Tag Archives: adventure

Cycling – My New “Running”

Happy 1st Month (and a few days) of 0 mileage – the longest zero-running streak I’ve ever been on since 2013. I didn’t even stop for that long when I was down with dengue. *Pats self on the back*

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In the past month, I’ve done quite a bit of reflection. Giving up running wasn’t as hard as I thought. In fact, I don’t really miss it… yet! The crazy-obsessive-over achiever-competitive lil person in me feels at peace.

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Running is not bad. It was just how I saw/took it. Sports are always fun……until they get competitive. I was probably much more focused on the end result rather than enjoying the journey of getting there. It became rather destructive. I lost sight of many things along the way and started to take out the fun in running.

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I’ve always wanted to try new things. But at the same time, I was just so stuck with running. Everything revolved around it, even when I wasn’t competing! I just kept wanting more out of it.


 

CyclingWith injury, I was FORCED to change. God is amazing. Just trust His timing. He took something away from me, but He left me with something even BETTER!
And I pray that I will look at things from new perspectives.


 The transition (from running to cycling) was easy, with the help of my friends! I have rediscovered my love for cycling and just doing something DIFFERENT/NEW!

IMG_1354Rummaging through the stuff to find the perfect one!Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

There was an extra bicycle in the shed and it was perfect (almost) for my size. I am a pretty small person. It is not every day that you find something lying around that fits. Except for my head. I have a big head and I need an XXXXXXXXXL helmet (hahhahhaha! I kid you not!).

IMG_1355Thanks to Ross for choosing the bike, fixing it up and adding some blinkers! 🙂 Oh, and of course, for taking me on my first ride.

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Excited to head out!

 

13575877_489547184573388_9577804946952805_oThankfully, my Garmin FR235 has a bike function! 😀

IMG_1259Perks of riding – you can bring your phone and capture beautiful sceneries along the way! I never do that with running.

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New AdventuresIMG_1310Riding selfies. Attempt at YOUR OWN RISK!

IMG_1273To the Bay!

IMG_1670Venturing out on a new route! Thanks Matt! 🙂

IMG_1674We made it to the beach after MANY detours and road closures.

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I absolutely love discovering new places, beaches, dirt roads, catching sunsets and just being in the moment and enjoying God’s creation. It is just so refreshing!

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IMG_1677Spot the airplane!

I still need more practice with the bike, especially BALANCE!

I will let you guys know how that goes!

Till then, KEEP MOVING!

xoxo

Staying Active on Vacay

I am back! Phew, CRAZY few weeks. We’re talking about endless assignments, presentations, studies, work, chores, sleepless nights and some running + strength training.

Final week of class before the exams and then SEM BREAK! So keen for it to be over! 😉

How is everyone else? 🙂


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Anyway! This post is on how to stay active when you’re on a vacay (speaking of which, I need a vacay!):

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Are you a routine junkie? Workout junkie? Vacay junkie?

*ME!*


The thing about being a routine junkie is that going on a vacay will potentially ruin it. I must admit, I get a little anxious about that! I am all about routines.


I’m here to talk about BALANCE: Not completely throwing your routine out the window but also not sticking to it like a junkie

It is not always easy to find a gym or a safe place to run (depends on where you go). So that might make it more difficult to get your usual workout in. If sticking to your routine stresses you out, what you need to do is throw THAT out the window. But not the working out part.


Staying ACTIVE on vacay:

1. EXPLORE

You’re on vacation! Take this time to get out there and EXPLORE the new city/place. Take it as an adventure.

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The best way to explore: WALKING/RUNNING/JOGGING

You get the best of both worlds: A chance to explore AND get your workout in!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

My Garmin FR235 has been my best friend! It makes working out SO EASY! Just PRESS and GO! So fun to look at the stats after, even if it was just a walk in the park. 🙂

2. Free and Easy

It is always good to have a PLAN but if you’re like me and you get upset if you don’t get to stick to your schedule/plan, get rid of that!

I tend to have an “all or nothing” approach. If I fail to stick to my plan, I’d do NOTHING at all. I try to balance between having a plan and being okay if I don’t adhere to it.

