off season

strava year in sport

It’s been a long time since I last updated this blog. It wasn’t that I haven’t been doing any races.

Since my last post, I’ve done a number of trail challenges in Beijing, Datong (3 hours drive from Beijing) and Shengzhou (in Jiangsu province) and completed my first Ironman 70.3 race in Xiamen. In between races, I travelled to Malaysia to see family, moved apartments and started a new job.

While I familiarised myself with my new work environment, I took the chance to do a stocktake of 2017 and give my body a much-needed time of R&R. I called it my off-season. I still swam, ran and biked during this time but I wasn’t in training mode. I attended a few yoga and functional training classes by way of Guava Pass.  I went on hikes and did some strength work. For about 6 weeks, I focused on having fun and enjoying myself instead of hitting targets.

 

hiking
Hiking in Mentougou

Some of my friends would call what I’ve described above as ‘doing junk miles’ or ‘a waste of time’. In the past, I would’ve agreed with them. I was convinced I had to give every workout, every race 110%, otherwise it was just a waste of time. I was always stressed that if I didn’t keep up my training, I’d lose my hard-won fitness and my VO2-max will fall.  But after accumulating a bunch of injuries at the end of two race seasons in a row, I’ve begun to see the ‘light’ (read: my physio’s advice) and the importance of R&R.

 

It seems that my little off-season has paid off. My left knee and shin haven’t given me much trouble when I biked and ran. And if I’m to believe my stats on Strava, I’ve actually gotten a little faster in my swim, bike and run times. Now I just need to keep up with my (boring) strength work for the rest of 2018 and not get carried away only doing cardio.

With the start of 2018 came the start of race season prep. I’ve signed up to do Japan 70.3 in mid June, my first overseas triathlon.  My goal is to finish in 6:30. This is a challenging goal for me since I finished my first 70.3 in November in a little over 7 hours, and my new job requires me to work long hours most days. I’ll need to be more disciplined and focussed in my training in the lead-up to the race.

New year. New challenges. Bring it on!

 

 

 

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MH370

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Ever since news broke on a week ago that MH370 lost communications shortly after departing from Kuala Lumpur, I’ve been obsessively reading up on the progress of the search for the still very lost MH370.  My attachment to MAS began when I was a baby and never really ended, even after AirAsia appeared on the scene. My relatives in East Malaysia still regularly fly with MAS. In fact, my uncle flew MAS from Guangzhou to Kuala Lumpur a couple of days after MH370 disappeared.

The more I read about how the Malaysian government handled this crisis, the more I understood Malaysians’ negative sentiments about Najib and his government.

Now that it’s been ascertained that the plane was most likely hijacked and could have flown to India, Kazakhstan, Perth or some distant city, it’s fair to say no one’s happy with how long it took for the Malaysian government to come to this conclusion.  The Sydney Morning Herald wrote an excellent piece about how the current ruling party in Malaysia was being shredded on the international stage for their handling of the crisis. Having answered to no one in the past, let alone to their own people, the senior ministers of Najib’s cabinet have been struggling all week doing their jobs and failing miserably.

My heart goes out to the families of the crew and passengers of the flight who’s been hearing everything from hearsay to established fact and still have no idea what’s happened to their loved ones after seven whole days.  The longer the plane is not found, the harder it will be to find it. I just pray that these families will not have to be at the mercy of rumours and lies and have closure sooner rather than later. 

in the beginning…

 

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I’ve always considered myself a late bloomer.

It started even when I was in my mother’s womb, almost four decades ago in Sarawak.  I was the third child my mother conceived and instead of becoming the youngest spoilt princess I was meant to be, I ended up becoming the firstborn. I never met my two elder brothers. The first was miscarried. The second lived 10 days before breathing his last.

My father’s mother and siblings were naturally loudly concerned when my mother found out she was pregnant for the third time. By hook or by crook, the third baby had to be born healthy and live past 10 days. My mother quit her job and was forced to lie in bed and be waited upon hand and food for the remaining 8 months while I grew in her belly.

My grandmother made chicken soup everyday for my mother. My mother told me after 3 months of drinking chicken soup everyday, she got nauseous whenever she smelt chicken soup brewing in the kitchen.  In the end, she told my grandmother she couldn’t drink any more of it.  My father began buying turtle eggs so my grandmother could make turtle eggs soup for my mother instead.

I’m pretty sure I ingested something from those turtle eggs that’s resulted in what I’ve become. But I digress.

After 10 months of drinking chicken and turtle eggs soup and lying in bed, my mother realised I was quite comfy floating in her watery, warm womb and had no intention of seeing the outside world. My aunt and uncle took her to see the midwife after I was a month past my due date, and the midwife gave my mother an injection. I kicked my mother’s belly in protest as if I knew everyone outside was telling me to hurry up and come out. I wanted to float in my comfort zone for just a little while longer.

I held on for as long as I could, I did.  It took only a few days before the waters broke so suddenly, my mother didn’t see it coming. My uncle had left for work that morning on his motorbike, so my aunt had to run down the dirt road to the neighbours to ask for a ride to the midwife’s for my mother and me.

My mother told me I was born right before lunchtime.  She was disappointed I turned out to be a girl, but my father and grandmother was just happy to have a healthy grandchild to cherish and to hold. My birth was the happiest event after the death of my grandmother and my elder brothers.

To the joy of my family and the dear friends I’ve accumulated over the years, I not only survived past 10 days, I made it to a month, to adolescence and to full-blown adulthood. 

My life’s been full of false starts and delays. I often feel like I get to everything a little later than others. Sometimes I’ve been grateful for this, but more often than not, I’ve been more than a little frustrated at why I seem to come to every party so…… late. I blame it on the turtle genes/hormones I ingested while floating in my mother’s womb.

The I remember that the turtle won in that rabbit and turtle race story. And I can’t help but smile.