Thursday, July 29, 2010


The only train I know now is the LRT.

I have reached my goal. And it's a sweet feeling when I realized it.

My aim was to make sports a lifestyle. The kind that makes you feel sort of empty inside, like something is missing, if you didn't do it. A habit of sorts, something to fill your time, that defines who you are. Something stress free.

I read a lot of blogs to have memorized the quote where it talks about the difference between commitment and mere interest. When you're committed to your goals you train. You set targets. And you achieve them.

I like the sound of it but I'm far from committed. I lack the burning passion to be consistent in my workouts, I abhor the pressure of keeping to the schedule. I want to be at the race venue ready to let it rip; fast, slow, did not finish or crawling to the end.

At PD I got the bouts of nervousness. It attacked me like fingers playing the piano; once in a while, only when I allow myself. Only then I realized that this happens to me all the time - I am always unprepared when it comes to a race.

There has never been a race where I am 100% - or even 70% - prepared. It's either I signed up too late to train, or I got sick, or injured (Kapas Marang!), or I lack discipline to continue training for more than 3 weeks.

I did my half-marathons (PBIM, SCSM) without proper training, the longest LSD was - as always - 10k. I was too busy to train for my karate tournaments. I got injured AND had lung infection 3 weeks before my first tri. I did the dreaded marathon with no base to fall on to (I don't recommend this).

Did I suffer? Yes. But did I finish? Yes. That's my only goal in sports. To finish without compromising my health.

My point is - I don't train. Or rather, I have failed in trying to train. I'm horrible at trying to be a disciplined athlete. I read and enjoy running blogs tremendously, but in all honesty, fall short in trying to emulate the so-call 'n weeks' of training schedule. I read my entries these past few months and wondered what happened to the workout style post of "warm up; 100m, run distance: 3k in 6 min pace" that I did earlier on. After a while the numbers sort of left me.

I still do though, have a simple workout log. I keep it because I like to look at my busy fulfilling life (hahahaha). But from now on, the only train I know of is the LRT.

And that is fine with me.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Slog, Butt, Race

I had a nice weekend, although I wish certain things could go better. That thought stayed with me the whole drive back, until I am convinced there is nothing I could do about it. There will be bad moments and good moments. And most of the times you gain more with bad episodes. A famous super athlete once wrote -

"But I need to have these days (bad days) - because the 'defeats' expose my weaknesses, and enable me to grow, learn and develop as an athlete."

Not to say that I am an athlete, but you get what I mean. I would label this as an Experience/Lesson learnt and shelf it for my future reference.

That being said - I enjoyed the camaraderie. It's amazing how it buoyed me tremendously when I was running. I thought that I was going to have a bad run, but instead it turned out to be the best part of the race. I didn't care about the timing, I just wanted to stop and chit-chat with the other runners. I gave my Milo to someone else, paced with a good friend of mine Chris, and cheered on everyone whom I passed. Friends cheered on me too, which makes me feel like I'm doing something RIGHT.

I enjoyed it even more when I get to deal with thoughts of giving up. This is the best part of being in a race, I think, eventhough when you're in the midst of fighting yourself it just felt ugly. I kept telling myself that this will only make me stronger, and I will feel so damn proud of myself. I began listing out the things that are way worse than running a 10k under the hot sun after having your body slaughtered for the past 2 hours. So many things:

1) Losing/thinning hair
2) Fabregas out of Arsenal
3) Contador winning NEXT year's TDF
4) Lelaki berlagak
5) The extinction of Milo Ice
6) The death of my beloved cat, Cik Mek Molek

and on and on. In retrospect, running a 10k is way better than all of the above. It's not so bad really, with sexy girls and their asses hanging out, grandmas overtaking me and disappearing from sight, good looking men with skin the color of brown sugar.

The best for me is the company of Kash and her little support crew, Rais and Citra (who is my good friend!). Sometimes you wonder about the kindness of people and where/how it comes about - one of life's mysteries we will never figure out, nor do we want to. If you can have a savings account for good karma, I'm sure Kash and Rais would be millionaires. Thank you for making this event a great, close knit one.

So to summarize:

The best part of the race: the running event
The best part of being in this race: mentally fighting yourself not to give up
The best part of this event: Kash+rais+citra and meeting friends.

And now I am just tired and I want to sleep till the cows come home.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I'm on a horse

One of the most watched, famous and well-liked tv commercials ever. That last line is priceless.