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Take it easy and go with what you have. If you have time, GO! If not, CHILL… with coffee! Your body probably needs the rest.

3. MIX IT UP!

I like running, but it is not always convenient to do so.

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Get creative. Do a short HIIT workout/sprints that can be done anywhere! Anything that will get your heart rate up. Set your alarm, get up to catch the sunrise and WORKOUT! I LOVE that fresh feeling after my workout. If you’re the same, then just do it!

Trust me, it will be worth it!

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Example:

4 rounds of:

-Pulse jump squats x20

-Cross mountain climbers x20

-Elevated Push ups x20

-Leg raises x20

1:30 min break

4 rounds of:

-Burpees x15

-Tricep dips x20

-Russian Twists x40

-Jack Knives x20

REPEAT x2!

4. To GO GET FOOD!IMG_3092

OH YEAH! The best kind of workout/activity is going to get FOOD! Walk/run/cycle to your favourite breakfast/brunch/coffee/ice cream place!

Explore local cuisines!FullSizeRender_1I earned my ice cream!

5. Try a NEW sport/activity

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Cycling is a fun way to explore a new place! I don’t normally cycle, so this was something “new” to me.

IMG_2402Triathlete in the making. hahahhhahahhaha. JOKES!

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Go on a hike! Walking/hiking is so good for you. My favourite aerobic workout! Get your heart pumping with a few inclines/climbs. Trust me, your heart will thank you for it. 🙂

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Soak in your surroundings. God NEVER fails to amaze me. His creations are breathtaking.

DCIM102GOPROSnorkeling. Swimming. Underwater fun! There are SO many ways to stay active!

DCIM102GOPROJust. AWESOME.

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Enjoy your next vacay + getting your heart rate up!

PS: If you happen to be planning your next trip, check out HotelsCombined to help you find and make the best accommodation decisions + great deals!

For more info on my Garmin FR235 or any other models, check out http://www.aeco.com.my or like their FB page !

Do let me know if you’re interested in any of the models. 😉

Cheers!

Bye Malaysia!

I left a subtle hint on my last post at the Puma Malaysia HQ.

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It was meant to leave you with some wonder but I didn’t expect to receive a flood of messages. Thank you for your concern! I’m here to clear up and hopefully answer all of your open questions.


If you’re not into reading lengthy wordy stuff, the gist of it is: I am leaving to Australia for 2 years to pursue my Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics.


This was not a sudden decision.

If you want to know the FULL STORY, READ ON!

Some Background Info

I have always wanted to take up nutrition/sports science, or a related field of study for my undergrad. Courses in this field at private institutes were very limited in Malaysia and it was too costly to go overseas (for a basic degree). Because of this, I did Medical Bioscience. It was my gateway to a Masters in the course that I intended to pursue. Plus, I obtained a scholarship from Monash University, so staying back was the best option.

After graduating, I worked for 2 years alongside one of the best plastic surgeons in town. He was intelligent, articulate and above all, extremely passionate about his work. He combined his passion for aesthetics with his skilled hands, a mountain of knowledge and experience, and last but not least, a big heart for his patients.FullSizeRender(1)

A few people thought that I should not have wasted time and that I should have gone straight for my Masters. I had no regrets coming out to work for 3 years. In fact, I would recommend coming out to work after your undergrad before furthering your studies. Working has opened up my eyes and I have gained quite a bit of experience, experience that you can never get from textbooks.

1620520_10153006265161388_8679834674850829399_n*Come to think of it: If I had gone sooner, I would not have had 2 wonderful years of running in Malaysia. No PNRC, no races, no running friends, no Marathon, no Half Marathons……* It all worked out for the best!*

Working also gave me some time to “grow up”, decide where to go (to pursue my Masters) and what to do (my future). I kept my options opened. My parents encouraged me to apply for Ivy League schools in the USA. And that was what I did.

After doing some (extensive) research, I narrowed it down to Columbia University.

They offered exactly what I wanted – Masters in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. The next step was to apply. As it is an Ivy League school, the application process was tedious, not to mention costly.

