Saturday, December 17, 2011

Malakoff Run

I wished the hills didn't have to go down, because I had to walk.

Ran with my dad, went after Subuh, and parked alongside the road. We had about 20 mins to warm up and stuff and I felt so thirsty. I was a bit worried but then I've had workout sessions when I was absolutely parched and survived so it was ok. Left my dad after my time was called, wished him good luck, not without asking him to calm down and stop running if his knees hurt. What can I say, like father like daughter.

I love this route. I know what would come so I know exactly how my pacing should be. Initially I wanted to run at race pace but my knees absolutely won't let me have it. the first hill up was good, and so were the other hills. The killer one was the last steep at the junction. I ran all the way, only shuffling - that's my term for not really walking not really running hahah taknak kalah - downhills. Urgh, I wish I could run.

This race justifies that I am a cyclist not a runner. The hills felt so much easier on wheels. This wasn't the case when I was running. I cycled this route up and felt that running was much more easier because you can control your leg power and your thighs don't get murdered. But now since I cycle up hills so often running uphills felt labored! at least cycling there's a coasting period downhill. Easy on the knees too.

I didn't pace anyone, just went on my way alone. I upped the pace at the last 500m but I knew it was a lost case in terms of timing. Water stations were aplenty, the guys friendly and the race well organized I must say. No MILO!! WHY?

Dad did well, same timing. Well, that's the best we can do with moody knees. I came back and did an hour long stretch, complete with a headstand. WOOT.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Other Runners

For no apparent reason, been excited to start looking at running events again. Maybe it's chatting with other runners, maybe it's just boredom, or maybe I got my groove back, or maybe it's because I have money to spare.

At SS class today I chatted with another runner, a lady with bad knees too. I knew her through the SS class, but because of running we become chatting buddies. We discussed bad knees, running events, organizers, water stations, hilly routes, anything about running you could ever imagine, even FMVs and running in sarongs. Needless to say, all these talking make me miss running. It was so nice to have a talk with someone who understands the addiction, who knew what it feels like to miss miles when training for races. But we both have fallen under the category of runners who couldn't care less - who will run when they feel like it, training be gone.

Anyway to be honest I am kind of addicted to my SS class. There's something about having to nail each and every tough poses that kind of keeps me hooked. I like the relation between the SS practice and life. In SS you can never force your body into doing something they just wouldn't and it's knowing when to hold back that is valuable. Because I was trained to be competitive with myself and between peers, sometimes I do not know when to reign it in. Injury sets in. I'm trying to listen to my body more by giving it the freedom to play a lot of sports without setting myself to any hard specifics.

Two weeks of annual leave! What do you think I would do - cycle of course!! And a lot of other sports again. Thank God for this ability.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weekend Workshop

This weekend I had fever, and also an amazing workshop.

Have been anticipating this workshop for a month or so. It was led by one of the prominent figures in the world of Strengthening and Stretching, although she hailed from a strong Yoga background. The workshop ran for 2 hours each on Saturday and Sunday. I've been prepping myself for the workshop by practicing some of the poses that I thought she would have on the class, just so I wouldn't have a hard time working on it.

The Saturday class started off with the normal series of poses, all which were too familiar for me yet under her breathing instructions I was struggling. She had asked all of us on our injuries and our rehabilitation goals and silently she worked the class adjusting our poses; opening our hips, chests, torso, etc. For the past few months I have been nursing this sore and tender pain at the fold of my left thigh which now I know to be called as Pectineus Muscle and they tend to flare up during a particularly active week. It is also affecting the nerves at the back of my leg, especially in poses where I have to do a deep squat. In the workshop while I was doing a Fish Pose with a Lotus, she came over and pressed down on my left knee, saying that my left hip is tight. And THAT is the reason behind every single aches and pains of my left leg. In the fight between the knees and hips, the hips will always win and this tightness in my left hip causes the my left knee to rotate unnaturally. Hence, knee pain.

Ever since I've been doing the SS class religiously, I've noticed that all other sports sorta takes the backseat. Previously, I balanced running, swimming and cycling together to create a harmonious effect - swimming for my breathing, running for my stamina and endurance and cycling for strength - but after being hooked to the simple systems of SS I find that I get all three including flexibility. Of course, you can't replace the sheer extremeness of speed workouts of running in this, but you do get very very sweaty, and tired, in SS. If I tried doing the complete one series (which is about 40++ poses), it would take me about 2 hours, and that is minus 10+ poses I couldn't do yet.

Anyway, the reason I was mulling about it is that I've signed up for yet another running event this month. I haven't been running since MPSJ. I do get worried since it is a hilly route, and to think that I've stopped all other forms of exercise. I am not worried about my fitness base; I worry on sustaining the speed I set for the timing I want. If I didn't have any expectations, I wouldn't even bother. I guess it's either to start running or stop having expectations.

Till the next time, or run, or swim or cycle or SS!

Monday, December 5, 2011


I had a great time.

Probably because the event location is just 5 minutes walk from our home. And it's a 10k, my favorite distance. (To be honest right now 21k is a marathon distance!) And it's small, so I bet there will be Milo (I thought wrong. So disappointed.)

The race started out nice and light. Saw no one famous, except for an ex ironman and his hot young thing, but I saw a lot of schoolmates and teachers from my school. We all live in the same area after all. The course had no serious incline, only very minor false flats, but one puny downhill. I started out targeting my pacers. After 3km, saw this lady who kept a very even pace - even during small downhills. She was so even, I got so relaxed. I ran by her side long enough to realize she might be annoyed with me, so I struck out a conversation. I told her I've been pacing her. We ended up deciding to run together so I could pace correctly and she could run faster at the end (my idea - told her let's pick up a few 100ms before)

The route was nice - one big loop around major usj areas. the downside of knowing the route is that you know when it's going to end and at one point I was dying to stop knowing it's still far away. I made a promise to run the whole 10km to see if I still have the stamina. The traffic was light and water stations plenty but kept small - a few times crowds were bigger than the water station (1 table). One junction was unpatroled (spelling? or does this word even exist?) thank God there were no cars.

When we reached the last 300m, I decided to run a little bit faster. My knees were hurting at that point and so were my ankles. I crossed the line at 62 minits. Not my best timing and despite the fact that I should be happy with the fact that it does not suck my ego still wish I could hit lower than 60minutes. don't we all.

The bad news is that I have overworn my five fingers. The toes are out of their toe sockets and thank god i have a spare ff. I realized that I've been using them for nearly 3 years. What a good investment since I don't really need to change them often. Harris wants me to run wearing shoes but I have grown so accustomed without them I just couldn't.

Anyway, I had a good SS session last Saturday. I am serious about it being one of the hardest sports in the world. I have newfound respect for yogis, dancers, or gymnasts these days. Too often we endurance athletes think that our sports is the cream of the crop, but seriously. One of my favorite athlete, who is a triathlon coach and a top triathlete for her age group in the states (she did so well for the ironman kona) said that she picked up pole dancing after her racing season as an 'active rest' and she was so blown away by the difficulty level. Imagine doing the 'flag' - where your body is parallel to the pole, arms straight. Kau mampuuuu??

Thursday, December 1, 2011

T-2 days

Can you tell that I am excited? Probably because it is the first event in this year. It's not a big event, more to a small neighborhood run, but nevertheless I am looking forward to run with the crowd.

Bad news is, my left knee is feeling the pain. Oh well, old stuff, isn't it. Truth to be told I'm sort of used to it. I had planned to run last thursday and monday but since the pain was there I decided to not risk it and concentrated on some other cardio. The last thing I need is to hobble in pain the whole of Sunday run. That will not be a great first event of the year.

Today during SS class we made a whole lot of good progress. I am particularly proud of myself for getting this far. The most obvious improvements are the fact that my upper body strength has doubled and my hamstrings are not tight anymore. I am also much more energized and aware of my physical abilities and limitations in running, cycling, etc. Ok, I sound like I am in a cult.

So to compensate for not running for the looming event, I plan to:
1) swim (this benefits my cardio)
2) light cycling on light gears (this will just prepare my legs - or it can aggravate the knee.)

We'll see how it goes!

Good bit: At the end of the SS class, the instructor told us to forgive someone we never even think of forgiving, that perhaps, by forgiving that person, we can focus our concentration instead to get better in our sports. What a good piece of advice!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Last night was SS class. As always, 90 minutes felt like... 20 minutes. I am starting to get really obsessive with this, just like I was obsessed with every other sports I happen to try. When I first started swimming, I got so obsessed I literally had this software of a dude swimming in place in my laptop. You click on it and see him from top, side and front, to see the perfect quadrant and his alignment and stroke and what not. I watched probably millions of youtube videos on how to improve my body roll, bilateral breathing, etc etc.

