Monday, 21 November 2011


Acceptance... because it isn't always success-failure, it isn't just black-white... there is a world of grey in between making it and dropping out that the world doesn't always see or acknowledge. So sometimes you have to make it up as you go along!

Last year was a year of gratification for work put in - I followed my training plan to a T, hit some wonderful new records (mileage ran, race times etc) and generally kept injuries to the niggling. I expected much the same and a little bit more from this year, it only being my 2nd full year of 'serious' running. I felt confident building on a decent foundation but also saw the opportunity to just push the envelope with my goals. As I've grown older, I've found myself getting less gutsy, less motivated and more inclined to keep to my comfort zone - running was my way of transcending this.... In simple goals, I saw my to-be-fulfilled potential and new found fearlessness.

Sadly, plans get thwarted, as they do. First, my LA marathon plan had to get canned because the business trip (that was to get me to LA) ended up a week earlier than the race itself. In addition to that, my training has been interrupted every 1-2 months or so with my foot flaring up (2-3 times now), unexplained fatigue and various illnesses (colds, tummy trouble). I am not one to visit the doctor any more than once or twice a year at the maximum, but this year has seen me at the doctors a few more times than that.

I'm happy to say that I am not seriously sick, thankfully. What has turned up though is a range of dietary intolerances, including eggs, dairy, wheat, gluten, yeast (and a number of other items that I won't even begin to tackle because I won't have anything left to eat!) that is likely to have contributed to my ever worsening issues with heartburn and gastrointestinal discomfort, as well as my fatigue and susceptibility to infections.

My foot is yet a whole other story. I hurt 1 foot in Feb when I ran my longest run ever. That went away, before my right foot started up in the summer and has never really resolved. Even as I speak, the top of my right foot is swollen and a bit bruised after my 16km run yesterday. There's a pattern of it hurting after my long runs, then easing back within 1-2 days to a "minimal-but-I'm-still-here" level for the rest of the week as I've tried to still hit as much of of planned training as possible but of course, never quite letting it heal properly.

So as I head into race week (I'm doing the Unicef Half Marathon at Hong Kong Disneyland again this year), I'm wondering what my 'goal' ought to be. I'm feeling just a little bit beat up and less than confident. My original plan had been to better last year's PR, and secretly, I was hoping to get my time down to 1:52-1:53. But realistically, I accomplished my training this time round at about 50-70% of the level at which it was designed (with the bulk of the tempo/speed sessions missed or compromised) and I'm conscious that I have an injured foot.
Is simply turning up and trying to enjoy it while I do my best enough of a goal? Or even if it is one, is it enough to make me feel satisfied, like I've achieved something after all this hard work and angst? I wonder, what will I have to speak of when this year is over? To what end have I committed myself and what will I have to show for it?

"When you run, there are no mistakes, only lessons. The art and science of ultra running is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The failed experiments are as much a part of the successes as the combination that eventually works.
Lessons will be presented in various forms and intensities. Each lesson will be repeated until it is learned. When you have learned one lesson you will be presented with another.
The learning of lessons does not end. There is no part of your running experience that does not contain lessons. Each time you run there are lessons to be learned.
Life's answers lie within. Life's questions can be answered from within. Running is the medium through which these answers will be revealed. All you have to do is look, listen, feel and trust.
As you advance to greater challenges, you will continue to gain knowledge of yourself. Periodically you will be required to reach ever deeper in to your inner being, seeking out the strength needed to continue the endeavor of the moment. The strength you seek is layered within. The number of layers in infinite. All you have to do is believe, have faith in yourself, and expect to find that which you seek." - Keith Pippin

And so it is, bringing me back to Acceptance. I am a control freak/perfectionist who thinks - if you don't have a chance to get that 'wow' result that you were aiming for, it's a let-down no matter what. It's a disappointment to even try. It's even more of a defeat if you still go and 'prove' yourself right, "I told you so... why did you even bother?". What honour is there in turning up anyway? Will you gain anything at all?
There is a kind of denial/resistance in that mentality, a turning away because I do not like what is happening and refuse to accept the limitations subjected upon me. There is a feeling that it was my own fault, I MUST have done something wrong or simply didn't try hard enough. The thinking revolves around me and what I do (or do not). And then I flip completely in the opposite direction, feeling the victim for being subject to my body and my failings - I tried my best but it failed me, so I throw my hands up in despair and surrender.
But Acceptance, as I am learning, asks me to tow the middle ground. It says, "I agree that you are not 100%, but it seems to me that you could still finish the race. Let go of your fixations, of your expectations. Allow other ways of seeing and experiencing to show you what might be lying in wait at the finish line. Sometimes you can just show up and be there. It doesn't always have to be perfect, who knows what is in store?".
This is, for me, a lifelong lesson... how true that "Lessons will be presented in various forms and intensities. Each lesson will be repeated until it is learned." Balancing ambition with acceptance. Sitting with discomfort and disappointment, not turning away and giving up. Putting in the effort and knowing that that is 'good enough'. Recognising the doing and determination rather than just result.
This Sunday morning, I will read this again and remember that I can go and give it my all, and still have a good run.
Goals are good, but Acceptance, even wiser.