I always think of you most when I am on top of the hill, over the crest, and plunging downhill with the speed of 50km/h. The flapping of the winds in my ears and the blurriness of everything in front of me makes my mind peacefully empty, and for no apparent reason this always make me think of you. I miss you terribly the most when I am at my happiest moment, on my own. It’s not important for me to tell you the details of all the happiest moments in my life, but suffice that if I died on that highway crashed against the divider, you would be the last thing on my mind.

A Yogi writes about his old flame

The best kind of a workout blog post:

 "I went to yoga again yesterday, and you were there too. No one really knew we used to be together, and I’m pretty sure in a while people who had an inkling of our relationship would forget that we even existed. Our love disappeared as easily in the crowd of people crammed inside the elevator, and they carried with them pieces of us on the way out. In between warrior and plank pose I saw the roll of tummy bulge above the elastic of your pants and I smiled to myself. Cute, just like your face. I love all your imperfections, the stubble on your armpits, your occasional back breakouts, your stinky breath in the morning. I like the woman I had as opposed to the woman everybody sees – the lipstick wearing, perfume misting, powerhouse of a lawyer. Everybody loves a pin-up girl. But could you find someone who loves you and the uneven skin tone of your body? I do. Some people may have called you a bitch in the court, but gladly you’re my downward dog."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I'm tired.
I cannot wait to sleep, I think, as I am writing this down. I've been dozing off on and and sometimes at the traffic light. My new workload is crazy, although exciting. A lot of other things are happening at the same time and I am spreading myself thin trying to juggle everything. Things being house, side job, cancer cousin, sports, family+friend time.

Siemens 10k run was good. A lot of downhills though and just one uphill. At the 6th kilometer I was cursing the downhill because I lost a lot of advantage as I slowed down tremendously when going down. My right knee hurt. But I love the last 3km stretch. I don't remember my time but I got the medal. Yay! And my MILO fix. Damnit that was awesome.

 I'm taking the rest of the week off and just catching up on my sleep. Maybe it's true what my doctor said - I'm just physically and mentally thrashing myself without realizing it.

 A part of a poem I think is lovely:

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fear Training

There's this one thing I hardly do since I hardly train, which I have been doing a couple of times recently: Fear Training.

 Actually there's no specific name to it. But I've been reading some quotes and blog posts and that's what they call it - fear training. What it means is that the fear of having someone overtaking you pushes you to the max - hence good solid training. Basically for me it's just another version of being competitive. When I first came across it I didn't give it much heed. I aim to have fun and sweat a little, if not a lot, and definitely not to egg on each other.

 But like bad days, good days do come once in a while, and sometimes I do get caught up in the race. There's always been this person who is more or less my pace and fitness in our group, and recently I noticed that there's been a sudden competition going on between us. I didn't really notice it because I am always content with my pace when everybody else shoots off, but I realized whenever I am passing her she picks up pace and follow suit... only to pass me back, and on and on it goes. It does get awkward sometimes, especially when I was not there to 'compete'. I sometimes try to make remarks or strike up a conversation, (like, "Urgh, hate this part,") to let her know that I'm not being competitive, I'm just passing you, but she picks up her pace and leave me for another chasing game.

 A few weeks back I we were out and somewhere in between after countless of her-passing-me and vice versa, I got bored. This was supposed to be fun and now it's not, I mean, I could feel her thinking, Oh gotta pass her, everytime I passed her. It felt like high school, with adrenaline. Sometimes I am hesitant to overtake her because it'll be awkward. Not fun.

My competitive juices started trickling in. I felt my heart and my chest getting warm, ready to attack. Almost immediately I saw target holes on her back. But I am no fool - she is strong. And fast. She is not some lightweight. If I want to play this game, I have to play it well.

 So I began attacking, slowly, pacing pacing, and when I passed her, I went all out, out out. I could hear her picking up speed behind me, trying to catch on. My heart was pumping hard, my legs working furiously. I felt like flying, I felt good - and scared. Scared she's going to catch up, never let me go. Scared that she'll overtake me, when it's obvious just then that I overtook her on purpose.

 I'm telling you  the truth: I was scared. Terrified out of my mind with the thought of her on my lead, closing the gap, and passing me. My heartbeat started to calm down even when my legs maintain their pace. SCARED. Was that her at the back? Didn't even want to look, afraid of being too obvious. So I pushed harder, and harder, and harder. When will we reach the end? I thought furiously, taking care not to breathe erratically. 