When I got obsessed with cycling I read cycling biographies a lot. I wasn't as obsessed with the techniques of this sport like I was with swimming, but I would get excited looking at videos of cyclists doing their long distance rides. What appealed about cycling was what running once appealed to me - the suffering through the long distance. It wasn't about speed - I will never be fast - but it was more to how long I could hold on and the triumph I felt at the end. Cycling has trumped running to be my number one relaxing outdoor sport and will always remain.

I got obsessed with karate too. I was also obsessed with kickboxing. I was obsessed with in-line skating. All of them now has been reduced to sports I play when I have all the time in the world a.k.a annual leave. Nevertheless I love all of them for different, unique reasons.

One of the things I love about SS class is the rooting at the end of the class. After 90 minutes is over, we were asked to sit and reflect and let go of all arrogance that visited us when we were doing the poses. This was an amazing concept because I am highly competitive and always trying to be the best. This reminder forces me to focus only on myself and not other people. Sure enough the moment I felt chuffed about nailing some tough poses I lost my balance and falter, or fell altogether. The instructor always starts the class by asking us to find our intention. "If today your intention is to be more humble with this practice, with your strength and flexibility - then do so." I love it.

I have registered myself to a couple of running events! It's going to be crazy and I'm sure I couldn't sleep well. It's been more than a year since I last ran socially. It has been 8 months since I last rode in a group too. Sometimes I miss it; there's no pressure, always for the scenery and social banter, but the time sucking doesn't sit well with my 'new' life. I am equally happy to be riding in a group of two, enjoying conversations.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Thursday: 5.5k run. Felt kinda dragging, was really exhausted the whole day but just wanted to get in some kms.

Friday: SS class. As always, rocked it. Loves it. Managed to nail some intensely advanced poses YAY.

Saturday: 1k swim. Could have - would have - done more but needed to to harris up from work.

Sunday: Missed the ride and slept instead. BAD!

Monday: Missed the run and... cleaned the whole house instead. SCORE!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On Track

I blamed it on this advert I saw on Youtube. An normal, homey looking guy woke up dead in the morning and said, "I have a choice, a choice to either stay in and sleep, or wake up and run." He went on about what happened if he lost out that chances. Needless to say I was inspired.

Monday morning and I roused up early at 545. It was hard, but I tell myself that this is the only time in the day I could squeeze in my exercise, and if I don't want to hate my sluggishness afterwards I have to do this and do IT. So I got up and did my prayers, and rounds of Sun Salutations. Sun Salutations are a great warm up tool, after 10 sets of them I was sweating. The run started out fabulously because I was warmed up. I ran and ran and just enjoyed the darkness and the walking aunties, so disciplined in their daily routine. I finished running and cooled down with a couple of stretches. Awesome.

Revved up the whole day.

Tuesday: SS class. This time around, I was less competitive and more intuitive. I made myself focus on only me, how I feel, what I could do, instead of comparing myself against others - I tend to do that a lot lately because I just wanted to be the best. That made me lose focus on the class and I did not improve. Last night though, it was great. Closed my eyes, and concentrated on working my self hard.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

No Competition

Tuesday: SS class. It was insane. I hate it that I am naturally competitive with myself. I get mad that I couldn't do certain things.

Thursday: Ran a normal 5.4k. It was low key and I was a bit tired from lack of sleep and a heavy day at work.

Friday: SS class. I was drenched. Nothing to say except that I want to be good at this fast... all for the right reason.

I keep telling myself to not let my ego gets in the way. When I was a fast runner, I was a little bit too chuffed. And now I can't never ever get that speed again without being in a wheelchair afterwards. When I was at my 'peak' in cycling, I got a little bit too heady too, and then got into that accident where originally I planned to smoke people up the hills. We never got to go that hill, cause I crashed. And after a long break, I am slowly getting back to that level.

Now my SS class. I signed up for the first series out of the six series and it's challenging. If you can do all the poses well, you can advance to the next level. But these poses are hard. They require you to engage body parts you wouldn't even imagine could be engaged, and sometimes your mind can't do them. I am told to come to the class with an open positive mind but sometimes I get disheartened... and it's supposed to HEAL me.

I guess it comes to my intention. Do I do these sports so I could show off to people, or for myself and my health? After taking up the SS class, I try to reassess my goals and intention, everytime. It's easy to let your ego gets in the way. I guess I was a little bit into my head, trying to master all the sets just because if I did, it's considered awesome. And that's the reason why I never could.

Anyways, looking forward for a great sports filled weekend.

Monday, November 7, 2011

mental block

my biggest enemy thus far is my own mental block.

I only noticed it so much after taking up the strengthening class. In it, we are asked to do thousand of setups that require us to trust our bodies and self. Especially on the arm balancing part. So many times before a particular inversion pose - headstand, forearm stand, etc - I would literally say NO. Even when the instructor is holding me and guiding me I would whimper - no! - and then after much cajoling I got the guts to lift my legs up.

The same thing applies to my cycling. During one of those treacherous routine of doing hill repeats it would be so easy for me to say NO and stop. I had to bark at myself inside to man up and repeat this drill even if I puked.

I find it hard to have the discipline to challenge myself. And which is why, joining the strengthening and stretching class is the best decision I ever made. Everytime, I have to challenge myself to break my own record. It is myself against myself. I love this, slowly competing against my own worst enemy.

Didn't do much the weekend. Failed to go running while Dad sneakily went cycling (cheater!). Routine ensues again this week, insyaAllah.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

chasing the rain and sunset (and maghrib)

Yesterday as I got off work I was like, "YOU MEAN IT'S NOT RAINING?"

I quickly drove home, despite the traffic and everything, it still wasn't raining. I wanted to run! It was already nearly dark when I got home, with the looming cloud and everything, probably 635pm. I was still ecstatic that it wasn't raining. I changed and just as I was out of the gate, started to run.

The feeling of being able to run after what it felt like ages of not running was awesome. My steps were springy, I felt blight and flighty, I was nearly humming. I ran behind a high school boy wearing the tshirt that says Mont Kiara FC. No doubt he was keeping fit. I made a bet with myself that he could only last about 6 loops max since most guys I know who are non runners can only last for 3km. So it began. We outpassed each other a few times before true enough, he got tired.

I was always conscious of how my legs feel during a run. This time I assessed how they felt. I am happy to report that the usual knee pain and ankle have all but disappeared (albeit a bit on the inside, just a tinge) and instead I still had a strong running form. The sky was getting dark, many people have left. But I was adamant to run 10 loops to make it a normal 5.5k. I am starting to love running in this usj area. It ain't hilly like ss19, but much more peaceful.

I was also chasing the rain and the sunset. I love to play this game; when you push push and push before the sun sets or the rain falls. An automatic interval. I think I ran a little bit faster than I would. I still feel strong, in fact I could have gone on longer. This could be the only time it doesn't rain! I told myself. I was really loving the run.

When I finished, the rain was dancing softly on the roads, the streetlights were on, and the muezzin was calling out the prayer. It was such a beautiful feeling, and I am grateful I got to do this.

Signed up

Despite what I said, signed me and my dad up for a couple of running events. Nothing fancy, something small. Dad's knees hurt, so I'm giving him the steel bike for him to ride so he rests his knees.

Yesterday night's strength session was so good. My arms were shaking, vibrating and crumbling under the pressure. I sweated buckets.

Wanted to run this morning but woke up too late. Will try to run after work today but with how the weather is these days... i don't think so.

Riding Coach taught me the basics of bike servicing and maintenance. Simple, easy stuff even 'you're that kind of cyclist' person like me could handle.

Monday, October 31, 2011

thursday - sunday

Thursday: stretching/strengthening class. Since it was only 3 of us and we were all regulars, the instructor had us do way complex poses that really scared me. One was the forearm stand, and I toppled somewhat ungracefully. That was scary!

Saturday: Gentle bike ride (12k) and a run (3k) - brick session - with harris.
Sunday: Bike ride with hills. 32k, 8 hills.

My mom asked me - are you training for something? and my answer was, "Yes, for my health!"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sore Body

My whole body is sore! Especially the uppder body region.

Tuesday night: an awesome but intense stretching/strengthening session. We went at a slightly fast paced movements with extra long hold between poses. I was sweating buckets just at the 5 minute warmups. Wasn't really flexible on that day and the instructor suggested that maybe I was unkind to someone :( That scared the crap out of me.

Wednesday: Skipped my morning run (it has become quite easy for me to skip my runs.... oh no!) in favor of a swim instead. With my upper body completely trashed, I proceeded to torture them more by doing a 1k swim drills. Nothing major though. Swimming is one area where I didn't really worry about how fast I am going. Probably because it is always me in that pool.

Work is piling up. I look forward for exercise to keep me in check.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Training Vs Riding

This morning he said to my gasping for air face, "Now you know the difference between simply riding and training." Most cyclists, have impressive mileage. We can ride 70km++ with hills and make it back, tired but accomplished. Most cyclists, are fast - on flats. But simply training will tire you out completely.