Thursday, 18 August 2011


Today. Present. Taste it.

Close your eyes. Release. Breathe out. Watch.

Content. Simply.

I will die soon. Life is short. Today could be my last. What matters now?

-written today

My heart and mind have been caught up with a lot of thinking and wrangling... many Should I's and What If's...


I gather myself back, my energy, my being. Just to sit with me right now.

Friday, 15 July 2011

A thought for this weekend...

"While investing in gold, stocks, and bonds might be a recipe for hedonic wealth — riches that can be used to buy the dismal, mass-produced, rapidly depreciating, worthless-by-next-month commodities that line the sagging exurban shelves of every crammed-to-the-brim, beige big box store from here to Pluto — my little suggestion's a set of ingredients to craft your own recipe for eudaimonic wealth — riches that are made up of the stuff you probably can't buy, but have to earn: the stuff that people usually don't (and probably won't) sell, but can choose to freely bestow upon you, give to you, and keep in trust for you."
- Umair Haque over at Harvard Business Review

Yes, we are talking about things like love, kindness, compassion, true passion and dedication, creativity, beauty, freedom, peace, contentment and sufficiency, wisdom, courage, sacrifice...

His challenge to his readers... and mine to you this weekend:
Put what, why, and who you love ahead of what, why, and who you don't, and your roadmap will begin to write itself.

I value all the things that money and corporations and careers and material goods cannot give me - running, time, goodness of my fellow people, contentment, handiwork and gardening, physical well being and health... let this guide my thoughts this weekend and my life's roadmap.

What does your list look like?

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


I'm out of the rut! Yay!

I allowed myself some time 'off', took the pressure off, came back from holiday, started looking into training plans, started ramping up on running again... and bam, I'm back in the game!

Running thoughts and other related items...

1) So what training plan should I use?
I'm reading Run Faster by Brad Hudson and playing around with what my plan should look like. I may have already mentioned before that I've adjusted my goals slightly for the year - taking into account the number of times I've been ill this year and the niggling issues (right SI joint and left hamstring/knee), I've decided to push back my virgin marathon, but still work on a HM and maybe a couple of 10km races this year (hopefully with PBs in both!). I had originally thought of doing a combo of the usual Runner's World plan and the FIRST plan (of Run Less Run Faster fame) - that would mean alternating between weeks of 3 and 4 runs, with 1-2 hard workouts (hard = tempo or speedwork), as well as long runs at quicker paces than I'm used to (the FIRST plans actually suggest paces just 20-30 seconds off race pace... which I am unsure I can do week on week, and I certainly cannot achieve on the hilly roads around home).

But the more I read, the more confusing it all gets - you have plans advocating 3 days of running, others that say 6... and then add in tempo, speedwork, progressing, hills, sprints, fartleks... heart rate, all types of suggested pacing, effort based training... oh my goodness! So now I'm thinking that I may need to review...

So this is where I am at:
  • Choose the number of runs per week - I'm probably going to settle for 4 as an average, with more 3/4s at the start and then working up to 4/5s later.
  • More variability - up to now, I've predominantly based my training on the Runner's World type of plan which is quite repetitive. I'm going to mix it up a lot more with my speedwork especially. Also, 2 new things that I'm going to add are - Progression runs and hill sprints/intervals.
  • Paces - don't know about this one. FIRST paces are killer. I can probably do a bit better than the RW's suggestions. So right now, I'm hitting somewhere in between. Haven't quite gotten to that bit in Run Faster.

2) Cross Training and Strength Training Joys
Just ordered a bike trainer and looking forward to doing more cycling. I'm also squeezing in at least 1 full (1 hour) yoga session at home weekly and may even go for classes again.

