Pumped up kicks

It’s amazing what a difference some stamina makes.

I used to hate jogging. Then it became okay but a chore. I had the worst stamina ever. I couldn’t even do 2 km without stopping to catch my breath. But I would go on after a short walk only to stop again for yet another short walk.

Since being inspired by the marathon that took place in Berlin two weeks ago, I was so inspired, I rang up the husband to say, “We’re taking part next year!” He used to play football and then volleyball. 10km is a normal evening jog to him. But I was never into sports. 10km to me is a mini marathon – one needs to train for it.

I started to jog about five times a week. (Granted it’s only been two weeks since, and it hasn’t gotten full-on autumnly cold yet.) But it was a great achievement. I used to jog once every two months or so – you know, when you suddenly feel fat.

A friend recently ran a half marathon, and she advised me to increase the distance by 20% every week. I thought that was too much to think about for a jogging amateur. My goal was simply to be able to jog with the husband when he returns from India, without feeling like we should jog separately because I can’t keep up. I would do fun runs till December, and then we shall work on increasing the distance next year.

Last week, I just barely struggled completing 3km without stopping. When I did, it was a bloody miracle. I boasted about it to as many people as I could. Okay that was only 1/14th of a marathon. But I couldn’t believe it.

Two evenings ago, I dragged the flatmate along jogging with me. She, too, was not a jogger, and so I promised a short route. She struggled and was at a slower pace than I was used to. Then it hit me, no wait – I was exactly like her. Now I could do that distance easily.

Yesterday I decided to test out this new revelation. I combined two routes I used to take, and completed almost 5km without stopping. It was only when I came home to map out my run that I realised what I had accomplished (4.7km it was!). It was such an amazing feeling, to know that I could do it, that I wasn’t running out of breath, that I could go further if I wanted to.

What I’ve learnt, however, is not to try to outrun yourself each time. Instead, occasionally do short jogs and take a day off. The result the next day always turns out amazing!

The feeling of changing into running attire and putting on those shoes is the one with the greatest inertia. But once I’m out, I’m happy to see Berlin, be it in the quiet morning or the slightly spooky but pretty evening.

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2012

There it is – a brand new year.

I would love to say “Whoa. Where did the time go?” But I think this year didn’t exactly zoom by. It did feel like a year ago that I did the annual reflection.

That’s not to say the year wasn’t eventful. It was, and that’s also why at this very point, it feels extremely far from the events of last year.

  • Career

Can’t believe I’ve stuck with my job all this time. As a product of the new generation, it’s safe to call it an achievement to have it made it past a year of being with the same company. I think I’ve grown through it, the ability to separate emotions from business, networking internally, dealing with external vendors, being now called a “bro” by my lunch group, etc. There are greater responsibilities now, and there is a greater comfort level where I’m sitting now – and that comes with slight fear and knowing that there’s still a lot of room to grow – maybe within the role, maybe within the company, but also maybe out of this city I call home.

  • Family

I lost a loved one at the start of the year. Sometimes I worry that I’ve forgotten how things were with her around but sometimes I dream of her and her indirect ways of showing approval for the things I do. Sometimes I feel so sorry for her, for leaving behind a broken extended family that only held up with her presence. The extended family is definitely screwed up, but I’m keeping my nuclear family close, and I think we had a pretty good year.

  • Friends

I don’t think I’ve realised the fragility of friendships until this year. The ability to drift apart through space and time, and the ability to think – ah heck it, it’s too much trouble, and if you don’t care, I don’t care. With the evolution of technology, somehow keeping in touch becomes a greater pain in the butt – how was that possible? I decided to lay off social media like Instagram and Twitter, partly because I didn’t want to know everything about a person before meeting them, and partly because I would like to know what friends would like to tell me in person, i.e. not through the broadcast of social media. This year definitely saw me through the making of several new good friends, the ups and downs of sustaining some old ones, and how the ones with the best fit are gonna stick around through it all, without much effort at all. I’m truly blessed in that area.

  • Love

I remember someone telling me not to give in to the stereotype of long distance relationship being difficult. It’s true that for most of the time, it is easy peasy. I love him, he loves me, one of us is in the wrong city. When we meet, it’s heaven on earth; when we part, it’s hell. There are so many ups and downs in a long distance relationship, god knows my poor cousin had to hear me out so many times. If it isn’t a cyclical moodiness of realizing how far apart we are, it is just insecurity. It’s tough to get a healthy balance of dependence and independence necessary. But at the end of the day, it’s about what works with us, and I think we did a pretty amazing job keeping it going, reigniting the spark every so often, despite – till date – having no expiry of the long distance in sight. But it’s clear we have a similar goal and I’m blessed to have someone love me from 10,000km away.

  • Personal development

Participate in two more 10km run, check. Picking up a new language, check. Picking up a new sport, check. Let my hands go crazy with art and craft, check. Read more books, check. Read the news more, check. Spend less time worrying about what others think of me, check. Travel to new destinations, learn to pack really light, travel alone, check check check.

And for the new year? Apart from the usual blessed and healthy family and friends, I sincerely hope for career enlightenment, at least for the time being. Remaining active physically. Exploring the kitchen more. And cohabiting with the boy.

I’m ready, 2013. Take on me.