Today we did only 8km+. For one hour. And I was so tired.

I admit I wished I didn't give up at one point. On the third set he was pushing me harder, and I tried to sustain it until we reached the end, but I just did not have it it me so I stopped. And a few seconds later I regretted doing that. Was it because I am not training for a race? Because I didn't register for anything? Thus making me automatically lazy for pushing myself to break the edge? My riding buddy has never entered any event but he didn't use that excuse.

I think that's what differs a real athlete and normal weekend warriors. We want to enter events and 'train' but we don't want to take the fun out of it. Why should we, since it's not like we are sponsored anyway right? That would be the answer.

I go back and forth. I just wrote here a few days ago about wanting to just ride but alas there I was this morning learning tricks and trade of proper riding. At first I was wondering if I should tell him that I just want to ride, but then again I do not want to lose a riding friend - he didn't wake up early to just go for a ride with me chit chatting about work and crap - we can do that in a larger group ride. So I followed his crazy instructions.

And I will see if I really do improve. I used to think that I was somewhat fair cyclist; I climb hills with gutso and can do real long rides without any base mileage. But that was because I love hills and do regular cross training, come to think of it, most runners can survive riding and climbing. But how fast and how good you ride without bonking is a whole different matter.

And that doesn't simply rely on weekly rides with makan2 stop in between.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday Run

Yesterday my run nearly didn't happen.

There was no electricity, and as I was about to head out of the gate I realized I can't open the damn thing. Electric gate, duh.Harris didn't tell me where the key for the small access is, so I was stuck stewing inside feeling sorry for myself. Just as I was about to text him a totally sorry message, we got the electricity again.

The park nearby harris's house is small and runners friendly. Two laps equal 1k so I decided to run 10 to give me my usual weekly mileage. I happen to like running in a loop very much. In my high school and university running days, I prefer to lace up my shoes and let them take my feet and body wherever. I would run and run for hours enjoying the scenery. But now that I am working, I realized I like having a route that I know the distance of and could give me a basic workout when needed. I do not have the time, nor patience, to run anywhere and let the experience of running takes over. Running in a loop allows me to get the distance without any hassle of figuring out the traffic or route, etc.

My knees and ankle sometimes hurt during the run, and I've learned to not let them psycho me out to stopping. Instead I focus on adjusting my running form, or gait, trying to see which one makes the pain disappear. Most of the times they do disappear, and sometimes, like yesterday, they were stubborn. I have evolved to a point where pain is pain and I just went on. I wouldn't have done this if I didn't have a stretching and 'healing' class every Thursday. The stretches I had to do in that class really works my ankle and I was like, padan muka!

My next plan if I could is to try to take my bike out for a spin around the neighborhood. I have tried once before with my eddy and it was a hairy nightmare as we live near a school and cars were a plenty in the evening. My riding buddy advocate on riding the bike at least for 2km daily just to maintain muscle memory. 2km, I can do, so I would want to try to take out my trusty old steel bike so it wouldn't be so hard to stop since the pedals aren't for clipped shoes.

Speaking of bikes, I haven't been 'servicing' them for a loooong time. Apparently my big plan to convert my husband to a triathlon monster thus become my bike mechanic failed miserably. I guess I'm stuck to having a relationship with the boys from the bike shop.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pushing Limits.

It rained last Monday. So I did not swim.

Tuesday was my strengthening and stretching class. I love this class. So different the the usual rougher version of exercising - no v02 max, max speed, etc - but all about body awareness and relaxation.

It was only me and the instructor, so we decided to try out several poses that normally wouldn't be taught because she think I could handle it. And she really pushed me. I was contorted, bent, twisted into every shape imaginable. This really surprised me. I never thought my body could take so much pressure and still be ok. I was trembling throughout the class, it was that exhaustive. I nearly drove into a tree on the way back because I felt so DRAINED.

Favorite pose: The turtle, and one of those super twisty hook your arms around your body under your knees thing. Of course, the super modified chaturangga simply made me whimper. As always, the class is HARDER than any other cardio.

Plus point: All the forward bends sorta gave my body a new pair of legs... or rather, hamstrings. They're not tight anymore, and perhaps stronger. I can't wait to see the improvements in a few more weeks.

And as always, the best thing about this class, the 'grounding' session at the end, where you take all your ego and pride about being able to do such amazing things, and remind yourself that if it weren't for a superior being/force we wouldn't be able to do it at all. Stay humble, and be thankful.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

sunday ride

i took back what I wrote earlier. I DO NOT WANT to get better in cycling. Maybe just enough to keep my cardiovascular system happy.

Yesterday we decided to tackle steep hills. And he was forever trying to 'improve' me when all I wanted was to enjoy spinning and spinning and spinning. He asked me if I wanted to suffer or cheat. I chose for the former. This time around because I was away for a week the hills felt steep. I was slower, and I almost bent forward at the waist from the effort. I stopped for a bottle of livita. Then halfway through the loops, Vico. As usual he did not drink anything. I asked him if he was thirsty and he said - "I did not even break a sweat!" !!! I have stopped feeling embarrassed for myself.

I think I have started to transition from someone 'training' for a race to someone 'exercising' for health. No longer was I pushing myself to the limits, no longer was I challenging myself to break my own record. When he pushed me to cycle faster I got angry at him for forcing me out of this comfort zone. Instead of doing speed drills I loped the neighborhood, feeling relaxed and happy. I stopped doing 50m drills now and just enjoy doing endless relaxing laps, losing out to breaststroke swimmers.

I don't know whether I am happy with this. I like the regular routine of exercising but I wonder if I should mix it up with a bit of some race anxiety just to shake up my routine. But I am just too lazy to register nowadays and I hate the thought of waking up just to line up and gather and then run when I can do that by myself.

I did not sign up for PBIM this year. That is a loss to me, but couldn't find the time and friend to accompany me. Wondering what tiny run I should register into...

Saturday: normal 6k. Went running angry and the run did not even help. First time this happened.

Today's planned workout: pool time.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


It's only the random things I remember.

The first time I went cycling, Kash laughed at my tshirt :). She took off afterwards, stronger and better. TSB stayed by my side until we reached the junction. He told me I should try to do the marathon.

The 10k runs we did at his place, a nice area. We stopped and bought milk for his wife, or other things she needed.

The tweets back and forth.

I don't really know him that well, but he was a friend and somewhat my running partner. The bento box on my bike was his.

Al-Fatihah, Kharis. I dedicated my training tonight for you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Leg strength

At the end of my stretching/strengthening session last night, the instructor had us do the child's pose (a yoga pose) and close our eyes to relax. She then said, "Let us ground ourselves from thinking that we are the best just because we have successfully achieved the things that not many could do/achieve."

It was a humbling moment because minutes before I was so chuffed about my flexibility. And that's the great thing about my stretching instructor. Because after you've done triathlons, ran marathons, swam for hours, endured great distances, persevered through pain, sometimes you're more proud than you should be, especially comparing yourselves to other unfit peers. It is a dangerous trap which I think we all fall into.

Another great episode last week was my cycling 'training'. We went to a normal route that usually sees many cyclists. I never liked that route; too many false flats which messed up my pacing. But that seemed to be his favorite route. It has the distance and the hills that presents the path for a good training.

We went through the route light and easy, until we were on the way back. I thought I was off the hook. Then he asked me to pedal faster, and in rhythm, push push push until I go faster. That was how, he said, you gain speed without changing the gears, which many cyclists depend on. He proceeded to make me repeat this for the remaining 3 uphills that had me panting.

Then he saved the best for the last: off the saddle climbing. And we found out that my leg strength is pathetic and my hamstring is under developed. GULP.

And because my leg strength sucked, roused myself early last saturday for a 6k run. I started off realy zippy; too excited to be running again. And I got slower and slower until I reached the 3k mark when things perked up. Then it was kinda smooth sailing. I was glad it was over and also that I did it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

End of September

Last friday went for a spin. same route. I was struggling like crazy going up the first hill. granted it was a tough one but really it seemed easier before. I thought I was tired from a late night so I pushed it until I went up the second hill and I HAD TO STOP near the peak. And guess what, I'd accidentally used the big crank. My riding partner was both baffled and bemused. "How could you NOT realize you're on the big crank?" I didn't. Well, I KNOW I would KNOW, but because I hardly ever used the big crank since the shifter's a bit kooky, I never realized I was on it (my riding partner put it on the big crank to test the shifter before we started). Great. We changed the gears and already it was SO MUCH BETTER.

Went for a dip today. Just to test the lungs. I could still hit the 1k easily, although I do pant a little bit. I actually worked out more thanks to this uncle who was doing an easy breaststroke and we were swimming side by side. I was glad for the push.

