Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Total Rest

My left ankle is still swollen after 3 days.
My shoulder is happy with her tendonitis.
My knees are not ready to be on their own without medication just yet. Still need some mollycodlling.

 I am left thinking, can't run, can't swim, can't karate, can't inline-skate, can't ride.
 But it's ok. There are worst things in the world. I'm going to take a good rest and read books and cuddle cats and do yoga until I'm bend over backwards like a pretzel.

 Don't worry guys I'm still going to run run run!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Day of Energy

No one else has updated their escapades so far, I guess running a 21k or a 42k in the humid heat takes a toll out on everyone. When we left there were still people walking about in a daze everywhere around Cyberjaya it seems. If one didn't know any better, the whole scene looked like a grisly zombie scene - except all these zombies wore race ID number. We saw a couple people limping painfully and god only knows how far along they have to shuffle to the end. I love the inspiration the sight built inside me.

Anyway, I ran a pretty good race. If I was keeping score, I would say that this would be a PB for me. When I said I ran a pretty good race, I didn't mean the speed. I could have finished really fast but suffered throughout, or ran ok and didn't enjoy the race. No, what I meant is that the whole thing just felt put together. I ran the whole way strong, and finished equally well. I wasn't thirsty, and my knees didn't ache (but my ankles did, but it's not because of the run), and I paced myself really well, and I managed to beat the mental fatigue (mental fatigue for a10km race? I must be really rusty!)

Most of all, I managed to guide my cousin into her first medal run and a good timing for someone who's never done a 10k or any race in her life. When she did the Malakoff 7km, she walked the entire way. Starting at the race yesterday night, she told me to wait for her and that she'll never get the medal cause the cut off time was 1hr 30mins. I told her I'm going to help her get it. I told her I'm going to run with her until the halfway mark, where then I'll leave her to run on our own.

So we started slowly. I counseled her on the breathing. Breathing for me is the most crucial form in any exercise. Breathing hurts when you are tired. You began to take short breaths that don't really help. What you need is to fight it and regulate your breathing. It sucks, but it really does help. So I told her to breathe, and she ran with me the whole time. When she slowed down, I ran beside her again to make sure she was ok. At one point she gasped out, "I can't do this!" and I was like, "You can! Just slow down if this speed hurts but don't walk. And BREATHE!!!"

I left her at the 5km mark and went on my way. Met my other cousin at the goodie bag collection and later found my dad gorging on watermelon without even bothering to lineup for the medal! He told us later he must have had 20 cups of water. I think he enjoyed this part of the race more than anything! Then my cousin called me, her voice elated. She finished the race at 1hr 4mins! Personally, I think that it's a GOOD timing, for someone who's never RAN in a race before, and for a first 10k attempt. I remember when I first attempted a 10k race, my time was like 1hr 15mins. She did it. And the best thing is that she was so excited and happy and bubbling up with post race euphoria and she kept on saying, "Ohmigod thank you Nadia! Thank you!"

I was hoping to see Kash, Haza, Ian, Syah, Julin, etc and anyone else who were running so that I could shout out words of encouragements, but I guess the 10k course doesn't cover much. I did see a couple of people I know from my karate class, also old uni mates.

One bad point about the race:
1) Unorganized medal collection. The runners have to go all the way inside to get their goodie bags and even then there were no proper lines for runner to queue properly. People were left confused and cutting into lines and wandering about. Many people didn't know where to get their medal. Sometimes lines were nonexistent.

2) (make that 2 bad points) NO MILO DRINK! Why??? Or did I just leave this one yet again??? I miss my ol' trusty Milo drink :(

Personally, I was glad I had a good race. I had a REALLY good workout earlier in the morning which energized me to run later in the night. I arrived home at noon, showered, ate a really good meal of nasi with telur mata and kicap and slept for 2 hours before getting ready. Not before shoveling a bowl of mee rebus of my cousin's hahah.

I guess that's about it from me. Looking forward to read everybody's race experience.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I think either I'm just crazy, or having a really good week, but I went for a run in the rain today.

 It was a short one, a tune up run actually, 3.5km or so, but my neighborhood being a hilly area the workout was still punishing if you ran fast enough. I just needed to run. Yesterday was so sunny the sun was glaring and I was hoping today would be the same but to my dismay it started to rain horribly hard just as the clock hits 5pm.

