Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Addiction or Lifestyle?

Today I came across an interesting question: which came first - the addict or the drug? The author states that essentially drugs, if left alone, are just either a normal plant or a chemical mixture. It's the addiction that completes the relationship, therefore addiction is the one who started the dangerous journey. It comes complete with the withdrawal syndroms/symptoms, you crave it in a way you can't describe and it literally takes over your life.

My sports have sort of become an addiction, and I can't really tell if it's the healthy kind or the bad kind. I feel the withdrawal blues if I left it for more than a day, I think about it every other hour, sometimes with great attention, and it consumes my very existence. My life is utterly dependent on it and there have been possibilities where I totally wished I was ignorant to this aspect of life. How totally blissful if I could not care less about a low mileage week, or anything else that surrounds this cult concept. I consider myself to be a level-headed, feet on the ground kind of person but lately my priorities have been horribly warped. But for the most part, 90% of it, I am totally happy with it. I just acknowledge the fact that I need to find a good balance...

1) Shoes
Been wearing the same pair of shoes to work. It's purple flats and getting really worn down. I know I should at least get another pair so that I can alternate, but really, spending RM 49.99 for a pair of shoes (that I only wear on the way to work anyway!) seems a little bit too much. Shoes are expensive - this purple flats I bought for RM 19.99.
But I did not balk when registering for races that costs me RM 40-60. Each.

2) Car
I drive a 15 year-old car named George (husband). He's old, a little bit cranky, and lately, has gotten to be a bit senile. Won't open the car window, lights up only in one eye, radio suddenly doesn't work, etc. He also has cancer on the left side of his body, and I have to tape his left eye up lest the lightbulb comes out. He needs to be aligned, balanced, etc. My replies to dear dad when he pesters me to check up George, "No Money, no Time."
But I could afford gadgets that please my wheeled boyfriend (Thunder), am considering to get me Garmin GPS watch, compression pants, etc, and I have all the time in the world to run run run.

3) Work
I won't compromise sports for my work, but I would - and did - compromise work for my sports. BAD. But it's the truth. Have you all taken a day of leave just to get in some plentiful of cardio? I have. Many times. Yep. Despised waking up at 530 am for work, but easily 530am for a freaking heart pumping activity... on the weekends. My first thought when boss asked me to go to Norway AND Belgium for work in July - "But... Siemens run!"

4) Property
Same thing like my car/shoes, etc. Am a proud owner of a one-bedroom unit and despite tons of work needs to be done with it (grille, lighting, fridge, streamyx... eh Unify) I'm thinking of using the money for something else, like a pair of running shoes or something carbon.

5) Life

a. Registered with dad for SCKLM, decided not to run and wanted to do something else instead in order to get that cardio fix, managed to convince my dad to drive there by HIMSELF, park the car and go back home by himself until my mom said, "You registered together and now you want orang tua ni pergi sendiri???? Just so you can EKSERSAIZ?" Hell hath no fury for a woman whose husband is (so-called) scorned.

b. For the past 2 years, I was a part of a 2 man business team. We did graphic and design for just about anything, covering wedding cards, murals, tshirts, depending on the demographic of our clients (corporate, kids, universities, normal couples, etc) Last year, I remember being TOTALLY WIRED for Urbanscapes. It is the largest art/design festival in Malaysia, and we had a booth selling our canvas arts and printed t-shirts. We stayed up all night silkscreening, stencilling, painting, doing the accounts for the big day. It was a success, and we garnered quite an attention.
This year, Urbanscapes was held on the same weekend as SCKLM. I was totally clueless, only finding out about it when my partner told me he wanted to buy my part of the share because of my 'inabillity to commit.' Sometimes I miss those days of inhaling paint fumes and talking about lines, shapes, pantone colors and JPEG.

c. Friends have totally considered me out of their lives. And the sad thing is that I was too busy working out to even CARE. haha. Today though, I'm making a difference. Bailed out on another fantastic cardio (sighssssss.... what a TOTAL LOSS) to have a farewell dinner of my best friend (yeah right he probably doesn't know I exist anymore) and his wife+kid before they left for Australia.

The only ones who are not complaining are my cat and boyfriend. But that's because both of them are equally independent, self-sufficient, and lead equally busy and fulfilled lives.

So, am I addicted or is this just my lifestyle?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Good Weekend

No idea why my dad thinks he's Incredible Hulk

I've had a great weekend - great week in fact. This is the first week that I did all my workouts without any form of measurements. No time, no distance, no speed. The only thing that I used was my overall mood and perceived effort. As long as I feel good, and that my body feels thoroughly worked on, then I guess I'm alright. Beginner's luck.

