Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ride with Dad: 60km

Last weekend I rode with my dad.

We had a plan: ride to my cousin's house for breakfast and ride back. They live in Bandar Baru Bangi, and we will start from dad's house at Nilai Impian. I've never rode the route before but dad has - alone, I might add - and he says it's pretty cool.

The first part of the ride took us through Kg Batang Benar. It is my favorite part of the ride. It was shady, veryyy scenic and peaceful. No cars passed by, only motorcycles. No dogs. It was cool and shady, even though we started late (750 am). It was a mostly flat route, no major climbs. In fact, there were no major uphill along the whole route, only 2-3 little rollers that might make your heart beat race a little bit. Nothing major. It was really cool riding with dad. This is my 6th time I think with him and he has improved sooo much. He used to be a really bad roadie. Utter disregard for traffic and cars, not even bother to look back at me and see if I was safe - his own daughter! Even then I still had to remind him to keep to the shoulder of the road as he tended to veer towards the middle of the road.

My dad is an improved cyclist. When we first started he was slow and only fast on flats. That too, would be only for a while. Forget about hills. It was almost shameful to watch him hustle and bustle. I've been too used over him gloating that this old man can beat his own daughter that seeing him choking on my dust seemed... barbaric. But he cycles continuously, during the weekdays he would do a 'sprint repeat' or intervals, just riding at full speed until he tires. He attacks hilly routes sometimes. But those helped. He is now a better cyclist than me - who rides once in a while now. I am proud of him. He's what - 60 years old and still well, roughly fit.

The ride to Bandar Baru Bangi was hot and dusty. Traffic wasn't all bad, none of the cars paid any attention to us. We arrived at my cousin's house more or less on the time we had estimated. She has prepared a sumptuous feast of Nasi Lemak and chicken fritters and iced drinks. What awesomeness.

The way back was even better. It was really hot, and I was dying. We went the shorter way via Bukit Mahkota and there was this one long stretch of an uphill. My dad climbed smoothly while I was too drained to 'fight'. I could see my dad slowly gloating over the fact that he beat his own daughter.

We arrived at 1130 am. And then slept.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Semangat Lari Balik... and I talk about yoga.

Actually, I have always been semangat.

 Actually, tak.

To be honest, ever since I discovered ashtanga yoga, I am lazy to do anything that involves me to go out of the house wearing clothes... erk, not that I practice naked. Cuma less baju to wash. Dengan tudung nyer lagi etc etc.

Why do I like ashtanga so much? Because it is a good replacement. It physically, mentally and emotionally challenges me just the same. The practice usually takes me about 90 minutes or 120 minutes to complete, depending, and it requires you to focus.

When I came to yoga it was because the doctors said, "Kau lari lagi kau kayuh lagi aku patahkan lutut hang!" (Badan lembik perasan baguih) Ntah2 dier tambah dalam hati. So I went. I came to yoga entirely for a physical practice.

Then somehow it changed. Ashtanga is hard. Period. It has about 5? series - one series have probably about 30 or so poses - and they keep getting harder. Most people will only do first series, maybe two. A few get to do third and beyond. I have been doing first - or primary - series for literally a year now.

The major difference about ashtanga and my 'tri' training is the spiritual aspect of it. Whereas multisport os a world where you need to kinda exude confidence, ashtanga needs you to be really humble. If your balance is off that day - check, did you unintentionally hurt someone? It's a grounding practice, one that goes with my faith.

But let's talk about the physical aspect. Here are a few of my favorite primary poses:

This is called bhujapidasana. The full pose requires you to lower your head slightly to the floor, and lifting back up. This develops your arm strength tremendously. My swimming has never felt better. One of my favorites.

Lolasana. I have not yet gained that strength in the hip flexors to lift my feet up.

Kukutasana - Christy Turlington, a dedicated yogi, nailing it. I love this one too.

Here are the poses in second series:

Pincha Mayurasana - I totally love this pose. Took me a while to develop that upper body strength to kick up. Can only do it supported, with my toes against a wall.

I could share more but here's one that I am currently practicing:

Eka Pada Koundiyasana - I could only get to balance for a split second before my arm strength failed me. Love the work I am putting for this, a third series pose.

