and running pants, sports bras, etc). I haven't figured out how to get to work from the new place and vie versa plus at work I found out that I have to move to a new position too. There's a whole lot of packing up and repacking that I have to do.

I read an amazing article about recovering drug addicts who turned to running as a new addiction. The article featured this one man who ran ultra marathons of many themes ever since he started running. He was a meth addict, cocaine junkie, and various other recreational drugs for about 10 years. No doubt he says the drug high is more intense, but the high he gets from running is just as good. Sometimes, when the mood hits, he says, he'd be running around a simple lake for hours and it felt like a cocaine high. He still dreams about coke though, but nothing beats getting high as a kite and still get to meet his kids for dinner. That is the only difference between his former addiction with his current, and it's a really good difference, one that changes everything from bad to good.

My knees hurt when I touch them, tender like a bruise. They hurt even more and especially when I do my prayers, during sujud when I would have to exert pressure on my knees between movements. I can't go on a simple flight of stairs without feeling like there are hot rods stuck through my kneecaps. I thought that by simply giving my knees an extra long break after the trekking (it's been 7 days and counting now) they would feel a lot better and I could start running again. But the prospect of me running looks poor. I'm afraid of injuries, especially since I have about 4 upcoming races to run, the earliest being this 25th october, if I'm not mistaken. I don't know if I should rest some more, or start running slowly to not lose my already flailing fitness.

I really do miss running. A lot of the things in my life seem unharnessed when I don't have a proper running routine. I miss the discplined, ramrod straight schedule of my week when I was running consistently.

Oh well.