Here's why I like to feel like a beginner, every single time. Last Saturday I met up a different group of people for a nice day out in the sun. When we started, it was obvious to me that this group takes it EASY. And that 90% of them are not weekend warriors, at least, not a group of people who want to smash PBs and get better. There was no challenge. They probably think I'm THE athlete of the year.

I like joining a group where I'm the underdog - the beginner/amateur. It makes me want to push myself better, push myself harder. Not because I have a specific goal to achieve (shave 1 minute off my current time), but because it is FUN and because I want to. It's like high school all over again. Easy, no-frills competition. The kind that I like. The group that I am used to is fast, technically superior, and competitive without being demeaning. It's exactly the kind of push I need and the kind that suits me. I like being the last one to arrive because it means I have so many people to beat, so many chances to get better, and that keeps me going, keeps making it fun. I believe this is the core and the essence of exercising and working out. It should always be able to uplift you and make you feel like you can be better because you are better.

Sunday, accompanied my dad for his run with my sister. Initially I didn't feel like going because I didn't think I could stand being at the race area not running, especially if I saw my friends all geared up, but I woke up with a feeling of peace. I know who I am, and I know what I could do. I'm just sitting this one race out, that is all. My dad, being my dad, was all excited. I bought him a new pair of shoes, which he insisted to be the same pair he had before, and I gave him a dri-fit tshirt and my SPI belt, just to make him feel more macho.

The few awesome things I saw during the event:

1) A man's bleeding nipples. His race vest had a horrible red running gash from both his nipples. It LOOKS fricking painful but I didn't think he realizes it.
2) Runner up for women's 10k was a pretty woman with full makeup on. You can say whatever you want to her eyelined eyes and blushed out cheeks, but she got the prize money and the right to boast.
3) Little Hannah, the sweet young girl I saw on Kash's blog on the OSIM event. She took part in the 5k run (not the 3k kids run) and did it pretty well! I'm so proud of her. I shouted her name and her parents were like, "Who is this lady?"
4) Awesome pair of legs on some of the runners. Yay for bulging quads and calves!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Invisible PBs

I've been walking almost daily just to keep my legs in shape. Walking uses way different muscles than running and the all too familliar soreness in the not-so-familliar places feel great. Walking is a fun exercise that you can do socially, which is great because I could do it with my mom, or sister, or my cat. Plus it's a warm up to when my legs feel good enough to start running again.

Bumped into an old uncle I used to see regularly when I was running at the lake at 17. Somehow I've always known that I will want to follow his footsteps. He has been running for 50 years, he told me proudly. He is 65 years old now. The last race he ran was in high school. This man was fast when I saw him at the lake. I always enjoyed watching him warming up and doing intervals. Not an ounce of fat could be found on his body and this is a man with many grandkids and a wife that likes to cook. He probably has never heard of chrondomalacia patella either. Sighs. I told him he should try to run in local races but he's just not interested. Running is just something he does, like gardening. "You don't see me trying to get into a gardening contest now do you?"

One day, that will be me. Joining the ranks of other uncles and my dad, running in our own invisible race, wearing countless of invisible bibs, scoring uncountable PBs and PWs. No money wasted, yet fulfilled to the core. But for the time being, let my neck grow heavy with the medals (kalau dapat la hehe), and my closet full of running vests. You know you can't resist the goodies. I wear the running vests for my karate/kickboxing class. And mostly to sleep :)

Wednesday: Worked my legs and arms so much that I feel like I'm carrying metal weights in my body right now. During the class while doing the stances and postures, my thighs were trembling. What is this? I thought my legs are in good shape but apparently not, blown to smithereens by a simple basic balancing pose. The mental focus needed in this class is probably the best challenge ever. If I could hold on to this tremendous torture, I could probably hold on to the grueling pain in a long distance anything.

Thursday: Simply awesome. I am in love. Will work hard to maintain this feeling of being a beginner, even after years of doing it. In the midst of exerting myself to the point of no return, I thought about how lucky I am to be able to do the things I want to do. My cousin, at 23 years old, is on his deathbed. He told me yesterday of all the things, he suddenly choked up about the fact that he'd miss getting diarrhea during Eid. Also complaining about the heat. Little, unimportant things. And there I was, feeling so alive and heady and happy, my heart beating, every fiber in my muscles working. Gratefulness is the way to go. I would be doing this for him from now on.

SCKLM is this Sunday. I wish EVERYONE my most heartiest luck. You guys are awesome in your own special way. I say that because I'm still single, with only friends and work to manage, and I still have a hard time juggling my sports and everything else. Kudos to all you running parents, especially mommies out there. Also for Yim, Kak June, Syed, Ziff, etc who would be doing their first marathon (betulkan?) - remember if I could do it (10k of LSD!!!) then most definitely you guys could too. Just take care of them knees!