 I arrived home at 630pm, changed into my running attire and waited. It was harder than a drizzle and I would look just crazy for running. 15 minutes after, it let up a little but not a weather one might stroll in. What the heck, I thought. I've swum in the rain before, cycled in the rain before, so why not run? My boyfriend was also a pushing factor - I told him my running plan was dampened and he was like, "it's just the rain!"

 It was a good run, grey sky, sparkling wet road, glistening trees and the kind of fresh scent you get after a heavy downpour.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Training While On The Move

 When I was 15, I read an article about this lead singer for a punk rock band where her favorite thing to do while on tour is to run everywhere. She said she loves it when the scenery changes and she could never anticipate what's coming next. Thus, her runs are always refreshing and she doesn't get tired because her mind couldn't fathom the distance to 'bonk' her. She said, "All I need is a pair of shoes and that's about it."
 To this day I still remember that article. Eventhough I was running a lot in school it's still considered a chore to be bringing sports shoes around. I usually don't run when I am away from home. But when I read that article I realized that we're all giving ourselves excuses.
 My top three excuses for not running while being outstation are:
 1) Shoes are too space consuming to pack.
 2) I don't know the area - I don't feel safe
 3) No time.
 Sounds familiar right? We tell ourselves that all the time. I was guilty, and sometimes I am guilty of doing it. But 4 years ago I managed to work around the excuses. The first time I tried this, I went to Melbourne to visit my friends during my university break. I stayed there for a month therefore running HAD to be done. Packing the shoes were not an issue since my bag were big, so that was crossed. My problem for Melbourne was I didn't know the area. I had time, but nowhere to go.
 Back then we didn't have mapmyruns, or Google map (or maybe I just didn't know they existed). I felt discouraged. But then I told myself that maybe I could just run along the stretch of the road. As long as my friends know where I would be going, it should be safe. Another tip is that when outstation or overseas, always run someplace busy. I always target the local supermarket, the city, or someplace where there are a lot of restaurants. I did this in Jakarta, Cambodia, and also in both Manchester and London. You get a lot of whistling sometimes (only in Asia) but if you can block that out it should be okay. The point is, you are surrounded by people.
Anyway here is what I do when I go outstation and how I face the so called excuses:
1) No space to pack the shoes - If I couldn't even squeeze the shoes in, with what my work shoes and all, I wear them straight. Yes, I know you shouldn't wear your running shoes other than for running, but just a few hours of walking about in them wouldn't immediately harm them. I reserve a pair of cross trainers for only my travels so I could wear them and run in them. And since I do not do any of my training runs the cross trainers are perfect for a simple tune-up running. It's better to run in them, even for 20 minutes than not run at all.
2) I don't know the area - Like I said, I stick to busy street or places. If the place's too seedy, I usually jog around the hotel vicinity, even if it's just 500m. I only have done this recently after someone I know told me that when he was in prison, Nelson Mendela used to run in the small squares of his cell daily. This same person also (the friend, not Mr. Mandela), while stationed in offshore platforms, run in crazy, endless circles around the helicopter deck. You see - there shouldn't be no excuses for this. Worst come to worst, there's always the hotel gym.
3) No time - I always have this rule: no matter how lazy or how pressed for time I am, I try to commit to running (or working out) for five minutes. And then see if I'm still 'busy'. And then I would go on, or stop, depending. Five minutes of hard running is always always better than nothing. If you really can't run, you could work on your strength training. Do calf raises while brushing your teeth. Situps and crunches while waiting for the water to boil or coffee to cool.

 These three things have always helped me beat out the laziness of keeping up with my running whenever I'm away from home. Half the battle is already won when we put on our running shoes or walk towards the hotel gym. However, if you plan to really enjoy your holiday doing nothing at all, then by all means, do it. As the Spanish Proverb famously said:

 How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward . 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ode to my multisport: no quitting here.

