Thursday, November 29

What you need for your first marathon

List of not so random things posted by me when I should be writing my project which is due in 14 hrs.

    [The psychological]
  1. Theme song - like Mika, Grace Kelly, or, why not, Eye of the tiger.

  2. Mantra - "Come on, pussycat, you can make it, three more steps!" (Speedy Gonzales to Sylvero Gato).

  3. Divide et impera skills - The ability to divide your work into small chunks. "Let's see, I've done 18 km so far, which roughly means 1/2 which means I still have about 24 to go, nevermind, those 6 will go away soon, and then I'll have 18 which is just about how much I have done so I'm at the halfway point, ... After that corner there I should see the 20km mark, looking good, looking good, from there it's 30. From 30 it's 40 and we're done!!" Or, when climbing: "After this slope here, don't fret, it's not that steep, should see the ridge, then from there on it's easy scrambling and we're there." (The disadvantage of playing this while climbing is that in general you do not know where the summit is and you don't know that you're really about to reach it, which leaves you with stupid questions like "Is this it?" when you actually get to the summit.)

  4. [The physical]
  5. Proper sleep - starting four days before the big event.

  6. Stretch - starting four days before the big event.

  7. Power Gel - or anything similar

  8. Carbo load - starting three to four days before. Main dish: pasta with veggies. The pasta should not be too oily or with tomato sauce or too meaty (this rules out most of the pasta dishes I know how to cook).

  9. Anti-chafing cream - believe it or not, from my previous red badge of courage, I have scars on my inner thigh resembling cat scratches.

  10. [The material]
  11. Tights - see above. Make sure they are not new (you've ran in them). And that they have a back pocket or similar to store power gels and ipod.

  12. Running shoes - I was climbing in the gym alone the other day and my running shoes were outside. At one point while doing my 20 min ARC I had this trip about one of those thieves that roam around the gym so I actually jumped off the wall, went outside and took my shoes inside.

  13. Favorite socks, underwear, etc.

  14. iPod

Wednesday, November 28

The stash

I had decided that I wanted at most three books from Marian as my Christmas/anniversary/bday etc present. Buutttt ... there were sales at Borders at 30% off for 3 books or more yesterday! So we hit the store with M&m and Marian, and [gulp] here are my three books:

Thanks me love!!! I had to leave back some books that I can find at the library, like Vonnegut [no, no, no!] and Capote. I re-arranged the books in my library last night and I estimate that I have room for at most ten more books.

Tuesday, November 27

How I start my day

If it's a Monday like yesterday, I probably am grumpy and all I can think about is a nice cup of coffee. I come in the office and grab my oh so special cup that I bought from home, with Mom, from a very special place to me. Well ... NOT YESTERDAY!! Because some idiot in my lab accidentally broke it because some other idiot (me) left it near one of the office arm chairs. Bugger. Talk about manic mondays. The idiot made amends and bought me a 9.90 (he left the price on) coffee set which i hate, because my cup was irreplaceable. Plus, the cups are small, so not really suitable for me.

Today i start my Tuesday watching the gloomy weather outside, the rain pouring and all that and thinking that I once again left the windows wide open to my room and yes, rain is going to fall inside, and yes, the floors and carpets will get wet, again. And oh, the fact that it is raining also means that I won't be able to run during lunch time as planned. Today is my last run before the marathon, but more about that coming soon, watch this space!

What I generally do is read blogs! yes! I am a stalker! I read all the team's blogs, and some blogs of some marathoners (for inspiration! These guys are amazing! There's one woman that is 3 - THREE times Ironman! omg) - Perhaps it would be great if i started a blogroll.

To end this on a geeky and unrelated note, here's some lolcode. For starters, the well known "hello world":


PS it's raining so strong now i can't see the building across the square.
PS2 OH NOES I just had this bad bad trip: what if there's a storm like this on Sunday and the marathon is off? Now i have something new to stress about!