If you guys see an aging uncle with a white mustache, say hello to him!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Some kind of personal

I've been doing sports for a long time to know that cotton anything is bad and we all should go and Dri-Fit ourselves. But I hate Dri-Fit. My running tshirts of choice would always be cotton. I know they get sticky, and super wet you could wring it to fill a cup, but I could never replace cotton with Dri-Fit. Dri-Fit tshirts always emanate the sour glue-y smell that never goes away. Plus I hate that it's slippery on the skin. I am way too used with the sticky cotton thing.

I remember being a university student and browsing through the sports shops looking at the arrays of technical garments. These shops know how to advertise; I felt like I needed everything they have in the shop. But alas, the only thing I could part my money with is just a pair of socks, and my biggest splurge ever when I was a student was a super snug Nike Dri-Fit running tights that I still wear only on special occasion, the last one being a 4 hour run with the running senior in uni. The running tights is long, grey in color, exactly like the compression tights you see these days. I had planned to wear it for the Kl Marathon, but looks like it's going to sit this one out.

This week is off to a slow, or rather haphazard start. I always know more or less what I would be doing every night, and hardly ever stray from my pre-programmed cardio of choice. But yesterday night I bailed out and decided to stay in instead, to lose myself in a book. Telling myself that it's ok to just have a day off is easy, it's convincing the rigid and rabid sports ghoul in me that it's ok that is hard. I hate to wake up the next morning feeling guilty over a missed workout. Which is what happened more or less this morning, but I pushed it away, rationalizing myself that I NEEDED the break:

a) My cousin was admitted to Ampang Puteri yesterday after a confirmed relapse. He has been battling leukemia since he was 14, and he is now 23. We've been scared too many times with this relapse game, only this time it is real, and definitely ugly. Yesterday, I saw the person I grew up with, gave up on everything. He refused to do chemo (it won't help him anyway), and asked his brother to deactivate his Facebook account, let his chickens go, sell off his car, and quit his first - and new - job (he has been in his office only 3 days before getting the news). We're hoping that this passing time would be easier on him, eventhough it won't be for us. All I could remember was the time when him and me went to Bali together, and it was such a fireball of fun.

b) Work. Ever since I'm transferred to a project, life is certainly different. Working hours are funny, and I don't really have a spare time to, well, spare. But I LOVE what I'm doing, and it feels like in school except I get paid for it.

c) Knees. Resting them this time feels a lot easier on the mind than previously. I'm definitely not going to fall into the trap of rushing into the running scene and hammering it even with injuries. It's not worth it. I could always pick up running back. I will never lose the 'mojo' for it.

Wednesday today! My favorite day, cardio wise. Ooooooh can't wait until 5pm.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It's OK

Yes I'm indecisive, but this time around I think I'm pretty sure about it.

I'm pulling out of the SCKLM. I might be there just to accompany my dad in case my cousins aren't running, but I'd prefer if I do my own thing instead of being by the sideline :) (or maybe be Kash's sergeant of arms for her kedai runcit... after all, I worked as a sales assistant during uni for years!)

Sunday I was up and ready to go for a nice long run to just give some juice back into my dormant running legs. I went out for a warm-up run and only in the third km I felt a slight pinch.

I continued my run again with the company of a good running friend. The conversation was good, the weather was blisfully humid (we started at 840 am) and my mind and heart were psyched. I was ready to run longer, albeit slower. Things were looking up, and my body was warm enough to the point where I nearly started to hum. The only problem was my knees were complaining of being overworked and they did not like it one bit.

They made a point to tell me about their unsatisfaction every single pounding step. But the run was getting good, we were just warmed up and in my heart I could go on and on and on with this. This used to be my walk in the park.

But I'm not stupid, and I refuse to be foolish for the second time around. I cannot run anymore, well not at that time. I can't - and won't - let me ego of running yet another marathon or a much talked about race hinder the progress of my recovering knees. I still have other events to run in, and I'm not going to spoil it by forcing my knees into submission, to which they simply won't.

This is the tiring part of running, the part where I almost always go back and forth between throwing the towel, or exclaiming, "I love running!" I'm tired of juggling between want and can't. It's highly demotivating and such a downer to keep on worrying about nagging injuries.

But it's not the end of the world.

I had a great Saturday, and for that I am grateful. It wasn't as good as last last Saturday, to which I would put up as the benchmark for the best workout performance ever. I have come to totally cherish who I am turning to instead of just being resistant to change. There is a different possibility in my athletic capability, in my future athletic journey, and to be honest I am more than fine to accept it.