 I have fully recovered from my initial slump regarding my prognosis last Sunday. The knowledge of knowing everything about my disabilities (or in my case, limitations) gives me some sort of a sense of freedom to do whatever I want. I guess this might be the intoxicated me talking. I am on a 2 course antibiotics and ibuprofen, and will be for the next 4 days or so. You know, initially I was gutted out, devastated, keeled over by the shock of the news. I know, drama, but it's about to be that time of the month for me, so I guess I was controlled by my hormones than my rationale then.
 I decided to make the best of it. So what if my legs are not made for running - I never said I wanted to be a professional runner. If clunky old men and severely rusty grandmas could shuffle along forward until the cows come home, perhaps so can I. I LOVE running. And I have done it in many situations: I have ran while feeling mad, pissed off, or angry, I have ran the whole course crying my eyes out, I have done it in love with my boyfriend next to me, I ran with kids, with my cat, up the hills, along the beach, up in the woods, amongst cyclists, in the rain, in the sun, while fasting, on injured knees, with injured feet, you name it, I have done it. And I want to do more, these are not enough. And if I could only do it once a week, with a maximum distance of 5k, be it. Nobody's counting, nobody's taking up time counts.
 And so is swimming. Oh my, where do I begin. I am in love with swimming.  And swimming loves me. Our relationship was like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Easy, smooth and we did not give a hoot what other people thought. But then somehow in the middle of it all, I changed and things fucked up. It wasn't good enough, I thought, and I changed the dynamics.  And all I got out of it was an injured shoulder and possibly weeks of recovery. I'm sorry swimming. I shouldn't have expected more from you (and myself). We were happy being no one in the pool, mediocre lovers just frolicking in the water. I should have not worked myself into a tizzy and worry about the most incessant things, like high elbow recovery. Who gives a hoot when all you need is love? One day, I will come back to you, and we could start again. You will comfort me and soothe me after a good day of whatever else I would be doing. We will be having FUN. No more hatin' - only lovin'.
 Aaaahh cycling. My Secret Lover Agent Man. I shall keep mum about this because things are going good, and if it ain't broken, don't even WRITE OR TALK ABOUT IT.
 Yesterday I went for a 2 hours yoga session. I am going to rave about this like I do everything else that sweeps me off my judgmental feet. I thought Yoga was too slow, and for trendy socialites. And then I thought it was too advanced for normal non-bendy people like me. And then I figured it would be too expensive anyway and for snobs, and too easy for ol' athletic me. Then I tried out a class, and another, and I was hooked. Humbled, firstly. I have tasted my medicine and it is bitter, but sweet. I loved being proven wrong. Yoga kicks your ass and shapes it into something you could see wiggling in MTV Jams. Not only your ass, but your core and your arms and your neck muscles and your toes - basically everything you have on you. It also tests your ability to cope with pain and block it out with even breathing. I am not the only one. When carloads of FAM football players drop in the many classes, you know it yoga kicks ass. Sometimes we have more sport dudes than the usual females and grannies.
 So here's to another one wonderful year of working out, eating right (one aspect that I need Ian's book to help me out) and making new friends while working out. Here is to races I would be doing, races I would be cheering and races I would be volunteering. Looking forward to spend more time with Mr. Karate, my lawfully wedded husband. And with you, you and you who are reading this. Thanks for the support and they will be reciprocated by a tenfold.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Horrifying Abuse

Let's take a break from our running shoes, pedals, paddles, Powerbars, etc for a while:

Animal Abuse that tops out anything I've seen before (or should I say, yet?) that took me off my sadness over my situation. The link brings us to the full story

"Ghastly animal abuse at Kepong KTM station
M Nisha Mar 17, 10 4:43pm

I am writing because of a grievous incident that took place on Monday, March 15 at about 3pm at Kepong Central KTM Station. My friends and I (six of us) were there to take the train to the Bank Negara station.

After parking our cars, we heard a dog howling, more like a painful cry. Then, we noticed a dog being tied to the grill (steel fence) of the KTM station. As we approached the dog, we stood aghast at the sight.

The stray dog's leg and neck was tied very tightly to the grill and a piece of wood had been shoved down inside its throat! The dog was bleeding and its feces were all around it. The string was attached to a pole in the KTM station. "


Throwing in The Towel

Things happen for a reason, even when we are not wise enough to see/realize it.

My shoulder hurts everytime I swim, has been for 2 weeks now. I knew it was because of overuse and the ridiculous increase in volume in a weekly basis. I consulted a masters swimming coach who said that for a non professional swimmer, there's nothing bad or wrong with my strokes. I just lack the muscle strength that resulted in my shoulder and everything else trying to compensate.

I have been running for 2 weeks now. Nothing serious, 5k maximum. Today after being frustrated with yesterday's lack of training I went for a run and what do you know after only 2km my knees started to feel the pain. At that point I had no idea whether I was imagining the burn because of something called a post recovery trauma, or the pain really happened. But I stopped anyways.