My core/strength training has also gotten a bit stale, so I've upped the ante with this a bit and think I could still dial it up another notch. So if you're thinking of that too, then enjoy these killer training vids by Coach Jay - check out in particular the videos he did for Running Times, as well as the ones featuring the lunge matrix, Core H routine and running-specific Swissball work.
Just like running plans, there are just so many different things you can do - the trick is to balance time, simplicity, practicality with need, outcome and specificity.

3) And just to keep things complicated...
More thinking to do?!?! Isn't running touted as the simplest of exercises, just lace up and go?

Still, I thought it would be good to mention this study comparing barefoot and shod runners and their injuries over a period of time.

This study, like most others, are not without limitations but it does bring up many salient factors. In my mind, though, there is almost too much variability in the exercise of running and in the history of runners to make it possible to ever draw a final conclusion.

If anything, it just highlights the fact that it's good to have this debate and an alternative viewpoint, but that with running and shoes, as with life, it's never one-size-fits-all. Like my training plan and strength work gets pieced together from a wealth of choices, so my shoes and how I use my minimalist versus 'normal' shoes will be something I trial over time - I won't hit jackpot immediately, but will learn and adjust along the way... hoping for wisdom and patience as I find the way to self-improvement with minimal casualty.

4) and some YUMS....

Try this if you have a sweet tooth (or are in need of reward!) - I found this fantastic banana bread recipe over at Runner's Kitchen!!! Tried it and approved!

So with this, I shall leave you! Happy running and experimenting!

Monday, 4 July 2011

I'm back...

Through the rollercoaster ride of my mind these past few months, up and down and up and down... I'm back running, at least, and loving it again!

been wrestling with myself of late... struggling to get myself excited about my life... but then a chink of light - do epic shit!
Getting tied up in my thoughts doesn't serve any purpose... but connecting with the greater goodness and reaching out to crawl in that direction will be a start of a new beginning!
What a wonderfully liberating thought - the world does not bat an eyelid if I fall splat on my face... but I would give everything I have to make my life mean something. So go, now, and do!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Today, just Today...

Wow... it's been a long time since I've written.
In fact, it's been a very long month.

Physically and emotionally, it has been trying. I prefer to think it's the former causing the latter.... and all the angst and annoyance at feeling so lousy only adds to it.
Last week, my tact was to lie low as much as possible, at the same time obsessing about what was wrong and what I can do about it. It's not nice feeling like I want to be in bed all the time... and even worse, to be in bed but wondering if I'm letting myself off to easy.... kind of ruined everything so I neither rested nor got off my butt.
Yes yes, signs of that very neurotic me...

Well into week 2 of this yet-undiagnosed malaise and I've kind of had it. Time to just throw up my hands, shrug a little and realise that I should just resign myself to taking it easy until I am well again. Simple as that! Whining like a big baby sure ain't gonna help me recover.

The little voice in my head still torments, but is slowly fading by the day - I only ran twice the week before last (less than 15km) and did not run at all last week (partly deliberate... I thought that some of the lassitude could have been boredom with running, but that's probably not the case).
Did well with keeping up with core/strength work though, still managed 4 days worth, in addition to 1 elliptical session.

In the whirlwind of my mind, not much has managed to stick. I've felt very lost, disengaged and lacking in focus.
And then I come across this article in Zenhabits and I make myself take pause... so many nuggets of wisdom, of which I choose just this one for today:

"The moment is all there is. All our worries and plans about the future, all our replaying of things that happened in the past — it’s all in our heads, and it just distracts us from fully living right now. Let go of all that, and just focus on what you’re doing, right at this moment. In this way, any activity can be meditation."

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Losing steam...

Sorry I haven't been around much. This is one of the reasons why...

wow... no words needed.

Running has hit a slump, a major motivational hurdle, the pits.
Last week - I ran once, 5km.
I haven't run so little in years.
A plethora of excuses masquerading as reasons (or vice versa)... my holiday, a mild tummy bug, a very tight left buttock/hamstring...

But all thoughts do not cause me more anxiety than the realisation that the desire to run fades by the day. Not running means I forget the joy and instead, get caught up in the stress-y-ness of getting myself back into it... not running means falling out of a habit and having to claw my way back... not running means sliding backwards in fitness and routine, therefore losing some of the positive reinforcement that kept me running before.