Let's have a perfect week ladies and gentlemen.

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain."Maya Angelou

Thursday, June 17, 2010

One Comment Too Many

Yesterday was a workot session of mixed feelings. I always love getting my heart pumped up, and that's the only good part of the workout yesterday. Well, I know it's a skill/form honing session, but really, do I have to be commented on every single second? Am I that bad, that horrible? Have I been doing it horribly wrongly the past years?

It was really hard to keep me optimism in check yesterday. Worse of all is when too many people tell me contradicting stuff - I'm going too fast, so I slow down then the next guy says, hey, you're not even pushing it, don't be so relaxed! - and I ended up completing the whole thing totally self-concious about how I do it. Isn't the point of working out is to enjoy? I do want to improve but really, give me a break! One thing at a time please, not asking me to simultaneously work on my arms, leg and head while I suffer from a nervous breakdown in the midst of training.

Oh well... it's called a training for a reason, right? Serves me right for 'wanting to get better'. But do I need more than 3 people telling me what to do? And all different comments.

In the shower afterwards I took my time to keep myself in check. Comments are good, and I should welcome all tips as a positive, not a mental downer. They're just trying to help, is all. But really, I don't understand it when other people have 'urges' to give out comments or tips. I never gave out any because I'm certainly no expert in running, etc.

For example, running in mid-sole vs heel strike. Different people runs differently, that is all. I've met runners who've been using heel strikes their whole life and seem to be just fine. Just because I can't use heel striking, and that mid-sole running is much more encouraged, doesn't mean EVERYBODY has to do it. I understand that, why can't some people?

There's this one guy who just gotten serious with running. We were talking about my five fingers when I told him that I'm wearing it to correct my running stance and he turned to another friend of mine who's really, just a social runner and said, "Did you hear that... heel striking is BAD. Igt, front landing ok?" I was just thinking, dude, really, how do YOU know it's bad? I love the fact that you love running and make the effort to read and learn as much about the sport as possible, but really, who's to say that she should DEFINITELY run with a front landing? I certainly don't preach to people about converting to mid-sole running or whatever.

My motto is - if it ain't broken, don't fix it. Easy. Whatever works for you right? We're all running for ourselves here, and unless you keep getting injuries, you should just stick to your style regardless of what people tell you too. Unless you want to be faster, and if by changing forms could help you with it, by all means, go ahead! You need to train following your goals and tweak according to them, whatever they might be (to finish fast, or to just complete the race, etc).

Anyway, I have nothing against receiving feedbacks and comments, in fact, I appreciate them. I guess last night was one comment too many (from various people) which lead me to feel mentally down, and plus, it was that time of the month for me, so you know, bring on the emotional messss. :)

Happy Weekends everybody! My cardio menu seem quite full for it. Yay!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Running, not Racing

I'm in the midst of convincing my older sister to take up running. I think it seems to be working. Of course, it is easier to convince someone who's been in this family long enough. Ever since I got bitten by the 'running events' bug, I have converted my dad, my male cousin and then his sister, who is my closest cousin. (My bestfriend is running with me at a later race in the year too.) My sister probably have seen it all. She's seen me in running gears ever since we were kids. I think she was the one who gave me my 'Running Log for Dummies' when I was 13... awww I still remember that.

If I remember correctly, she was the one who told me that one of her goals for 2005 was to participate in a running event, just for fun. And I was estatic since I've been running anyway, but when she went to the registration kiosk it was surrounded by old Indian uncles looking hardcore and she felt intimidated and left without signing up. There went her chance, and apparently, mine.

This time though, I've vowed to make this a simple and enjoyable experience for her. I started by telling her about races I deem as beginner friendly and easy (trans: loads of other newbie runners as well, friendly atmosphere, nice goodie bags, etc). We settled on a few easy 5k 'fun run' distance. On some of the races she signed up for, I told her I'm going to run - no, walk+run - with her. For a start, I'm sponsoring her first running shoe. My goal is for her to think of running as a healthy lifestyle, not a requisite to lose weight.

Helping her to learn to love running makes me think about my own relationship with running. It's funny since my running has been pretty inconsistent lately, in fact it is borderline non-existent, and I'm telling her about the benefits or running, the best routes to run, how to fight the laziness, etc. And then it comes again to me, what I'll always know: I love running.

Yep, I really do, but it's not like what you think. I love running running, not just racing, or competing, or running events. To be honest the past one year my perspective of running has been warped a little bit. It has gotten too technical, at least, to me. All these do's and don'ts, the rigid schedules, the pressure to get PBs. Don't get me wrong, I agree with all of these and acknowledge the benefits of running with a sound knowledge. One should never crash into running only to burn out at the end.