I went to the doctor, and this is really frustrating for me to write but the knee injury is present again and my left shoulder is also injured - tendonitis. The doctor was appalled since my knees were pretty solid the last time we had them checked. He came back to the same theory: my legs just aren't built for running. They're genetically displaced a little bit at the knees and too thin to support my upper body yada yada yada. The same theory goes to my shoulder - too thin, too weak to power through.

And strength training could bulk up my muscles a little bit but they could overpower my joints which will result in more bad joint injuries. Yahoo. "Basically," said my doctor, "you're built for the wrong sport." All these three sports requires the person to have the right muscular strength. Sure Kenyans breed lean runners BUT they don't have a pair of displaced knees. He said that if I was a competitive gymnast, or a professional dancer, I would have no such problems or injuries. My body is more likely to adapt to those sports. And, he added hesitantly, my future as a competitive 'triathlete' will have to end, if I want to be injury free until old age.

You know, at this point, I am somewhat relieved to be hearing those words. Don't get me wrong, the news is devastating but at the agony I went through last two weeks (I was unable to move my left arm if it weren't for the painkiller - arcoxia 120mg) plus the last 6 months of knee pain plus the frustration of missing out on running I am just damn fricking relieved to be given a way out of this mental torture.

Mental torture of unbearable knee pain, then missing running times, then boring recovery, then phobia of starting to run again, then the demotivation to gain my running mileage, and then the forever worrying of injury coming back.

right now, I do not know the way forward and where I stand. I might just give this whole issue a week's rest, take a chill pill. Join my dad gardening.

Energizer Night Race will be the first race I will be running in 2010. It will also be my last, for the time being. I plan to make it the best goddamn run ever. See you guys there and don't forget to say hello ok.

I end this post with one of my favorite quotes ever by Isak Dinesen:
“The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea

Friday, March 19, 2010

Time Flies When You Lose a Day

When I regard my life, it is divided into two: before obsession and after obsession. My running obsession (and all things heart pumping) started in 2009.

Before obsession, a week passes by slowly. Friday seems so far away when you've just woken up to Monday. Wednesday drags on soo slowly you swear the clocks melted. Finally Friday comes and you're like, yabedabeddu nuggets!

After obsession - a week speeds up like it has its pants on fire. For no apparent reason 24 hours in a day is not enough and 8 hours per day is too long to spend by just working. You could only squeeze in about 2-3 hours of training if you minus all the times spent in the traffic, in the train, eating, finding parking, bathing, etc. Work consumes you. If not work, your family consumes you. Life.

The next thing you know, it's Friday, and you have passed a whole week being on your feet but not causing a dent in your mileage book.

It's funny how time flies like a zipping mosquito when you're just too busy with everything else. I rely on the 2 hours given to me every day after work, and if those 2 hours somehow had to be used, my training's gone for the day. I could be obsessive by piling the lost workout to the next day but I do not have the time and also, I do not want to be obsessive. That is not the point. I am not an athlete although I like to use the word 'training' freely just to add some hype to myself (hehehe).

I guess I'm just surprised it's Friday already. I could be content with today being Wednesday just to be able to put in some running time but I try not to sweat on it (pun intended). The good thing is that the weekend's here and I always love weekends because I get to do so much during the morning and still have time for everything else afterwards. Flexibility is always an important aspect in fitness and in mind.

Anyway, I did run on a Tuesday. It was a 40 minutes run around the vicinity of my hotel area. Tesco Pasir Gudang is like a 15minutes walk from there and I decided to run towards Tesco so at least I could stop and shop if I wanted to. It was hot and extremely humid, just my kind of weather. the sun was shining too and I was a bit spurred up because of it. I probably ran for less than 5km but I enjoyed the whole new route. the people were also more outpsoken than what I am used to, which hampered my mood a little bit.

I did nothing much the rest of the week but I did eat a lot of food. Ok, I am heading to my 3 hour karate class! wooooo

Monday, March 15, 2010

Botched Week

I was all set to have a good running session mixed in with my karate training for this whole week and then my boss dropped the bomb - for me to be at Pasir Gudang until Friday for some pre-commissioning work. Where all my friends cheered and said they couldn't believe their luck (yard visits are a favorite when it comes to my department) I was secretly appalled. My karate classes -8 hours of them over 5 days - all shot to pieces. I was really hoping this week to get more intense after coming back from the comp.

