Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2 weeks holiday

I do this every year: take two weeks off until the next year. I always feel itching to work afterwards.

What have I been doing? Work, in and out, through emails.
Eat. I have been eating regularly and healthily for the past one month and it's been giving me some good feedbacks.

First, I cut out all junk food. If I was so inclined, I'd have one or two but that's about it. I replace sugary water with plain water or chocolate milk if I really needed the taste. I stuff in more fruits and vegetables. I try to eat wholemeal grains; but if I were back at mom's house it's hard to say no to their white rice (my sister and I tried unsuccessfully to convert them to brown rice). I keep smaller portions of rice, bigger portions of vegetables and medium portions of meat.

My only sugary treats are good dark chocolates. Thank god I'm not much of a sweet tooth.

After the fall, I was pretty much resting at home. My shoulder is still strained, and my hipbones do not sit well. I do forms of karate drills religiously at home, trying to keep the restlessness at bay.

My fabulous form is again, back to zero. I have not been training for 8 days. But I'm not sweating it. There's always time for improvement.

I have been working on my own place - fixing the kitchen, bedroom and storage area. I find that setting a regular timetable for all your cleaning and maintenance keeps your house tidy and in good form. I divide the tasks into daily, weekly and monthly. I believe in weekly toilet cleaning, vacuuming, complete laundry (bedsheets, towels, etc) and menu planning. I also think that aromatherapy oils work the best, even though scented candles do function in closed small spaces.

Cleaning the whole space works the whole body.

Last night, after a good time with friends who've been around for years, I went to bed with a tinge of something I can't quite place. I want to go running. Two years ago, I would always end my good time with a nice run the next morning. It's always a nice feeling to have, the morning air so crisp, and me going about last night's event. There's always something so romantic about it that I can't never let go of. Last night though, I only massaged my grandma knees, thank God I am healthy, and went back to bed, with my alarm off.

I might never be able to run as free as I did before. But there are other things to be grateful about.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Crash boom bang

This week was one of the most tiring ones. But I wasn't as sedentary as I thought I would be. Workload piled in, making my working hours more intense (instead of going home later I prefer to reach work earlier. Therefore it's 7am-5pm). I thought I'd be crashing on my bed from the exhaustion but my weekly workouts made themselves present:

Tuesday
I mulled and moaned about working out on this day. I loathe night workouts, always have been a morning person, but I like the after effect tuesday workouts give me. It's hard, intense and always satisfying. I wasted so much energy contemplating and deciding whether to go or give in to my laziness that I was pooped by the time I started. Decided to take this easy, a slow day where you just want to get your heart pumping. This was a good workout. I was glad my fitness is where I want it to be... in a way. No more huffing and puffing!

Wednesday
Again, a lazy, as-long-as-you're-moving kind of workout that has become some sort of a routine for me. I like knowing that I began it with a lazy attitude but finished it completely revved up. I changed my routine and added new sets. It's always nice (although disheartening) when you are short of breath and have to fight yourself to complete the loop.

Thursday - Saturday: WORK. 2011 is going to be a busy year for my project and we're shelving up on other people's responsibilities too to hurry up deadlines.

Today, Sunday: What was about to be an easy, moderately challenging long slow cardio was cut VERY short due to a bad accident. I banged my head and shoulder pretty hard; painful red bruises are throbbing as I write this. I cracked my brain bucket too. Forget about my faithful blue steed; he is rendered useless. These are all thanks to a thoughtless motorcyclist.

I am careful to take note about my banged up head. I have headaches and a stiff neck all the way to my elbow. If I'm starting to see stars, I'd get myself to a doctor. Right about now it's still ok. I'm just terribly tired and a bit doozy.

That's one awesome cardio ruined. Till the next one.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Training checklist:

1) if it's going to be windy, then make the weather cool.
I know, I know, I hate cool, overcast weather, but seriously, if the wind's going to give me tons of resistance and make me feel like I'm dragging the school bus with my hair, then might as all make it a little bit cooler so I don't have to refuel that much.

2) When there is no wind (and there usually isn't) then make it blaringly hot.
I LOVE blazing hot sun. The hotter the better. The more humid the nicer, and even if it's dry I'll take it. I find that I am mentally stronger when I work out under the hot sun. It's easy to give up when your head feels like it's frying an egg, but YOU DIDN'T give up, so that's a good accomplishment.

3) Throw in some dehydration as well.
I am crazy, but I like testing myself. Sometimes I push myself even when I ran out of water. My throat would be parched but I held on. Isn't it a sweet feeling when you get the reward all rested.

4) There should be no excuse.
Not your knees or the weather or whether you had a late day at work the day before or you didn't have breakfast. you either performed or you didn't. I try to tell myself this everyday so that it wouldn't affect my workout. too many times I blamed lack of energy and sleep for my flailing performance. Nobody cares. it's only a self defense mechanism we use when we know we suck. My advice to myself: suck it up.

5) have fun
some days I feel like pushing. some days i feel like taking it easy and concentrating on something else. and i am okay with every decision. im doing it because i am able to, and i enjoy it, not because i have some deadline to complete. i realize that the more i put less pressure on myself, the better i get.

today was one of those days. lousy distance, poor planning. but instead of focusing on the negatives, i decided to make it into tiny intervals. most of them didn't enjoy the set, citing too easy, too short. but I felt i put in 100% effort for it. I'm glad.

till next weekend!

Friday, December 10, 2010

improving

I am improving.
Getting there, and it is amazing.
I don't even know where 'there' is.
All I know, that is feels good everytime I am stronger, faster, better.
Catching up with the big boys. Having my heart pounding like they're going to explode everytime I do. Testing myself. Not wanting to give up.

Today was a good day. started out slow and tired, dehydration mostly. but finished strong. Way above my expectations. I've never pushed myself that hard. My heart pounds like the drums in the jungle. All through it I remember to say a silent prayer to God up above for allowing me to get stronger.

I miss running. I am as fit as I was when I was in school. I would have been able to run and run and run...


Sunday, December 5, 2010

great athletic weekend

Over a whole year of training I have never worked out what makes me perform or fail to.

you would think i would have figured out what would be good for me during a long distance workout, what i should do more off, and what i should do less of. the thing is, i would never know. there'll be days when i give such good performance only to do completely the opposite the next week at the same route.

what i do know though, is that i cannot have breakfast for any LSD. I've tried that one and everytime i ate breakfast my performance sucked. the only thing i could swallow would be cereal... but i rather not eat at all. i seem to push myself better without any food.

also, what i could do more of is enough sleep.i think that one is a no brainer.

saturday, i went to what i thought was going to be another poor performance since last week i was completely a vegetable completing the route. but instead it was the opposite. i was fast - i felt fast. i felt good, i pushed myself, i caught up, i was HUMMING.

so what have that workout taught me? that my performance relies completely in my state of mind. no amount of breakfast, sleep or anything else could contribute to this. if i feel good or i want to feel good, then i would have a good workout. if i felt shitty and thought i sucked, then i would give an equally sucky performance.

ego is my powerbar.

my knees hurt, but i am tired of caring. i thought of all the seasoned footballers in my boyfriend's team, all of them have bad knees and everything else and yet they did not give a damn.

speaking of football, after my workout rushed to see my boyfriend's league and it was an explosive show. his team finally put down one of their deadliest rival in an amazing 8-2 score and I was caught up with the excitement of it all. my boyfriend have an amazing endurance, playing 3 90minutes game in a large field (thankfully not back to back!) And to think my 4 hour morning cardio was taxing! Football will always be one of the toughest endurance game in my opinion, since my high school cross country training followed the football training regime and we were wiped out from the circuits. We finally ended our night with a hearty meal of chicken, fish and porridge and went to sleep for sundays morning cardio (me) and a football game (him).

sunday as usual was a good workout. im a BIG GIRL playing with the big boyssss!!! (too lazy to explain)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Being Healthy: A Promise

This is the part where I hate the most: when you're too engrossed in your work that everything else goes out of the window, with everything else being your healthy habits, be it body or food.

I get too tired to workout after work. But being me, there's just so much of complaining that I could handle before I take matters into my own hand.

So my work tires me out. BIG DEAL. I'm not the only one dealing with a taxing 8-5 job. I'm not the only one stuck in traffic feeling like a droopy flower in the car. Life is a choice and I can complain about how I do not have the time or how wiped out I am or I can just suck up, get myself some exercise for the benefit of my health.

"It's not the number of times you fall that matters but the number of times you
get up."--Confucius


This requires some re-arranging. I get tired after work... maybe PM exercising isn't working out for me. I remember back then when I look forward to AM cardio. I love it like no other but when I started working all that changed. But maybe, maybe I could squeeze in some earlier cardio... if I'm really so inclined.

The problem with that is: running is the only thing that works. No karate gym opens at 6 am, and I'm not bloody well going to swim in the chilly pool or skate/bike in that ungodly hour alone!