Now if I could somehow fit in running tomorrow then it would be a great start.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

much needed post

after a looong hiatus. mind you i am not inactive.

last week went for a run at the normal park. test power, they say, just to see how you could measure up to your running self then. god, doing a 6k was an effort and I was so glad to end it. but still it was a good run in an essence that I was struggling and working hard. you've got to start somewhere. and ive always loved the challenge of starting again.

one thing i realized is that my cycling and running SUCK if I didn't swim. I never realized how much i depend on lung power to be somewhat a decent athlete. The reason i could cycle for as long as i did without faltering was that my breathing was controlled and never labored, thanks to all the tormenting 'sets' i created for myself, doing super long strokes and racing nobody in the water.

i vowed to get back to swim... firstly, next wednesday.

went for a spin today with my only riding partner. it was such a great comeback to my weak self but i felt sorry for my bud since he did not even break a sweat. in fact, i made water stops for maybe 5 times and he did not even DRINK at all, all 38km of our ride... with hills. I bet it was like riding with a toddler.

i want to get better.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

between wheels or legs.

Tonight I have a ride date with the only person I ride with these days. Of course I feel lazy, but I know it will feel so good. At the same time, I am itching to go for a run. sometimes these urges come very randomly; especially during meetings, or hanging out with friends. Sometimes - well, most of the times - it's when I am watching animal planet, and seeing all of them animals run.

so I don't know whether to go for my normal 5k run before iftar, or a good ride workout after iftar. the problem with cycling is, you need good leg muscle and memory to be able to enjoy it... i haven been riding for a while and the route we are taking would be hilly all the time.

ahh well. on the other hand, been reading the book on biomechanics and psychology of superathletes and what makes them good boils down to their hard working self ethics and work principles. the famous tarahumaras for example, always works. something to do. unlike people like us these days, watching the tv, reading a book, eating frozen yogurt, etc. people in those days don't even have flat screen tv NEITHER multiple sclerosis. now MS is one of the most famous symptoms to hit working young adults.

Anyway after reading a chapter on these famous natural athletes I realized I am sort of living with one. harris has amazing work principles - or maybe he's just obsessive compulsive - but whatever it is he maintains his endurance, strength and flexibility by doing house work and a lot of it. in face when he was in an intensive football camp the footballers were asked to do all the maintenance, cleaning and everything themselves. these sort of housework strengthens their bodies as well as self discipline. I would be watching the television and he'd be cutting the trees, re-arranging the pots and plants, cleaning the car, etc etc. And I can't help because I mess with his system. Well, that's his compulsiveness in view. Anyway, the result is that he kicks ass in everything he does, and even without training. He's still able to outsprint a younger footballer and sometimes when I take him out for a really taxing spin he went up effortlessly... and I thought I was a good climber! In yoga - or b-boy power move, in his own 'macho' terms - his favorite show off pose is the headstand. You've got to have really strong core to be able to balance your body like that. urgh.

anyway... running? cycling? oh well!

Monday, July 25, 2011

grueling week

hari ni demam.

the last week, i 'trained' everyday. my thighs are feeling the burn even now thanks to saturday final karate class before ramadhan. thank God I woke up and dragged myself to it. best gila, and this time around I was the first to complete the loop yeah! maybe sebab panjat bukit menggila just that friday.

ramdhan is coming and cant wait to start my workout. run + kayuh bodoh keliling kampung. forget about swimming kang terkentut buang masa je. and i plan to do my workout in the morning since I have to sacrifice (hehe sacrifice kunun) my evening time to cook dinner... when you are not single anymore. dulu kakak masakkan.

im in the best possible mental and physical shape right now. i have enough sleep, i eat well, my workout is light, steady and challenging enough to keep my body moving. i dont have to sacrifice family time and i am physically satisfied. i do though want to sign up for a few run this end of the year but i am not sure whether i should... i am feeling ok just running without a target. oh well, we'll just wait and see.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

1/16 of gohtong

today he asked me, "nak panjat bukit?" and he said, "if you can do this, you can do gohtong."

he wanted to know how strong my legs are. if they were strong, i could scoot further on my saddle and pump. if I couldn't, I'd just lean far back and go slow. Of course I opted for the latter. I'm not delusional.

on the first hill - this ain't nothing compared to the second one, he said grinning evilly - i was going as slow as 9km/h. the hill was long, but not torturous, nothing I haven't done before.

the second one nearly gave me a hernia. it was hard, harder when he asked me to scoot forward and pump. i was spent reaching up. the lone runner who was doing hill repeats was checking for her time. i think she's going to syaur all other runners in any upcoming races. the hill was tough.

then I did a round of speed. god im so tired even writing this. it was a good workout, as always, i always enjoyed torturing myself. now going to get ready for workkk.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


(written today)

Just got back from a tough intense session as usual it's getting harder as the students turnout remained the same. Sensei is not that lenient anymore and my push up still suck. One thing that is good about this is that I am working on my speed so much. We have to run laps doing incredibly tough negative splits - this is in running terms and I bet the sensei doesn't know that; all he knows is asking us to complete the lap in 1 minute, then 50 seconds then 45 seconds and so one. CRAZY!

I did a half-assed brick session yesterday. since I missed riding last week due to rain and schedule, I was told to warm up my legs by cycling around the neighbourhood - even for 2km, using the heaviest gears. So I did, and cycling around neighbourhood is dangerous, well, when you're not wearing a helmet and wearing clipless shoes. there's just too many junctions and cars! but there's this slight incline that really worked me in heavy gears... i found myself cheating a little bit by switching to lower gears hehe. my back hurt! After about 25 minutes of mindless cycling I went for a short run. that was good since I felt strong if you didn't take into account my knees.

Looking forward for tomorrow's workout.

(wrote this on Tuesday)

Today was such a great intense workout! I felt so glad that I dragged myself off the bed at 5am and steeled myself against going back to sleep. So many thoughts went through my mind - I didn't have enough sleep, didn't really have a good full dinner, etc, - anything to bail out of this workout. But I reminded myself that I WILL feel good at the end of the session.

And I was right.

Today's session was meant to be tough. We started with basic drills, then a 5x20 seconds of strength exercises working on each major muscle group: arms, core, and legs. That means 5x20 seconds of arms, 5x20 seconds of core, you get the idea. Then we had to do jumping kicks for 2 laps. And REPEAT to doing karate drills. FOR ONE HOUR.

Karate is just sooooo, well, satisfying.

Last Sunday, I hit the pool. I miss the pool. It doesn't feel like a workout for me, and if it does, I feel more like a sexy mermaid than a drowning whale (although while doing drills I am the latter... never the former). That Sunday, I felt energized. The pool was empty - totally devoid of people. Syok nooooo. I fantasized on doing 2k, but will take at least 1k of swimming to keep me happy. That's my worst case number. If I was REALLY feeling sick, 800m pon jadi laaa.
Seperti biasa, warmup with 5x100m. Time tu la stretch aper yang nak stretch. berangan2 sikit while swimming, not caring. Then the set begins. I can't remember now what I did but I limit myself to 10-15 seconds of rest before I start again. I finished the set with a few drills, semestinya my favorite - the baring malas tepi drill. Didn't feel like it was a drill, seriously. Maybe I was doing it wrong the this whole time.

Everytime I see people running or talk about running, I feel like going running. It is such an easy workout, yet I find myself making excuses not to go. I just get bored easily nowadays with running. When I look at my bike, rasa nak pecah meronta2 tuk ride. Tapi sometimes the logistics of this sport makes me feel lazy. But when there's a will, there's a way. Especially if you are riding with someone so f@#$king good. Camana la dier tahan ngan aku ni.

Ramadhan Plan:
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Run
Wednesday: Cycle kanak2 riang ria tepi rumah.
Thursday: Yoga
Friday: Cycle/Yoga
Saturday: Buka Puasa gathering!
Sunday: Run/Rest

Have to swim as much as I could for now!

Friday, July 15, 2011


Honestly, the best pair of shoes.

It's cheap, cracked and not pretty. But I've been using it forever.

Harris doesn't look too chuffed being the third wheel. Haha.

I remember the first time I bought this dude. I came in with a friend, who would later custom fit and build the rest of the bike. It was on a Tuesday, and nearly 8pm. My friend spent the whole night bringing him to life. Eddy was beautiful, and also expensive. It took me months to pay off his debts, and now he's mine all mine. Everybody loved the bike, just not as much as I do. We made some pretty sweet rides, and he was reliable, and strong, and well, faster than my first. We conquered some awesome hills, and he kept me company during solo moments - the best moments. Some people spent the rest of their lives not knowing who they are, and Eddy helped me reclaimed back my identity. First a runner, and now a cyclist. But I am not fast, neither am I competitive. My 'coach/riding buddy' does not agree; he hates recreational cyclist, always pushing me to get faster, better, stronger. I'll see what happens.