Friday, November 23


Went down to pick my marathon race pack today. I think i will need to change the size for the finisher tee, since size "S" seems a bit too tight. I also bought 36 power bars for Aconcagua, and I ate half of one because I was hungry and there was nothing else to eat there. I am now caffeine high and I find it extremely hard to concentrate or type. You could say that i have the marathon jitters, ha hahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sugar high!!!!

On an intellectual note, check out this youtube movie, it will make u think. Over and out.


Thursday, November 22


I have seen a lot of people looking extremely similar to their dogs. Not that this in itself is a bad thing. Dogs are great!! Looking like your dog is ok (unless you have a dachshund at home like I do). Smelling like a [wet] dog would be yucky though. A chicken and egg question: do people pick their dogs too look like them, or they just metamorphosize through time? Cat similarity is rare. Are dogs more prone to imitation than cats? What about peacocks? Of mice and men I see an example every training. Are humans more imitative than dogs or cats? So many old couples are just different sex versions of each other.

If people around you were animals, what would they be? I would be a dog* with a puppy mindset, I know that. Marian thinks he is a giant scorpion but i know he's really a raccoon. M&m, our flatmates, would be a cat and a stressed-out horse.

*I would also be a SLOTH, for posting this while I should be working.
**Image from PostSecret.

Tuesday, November 20

Updates from the front

[Should be from the inner though]

Enough!! In the past two days I have experienced stares, snickers, smiles, grunts, you name it, I've got it. I have just managed the art of walking like I'm naturally bow legged and/or limping. Mind you, it takes really intensive training to do that, so I hope that the stares will cool down. Not for me (because I really don't care) but for Marian who has to bear a good part of them too.

The bruise has calmed down, from 20 cm in diameter to roughly 15 cm. Last night I managed to sleep like a baby, probably because I was soo tired from not being able to sleep so well on Sunday night. After trying several remedies, I can swear that the best remedy for post abrasion/chaffing is applying Calendula (pot marigold) cream to the affected area (mind you, it stings a bit, but not as much as applying either anti-chaffing cream or aloe and propolis cream, which will leave you yelling your wretched heart out), and after it has absorbed, some Jorubi aloe vera gel (my remedy for pimples). Then just leave nature take its course ... You are lucky if you are a girl and it's summer outside, and you can wear a skirt such that your thighs do not touch each other... Otherwise, good luck to you!!

On a lighter note, here's my "What not to say to your examiner when he asks you why you took his course": "Because I'm running the marathon and this course has no final exam." I rule!

Sunday, November 18

The Red Badge of Courage

Many of you will be wondering why I will be walking bow-legged this week like maybe I've been riding a horse on hour too many ... or maybe why in order to get up from a chair I will go "one, two, three, aaargh!!" or why i stink to high heavens... Well, if the title does not fully say it ... ahem ... I did not stop. I should have stopped around the 20km mark when the chafing (abrasion, rash) on my inner thigh was getting quite bad. Should have stopped around the 25 km mark when i saw blood on my right thigh. What I was really looking forward to was staying open legged facing a fan two hours after i managed to crawl home.

I hate this. I hate reading the notes on the anti chafing cream which says "do not put on open wound" AFTER I've experienced one of the most incredible pains in my whole life (i do not know if it beats giving birth, yet), when i decided to apply a full hand of it on my right thigh. I hate my iPod cum nike plus which made me run around 33 km instead of 30. I hate having to hold my laptop on my chest because I cannot sit down. I hate dreading taking a shower. I hate the fact that I must wear tights to run now. I mocked people wearing tights until now, but I will do anything to prevent this from happening. EVER. AGAIN.

PS. i've found this on the net. Udder cream - used to prevent cow's udders from chafing. Mooo!

Wednesday, November 14


I joined the Standard Chartered Marathon this year because I thought, what the hell, I'll never be as fit as I am this year, so why not? The fact that I finished the Army Half Marathon in little less than two hours (which seems to be a feat by some) encouraged me to pay the 75 dollars late registration fee and join! The simple fact of training for the marathon helped me discover some things about me in the past two months of training.