And did I forget... I can't run?

I could join classes again, make it fun, just a social thing after work, not really a workout. But I am BROKE like a broken tape player. I can't afford to spend money more than I can't afford to spend my time.

This looks bleak.

The ONLY choice is - SUCK IT UP. I guess that's what I have to settle with right now. I can't listen to myself complaining about how I miss my workouts anymore without driving me crazy. You miss your workouts? Then what are you doing laying down on the sofa with a book on your snoring face?! At 9pm!

I realize I'm talking to myself here.

So I'm putting this down right here:


  • I promise I will try to stick to weekend workouts. I can bail on weekday workouts if I absolutely have to, but weekend workouts are a must. I need this because your body is a temple and you have to take good care of it.
  • Take one workout at a time. No pressure, just go ahead and dive (or roll or punch, depending on what you have) right into it.
  • EATING RIGHT STARTS HERE. EATING RIGHT STARTS TODAY. No more salty, extra processed food and too many sugar intake cause Nadia are you ignorant - you're one step behind being a diabetic. Let me bold that for you.
Forgive everyone while you could. Be grateful for the smallest, least wonderful thing in your life everyday.

GET ENOUGH SLEEP.

Call your parents. Smile at strangers. Not old, aging men with too much money to spent. And no, you can't tell them apart sometimes.

Today, I will try to workout. But if I fail (because you're yet again too mentally exhausted), there's always the weekends.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Running: The Best Of

Me and my whole family are all talking about this Malakoff run. This time around, few more of my cousins are joining and also my colleagues (upon my insistence).

Caught up in the excitement, sometimes I wondered if i should just forgo my 'retirement' plan and join them in the run too.

It seems that I'm retiring at the wrong moment - my sister (whom I have given up trying to make her run) has been asking me about running, and which race she should apply to.

For the millionth time after my knee injury, I wished I didn't have degenerative knee bones. Or that it's just some sort of an injury, that could get better in time. I look at other people running everyday and think, "How come they don't get any knee pain?" I regard other runners with some sort of an amazement - how could your knees take it but not mine?

Sometimes I feel like not giving a hoot and running through all the pain. But I want to be able to walk during my pregnancy (something women with bad knees like mine can't do). And I'm pretty sure there is a reason for everything, even if we can't see it yet.

So I am sticking through my promise - no running events anymore - at least, nothing that amounts to more than 3 per year. I would not completely stop running though, I think that is fairly impossible, but I would not run until I have to run. I'm pretty ok with that.

Thank You, feet, for keeping me company for 13 wonderful years. We had great moments.

Yesterday, while cleaning up my place, I found a box of things that belonged to me in high school. As is by pure coincidence, out came my sporting paraphernalia; hockey shin pads, tapes, squash balls, worn out badminton racquets, and most importantly, my running bibs.

1246 - my first ever running race number, when I was 13. It was a cross country, distance maybe 3km, and I think I finished it waaay after the event has finished. By the time I arrived, everybody was gone, and the tents were all cleared off the field. I was dumbfounded. I thought I was in Twilight Zone.

1355 - second race of the same distance, which I ran blindly without stopping trying to chase the top girl in school to no avail. My first ever trophy. I got number 13. Lucky number 13. This was the year when running started to make sense.

42:23 - my best 10km time. I was 15 and was also in field hockey. field hockey worked your endurance and speed like hell. Joining cross country was easy because we ran so much during field hockey. We had many different coaches and everyone was insane.

400m, 800m, 1500m, 4x400m - my favorite events. I HATED competing but not when I know I would win HAha! Out of the 4, 800m was the hardest because I always had a hard time pacing this distance. you burnt out going too fast too soon, but lose out when you started too slow. My winning 1500m time was 5:25. I was 16-17. My boyfriend then was the school's top runner but I had no idea I would be marrying that guy.

suicides and horses - my favorite running drills.

Bullet with Butterfly Wings (Smashing Pumpkins) - my all time favorite running song. the song started out slow but then explodes into magic. Great for tempo run.

Rancid (out come the wolves) - favorite running album. I then ran while holding a freaking discman.

Hyde Park - the best running place oversea.

After an emotional fight - the best time to do your tempo run.

Gentle Pickup - my favorite Runner's World term.

Reebok Premier Road - favorite running shoes. I have 2 of them!

5k - favorite running distance.

Writing this makes me want to run.

I spoke to one of the cyclists whom I cycle with, and he told me that he too used to run. In fact, "I used to run with the Pacesetters, even had me a running girlfriend too," he said. I asked him, "Don't you miss it?"

"You've just go find something else that hooks you the same way."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Halfhearted cardio

Getting back into the workout scene regularly is quite an effort.

I was caught up with work that I arrived home quite spent. All I did was read books until it's time to turn off the lights.

I did however spend Wednesday in a much resisted but beneficial cardio. I was SO LAZY and kept finding excuses in my head to bail out on the exercise. But one thing I realized is that the trick to continuously exercise is to not think about anything at all and go through the motion. Just change your clothes, grab the equipment, and head to the destination of your sport. Start. Get pumped up.

I worked myself good last Wednesday. But I really should be eating straight between the 30 minutes after the workout. My diet is out of whack.

Saturday was a bad cardio. I slept little the night before, fitfully. i didn't manage to have dinner and the only thing I ate was breakfast. I slept wrongly, woke up with a veryyyy sore and stiff neck. It hurts to do most stuff. But still I dragged myself to meet my friends because damn it if I was to miss out on a routine workout. In the middle of it I got my period. Cramps arrived. So it was a testing effort trying to finish, to keep up, all the while trying to ignore the cramps in my gut and my neck and the fact that I'm totally hungry.

I realized I'm sort of a mess lately. Today I slept in, mostly because I have an early wedding to attend to, and also both my cramps did not let up. I'm aching all over, joints and all. I'm a 90 yr old grandma.

The only good thing about my health lately is that when they did the whole measurement, etc, my body age amounted to 20 yrs old and my visceral body fat is 2%. I think my BMI is 18... but we all know BMI is horribly misjudged.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Retiring with a PB

Yes I got my Personal Best, thank you Penang Bridge.

I would never ever run the same long distance route twice (21km and above) but Penang bridge is something else. The route is never boring, never mentally challenging, and always feels SHORT. To me, that is the best kind of race ever. Of course, I've only done it twice but both times I finished it happy and elated.

7pm: Met my friends who went back to penang for a wedding. They took us out for cheese naan and butter chicken and nasi beriyani kambing. Tasty.

The only picture in this post and it's not even on running.

10pm: Went to sleep after carefully arranging my running outfit. Realized I forgot to bring my running pouch or whatever you call it where you can stuff your cellphone and counterpain. Damn it, I think, back to stuffing my sports bra again. I have decided to run in my vibrams. Forgot to bring my Vaseline to smear my feet with. I guess I'll have to bear the pain of blisters all over again like that Sundown nightmare. Well, at least it's for half the distance, I consoled myself.

When I woke up,it was already 236am. I rushed, forgetting to eat any breakfast at all. In the car managed to swallow half a banana and a swig of coffee. Left my car somewhere in front of Gold Coast Resort. It was 3.06, and the half marathon male were already running.

I realized I left my bottled water in the car. At the starting line I grabbed one of the bottles lying by the roadside. Thank God I'm not squeamish.

When we were flagged off, I quickly look for someone to pace on. My plan was to start fast so that even when I get tired I won't be too far behind (what a stupid strategy... but hey whatever works). I saw these 2 girls in the 'right' running gear - the Zensah calf thingies, beeping monitors, even the Running for Orang Asli sign. I am sure they are in the 'in' running crowd, therefore, would run a good proper race. I latched on.

They kept a quick and steady pace. Discussing about this and that, mostly about running and running events. One of them were faster than the other and she quickly left us. I was glad to follow the slower friend. In my heart I hoped she won't go any faster.... it's only the first km!

When we reached the bridge my spirits soared. It's near the end! Only a u-turn and back again. Already the blisters were forming and my Plantar fasciitis (sukahati la spelling macamana pon) started to rear. I dropped the Orang Asli friend (the only way to describe her) when we went up the bridge. I have to go faster here as I plan to walk all the way down. My knees, what else?

All the way running up there was this black lady - a foreigner - who grunts. She grunted so loud that the runners near us (I was running just beside her) would turn to look. I wondered why - to say that the incline was so bad it was just a fart of a hill. She didn't look too exhausted. Yet she grunted, until I started to feel embarrassed. It sounded like full fledge porn movie and I was the co-star... I mean I was standing next to her. I quickly dropped her. Nope, did not even grunt.

Walked all the way down, looking at all the other runners I passed charging past. I wistfully wished that my knees weren't such grandmas. Oh well, you do what you can, right? One lady ran smoothly down. Your knees, you idiot! I felt like shouting to her.

I was just jealous.

