Thursday, June 28

There must be a reason ...

why I'm so sleepy. Let's see: could it be that I've spent my nights (till 1am generally) watching Wimbledon? Or the fact that I have been overdoing it with my training? I haven't eaten as many fruits as I normally do? Hm ...

1. Watching Wimbledon
I normally am a very early riser: I wake up around 6 am by myself. Of course, this means that by 10-11 I am in bed, snoring. [Gee ... I hope I don't snore!] For the past week I have been going to bed around 12-1 am.

2. Overdoing with training
Haven't done anything unusual, but I do remember failing to hydrate and eat after my 17 km on Sunday.

3. Not eating enough fruit
Ok, fruits and veggies are my thing!! I must eat them or else I feel heavy and tired. I ate 1 chocolate yesterday - I don't eat chocolate or anything sweet except once every few months when I suddenly need sugar. So there, I ate one chocolate. And one bag of jelly fruits. And one (three) slices of pizza last night. Ok ok, I got it!

That's it, I am going home to recharge my batteries. Training programme for today: climb (17-1900), run (19:00), tennis (20:00). I need to sleep.

Wednesday, June 27


Ladies and gentlemen, yesterday I finally registered a breakthrough with my climbing. Yey!! Now, I know this is not much, but but but see for yourselves:

Last time: climbed till tile 14 on the 6a+ route; subsequent tries got me to tile ... 4
Yesterday: climbed till tile 24; subsequent tries got me to tile ... 30 !

Last time: after two tries I was pumped. And even though i love pump, this one was kind of ugly, because whenever I wanted to return to climbing my fingers would freeze (it's in the mind, I know)
Yesterday: I was still good to go for climbing but I had to go running with a friend! And I had forgotten my sensor at home, so that run was not counted. The things I do for friendship ... yesterday's run would have gotten me my 300th km. Ah well... today is also a good day for ... HIKING!!

I keep daydreaming about how my alps trip is going to be and how my subsequent around the country with mom in the car will be! Although initially I planned for the two of us to take a really long trip around the country, I think I will take mom climbing. Yupii!! Still have to talk to M about that, because he will be the one providing accommodations. Over and out, resuming daydreaming.

Monday, June 25

How to get a day off

Based on my oh so optimistic training schedule, on Saturday I was supposed to do 10 pull-ups (assisted, of course, now i cannot even do one by meself), one session of conditioning and also hiking in the morning. All sounds nice and dandy, I was even content with having to jog to school and start from there, since I had left my backpack there. What I didn't count on was spending the evening with my flatmates at a cafe owned by a dear friend of ours, playing darts till midnight!! Whoa!! Can you imagine how many hikes I went on the next morning? Maybe about 5-10 snoozes on the right side, and 15 on my left side... After all the guilt and self bashing, I decided to run in the evening. What I didn't count on (again) was that Saturday was shopping day!! Yay!! I never knew that shopping can be so exhausting (to the bank account and to oneself)!!! When we were having dinner around seven I finally declared Saturday a day off:) and enjoyed it to the max with a good book and a very nice sleep.

I made up for it yesterday, when, after a light shopping session, I ran. Yup, I ran. 17.5 km, which is my personal best! I would have made it 20 something but around 8 km the sidewalk started to get running unfriendly - it was full of houses and their driveways were interrupting - so I had to turn back. This new formula of running until you reach half way and then turning back is much better than doing two rounds of a given length, which is at most 5 km. Plus i run near the botanical gardens and some jungle formations, so it's a bit more cooling and not so crowded. And I managed to run at a constant pace of 5min/km, which is not tiring at all compared to my usual 4:20-4:30/km. Feeling good about myself, I leave you to work.

Friday, June 22


In exactly 2 weeks I will be on my way home!!! How cool is that?! I can tell you how cool it is: it's so cool I can't focus on my work and I'm losing patience with everybody around me. Also I keep making plans of what to buy for whom: for mom another bag (tell you the bag incident below), for grandma rheumatic oil or similar plus candies from Amsterdam, for grandpa maybe a bottle of wine, for M. camera plus lense (from his money, of course).

For mom i need to make a list with all my mountaineering equipment that needs to be checked and found for me tot take to the alps - the reason for this is twofold: first, they might not be in order, so I would need to find replacements, and secondly, do you know how it is when your mom decides to go through your stuff and arrange it? And then when you try to find something YOU CAN'T FIND IT because she put it somewhere ELSE?!! This has left me with a serious issue with finding things: whenever i lose something i ask marian to search for it because otherwise I get very very nervous.