I was having a conversation with a friend today and for no apparent reason I blurted out that I'm a bit nervous about the upcoming race. I told him that I think I'm way underprepared and I'm starting to get a tingling of nervousness settling around my tummy. Then he put me straight. He said, "Well, you've never really cared about competing before, why worry now?" And I went, EXACTLY. I've never really cared about racing, I only wanted to run. I could do it with or without the bib. I've never really ran a race (or any sporting event) where I have trained at least 40% before and I always, somewhat managed to hang through it. There were instances I had to drop out or didn't manage to finish it (karate being one) but mostly I just completed the races with really bad timing, or mostly one of the last runners (track team in high school! I remember those days of beating the last runner!!)

I guess it's just the way I am. It's not that I'm not competitive, I'm just not into competitions. I realize that I'm way more relaxed when I'm totally unprepared than when I have trained for one race. Because I never had goals in my sport. My goal was always to enjoy it as much as I could in the midst of all the suffering, and if possible, take the race home. If I completed it faster, way to go, if I got slower and slower, serves me right. Yes, sometimes in the middle of running I always wish I had more time to train, or those "If ONLY I did more..." moments, and most definitely I'd try to beat the person in front of me, and then the next and then the next, but I do it without the pressure of having to perform. I'm not an athlete - I'm just someone in love with working out.

I will always be a beginner runner, an amateur.

I do not know what to expect for this race. Most probably I'll end up dumping it halfway and cheering for my friends. At the same time, I'll probably be having a hard time fighting with my own self on trying to just push through until the end. The perks of having split personalities.

But one thing I know, the celebration of this race would be mine, all mine to keep. Other than the readers of this blog, no one knows the fact that I'll be running this distance. I think I might have mentioned it to my boyfriend, and maybe my dad, but the both of them, and my family as well, couldn't be bothered with my race addiction. None of my friends (except my bestfriend) have the slightest idea of the races I've done, be it on wheels, in the water, with an opponent, or just on my two legs. They know I run, and that I'm crazy with sports, but the glory, pride and euphoria of doing all of these crazy activities has always been known only to me. And that's just the way I like it.

All that being said - I miss running! My favorite running blogger has started writing again after a LONG hiatus which left me deprived of her minute-by-minute detail of her running escapades. Her first entry after 7 weeks was about starting over, and I could just feel my legs moving under my desk.

On a different note at work: It's not yet official but it's in the bag (more or less, I hope): I got in the Turkmenistan project! I'm going to be busy busy busy busy busy but all the more reason to work out work out work out! No excuses, only sore loserrrsss.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Ohmigod. Yesterday's class was SOLID. It was tough and challenging and just plain HARD. I am mad at myself for not being able to keep up to some of the routines. I cannot believe that after years of doing this I am still struggling with some of the workouts.

I love martial arts. Actually, if I wasn't so focused on endurance sports, karate and kickboxing would have been it for me. It gives me such a rush! And to be able to let it rip at the end of the class... aaah pure bliss.

I used to be a real karate/kickboxing junkie. I took up kickboxing when I first started working just because I had all the extra energy that needed to be released. It's not as poetic as karate, but it was just fun. It was all about kicking and punching combos and believe it or not some of them would tire you out you'd scream for your mother. It's funny because I was good with kicking in karate but in kickboxing I prefer the boxing part.

Kickboxing especially works when you're having a bad day - especially if you're having a bad day. The whole stress just melts out when you pound and pound the bag. We usually do about 7 sets of punching combos and in between would have to do endless amounts of crunches and situps. And you have to do it fast and while boxing you have to sort of shuffle with your feet. Guys love the boxing part more than the kicking. You would see them channeling all of their energy just to pummel the bag while dancing around. It's a great rush. I also love it when I get to do the kicking when the instructor's the one holding the pad. I get to give it my all and not worry about having my partner toppling over (girls are significantly weaker than guys and usually when we do kicking you would see girls either toppling or shifting to the sides due to the repeated kicking)

Why I like karate so much is because it's an art form. Martial arts, especially one that goes back to the olden days, always have with them their own ritual and school of thought. Karate, in all its viciousness, is a relaxing form of martial art. Unlike kickboxing where you just let it rip, karate has procedures and stages and they have to be done with utmost respect and discpline. My type of karate is called shito ryu, which is different form the wildly practiced shotokan in malaysia. It's a faster, speedier version than the hard and stocky shotokan. Also because most of the dachi (stance) used in Shito Ryu is the Cat Stance (nekoashi dachi), which I find totally neat and not because I'm a cat lover. Shito ryu also focuses on leg strength. There would be days where we would just spend an hour doing various versions of front squats! I remember a time when we had to squat for full 5 minutes. Of course we cheated. Also it's a version that considers kumite (sparring) as essential. I don't really like this part. I always get nervous when I have to spar. I always lose out because I'm just not fast enough.