The rain started. First it danced softly on us, then it showered. And then it roared, pouring. Pelting. After the u-turn, everybody ran looking down at their feet, like shuffling zombies. But everybody was running at this point! I think somewhere between last year and this year more Malaysians have been running... nobody seemed to walk. Damnit.

I was secretly happy it was raining so hard because I won't be the only one suffering with blisters so great. I secretly laughed at those wearing shoes with socks... my condolence.

Everybody was soaked, whoever wanted to mandi wajib, would have gotten so. Not a single thing was spared. To my horror I realized that I was wearing white... and you can see my blue sportsbra as clear as day. I might as well be running without my t-shirt on! I only hoped you cannot see the outline of my underwear as well. They're all running looking down anyways right?

Right.

Going up the second incline, I ran beside an uncle who... grunted all the way up. What wrong with me? I thought. Why do I always get stuck with groaning uphill runners?

The buns were soaked. But I was hungry, plus, I needed something to down my actifast. Yes, I cheated. I took a painkiller to blur the blister pains away. My apologies.
The bun was very soggy, cold and tasted like wet paper. I swallowed them without thinking.

At the end of the second downhill a guy spoke to me. He was doing the full marathon, and asking me questions, trying to make a conversation. I didn't get the point; granted this is a social event but it's 5 am in the morning and I feel bad slowing you down. When he left me I hoped the reason he talked to me at all is NOT because of my transparent blue sports bra.

The U-turn back! yay, so near to the end. I started to feel cramps coming up in my leg. Of course, since the only thing I took was water, and bread. Couldn't find any shop in Penang that carries ORS. So I ran it drinking water and 100 plus, hoping 100plus is enough to keep cramps at bay.

600m to the finishing line, I saw this lady runner who looked like the younger version of Kak June. Short hairt, gorgeous body, the works. She kept a steady pace, and I still had it in me. Suddenly I felt like I wanted to show her what finishing in style means. I surged ahead, cutting her, speeding up. Huh, baru kau tau pentingnyer speedwork! I thought smugly.

Then the cramps hit. BAD. At my calves. I stopped abruptly and hobbled jerkily. The lady runner ran past me without even a glance. I was left eating my medicine and it is bitter! I bet she was mentally laughing her ass off.

I hobbled to the finishing line.

Result: 2 hours 35 minutes... a full 30 minutes off my average half-marathon timing. YAYYY terrenyer akuuuu.

Why I think it happened:
1) acupuncture?
2) painkiller? It helped to keep my knee pain in control.
3) good pacers - the orang asli and various other lady runners I wished I could beat.
4) butter cheese naan
5) i just enjoyed this race.
6) good fitness base? eventhough without any lari at all since september.

Anyway like the title said this will be my last half marathon race. I have decided to gantung kasut and only run in events with my dad instead. We'll see how it goes. I hope we will all still be friends. I would still be writing in here.

I would definitely be joining on all the weekend activities, so don't tak ajak!

how did you guys do?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Revisiting

I am here in Penang.

The last time I went here, I had no expectations and did not really know anyone. Just another person who was trying her luck with running 'events'. I survived my first half-marathon - no, I enjoyed it to be very honest. It was fun, calming, soothing, and sleepy at times.

I befriended an uncle named PK, who had scaled Annapurna and Everest 4 times.... or something.

I am back here again to scale the bridge in the middle. This time around, I came not as a runner, but as someone who enjoys running. I did not train, at all. The whole week I was caught up with work and house stuff and family I did not even do a single cardio.

I ate a lot and called it carbo loading. Nasi Lemak Village Park, Nasi Dagang ss19 kak jah, Dominos Pizza, Nasi Kandar Emak Nuh, etc.

I totally have no goals or vision, but of course, if I could actually finish in good timing... I wouldn't sabotage that chance either. It's just that I know what I will get with the kind of time and hours I put (or lack of) for this event. I am aiming to at least get the medal, failing which, I will unload my misery and shame on the various of penang food.

Good luck to all marathoners!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Penang: makan and lari!

I have not been sedentary. Only in this blog. Truth to be told I have been happy. And busy. Happily busy, or busily happy, however you want to see it.

Week days were spent with me doing karate, yoga, pilates, in-line skating, going to dance classes, kickboxing. Weekends, I usually play in the pool with my cousins. No distance measured, only pure exertion as we played 'water polo' and 'Tok Harimau'.

I will arrive home from work exactly at 535pm. From there, I would either grab my skates or my hand wraps and proceed. It is refreshing to be doing stuff that doesn't really feel like a workout. To not really care about time or anything at all. On good days I would be skating endlessly for three hours, coming back after it has turned dark. Would not realize how taxing it was until I woke up with sore thighs and abs the next day. Or I would be hitting the kickboxing gym for drills. It is more social than anything. If there was any good looking guys I found myself working extra hard.

I have DNSed 3 events. I never do this, three events back. And I realized that I seemed to have lost the will to be in a race. For the moment, I much rather wake up at 530am doing the things I love doing without parting money or putting on a bib.

But, come this Sunday I would be in Penang for the Penang Bridge Marathon baby! Doing a 21k, which I planned to hit it as eassssyyyyy as I could. I target to finish it arouns 3 or 3 hrs 20 minutes. The faster, the better, but not pushing. To tell you the truth, the last time I ran, it was on September 25th, for the 5k Big Fun Run.

I hope to meet the rest of you people that I have been missing. Who's going? (or to be more frank, still reading this blog?)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Due Update

I have been Internet-less for a few days now ever since moving into my own space. The office blocks out most pages I want to access, blogger included. Thank God for my trusty old manual cardio journal.

Saturday:

The distance got the best of me. I never liked this route, mostly because it messes up with my pacing. I am never good in pacing. If it's a loooong steady incline, I always get winded haflway up. If it's a flat road I lose steam after charging fast the first few kms. If it's downhill I get bored with all the going down. No, pacing is never my strong suit, and that is unfortunate.

The first few times where I paced correctly the result was sweet. I'm still trying to figure out at which point I should surge ahead and when I should hold back to accumulate potential energy (chewah!). I ended Saturday workout with a half-hearted joy. Maybe it is just the route.

Sunday:

Met my favourite girls and we got started. The pace was quick and easy, and I was caught by my own joy of empty highways and vast open space. The weather was good. I liked it, but I wish it was hotter. I would have enjoyed it more if the sun was scorching on my back. I like suffering during exercising... isn't it the whole point? Pushing to your limits when you 'train'?

A girl whose blog I frequently read writes about always trying to max out yourself when you train. You will never know how far you can go if you didn't try. Well, I'm not training for anything specific nor do I want to beat any of my (so-called) records but I am intrigued by the thought of just getting better, stronger, faster. I worked on my form. I emulated the better ones. I mimicked closely what they did. And I gave when I simply just couldn't push it anymore. That Sunday was a first for me, giving up and stopping. But instead of feeling deflated, I felt positive, knowing that there is a room for me to improve.

I like having benchmarks. I like knowing you've leaped further than you did before.

Monday was a much needed rest. I slept in late, had a good fest of a lunch, spent some quality time with my family and boyfriend, and then watched a movie. Idris Elba was so hot in Takers. I don't really like accents but I like the fact that he's tall. Harris says he walks like he has a tennis ball stuffed between his crotch and I was like, You don't say...

Tuesday:

Fast cardio! But I took it easy, because I have promised a friend I would. We were always in it together, the same level, the same goals. One of the better, stronger ones, also stuck with us, kept at our pace. I can't believe she took it easy. She's a powerhorse. We slalomed all the ups and downs, curves and bends, laughing, making jokes, feeling like the night is ours. At the end of the workout the Powerhorse started to up the intensity, and I followed suit. Like I said, I just wanted to test myself, see if I could beat myself, and get a good workout while I'm at it. I hung on to her for a good 2 minutes, breathing hard, feeling dizzy.

It felt great however. I believe that I am slowly getting better. Inch by inch, my stamina is improving. Slowly but surely, I am able to cover more grounds. I am, more or less, back to where I was.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Long weekend!

I love long weekend like a fat kid loves cake.

Well, who am I kidding. Not only fat kids love cake - a lot of people does! I happen to LOVE cheesecake. Especially homemade cheesecake. The one where you can decide how much cream cheese gets to be in.

Thursday:

I did, cough cough, weights. That means gym, and that means boring. I was emailing my yoga teacher back and forth about having a strength training withdrawal. She is out of Malaysia for the moment and I don't think she will be back anytime soon. Now this lady, she gave me awesome strength training routine. I mean it. Everytime I was in her class I lost whatever confidence I have about my fitness. My arms shook like noodles softening in a pot of hot water, my legs quiver like I just met the love of my life, I kept on farting during stomach sets... that was how bad that lady tortured us.

I miss it. I miss walking out of the class feeling like I could pummel a beefy dude 50 pounds over me.