So yeah, the dog incident. My dog, whose name is Bingo, is a very smart and loving dachshund (yeah i know). He knows what mom's patterns for going out are: he knows when she is going to the market, to work or anywhere else where she could take him but she won't. Now this last part is of course cause for revenge - if my mom leaves the house to go anywhere (except work or market) without first taking him to the park, it's showtime!!! In his young days he used to have a fetish for the cable of the cable tv (used to chew it at two ends then take it out from behind the furniture and leave it in the middle of the room). Then of course it was the period of looking into the oven, or the sink (helped by the cat), or even destroying plants. Now, in his old age, he is content with only pulling bags from the clothes hanger and chewing them (not much, just enough to ruin them). And it so happens that he destroyed one of the bags that my mom bought from here when she was here this past new year's.

Tuesday, June 19


You know the one important thing that was NOT on my list but was absolutely important? A book! (and no, lonely planet does not count!) Anyhow, here's the story ...

Took the air asia flight from Johor Bahru (07:21) (to get to the JB airport, i took the bus from kotaraya terminal). I met an english girl called Miranda who was headed for Sabah and Sarawak for this month (going to climb kinabalu on the 26th - go girl!!), afterwards meeting some friends in australia, going to new zealand and then for THREE months in South America, whoa!!! We got to Kota Kinabalu on time and managed to board a bus (no 16) that apparently goes from town to the air asia terminal (not listed in the lonely planet guide book, good to know). In town, Miranda and i part and i head for the bus station and board a cab/4wd to Ranau that drops me off at the park gates (15RM).

There, after paying the park fees (15rm - entrance, 7 rm-insurance, 100rm - climbing permit, 80rm - guide), I went to change my reservation from the hostel at Timpohon gate to the one at Mesilau gate, because i wanted to do the Mesilau trail instead of the Timpohon one. It's 2km longer, but it's much much nicer, wilder and not crowded at all!!! At the resort reception, Surprise!! Apparently i had not made a reservation not even for the timpohon hostel - i had reservation for the Laban Rata (lodge at 3300m) but not for this one - but they have free space at mesilau! So no need to argue there. I buy a shuttle ticket for the Mesilau gate, but end up in one of the staff's car who was going there and dropping me off! Some australian guy also give me tea, noodles and some gloves: no, I was not begging for them, he just wanted to get rid of them and also was happy to ensure that i got to the top!

At the Mesilau gate i had a lovely lunch/dinner and walked around a bit. I started the trail next day at 8:10am. Did i tell you there were female guides? Yes, I had seen one the previous day at the Timpohon gate, and what do you know, she chose to guide me! The first thing she told me was "slow and steady". Well, I steady but I not slow! The trail is magnificent, much nicer than the Timpohon one which I descended on. You can see the Kinabalu ridge, bonsai trees, pitcher plants, and it's not so wide as the one descending to Timpohon.
We met with a german botanist on the way who was so absolutely excited that you have [insert name here] forest here, and that higher there's [insert forest name here] forest, and that this place is full of white orchids (saw three on the other trail) and rhododendrons and pitcher plants (pictured)! Yey!

Managed to get to Laban Rata in roughly 4hrs and 5 minutes (yes, i counted, it was important, ok?). And i got there first (i overcame an english couple that had left from timpohon gate) - arrived at 12:15 but check-in was only at 1. My guide decided that it will be ok if we leave at 3am instead of the 2-2:30 am period, and i was left by myself until that time. I took pictures, ate lots and lots of raspberries (a bit more on the sour side, but good!!!), played with the squirrels, cooked some noodles in my hut (I was all alone there, as in timpohon also). There were only large groups that stayed together so i could not interact with anybody. Went to bed, and at 2:50 started to descend to laban rata (my hut was higher) to get my guide (Rumia). Of course i was passing everybody that was going up!! So Rumia and I were the last to leave. After passing some guys that were stopping to rest, i ended up behind two english guys. Now, I would not have minded the misogynistic comments ("some bimbo turning back", "yeah, well, what do you expect", etc), but the part when one of them farted and didn't say sorry really got the best of me.

So I started to pass by everybody, with Rumia following behind. Around 3500 you get to this plateau (30-40 degrees inclined) with many false peaks. This is where i lost Rumia and overtook the last 10 people that were ahead of me (except the english couple, who was first on the peak). I walked ok, constant but with heavy breath, but one sip of water cured it. I got to Low's peak and froze my ass off with the English couple till sunrise. Beautiful pictures! Rumia later told me that she could have walked as fast as me but didn't want to freeze on the summit. Smart!!

Got down and started descending to timpohon. Managed a whopping 2 hrs and 30 minutes till the gate but was left with incredible pain in my calves and thigh muscles that lasted for 2-3 days (I'm ok now). Got to KK (a guy driving a pirate taxi took me from the bus stop opposite the park to kk for 15 rm) and then to the airport (bus no 16) and was left to kill my boredom (remember, NO BOOK?!) for 6 hours till my flight.

