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!