 If you are wondering, the term “Ivy League” is a group of eight Universities in the US including Harvard, Priceton, Yale, Penn, Dartmouth, Cornell, Columbia and Brown, with a reputation of high scholastic achievements and social prestige.

 


The Hiccups along the WayIMG_8093

 

The application process to Columbia University:

– Sit for the MCAT test (Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Mathematics). I took 2 months (self-study) to prepare for the exams. I had to make sure I passed with flying colours because retaking would have incurred unnecessary cost!

Cost: 500USD

-Write countless essays

Cost: Blood, sweat and tears

-Get 5 recommendation letters

Cost: My face grew a few inches thicker as I was always pestering mentors/lecturers for the letters! It took 2 months to compile everything.

-Send in my resume

Cost: My time

-Show proof of voluntary work

Cost: Not much

-Convert my Australian degree scores to the American equivalent

Cost: 160USD

-Mail/virtually send documents over to Columbia University

Cost: RM 300++

-Application fee: 85USD


 

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The whole process took ONE year from the time I started the application (May 2014) to the time I finally received the offer letter in April 2015.

I would have gone in September 2014 but there was a delay in my MCAT scores.

I would have gone in January 2015 but they did not receive the necessary documents in time and rolled my application to September 2015.

I would have gone in September 2015 but there was a prerequisite that I needed to fulfil.

Prerequisite: Human Nutrition at Monash University Malaysia

Cost: RM 5125++

Deposit to Columbia University to accept my offer

Cost: 200USD

Deposit for accommodation

Cost: 150USDFullSizeRender(2)

With the exchange rate at 4.4 ish now, YOU DO THE MATH!

And I have yet to set ONE foot into Columbia University.


A Blessing in Disguise

As you can see, it was a very draggy process (and it is STILL on-going!).

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I nearly gave up. Who wouldn’t?!

There were SO many road blocks along the way. It was almost as if God had closed that door. But I know that God has mapped out an ultimate plan for me. Everything was part of His master plan, including the road blocks.IMG_1647

When I started to apply for Columbia University, the exchange rate was still sitting at 3.0. By the time I received the offer letter and was scheduled to leave by Sept 2015, the exchange rate had climbed to 4.3.

Indeed, it was a blessing in disguise.

If I had gone, I probably would have to come back! I received a partial scholarship from Columbia, but even then, it was not enough!

You can Google the cost of study there. Try not to fall off your chair. 😉


Plan B

Australia was Plan B. It was a rather rash decision because I had less than a month to prepare all my documents to start an application.

The application process was a lot less tiresome compared to Columbia. It was smooth, too smooth.

I am still holding on to my place at Columbia University.

Cost: Another 200USD

If I somehow manage to secure a scholarship, I’d be off to the USA! But for now, Australia it is.FullSizeRender_1(1)

Although I have spent so much time, effort and money (where do you think all my prize money went?! 😉 ), I thank God for the many roadblocks along the way. It could have been a lot worse!


To New Adventures!

I am leaving Malaysia with a heavy heart. I will miss my family, my friends, church friends, my room, my dog, my kakak to clean up after me (HAHA!), home cooked food, the Tom, Dick and Harry runners, the Puma Night Running Club, Tsquare, my clients…… I will also miss all the fun activities and races here.

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Life is like running a marathon. Bitter sweet. Learn to enjoy the journey, even when the going gets tough!

But at the same time, I am supercalifragilisticexpialidocious excited about what is ahead!

I don’t know what is coming, but I am ready to take on new experiences and challenges.

I’ll still be here, virtually. 😉

Cheers!

*I’ve discontinued my Puma contract.

I am open to new sponsors, anyone? HAHA! #shameless*

 

 

 

 

Running Spots in KL

Thanks to http://www.healthworks.my/ for featuring my article on “Running Spots in KL”!

They feature everything from food to fitness to health advice to daily motivations. If you’re a health nut like me, you would definitely want to check them out. Remember to “LIKE” their Facebook page too.