It's like 10 days or so to the SCKLM. I haven't been running at all since Sundown. I signed up for a 42k but I think I'm going to give it a go and run as long as I could until I feel like it's enough. I don't mind not finishing it as long as I could run with friends. My dad would be doing a 10k there as well. It's high time for him to get a new pair of shoes. Any suggestions? I'm thinking of getting him a nicer better pair but I need suggestions as I've only been using Reeboks and one sole New Balance in my life. What's a good sturdy pair of running shoes for 58 year old uncle who only runs mostly 10k? He's like me, a moderate supinator.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Awesome Saturday

It's true what they say: MIND over matter.

It's funny how something so abstract has so much power over one's own physical self. And I like it when it has the power to change everything in split seconds.

I woke up Saturday in a funk. I didn't feel good, I think my performance is slowly declining instead of progressing forward, I didn't see apoint of me doing this, I think I'm just going to bail out on most of the events I signed up, I have lost the joy of doing these sports in the first place, etc. Those were the thoughts going through my mind as I prepared (halfheartedly) my stuff for my Saturday cardio. Oh well, I told myself, just go through today and then it'll be over.

The first part, I was still sort of struggling. My knees hurt, I was panting - what? I never panted before - maybe I am sick and I just didn't know it. It took me a while to get up to speed to the ones in front of me. I focused instead on having a good time and concentrating on the views of the road... as if I've never been on this route 59493 times before. I considered chucking out the watch. I don't need a digital unit telling me how much I sucked!

But then at the first stop I sort of realized that I am one of the first to arrive. Hey... that's not so bad. I thought I was the last. I felt like the last one in. Then we started again. This time I stuck to A, a girl whose speed is strong enough to give me a good challenging workout in order to keep up. Suddenly I felt good. I am good. Dude, I could do this again and again and not flinch. Automatically I went harder, faster, and I started to hum and whistle. I always hum and whistle when I feel myself slowly rising up from the dark funk that is NEGATIVITY.

I began attacking. All those people in front of me. I gave their backs an imaginary round red target holes. And slowly, but surely, I caught up. Not just catching up, but gaining speed, overtaking, and losing them in my trail. Well, only the normal ones, like me. The fast, inhuman ones are still ahead, creating a burning path in front of me. I managed to follow them for a while but lost steam when they still charged on, a murderous trampling group. But I was glad I got to be close enough not to choke on their dust but to jointly generate it with them. Even if it's just for a while.

At the last junction, when I finally caught up with them, I was panting, and they were normally stretching their legs. Soon, I told myself. One day, I would be BLAZING. Just like they are.

At the end of the ordeal, a friend asked me, "So nadia, how do you feel now?" Earlier he wanted to know if I was game enough to join them for a nightmare and still feeling like I suck worse than an out of shape 90 year old man, I told him, "I'll let you know at the end of this thing how I feel." But 2 hours after, feeling the euphoric high burning all inside me that I yearn for a toilet dash, I told him, "You know what? I WOULD LOVE TO."

Mind over matter. It really does matter.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Friday Ramblings

I guess everybody has their own reasons for being sedentary.

I used to hate time-offs. In school and all throughout university, a pause in my work out regime throws me off the loop so much. Maybe because I didn't really have a goal to train for before, therefore it was always harder to start again what you have stopped. I realized that it's easier for me now to let go of a day - or days - of training if I was feeling tired, sluggish, or even lazy. Unlike in my student days, exercising was not just something additional in my life that I could take out like a block - it has become a lifestyle. And with that mindset change, I am less severe with my workouts, knowing that I'll get back at it in a few days' time.

A lot of girls complain about their ugly tan lines but I love mine so much that I feel sad when I see them slowly fading. For me, tan lines are a visual proof of how many hours I put into the sports I enjoy so much, a unique sort of body markings that only mutual weekend warriors share. Sports have truly strengthened my identity and foothold in this world. It is one area where I am truly proud and confident in. I might not be the speediest swimmer, the strongest cyclist, the fastest runner, the toughest karate opponent, or the most flexible yogi, but I am relentless and continuous, like the sine wave. I like the fact that I could hold on holding on even through the worst moments. I like the moments of self-doubts that I faced, the periods where I would go back and forth between "Maybe I should stop," and "No maybe I should continue." And to come out of it in the end, scathed, tired, injured sometimes, but beaming inside. And the best of it all when I celebrated my own victory to myself, feeling the burn of pride and joy inside me like a bad gastric attack. There's nothing more wonderful than that.