Anyway, the stronger I get with my practice the more I yearn to start a regular running practice back. I do run, usually once a week, or twice on a good week, and cycle once a week, but it's not satisfying enough. Now that the first series is getting a tad easier, I feel like I want to incorporate running as a cross training... how funny is that? Would be good for my legs to develop some strength that could help me with some hard balancing poses!

 Onto my running practice... twice a week, first. Baby steps!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Barefoot and New Shoes

Two days ago I went for a run for the first time in the past 4 years with an old pair of my running shoes. Because my trusty vibram has retired, torn at the toes. I lasted only 1km when I entertained to this crazy idea of chucking off my shoes and running barefoot, on the road. Without thinking much, I took them off, set them aside (no one stole the shoes) and ran.

 Running completely barefoot was an experience for me. I've been running in vibram for 4+ years and have no problems with the lack of shock absorption but my soles have been mollycoddled with a layer of hard plastic all the while. Running without nothing on covering them, was a whole new feeling. After 2km the pavement began to burn my feet. At 4km I had moved from absolutely burning to just an all around tender feeling. I had to keep running and ran faster to eliminate the sensation. If I went any slower the burn came. I stopped at 5km, my usual tune-up mileage, and limped to get my shoes. Told myself to get a new pair of vibrams.

 Still I was glad I did it. Well, at least if somebody stole my shoes or they tore I know I could last probably 5km running. That run was literally a whole 32 minutes 45 seconds of being absolutely alive. It reminded me of this poem I love:

 I promise to make you more alive than you've ever been.
For the first time you'll see your pores opening
like the gills of fish and you'll hear
the noise of blood in galleries
and feel light gliding on your corneas
like the dragging of a dress across the floor.
For the first time, you'll note gravity's prick
like a thorn in your heel,
and your shoulder blades will hurt from the imperative of wings.
I promise to make you so alive that
the fall of dust on furniture will deafen you,
and you'll feel your eyebrows like two wounds forming
and your memories will seem to begin
with the creation of the world.

Anyway, bought a new pair of vibram last night and cannot wait to start running in them.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Week 3 of Ramadhan.

 My workout has been consistent, except for some modifications to suit my ramadhan schedule. As usual, I feel that my perform better when I am thirsty, hungry, weak and undernourished, which is crazy, but it's true. I hardly needed pushing to run a few kms longer, or faster. I even did a harder set for my strength training workout, which made my whole body sore the next two days. But it was a good sore, it was a healthy, post workout sore.

Me and harris have been on a workout bends lately. He's been busy with his muay thai and football and I my running and cycling and strength sets. We shovel in banana like there's no tomorrow. Our electricity bills have increased due to the constant washing of our workout clothes. Yesterday night we finally sat down and watched the olympic rerun of swimming, and enjoyed it tremendously. The only difference between us is that he has a higher metabolism, which means he could eat like a pig and still stay slender.

Speaking of food, I've been sort of attuned to meatless dining. I have no idea when this started, but all I know is that I don't get as excited about eating chicken and lamb or beef anymore. I still eat them - when mom cooks or when a dish looks delicious, but for the most part I find myself gravitating towards fish and veggies. I find that my body moves better and I don't feel bloated or sluggish as much. I also feel less guilty about eating animals that probably weren't properly slaughtered :(

 This month marks the fourth month I've been using cruelty free products. I've never felt better. This isn't a phase or something I will regret. I will never ever ever touch a product that I know is tested on animals. It is harder to source for certain things (for example toothpaste and deodorants) but with proper research I am able to look for ethical companies that produces these products. Finally I can sleep at night. Of course, harris  calls me orang asli for using the sugi stick (when I couldn't find an organic toothpaste) and using essential oil soap bars. But at least I can put my guilty conscience that Ive been carrying since I was a teenager to rest.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

You Know You're Addicted When...

I'm now going through a grueling 6 day strength and endurance workshop... just because.