  1. I need to set a goal (e.g marathon, half) in order to run more than 5 km.

  2. I love running with music.

  3. I cannot follow a very hard training programme - for example, my running programme which included running 4 times a week between 6 and 22 km, besides climbing and weight-carrying-across-the-hill, was dumped after 3 weeks.

  4. I would rather measure my runs in the time i've run rather than the distance. I am more comfortable with setting a goal of two hours and a half rather than a goal of 25 km. I guess it's the magnitude ...

  5. Related to [4], i love my time function on my Nike + iPod, which notifies me every five minutes.

  6. The first half an hour is the most horrendous time for me. It is the time I use to convince myself to go ahead. Everytime. Sometimes when I am very tired I need to stop after half an hour and decide whether to continue. Luckily, I usually find a traffic light just around that time, so there's no guilt involved.

However, I do not know whatever possessed me in joining the marathon. It is a BLOODY LONG RUN... And I do not know if I will survive it without stopping. As opposed to the half marathon, I am not going to run the full distance just to be sure that I can make it. This is because, well ... it's a bloody long run. Running 10k and then running half marathon is not the same as running half and then running the marathon. Because 42.something is a bloody long run ... The marathon is not just about will power (like the half for example). It requires real, hard core training. Especially if you are a couch potato like me.

What will matter the most for me for this marathon (apart from hydration, carb loading etc), will be joint strength (which I am working on by doing weight-carrying-across-the-hill) and the ability to play divide et impera (or divide and conquer). What I basically do is calculate after each milestone (in my case, the five minutes announced by my ipod) how much I've run and how much I still have to do. I do this until halfway point. If and when I feel like stopping after halfway point, i just ponder how much I've run and encourage myself to proceed. Simple as that. Boring, but what else to do? Speaking of boring, I absolutely hate running on the track or repeating a route more than two times per run.

To end this on a bragging note, I've run around 700 km since April, which means roughly 116 km per month (i did not run at all in july). Good, good!

Monday, November 12

Sometimes, I really hate this place

So here I was last night, one hour or so into my run, when I pass by a house at 10B Lornie Road. Right in front of the gate and next to a trash container, a small (around three weeks) kitten lies screaming his/hers heart out, so much that I could hear it through the music. Confused, I stop. I pick the little critter up, he (I assume it was a guy, being so brave :)) ) stops yelling. I try to asses where he was coming from. I notice that on the trash container there's this blue DVD player box with a rock on top of it. Somebody was trying to push the lid open ... I take the box down on the kerb, I sit down, put my ipod and my water bottle on the side (i was planning to run 2hrs and a half), open the lid, and there they are, screaming their poor little hearts out, four kittens. They are obviously hungry and scared since there's only some bread (wtf?) in the box and some newspaper, and no cat.

I pick the whole lot of them up and they relax a bit. I am so stunned that all I do is comfort them and try to think about what to do next. I have flashes of my kitten/dog saving childhood, but this time it's different. I have no phone with me, no money, no bus card and I am roughly 11km from my home. Not that I could keep them in my home, since I am renting and I do not know the owner's view on this, nor my flatmates view. I contemplate having to walk 11 km back to school and perhaps spend the night with them in the lab. I try putting the little buggers in the box, but they won't stay there. I try putting them in my pockets, but they don't like it. So I just sit there. A car turns in about fifteen minutes later, to go inside 10B. There's this chinese man and his son, smartly dressed, good car. I signal to them to lower their window, and they do. I ask if they kittens are theirs, because I found them on their container. No, the older man says. The container is mine but the kittens are not. Are you sure, I ask. Because they are here, on your container... No, he says, only the container is mine. Then they just park their car and go in the house.

I am still sitting around not knowing what to do. I try to pick up the courage and face the long walk home with four kittens in a box. Then the maid from 10B comes out. And the whole grueling story comes out. The kittens are theirs, the cat has died, the owners don't want the kittens inside because they are too noisy. So she put them there because she thought somebody who wants them might pass by and take them. Can't I take them? [... insert here talk about the kittens, can't i take them, etc ...] Finally we put them in the box and in a more protected location.