The article that was featured:

Congratulations, you’ve decided to run! You’ve bought some flashy (and most probably expensive) running gear. You’ve set some goals for yourselves (hopefully). Now the question is: Where to run? The real answer to that question is: Anywhere!

But I guess sometimes we just need specific pointers to get started, so fret not, here’s a quick and short list to help you identify suitable running locations. Okay, I know the locations listed below (except for number 1) are mostly in Kuala Lumpur. That’s because I’ve only listed the locations that are familiar to me. But hopefully, even if most of the locations on this list aren’t very accessible to you, you’ll find it a handy guide to look for and find your very own running trail!

Without further ado, here’s my list:

  1. Your own neighbourhood

Sometimes things are just outside your door step! Before you venture far away in search of that perfect running trail, explore the surroundings that you commute past every day on your way to school or work. I’ve been surprised because some people tell me that they’ve never considered their own neighbourhood for running.
Think of it as a tour – how well do you know your own neighbourhood, really? You can make your run more interesting by greeting and chatting with your neighbours (not too long, though!), smelling the literal roses, petting a friendly dog (make sure it’s friendly!), or checking out that newly renovated house (perhaps chuckling to yourself that money can’t always buy taste). You may also spot some eye candy you’ve never noticed – a shiny new car, a hot girl, a cute guy.

A good thing about running around your own neighbourhood: you don’t have to look for parking space!

  1. Desa Park City

If you feel motivated by the sight of other people running, this is where you should be. Parking is free and safe, on accounts of guards patrolling the area. There are many other runners in the park, along with cyclists, people walking their dogs, families and their kids.

There is a relatively flat running/walking track that makes a big loop around the waterfront, for a distance of 2.2 kilometres. If that is not challenging enough for you, you can go all the way up to Ridgewood, also known as “DPC Hill”. Be prepared for a non-stop 600 metres of uphill torture! There is an additional 200 metres up to the water tank, but I’ll leave that for you to decide once you reach the round-about. I will say, GO FOR IT!

You can run here at any time, even late at night.

central-parkSource: desaparkcity.org

 10001511_10203681770064398_1275453995_n“DPC Hill”

1723556_10203681816825567_472968638_nOn the way down from the water tank!

Source: Victor Chong

  1. Lake Gardens (now known as Perdana Botanical Gardens)

This is a popular place for runners in Kuala Lumpur, especially on weekends. Many runners do their LSD (long slow distance runs) there, and many running clubs and communities gather there. Go and join in the fun and meet new people. Most are welcoming and will let you run with them.

There is a variety of terrain to keep things interesting – a mix of stairs, hills, flats, twists and turns.

The park itself is relatively safe with a lot of runners around during peak times, but it is a big place. Take care if you are running alone, in the more isolated areas. Don’t leave valuables in the car, as there have been cases of break-ins.

Segway-Tour-Lake-Gardens-KL-Kuala-Lumpur-bridgeSource: Google

  1. KLCC Park

Another popular location for runners, this park is convenient if you work in the heart of the city and want to put in a run after work, or before. One loop around the purpose built running/jogging track is 1.2 km. It is quite safe, as there are guards patrolling the park. I believe the park is closed after 10 or 11 PM.

Parking is expensive. You are, however, rewarded with a view of the Petronas Twin Towers, and the park and track itself is very well-maintained, with water fountains located throughout.

1538793_10202927450041525_900563239608092125_nYeah, we have loads of fun (at our Puma Running Club Sessions)! Or maybe its just me.

Source: Victor Chong

  1. Kg Pandan Sports Complex Track

This is a competition 6-lane running track (where one loop equals 400 metres). The track is open and free to the public. Parking is free and relatively secure – you can see your car from the track so if you’re the paranoid type you can even keep an eye on it while doing laps around the track!

There are quite a number of runners after working hours and on weekends, but not so crowded that you can’t run properly. On a “closed” flat track with clearly marked distances like this one, it is easy to train with speed runs and intervals.

 

kampung-pandan-trackSource: kakithon.blogspot.com

  1. Indoor

I very much prefer running outdoors than doing miles on a machine, I love the wind in my face and the feeling of covering ground with my own feet. But there is an alternative when circumstances just don’t allow running outdoors (Rain? Hail? Snow?): the treadmill, either at home or in the gym.

