Awake at an ungodly hour. Haven;t been able to sleep past 5am for the past two weeks. Wonder what’s wrong.
Archive for June, 2011
Awake at an ungodly hour. Haven;t been able to sleep past 5am for the past two weeks. Wonder what’s wrong.
I heard a refreshingly simple training philosophy two days ago – man was born without limits, he sets his own limits. I’ve been turning this around my head and trying to see what it actually means. But then again, as with everything else, interpretation is subjective. It struck a chord within me though, when I thought about the limits on training mileage that I impose for fear of getting injured, and the voices in my head that tell me I can’t hit a certain on the swim, bike or run. Still digesting this, still turning it over and still trying to find its resonance.
Had an unexpectedly good swim session. I had been physically tired over the past two weeks because of a chronic inability to sleep beyond 4am everyday. I was tired during work, and almost turned back and headed home when I was my way to training. The fatigue and lethargy was getting to me, but I decided that it was a day when I would push it, and get on with training regardless of how I felt. Surprisingly, my body felt stronger than I thought it would be – perhaps the fatigue and lethargy were mental. We started on 100m sets on 2mins, but I decided to up the ante by using paddles and pushed the pace and started hammering in 1:45 sets. the intensity felt good, the speed of the workout refreshing. Sometimes, your mind is your greatest limit.
Lying on a tennis ball while typing this out, typical mulit tasking of a busy week. Another hard run, more aching muscles and hips. Every day has been filled with training, work, and social engagements. My training volume calls for 11 hours of sleep a night, my schedule allows for five. I listen to my schedule. Many say that the best advice for an athlete is to listen to your body. For me, that could potentially be one of the worst advice. If you listen to your body, you’re going to stop running when you start to pant, you’ll stop midway through swim sets when your arms start to ache, and you’ll give up on your ride once your quads start screaming on the hills. If you listen to your body all the time, you’ll never get to where you want to be.
Met some old friends and classmates a few nights ago, people I haven’t seen in a while. I always find it slightly disconcerting when people around me treat me as if I’m a different species of being altogether and to examine my life with wonder and amazement. Questions about how i’m excelling in triathlons, and how my law school classmates view me as God-like academic that even the professors bow to. I shake my head in confusion amidst all these epithets and simply say that they all exaggerations. Cindy asked why I was always so cold and mechanical, and someone confessed an old teenage crush because of my cool disposition towards others. I am confused again, and I begin to suspect that I am socially awkward. I simply don’t understand how being distant and cold can be seen as a good thing. I have struggled to shake this demeanor of mine off, but to zero success – I don’t deliver impassioned speeches in the moot court, I am calm, cool and seemingly emotionless. In debates, I lack the fiery passion, having in its place a matter-of-fact tone that some view as condescending. To some, I appear arrogant, but trust me, I just don’t know what to say, and I don’t know how to smile. Cindy being the straight talker asked if she could ask me some slightly offensive question; as always she shoots off before I answer. She asked to see my boyfriend, I say he’s not here. She asked about school and my God-like academic prowess, I shake my head and say I’m an average student. She asked why I’m so god-damned diplomatic, and I say that I’m saying what I really think. She throws her hands up in exasperation and asks whether I’m just a very private person or do I just filter everything I say. I don’t remember what I told her, but coming to think about it, I don’t think there’s a difference: it is causal – I am a private person and therefore I filter everything I say. I’d like to see such exchanges as a form of reflection for myself, because I don’t know how I appear to others. At the end of the day, everyone said I haven’t changed a single bit. Maybe it’s true – triathlon has taught me that if you wear your heart on your sleeve, you have to be prepared at what the world slings at it, but keep it too closely guarded and you’ll never experience the peaks and valleys of human emotion. I can;t say I haven’t tried, but each time I feel as if I’m opening up to someone, I get hurt. One step forward, two steps back.