So today, I made a choice. I have a cold and an annoying itchy cough, but I got off my ass and went to the gym - did 5.5 km and some strength/core work. Can't say I feel the better for it just yet, but I remind myself - Daily Choices, my choice is today! Hopefully tomorrow too!
I guess it isn't out of the ordinary to feel this way since I've been training quite hard for over a year now - for my half marathon last year and then for the LA marathon which I ended up missing in March... so I'm allowed to kick back a little, aren't I?
*just not for too long....*

Anyone with tips or stories to share about coming back from the brink - drop me a note or a comment please!

and until then, I'll keep hoping and trying - most importantly, to rediscover the Joy.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Greetings from India

So work brings me to India for the week. My Lotus Notes email and calendar functions on my computer have both effectively packed in, a promising start!

However, I do have access to internet (though patchy, but I can get to Google Reader and Blogger so can't complain!) and now find that I have time on my hands to write this entry. And so, a flip side to every coin.

I never quite got to recap on Run for Japan - it was a wonderful experience. I had a colleague and a handful of friends come and run with me, and together we had a great time! I covered 22 laps to finish a shade over 30km. With the rest of the team, we completed a total distance of just under 2 marathons and raised over HKD60,000 (close to USD8000) for Japan earthquake and tsunami relief. It was good fun, meaningful, and was an edifying time for all involved - tick, tick, tick, good job! :)

I then started to have pain in my left foot the next day. A sore, swollen and slightly bruised area appeared at the top of my midfoot, just in front of the ankle. A stress fracture has been ruled out, but it took a good week for it to finally get better. I didn't (couldn't...) wait for the pain to go away all together, but still stayed off the roads (and treadmill) until Saturday (Read - new record, no running for a full 7 days!). Happy to report that after a 10km and 6km respectively on Saturday and Sunday, my foot actually seems better and the pain is almost entirely gone now :) Was it the rest or was it the 'heck, let's just get back to it now!' that did it? Guess I'll never know... but fingers crossed, I'm a-okay now!

I was recently thinking that I run/train the way I live life - planned, controlled, cautious, with a tendency towards over-deliberation and worry... and for all that that means, I am still glad that I can be thankful for 2 things:
- That when I run/race, I can just let go of the angst before and the fretting after... for the most part, when I'm running, I'm free... I'm able to just go and keep going, focusing on the now, living the 'truth'. All the thinking before and after don't change the reality of the run, just as it doesn't necessarily add anything to life.
- That the caution has meant that despite a few minor injury scares that have kept me off running and the last bad flu I had, I've not been off running more than a week due to these. Since running regularly since 2009, I've had niggles with my right groin, right SI joint, left knee and left foot, but all resolving reasonably quickly with just a bit of rest. I am running for the long haul and I don't have to get there today. I am cutting myself the necessary slack, but also making sure I enjoy this journey... I love running too much to do it any other way :)

Have a good week, my fellow runners and lovers of life!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Run with me for Japan - 25th March

To raise funds towards disaster relief in Japan, I will be hoping to complete the longest run I've ever done running 1.4km laps around the Happy Valley Racecourse, this Friday 25th March. Sponsor me for every lap that I run... or come run with me.

More details to follow...


I promised you this... and I also wanted to take a look at all my shoes together :)

In Chronological order (left to right, top row first):
(Not shown) Mizuno Precision – long retired. A pair I bought even before
running ever came to mind. They turned out to be a fantastic first pair of
shoes, guess light performance shoes worked even before I knew any

Asics Kayano 15 – bought in 2009 and I retired them from running last
year. One of my favorites still, even though I have since evolved into
lighter shoes. They saw me through my first ‘real’ (sustained) year of
running and I probably wore them at my first 10k in 2009 (though I can’t
be sure). Had issues with my right groin during my time with this pair of
shoes, although by the time this improved (it has never really gone away
though – I still have tightness after tough sessions, both speed and
longs), I wasn’t sure if this was down to getting orthotics, simply
getting stronger or if it ever had anything to do with my shoes in the
first place (did I have pain before I even wore these shoes? I should look
back on my journals).