She suggested that I do weights. She gave me a detailed list of what I have to do, reps and sets you could find anywhere in fitness magazines. I looked at my book and it says Run on Thursdays but I wasn't in the mood to run. Or rather, my knees were not in the mood to run. You think you're a slave to your cats or kids every whims? Try having a dodgy pair of knees. THEY tell you when you should run, how long and how far. They DECIDE which shoes you're going to wear and on what surface you're going to pound them on. I believe I am able to take care of babies from now on.

Because it was a Run day which means cardio which means heart pumping, I jumped on the elliptical machine. This doesn't really hurt the knees that much and it's really a boring workout, but beggars can't be choosers. I selected Interval and spent the next 30 minutes figuring out what is it about the elliptical movements that made you sweat. Also I watched the trees swaying. And one dude picking up trash. Lovely. Uplifting.

Friday:

I had fun. What's new today? I had more power. Also, I was faster. Yes. I think I was a tad speedier than I was 2 days back. Also, my legs felt strong, upper body not complaining. All in all, it was a good workout and I enjoyed the sun shining on my face and everywhere that was uncovered. The only bad thing was I didn't put on sunscreen and it ate me even until now. Keep it up and Harris is going to marry a wrinkled up leather handbag.

What I had: milo ice, 100 plus, 1/4 cliff bars (chocolate brownie), 3 chocolate chips cookies, 2 plates of Nasi Lemak.

I have to keep track of my food intake because I'm not healthy. So excuse me should this blog turns into a food journal of sorts.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Unfit but getting there!

Tuesday:

OUT OF SHAPE.
Those were the words screaming repeatedly in my ears Tuesday night as I did my much-sought-after-but-hardly-indulge cardio workout.

Let me just lay this on the floor: I knew where my fitness is, I knew I'm so far behind, and I knew I have to put in effort just to be where I was before (before what? I have no idea too).

But that night was a shock to my cardiovascular system. 2 minutes into starting, as always, I felt bile at the base of my throat, my chest tightened, and I fought to keep my breathing even. Classic signs of out-of-shape, too much rest, too much hours working, so-called weekend warrior.

I started to entertain the idea of giving up. I have a LOOONG way to go, and the route's not exactly easy anyway. I was left behind, alone, and the only thing that I could think of is a ghost attack. I hate night workouts.

But I hate giving up more. I COULD FINISH THIS, I told myself fiercely. Doggedly.

Thank God a friend came ambling along. He would accompany me, he said, plus, I'm not in the mood lately, burnt out I guess. I don't mind following your pace.

I'm so unfit, I gasped.
Don't worry, he said. You'll get back to it after a few more repeats.

1 hour and 40 minutes later, I finished it. The unforgiving, take no prisoners, no mercy kind of a workout even for seasoned athletes.

You know what I love? The fact that I loved the hardest, most difficult parts of the whole thing. The fact that instead of feeling like I have to slog through it dreadfully, I went at it head on and horns thrusted.

Wednesday:
Sometimes I wonder where I find the motivation behind all these routine. I mean, look at me - I am no paid athlete. I do not have a race coming up soon, and even if I do I end up forgetting it or missing it out. But I still rely on these routines.

Big help for Wednesday was writing down exactly what I want to do with my workout time. Listing out the drills, the time and the RPE I expect to achieve makes it easier for me to just go ahead with the workout instead of worrying in the middle of it what to do next. It's like having a coach except that this coach knows you reallly well.

I also planned to push this workout hard. I want to be tired at the end.

For the first time in a decade, I also timed myself. Haven't been doing that because I didn't see a point of it.

The session went well. I did not cheat one bit, except to change one set because my knees were hurting (paranoia). I took my time to stretch and really stretch the muscles between sets. I made sure my heart was pounding furiously or else I'd give myself one more set just to piss me off even more.

I worked so hard that I had trouble keeping my eyes open during dinner.

And today I ate Nasi Lemak and 2 slices of Pepperoni Pizza.
additional: Dinner is nasi goreng! Damn tasty.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Awakening

It was a nice Sunday.

I had a late night the day before. Hung out with my friends and boyfriend and it has been a long time since we all met up. Harris asked me if I was going to workout tomorrow. This is how it's like with the both of us. At the start of our night out we'd ask each other this question: Are you going to workout tomorrow? because then whether we stay out late or not depends highly on this question. I told him, I don't know, and to be honest, I really didn't. I wanted to work out, but I haven't hung out with my friends for a long time and felt like... being a carefree young trash and staying up late. Instead of clocking in early because I have to wake up at 5am.

I think I came back at around 230am. I told myself while stumbling to my bed, I'm NOT going to do anything but sleep tomorrow. There's no way.

I think about a few minutes later, I woke up to the sound of the alarm and it says 545am. And without thinking I sat up with a start, and tell myself, If you don't drag yourself out of the bed you'd regret it for the rest of your life. Yes, I was being dramatic but I really needed the push.

It was the best decision made. For the first time in my life I arrived early. I think I was the first one to arrive. Met the usual group of people - people I haven't seen for months! They all greeted me and I felt like, hey I miss this. It's not often I like doing social workouts but here I was, milking the attention of being out of the scene for quite some time.

So we started. And to be honest I have been gone so long I didn't care about time or pace or what have yous. All I know is that I just wanted to have fun and push myself the hardest I can push. I compare myself to no one except only me. I began assessing how I feel and how better it felt the hotter it gets, the harder it feels and the longer it goes. I left my friends at the back and quickly settled at the front. I knew nobody there - mostly males, a couple of females. I felt strangely elated pushing through the hardest of the routes, especially amidst the groans of other people, especially if they were males. I didn't care if in actuality we were all slow I was having the time of my life. I felt fine. I felt like I was in a race, racing. I still have it, I tell myself, elated at the thought of being able to sustain the pace and the position of being at the front.

I just needed proper nutrition, that is all. All throughout the whole thing I could feel the cramps slowly sneaking to my calves and my thighs and my stomach, thanks to my only water nutrition plan and only a bar of oats in the car on the way to the place. When we went uphill I was careful not to clench anything I shouldn't clench. I kept my breathing even.

I was so proud of myself that day.
And here I am, craving for more. The Sunday workout has awakened the fire in me, stirring up the kind of passion I have sidelined for other things in my life temporarily. The fact that I held on, pushed hard and could go as far as I did that is a preview of what I could do with proper training and nutrition.

I want to see that goal achieved.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Keputusan Lari Hari Sabtu

Gagal.
Alasan:period pain
Sebab benar: Malas

Akhirnya makan nasi dagang ss19 dengan emak.
Balik rumah register race event untuk bulan2 depan.
(Sadomasochism)
Macam mana nak race, kalau asyik duduk atas sofa lepas makan, well fed but brain dead.

Dah dua event DNS ni. Macam best pulak register and dapat baju free, pastu gi kerja on that day. hahah yeah right.

Friday, October 29, 2010

House Arrest

Today's planned workout had a premature death. I planned to have a very quick run before I start my day.

Instead, today's workout consisted of painting about 5 walls (upper body toning) and rearranging furniture (strength training). Also threw in 20 minutes of fast walking (a tense and panicked run through at the hardware shop). Hey, in this era of the the modern working woman, I'll take exercise any way I can. Even if it means doing calf raises while brushing my teeth... or waiting for my conditioner to soak in.

I had a day off today just so that I can settle my new place as soon as I can. I never knew painting walls can be so tiring! My arms were shaking from lifting them up for prolonged periods. I salute both my parents for single handedly painting their house inside AND out!

My cardio plans for tomorrow will have to be shelved as well since there's just so many things to do and I don't have the luxury of more than 1 hour to spare. But what I can do is to squeeze in a quick run tomorrow morning before the havoc starts.

have a good weekend everyone.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Racing against the sunset

Ironically all the things I want to write about over here kind of disappears when I am staring at the screen. The thoughts were overflowing in my head all the time while I work out - random things like pesky short lane swimmers, after work cardio, motivation, etc, but now I can't seem to express them clearly.

Needless to say, I have not been so successful in making my cardio rountine a, well, routine. The last time I ran, I ran in a different time zone, with a totally busted weather. Plans of doing cardio yesterday was foiled since I was trapped out of the house without my keys... left it in my luggage bag (the perils of traveling so much in a short time).

Today I managed to sneak in some cardio. Nothing fancy, nothing major, I told myself I just wanted to get my body warmed up. Get used to the whole intensive training again. I missed having tan lines on my body.

No one was around when I arrived, save for a couple and their kids. The sun was slowly setting; I arrived late. I warmed up quick, doing my usual 5 laps. Then I did the easiest main set I would do if I'm in a hurry and need a simple workout - long and slow. Forget timing, forget form, just the distance. It was good to be in tune with myself again, although at some parts I flter and my form faltered, I managed to keep myself together. While doing the last 2 laps I remember an entry from a blogger about riding in the evening and racing the sunset. With the sun setting and no one else around, I felt a little spooked. So I raced with my sunlight. I sped through the last 2, making sure I did not let go completely on the form. As always I enjoyed the furious beating of my heart when it's over!