It feels like I’ve been putting my life back in order recently. After a month of traveling and taking time off in May, I simply got tired of a seemingly aimless summer holiday. Sitting down and looking at what I set out to achieve this year, and how much I’ve accomplished so far, it seems as if I”m on track. This feels like a midway check, where I fine-tune my focus, throw out unnecessary distractions, and go all out to pursue what I’ve set out for myself. I’m learning what I hoped to learn on the job, the intricacies of the food and beverage business – purchasing, hygiene, preparation, staffing and team dynamics. It’s not just an academic exercise but a real life learning experience: I jump on the chance to clean the windows and glass, to sweep/mop, do the dishes, prep the food and take out the trash, things that are not part of the job scope. I learn that there is no job too lowly, no task too insignificant. Each day as I take orders and prepare the food, I think about how in about 6 months, I’d be the one standing on the other side of the counter, taking out a quick lunch before hurrying back to the office to do work. I think about how I’ll be the one constantly staring at an LCD screen, replying the emails of clients who are anxious about their lawsuits, and how I’d once again be faced with having to do what might not be right, of having to help defend someone who I know deep down is guilty – all for the sake of money. It’s a brutal world, and the simplicity of a salad and wrap shop offers a scarily stark contrast.
I had two high intensity training sessions today. The evening run felt better than it had in a long time : a 4.3km hard hilly run, and as I turned into the track for some cool down, I spotted a group of NS men scattered around the track seeming training for their IPPT. I decided to hammer it out and picked them out one by one. It felt good – 15 whole minutes of running way beyond a pace that I’m comfortable with, chasing the next target as after I pass the other. Ignoring the burning lungs, the churning stomach and the begging legs – that’s what the order of things should be: mind over body.
It’s been a while since I’ve had a couple of hours to myself to really sit down and sort my own life out. Training and work is starting to take a toll, tired but there’s so much to do. Less than 6 weeks to osim, but it feels as if my fitness level is still way down. It’s been 2 weeks since I got back to training after the bout of gastric and each session feels tougher than it should. On each run, I force myself to focus, not on the run, my form or technique – but the pain. Most people try their minds off the run and think about other things, just so they can complete the run. Instead, I direct my mind only to the pain, the burning feeling in my lungs, the aching pain in my quads and hamstrings, and the painful gasps of breath. The challenge is not completing the run, but rather to keep the pace that is so painful to hold. Completing it is a given, doing it in a good time is an expectation.
Had a pretty good swim training last night, the splits of the main set were not exactly stellar, but at least the intervals felt manageable. Recently, I’ve been thinking, long distance swimming is probably not my thing. After these 2 over years of doing longer distances, I don’t seem to be achieving the sort of times that I should be getting. Even now, I still feel much more confident in a 50m sprint race than a 1.5km swim. Coming to think of it, I’ve been swimming for over 15 years now, much of it as a sprinter and maybe I’d always be better at that. So I see distance swimming as a challenge -a challenge to excel at something that you are not innately good at. It is not easy being largely self-coached, finding the motivation to head to the pool at 0630 every monday, wednesday and friday, doing intervals alone while trying to keep up the pace, and trying to figure out the problems in technique and stroking without being able to see yourself swim. Not easy, but the only way I know to get better is to train hard, with commitment, dedication and sacrifice.
Sometimes I get tired, tired of trying. Trying to follow all the rules set by my parents, trying to adhere to their code of conduct. I feel as if I’m fending off a relentless and huge wave, one that threatens to engulf me completely. If I lose the battle and the wave swallows me up, I lose my very identity and who I am. I become part of the wave and what it is – no longer myself, no longer an individual. I get tired of trying to keep my “personal relationships” away from my parents, of trying to hide things that they are not supposed to know or hear about. I get tired of trying to convince myself that this is non-disclosure, and not deceit. I get tired of the questions they ask, about the things they see online or on facebook. I get tired of being caught in the middle – of trying to account to my parents on one side, and him on the other. Friends don’t understand why I don’t share much, and it’s obvious that the “challenge” isn’t working out. I simply avoid saying or sharing too much online simply because it invites questions that I don’t want to answer. I hate relentless badgering that I get from my parents over a single thing they see online or when they see me talking on the phone for extended periods of time. And yet I feel as if he doesn’t understand why I can’t always be comfortable or at ease to talk on the phone. It’s a cliche, but being caught between a rock and a hard place does not sound as bad, it’s getting caught between people who love you and someone you’re in love with that’s draining.