Cycling aside, I've been working out steadily. Been doing karate 3 times a week now, and the first week when I did it I couldn't walk properly for days. All the muscle groups in my legs made themselves known. It was PAINFUL. All the squats; monkey squats, crab squats, sumo squats, whatever squats, they kicked my butt. The training was as tough as yoga. I still hold to this fact: Nothing is as tough as yoga, NOTHING. When done correctly, yoga BURNS.

A week before my wedding, I did my last yoga class for the session. The teacher has turned brutal on me, and the poses harder, more mentally exhausting than ever. I almost cried a few times. Oh God, writing this makes me miss yoga. Soon.

My running has been steady. Nothing much to report there. I will still consider myself a good runner, although the heart is not 100% in there. I complain more when I'm running, couldn't wait for it to finish. Yet I still do the laps religiously. During the bi-weekly running tests, I could still muster some energy to sprint.

Ramadhan month is coming! I love working out during Ramadhan. Makes you sooo much stronger.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Water babies and relapsed knees.

There was a time when writing in here was all I could think about.

A few things happened. Like I got married. I had a knee relapse issue. Work. Life. Nothing major.

Spent a week revisiting one of my favorite release: surfing. I decided that for a post wedding retreat we would be doing something active. No lovey dovey beach poses or boring island snorkeling. A lot of my ideas were vetoed, like, hiking up Mt. Fuji, camping in Nepal, etc.

We settled on being waterbabies.

I was actually a pretty decent wave rider back in my uni days. I would spent hours baking under the sun at the beach, combing the waves for some seriously nice ride. Riding the waves gave me a great release.

Harris was a natural, once he got over the fear of being thrashed in the ocean. The waves were calm on our fist day, low tide, no barrels, easy current, gentle whitecats. His board balancing skills were zero though, and I secretly laughed inside, thanking all the yoga poses I did obediently. Once we got a hang of standing on our boards we captured quite a few nice waves together. Paddling back was torturous. I reminded myself that I have survived swimming in the ocean for roughly 2km so this SHOULD be nothing, but of course, the paddling still hurts.

During the evening we rented bicycles and spent a good 2 hours exploring trails. Both of us did not have the technical knowledge of maneuvering the dirt roads, nevertheless we survived. Our quads were thrashed but we survived.

Been running steadily now. 5.6ks every other days. My weekly mileage now would be a pretty 35k. I ran a solid 15k yesterday. This is considered good since I have not been running for yonks. My feeling towards it though still has not changed. Running to me now does not feel as good as cycling does, and I don't think it ever will. I still get pangs, still feel a twinge when I see runners or running things. But definitely cycling is more therapeutic to my mind. The long long long route with only me and my thoughts.

Running is simply just a routine maintenance. I'm not complaining though.

One thing I love every single time is the confidence I get even while still in the act. I love the fact that I can run long and steady without even breaking my stride. I love how powerful and worthy it makes me feel. No matter what I do in this world, I am simply still a person who just fucking enjoy getting her heart pumped and pumped and pumped.

There's nothing in this world more beautiful than the feeling of lactic acid build up.

Alas, all good things have to come to an end. My knees flamed up again after the run yesterday. The pain is familiar and it is telling me that I have another 6 more months of involuntary hiatus. I have no time to feel angry or frustrated; there is simply no regret in doing what I just did. The running itself is worth it. But I need this rest, I'm saving my knees for better things.

Such as straddling my faithful steed again, roughing up the big bad ass uphills.
We have a date.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

run with dad

been running with the old man these days. today was no different. my first thought was, damn this man is getting better! isn't his knees supposed to be killing him? either he's getting fitter or I'm losing fitness. I opt for both. Ever since I stopped cycling for a while,I have been doing nothing. Crickets. But been picking up sports here and there. I can still kick up dirt with my sprint repeats. Great nice 5km with dad, who ran a bit too fast for my liking. Had to con him into stopping... I am not proud of that.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


i guess there's only so many moments you can have before you have to redefine your focus.

People ask me if it was hard to let go. Before answering, I will always recall back the recent post I wrote about loving the cycling and what it does for me. To be honest, it was harder before the decision, not so after. I would look at all my friend's weekend's escapades with neither longing, envy nor regret. Sometimes I would confide in a friend about the immensity of what I am letting go of, and they would understand, knowing that before all of this, it was a huge part in my life. But we are meant to lose the people/things we love, because how else are we going to know how important they were to us?

exercise will always be a part of my life. but in a different way now.

I end this with one of my favorite quotes from Benjamin Button:

For what it’s worth, it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit... start whenever you want... you can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that stop you. I hope you feel things that you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life that you’re proud of and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

race dilemma

I planned to start my 2011 official race soon with a race I did last year and loved, but as the time comes I find myself making reasons and excuses not to go.

truth to be told, I have enjoyed the slew of continuous exercise without a goal in mind, or without having to pay a single entry fee. I was okay missing out on many other 'key' and 'A' races without a single feeling of regret or remorse. But I had in mind that I want to start 2011 with that specific race. It was short, easy, stress free and enjoyable.

Problem is: it is expensive, requires planning on the logistics and the date clashes with my friend's engagement.

Excuses excuses.

anyway, today was a good day. nearly bailed on the workout but fought the sleepiness and got ready. i had planned a short and simple workout but a friend had another thing in mind. we headed out to a mid distance, meeting no one. it was a good ride with minimal hills.

i am getting stronger. i think.

still can't decide whether to go or not for the event.

Friday, April 8, 2011


When people asked me what I do, I used to say, "I am a runner."

It took me a long time, but now when I am asked the same question, I replied with, "I am a cyclist."

Let me lay it down for you. I am not an exceptional athlete. I am known on this blog as an injured runner, running a 3 hour half marathons. I swim freestyle at a breaststroke pace. I am now just a rehabilitated weekend warrior, enjoying her time.

It is the same thing when I cycle. On average, my speed is 23-25km/h. I can't hardly sustain speeding on a flat course for more than 3 minutes. I am never the first one to arrive and never able to overtake another cyclist. After 1 year of cycling, I have improved little.

But nothing gives me the same rush.

When I love a particular sport, I love it because it makes me feel alive. It makes me feel good while doing it, after doing it, and probably a few days after doing it. I love how it organizes my life and kick starts my energy, and the burst of confidence it gives me. This ability to still do it, and do it and do it. I have loved running with all of my life. But I can't explain this love for cycling. The amazing views I get to see, the trees, the wind on my face, the people passing you by in a blur.

Most of all, I love how tough it is. I love the hot sun, the crazy headwinds, the unforgiving hills, the relentless rain. I love a ride that comes with particularly tough route or circumstances. The best rides I remembered were all rides I suffered like crazy.

This reminds me of an article I read about the original meaning of the word 'passion'. In Latin, passion is defined as to suffer, to endure, particularly in one thing that you love. If what I am doing, waking up at the wee hours in the morning, lack of sleep, dehydration, leg stiffness, hot sun, back ache, etc isn't passion, what is?

Which leads me to a favorite quote of mine:

"Anytime you add that structure to something, for me, it kills it. Think about the word 'amateur': It has its root in the Latin word 'amare', which means 'to love'--you do it for the love of the sport."
--Charles Carlson, Bicycling June 2008

Friday, March 25, 2011

Rest in peace

A cyclist friend passed away this morning, hit by a car while on the highway.

when you do these kind of sports, the circle of friend is large. many become people you know of, some people you Hi and Bye with, a few you hit off well. nevertheless, everybody is a friend.

i rode with him on many many saturdays, many many sundays, many many good long distance trips. last week, we chatted while going one uphill. always with his wife and son, a good leader and cyclist.

i didn't see how it happened. he was a good 500m behind me. it was bad, as witnessed by friends who were behind me. we were in shock. for the first time ever, nobody complained about the heat.

i keep remembering him the first time we met. my very first foray into this sport that i clearly love, this sport that have regained the top spot in my heart. he was the ride leader.

thanks for all the times riding together, rest in peace.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It's March

it has been a while and I would like to say that life is not all about the Internet.

I had a good cardio today. When I say good it usually means either I was performing, or I was struggling. This morning, I was really struggling. Have not been exercising for a month or so due to work and personal commitments. I went to Turkmenistan for work last week. Suffice to say when it becomes my home for the next three years I'm going to have to work extra hard to keep fit.

Anyway this morning it was a good strength training workout that really made my legs feel the burn. Headwinds and hills, plus a little bit of rain are always a good combo. It was quite cold though, something I didn't really like. If it's going to be cloudy please make it comfortable, not chilly. There was no sun, which is good for the skin, but for me personally bad training-wise. For the first time in a long while the hills worked me. I felt the burn like a heartache. There were moments where I had to keep myself going. All this makes me better so I was not complaining.

It is really nice to know that this used to be a serious, tough workout for me. But after a slew of really epic distances, this feels like an easy saturday boo-hoo.