And at last, the place where we stop to rest. Awesome. I looked behind and she was nowhere to be seen. Hah! I thought, but only for a moment. I don't do this in sport. Fear training is ok, if you keep the game all to yourself, but this is bad. To me at least. I want to ego in this world of mine. When she came to, it was a merry ho-ho-ho affair. But I could tell she was pissed (at herself? myself?). Slacked on the rest of the remaining route. She said she was tired, but I think she was just discouraged. I've been there before, to want to beat someone so bad only to lose out - it guts your ego apart. To make it up to her, I paced with her, and striked a conversation, to keep things easy and light. To let her know that it's all about enjoying the workout, not about who's better then who.

 Fear training: I love it, and hate it. Love the awesome workout, but hate the 'competitiveness' of it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Runner

Last night I went out for a run. A short one. I haven’t been really training when it comes to my running. I prefer to let my knees take more rest than they needed, only running when the urge hits. And last night my lack of running showed.

It’s just one of those days when you feel wistful. For the most part, I am ok with what I have and what I could do. For every shortcomings I have, there are many others who couldn’t even enjoy a simple walk. But there would be days where I feel somewhat frustrated with the situation.

My running partner was fast and seemingly has no limits to her energy. She kept a fast, stiff pace, and the only thing that was more audible than the steady poundings of our feet against the tarmac was my labored breathing. Granted, we did spend most of the run talking; but she was steadily moving forward, and I was struggling to keep abreast and the same time trying to regulate my breathing. It was at that moment I realized what a far cry this was to the Me before – the only struggling I did was during trainings where I really pushed myself, and even then I wanted to pant. The old me was not fast, but at least she was strong.

Sometimes I miss feeling the buzz of wind passing through my ears. I miss knowing that running is THE best thing I have in my life, the one thing I could do and do it right, do it well. That sense of belonging was what helped shaped me in my teenage years, where friends learned the art of smoking and chasing the dragons, wild parties and what have yous, and I was at the track, doing my runs up the bleachers and around the dreaded ‘oval’. Some girls were the Prom Queen, the Socialite, the Class Nerd, the Trainwreck, and I was always in the middle – the Runner, not too glamorous but not a complete social overcast, complete with the rubber elastic around my wrist so I could tie my hair up anywhere, anytime.

Nevertheless I finished the run with the faster-than-I-would-like pace. I’m proud that well, at least I still ‘have it’. I might be gasping like I’m having a heart attack on a flat route, but I finished it, that’s what matters. And the best part was my knees were not complaining. In fact, they have been silent for some time now.

What’s your weekend cardio? I love the weekend. Too many things to do, too little time. Cherish every single second!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I've been hitting it hard during the weekends and taking it easy (almost sloth like) during the week. Workload's taking the blame, followed by my new place, also the fact that I'm sick - again.

 Sometimes during the long drive back I look at the roads wistfully and think of how amazing if I get to test drive them instead of being stuck in a car. I am forever finding new routes to discover, new sights to see. I would love to run the whole way of LDP, or if I had to compromise, from the Sunway stretch to Penchala toll.

 Also the USJ-Nilai highway stretch, what a fucking trip that would be on foot. The rolling routes... amazing. 

 In the meantime, I'll be doing the Siemens run. The first time I did my 'official' 10k race, it was this one last year, and I spent the whole day feeling like Marge Simpson, like I'm a superwoman.


Sunday, July 11, 2010


My mind is a paradox; it is both my biggest motivator, also my limiter.

 Sometimes I take things a little too hard, push myself a little too far. We're all humans. Writing on our blog about wanting to do things the right way, the better way, the good way. But come the real deal - ego, peer pressure and sometimes mindset takes over.

 Exercising has its days. There would be good ones, where the after effect left you feeling buoyant for hours. Then there are the bad ones, which will render you helpless and all devastated. My bad exercising days have many outcomes: sometimes I get a second wind and finish strong, sometimes I shrug it off with a nice long shower and a hot Milo, and sometimes I could be blown to smithereens.  

 Today was a mixture of not so good and very much ok. I would like to think that it's just one of those days, but I've been having that one too many to my liking. Maybe I like to have something to blame on - "shit i am knackered - it's just one of those days." Who knows. It was definitely one of the most mental LSD I've ever had in my life recently. I couldn't slow down, because I was just stubbornly stupid, I didn't want to stop because I just want to get this thing over and done with, and I was fighting with myself and it was a riot. 