First real bike race today, it was an interesting experience, and also humbling. I wasn’t used to road racing, the pack started off slow – at 35km/h. When I race triathlons, I push right from the start and don’t let up, I like race in front and push from get go, so that’s what I did. Before I knew it, I was in no (wo)man’s land, in front and all alone. I knew the pack was going to get me, that I couldn’t possibly hold on without drafting. But I wasn’t here to win, neither was I here to prove that I was one of the fastest female cyclist of my age group in the country. I was here to beat the course that had eluded me twice this year, first aviva, then tribob. I wanted to do a good time, placing didn’t matter to me today. I dont have a strategy, and I don’t plan to draft. The triathletes who recognized me from osim and tribob probably thought I was here to prove something. To many of them, I’m the young, and maybe cocky upstart who keeps to myself during races. I don’t join in the friendly conversations, but instead fuss over my transition area and find quiet corners to run through the race in my head. I don’t feel the need to prove myself, Patrick from tribob told them to watch out for me – it doesn’t make a difference whether people do.
Today I made some rookie mistakes: refusing to take in electrolytes or calories on the bike for fear of a gastric revolt, and regretting my decision of sticking with the mountain bike tube – the rolling resistance was mind blowing.
I see the girls that I usually race against, unsurprisingly, they raced the shorter distance while I picked the longest there was. Most girls my age like shorter races and they really excel in it, as for me, I can never find the foot speed. I’m humbled by the maturity with which these girls race, most of them have been in the sport longer than me, and they know their own bodies so well. They know when to push and when to sit on the wheel, and they race with a fierce hunger to win. The race season is just starting up, and I see the desire to win in many of them. Osim is probably the key race for many of us, most of them race the sprint, but this year seems different. I see the challenge they seem to be putting forth to me, a few of them have beaten me at sprints, but I’ve been untouchable at the Olympic distance. All of them look ready to tear me apart at osim this year.
The race season hasn’t been good to me so far, injuries creeping back, gastric issues and my bike seems to be giving up on me. Race results have been less than stellar, the body can’t seem to do what the mind wants it to. I’m 7 weeks away from osim but training is way behind. I don’t aim to win – I never do. What’s more important to me is to beat myself and my own time. Most people aim to break the 3 hour mark, I didn’t understand the significance of it, probably because I broke it in my very first OD Tri. I didn’t feel the sense of achievement that I should have felt, and I guess that is what I’m looking for this time. A podium finish is a bonus – I don’t enjoy standing on the podium and being the centre of attention, maybe that’s why i often leave before the prize presentation. I simply need affirmation that I’m up there with some of best, but I do not need public recognition. I have a target time firmly set in mind, a very ambitious one, some would say, but I feel mentally ready for it. Ready to garner every ounce of self-discipline I have to put myself through 7 weeks of grueling training to reach that goal.
Yes, I know I’m one day behind, so I’m trying to catch up now. Disclaimer: I am not the most social person so this is going to be hard.
Okay, this induction into the world of social networking is getting harder. I’m one day behind the challenge, so this quiz is a forfeit.. Sigh, here goes.
why aren’t you in love with your ex anymore? I just aren’t, human emotions are just like that aren’t they?
