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:

- 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 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


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.


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.