 I went through all my favorite quotes and mantras and repeated them back to front. When that didn't work, I tried recalling what Kash's husband Rais told her - "Think fresh." I only managed to think fresh for 1-2km and then failed miserably again, resorting to recycling favorite quotes. I tried visualizing the whole 'second wind' concept. I ended up passing wind from all the gassy drinks I had. Nice. On and on it went until we hit the last few kms of my favorite stretch  - favorite because it means that destination is NEAR. This is when I 'hammered' it. My thighs have been burning ever since I started and they were deranged when I picked up pace. I tell myself it's all the muscles I will have and how my jeans will thank me for it.

 Later this evening, on a different workout, I told myself, take it easy. Forget skills, timing and accuracy - just enjoy it. Forget forget forget. I sped through the warm up, limbering up. Did the drills as fast I could, enjoying the fluidity of my hands. Went through the repeated stances and cherished the burning thighs. I love this I love this I love this. 

 And I did. It was an awesome session, good workout, most of all, I enjoyed myself. Good sparring partner too.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Change As We Know It

Today I realized something about myself: I'm always in a neverending quest. A quest of finding that one thing that would 'change my life forever'.

I admit it started when I was in home from the university break. Was watching television with my mom on this Everest expedition and she was like, "I would love to do this... if only I was younger." That last line woke me up - there I was with my mom who looked pretty resigned folding up clothes, and I was young. I had all the time in the world for to do something big! But then studying took over and I forgot about all the things I told myself I would do/try.

Then my 6 year relationship ended. I grew up with this person, our families were almost like families themselves, so being all on my own again was quite tough. I remember crying my heart out on my bed one night and then jumped with a start, took out a pen and paper, and did a list of, 'The Things I Would Like To Do This Year.' I became obsessed with the concept of time, continously asking myself, "It's day 56 into 2006 - what have you done that you could be proud of? What have changed for the better?" The idea of doing something crazy appealed to me so much. I WANT to have my life changed by an experience. I want to become a different person because the current me was heartbroken and pathetic.

And so I started. Some things were big (scuba diving license), some things were small (learning how to master chopsticks), but none were insignificant. Each achievement meant that I was one step away from the girl he knew, and one step closer to the 'new' me I wanted to be. I was heartbroken enough to do the scuba diving license alone, with only 2 men for company. I think I didn't talk much for the 3 days. I came back raving about the species I saw... but I was still the same person.

The cycle continues - I went on a one week turtle conservation program only to suffer from diarrhea. I spent 2 semesters volunteering at PAWS where I would commiserate my lonely life with all the unwanted kittens and cats (side note: please spay/neuter your pets!). I taught art to a bunch of 3 year olds only to realize kids are not really cute after 5 minutes of being with them.

Then it was the major backpacking trip across West Europe I planned with my housemate. Reading other people's description of their trips, where almost 90% of them claimed that their lives have 'forever changed', I banked my hopes up so high on this one. I was fresh out of university, stressed to the seams from a very trying final year project/thesis/finals and I just warmed my traveling legs with a 14 day backpacking trip across Central Java. I couldn't wait.

We went. We got lost so many times, starved for most days, slept at train stations/bus stations/beside the toilets, harrassed by rowdy Irish roomates, argued (with each other) in Paris, bullied by the German punks. I had my running shoes and went running whenever I could. I waited for the change to take over. I wondered if I was going to wake up not remembering anything at all, like an amnesiac.

54 days later, I trudged up the stairs to my room, feeling very much the same like the girl that bounded down the stairs with her new 50L backpack on. I still have moodswings. Sadly, I realized, I am pretty much me, the same girl, no matter where I am in the world.

Then I took up sports. Seriously.

Which brings me to today. I was browsing through some websites and I glanced across a blog post title that said, "The race that changed my life forever". I stopped, and realized she was talking about mountain biking. Not interested.

But whatever it is, that made me think. I would always be the girl that would be attracted to screaming headlines of people claiming THIS or THAT changed their life forever. I think this is why endurance sports appeal to me so much - it is always different, everyday, all the time.

I always thought that when you become a new person the change would be like a total relevation - an epiphany - instant and obvious. I never considered that you change slowly but surely, sometimes without realizing it. I have always been someone who gives up easily. I rather stop than fail. My life previously would be a lot of DNSs and DNFs. But I remember finishing the longest ride ever totally blown away by my ability. And that dark times at km 36 completing that goddamned marathon. I don't give up things so easily now.

So in a way, I have changed. And will look forward to change more, for the better. Sports have given me this amazing space to try and explore sides of me I didn't think I had. I learned to reign in, let go, learned to push, learned to socialize better (I always have problems with this!). I eat better too... (teringat kat Magnum almond...dah la puasa).

Have a Good weekend!!

What If?