New Balance 1225 – I bought this in Canada in summer 2010 as my Kayanos
needed replacing. Shoe purchase lesson number 1 – if something works,
don’t buy something else on impulse. The specialty shop in Toronto did not
have the new Kayanos in my size so I somehow ended up with NBs instead. I
don’t recall trying on much else either (it was past their closing time).
I’m still running in these, but have never really felt that they are
‘right’ for me though I’m not entirely sure why – too wide upfront (though
I feel fine with barefoot/minimalist options now that are deliberately
wide up front), too much heel drop (this definitely is part of it as my
strike is much mid-heel versus my usual mid-forefoot). Having said that,
it’s fine for most of my easy runs and gym work. I estimate that I’ve
already run over 600km in these already, so they are on their final legs

Adistar Salvation – mistake mistake mistake. Lesson number 2 – don’t buy
something mainly because it’s on sale. This was cheap but so wrong for me
- bulky, constricting, clumsy, also with a significant heel drop. This is
one of those shoes that demonstrates why the trend towards more fitted and
cushioned running shoes is just biomechanically wrong – I feel all the
shock goes up my lower legs and knees with this shoe. I’ve only run in it
less than 10 times and now have to think of another use for it, boo what a

Mizuno LSD – a move back towards my roots. I bought this late Sept 2010 in
Mongkok. I’ve run a lot in this and still using it for most of my long
runs and speed/tempo sessions. A great shoe and one that I’ve been very
comfortable with- I ran all of my last 3 races in them (NB 10k, Unicef
half and Clearwater Bay 10k). Just a tad heavier than the Precisions, but
lighter than all the others. My only complaint is that the sole hasn’t
lasted as well as I would like. I should still have another 3-6 months to
go with these.

The two pairs in the bottom row are my new additions - NB Minimus Trail and my Asics Gel DS Sky Speed. I've worn the Minimus twice now, once for a short spin outdoors on road and yesterday for a tempo session on the treadmill. So far so good! The Sky Speeds I am going to save until I can retire one of my other pairs, since I'm still running with my NB 1225's and the Mizunos.

As you can tell, I'm not much of a brand-loyalist and if anything, I'm quite determined to give everything a try at least once. I tried on the Saucony Kinvara on my recent shopping trip, and I've been keen to test out the Newtons as well. Having said that, I am finding that Asics and Mizunos are still my go-to brands - perhaps it's the more Asian-friendly cut or just because I've grown used to how they feel (I've run the most in those 2 brands)... my sense is that I'll be sticking with these in the future, with the only departures being to 'test' out new trends such as the minimalist range of other brands.

So here's another look! :)

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Backed up...

So I actually have so much to update you on... heck, i have so much to update ME on! I have a couple of entries that I simply haven't had time to tidy up and put on here. So instead of waiting for it all to come together, let me do what I can now...

My thought this morning - life and this year have gotten ahead of me. It's busier and more stressful at work these days, but I have also forgotten to keep up with some simple practices that can help me be more mindful... I'm looking forward to a 'review weekend' and the resumption of my morning 'quiet time' to start with! Have more trips planned over the next few months, and traveling does put a spanner in the works... but hey, life is good nonetheless!

Here's what I wrote while waiting for my flight home from LAX, 13th March 2011:

I’ve had a wonderful week here in Pasadena. The sun was shining, and yes, life can be just that simple! Joy is irrepressible when light, space and some nature (I could see the San Gabriel Mountains!) surrounds you. I loved that what little I saw of LA exuded a laid back, content air.

The work meetings went well and I loved getting to know my colleagues from around the globe. I managed to run/work out more than I expected, clocking 30km for a relatively light week. With the abundance of sweets/food on offer, as well as PMS, I caved with regards to watching my diet – but hey, what’s a few extra (giant) cookies and desserts in the bigger scheme of things?

Today capped it off very nicely – I woke at 8am and went out for a run. I started at the Westin, heading out to the Rose Bowl, where I did a couple of rounds before heading back. After a quick shower and breakfast, I hit the streets to do some shopping. I will be going home laden with more running goodies – new shoes (YAY!!! Asics Gel DS Sky Speed and NB Minimus trail), Skins compression calf socks (white and in extra small size, which I can’t get in HK), another pair of shorts and panties from Lululemon (I just could not resist, it’s like a obsession – I HAVE TO visit a Lululemon when I am travelling and seem to always leave with shorts and panties!). I also went on a small spree in Abercrombie & Fitch… getting all ready for the summer with shorts, a bikini and a couple of shirts thrown in.

I didn’t miss Hong Kong at all this week, which surprises me still.

Going off on a tangent – this was really supposed to be about my trip to Southern California – I thought it would be cool to show you my range of running shoes. The good, the bad and the ugly…

(to be continued...)

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Rainy Sunday Edition...