 I was reading a blog post titled, "You know you're a martial arts student when..." and it got me thinking. Here's mine:

 You Know You're a Workout Junkie When:

1) You own more stretchy pants than jeans.
2) You own different pairs of running shoes for LSD, race days, treadmills, lazy runs
3) You sleep in the running vests you get during registrations.
4) You have countless amount of workout bras, for different sports: longer length for cycling, more support for running, etc
4a) You have countless supplies of anything, in my case 3 yoga mats, 2 helmets, 2 gloves, 2 swimming suits, 2 goggles, etc... the list is endless. Consumer whore!
5) Your bathroom constantly have goggles, swim cap and swimming suits hanging to dry
6) Your car is a mobile sports store room with shoes, pairs of socks, bottled water, etc
7) You smell of muscle rubs most of the time.
8) You understand and can talk about V02 max, intervals, and pyramids with such excitement.
9) You mentally map out your run or cycle route whenever you're passing a pretty hilly road or beautiful landscape
10) Your vacation is a running event, or a yoga workshop
11) You don't hesitate.. EVER to plunk out more than RM200 for your beloved sports
12) Your kitchen is fully stocked with bananas and chocolate milk
13) You and your spouse go to massages, reflexology, and cupping more often than the movies.
14) You won't swim in a pool that is not 50m
15) You know what Nuu, Urdhva Dhanurasana, bento bag, pulling means
16) The word Drill gives you a Thrill
17) You actually know where your serratus anterior, rotator cuff and plantar fasciitis are. And what they mean.

I actually have a lot more but I am at work at I can't really get to excited. Of all the activities I listed, I've been missing the swim. Ever since I rented out my condo to a friend the pool benefit goes away too. That was the suckiest part for me. I love my condo's pool because it is 50m, has practically no one, and although not deep, nice enough for me to tread water and do whatever I wanted to do.

 My cycling is now only on Sundays, at the same route and area. I just like the hills. It's an easy workout, without wasting time and driving far. The last time I went, I honestly thought I would suffer, but I was actually pretty great even my riding buddy complimented on me. HE NEVER DOES THAT. Of course, it wasn't really a compliment, more like, "Well, at least you weren't huffing and puffing." hahah trust me, I take it as a compliment, because it surely means he didn't think I was a hopeless case.

I went running Saturday with a friend. We did hills (of course). Since she was just starting out and hates running I turned it inot some sort of a game: run uphill and brisk walk the rest. We had fun, especially at the top of the hills.

 My body is sooo sore! And I feel tired! I can't wait to run. What? did I just say that. Maybe I'm delusional.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I actually signed up for a couple of races I know I won't be around for.

 I have began my relocation to Turkmenistan. Although it is not official, but I'm often there more than here. I still workout extensively, sometimes obsessively. It's just all those extra time.

Tomorrow's schedule: running. an easy 5k, just like I always do. Either that or a very very simple spin off the neighborhood. Quite hard when you're wearing cleats.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Only 28km

The conversation we had while we were cycling sunday:

On favoritism. Especially on your children. Somehow, that's the best part of my sunday cycling - the conversations. Sometimes I had to pause - grunting up the hills and everything - and when we coasted downhill we'd be discussing again. Last sunday I asked him a question: do you have a favorite?

I find it funny that parents always get defensive when asked that question. Not defensive angry, but just, they didn't think it's a good question. Mostly because they are aware of what it could bring if they had an answer. My dad refused to answer that question because we were all different, he said. But I always somehow think that he had favorites, different kids at different times.

There's nothing wrong with liking one kid, at least that's what I think.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

morning run

I have been MIA.

But I had a good morning run today that warrants a writeup. Nothing actually is special - normal 5k run, normal speed. But it was the promise of a good day, beautiful morning. I had a beautiful workout last night, and a deep sleep, and time to cuddle with my cat. I run on and off, more off. But this morning it just felt natural. My feet loved the sensation of the road, the roughness licking my soles. The air was cool, crisp - I could just imagine fall leaves flying down on me. My knees were singing. Legs strong. Core in control. My breathing was not erratic - I wasn't pushing myself.

Truly, the beauty about running is in the mind and soul. Haven't felt like this for a while, and I bet it will be ages before I feel it again.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Good Intense Stretch for Runners

Whenever I hit a situation that is mentally or physically challenging, I usually revert back to the darkest, worst moment I'd faced and survived in order to toughen up. Usually it's a tie between the toughest cliff in Nepal, or the last end of the 190km Melaka ride, or the worst hills I've rode on. But it all goes to mush when I'm asked to hold a pose for more than 5 minutes. These SS class can be mentally challenging. VERY. My legs were screaming in pain and my form was shaking and I was gritting my teeth and my teacher was like, "It's all in the mind!"