Things will be ok in the alps i think, i just need to get back my strength in my arms (especially my left arm) - i have started doing pull-ups and climbing. CLIMBING SUCKS!!! I now need special novice routes: whatever routes the girls are doing, i get big jugs and extra foothold, just for me!!

Flickr pictures here. Picasa ones (350) here.

Saturday, June 9

Kinabalu list

Yup! The time has come for me to go kinabalu! Yupii!!!! I will be leaving on tuesday and coming back on thursday. It's about time i made a list of things to take. What better place to keep it up than in your blog, you might say... So here goes nothing!
- leftover cereal bars - give you energy - check
- torchlight - check
- sunglasses - check
- polartec jacket - check
- gore-tex jacket (in case it rains) - check
- 1 pair trekking pants, long (for the last stretch) - check
- 1 pair short trekking pants for the first parts - check
- 2-3 changes underwear - check
- 1 dry fit tshirt (first part) - check
- 1 cotton tshirt (Second part) - check
- pink cap :) (can be easily spotted)
- 2 changes socks (1 pair short, 1 pair long) - check
- lonely planet guide
- ipod - check
- bobby (that's my camera) - must charge!
- moneyz (unfortunately) - check
- passport + green card - check
- phone
- watterbottle - check
- elbow guard - check

If you feel that i've forgotten anything, pls comment!

Thursday, June 7

You hear and see a lot of things ...

at conferences. I saw an inspiring thing and I heard the silliest, stupidest thing all in just one day!

First, I saw a blind professor giving a computer science talk. It was amazing! I didn't even realize he was blind until I heard the reader that read him what was on the next slide. You don't even realize how complicated things can get, like for example he could not integrate a video in his slides (must insert then change property - or is it drag'n'drop in powerpoint ?) and he had to alt+tab (reader aided) to a directory and open the movie from there. Or, when glitches happened like an empty slide he would have to go back and forth a few slides just to get back on track. It was so inspiring to see somebody deal so well with a thing like that, not giving up and continuing to do what (I suppose) he loves. Needless to say he was very smart and funny.

[Warning! Geekish comment coming!!]

And yes, girls and boyz, Microsoft is planning to take over the High Performance Computing (HPC) market!!! Their spear is the Windows 2003 Cluster shit something. Motivation? As given by some general manager something or other at Microsoft, and I quote: "we want to hide ssh calls from the user. they don't want to learn so we are totally hiding it from them". Wtf?! "We offer complete integration with Microsoft products, like Excel (is Excel HPC!??!!? sheesh!!) and Active directory". Brrrr! Anyhow, it gave me a good laugh and it was a great end to the day. Go M$, go!

Tuesday, June 5

FS = 0, E = -5, T = -15 => FSET = -20

Whoa! I'm so so tired after the Pumpfest competition this weekend! I still don't know exactly what the results were cause I had to leave to see the pirates. I know that San is second for the intermediate women (FINALLY! Welcome to open, girl!) and that probably Edwin (the new boss) is first for intermediate men. Whoa! I guess we're good, man!

I haven't posted anything lately because these days I have to attend a conference. Today it was in my plan to stay @home and sort out the 400 pics from Pumpfest and go to the conference later (around 11), but my supervisor wanted us to leave together from school at 08:30. Yup. Which means that i have to wake up at seven and come to school. Yey!! So here i am fast blogging.

I am so happy to announce you that last week i ran around 40 km. I did not run this weekend because of pumpfest and this absolutely atrocious muscle ache in my thighs due to my 60 plus knee bents done on the spur of the moment (i haven't been doing those in about six years or so). On monday i hiked my hill five times and for the third and fourth time i managed to slowly run half of it (carrying my 17kg backpack). For the fifth time i ran nearly 75% percent of it. How cool is that?! Yesterday did my 10 km then played tennis. Tennis was bad ... I sucked at it before stopping to play and now i suck even more. Nevermind, practice will resume on thursday.

And I have been saving the best for last! Ladies and gentlemen ... I have resumed climbing! I say, I have resumed climbing! Taking into consideration yap's, kesheng's and teck chew's advices (given at various moments in time), I am taking it very very very slowly. As in I have climbed for 15 minutes both on monday and on tuesday. It's very little, but but but but it's sooo goood ... And so difficult on my ego! Because, needless to say, I am so lousy at it like I've never been before. I have lost my confidence, I keep worrying "what if i fall". And that's the good part of it. The bad part is that finger strength (FS) = 0, E(ndurance) = "never knew there is such thing", T(echnique) = - infinity. I have to endure my humiliation and stick to it.

Gotta go!

LATER EDIT: of course i hit "publish post" and ran for it, only to find upon returning 9 hours later that the blogger interface said "your request cannot be processed, please try again later". Sheesh!!