I am feeling a little bit under the weather. Agaiiiin, I heard you say. Yeah I am tired of feeling sick too, but the body (or antibody) wants to do what it wants to do. I think it might also be because of the hard workout session I did last night. It was a comeback sort of cardio, and it was nice to forget about goals, race, time or form. I was glad to be doing it with the company of people whom I have considered great friends.

Weekend is here! I love the weekends. I have sort of a good cardio cocktail for this week but with my fever I'm not too sure. I guess a lot of us here are hitting more and more mileage for the upcoming KL Marathon. I really need to do a proper LSD one of these days. All of my long distance offical runs were always done without proper training and preparation, which always results in poor performance if I was inclined to keep score. But I enjoyed every single one the haphazard race I did, so that's what matters!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I think I went overboard last week by jumping straight into my fitness routine as if last Saturday all I did was an hour of exercise.

By Saturday I was a burnout. and this, with Friday off.

I spent Thursday night spending 2 hours working out a sweat with a punishing (and self demoralizing) workout. I hate it when it's a form/skill honing day. You go back and forth from criticizing yourself when your form flails to patting yourself on the back for a good job well done. The guys I work out with stopped their own workouts to concentrate on mine instead. In the end I came home with a very sore body and had a really nice icing session. Ice works wonders! I wonder why it took me a long time to do the whole body icing party.

Friday was supposed to join the uncles but it was raining and to be honest I muttered a loud 'Thank You God' with relief as I dove back into bed. I decided to do nothing since I would need all the energy for my weekend.

Saturday was a nice weather day for being outdoors. It was raining and I love the rain. It was a small group and I think I enjoyed it but I couldn't get rid of this nagging tiredness that's just at the back of my head... or rather on my back, literally. I felt sluggish and slow, and I didn't have it in my heart to push all out. I wondered whether it was because of my water intake, or lack of fuel, or the route itself, or whether I was sleepy, but then it just dawned on me that maybe I was just tired. I didn't really let myself recover after last weekend and come Saturday the fatigue has settled nicely on my body.

Sunday I spent the whole day just sleeping and reading a book with my cat at my side. And I mean it, I slept through the day, waking up intemittently for neccessary things. Plus the top of my ankle still hurts and I think my knees are cranky. I think I'm going to let off the next 2 weeks and do something else. My office department started their routine badminton tournament again and this time I'm going to insist on the singles and kill the other female shuttlers! I never liked playing doubles and the last time I did it was hell. I'm such an Alpha female it doesn't work in a team.

Time to work on my netplay, smashes, and my numero uno favorite - the DROP SHOTS. Betul.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Week So Far

Been feeling quite good lately. Can't wait for this week to be a 'perfect' week.

Monday: my calves hurt to the point of no return. The top of my right foot swelled up and turned red and was such a pain to put weight on that I was worried I might have sprained or -worse - fractured it. But I managed to walk around, albeit slowly and even went to the movies! Haha. I did a crude version of an ice bath twice and that really helped.

Tuesday: Did a small recovery workout. It was very fun, lighthearted, with no specific skills, drills or anything goal-oriented in mind. But ego got the best of me when I saw a couple hard working 'weekend warriors' doing their training and well, what the heck, a few sprints with proper forms couldn't hurt. I haven't skated up those killer inclines for ages. I welcome the burning thighs. Why am I easily out of breath lately? This is frustrating. By this time my feet and legs were ok, just the swelling on top of the right foot.

Wednesday: My favorite day - a quick karate class plus some stretching/strengthening. Karate kicked my ass. Immediately all the soreness in my legs were gone, to be replaced by the upcoming pain that will visit me in the night. I was excused out of doing drills cause coach said my foot looked funky. The stretching classes were awesome, so good, I stayed for another 1 one hour class. I could feel the lactic acid draining out and forming puddles on the floor as we stretch and stretch and stretch. I have weak arms. A guy in the class fell asleep during our 5 minute of 'relaxation' pose (which entails you laying on your back on the floor and basically not moving at all... memangla best gila).

Came back last night, felt that I could do another hour of hard workout. My legs felt good, springy, except for a slight soreness in the right knee, for which I am forever careful of. Iced my lower body for a good 20 minutes. Fell into a deep sleep of good thoughts. I love it when I go to bed tired but satisfied.

Would I do a marathon again? If you asked me last Sunday the answer would be a definite NO. NOOOO. Now, I'm not so adamant about it, but maybe it's because I generally like running. I was thinking yesterday where would be the next 'fun' race - where I could do a fun 10k, 12k or a 21k without the freaking out factor. Without the constraints and demands of training. I've signed up for the small races with my dad and I cannot wait to be running in races with him again. Running for Sundown was a good wake up call for my fizzled out passion. I look forward to be pounding the pavement, feeling free.