 Thank God - and this is why running rules, (regardless that I seem to enjoy other sports a little bit now) - that you can do your running anywhere. All it takes are a pair of shoes and a sports bra (and tshirts and pants of course but for women you can't run without sports bra hehe) and off you go. This is my favorite part of running - to run in a different place with a completely different scenery. Usually when this happens tracking your mileage will never work unless you have a GPS. What I usually do is to run based on time. Which means I probably have to tote around my cellphone as well and run for maybe half an hour or so. I probably shouldn't go too far lest I forget the direction to go back to my hotel (Grand Dorsett).

 This reminds me of the time when I went to Cambodia and went for morning runs in Siem Reap. It was so cool, and I think chickens there run too cause they were fast and nipping my feet. Oh well, memories.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

How I Enjoy Running

Yesterday was my second run.
 It was a short one, just shy of 4km. I took the old route of my neighbourhood. What I like about running in my neighbourhood is the abundance of inclines of varying levels, always a good workout no matter how short your run is. I was careful about running downhill, taking my time to slow it to a light jog. Definitely no ego about slowing down there. I kept to my pace and sometimes surged during uphill runs - those are the best.
 After running with 'running aids' for so long I was soo grateful for being able to run without any at all. Pre-recovery, I would have to run with the patella stabilizer on both knees, with deep heat rubbed in and permeated through the pants, and the tub stuffed somewhere in my pockets. But yesterday it was just my running attire and me. It felt like I was a kid again, walking everywhere to my friend's house, the kedai runcit, the playground to play. It definitely did not feel like an exercise.
 I have made an important decision regarding my races. I want to stop being competitive. The top 2 goals for most people when they join races are:
 a) to finish, or
 b) to finish faster
Before this, when I first started, I was caught up with the need to be faster. It's only natural, everybody is competitive, especially when it is about a race. The need to become better has consumed the fun I wanted out of a run. I was never able to make training run fun. It was only fun if I managed to break my record, or completed my targetted mileage. Although it was hugely satisfying I can't remember doing this when I was in school. Competing with myself took a lot out of me.
 So, I am reverting back to why I join races in the first place - so I could just run regularly. My goal from now on would be to just finish the race, no matter what the time is. If I was injured and could not finish, then be it. If I got myself a medal, all the better. I would not pressure myself to run within the specified time, or go crazy over missed running days. I would not bother myself with thoughts of being underprepared or overprepared - I would just run the race, regardless. If I had to be sweeped off by the sweeper bus, I'd enjoy the ride. I want to feel happy and satisfied by just running in a race, not deflated because I missed my chance to make a PB.
 My inspiration for this would be my father. We have been running partners for years. When I was 17, we would wake up at the crack of dawn and run at the park, no goals no target nothing but just running. Then last year I started to run 'seriously' and he continued on his ways. My dad runs because he can, and he loves it, and well, it gives him something do to in the morning. If it was raining straight for 3 days and he couldn't run, he would not be in despair. He would tool and toil in the garden, working himself to a sweat. When he runs he has no idea where he is going, making up the route as he goes along. Only recently I noticed the change in him when I persuaded him to join for races. He became competitive and suddenly all his running did not have any 'quality'. He felt pressured to run faster and harder. He began to plan his run and would feel bad if he couldn't fit in a hill run, fearing lack of practice for the next one. He became me. One day he turned to me and said, "I am done in this racing business. Maybe I just want to run."
 So me and him would be doing the Energizer Night Race for 10km. And this time around it was way different than it was for Mizuno 10k and Malakoff 12k. This time we did not 'train', but we run instead. He has stopped being obsessive. He did not push himself, sometimes not running for days on end, working on his garden. Slowly, I saw him being himself again, enjoying running with his buddies, making the time to wait for other slow runners. He still runs at a faster pace than me though.
 There are a lot of things I wish. I wish I could run a marathon, or have the guts to compete with myself. But I was never an athlete. I am just someone who likes running. I enjoy running without a watch, or with it. I enjoy running towards the finishing line, or towards the direction of my house. I like it all, the pounding of the pavement, camarederie of other runners, or the silence of the sleeping houses.
This is how I want to enjoy my run, as you do yours, and I'm very sure all of us are happy with our choices :) May all of us, like Kash said, get a good running workout, whatever our goals are!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Running On Empty

Today I went for a run.

My verdict: hm... I don't know.