Who do you sit next to in your English class? I don’t have english classes
Are you generally a happy person? Hmm, I”m not sure about happy, but I guess I’m content
Who’s in your profile picture with you? Nobody
What color shirt are you wearing? White t shirt
Where will you be in a hour? Running somewhere
Who was the first person you talked to today? Taxi driver
How’s your heart been lately? Hmm… It’s mending?
Why did you last smile? Text from the boyfriend
How do you feel right now? Better than I did 5 mins ago, yay for no more nausea
Had sex at school? Nope
Are you good at making new friends? No
Have you ever seen someone you knew & purposely avoided them? Yes, all the time
Are you wearing makeup? No
Will this Sunday be a good one? If my race turns out well
When will your next kiss be? Er, the next time I see my boyfriend?
If you could move to Africa would you? For a few months yes, not forever.
Ever kissed someone who was in a relationship? This is a weird question, what if you kiss your boyfriend who’s obviously in a relationship with you? Someone should rephrase this.
Are promises important to you? I don’t break promises, and I hope others don’t as well
Would you ever tell someone you loved them first? Tough one, probably not.
Anyone of the opposite sex been on your mind lately? Yup
Someone knocks on your window at 2 am, what do you say? Yes, can I help you?
Will you be in a relationship next month? What is with all these questions? I can’t tell the future, but I hope so.
Do you love anyone right now? Yeah
Honestly, who was the last person to tell you that they love you? Kamal
What is your favorite number? 7
Would you consider having that many kids? Haha very funny, don’t even want to have kids now,
Do you ever write notes on your hand? Never
Are you violent? I’d like to think not
Were you ever be teacher’s pet? Nope
Can you vote in the next election? Nope
What made you decide to wear the outfit you wore today? I’m planning to go for a run
Have you ever done yoga? Yes, and I still do.
What’s your favorite color gummy bear? Blue
Would you have sex on the first date? Haha I so totally would – not.
Do you prefer to seduce or be seduced? No preference, both sound horrid
What is the name of the hottest guy/girl at your school? Sorry, too busy being a nerd cum jock to take note
What smiley represents how your day was? The only smileys I know are (: and ):, none of which are accurate
Do you prefer fast paced dancing or slow dancing? You know, I’m such a big fan of clubbing that I can shuffle better than LMFAO.. haha (:
Has someone ever taken advantage of you in any way? Yes of course
Have you ever fallen asleep while driving? No, just dozing off
Do you believe that you should fight for love? Hmm, depends on what you’re fighting
Where did you last kiss someone? Where as in which place or which part of the person? Rephrase please.
On the cheeks: Monday?
Dark eyeliner: yes or no? No
Do you hold your breath when you pass a cemetery? No, I inhale deeply and be glad that I’m alive
Have you ever felt like you lost? Yup, when I have to do 20x200m swim sets and I can’t pull my ass through it
Can you take this without deleting any questions? I’m trying to, but why is this so long??
What grade is the last person you kissed in? I don’t know how to answer this, not in any grade
What’s something you really want right now? I really want this gastric problem of mine to go away
Who was the last person to disappoint you? Hmm, too personal, sorry.
Who was the last person you had a deep conversation with? With myself, in my head. It goes on all the time. No, I’m not schizo.
Have you ever made a hole in the wall? By hammering a nail in? Yes.
Do you know someone in jail? Yeah
What were you doing at 2:00 this morning? Getting out of bed to pee
Do you wear glasses or contacts? Both
Anywhere you’d rather be right now? Cycling on the roads
Are you going on vacation this coming summer? It is summer hols now, probably.
Waiting for someone to call? Maybe
Do you have plans for tomorrow? Are you stalking me? Yes, as usual i am going to swim,bike or run or any combination of the three
Where did you get the shirt you are wearing? It’s a race tee
Do you still talk to the last person you dated? Yes
Have you ever kissed a complete stranger? No, just peck on the cheeks for newly-introduced friends
What was the last thing you drank? Water
What is for dinner tonight? Whatever doesn’t make me throw up, I don’t keep regular mealtimes.
