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.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pokhara, Nepal

I am writing from Pokhara, nepal, a cowboy town where most treks (basically being annapurna) start and end. I just finished my 10 days of trekking yesterday, and for the time being I am GLAD that it's over. My knees hurt beyond oblivion, my thighs are sore to a point where it hurts to even touch them and forget about my feet, they look like blisters have migrated and dominated the region. Yesterday was the last part of our trek, and it was one of the worst days ever basically because I am mentally and physically tired already after walking straight for 10 days. Not just walking... but climbing uphill and running downhill for the most part... all while carrying a 9.5 kg bag.

Yesterday trek was supposedly easy; just a long descent to Birenthanti, where it's another 45 minutes walk to Naya Pul to get a taxi and head back to town. But I have discovered earlier on in the trek that I'm better at going uphill than downhill; I prefer uphill more actually. The downhill trekking did awful things to my knees, at nights in the cold (temperature goes down until 1 celcius which is horribly bad for a malaysian girl!) I can't hardly move them at all because they get so stiff and tight. Even now as I write this down they still hurt.

I thought that the descent to Birenthanti will take only 2 hours or 3 hours max. But I was waay wrong. We started at 830 am, and only stopped walking at 130pm. It was a steady and sometimes steep downhill on stone stairs and sandy trails, and I made the mistake of only having hot chocolate for breakfast. We stopped only for minutes on end because all of us were eager to reach the destination. On the way to Birenthanti, after walking for 4 straight hours, I actually passed out for a while... or maybe passed out was too dramatic, I only just fell to my knees. I just wanted to stop walking!

Anyway, I will write a proper entry on this some other time, as I'm going to see the doctor because my knees are seriously hurting. Yesterday I rewarded myself with a hearty meal of sweet and sour fish with rice and I shoveled it up in minutes... considering to order second. We ate only noodle soup up there with the occasional splurge of cheese pizza, and it was so cold I felt hungry most of the times. But I enjoyed the camarederie of all the trekkers we met in the lodges and during the trek, particularly this amazing couple from Chile who were infectiously happy and friendly. Not to mention a cute, smart-assed and intelligent little 6 year old Ashaw from England that I befriended on the trip.

Been reading all of your updates just now and I am itching to start running again!!

Oh, have any of you heard of this guy Pedro from Portugal? I sat next to him on the bus to Pokkhara and he's into triathlons and he knows a couple of malaysian tri athletes (always asking me whether I know a Dino from Malaysia or Singappore) whose names are beyond my knowledge. I think he was placed 5th in the climb-a-thon or towerthon last February or something... I can't remember facts straight because I'm on medication right now!