Wet, cold and quiet... one of those perfect Sunday afternoons to just catch up on random computer activities such as downloading photos and updating my Garmin Training Center.

So I did my 20km yesterday at a 6:51 pace, but chose a slightly easier one way route with a mean elevation of around -95m. Was a fantastic run, ending along this promenade at Sai Kung town center where I promptly popped into a popular bakery for some goodies before heading home!

And to keep with the theme of photos and scenery on my running trips, here's a glimpse of a other shots I took during my previous 2 long runs... aren't I lucky to live in this part of Hong Kong! These trails make for some killer, but very rewarding running...

What are you doing this cold winter Sunday? :)

(P/S annoying bug alert - if you have a Garmin, do NOT download the latest ANT Agent update, v 2.2.13 I believe it is... it's just totally messed up my data - it somehow includes stopped time so that your total times and pace in the TC end up different from what's on your watch... argh, how annoying is that! and I am not techie enough to fix it, so will just have to wait for the next update. Be warned!)

Friday, 11 February 2011

Not quite sure what I feel...

It looks like I won't be in LA the week of the marathon itself... my plans may have to take a big shift towards the Sundown Marathon in Singapore at the end of May instead.

Good news is that I've gained another 10 weeks of training time, so I have a total of 15 weeks from now.

Not so good news is that this comes just after I had made up my mind to give it my all for LA (including psyching myself up for a 3.5-4hour long run this weekend and also making my hotel booking)... and the Sundown is an overnight marathon in hot weather...

But hey, what the heck right? If I'm going to do it, what's the big deal about a bit more sweating, a few swear words and potentially more challenges with hydration and chafing... REAL runners aren't put off by anything of these minor annoyances! Gotta remember my goals from the start of this year and that Singular Resounding Yes!

This week has looked like this -
Monday - 2 hours tennis
Tuesday - 30 minute spin interval, plus core/arms
Weds - 9.5km with 6x800m intervals
Thursday - easy 4.5km, plus core/arms
Today - rest/light yoga

Plan is for a 'quicker' long run tomorrow (will challenge myself to 20km @ 7-7.30 pace) since I don't have to do my 4 hour long run now. Weather forecast is for spitting drizzle and temps in the low teens... nothing to those in truly cold climes, but this is the real Hong Kong winter!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Back on the seat again...

It was tough going getting back to running again mid last week... easy runs were tough, and yesterday's long run was also trying. However, I'm glad to say that my legs are feeling surprisingly sprightly today, so I'm recovering well from a combined 35km over 3 consecutive days (the full week's tally was 42km). Bodes well. I need to squeeze in 2 30km runs in the next 3 weeks before taper... I say I haven't decided whether or not to run LA, but I am still maniacally working in that direction. Maybe I should just save myself the stress and just throw my heart and mind into it fully now!

A question from the #Reverb10 team:

One month into 2011, what question(s) are you living? Are you living new questions?

My questions...

- Why is it so hard to be a decent human being towards my mother? (ancient and never ending)
- Can I run my first marathon in 6 weeks when my longest run so far has only been 25km? (new and very real)
- Am I allowed so much chocolate and snacking just because I'm training for a marathon and not particularly obsessed about losing any more weight? (kind of but not entirely new ha!)
- Am I lucky or just plain lazy to be blogging while I'm at work? Do I really even care? (not new)
- How am I doing with my 2011 plans? (ongoing... for now, I'm doing ok - most of my running related ones are on track, most of the others are patchy at best so this is a great reminder!)
- Isn't it nice to have already done a PB in the 10km? (new... *smiles*)
- I hate PMS, why won't it go away forever? (another ancient and unanswerable one)
- I'm having PMS, so don't I deserve to have a chocolate bar after lunch? (monthly)
- How far will I go this year? (new)

Some thoughts as we launch into another new week! It's going to be a 45+km week... watch this space!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Sniffle sniffle cough... cough!

Yes, still sick, but not too sick that I can't run! :) I'm dying to head out there today but don't think I'll get a chance before the sun heads down (and it turns chilly...), so it may still need to wait yet one more day. Feeling more optimistic though... I just need to get back out there quickly so my confidence will return.

So here's a thought for you...

"It's not about dedicating your life to your training, but about dedicating your training to your life." - Dan Millman

Isn't that something to carry with you this week? My life isn't about the training... instead my training is about life - it is celebrating life, it is embracing life, it is thanking life, it is loving life, it is wringing all I can out of life!