Stretched. I should get my favorite pilates teacher come over for a session. Her classes were the reason why I never had a problem jumping into races and events with no preparations.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Great Cold

Today I was adamant: I WILL drag myself out for a run or a something, no matter what.

Woke up early - went for a great breakfast, then changed. I thought of running around the area of my hotel, which is really pretty and easy to remember, but it was just TOO cold so I went to the gym.

Damn boring. I sighed so much while on the elliptical machine, the guy next to me asked, "How many percentage of the world's problems are you shouldering?" But I managed to slough through 30 minutes of cardio. I was sweating profusely.

Outside, the sun was up and shining. Well, my body's all warmed up, so I went for a quick run around the area. Past the shopping malls, the metro station, the really nice neighborhood area. It was still very cold, but it was too pretty to stop. I wish I had my camera with me.

I didn't know how far or how long I ran. If I had to guess, maybe it was around 25 minutes... or less, since I get tired more in cold weather.

I ran in my Champion C9 sports bra. AWESOMENESS. Oh, I wish I can buy all their running equipments for women.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Great List

I have tried running while I'm here in the states. Results:

1) Jet lag. I couldn't sleep and if I fell asleep I wake up about 2 hours after... at 3am and stay awake the whole time. By the time 8am rolled in, my head was pounding and I am already tired.
2) Run foiled due to long hours of work. One time we finished at 11pm! (we did start at 11am but still...)
3) Day 4-6: WORK.
4) Too cold. This is my weakness. I can't stand cold weather. I do really well in extreme heat and humidity that I have given my cold weather abilities away. I stepped out of my hotel room to run and scurry back into my room and warm toasty bed.

There was a 10k Halloween run in St. Louis the second day I was here. It looked nice, from the news.
The best thing about United States is the shopping. Ever since I was a kid and into sports, reading their fitness magazines made me wish I could live there. Here is my wish list:

1) Total 9, Underarmour and Champion sports bras: 'Nuff said. Sports bras in Malaysia are pussies compared to what they have here. Even Singapore doesn't stock them. Not all Asian females are tiny! Plus, being sportswomen don't really equal being flat chested. The best thing ever? The name of the best seller sports bra - The Last Resort. hahahahha!! Thank God it's not as vile as Supper Strappers or something.

2) Yoga/Pilates stuff: Cheaper, more variety.
3) More colorful jerseys/attire. YEAY!!

The only thing I managed to buy because I'm so busy with work: Clif Bars.

I've always wanted to taste Clif bars ever since 2 of my favorite super athletes blogged about them. Too lazy to properly research whether Singapore has them or not, I silently bid my time until this trip. Once I arrived, I bee-lined to the Sports Performance aisle in the store and sure enough, CLif bars are all lined up, calling my name. The one I got is Chocolate Brownie, and it tastes like chewy Milo and oatmeal. Perfect for my long periods of cardio!

Will try to run if work permits today.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thief!

Somebody pretended to be me and took my Mizuno race kit.

I am at the airport, waiting for my flight, and my dad called to tell me that the organizers said that somebody has already taken my race kit... yesterday (he was at UPM when he called). Do they have a race kit pick up yesterday? Who would simply take what is mine?

Granted, I am not running, but I have planned to give it to either my cousin or sister to run in my behalf. Now all of us is disappointed.

Oh well. To those who are running, run well! I am going to endure long hours of flight. Thank God I LOVE airplane food.

See you... I don't know when.

Psst: anybody knows anyone who doesn't want to run SCSM? Hit me up.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

9 breaths

At work, I wrote to myself:

Today you will workout. You will try to do a one hour of cardio, but you can always settle on your 'at-least-it's-done' 30 minutes. Nothing shorter, because I know you are stronger than that.

Truth to be told, I was lazy. I was mostly tired from work, and I didn;t really sleep well, I am still recovering from a gastric attack, etc. But I needed to slot that one quick cardio in. I knew how good it feels at the end.

So I did not give time for myself to think. I just stopped work, drove, changed and got to move. And what do you know I loved it. I think I tortured myself quite badly. I felt like fainting. Then I got headaches. I was definitely hard on myself. What I like to do was to imagine that I have an upcoming tough race to participate and my coach was the same one I had for track in high school. He was brutal and he yelled at your ass to GET THE LEGS MOVING!

My workout dynamics have certainly changed now. I have no idea when, and how, but I do know why. I want to get faster and better. I want to be stronger. No longer do I take it slow and steady, training my already solid mental and physical endurance. I enjoy speedier, short bursts of anything now. I like finishing a workout with my heart burning.

I did not burn enough today. I kind of regret that now.

Ever since I read about pushing one's own limit, I am obsessed with the idea of testing myself. I never did that - test my limits. I never HAD to, or wanted to. I was happy doing my sports and coming in last for all it's worth. I didn't want to beat anybody; I just wanted a workout. The only time I found myself tested was during the sundown marathon and that was because I was underprepared. I survived pretty much anything because I know I couldn't stop.

But suddenly I find myself loving this pressure. Wanting the pressure, needing the push. I am not satisfied if I got home with energy left to do laundry, watch Tv, etc. I want to be hammered.

I have to miss out two of the upcoming events that I'd already PAID for thanks to work. But it's an overseas trip so I'm not really complaining, plus I know I would enjoy the FAT (that's factory acceptance test). I'd be bringing my fivefingers and I wish I can bring my other boyfriend but he's quite heavy and won't fold easily. Oh well.

I still have 2 and a half more days before I disappear for 11 days! Make them worth it!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Marathon Marriage

We endured the marathon just like we endured our marriage.

The first few kilometers, we were high as a kite, excited to embark on this journey that will CHANGE OUR LIVES. We held hands, excited to be in this long and arduous journey together. We were well prepared; ointments for cramps and hydration and everything else you need for an event of this magnitude. We were confided, young, happy, and oblivious to what was in store for us.

In the middle of it, gone were our rhythmic pace. We were no longer in sync; no longer running on the same wavelength. We didn't see eye to eye - you said maybe we should hold on and refuel later; I was more careful and suggested that we should stop and drink now. When I stopped for cramps and blisters you barked at me. I got annoyed when you had to tie your shoelace for the millionth of times. We only agreed on one thing: there were so few of the goddamn water stations.

I was thinking maybe we needed personal help.

Kilometer 30: absolutely nothing was beautiful. I couldn't remember why I thought this was so exciting, why I thought spending all this time with you was worthwhile. I couldn't even remember why I fell in love with you. Our flaws and ugliness reared their heads. You snapped at everything. I cried and then got silent. We were distant even though side by side, and I was unable to break that wall. Cramps started to camp in my body parts - calves, stomach, neck. I missed the early times we were together. Have our patience waned when our energy dropped?

26.2. When we reached the chute, my heart soared. You held my hand; gingerly we ran the last few meters together. Crossing this line, we came to an understanding. Our marriage, like the marathon we ran, will never be easy. We will lock heads over strategies and decisions. I will bonk hard and you will cramp out. There will be few water stations and many lonely and desolate moments. We will be faced against our darkest inner demons. But giving up was never an option. We will suffer through this marathon of our marriage, over and over again with the will to make it to the end. We can always train for it. Our love will get us through it.

Even if we have to finish it crawling.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

benchmark

Went to my benchmark route today. Small group, just the way I like it. I'm pretty sure my fitness has waned but I didn't know how much. This route will tell all. This route stays fixed.

It was obvious that while my endurance is still around, I have completely lost the leg power. They just. Won't. Move. Any. More. I suffered on parts I didn't normally suffer. Suffered earlier than I normally would.

I seriously want to get better at this.

The best part, of course, was the conversation at the end of the exercise. I love friends with benefit... fitness off the bed benefit, that is.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dilemma

Work or sports? Work or sports? You know what I'll choose in a heartbeat, but then again I can't neglect work because it supports my sports financially.

Oh no.

I have skipped 2 of my registered events because of work and its so-called obligations. Mostly due to clashing dates more than lack of training. I can race without much training, but I can't race if I'm not physically present!

At work, I have been dealing back and forth regarding this overseas trip I have to make. I was supposed to go last month, then postponed to first week of October, then Oct 11th, and now Oct 18th!

Desaru tri, Hooha Run, etc.

It's too late to register for the events I 'thought' I would miss for the next 2 weekends. But I would be missing 2 events that I REALLY WANT TO GO. Unless I rush back straight home. But this isn't a Melbourne-KL flight. I don't even bother to calculate the missing hours!

Kenapa kenapa kenapaaaa. Haih.
Drama seribu kali pon won't change a single thing.
That is life to you and ain't it funny.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Running in my head

Did not manage to do anything yesterday night. Got out of work late, and by then too tired to do anything.

This entry might be beneficial just to me, as I am going to write about the best moments I remember from working out. I always do this when I get stuck in a rut I can't seem to shake out of. I think the motivation I get from recycling the high of past workouts helps.

