Monthly Archives: February 2014

Recovery Run

For the first time in a very long time, I brought my friend/colleague along on my run today. Although I prefer to hit the roads alone, I agreed.

I agreed for many reasons and one of it was because I had planned a recovery run. I ran in the ICE charity run 2 days ago with considerable effort. It was evident that my body was screaming for rest as it was showing signs of aches and soreness. Pacing a friend would be a great way to ensure that I don’t go at my usual pace which would ruin my recovery run.

We jogged, brisk walked and did some uphill sprints. As I was running well below my efforts, I had enough energy to gab away throughout the run. I gave her some running tips and pointed out all my oddball neighbours. I had a lot of fun! I came back feeling refreshed.

1924444_10152300796521388_256082866_nSTRETCH!

Scheduling in time for recovery is just as crucial as planning your training/workouts. You have to recover enough to be able to nail your workouts again day after day. The body needs time to return back to “normal” after intense sessions of physical stress.

Recovery rates and recovery strategies are tailored to each individual and their workouts. People often get confused as to which recovery strategy works best – Massages? Stretching? More sleep? Foam rolling? Ice baths? That, you have to discover on your own. You can opt to try all of them and see which one works out the best for you. It is all about trial and error. Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you don’t. So learn from those times when you have failed.

 

A1_MAF1AWEEZPG_No_Days_Off-front-large

 

…for the body

A runner’s body is never at rest. On off days, it is busy breaking down, repairing, refuelling and recovering. So, I’m glad I did this today because I know that my body really needed a break. I have to admit, I’m a little addicted to the endorphins that come with running. I like to complete my runs, even when I know my body has reached its limits. I’m not crazy; its just obsessive compulsive behaviour, really.

QOTD:

Knowing when to stop running for a day or a week, isn’t easy for many runners, but understanding that it will enhance performance in the long term comes with maturity. ~Alberto Salazar

5 Things To Do One Day Before a Race

It really is an encouragement when your friends tell you that they read your blog (People are actually reading my blog! *SQUEALS*) and even push you to update frequently. Said “friends” that I’m referring to here are Swan and Gillian. They deserve to be credited because they gave me inspiration for this post. We were talking about this, among other deep and insightful things, over dinner yesterday. They had so many brilliant ideas/suggestions on what I could do with/write on my blog.

I gave it some thought and since I was running a race the next day (which is today, 23 Feb 2014), I thought I’d make a short list of what to do one day before race day.

This is a list of the 5 things that I do to prepare for a race. It is a pretty generalized list so I hope that you can benefit from it too.

  1. Chill Out

When I say chill out, I really mean CHILL OUT. Sit back, relax, kick your feet up and give them all the love and care they need before the big day. This is the best day to catch up on your favourite TV series or that book that you’ve been wanting to read.

 

I like to go for soothing massages, coffee dates or laze in bed till late afternoon. I try to get as much rest as possible. I would try to save shopping sprees and the running of errands till after the race. Yes, shopping is considered a WORKOUT. In fact, it is a FULL body workout. Carrying shopping bags/clothes, changing from one outfit to the other, walking around, sifting through racks of clothes to find the perfect piece, hunting for bargains……Phew.

So, if I were you, I’d handle the ‘needs’ first and save the ‘wants’ for later. If you are used to putting in a light workout before the big race, you can go for a swim or do some yoga, as long as it is not too vigorous.

2. Eat Well

Eat a well-balanced meal containing carbohydrates (mainly), some proteins and fats. It is as simple as that. If you are planning to carbo-load, do so wisely. Carbo-loading is beneficial if you’re aiming to achieve endurance. However, carbo-loading does not simply mean chowing down on any food that is high in carbohydrates.

There are many forms of carbohydrates. Load up on good and complex carbohydrates. Go for sweet potatoes (my personal favourite), brown rice and wholegrain bread/pasta. These are slow digesting carbohydrates, providing your body the long term fuel that it needs to finish the race. Carbo-loading should be done 2 days before the race as you cannot fill your muscles with glycogen from just one meal.

 

good-carb-bad-carb

 

Avoid foods that are particularly high in fiber, foods that cause bloating or flatulence, spicy foods, dairy products or any other foods that may cause discomfort/irritation. The last thing you want is to feel “heavy” and “bloated” on race day. Constipation is usually unknown to runners. With all that running, your bowels tend to be more “active”. By staying away from those aforementioned foods, you are also able to avoid runner’s trots.

PIE

Favourite pre-race dinner.

