Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Starting over is my favorite part of this whole game.

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

The hurt to get there.

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

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

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fun 5k Run

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

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

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

My sisters in their natural state

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

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

I'll let the pictures do the talking:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This photographer and I played snap snap with each other.

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gloomy City

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

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

we will see won't we.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Beautiful Rush

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Starting Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 10, 2010

Raya Run

Layan lari pagi2 dengan ayah.

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

But life goes on right?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


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

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

All of us are in pieces at the moment.

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

Monday, September 6, 2010

Only Happy When It Rains

It always rains when I want to run.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Jaded City People

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

I need to gain MUSCLES! Urgh.