The Big Fun Run run, Sep 26th.
I wasn't really nervous about this race. Firstly, it's a 5k, a distance I'm pretty sure I could cover easily. Secondly, I'm running with my sisters, whihc means that if I was so out of shape I could easily turn this to be a fun family thing and run with them. Thirdly, I did not have any pressure on myself. No goals, no target. Of course, I wanted to run faster - who doesn't? But I'm never going to beat myself up if I didn't.

We were late to arrive; the race started at 11am (can you imagine, so late in the day?) and when we stepped foot on the park we only get to see the last of the runners shuffling away. I ran to the starting point. I was slightly disappointed; secretly I have wanted to start the race proper and run my best. After jogging with my sisters for about 1 minute feeling dejected (not to mention that I lost my Oyster card) they persuaded me to run on my own. I did not need any more push after that.

I ran. Hard. I ran. Fast. I ran. Happy. There were 2 female runners also latecomers - their pace were good, indicating that they run regularly. I followed them. My legs started to warm up. And then without meaning to I passed the girls. So many walkers at this point - the runners have all shot up 5 minutes ahead of me. I picked up pace, did not even know why I was so careless, why I didn't pace properly. All I knew is I just wanted to see how far I could run this hard, this much.

The wind was cold, my fingers numb. My heart started to burn. Somebody yelled out, "Nice form! Keep it up!" and I surged forward, harder. I realized I missed this part of myself, this identity I have left behind, unwillingly at times. The sprinter in me. I could only remember running so strong like this when I was in school. Doing mile-repeats. Vomiting water at the end of it. Happiness by the kilometers. My knees don't allow me to do this anymore. Now sometimes when I look at other female runners my age running strong I felt a twinge, thinking that I could never have that so good now. Oh well.

I slowed down a notch at kilometer 4. Just a notch. 3 weeks of being dormant. The wind was so cold by then, I can't barely feel the sweat trinkling down my back. I didn't think I sweat much. Is it going to be over already? So soon? Maybe this is why I run slow now. I hate having to end a run so fast. I want more time, to summon my old high school track team moniker - Nadia Bullet! Skinny but speedy, always steady. Always steady. My bicycle is named Steady Eddy.

When I arrived at the chute I lifted up my arms in the kind of joy only I know. Nobody took my picture; I had to ask for the goodie bag. But I was a winner already, I felt good.

Between Want and Can't

When I say General Comeback, I really meant all out, like 5 days per week minimum.

Instead, I've only managed to squeeze 1 workout since that glorious welcome home cardio. 2, if you count walking the whole of IKEA yesterday night (mild cardio) and lugging around heavy shelves, and the likes (strength training).

I thought I would freak out with this lack of exercise. I mean, losing one workout on my two workout per day used to drive me crazy. But I guess back then I was really crazy, and didn't know how to alleviate the situation. It's like a bad relationship you just didn't know how to get out of. Thank God now I'm slightly sensible. I DNS 2 events I'd already signed up and paid for... without a huge remorse. Which means I still feel remorse, but not so big.

I would say that it is all work like the rest of the fatties who complain about lack of time. But it's only 60% true. Work does take out a lot from me, but not exactly my time as much as my energy. I would arrive home so mentally exhausted than I want nothing else but to change into my ratty old pants and snuggle on my bed. Only then I realized how FREE I was before at work.

Also other things, like my apartment, and social obligations. Things like that. Heck, I'll even throw in some entertainment and my cat into the picture. They did not get any Q time with me before. I went back to one of my entries and realized that my sister has left this comment which I overlooked:

"hello i'm the long suffering sister/housemate of this bloody woman. Hardly ever see her kurus ass, all the free time she has is devoted to sports (lari la, kayuh basikal la, swimming la) and her boyfriend. We used to at least once a week watch movies, but not anymore. She's always home late from cycling trips - i feel sad :( "

So we watch movies now... and we're happy. That is, after we have our walk/run thing on Thursdays. It is a deal.

I am getting a whole lot of my officemates involved in this running thing. I like their 'n00bie'-ness: calling 5k a Marathon, thinking they're going to faint after 2k, etc. We're probably going to run together on a simple race end of this year... I'm looking at Malakoff 7k. Of course, I want to do the 12k. Legs have been itching to run lately, but I really have to be careful with them - can't use them too often or else they'd quit on me.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Comeback

What a great day for a comeback to general fitness again.

This morning, played with my snooze button a few times. After a long hibernation, I was not used to waking up at this ungodly hour just to physically exert myself. But I reminded myself of the high I will get after this is over.

It's so good meeting old friends. I actually miss the social banter I get from this group, after nearly a year of spending Saturday/Sundays with them. Not to mention the juicy gossips - which I hardly ever indulge in - that circulates while I'm not around.

The weather was good, which is a first because my only experience with this route has always been scorching hot. It was a fairly big group, which quickly separated into the Serious and the Social. I lagged behind, aware of where my fitness is.

It was a route I've been before; the day I met most of the people in this group. I remember this route well; one thing, back then to me it was laden with inclines after inclines. Secondly, the roads were under construction then. I suffered so much when I took it the first time.

It's not so bad today, even with my 2 months hiatus. I kept an easy pace, with an equally warm mindset - it's always the mindset isn't it. I don't know about you but my performance relies heavily on mindset. I could be out of it for months but could still hold on with a great mindset, but also I could be constantly fit but bonked out thanks to lack of will and spirit.

I don't really need a Powergel. I need brain food: motivation.

Anyway, there's nothing much to say. I enjoyed the whole thing. Immensely. So much, that on the long stretch of road when I was alone, I found myself belting out a song with high notes out loud AND off-key. That's how much I know I love what I'm doing - I can be my natural true self, horrible voice or not.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stirred

Starting over is my favorite part of this whole game.

The stacking workouts. The increase of distance, repetitions, intensity. The back to back routine.

The hurt to get there.

People ask me, "Are you a professional athlete? Are you doing sports competitively? Why the training to get better if you're not going to race/win?"

Because I want to. And in my world, I am the number one athlete, and that's enough.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fun 5k Run

I was born in the middle of two very girlie sisters.

Maybe not girlie, but definitely not into sports like me.

This trip to visit our youngest sister in London was planned by my eldest sister. Being quite the shopper that she is (with the amount of shoes rivaling Imelda Marcos) 90% of our itinerary consists of shopping and more shopping. I didn't complain one bit, not even when they made multiple stops along one single road and when I had to attend to their questions of whether this looks nicer or whether this fits? Being a girl, I too, did some shopping of my own. I might be a cardio freak, but I do know my brogues from my Brooks (not that I have one, but in the interest of making this sounds better...)


My sisters in their natural state

On the second last day of our trip, I cajoled, coaxed, and last but not least, forced them to enter a running event with me.

It's a small, family-driven, charity-centered run that runs throughout the UK (about 24 races) and all runs are 5km. It's called the Big Fun Run, and the one we went was held in Victoria Park, London. We were all unprepared; little sister does not even have a proper pair of running shoes, eldest sister borrowed my running pants and I ran - for the first and LAST time ever - without a sports bra on. God. Plus, we were late to start, about 5 minutes after the buzzer sounded. When we arrived we saw only the last throng of runners.

I'll let the pictures do the talking:


On the way to the tube. Notice my little sister hiding behind.




The most reluctant participant, if you don't count a blustery 5-yr-old crying, "I want to go home Mommy!!"

My youngest sister running alongside me at the starting. Her only preparation was a steady 30mins of walking everyday to/from work/college.


One of the runners! He ran for Children's Autism Support
Group, I think.


One of the first few runners who already made the turn back.


The cheerful, rambunctious supporters. One of them went, "She's taking our picture! Wave!"


This photographer and I played snap snap with each other.


I ran a good race, eventhough it was a late start. From the first minute I ran faster than my normal pace and told myself to maintain it. The weather was COLD, the wind was STIFF and my fingers felt numb and I didn't think I sweated at all.

I finished the race in 25 mins, my 5k PB hahaha!

My youngest sister arrived not long after I did - such a natural runner, and in Converse and pyjama pants too! Her 5k time is 32 mins.


My oldest sister came not long after... shuffling with a totally red face! She came in at 39mins for her first ever 5k... or any k at all! I love!


The goodie bag! So nice... I love the sports drink and the candies were awesome! hihi.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gloomy City

I did not go for a run at all, even though I packed my running shoes (or to be more accurate, fingers). But I did see a lot of runners around me that I thought somebody was trying to set me up or something. After the countless of runner passed me by, I stopped caring. I forgot about the fact that I too, used to run. I never thought that letting go is an easy business.