Last week I read a good article from a female athlete. It was good because it struck a point - she asks whether we have that "what if?" attitude in our training. 

 In my quest to keep my sports as stress free as possible, I have somewhat lost that determination to get better. In the midst of a group anything, whenever somebody passes me, I tell myself to let it go and concentrate on the good feeling I'm getting. Over time that need to overtake has been tempered to a mild competitive streak that occurs very rarely. And then I wondered why I am not getting any better.

 Last Saturday, I decided to give that "what if?" thing a try. For everything I think I couldn't do any more, I'd ask myself - "What if... I try to tackle this hill harder?", etc. This would be a great effort for me since I don't really like disappointments. Disappointments when the what if didn't deliver.

 So for the first stretch when everyone picked up pace instead of falling back and being the good ol' sweeper I gave it a try. Pushed a little bit. Asked myself, "What if I did this stretch faster than normal?" My heart was racing and I was worried that I'd lose steam too early in the route. I worried that I won't be able to last until the end of the workout. Usually at this time the uncompetitive me would say something like, "Maybe you should slow down... it's not like you're a Pro anyway." But this time around I went, just do it! and let myself rip, charging other people like a first timer.

 Yeah, I did lose steam after a while, and it took me a few minutes to get my heartbeat back to normal. But I was glad I pushed it, glad that I asked myself the "What if?" question. And the best thing is, I enjoyed it too, even if so many people passed me by since I was panting like a drunk dog.  but at least I knew I could push myself hard. And harder only makes you better. My karate teacher was adamant about beating our own record. For every stretches we do, he told us to do it longer or farther than we did previously. Change, he says, keeps everything constant.

 How often do you push yourself harder than before in your training? 
 On a different note, I like playing sweeper. I guess it's a good practice for me to keep my ego in check. I remember that we were all newbies one time, the last person to arrive, hating ourselves for being out of breath and slow. Being the sweeper makes me feel good because I know I helped keep a person company, as well as teaching myself to pace.

  Also when you become a sweeper it means you're just too good but you don't advertise, instead being kind enough to facilitate the newbies. If that isn't an ego boost (however imaginary) I don't know what is! Haha.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I once wrote a detailed blueprint of a reconstructed one whole day. Instead of just 24 hours, what if one whole day consists of 48 hours, with 36 hours of it daylight. I was 22, already frazzled juggling lab sessions, thesis, tests, family, sports and friends. I needed a break and I spent the whole day conjuring up an ideal one whole day for me. 

 If there's one thing I learned, is that time will never be enough if you don't think it's enough for you. The concept of time is as vague as the concept of happiness. Everybody wants to be happy, but what's happy? Where is that place? Happiness, like time, is a state of mind. Being grateful is the way to go. Grateful, for the time you still have on this world, grateful, for being able to do the things you do.

 I have been busy lately. I'll admit, I don't like it. It messes my routine, and as much as I try to keep my workouts at the right time and frequency, I'm happy that I get them done at all. Whatever I missed, I have to let it go. It's hard, but I'm not so anal about it. Not anymore. Especially when time's too short to be frustrated. A good dinner with dad, who was really nice to help me fix my shabby sofa bed for my new pad, was a much better option than to leave him in the mercy of maggi cup noodles just so I could have my cardio snort. I told him about my work schedules, the demands of my project, etc. We'd be running the Siemens run together and I think I want to run side by side with him, IF I could maintain his pace. He's a speedier runner than me.

 Monday I went for a nice run. Nice as in, I can't remember how long it was, and how far I went. I can't even estimate the time and the distance. I was in a haze, thinking about nothing important, my mind blacking out the stressful stuff. I could feel the sun at the back of my neck and through the sleeves of my tshirt. The weather was warm and stuffy, like an oven, and I was the chicken pie, fluffy on the outside but frazzled really, inside. A good fluffy, though. I like it when life throws you a little bit of lemons. You get to appreciate the lemonades better when it's all your own instead of from the 7-11 (bad jokeeee).

 Bumped into a girl who used to be my junior in high school. We used to run together, when we were training for cross country. Those were the days were 'suicides repeats' were really suicidal, and tempo runs simply means you run hard until you puke... and then you slow down your pace. This is where I learned to put target holes on the back of other runners. Instantly, the whole world just freezes, and I think of nothing else but to move in for the kill.

 I love it. And I can't get enough.
 A raw poem found:
I need a calve massage;
to drain my lactic acid the fuck out;
you taste like brown sugar – and for a moment;
while your breath is hot on my neck, warm on my toes;
I forgot all about her;
when I’m running today.