Monday, 31 January 2011

Out of Commission...

So sometimes life throws you a curveball and there isn't a thing that you can do about it. And along with only the mildest annoyance, I can only shrug my shoulders and go "Ah well...."

At what is probably the most critical stage of training for a first marathon (and tell me if i'm wrong, but I was just heading into the 2-3 weeks of highest mileage and longest Long Runs prior to taper), I've fallen sick. And not just blow your nose, feel sorry for yourself sick. It's the worst flu of my adult life, 3 days of unrelenting fever and continuing phlegmy cough sick. And while I think i'm on the mend, I have a feeling it's one of those that I want to send off with caution and respect - I don't think I'm going to running for a couple of days yet, at least.

7 days off running in the middle of an already short marathon training plan (I decided about LA on a whim, so only had about 12-13 weeks)... my longest Long Run so far was about 24-25km. I'm ambivalent - I know I could still go out there and finish it, but I don't know that I will be in form to do my best at my first marathon. I'd like to go out there and do a good solid run... yes, it is about fun but I also want it to be a fight and a victory.

And so, I calm myself down... one step at a time, one day at a time... I just need to focus on getting better... then I start running again... and then I can reassess whether I run LA.

I think I could still do it... what do you think? Any advice?

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Happy Day Race Report...

Can I just say again (with a mix of disbelief and amazement!) - What a long way I've come...
2 years ago, I refused to get out of bed and gave my race bib to someone else for a 10km race.
In November of 2009, I ran my first 10km race and just 3 months ago in October, I ran my 10km PB.
This morning, I joined the Clearwater Bay Chase 10km (photo above taken by a random spectator at around the 9km mark), which is my 'neighbourhood' race taking place along some gorgeous coastal scenery, but with some killer up and downhill stretches. I wasn't aiming for a particular time but thought it would be a lovely variation during a 'easy' week and I would then tag on another 5km or so to round out my week's mileage. I ended up finishing a pretty tough course in 53:37 (setting yet another PB by 20 seconds, which I did not realise until I stopped my Garmin! What a lovely surprise...) and then ran that extra 5km home, along the same hilly route!

Limits and possibility are relative, and are set by the horizons of your mind and heart. I am so glad to have learnt this precious lesson... blessed that this has been shown to me. Today, I also ran without expectation, I simply wanted to do a good solid run and enjoy myself... that may well be the best way to race, don't you agree?

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Thought for today...

"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power."

I have no idea who wrote this, but wow...

Fear does not change anything or protect us in the way we imagine it does. I am letting go of my fears, of my desire for security... I'm scared of running 42.2km, I'm scared of being alone, I'm scared of wasting my life and precious time... these do not help me, so I'm going to release them because "...there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful..."

Instead, "... for in movement there is life, and in change there is power". Bring on the challenges and all the daring new things I haven't tried before! Bring on the not needing to know, bring on the release of control... bring on discovery of life and joy today!

Monday, 17 January 2011

How? Or more importantly, Why?

Ran for a shade over 3 hours and 9 minutes yesterday *BIG smiles*
about 24km, so just under a 8 min per km pace - slower than I would like, but it's hilly where I run so I should be too hard on myself.

Quads aren't entirely happy today, but all in all, I'm feelin' good!

So I had a bit of time to think while on the road...

I was out at dinner on Saturday night when a friend asked repeatedly, "How do you do it? Where do you find the discipline, the motivation??". And then, "Why would you do it? I just don't understand..."
I'd like to think that the Why is easier to understand than the How, but on occasion, I realise that not everyone feels that pull.

I have always been someone who sets goals, who needs to feel that I have grown or improved with each passing year. I have the intrinsic yearning for the sort of capability, dedication, focus, physical mastery that you see in professional sports people, challenged athletes, marathoners... anyone who is pushing the envelope on what they should 'normally' be able to do.

My assumption is that the desire for self-improvement, the continuous extension of limits, the challenge, that yearning is common to us all... and that is the simple answer to the "Why?".
When every week, I am able to run further than I've ever done before (granted... one day, I will hit a wall with this one, won't I?)... when after every really hard session, I know I have gained strength mentally and emotionally... that is more than enough to keep me going.

Running and training is like Life, condensed. It asks of me as much as it can get, but it also gives bountifully in return. The gap to be bridged between my physical capabilities and Roger Federer's or Paula Radcliffe's is a forever chasm, but that does not mean that I cannot explore the limits of my talent and celebrate the power of my being. The discovery of how far I've come and the possibility of how much further I can go... that is one of the most amazing life lessons I've had in years.