Anyway, updates: I injured myself big time getting too obsessive in SS - disc herniation in C5 and C6. In layman's terms, however incorrect: slipped disc of the cervical spine. It was mostly ego and pure foolishness, attempting to do poses my body was not strong enough. Because I thought I was good, and I thought I could handle it.

Practising SS has made me aware of my body like never before. When I run, I am very very aware of my feet landings, how my knees feel, the sides of my upper body, and especially my breathing. It's all about how the body works. I am careful not to extend sitting at my desk for too long - taking water breaks, talking on the telephone while standing up, etc. Every little bit counts.

I want to to share with you one good pose that really benefit runners:

Well, this is the best I could find that clearly shows the foot placement, also, I figure if I put a female stretching in her skimpy clothes it wouldn't benefit anyone heheh. Well, then again...

This is the last - and possibly to many - the hardest variation of the knee to head pose. And this is a very good stretch for us runners or cyclists, as this stretches the hamstrings and opens the hip joints simultaneously. Also, the foot placement externally rotates the knee (caution: do this VERY CAREFULLY and if pain appears, move out of the pose) and works the ankle as well. You would feel it at the ankle, and it should feel good, not painful. This is not the final pose. You should be folding forward from your waist (not upper back) and holding to your extended foot. If you are really flexible, you should be clasping your left wrist (if left leg extended) with your right hand. The point is to get your stomach kissing your upper thigh.

There you go. This is my favorite stretch to do after a run, because your legs are already warmed up and open, and when you bend forward, you reallly really feel this stretch.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Aside from the one week off from workout due to neck/shoulder pulls, here's the menu:

Monday: 5.5k
Tuesday: SS
Thursday: 5.5k, SS
Friday: SS
Saturday: Swim 1.5k
Sunday: Bike, SS

Things have been great. That one week off really put me in a blue mood. But I guess I needed the time off to reflect and rest. I was showing off - too much - in fact in my SS class.

This morning went for a super slow 5.5k run. Time taken: 42 minutes. Actually it is not slow at all in my book. But my definition of super slow comes from the perceived effort. I wasn't struggling, my breath was not labored at all. My legs were ok, I was enjoying the pavements and saying hi to the dogs and their owners. I wish I could take one of the dogs out for a run.

I wish my cats could run with me.

My upper body felt sore from the heavy and challenging workout yesterday. 90 minutes of body weight conditioning. SS, how much do I love thee? So my legs get the workout today.

Last week visited a Chinese Tit Tar. Never heard of it? Neither had I, until last week. Tit Tar apparently means Bone Setters. That guy, Erik did really cool stuff on my neck and shoulder, basically, he put on some 'exorcist' moves on me. I've never heard my bones crack so much, or in another way, how out of position my spine is. It was cool. And I felt so much better.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

2012 Goals

My fitness goals for 2012 are simple:

1) Run continuously, or on and off, or sparingly - it doesn't matter. As long as you still run. 5k per run is enough to lube your joints.
2) Cycle. Because you can and because the hills are alive... with the sound of music.
3) Swim because no matter how slow you are, you can always outlast the speediest swimmer.

I will always do my swim, bike, run. Just not competitively, just not socially. I run on my own these days, at a park 100m from the house in USJ 2. I run 5.5km once a week, twice or thrice on a good week. I still cycle, only on weekdays, with only one person who has sort of became my coach. Sometimes I hate him; he pushes me when I don't feel like being pushed, but after it ends I feel buzzed. We mostly enjoy the conversations about nutrition, sports, workouts, and sometimes personal life. I hardly swim, but when I do it's like I never stopped. My pace is steady and slow, and I usually daydream and daydream until I have done a 2k.

I have been obsessive about a new kind of workout these days - my SS routine. I think I love it because it's so ACCESSIBLE. Running used to be the most accessible sport I knew - you can do it anywhere with minimal stuff - but now SS trumps running. It is essentially the EASIEST, most accessible workout you can ever do - you only need 2 hours max. You don't need the outdoors, you don't even need clothes on.. well, my point is you can do it in the buff and no one knows and you'd still get a fucking good workout.