The good part is the convenience. But the convenience can also be a bad thing – you can easily hop off the machine and quit a run halfway!

When you’re out running, your main focus is of course the run itself. But safety is paramount. If you are used to running with some tunes, lower the volume so that you still hear the sounds around you – it’s not a good thing to not be able to hear a car beeping their horn because you’ve strayed onto the road!

1003585_10152347139061388_1610799531_nWhen you run, don’t just focus on your footwork. Look up, be aware of your surroundings (and also enjoy the view along the way). Remain alert, especially when you’re running alone. Have fun and stay safe!

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Long runs are better when the sun goes down.

Time to explore the road ahead of you. GO!

The Grand Canyon: Part II: Sunrise

The alarm buzzed at 4.30am. It was way too early for me or any other normal human being for that matter. It was -10 degrees C outside and the bed seemed like the strongest magnet. The only thing that managed to pull me out of bed was that image of the sun rising before the Canyon. And I knew that I had to see it with my own eyes.

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We left our lodge at 5.15am. We had already decided the night before to head to Hopi Point, one of the two best places to catch the sunrise (the other is Yaki point). Even though we had a car, we had to use their shuttle services as cars were only allowed up to a certain point.

The problem was that while we knew the shuttle bus comes every 15 minutes, we didn’t know how long it would take to get to Hopi Point. So, we had to catch the earliest bus in order to get there before 6.46am (time of sunrise).

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We wasted quite a bit of time looking for the bus stop (there was nobody around, perhaps it was too early).

Finally, after quite a bit of walking, I saw a flickering light in the distance, about 1KM away. I jumped and started running towards it, before fully processing what I had seen. As I approached the light, true enough, it was the bus! I started sprinting because it was already close to 6am. I didn’t come all the way to miss the sunrise. When I made it to the door of the bus, it closed before me but I managed to wave frantically at the driver (my parents thanked me for my legs -Haha!). He was a nice man who was very welcoming. My family was not even within sight at that time but he waited patiently. Luckily, there was only one other couple on the bus. I wouldn’t want a bus load of death stares (for holding them up) that early in the morning.

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The bus ride lasted 10 minutes. We got off at Hopi Point. It was pitched black and there was no one in sight. The lady at the lobby was right about how you would see 12 people during sunrise and 1,200 people during sunset.

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Waiting impatiently.

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The Canyon’s depth, only one can imagine.

The wind was howling and there was no windshield. The thought of having to wait exactly 36 minutes for the sun to rise sent chills down my spine, literally. The bitter, bone-piercing cold was almost unbearable. I couldn’t feel my fingers or my toes.

I killed time and kept warm by doing multiple sets of jump squats, jump lunges and mini sprints up and down along the canyon edge. It worked though, for awhile.

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Thankfully at 6.46am sharp, the sun peeked over the horizon.

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I watched as the fiery ball of flame rose slowly, lighting up the dull morning sky. *Cue The Lion King’s theme song* BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

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With each passing minute, the colours of the Canyon wall changed from rocky-brown to a harmonious combination of red, yellow and orange. The sight of the Canyon grew more vivid as streaks of light continued to illuminate every corner of the Canyon wall.

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Sunrise jumpshot!

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It was so beautiful. I was so taken by the sunrise that the cold didn’t bother me anymore. We waited a little longer for the sun to climb higher into the sky. As the grey sky began to fade, the blue sky took over slowly, glazed with hues of red and orange.

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Excuse me while I run to keep warm.

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After shivering in the cold for over an hour, we were famished. We fueled up at Bright Angel Lodge before driving back to Yavapai Lodge.

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Buttermilk pancakes!

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Protein!

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And more protein!

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Somewhere along Bright Angel Trail.

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The stance.

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The jump! Truly the BEST birthday gift that nature had to offer. Everything else from here would be “MEHHHHHHHHH!”. This should make everyone’s bucket list.

With every sunrise comes a SUNSET

NEXT UP!

…..wait for it….