Yesterday at the strength training class the instructor worked me good. We focused on the large muscle groups, working specifically the core. I like that my body awareness is improving, and slowly my body is responding. We ended the set with a tough abwork that left me screaming Uncle!

Can't wait for my first official event soon.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


I always think: if it weren't for my knees, I would be smoking everybody.

On days when I could not go on because of them, I get moments where I think, "why?" And then I realized that this is such a small thing. I think the reason behind this is that maybe God is telling me something. If I didn't have bad knees or shoulders or what not, I would be such a conceited ass. In high school I was a smug athlete. I got annoyed at slower runners. My purpose when running is dropping others behind. I knew I was good, and I think I let it go over my head.

Now my knees and shoulders keep me in check. They allow me to do sports without letting my ego gets the best of me. At anytime I started to excel and thus, smugness sinks in, they get to work. Too many times I had to pull out of runs, rides, tournaments because of my knees.

It sounded like a curse. But I chose to see it as a blessing.

This week was one good example. I did another long distance event this week, and although not the first, or the fastest lady there, I was strong. I kept a nice pace (I think all the years in cross country taught me well in pacing myself), I handled my nutrition well, and I kept it together through all the crazy hills. People commented how good and how strong I was despite poor mileage and lack of training. They mentioned it several times.

I started to get a big head.

The next day, another long distance event. I was all prepped, thinking of all the praises heaped on me when I finally finished it. The pictures they will take, showing me in action, people going, wow nadia is so strong!

My knees acted up. And I had to say no. Because although ego is a big thing, I think experience and the smartness of saying no is better. I've learned my mistakes when I ruined them because of running. Now I exercise caution.

Anyway, I think I will always be a long distance girl. I never cared about the time or speed, although to be honest I would want to have BOTH speed and endurance. But if I had to choose, I'd choose the ability to go long, and enjoy long. This was one of the sweetest long distance thing I had to endure, because it was just me, my thoughts, and wanting to finish. I always want to finish. And I always will.

To having the ability and capability to go long and enjoy long, thank you God, for this gift.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

a change would do you good

2 days ago I walked to the shop because it was a lovely day. In the midst of walking I suddenly felt this huge urge to RUN. it was a beautiful day, with no wind, humid to the core, the sun shining and I was like, "why the hell not?"

So I ran. With no sports bra on (I had a bra on ok... just not a sports bra). And cut off jeans. And slippers. After a while I took of my slippers and ran... barefoot.

I looked like a thief. But i felt like a superstar.

I read about people talking how marathons and all the multisports 'changed' their lives. Truth to be told... I have no idea how, and in what way.

Completing a marathon felt just like it - completing a marathon. I mostly felt relieved, and then proud that I have not given up. When I did my first triathlon I felt proud. The same thing happened when I did my first century. Relieved that I made it, and proud that I held on.

But doing them does not change my life. I still give up easily outside of sports. I am neither happier or sadder. I am grateful. Maybe I have a high pedestal on how 'life-changing' these sports achievements should be. I was sort of imagining that i dont know... maybe I became a different person, and my social life just picked up, etc. But I am still the same ol same old person doing paperwork in the office.

I do though, gained friendships. That is a good plus. Certain things you discussed about during the long trip towards the race venue, certain things you've witnessed or have people witnessing, certain things you accidentally did without control... these people stick by you through thick and thin.

One thing I DO know, is that being active makes me feel grateful. Of being able to. Of having the choice instead of given none. Of putting the trust God give me on my body and not wasting it away. Playing sports makes me become aware of who I am, what I am, and how I should be. I complete century distance rides almost monthly and I am grateful for that. That I am still able to run, and enjoy running, is a gift that keeps on giving.

Nothing in this world is permanent. Which is why, sometimes, with the wind on my face and the road hard and hot under my feet, I wonder if somehow, the most insignificant changes in life would be the most significant.

Friday, February 11, 2011

great week

i worked out everyday except for Monday. this on a heavy fever week. why do i only get and give good workouts to myself during uncalled for times? i run better - faster, longer - during ramadhan with all the dehydration. And this week, heavy with fever and stuffy nose and fatigue, I had awesome sessions.

Well, awesome sessions, but my body felt weak. Nevertheless, they recover fast.

Tuesday, I in-line skated. Watching youtube videos of the Longboard Girls with their sick skills spurned me on. I let my hair down, and pretended I'm one of them, blasting up and down the hills, feeling the quads, working. I imagined them quads looking cute, toned and firm and wasn't that a great motivation to push up harder.
What I learned: you can enjoy the exertion if you think about how this will benefit you in the long run.

Wednesday, strength. Didn't break too much of a sweat, but my heart pumped somewhat crazy. I loved this sessions and wished I had more time after work.
What I learned: it is up to you to push yourself. You can always add one more rep and then the next.

Thursday, finally my boyfriend decided to join me for a spin. And that dude wowed me as usual. My turf, my playground, and he whooped my ass climbing up the hills like the bike and him were one and the same. I loved the view of his calves when I was exerting myself along the ride. The night was balmy and humid, and it was the best because I was with the person who mattered most.
What I learned: The same route helps to gauge your fitness, and how each exercise changes according to the day weather, mental state, etc.

Friday, still feeling weak, but strength class still had to go on. This time, I wanted to focus on my upper body strength. And dear lovely instructor, she made us pant and sweat and our arms and upper back shake like a Polaroid picture. great stretching sessions afterwards.
What I learned: Focus and breathing are keys to your knowing your RPE.

Saturday, a dip in the pool. Woke up from a goood recovery sleep, and decided what the hell, let's just get yourself worked out for a while.
What I learned: You can lose yourself in the moment, and the next thing you know, you've exceeded your expectations.

balik kampung jumpa ibu, ayah, kucing!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


No workout for 6 days. But I compensated those days with family, food and friends. It was worth it.

Reorganizing my sports closet, I realised that I have more running shoes than my work shoes... or any other normal ordinary shoes. I have only 1 pair that I wear to work everyday. 1 heels to wear for wedding functions. 1 strappy one for casual events. The rest I wear Havaiainas flip flops. I have always been a flip flop girl. Must took it from my beachy, surfing watersports days.

But I have one trail running shoe (a good investment for my Nepal trip), 3 running shoes that I alternate (1 for events, 1 for regular training, and 1 for cross training) and 2 vibrams. I hardly use the 3 running shoes now with the vibrams so they've been downgraded to badminton shoes, etc.

I have about 20? unworn running singlets from race events. I have only used 4 of them for yoga classes but now since I do them at home there's no reason for me to wear a proper attire. I have always been a cotton tshirts kind of girl. I love how they stick to your skin.

I am happy where I am today. I think I have 'crossed' off the list of things to do when you're a weekend warrior; everybody goes through this phase - a 10k event, then a 21k, then a 42k and then if you're still searching for something you might try a triathlon and who knows if you're still obsessed an Ironman.

There are some people who got stuck with only running and I envy people like them. They don't follow the natural progression, but finding their passion real early and holding on to it instead. I was one of 'those' who felt that I needed to do more things in order to feed that burning drive. We are all guilty of it.

But I have found my calling. And I love it.

I am still going to stick to my guns and running for penang bridge marathon :) and maybe siemens 10k... and malakoff... and mizuno... those are the good runs. short, simple, with milo at the end.

My dad has retired from running. I asked him if he wanted to run for energizer and he said no, he has no interest anymore to run events. Like me, he too, has come full circle. The rush is gone, but it was good while it lasted. Damn good.

Today was a good workout. Good intervals that got my legs burning and myself gasping for air. I think of my cousin, whom if given the chance to be alive and healthy, would have enjoyed this run with me. I miss you ngangah, all the time, everyday :(

Monday, January 31, 2011

Tuesday good day

Good cardio. No hesitation in the morning, even when I slept at nearly 2am. I knew I was going to have to put in some cardio today and there shall be no excuses.

Woke up, got ready, drank milk, then started. It was fast, and furious (for me) and too soon my heart started racing, legs burning. I kept to my pace, afraid of cramps. At the usual stop I did forward bends until I'm a noodle. Then I continued again, but due to the busy traffic (forgot that Selangor has to work) I have to be careful about the cars. It bothered my pace and I hate having to slow down especially when I'm on a roll. My legs seem to be quite heavy and I worked them hard to 'man up' to the speed. No mollycoddling!

At the last stop I picked up pace that really got my heart pumping and my thighs groaning. The whole distance felt short but I knew I worked hard today, pushed myself.

But when I came back from a hearty breakfast, I realised that it's not enough. I want to be doing more - so I went to the gym and spent about an hour there. I was dying of thirst afterwards.

Chocolate milk is such a good recovery drink. Just a thought.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday PAINFUL cardio

I can't somehow believe that the worst have passed. That I am in my home, all clean and showered, no gunk on my face and body, no grime and sand on my face.