And I mean it. I'm no stranger to endurance sports. I love a sweat session as much as the next runner. I love the lactic acid burn and the heat in your lungs. I've felt them all too. That's what I meant - you still get it, from the comfort of your home.

I sound like a bad marketing spiel. Or a cult member.

Lately, I have been focusing waaay too much on SS (stretching and strengthening). It's so easy to skip my running or anything outdoors in favor of SS because I sweat the same, feel exhausted the same and don't have to worry about doing the laundry or leaving the house. Also, the workout is really good for Type-A, competitive person like me. It's challenging. It has you using your body weight and twisting and lifting them back and forth. You can't skip a pose and you cannot proceed if you don't nail this one. And have I mentioned that most of the times all I had on was my underwear? Too much info I know! Well, nobody reads this anyway heheh

But the point of having a healthy lifestyle is balance, and balance is what I seek. I still enjoy running, especially after the run. I still love tackling hills on my wheels. I love swimming, or doing karate and rollerblading. I still want to do all that in 2012, probably for the next few years. Harris is also on a sports mode, taking up muay thai and getting obsessed with that too. Between our workouts and work, we hardly have time for each other. So we proceed to be home for dinner, and stay in for a movie night. Sometimes we camp in the living room, making pillow forts (what can I say... we're still in our 2o's, childless). I have started sewing again, making bags, pillowcases, hopefully working on making my own clothes again. I took a creative writing course, just finished it, which was fun and enlightening. So balance is good.

So there you have it, my goal for this year. Oh, aside from mastering the 5 minutes Headstand (without the wall support and with pelvis aligned, of course) I also want to run a couple of races.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2 New Hills

Yesterday we went for a simple ride.

The same route, same hills, only he added 2 new ones. Cycling with my coach/riding buddy is a love and hate thing. I loooove it when it is over or if I was faster and stronger that day, but I hate it because he always make me feel like I wasn't good enough. While climbing a particularly steep hill, I was struggling and he pointed out that we were only going at 7km/h! And to make matters worse, he did not bring any water with him whereas I had to stop and drink a Livita.

We also got chased by dogs. That was a funny moment. I thought I was going to be dead because damn it, my legs did not need the extra speedwork! But luckily the dogs stopped chase after a while.

I came back and did 2 hours of SS workout. And now my arms are supersore. But my legs felt really good during the 2 hour session. I think I need the running and cycling to prepare me for these sessions. I always thought I can do without.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Giving Back while Getting Sweaty: The Pet Project Malaysia 2012

Here's an interesting event I believe all of us weekend warriors would benefit in this Saturday: The Pet Project Malaysia 2012.

"The Pet Project Malaysia is a 12-hour “Get Active” marathon comprised of dance, fitness and sports-based classes taught by internationally renowned presenters along with performances from Malaysia’s most promising young talents.

Aside from the MAIN EVENT (our master classes and performances), participants can also visit our sports carnival, playground, silent auction, rock climbing wall, rugby drills, a 2-hour workshop by Jojo Struys, self defense classes, animal welfare talks, football nutrition talks, face painting, Asia's largest football card montage, food & beverage stalls, sponsors & partners booths, merchandise booths and of course our NGO booths."

I find this event to be highly refreshing. Charity events usually don't get the highlight they need because the public tend to find them boring and only cater for specific interest groups, but this effort by the Petfinder and the animal welfare groups should be applauded. To combine the concept of getting active while giving back to animals - these two things really really appeal to me. I only found out about this yesterday and was surprised that I didn't know about this before!

I think this would be a fun event to go with your kids or if you're an animal lover and really really are concerned with the plight of these animals or just needed a cheap way to learn something new (one class or pass to a class is only RM 25). Believe me, no one paid me to advertise, I just feel strongly for a good event like these.

Some of the NGOs are PAWS, SPCA, S.C.R.A.T.C.H, etc. These are good people who really really gave their time to save these animals. Of course, I have a personal affection for PAWS. I volunteered there a couple of times during uni. It broke my heart seeing those cats, but I was glad I did it.

So, come on, let's go!