Laufen (to run)

Today I completed a 10km run.

And that always amazes me because I was never sporty. I was never into running. I could never do 2.4km during our sports test without stopping to walk.

But today I completed my fourth 10km run in 2 years. Well – a year and a half. By golly does it feel good. I think the mental barrier really has been eliminated. Maybe I’m in a better state of mind now than I was years back. But I’ve managed to find things to motivate me to go along. And the aim was just to get to the end. Clear and simple.

When I did get to the end, it was amazing. And when I got home, I was too tired to do anything, so I laid on the floor and napped for two hours. On the cold hard floor. It felt good.

I think for once in my life I would like to try a half marathon. Full is beyond reach, too much walking, too expensive and not good for the heart. That’s how I rationalize with myself. Half it is.

But errr, not so soon. And just once in my life will do. Thanks.

Running running, as fast as you can, do you think we’ll make it?

Today I did a 10km run for charity.

I’m immensely proud because I came a long way from being the girl who gets dizzy from shorter runs at school. (Hahaha!)

My stamina still sucks but I think mentally it’s gotten a lot better. It struck me that during the run, I hadn’t thought about wanting to quit or look back. It was constantly being forward looking and telling myself what lies ahead is easy peasy!

And it works!

My first 4 kilometers was a sheer joy of weaving in and out of the crowd and overtaking others. This was the easiest part of it all, also probably because my stamina only allows me this much.

After that, there was slowing down, self-talk, self-distraction, walking, drinking, finding strangers to pace myself, cursing every uphill stretch, savouring every downhill stretch…

Near 5km, there was a water point, and I thought I was really tiring out. Then I had a sip of that ice cold 100plus. Ahhh, heaven. Trudge on.

I think when I went past 6km looking for the 7km mark, I was thinking, “Oh god, this cannot be 1km.” I thought perhaps they had skipped one, and I would see 8km next. But then 7km pops up.

That was the same for 8km. Massive struggle.

But when it was 9km, I was comforted knowing that the end was near. All I had to do was put one foot in front of the other, and look out for the finishing line. And then it came. Ah, adrenaline and sense of achievement, hello!

I think it also helped that there were so many photographers along the way. I refuse to be photographed walking. So whenever I stopped to walk, I would gather the energy to run the moment I see a DSLR in my face. Hahahahaha.

And the timing was also a personal achievement. However, with no prior training, I expect to be aching twice as bad as before. I’ll find out when I wake up…

But for now, time for bed. And the countdown is down to the number of fingers on one hand! Wheeew!

I’m a Walker, What Are You?

Somehow these thoughts keep flowing these days. Maybe deep down inside I wish I were a columnist. But that comes with unwritten worries about writer’s block, so maybe not.

Anyhow, if there’s something about myself I’ve discovered, it is that: I’m a walker. I walk.

Quite literally, I do. I walk about 15 to 20 minutes every morning to get to work upon alighting from the bus at a stop rather far away. Yes, this is in heels and work attire. Yes, this is come rain or come shine.

On Sundays after tuition, I walk home. This is easily a 20-minute walk depending on my speed, even further from work. I enjoy singing to myself when I do. Occasionally I take a detour to the supermarket and then back. That could be half an hour’s walk in total.

While on exchange, I walked to school and back everyday. This was a 30-minute walk one way, but the weather (both temperature and humidity) was much lovelier and much kinder.

When travelling alone in Paris, I walked all day before night fell and I took a metro back. I got through malls, random streets, stopped by a little booth to buy a crêpe then sat on the steps with strangers on their lunch break, and people watched before carrying on walking along the river and down to the cathedral. I always think you see more of the city this way.

I’m the sort of person who would rather hop out of a cab and figure out the way myself if I’m lost and the cab driver had no idea where I wanted to go.

I’m the sort of person who is delighted when her boyfriend tells the kind waiter at the bar in Four Seasons Langkawi (we crashed it for drinks, we did not stay there) not to send the buggy to take us to the reception, “we prefer to walk” as he would say.

This is despite the fact that we spent quite some time figuring our way around and getting lost in that wondrous resort. Walking was still preferred.

Perhaps growing up without a family car contributed to this. Perhaps it’s the idea of being in control of my speed, instead of leaving it in the hands of traffic conditions. Perhaps walking helps me think. Perhaps walking lets me smells the flowers along the way.

I may not be much of a runner; I may not be much of a swimmer. But I’m a walker.

Still

Am I still “mourning”? Yes.

Am I getting better? Yes.

Do I have things to distract me? Well, sort of. It always winds back to the same thing though. I’ve projects at work that motivates me. (They’re due in July.) I’ve exercise regimes I’m trying to keep. (This is self-explanatory.) I’ve a language I’m trying to learn. (German.) I started looking at the past travelling pictures again. (They’re all of Europe.) I miss being an exchange student again. (Coincidentally S was on exchange with me.)

Okay, yes, I see a similar pattern.

But damn it, I can’t wait to yank out my suitcase, fill it up, hop onto a cab to the airport, hop onto a plane, and fly away.

Quote

Dieting is about looking good in clothes; Exercise is about looking good naked

Best quote of the week. Finally got my lazy bum to the gym. Hope this continues…