And like Life, running teaches me to be at peace while striving - my body is what I have, is what I have been given even if it may not be what I want. Every time I push it to be 'more', I also ask myself to accept what it is in that moment.

Running is about heart... so it's more about Why than How. If I started by asking how, then I would have been swallowed up in doubt, overcome by a tide of "Cannot... no way... how could I?". Why, instead, reminds me daily that I want to be better, stronger, faster, more patient and wise... why, reminds me of the who I might one day become...

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

A Quickie...

Just to lighten up that gloomy cloud that I cast with my last post... lucky for me, it was all just PMS (should've known!), but boy, was it tough going physically for a good few days! Yesterday, I cut my 6km tempo run into two 3km tempo intervals, just so I could make it through.

I'm close to the end of my first 'chunk' of Marathon training - by the week's finish, I would have done 3 weeks of incremental work that will see me finishing my longest run yet at around 25km. I'm looking forward to the coming week - I sense that my body and mind have strengthened and grown through this phase, so next week will be an opportunity to feel 'my new being'.

PMS or not, I am treading respectfully on virgin ground as I move further along this training program. I am glad and thankful that I am in marathon training... in awe, almost, of the fact - who would have ever known??
And I am mindful too, that there will only ever be 1 first marathon for me. This journey is nothing short of a gift.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

A really hard day...

Today, 42.2km is like a Himalayan summit entirely shrouded in cloud. I simply can not see it, nor do I imagine that I have it in me to get up there.
Today, I barely made it to base camp... and it was a battle.

At points, I wanted to stop and hit my legs in frustration. I was tired, sore, fed up of the damn hills that make up a good part of my long run. My legs were cursing at me, I was mentally throwing a few uncensored swear words back.

In moments of lucidity, I still had it in me to chant, "Go away, go away, my limiting thoughts... I love you still, I do, my poor body-in-training". Pitying my body helped with the blame/anger game going on.

I cannot say that I feel "better" for having completed my planned Long Run today. Oddly and disappointingly, I feel neither proud nor relieved nor satisfied. I edged ahead with the longest run I have ever done - somewhere between 21-23km (Garmin-Running Ahead), completed in 2:42+ (I don't know exactly how long I ran because I stopped my watch a few times to walk and forgot to restart it 2 times, so I 'lost' some time and mileage there).

Perhaps tomorrow, I shall be glad.... for now, I'm just looking forward to a good night's sleep. Who'd have know it could be so hard?

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Anyone there?

I hesitated today before writing here. Let's face it... I had a grand total of 5 pages view yesterday, out of which 2 might have been my own.

Does it matter... what I write? If I write? If I believe? If I care?
Why spend time on this?

I have this picture of myself shouting words into a dark abyss... except it's funny rather than purely tragic :)

Then I realise that it doesn't really matter. And yet it does, except that I do not need to know if it does. Everything little thing that we do (or do not do) sends tiny ripples out into the world, perceptible to some but unfelt by many others. Our calling is to heed our inner urgings to do what is true to our own goodness, and then to let the world do its own thing with what is sent out there. It is not a popularity contest or a competition to win over the blogosphere. And the world is so much bigger, more mysterious and more wonderful than I can imagine in my little head.

Our lives are only small if we believe them to be, writes Teri at (Long) Road to Paradise. There is this paradoxical balance - having faith in how much beauty you bring to the world, and yet not being wrapped up in just how important you are... trusting the world to take our flawed existence and actions, amplifying it beyond our wildest imagination, but yet not thinking for the tiniest moment that you have the power to change the world.... knowing that every day you make a difference, but without ever truly understanding how or why.

Let's revel in those mysteries as I leave it there with you tonight...

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

The Wisdom of George Sheehan...

The music of a marathon is a powerful strain, one of those tunes of glory. It asks us to forsake pleasures, to discipline the body, to find courage, to renew faith and to become one's own person, utterly and completely.

Needing a bit of help?

Anyone looking for that extra bit of motivation as the New year really kicks in and the passion behind those resolutions start to die down ever so little... this is a fantastic piece
on how to ensure that a plan is put in place to support the achievement of those goals! It's about running, but the tips are easily modified to apply to almost any type of aim.

It's oh-so-simple and yet Ohhhh-so-hard!!!!!!!!!