A few years ago when I participated in my first night run, I used it as an excuse to carbo-load. I ate half a tin of butter cake, rice with curry and 3 scoops of ice cream 4 hours before the race. I still made it into the top 20 but it was one of the most uncomfortable races EVER.

It is also good to incorporate some proteins in your diet the day before the race. The proteins that you consume would be used to repair damaged muscles more effectively. Eat a light, satisfying meal. DO NOT stuff your face. Bear in mind that you are not consuming MORE calories per day that the usual – it’s just that more of those calories are coming from carbohydrates.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Complex carbohydrates + Protein + Healthy Fats – CHECKED!

3. Pack your Bag, Race Kit, Race Gear

Experience tells me that I have to pack my bag the night before a race. I used to do it on race morning, scrambling and fumbling around trying to stuff everything I need into my backpack. I either end up being late for the race or end up forgetting something ie: my watch or my hairband. Sometimes, it is not the “thing” that matters but the thought of having it that gives you the security.

When you’re nervous and filled with anxiety, the last thing you need is the thought of not having something that you usually run with (watch, iPod etc). On race day, it is your mental strength that matters. A small detour from your ritual/routine could throw you into paranoia.

1904207_10152296569611388_1177090398_n

PUMA PUMA PUMA!

1014261_10151825518171388_282383284_n

Most runs are held on Sunday mornings. As I have church commitments, I have to pack an extra set of clothes for service. Sorry for the really bad picture quality. I am hoping to get my camera back, ASAP.

4. Prepare your Pre-race Meal

Try to prepare your pre-race meal the night before. This would give you some peace of mind and avoid race day mayhem in the kitchen. I had my fair share of race morning craziness – dropping eggs, spilling water and smashing bowls to the ground just to name a few.

Always be prepared. Whatever you choose to eat for breakfast, make sure that it has been tried and tested. This is not the time to be consuming something that you’ve never had before a race. Have something that is easy to digest and high in carbohydrates. This would ensure that you have enough energy to pull through. Some runners have their morning coffee rituals. If you must have coffee, take in as little as possible. This would allow you to avoid extra potty trips during the race. Drink a glass of water one hour before the race so that you’ll be well hydrated at the starting line.

1505126_10152194370871388_304008556_n

I used to go to runs on an empty stomach. But I have learned that it is always better to have breakfast! My usual breakfast would be all-natural peanut butter on wholegrain bread topped with banana and chia seeds. Yum! The perfect balance of carbs, proteins and fats. This would be more than enough to give you that extra kick.

1800273_10152296569131388_1033661099_n

Most fruits are high in carbs as well as fiber – which may cause stomach discomforts/bloating during the race. Bananas and apples are my go-to, low-fiber choice!

1450981_10152112578321388_1805094030_n

I’m pretty fussy when it comes to my post-run meals. I usually pack my own snacks to munch on after the race.

1653811_10152296569366388_1812324978_n

Whenever I can, I would pack cold coconut water into my flask to enjoy after the race! Great way to rehydrate and replace lost electrolytes. YUM!

5. GO TO BED…..EARLY!

Ah! Guilty! I am usually filled with mix feelings of excitement, anxiety and nervousness. On a good day, I would be able to get a maximum of 7 hours of sleep the night before. But that is considered a luxury. I would normally only get about 2 hours of TROUBLED sleep. Meaning, I would be waking up every few minutes with my heart thumping, almost bursting out of my chest. It is the adrenaline rush on race morning that really gets me going. So thank your body for producing such amazing chemicals.

sleep

Sleep is good both mentally and physically. The lack of it can have a serious impact on your performance on race day. Relax, take deep breaths and hold it for 5 seconds before taking the next, clear your mind and you will eventually slip into dreamland (I hope!).

In related news:

1780693_10152296569771388_1296713471_n

I managed my first sub-50 for 10KM (9.5-9.6KM to be exact) at the ICE charity run 2014. My Personal Best.

Although I was being pushed around by other runners at the start of the race, I came in at number 6. Two uncles congratulated me at the end of the race. They said that I had a really good pace. This is not the first time that random runners have come up to me to either compliment or congratulate me. I am very grateful for all their kind words.

Sometimes, it is these comments that keeps you going. What a great way to start the week. Loads of support and encouragement from the running gang too. So much love.

In other news:

Gillian and Swan threw me a mini be-early surprise birthday dinner with cupcakes! <3 They are awesome like that. Don’t know what I did to deserve them.