Does your last ex miss you? Probably not
Does anyone love you? I hope so
Does the last person you shared a bed with mean anything to you? Yeah, otherwise that person probably wouldn’t be sharing a bed with me
Have you ever had a real kiss with anyone whose name started with an L, K, J, A, T, M? This is such a strange question – yes.
Did anyone see you kiss the last person you kissed? I do not know.
When a friend walks out of your life, do you go after them or let them go? If they choose to go, there’s nothing I can do
Do you believe everyone deserves a second chance? Depends
Do you believe in love at first sight? No
Have you ever lived with your girlfriend/boyfriend? No
Does anyone like you? I can’t read minds
Missing someone you shouldn’t be? Nope
What did your day consist of? Seconds, minutes and hours?
What’s up with you and your number 1? What’s a number 1
Have you ever been heartbroken? Yes
Has anyone ever tried to ruin a relationship you were in? Hmm..
Do you have a best friend? Probably not, just a couple of good friends
So far, which school year has been the best? 2007
Do you hate anyone? No
Do you sing in the shower? No
What did you last cry about? Hmm..
What do you look forward to most in the next 1 month? Holiday?
Who was the last person you called? Kamal
Who was the last person to call you? Grandaunt
What’s your ringtone? Ring ring ring
When is the last time you saw your sister/s? I don’t have a sister
Do you prefer shoes, socks, or bare feet? Bare feet
What was the last thing you ate? Porridge with marmite
What is your favorite ice cream? I don’t like ice cream
Do you like coffee? Love it
What do you drink in the morning? Water
Do you sleep on a certain side of the bed? No
Do you eat out or at home more often? Home
Do you know anyone with the same birthday as you? No
Do you know any other languages? Cantonese and Japanese
Do you prefer an ocean or a pool? I love the ocean, but if we’re talking swimming, the pool
Do you prefer a window seat or an aisle seat? Aisle
Do you know how to drive a stick shift? Yes
What is your favorite thing to spend money on? Whatever I need at the moment
Do you wear any jewelry? Ear studs?
What is your favorite TV show? Don’t watch TV
Who do you agree with the most on things? Myself
Do you shut off the water when you brush your teeth? Yes I do
Do you sleep with your closet doors opened or closed? Closed of course
Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of killer bees? Bear
Who have you talked to the most today in person? Interviewer who flat out told me that lawyers were money-hungry people with no moral values
Name of the last person you texted? Regi
Is it easy to make you cry? Depends on who you are
Is it hard to trust others? Extremely
Do you like using big words? I don’t know what qualifies as big, i just use the words that are in my head
Do you care too much/not at all/just enough? Too much, but I refuse to show it
Have you ever had depression? No
What would you do if your best friends died? mourn them like they deserve and then move on
Do you consider yourself lucky? Extremely
How often do you cry anyways? Only in one situation
Have you ever been told ” Its not you, Its me”? Haha yes.
Are you afraid to tell your true feelings? Sometimes.. okay very often
I bet you’re thinking of someone now? Yeah
Can you honestly say that you’re okay right now? Mentally yes, physically no
Do you tell people you’re ok when you’re really not? All the time
Have you ever felt worthless? No
Have your friends met your parents? Some of them
Have you ever thought about killing someone in detail? No
What do you have pierced on you? My ears
Have you ever been on a blind date? No
When is the last time you saw fireworks? National Day Parade
Are you taller than your mom? Yes
What are you planning on doing after filling this out? Run and cycle
Would you ever live with anyone on your top friends? Maybe
Did the one person who hurt you the most in your life apologize? Yeah I guess
Are you good at hiding your feelings? I wouldn’t know
Are you wasting your time on someone? I hope not
Explain the last time you threw up: Gastric flu
Do you have a bad temper? Hmm, I don’t know because I don’t lose it.
Do you think you’ll be married in 10 years? It’s a 50/50