I found one awesome pair of shoes that I am considering to use as my main running shoe. I have been running with my five fingers for so long that normal, thick running shoes don't even do it for me anymore, but at the same time, the fivefingers give me bad blisters after 10k. this pair looks like a lightweight trainer than a running shoe, which closely resembles the feel of fivefingers. but im broke.

we will see won't we.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Beautiful Rush

Did a very very short stint of cardio today. There is no time for me to fit in most everything, but I take what I can get.

Woke up early, got dressed, and got going. The roads were amazingly clear, with only a smattering of cars here and there, and the sun was just about up. It was the kind of morning you would envision if the town is attacked by zombies. I love the combination of public holidays and lazy Malaysians. Malaysia rules!!!

The rush of trying out a new route. I was smiling.

Too short, I arrived at boyfriend's house. Wasn't even pounding. wasn't even sweaty. Still it was worth it, that physical body movement. being at one again with the roads. Feeling the sun on my skin.

I get a little too poetic and dramatic sometimes, but really, there is an absolute beauty in speed and adrenaline.

Off to London for 10 days. Damnit. I'll miss my sun and humidity.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Starting Again

Back to work this week. And to be honest I actually love it. I kind of miss the smell of documents piled up on the table, reading emails of one issue after another, looking at layout diagrams.

After my raya run, I was hungry for another cardio. Not to mention the fact that both my favorite athlete+blogger+superfemale have started their own routine exercise again, one back from confinement (but being American her confinement period's just 4 weeks!) and another back from a well deserved break after her third ultra.

Being on different timezones they update their workouts just when I am strapped to my table at work.

I'm thinking of I don't know, maybe bringing my jump rope at work and jump my jitters away.

Today, I was resolute. About working out. Yesterday was such a disappointment. No car, therefore stuck. Nighttime run hampered by a must-visit to my aunt's house.

Today I did cardio type C. And I think I'm at a better shape than I was before Ramadhan. At worst, the same level. I am ecstatic. I am proud. I am overjoyed.

But different cardio sports have different demands. You think your fitness is awesome because you're a runner, but then you can't last in a rubber set of badminton (believe me I've tried. It's like running 10k with lunges, squats, and jumping jacks thrown in between). I bet I can't return to my sports of choice with this level of fitness. I bet I'd be huffing and puffing.

Looking towards the day. But for now, I'm glad I got the groove back. The burn in my heart, the determination to finish. Something within me stirred.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Raya Run

Layan lari pagi2 dengan ayah.

The sadness is still there. Doesn't really help when a friend of mine just buried her 17 year old nephew who succumbed to cancer as well, yesterday. So many young deaths. I have no idea how a parent feels burying their own child.

But life goes on right?

The night before, I had the urge to do something. A run is the easiest answer. No fuss, no frills. I told dad I wanted to go for a run, and he said, "Why not do it Monday. Too soon." But come this morning he knocked on my door saying he's going to put on his pants and join my run.

I had no idea what I wanted to do when I headed out. Didn't know if it was going to be a long run, or a short speedy one, or a lazy, as-long-as-I'm-moving-my-body kind of run. I had no idea what my legs were up to. But straight away my dad set the pace. I'm a slow runner in a way that my dad's normal pace is MY tempo pace. He runs a 9 minute mile. For me that's fast. Fast for a running distance of 6-10k.

So we set out at that pace. Straight away I realized Dad's fitness is out of the window. Unlike me, he has not been running for nearly 2 months. He was breathing a hard ragged breath only about 5 minutes in. When we reached the only winding part of the route I hesitated about charging on and leaving him behind but I did anyway. It felt good to feel pain. I realized that I need to buck up FAST in order to keep up with my training buddies. It's hard to catch up to their cardio abilities now. I am up for the challenge though.

Eventhough I'm concentrating on another discipline, running will always be the best training tool for me. It provides a solid, strong cardio fitness base that enables me to move to a medium level of any sports I decide to pursue. The only drawback at first was I was a long distance runner, therefor my running mostly consist of steady even running. It massively help in the endurance but did nothing in terms of stamina. Now, I keep my running short, 10k at most (when I feel I want to) but pushed it on the speed and intensity. The harder it hurts the better it is for me.

I do have a half marathon coming up and I'm going to enjoy running it even without a training plan. My goal is to just make it through the 21k without having my mental strength collapsing on me! My mind does not even have the stomach for long runs these days. Sighss.Even 5k is long... god.

On the other hand, enjoyed watching the 1997 Summer Olympic Women Volleyball rerun. Gabby Reece is the most awesome athlete to grace my eyes. I love her determination. I have always wanted her to hook up with my other favorite role model, Lance Armstrong. Now that dude is relentless...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Eid

I would like to wish everyone who reads this blog a very happy Eid. May your Raya is filled with just enough combination of fun and frustration, drama and relaxation. Also, good food. It won't be Raya at all without all the above.

My dear cousin succumbed to leukemia yesterday. Our raya will be a pretty somber affair, to which we have sort of anticipated. How do you say goodbye to one of your best friends? I would never know. 23 years is too short, too short. He never got the chance to hang out at my new place. I'm glad for one thing - that crazy whitewater rafting we did in Bali and surfing during the evening.

All of us are in pieces at the moment.

Till the next entry, long live cardio and food :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Only Happy When It Rains

It always rains when I want to run.

Or rather... I always want to run when it rains. HAHA.

I read an article about the differences between outdoor cats and indoor cats. One of the most prominent, the article said, is the lack of interest in chasing strings or shadows for outdoor cats. You put a string - or anything moving - in front of an indoor cat and he'll go berserk trying to grab it between his paws. This can go for hours. but you put the string in front of an outdoor cat and the most he'll give you is only a few minutes' worth of forced enthusiasm.

It's true. My cat, Cik Mek Molek, loses the interest in the string/penyapu lidi/shadows/marbles/ or any moving things you throw at her after just half a minute. She is the quintessential outdoor cat, an an esteemed hunter. There is nothing - short of a dog or anything bigger than her size - that she has not hunted or killed. Nor any tree limbs that she has not climbed and peed on.

If she was a true blue Outdoor Cat, then I am a true blue Outdoor Athlete. I guess what a string is to my cat is what a treadmill is to me. I have been dormant for so long that I thought of hitting the gym tonight and run on the treadmill, or heck, get on the stationary bike and cycle. But I. Could. Not.

Whenever I tried the gym thing, I always ended up running for 2k that feels like a marathon. I hopped on the bicycle and hoped it would give me better luck, but only ended up cycling for 15 minutes before I slipped off the bike from sleeping. I am always mystified: how can I run/cycle for hours outdoors but 15 minutes indoors is such torture?

I thought of my cat giving me a withering stare whenever I force her to play with the white yarn: I know how you feel now.

To my cat, that white, flimsy yarn does not even come close to the feel of a warm, flurry helpless bird trapped between her paws. All the drama and preparation of an outdoor hunt was lost when presented in the form of a string; the time she spent patiently stalking, the sweet tremors before a chase, the slow, slow stealth towards the poor bird victim. It is the same thing I feel in an indoor gym - trapped in a cold room breathing the stench of others and feeling nothing but metal underneath.

All this writing does not change the fact that it still rains outside.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Jaded City People

Last week, there was a wonderful boy in the train. He was friendly, proper, polite and interesting. He started conversations with strangers next to him, who reacted as if he’s either a) crazy, b) horny, or c) trying to steal. I made the mistake of staring at him too hard, which he took as a reprimand. He stopped talking afterwards, when all I was doing was trying to figure out which part of him came out so right when the rest of us have turned into one of those jaded city people. I actually missed him even until today. He asked the auntie next to him, “Did your son’s team win?” when she told him she was on the way back from her son’s football match. Everybody didn’t know what to do with this boy with headphones asking questions. We all were thinking, “What’s his motive?”

We don’t really need a motive to be friendly. I was jealous he was a human being in the train, not some dead logs.

[The only cardio I do these days is rushing to grab the nearest empty table for Iftar outing. That and maybe some thumb flexing on the remote between commercial breaks. WHY AM I ENJOYING THIS?]

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Blast!

Because I was really deprived of a good cardio, last night I joined my friends for one great session. Or sesh, as they called it, but we're not here to learn more lingo aren't we?

I have not been doing anything SUPER HARD for exactly 31 days. The last remotely hard workout I did was about 14 days ago and even then I could hold it on my own. I knew my fitness level is definitely not the same like it was a month back but I did some running... ('some' equaling to only like, 3 measly 5.5ks?) I thought well, running is THE hardest cardio you're going to get, it ain't a sprint workout but at least I'm moving my body, even only 3 times over a period of 31 days. So, you know, I'm still FIT.

RIGHT.

1) Made the mistake of stuffing my face with one Potato Jacket with Chicken and Cheese (my planned pre-hardcore workout dinner). And a plate of spaghetti aglio olio (unplanned.) Well can you blame me? The thing's right in front of my face, and I need... to CARBOLOAD. Doesn't matter if it's 15 minutes BEFORE exercise.