I take off and run home, sometimes crying, anyhow wishing to go back and take them. As i run I realize that I should have taken the maid's phone or something and call Marian and have him take a cab and pick us up. But would the cab take us? I reach home (after another hour) and tell Marian between sobs what happened. I was thinking of asking jups about how and where to take the kittens, I try messaging but my hands are shaking. In the end marian finds the number for SPCA. I call the SPCA animal abuse hotline and report the kittens. They got picked up last night, I hope. I got a call from somebody about forty five minutes after I reported them, but they hung up after I managed to answer, and did not answer when I called back. I think they did not see the box at first.

What kind of a man throws away kittens because "they're noisy"? What kind of a man then lies about it? Of course the kittens are not literally his, it's not like he had an affair with the cat! What kind of a lesson does this teach his son? (Mind you, he was about 20 years old, so I guess he's already gotten all the lessons he needed.) I know they sent out the maid because I wasn't bulging from the kerb. Thought maybe the crazy ang moh will report them or even worse, knock on their door. Thank god for me being stunned.

Owners of 10B Lornie Road, angry kitten* WILL FUCK YOU! Oh yeah, before I go, owners of 10C Lornie Road, angry kitten WILL FUCK YOU TOO, for staring at me and the kittens through the car windows, while I was sitting on your kerb, too.


Friday, November 9


As opposed to its high-class counterpart, the deadpoint which requires a lot of practice and zen, and will not put (if executed correctly) a lot of strain on the hands, the buttpoint does not require practice at all! No training and no muscle memory is required to add this technique to your climbing skills. You just have to have ... well ... a BIG ass. I will not go into details about how to get a big ass, maybe you're lucky like me and it's in the genes...

After you have achieved your big ass, you will see how it comes in the way of your high-steps and your drop-knees when you're descending on an inclined wall. Not to mention the horrendous strain you will put on your arms and fingers, thus acquiring an extraordinary finger strength! Clearly, with so many advantages as opposed to the deadpoint, the buttpoint will soon become the technique of choice for many a climbers.

Wednesday, November 7

When your backpack is too light

The alarm on my phone starts ringing at 06:30 with the melodious tune entitled "motorhighway.aac". I hit the snooze button with sniper precision and doze back again. I hit the snooze button five minutes later. And five minutes later. In the end I extract myself from bed fearing Marian's kicks and/or comments. I have a gut feeling though, and move the curtain a bit and try to peer outside. I will my right eye into opening and realize that the fog I am seeing is for real and not due to my shut eye-lashes. To be sure, I open the window and throw my hand outside. I mutter a satisfied "YES!" and perform a double somersault back to bed.

This is what happens when your backpack is too light and you think you can actually RUN uphill.

Monday, November 5

Tales from the trails

Q: Why is running downhill for 15 minutes extremely unpleasant?
A: Because if you are running in the opposite direction from your destination, you have to go back and run uphill on the same route.

View Larger Map

Yup. Last night I went on my 2hr run, and instead of taking a left turn on Adam Road (see map) I took a right turn on Lornie road, ran like crazy downhill, realized that maybe something is wrong (hey, I thought MacRitchie reservoir shouldn't be next to Holland Village?!), asked a lady waiting for the bus about the approximate direction of Holland Village, turned back, ran uphill ... Whew! And if this wasn't all, somewhere between Adam Road and Farrer Road I ran out of side walk and had to do crazy dashes over the expressway exits, had to run through some bushes full of spider webs (yuck!!) and spiders (brrrrr). With all the traffic lights stopping, asking for directions and expressway dashes, it took me about 2 hrs and a half in total, and got me back home around 10. Which of course worried Marian, since i had left at 7 30.

I am so glad we are not running for training today.
Oh and by the way, the last portion of Kheam Hock road, is uphill (the entire road is), unlit, without a sidewalk, through the jungle, and full of loud, angry, cicadas. So loud, that at one point, even though I was listening to music, I thought a big car was coming up behind me. Runners, beware.