Here's what I do like: the sound of my feet slapping the ground, the luxurious feeling of ultimate stability and strength in both my knees and no pain at all. I also like the sun on my back and on the curve of my shoulders, warming them up like microwave ovens. I like the shadow that ran beside me as well, strong and black and in form, never wavering. 

 I like the fact that I can go anywhere without having to brake. Or do a flip turn.

 What I don't like: how tiring it was. I have lost the art of running, if there was an art to it at all. I think I only ran for 10 minutes, and I'm pretty sure the distance was less than 2km, nothing more, but I just felt tired. I was thinking about how it easy it was to hop on my bike and get a good workout, or jump into the pool and feel physically taxed.

 Returning to running for me is a bit like giving your first love a second chance. Over the period of separation, so many things have changed. You are not the same person you were, and so is the other partner. The bad thing about giving it another go, like in any recycled relationship, is expecting things or each other to remain the same. I thought, well, I didn't know what I thought. Maybe I thought we'd hit it off. That I'd just be striding with ease like the old days. I never expected to stop at minute 10, because I felt a twinge in my knees and I got so nervous that the injury is back.

 Worrying while working out doesn't, excuse the pun, work out.

But I do feel there's hope. Even if I went back, and squeezed in some good 2 hours of yoga. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

You Can Park Your Ego Next To Mine

You know what I realized in sports? Especially endurance sports. There's no place for your ego in it.

Naturally one assumes that because he/she is younger, they would be fitter. Or if a He is racing with a She, he would surely win.

That's not how it works here.

I have been on both ends. I have been the one who looks at a grandma stretching herself in the park and thought, how can you run wearing khaki pants, and THEN got smoked by her. I remember the first day I started again running in 2009. I trailed behind a grandma and I honestly thought I could/would pass her after a while cause she was, well, slow. But I had underestimated her endurance. She might be slow, but she was relentless. I gave up after 2 loops (only 2km back then!) and she went on. I drove home in complete shame.

Also, there have been instances where I would be passing some guys running and they would do a double take and then surge ahead of me, only to lose steam after a while.

Egos. We all have it. It's the one that tips the competitiveness in all of us, the final motivating 'boost'. But we have to learn how to use it sparingly.

I have just got back from my karate tournament. And would you believe it my rival for the whole 3 day was this little (but beefy) 12 year old girl who does Sudoku while waiting for her turn. The first time we sparred, I was nervous about breaking her back. She nearly broke mine with a swift kick. At the end, I had to bow down to the fact that it's not all about the basic factors - age, gender, etc - but it's all about experience and training. She has been doing it for years. I have recently started again. I might be able to lift her up and render her helpless, but you can't do that in karate, and she was as fast as Speedy Gonzales. At one point after one swift kick and another swift kick where I fell on my ass, I nearly yelled out, "Oh come on! Give me a break!"

It's the same thing in running, swimming, cycling. I have seen a woman smoking guys cycling up an incline, and I have seen grandmas finishing the marathon strong, trailing behind her shuffling men. You can't explain it, the deviations from the norm, you only need to respect it. A cyclist once told me about a time when Patsy Yap the Ironman finisher who is in her 60s burned him riding uphill. He is a strong cyclist and definitely not in his 60's. And yet he was left choking on her dust and smoke.

 One good example I would like to share is the swim session that I joined with Kash and the rest. From a logical point of view it seemed like I had the advantage - I was the youngest, unmarried and saddling no kids (this relates to all the time I have and the lack of commitment) or (so-called) old age. I thought what I lacked in experience might be compensated with youth. Yeah right, youth, my clunky ass. For all the session I was either left trailing behind, passed so many times I could not (or would not) count, and overtaken like I was a water buffalo and they were submarines. I was literally breathing in the bubbles they left in their wake. It is a good thing that I know where to put my ego because if I didn't I would have stopped and considered taking up synchronized swimming. 

  Another one is my cycling buddy, Aini. Once, after a ride where she was taken aback by her unexpected fatigue, she told me sheepishly that she had underestimated the distance of the ride. But I told her that she has trumped me way ahead in terms of strength, no matter how easy this ride was to me compared to her. I am a single 26 year old lady who is pretty active She is a mother who is still nursing, and just came back into the cycling scene. She is still waaay ahead of me, whether she realizes it or not. And I am very awed by her. 