2) The team's effing fit. I'm talking about Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, Van Damme, and Bruce Lee kind of fit. They are not the sort of mean cardio robots to mingle with if you're making a comeback after a long hibernation. These guys are just plain tough. Meanwhile I just lack protein and muscle *cries*

The moment we started I tried my hardest to keep up. Almost immediately I started to feel my dinner at the base of my throat. 20 minutes into it, I started to feel the heavy dread of thinking I have bitten off more than I could chew. I have another long 60 minutes more. My chest felt tight and my heartbeat was erratic and fast. To my amazement, I realized that I know this feeling, like a fond distant memory: this is the feeling of being unfit and starting up. This is the feeling being a cardio n00b. I was working so hard that my base of my neck ACHED from the pulse pounding on my right side. I couldn't even hold a conversation. I think I was working at RPE 23 that night... which doesn't exist which means out of the track HARD.

It feels good to be smashed. And to know exactly where I stand, fitness wise. I used to be one of them... maybe not completely in but at least I'm not panting 20 minutes after we've ended things! So now I'm taking a good 3 weeks of rest before I start again, maybe slowly, BUT surely, until I get to the same, if not above the level that I was.

Isn't that a sweet sweet challenge to have. Until then, it's back to warm cozy nights of family, books, ramadhan reflections, and friends.

I need to gain MUSCLES! Urgh.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Dream

I dreamt about running just this morning. And it feels amazing. Dreamt that I put my shoes on, and went for a run around my neighborhood, and I picked up my pace faster, and the roads just became a blur, and I remember somewhere there's a red car. I could only see the view of my feet against the road though, but the red car was at the corner of my eyes. Is it calling me already? I do run better during Ramadhan, for unknown reasons. Maybe I sort of relate running to suffering, with all the dehydration and heat.

I miss working out. But I do enjoy all the time out.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Off Season

I can't bring myself to do anything. The best thing is to just allow it to happen.

Been trying to force myself into some sort of a routine - 4/week of cardio - but for some reason it's not working. Unlike last year's Ramadhan, this year I was fully happy to cooperate with my bed and books back home and cuddle. It's not the food or lifestyle, in fact this year I've only spent 3 nights breaking fast with my friends with the rest of the days by myself at home. I would like to think that it's because of my job. It takes a lot out of me in a good way that there's nothing I want to do back home but to lie down and chill out.

I remember when we were kids and during school holidays would go to my cousin's house deep in the Felda settlement. At nights we played Scrabble and all sorts of board games and I remember asking my dad to play as well and he refused, saying that he doesn't want to 'think' at all when he's on vacation. I didn't understand it then but now I know what he means. Even coughing out words for Scrabble is hard work when you're loaded in the office. Especially when we share the same profession. I'm so happy to be a brainless loner during Ramadhan.

I do, though, get pangs of missing the workouts. Like driving through familiar routes and seeing the hills, I get a rush of something I couldn't quite describe, and I knew I totally miss the feel of lactic acid in my thighs and the near explosion of my heart. But I know this rest is for the best, a lot of athletes do this and I know I would come back recharged and energized. I could only push myself to do odd runs during the weekday and it depends on how good I feel on that day. I can't complain too much because as much as I miss feeling the early morning wind on my face I do enjoy the lush moments of waking up super late and sleeping till I don't know when. Although I try not to be affected when I pick my boyfriend up after his 4/week training and games...

Hope you guys enjoy your workouts and all the best!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Super HOT

Ran under the hot sun.

Distance: 5.44km
Time: 35:10

The weather was super hot today, as always, the kind of weather I love. I was parched 10 minutes into running. Because I was in the mood, I did something different than the normal run I usually do for this route.

In high school for cross country training we did this routine where we ran 2x any distance of loop. Instead of doing the first loop as a warm up and the second loop harder, we did it in reverse. We called it the Reverse Bullshit. The idea is that after hitting the first round hard, we are training ourselves to continue pushing on when we thought we couldn't. And sure enough, we always did.

For the first loop, I ran faster than normal. The sun glared my eyes at some parts and I felt like an overheated engine. It was nice to cover the same distance in a faster speed, and by the time I started my second loop my legs were dying for a break. I took my own sweet time running this second lap. Didn't want to push it at all since I practically have to wait for one more hour before Iftar.

I ran wearing my favorite running tshirt. I got it in when I was 18 and usually wear it when I go out for a run. It's heavy cotton and sticks to your skin, but you all know I love sweaty soggy cotton than dri-fit fabric anytime. It has an illustration of lady running and it says Lady Cougar Track and Field. So cool! I always feel like a true professional runner when I run wearing this tshirt.

Off to Singapore until the end of the week. Sighs. Thank God I LOVE my work.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Old School

The best thing about a group workout? Like minded buddies.

I'm always a loner when it comes to doing my endurance stuff. I think I prefer the solitude and company of myself too much to share it with some other exercising buddies. And when it comes to group workouts - I stick by this motto: the less the better. Better conversation and concentration and more intense camaraderie. That being said, I'm not some hermit who despise large groups of people!

Had an awesome workout with an old friend of mine. We used to do our own Sunday cardio religiously until life and work took over. She was, essentially, my sifu. Introduced me to a lot of tricks and insights, and a powerhorse. Last night, what was supposed to be an 'easy' cardio turned out to be super HARD. It was a group of five and everyone is no newbie. I was thinking either a) they were just too fit or b) I am terribly unfit. I decided that the answer is both. I was breathing hard, so hard I thought my heart's going to jump out from my mouth. I felt like fainting. I thought I could hold it against them, but I ended up being last. The one left behind. But it was a good feeling because it means I have all the time in the world to get better!

I love being the last or the slowest or the most unfit due to hibernation. Most athletes hate this part, but I love the challenge of getting your stamina back to where it once was. I believe that if you've done it before, you will get there again. And sometimes you end up being way better. Plus, I like being able to push myself to the absolute limit and not overtake anyone without feeling like a showoff. The only person I love to gloat to is myself... and perhaps my dad.

I need to gain some bulk. Everybody's commenting how skinny I am and I feel like I'm too scrawny. I need to gain some mass and look, bigger. Urgh. My weight's totally healthy and normal (57 kg) but I look like an anorexic (a comment from a doctor!). I want to look like Gabrielle Reece. Growing up she was my role model. But instead I look like an out of job junkie... the real kind.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

3rd Ramadhan Run

A nice, normal run.

Distance: 5.44km
Time: 35 mins

I've been looking forward for my after work run. Haven't felt like this in a loong while. The need to jump out of the car NOW and start running. The urge to feel the sun on your face and the back of your neck. The breathless, pounding heartbeat.

It was hot and sunny when I stepped out. My favorite weather. Humidity was high, I sweated as soon and I started running. This was a great run, great in a sense where I didn't really think about anthing specific, but I thought about a lot of things. My strides were nice and constant, my knees quiet, Alhamdulillah. I saw 2 cats - one orange/white and another a mixture of colors. So cute. And they are obviously fit cats, unlike my own cat at home.

I thank God that running comes so easy to me like a bad habit you can't resist. Since my favorite sport is now 'off-season' I have to do something to maintain my fitness and running, my old flame, is one of the best cardio exercises ever. The best, I think, surpassing even my passion right now.

Ramadhan is a great month already.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ramadhan Cardio

08/12: Karate 2hrs (great suicides that left me wanting to die... no pun intended)
08/13: Planned to do soemthing... but had to work late.
08/14: Crazy withdrawal had me running a 6k at 4pm. BAD choice. What's wrong with me?

Then I got work work work work until I'm too tired to do anything after work but sleep and eat. I'm hoping today would be different.

Updates:

1) My knees for these past 4 weeks have not been making a sound. I'm more bewildered and perplexed than anything else. What could make it... better? I've been running a lot more than I dared to, doing a fun 5-6ks in between. I've been running fast, running speedy, slow, uphills... except downhills, I only shuffle downhill. Maybe that's why.
a) But I can't run in shoes. Tried it, did not like it and somehow I could 'feel' the pain in my knees... don't know if it's just mental, but the moment I went with my fingers it was ok!
b) I changed my postures a lot, more aware of where my weight land on my feet. I realized that when I fully distribute my weight on the middle of my feet, my running does not hurt and is a tad faster (which leaves me out of breath faster too... damn)
c) I take a LONG time stretching after my run. I stretch anywhere I feel like it even while not running.
d) I warm up to the point of being sweaty before running. I could walk for a full 2k before starting my run if I have to.
e) I've stopped taking supplements and anti inflammatory. but I do increase my milk intake...
f) Yoga + cupping + reflexlogy + massages + ACCUPUNTURE. I think this is the best part of being an 'athlete'. the self sponsored one sucks though.

Playing sports have made me so aware of my body parts. I practically know more muscle/bone/joint names than I did when I was taking university biology! The best thing is when I helped my boyfriend for his thesis and I know what he's talking about, sometimes I even read his books for fun. Damn, why didn't I take sports science?