Yesterday, I had the biggest, longest, (can I say torturous?) cardio outing ever. Without prior training. Why did I sign up for this? I kept asking myself, especially during the slow hours with the sun on my back. Why? But I know why, because I love coming home looking back to the worst I have just encountered. Worst is simply a relative term.

The first part I was buzzing. I kept a good pace, easy effort, no pressure on anything. I was enjoying the scenery. Reaching to the first stop I began to feel the cramps building in. I am disappointed and frustrated. Lately I seem to be getting cramps while doing long slow cardio - I never got cramps before. It started during Penang Bridge and now they come naturally like your period cramps. I've seriously got to change the way I prepare my workout.


Started again. Still on a roll, fair pace, albeit the slow build of muscle cramps on my legs. It felt ugly, like resentment or hatred, the kind of feelings you do not want to have but can't help having. The cramps weighed heavy, and I was worried. I rode into the destination town worried. Started to resort to deep heat, massage, stretches, the works. This time around, nothing helped. And I am kilometers away from home.

When we u-turned back, I was suffering. Kept the effort as low as possible while engaging my major muscles. I wondered if the pain was because I had a hard workout the night before. I am 4 hours away from the safety and comfort of my car. The cramps settled, a dead weight on my legs. At the rest stop I succumbed to one, doubling over. somebody sprayed me until I felt like the legs were on fire. No sooner than I started again the cramps attacked.

But I did it. somehow, somewhat, I did it. Major cramps, aches, exhaustion, but I sashayed into our RV place in one piece, shaken, stirred, but accomplished. Cramped perhaps, but still. The last 20% of the journey was all mental. and that mental was the reason why I keep doing this.

I am thankful for this capability. To be alive!

Friday, January 28, 2011


My new favorite term: Koyak.

Technically it means tear or it can also be a verb - to tear. But in the context of sports and exercise, Koyak means to suffer. or burn out, or to struggle.

Picked this up from the people I generally do cardio with. Especially during the long slow ones, with the sun burning on your back, surely one or two will utter these words - "Damn koyak weh!"

It's my favorite term because it means I am working hard and pushing myself. To get better.

Today was my first comeback to strength training and stretching class after a looong sabbatical. Of course I explained a great detail about my knee injury, my shoulder, and what-nots. I am glad I have an instructor who remembers my injuries.

First she made me do a quadriceps stretch that also massage the knees. It took all my effort to not scream out or move because the tension in my knees were building up. But it was not painful; it was merely easing through the knots of my tendons.

Then we started with ab works. I am glad to say that although I struggle through the sets, at least it wasn't that hard.

The hardest was the arm strengthener. We did a series of Cobra poses that just did my triceps in. When we got to the lunges, my head felt lightheaded. We did the whole thing with no ceiling fan or aircond on.

Can't wait for a totally punishing but no doubt satisfying cardio tomorrow. I am looking forward to Koyak!

Have a great weekend everyone. And Happy Chinese New Year to my Chinese friends!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Number Game

Of all the gadgets I wanted for my sports, a GPS watch is top on the list. The reason is simple: I want to know how far I run when I run. This habit started when I run events, therefore I train, therefore keeping tabs matter. When the interest wane off, I somehow like to keep track of the mileage just because I like to see the details all spread out over a period of a month. Or maybe I am a geek like that.

Last year, I trained by the numbers. I have a 10 ringgit wristwatch to keep track of the time I took to run my daily 5k, just to see if I have improved. When I swim, I glance often at the wall clock and made sure I do not go over the normal swimming time of my 1k. I used a cycling computer to tell me how far I am going and what my rpm is. I am jut short of not counting my heart rate, or my strokes, or my power output.

In short, it was all about the numbers.

Yesterday, I went for an outing with my project team. It was mostly fun and lightweight, but since there was a runner in the group as well, and she's reasonably fit, we decided to run. At first I was being careful, slowing down on the downhill, making sure my pace was steady. But after a while I began to zone out and just ran. I momentarily thought about my knees as I raced downhill with my colleague, zip zapping on the rocks. I was fast, springy, excited, and extremely at home. I thought, "Oh my god I am so dead," as we ran up and down the baby inclines.

But it was worth it.

Truth to be told, I left the world of 'training' after Penang Bridge but gained back the wonderful pleasures of just working out. It is not a Must not but a WANT TO, just like when I was a student. I stopped measuring all my performances - swimming, running, cycling, karate drills, in-line skating, etc - for the simple pleasures of getting sweaty.

I stopped relying on the numbers and begin again to learn by feel - the feel of the winds past my ears to gauge my runs, the burning triceps as I work on my strokes, the ease of climbing for my power output. I no longer am anal about my timing, or distance, instead merely asking my friends about them, to be jotted down into my fitness journal. I do write down the distance, and the time if not for routine. I still like data, although I don't stress about it.

Anyway, running the route yesterday was awesome. It reminded me that I am not dependent on any technology but myself, and that no amount of GPS data, or split timings going to make me a better athlete. Truth to be told, if I can trust my own natural fitness gauge, I feel like I have improved, a bit stronger, with or without all these stuff.

A friend is going to give me her hand me down cycling computer, and as much as I like getting things for free, I wonder what having it would do for me. I have enjoyed riding without knowing anything at all except how good it feels and how bad this motherfcking hill is. I save myself the trouble of feeling the dread knowing that I have another X km to complete.

One of these days, I will try to see if I could just workout without keeping tabs. But for now, I am pretty much, bound by a little bit of data.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Double Whammy Weekend

I'm still on my two feet, immobile, so the Open water swim was a great chance to reconnect with my swimming and also old friends. Have not seen these guys for some time, and Kash too.

To be honest I wasn't sure I was going to swim. I have stopped swimming 'seriously' and have not done any long distance swimming for some time. Compared to the rest of them I am the weakest swimmer, which goes to show that just because you're younger doesn't really mean you can't be smoked. The last time we did this, I got stuck in the current on the swim back to the shore Ian had to stay with me, which is a bit of a downer as you never want to be slowing anyone down. Also being the last made me panic and I was thoroughly drained when the swim was over.

I thought it was going to be the same thing.

This time around I did ok. I thought my main limiter would be my fitness since I've not been doing any cardio routine. I thought I would be struggling to follow the rest, and that my heart would be pounding, and I would be dying for a breather. But I kept to the same steady pace and routine of sighting that after the first few minutes I calmed down immensely and just, swam. Having Jaja beside me (doing a breaststroke - that was how slow I was with my freestyle) was also a calming point. At least we were both swimming side by side, going towards the same point. The rest has shot off far ahead except for Ian who was basically being a good soul keeping tabs on us.

I always wonder what went on in our heads when we were doing the distance. Be it running, cycling, swimming, most of the times it would be only us and our thoughts keeping us company. I believe this is why individual sports are so therapeutic. your minds just wander off somewhere and let your body auto pilot itself.

I think I have improved, and I can't decide whether it's because I was visibly more relaxed, or because I am just fitter. Strengthwise I still have noodle sticks for arms and maybe I have to surgically implant muscles there. Gary, one of the swimmers, had bulging biceps and I believe the swim was barely an effort for him.

Today what was meant to be a simple 4km of trail run-walk has turned into 11km of getting lost and dehydrated. I felt guilty because it was my idea to go to the Frim woods for some exercise, and my boss was into the idea and hence, all the project team were suckered into going. One guy brought along his pregnant wife.

The first part of the trail - 4km - were done in high spirits, I devised a game where we would sprint when we come to inclines. That got our heart rates up and bodies sweating. The we proceeded to another long trail where I devised a game of tag+pass the baton, in which every runner would run as fast as possible to make it hard for the runner behind him to catch him, and 'pass' the baton. It got us huffing and puffing and then suddenly we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere. We were inside one of the botany gardens and the only way out was over the locked wire fenced gate. In the end, we had to go out via the drain tunnel, and it was a hoot to have our boss hoisted up from the drain. The mountain bikers even snapped pictures of these awkward looking joggers all coming up from the drain by the roadside.

All in all, it was a very tiring 11km Frim tour.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Broke My Back comeback

What a great workout. After 4 weeks off no serious cardio (except a 3 runs, 2 in-line skating with RPE of 8, and karate drills), I managed to complete this not-so-easy workout with great flourish. Except for some back pain and bodily aches (due to different steed and adaptability of the distance after a lay off) I feel fine. Totally fine. In fact, I loved this workou so much! Maybe we should do this weekly.

My secret? Karate drills. And yoga stretches - daily. Those things really helped. So many things could go wrong - wrong sized steed, shoes, heavier in general, lack of fitness, tough route, but aside from the two mother effer hills, I had a great time, I wasn't slow or slowing anyone down, I am actually ok, speedwise. I could use another bottle of water, but dehydration's part of my exercise anyway.