Guys, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so supportive. You have no idea how much this means to me and your sincerity is what I need. Words simply cannot express how I feel.

1962606_10152296570321388_2003911365_n

CUTE-ness OVERLOAD!

Quote of the day:

“Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life.” – Haruki Murakami

Continue to push yourself. Never settle for less because you are capable of so much more. You will never discover what you can do by remaining in your comfort zone. Have the courage to go above and beyond your limits! Have a great week ahead!

OK, I really should get some sleep now.

This just happened! (Okay, not really)

Oh, Hi!

So many exciting things, to me at least, have been happening both in terms of work and running. Since this is a running blog, I shall skip everything about work.

I’ve recently become more “public” about my running. It all started a few months ago when I heard that Puma Malaysia was starting a running club. If you know me well enough you would know that I’m an introvert solo runner, the lone ranger running around the neighbourhood. I have done so for the past 6 years (at least) minus the 1 or 2 times I ran with my neighbours. Solo running does have its perks. I started out as a solo runner because I craved that solitary moment. Completely clearing my mind and shutting out the world. Also, I’m always on a tight schedule. I don’t enjoy wasting time waiting for people to show up to run together. Or maybe I just couldn’t be bothered. It was not as if I had many running friends to begin with.

Deciding to join the Puma Running Club was a huge leap for me. Attending the first session itself was a daunting task. I was very nervous to begin with, and to be honest, the thought of getting free socks at the end of the first session was probably the only thing that pushed me to go. I know, I’m easily amused. For the first time ever, I had the privilege of running with pacers. We did 2 loops around the park which was about 4.4KM. And accordingly, I was considered a pretty okay female runner. Their constant compliments overwhelmed me. Honestly, I didn’t know what to say or how to react. The Puma Pacers were serious runners, timing themselves down to the very second. And there I was, running to feel, unbound by timing. After the first session, I went home a happy runner with free Puma socks and a bunch of new friends.

ImagePUMA FREEBIES!

By the third session, I was asked if I was interested to become a Puma Pacer. Wait, WHAT? Without thinking twice, I agreed. Mainly because of the FREEBIES (you knew that was coming eh?) and of course I thought that it was high time I shared my passion for running with other runners. I guess many people join running clubs because it gives them accountability, though I never really had a problem with that. I was disciplined enough to get my butt out the door to run and occasionally improving on my speed. Early last year, I think I hit a wall (not literally) with my running. I didn’t aim to improve, I was just drifting. I soon realised that for me, this was a perk of running with a group – I tend to put in more effort when I’m running with other people. There was also the wealth of knowledge from other runners; some of the things I learnt might have taken a very long time to learn as a lone runner.

Image

The Puma Family!

Image

Oh, and another family – Cari Group! These guys are crazy runners. They welcomed me with open arms to join their final run before the Chinese New Year. The kind soul on the far right paced me all the way.

Image

The rest of them! Elaine, the girl standing beside me, has been such a doll! Thanks for everything!

In my opinion, the best thing to do would be to compromise – do both solo and group running. The experience of running in a group (this particular group) has been an eye opener. They have been so friendly and so willing to share whatever they know about running. How they train, their goals, timing, races…… All I can say is that I am so blessed and overwhelmed and excited and anxious for everything that has yet to come.

Discover more about yourself and other runners!

Happy Running!

CHINESE NEW YEAR NOMS!

because as runners, we need the extra calories and energy… teehee!

Chinese New Year (CNY) is evil. Evil is everywhere, lurking at every corner, ready to pounce on your innocent being. By evil I meant the fattening calorie-loaded CNY snacks!

Disclaimer: Not for the weak or the hungry

So let’s see:

487807_10151492249796388_523974463_n

Homemade cookies and pineapple tarts! In my family, it is a yearly tradition that we make and consume these.

407239_10150603267736388_1622222799_n

Of course, what is CNY without mandarin oranges! From Day 1 of CNY till today, I’ve eaten about 70 of these little babies. I kid you not. It is a miracle that I haven’t gotten sick from eating too many oranges. In the Chinese culture, mandarin oranges are considered “heaty”. Heatiness is characterized by the symptoms or sensations experienced (including: sore throat, fever, constipation etc.) after consuming foods under this group.

1620595_10152251469116388_1848861644_n

Kuih Kapit. A mixture of just 3 key ingredients: flour, eggs and coconut milk. They look simple too but the amount of love and care that goes into making these traditional biscuits makes it so special.