But for the moment, I will be putting my focus on my prime and favorite workout which I have been doing a lot of lately. I once read a blog of someone who found her true calling in swimming after doing a multisport (she was brought up as a runner) and I remembered thinking, "How could running be replaced?" and now I know. Yes, now I know. Running will always be in my heart. But I can't get rid of the insane calm and peace I get when I am all alone with only hills and flat routes for hours.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


In short, a marathon is a distance that demands your attention, commands your respect, and sends you whimpering and babbling to yourself at the end.

It was more than I bargained for.

Running in a race I was so severely unprepared for, physically, mentally, nutrition wise (I was a charity case from Yim and Zaki and Syah throwing me extra powergels, OSR, etc... thanks guys) could only be the scariest thing I've done in my life.

But it was also quite lovely. To be honest, I thought it was quite romantic, in a way I could not describe. Only the realization that you're 2 hours away from daybreak, in the most out of the world pain you could ever imagine - ready to cry to anyone in any second, dizzy, sad, exhausted - could make you think that despite everything sucky right that moment, it was one of the most awesome things in the world.

"One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful."
- Sigmund Freud

It was just you and your thoughts, and you have to bring them home to matter what.

To tell you the truth I wished I could say that I thought about a lot of things while doing the 42km. I've always enjoyed long distance anything because it gives me the company of my thoughts, which I almost always welcome entirely. But when the pain crept in around my feet at kilometer 12, and never let go like a French lover, my thoughts circulated around these 3:

1) Just a little bit, one foot forward, one foot forward, one foot forward.
2) 1km done, another 1km to go yeayy!!!! come on come on come on! (repeated 14 times)
3) Ya Allah sakitnyer. ohmigod. maybe I should stop. WHAT AM I TRYING TO PROVE?

I did not know why I decided to go ahead with the race. I go back and forth between reasons: a part of it is, in the words of Haza, material gains - I WANT that finisher's t-shirt, which leads to the other second part, the ego boosting 'Yo, I done a marathon - you?'. Other parts also being: I just wanted to see if I could finish this, I just wanted to know how far I could go, and also, I really thought that it's going to be a lot of fun at the same time. I remember telling myself, "You already enjoy running, plus you can always walk if you can't run. What's not to enjoy?"

So I finished it. All 42km of it, of which I spent the remaining 16km walking. Just walking. My knees have given out by that time, my feet were long gone. Did I tell you I was doing them in Vibram Five Fingers? Yes. And did I tell you that the longest run I did prior to this was 10km? (I knew I told everyone I did 13km... I lied... because to tell you the truth, I couldn't swallow 10km of 'LSD' either)

To anyone attempting a marathon, let me tell you that it is doable, provided that that cut-off time is more than 6 hours (I finished it in 6 hours 50 minutes :). I have done it in the most Commando style possible, sketchy 10ks in between, mentally surprised (found out about this Friday night). But, if I may:

1) It is totally more rewarding, and satisfying, to complete it with proper and sound training. This would be a totally sweet thing to feel when you cross the finish line, with a good time, and overwhelmed sensors. You worked hard for it, how many weeks before. You will walk on air afterwards, for maybe a few days.

2) Respect the distance. 42km is a mother with a metal whip and a ciggarette dangling at the corner of her smirk. She is relentless, continuous, daunting, and she will never let you forget that fact, even 40km into the whole thing.

3) Remember this quote, all throughout your pain and suffering, and I am sure you'd be alright:

"Mind is everything; muscles mere pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind."
-Pavo Nurmi

I would like to give my biggest and heartiest Thanks to Zaki the running librarian for keeping me company and guiding me the whole 25km of the race. I would have given up to a walk at kilometer 12 if it weren't for him. He decided we should incorporate walk breaks into our run since I was horribly in pain. I was the reason for his Personal Worst. But I have no doubt there'll be more PBs in the future for this guy. There is no other kind act that could replace a runner's selflessness in forgoing the race and helping a flailing runner. Karma points for that.

- Shoutouts to KASH and HAZA who were so inspiring that I felt like belting out "Ain't no Mountain high enoughhhhh" when I watched them crossing the line. Rais for the race kit pick-up :), Syah, Yim, Ijam, Ian, Ziff, Diket, Det (betulker semua nama ni?) for the company and the 'motivational' prep before/after the race. Also for Khairul Anuar a.k.a Metalhead for the company after until my bus arrives at 6pm, and Tey who also stays in the same hostel as I did. We were namedropping Haza like it's hot!