These past one week, I was cooped up in a meeting room for a weeklong discussion. It's called an IPF study, and being the green, newbie engineer that I am, I was glad I was thrown into this to learn. But all we did inside there was sit, think really hard, argue, and then eat. All the lack of physical exercise makes me wish we could conduct this study while on treadmills or something. Anything to keep us energized. So what I did was to bring weights in and use them around my ankles while we were discussing. Lifting both my legs up help strengthen my knees, and that's always a good thing.

Once I am back home I did my karate drills and an hour of yoga. No excuse no matter how pooped I am. I have made the conscious decision to be good to my body, at least 6 times a week. Last week, the gym of my condo was closed, and it was raining, and my knees hurt to run, so what I did was pop in my collection of CDs and had a mosh fest. I was breathing really hard at the end of the hour. I forgot how good music makes you feel, especially with the tunes.

For your information, I was listening to Smashing Pumpkins, As I Lay Dying, and Bush. Great tunes.

Off to clean the house. Another workout?

I end this with a sobering but uplifting picture:

If this kid can smile... so can YOU

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Joys Of

The joy of having your own personal space:

1) Your own rules. And no one else's.
2) Privacy. To do whatever you want - read in the bathtub (as I sometimes do), brush your teeth in front of the tv (yes... im a mutant).
3) Dancing with absolutely no reservation.
4) Wanting to paint the walls flashing red? No problemo.

Fitness Updates:
I've established more of less a stable, regular routine. It consists of cardio and a bit of stretching and strength. My aerobic capacity is definitely not like it was, but I have little doubt that should I return back to my favorite sports I would not have that hard of a problem staying on.

On days when it is raining, and the gym is closed I run up the stairs of my condo up till the top floor (19th floor) and take the elevator down to ground again. The first time I did it, the guards stopped me, suspicious. But then they note that I was a heavy gym goer and use the pool often and always wheel my bike out past them or jog into/and out past the guard house. They let me go.

Health updates:

Sleep times are stable. I have been getting 6 hours of sleep now. I take power naps of 10 minutes tops... never more. I try to eat healthily (TRY, TRY) but only this morning I walloped two polystyrene sized nasi lemak ayam goreng (breakfast, then lunch) and then half a slice of blueberry cheese cake... and then like about 5 Reese's Pieces. GASP! I blame the whole day meeting with the Engineering team.

Ok, gotta go and do work.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Workout Two

When it comes to sports, I have always been a hopeless romantic.

Ever since I was a kid, more so when I turned to a young adult, I have lost count how many times I dived into a sport (new and old) and thought to myself, "this is it... im in love."

The first few times I started swimming regularly, 2 years back, I remember slicing through the calm blue water and thinking to myself, "whoa, what a wonderful feeling. I love this."

Early mornings enjoying my solo spin along the empty deserted road I went, "ohmigod, I am in love and I won't let go."

In the middle of a super hard dolphin pose, "i... love... this!"

After a kickboxing class, "What a great workout! I love kickboxing!"

In my countless loop at the lake, the birth of many great things in my running, even my injuries - "I could die right now and I am at my happiest."

On and on it happened, be it hiking, surfing, field hockey, badminton and squash (damn... I miss squash).

None of these infatuations have to do with competitions. It was always about pure exercising, bad form, good form, low mileage and all.

Today was no example. I am still trying to pick up to where I left my fitness last - on the dusty shelf of my 'things to continuously do' library - and slowly regain back my exercising routine. It was a good Sunday. Woke up early, treated my parents to a nice breakfast of nasi dagang with ayam merah (the best, seriously) and vacuumed, swept, wiped the house. General cleaning done, suddenly I was in the mood to do a cardio.

So I did. I started out slow, telling myself its ok if I didnt complete the target. Its all about the warm up.

The main set was torturous. I nearly died twice trying to sustain the drills. Recently I am more interested in doing short hard intervals rather than long endurance oriented ones due to my limited time frame (and god only knows how I used to love endurance based workout!). Also, hard short workouts give more or less the same results as those who did long workouts.

Plus, I believe in the power of yoga. When I did yoga quite religiously all other cardio wasn't really hard. I sleep better, I climb up the hills better, I sustain better, you name it, yoga better-fy my athletic performance, even my life.

And right now I'm going to shower, clean the bathroom, do my weekly DIY facial, read a book and just become a lazy ass.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Return to Cardio

Yesterday after 14 days of recuperating I decided to go for a run.

The feeling has been building for nearly a week now but I as hesitant to jump into any activities so quickly after the accident. But yesterday it as was as good as it gets. It wasn't raining, I as in good spirits, none of the fatigue from work or anything, and I had time.

I decided to walk from my condo to the lake. It was a nice walk, probably about 1.5km at most, but I as warmed up due to the brisk pace I kept. It was probably more of a jog, and I try not to focus too much on my steps and let my paranoia disappear.

When I arrived I quickly increased to a trot. I felt my ankles and knees and calves like I've never before - 3 months of completely no running has shocked my system to the core. They weren't exactly complaining, but they made themselves known. I felt the ground beneath my feet, I felt my calves, I felt the wind rushing through my ears. I probably ran at a fast pace. I thought of slowing it down so I could last about 5 loops (1 loop is 1.1km) but I decided to just run at the pace I felt like running, all other 'should' or 'would' be gone.

As I as nearing my second loop I have yet to slow down. Also bumped into all these runners I have not seen for a while - this uncle who ran the opposite way from others - we smiled at each other, both unable to stop. He is a good consistent runner. The guy Rashid - whom I wrote in my first few entries of this blog. He was there too, and ran fast like it as a walk in the park.

I probably slowed down a pitch in my third loop, and as much as I wanted to continue and make it to 5 (I'm a sucker for keeping a routine), I told myself to take it easy on the first run. I stopped after the third loop, since I have another 1.5km walk back to my place.

It as a nice cool down walk home. I passed subang parade, carrefour and all these people miling around and about. I realized I'm blessed to live in an area where exercise is not a challenge but of abundance. It is here here I regularly go for a spin, my condo has a nice pool where I would swim for hours in (one time an old lady went down from her place to the pool and asked me"are you training for the olympic?" HAHAHA), and there's even the gym should I feel too lazy to go out. And running is everyhere!

I'm going to have to start registering my dad for races. He's been itching to run something and been pestering me to sign him up. I don't know whether I'd join him as I already enjoy running the same distance without wasting any money, but I have always liked the event atmosphere. all I know is, I know exactly what race I would be doing this year for sure and it is none other than the Penang Bridge! hahahah good running place, and good food. No complaints!

Yeay to fitness!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hello Again

2 years ago, I discovered sports events. My life somewhat changed, rather subjectively whether it was for the better or worse. For the first time after my university days I had a proper routine, and I was dead set to follow it. My friends and family thought I was crazy.

I was a 13 year old girl in love. Nothing mattered.

Three pictures I want to share with you guys:

This is a picture of my cousin who succumbed to leukemia at 23 years old. I took this picture, when we had just arrived in Bali. It was a cousin only trip - my sister and I, him and his brother. I can't remember how old we were when this trip happened, but he was in remission then, and just a regular old guy again, talking about girls and music. I still get pangs thinking about his absence in our family, and I think about him more so when I am exerting myself during a hard run, swim, ride, drills, pose, even when I am eating a good meal, or getting a good pay. Life is not always good, but at least we're living it. Thank You Ngangah, Assalamualaikum.

Lone runner in Hyde Park. Hyde Park remains to be one of the best place for me to run, and I don't know whether it's because of the whole scenery or the fact that it was such an emotional catharsis for me at one time. I must have ran it daily, sometimes twice a day, with the company of the album by Dirty Three (She Has No Strings Apollo). That was truly the time where I felt that running was a reliever, whereas now running has a meaning, or a goal, to be addressed. I am looking forward to have more runs like that this year, hopefully with none of the emotional baggage included.

If I want to sum up my sporting triumphs with just one picture, this would be it. I believe I have posted this up before, and will continue to be a favorite of mine. Why I love this picture is not really hard to guess: it was a picture of me haphazardly doing my first triathlon race. This picture for me captures the spirit of what I think sports should be: a mild passion of doing something you love, without caring about anything else. My bike was the cheapest and the worst off in the lot - I bought it for RM800. The tyres don't match, the frame was too big for me, my helmet was only 20 bucks (I still use it till today, until the accident cracked it), and I was wearing probably my favorite workout essential until now - a cotton tshirt. I have never embraced the dri-fit material. I had no idea what to expect, and I struggled badly during the transition, but I LOVED the bike portion. I passed about 12 women during this leg.

I got a better bike now, but to be honest I still think that my cheap ass bike was the best. It was steel, and steady like a boyfriend, and made me work harder than ever. It still baffles my mates how I was faster in the steel bike than I am in my carbon. I guess it was because things were new, and I had no expectations.

This year, I'm starting again my routine, whatever it is, after two weeks of complete abandon. And it will start today, insyaAllah.