1451387_10152251474271388_680007399_n

Indonesian layer cake. As a kid, I loved to peel away and eat this layer by layer. I still do!

1623721_10152249215011388_1391585729_n

The crispy stuff! Chicken, pork or shrimp floss wrapped in popiah skin and deep fried. Whatever that is deep fried, it is going to be good. Although I can’t say the same for your waistline.

1798620_10152251474106388_2098947909_n

In my family, we call this “long yuk”. But when I was in high school, none of my friends know this as “long yuk”. So, we shall just stick to calling this “bakkwa” or “yuk gon”. Bakkwa to the Chinese is like jerky to the Americans. Made from dried barbequed meat of either beef, pork or chicken and sometimes lobster. Good enough to be eaten on its own or between 2 slices of bread (how I usually eat it).

12103_10152249215191388_444841139_n

This was a gift from one of our lovely patients all the way from Australia. I had the whole bar in 2 sittings. Coming from a non-chocolate fan, that is a whole lot of chocolate.

995861_10152249215246388_320848410_n

More pineapple tarts!

1229810_10152249215111388_110065075_n

Popcorn! Not a traditional CNY snack but during this season, we tend to have all sorts of snacks!

RICE

Homemade rice crispies! The bomb.

485649_10150742291991388_687959118_n

Probably the healthiest thing to eat during CNY. Shredded turnips, carrots and pork cooked in dark soy sauce, oyster sauce and some secret sauce. This is actually the filling and it is usually wrapped in either popiah skin or lettuce. Give me a pot of this and I will finish it right before your eyes. It is THAT good. To me, at least.

555879_10151490625991388_1753176087_n

Last but not least, YEE SANG! I’d like to think of this dish as a Chinese Salad. This is usually eaten at the start of every meal where everyone grabs a chopstick and “lou” (mix) this together while shouting wishes of luck, prosperity, health, wealth and everything good for the rest of the year ahead! Fun stuff.

On the first day of CNY, I pretty much wiped out my grandma’s snack stash (she doesn’t know) and just kept eating all day. I managed to put in a night run though, after all the visitation and meet ups were done. As it was about 8pm when I started running, my dad tailed me in his car throughout the second part of my run. So much love! It felt like i was running an ultra! I also managed to slip in 2 swim sessions last week because it was too hot to run! CNY heat wave is the worst.

Some people say I never get fat even with all the junk. The fact is that I wasn’t eating junk throughout CNY. I run and try to offset the junk food by having more fruits and vegetables.

1422402_10152246343201388_596166016_n

Day 2 lunch. FRUIT platter!

1899935_10152253835016388_165348329_n

Beating the heat and rehydrating with coconut water! So refreshing.

Hope you didn’t drool all over your keyboard! Nom away! But make sure you eat healthy and work off the CNY goodies.

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

Just over 4 weeks ago we were ringing in Christmas and the new year-2014!

Many runs and a couple of weeks later, BOOM – Its the CHINESE NEW YEAR celebration, where the Chinese (obviously) welcome the new year of the Horse! YEEHAW! Aside from the tradition of buying new clothes, cleaning up the house…… it is a time where family and friends gather to spend time together (I guess that is the whole point of any other celebration!).

dreamstime_m_34655981

I always look forward to Chinese New Year because I am still eligible to receive Ang Paos (money in red packets) and of course the FOOD! It is a time where most grandmas, aunties and mothers around the world display their culinary skills to prepare the big reunion meal of abalone, exotic mushrooms, duck, fish and the like. The reunion meal usually falls on the eve of Chinese New Year which was on the 30th of January this year.

I was working on that day but managed to squeeze in some core work and stretching before the big meal. This was probably the first time I spent nearly an hour just focusing on stretching and it felt sooooooooooooo good! I could feel the blood rushing to every part of my body and I felt so relaxed. I guess this is the reason why some people rave about yoga. Before a few weeks ago, I’ve never done any form of stretching. I’ve always just focused on running and more running. It is time that I make it a point to stretch everyday. Another resolution to the list! DING!

This year, my aunt and my mom took over the cooking to relieve my grandma of the long hours and stress of food prep. Here’s a glimpse of the dinners that I’ve been having. Ahhhhhh. So yummy!

Image

Image

Image

1743468_10152242496031388_955557613_n

Even the dogs looked stuffed!

We played a game of scrabble after our reunion dinner because we’re intellectual like that. Haaaaaaa! Need to put our brains to work after all that food! After all, the brain consumes the most energy.

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR FOLKS!