Tag Archives: justdoit

For the LOVE of Running!

Today was one of the best running days, as far as I can remember! Not because I ran my fastest or the furthest, but because I had FUN, lots of it. I made it a point to enjoy it and I told myself that I would.

I ditched my watch. Some runners depend solely on their gadgets to tell them their distance, time, speed etc. They tend to pay less attention to themselves and over time, they lose their sense of pace. At least once a week, leave your watch at home and FEEL your run. Although I don’t usually time myself down to the very second, I left my watch behind. I didn’t want a sense of time, I didn’t want to know how long I was running for. It was simply just me, some tunes and the road.

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Faas 300 V2! I love these.

The weather was almost perfect. Not too sunny (definitely not hazy) with a cool breeze brushing against my face as I zoomed by. As soon as I eased into that relaxed, flying rhythm, I remembered why I started running. It felt like the first time I set out on my first run. You know, when you get into that soft flow, it really does feel like your legs can go on for days.

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Throughout my run, I greeted all my neighbours and played with their four legged friends. I was running around with a huge smile plastered on my face, tapping along to the music that I was listening to. Sounds more like a lunatic on the loose eh?

I also managed to do some reflection, thanking God for the life that I have right now. It was one of the most productive “me-times” ever! I ran until exhaustion started to set in and when the night sky finally took over.

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Snoopy was trying to get into the picture.

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Such a poser. I meant Snoopy.

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Sometimes, we set too many running goals for ourselves that we lose sight of the whole point of running in the first place.

LOVE RUNNING

Amidst the grueling hours of training, sweat, pain, tears, exhaustion…… you must find that joy, that love for running. That’s the only way to keep going. You must love what you’re doing.

Take some time off your training and truly enjoy your run. After all, isn’t that what running is all about?

Happy Feet! *Tap Tap*

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.

 

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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.

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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.

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PUMA PUMA PUMA!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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:

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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.

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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.

Tis’ the season to be EATING!

It’s that time of the year again! Christmas and New Year celebrations are rolling in! When you think of these festivities, you’d think of your loved ones and of course, FOOD (the best part!)! There’s something so comforting and warm about being surrounded by your loved ones while enjoying a home-cooked meal.

EAT LOVE

Once you hit the relaxed and stress free mode, you tend to want to indulge in all the glorious foods that this season has to offer and break free from your healthy habits. You tell yourself that you’ll “get back on track” once the holiday season comes to an end. I usually fall into this trap. I tell myself that I’ll indulge NOW, and work twice as hard LATER. Well, that usually never happens. And if you’re living in Malaysia, festivities occur all year round. There is always a reason or season to be stuffing your face. Chinese New Year, Mooncake Festival… not to mention taking advantage of our multiracial culture by riding on other celebrations such as Hari Raya and Deepavali!

You may tell yourself that its only 1 pound of weight gained over the festive season, but 1 pound times 3-5 seasons a year adds up and you could be gaining a lot of weight over a few years.

What’s the harm you say? According to an article in the Nutrition Journal, it is difficult to lose the weight gained during the Holiday Season, even if it’s just 1 pound. This retained weight gain could have potential long-term health consequences. It is also important to note that this is a factor which contributes to adult obesity.

SISTER LOVE 2

Obesity? SAY WHAT?!

We all know that the key to enjoying holiday treats without the extra pounds is portion control. The problem lies in executing what we already know (portion control!) when temptations are right before our eyes. The next question would be: does this even apply to us runners? What better way to clear all speculations than to experiment with your own body. Studies and scientific research will give you many different views and answers, some saying that you may gain weight and some saying that you may not.

So, the best way is to be your own lab rat. For me, I find that when I over-indulge for just over one week while still continuing my weekly mileage, I’m pretty much immune to the unsightly tummy bulge. Of course, if you plan to continue at this rate without doubling your weekly mileage, you’ll be in for a surprise at the end of the holiday season!

SILLY PEOPLE!

Portion Control. Hmmmm…

 I came up with a few tips on how to not go overboard during this festive season! I am sharing what has worked for me but they may or may not work for you. At the end of the day, it is not what we know or don’t know. Rather, it is whether or not we are willing to and determined enough to avoid temptation.

  1. Put in that workout! This one is obvious and full proof against holiday weight gain. I know it is hard. I’ve been there. Quick tip: GET IT DONE FIRST THING IN THE MORNING! Get it over and done with and out of the way. That way, you’re free to help out around the kitchen or do your last minute shopping or maybe just spend quality time with your loved ones.
  2. Pace yourself. If you know that you’ll be attending a party that night, avoid heavy meals and unnecessary snacking throughout the day. The point is to eat light and not starve yourself.
  3. Doubling up! If you want to eat and not gain weight, you have to put in the work. Try doubling your workouts one month before the holiday season or slowly increase the intensity of each workout to burn off the excess fat. Come holiday season, you’ll be lean and mean to stuff your face with food. I’m kidding. You’ll just feel less guilty because you know you’ve worked your butt off for it.
  4. WATER WATER WATER! I cannot stress this enough. Hydration is so important! We tend to mistake thirst for hunger. And this is true because I have experienced this myself. Also, when we’re dehydrated, fatigue sinks in. And when that happens, we look for FOOD! Always keep a water bottle with you. STAY HYDRATED!
  5. Reflect. Think back on all those hours, blood, sweat and tears that you put yourself through. Waking up early in the morning when you’d rather be sleeping just to put in that run. Think about how far you’ve come on your journey. This should give you enough will power to say NO to over eating. Well, if it doesn’t then I don’t think you’re working hard enough! (HAHA!)
  6. The main focus. The focus during these festive seasons should be on your family and friends. This is the one time when family and friends from all over the world gather together. Use this time to catch up with them instead of stuffing yourself silly. Opportunities like these don’t come very often!
  7. Choose wisely. Always start off with fiber rich foods: fruits and vegetables! This would leave you feeling partially full. Decide on what you want to eat. If you want to spend your calories on that slice of cake that you’ve been eyeing on, then cut back on your mains.
  8. Maintenance. The goal for the holiday season should be focused on maintaining instead of losing or gaining. Rest well, eat well and run consistently. Put your weight loss goals on hold and don’t miss out on the holiday treats!
  9. It is OKAY to indulge. If you slip up, forgive yourself and move on. Don’t beat yourself up. Try eating a healthier meal the next day and slowly get back on track. You can do it!

SISTERLY LOVE

Ahhhh. NOM NOM NOM!

So there you go! I’m still cracking my head to come up with a 10th tip. Just to make things even. I’m OCD like that. When I eventually come up with one, I’ll add it in. Any ideas?

Till then, BLESSED CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR GUYS!

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