 So this is what it is about sports. True, physical strength takes up the popularity when you discuss about greatness, but most of the time it's all inside. In my short foray into these all three endurance sports, I have met with many fast swimmer/runner/cyclist that doesn't quite fit the requirements of a typical fast/strong Olympian. Yet they still smoke me, and the rest of the young runners, like kacang goreng, and I am very ok with the fact.

 I have no ego in this sport; there is no place for that in myself. I love the idea with no ego there is more room to improve and to get better. And that is how it should be. Just you and your will to get better.

Show me a guy whos afraid to look bad, and I'll show you a guy you can beat every time. 
-Lou Brock 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Everything But The Girl

I know I have not been dilligent in writing here, which is sort of ridiculous because I created this for the whole purpose of having a space to just vent, rant or purge about my workouts.
But I have been doing stuff, just like the rest of us runners, cyclists, ultra-marathoners, swimmers, yogis, sports lovin freak. Somehow, in between the time sapping 8 hours of work and what little time you have for workouts I have no time to actually settle and write and update.
Do any of you have a workout log? I mean, other than a blog, which is much more lengthy and personal. I do, and I am a sucker for workout logs. I remember I got a cool one for my 17th birthday when I was running for school and in the field hockey team. It had a large daily workout planner, weekly planner and finally monthly planner. I just love training schedules. I have no idea why training schedules are such a motivation for me. I could be stuck in a really boring meeting and having the time flying past me by just planning my training schedules. At my workdesk I have 12 printed sheet of the months in 2010, with large empty Day boxes so I could fill in my workouts. And then I have a workout folder (analogue, hard copy folder) on my desk where I put all my race registration forms, receipts and everything. Most of them were cutouts or ripped out pages from magazines or papers on anything about sports and fitness. Looking at them during my blah days gives me that surge or boost to work out. I mean, we all have those moments where we feel blah. All I need to do is to flip through my folder and get inspired. I wished I didn't lose this Workout Book I had when I was in high school. It was THICK and it had a picture of Gabby Reece (US Female Beach/Volleyball Super Athlete) pumping hard. Inside it were chockfuls of tips and quizzes and menus and workout plans and exercises and what have yous. I was really obsessed in high school. I woke up to repetitions and sets and went to bed with them. I think I did a lot more of resistance exercises than I do now.
The most interesting part is, I was not really a hardcore school athlete. I was only in my cross country team because a large part of the team were either from field hockey or football. Even so I usually opted out from competition. To be honest, I hated the stress of competition. For me it takes away the fun out of doing the sports. Some coaches take high school sports seriously, and I remember a couple of times where I had a hard time sleeping before a running event or a hockey tournament. I would be in jitters during the bus ride to an away game, won't talk to anyone while getting prepared, and only would loosen up after a game or a race was done. I was once chewed out by my coach for ten minutes for my 'funny mood'. I didn't realize that he was pissed and nothing he said got to me because even then I was just nervous and freaked out.  
I was definitely not a competitive athlete then.
And now... I have no idea.
Two nights ago I went on a cycling ride with a bunch of uncles. It was a hot night, humid like the heat trapped in a woman's skirt. My first time riding in the dark, I was estatic, nervous, and worried that I'd be dropped like a fly. I am too lazy to go into the details of what happened, but I was dropped going uphill, as usual, and my thighs burned and I was panting like a rabid dog. Everything that I expected to happen, happened. But it was a beautiful night ride, and I would like to remember everything about that night. It rained in the middle of it, big, fat, droplets that got into your eyes and made a wonderful tok tok tok sound on your helmet. We passed some dark back alley of a neighborhood with absolutely no source of lighting except the kaleisdoscope of our tail lights and illuminated wristbands. It was a scary setting and I wanted to be scared and waited to be spooked just for the fun of it but I was just cruising. We cycled in a unit, our huffing and puffing linking us, the whiz and burr of our wheels providing the soundtrack for the night. I remember looking up at the sky and seeing the moon so big and round and I was like... Oh my god, that's beautiful.
And then it came.
I miss running, I thought.
I miss everything there is about having that high. I have felt it when I swim, wonderful pacing with nothing but my heartbeat thumping in my ear. I finally felt it when I cycled, that feeling like you're flying on top of everyone and everything in slow motion. But I felt it the most in my running, not often, definitely not all the time, but there would be times when running just gives you that high. And I miss it.
I miss it like the desert miss the rain (chewaaaaahhh).
Day 4 since the Day of Clearance. I have no idea why I am not running yet. I am nervous it's really not funny.