Tuesday, December 11


8 hours till lift-off. Bags are packed. lists have been made and relisted. things have been packed and unpacked. I hope i did not forget anything. For the following 53 days i will be trying to climb Guallatiri, Pomerape, Parinacota, and, I hope, Aconcagua. My main concern is that the first three will be out of season and thus difficult to climb (if not impossible because of the weather) and we might not be acclimatised for Aconcagua.

See you (and the internet) in February.

Sunday, December 9

Thank you 2007

Ok. Sorry for not being able to post so much these days, I have been extremely busy with packing and everything. Yay! I am leaving on tuesday! Horrendous airplane trip awaits! [But more about that tomorrow]. So I have two posts on my mind. One about thanking 2007, and one about what I want for 2008. Since I won't be here when the shift actually happens, here I go.

I want to thank 2007 for a lot of things. I guess when I'll be older [and smarter] I will see this as a very good year for me. So here goes.

  • this year was the year I grew up relationship-wise and realized that saying "i give up" or "i am leaving" after every argument or fight is not the way to go. I have also managed to control my temper [this is a very big achievement] and realized that things may not be exactly how I like them (i am a control freak, you know)

  • this year i saw my grandma and my dog again. I have also managed to cough up the guts to call more often (it does leave me with an incredible sense of failure, that's why i don't call)

  • this year I've been as fit as I ever remember being. This allowed me to run half a marathon, a marathon, and climb mountains. It comes only 2 years since I've quit smoking, and after a hard 2006 trying to quit smoking, this year actually made it look that there might be a chance for me to be smoke free.

  • this year was the first time in my life that I actually felt extremely close to death. I am glad that I could keep my cool.

  • this year I have seen snow, something I thought was impossible after i left home. I miss winter and season change now more than ever.

  • this year i have realized that climbing is a very big part of my life, so much as it almost defines me (even though i am not a good climber, mind you - 2008 here i come)

  • this year i have realized that i am a traveler. If I do not have a trip planned, I go nuts.

  • this year i got a glimpse of how it really is to train for something. If it wasn't for Marian who was so incredibly supportive, putting up with me coming very late at home or literally kicking me out of bed in the morning, i would not have done anything. Thanks my love!

  • this year i have been injured and [finally, i hope!] recovered from it. My injuries and the long journey back in my recoveries have taught me to be humble. I have been humble mountaineering wise for a long time, but climbwise it was only possible this year.

  • this year has been a year of firsts, something i have not thought possible: first time going to the Alps, first time running a marathon, first time flashing (and finishing) a route in a competition (and my only, till now), first time going to south america, first time riding a motorcycle, first time traveling with mom, first 6b, first time really training, first 4000m peak, first article published in a conference.

So much for 2007. I will try to remember what were the bad things about 2007 and list them below.

Wednesday, December 5

Lateral foot pain

Remember the foot pain that i was complaining about in the previous post? It got really bad throughout monday, so I started icing it and elevating and taking paracetamol cause i couldn't find the Nurofen (they give these with a prescription here). My biggest mistake ever was to go online and search for "lateral foot pain", and omg what i found really really made my day yesterday. So let's see. I could have:

- stress fracture of the 5th meta-tarsal - healing time - at least 6-8 weeks (i am leaving for aconcagua next week); predominant in women; no weight at all on the foot; it gets worse if you ignore it and walk through the pain (this is my plan)

- displaced cuboid - must see a chiropractor, do a bone scan then the chiropractor should put it back (like they put your popped shoulder back) - no money for this

- peroneal tendon sprain - ice, elevate, rest, anti-inflamatories etc

So after worrying to death yesterday for about six hours, I ruled out the first two, mostly by deciding that the pain i was feeling is not fracture pain. The problem with pain for me is that I know that I have a very good tolerance to pain. As in extremely good tolerance to pain. So when someone asks me if something hurts I will say it doesn't, unless i am crawling on the floor because of it. I iced and elevated my foot last night. I am wearing hard soled shoes right now, and I am keeping my feet elevated, even though I am at work. Yup. I am writing now with my keyboard on my lap and both of my feet on my desk. Who says the life of a computer scientist is not exciting?!

Anyhow, it's better now, I can walk for ten minutes without stopping. Today I am climbing and starting tomorrow I will train. Internet doctoring is no good.

Monday, December 3

The race

A friend of mine once said that the best part about expeditions is preparing for and returning from them. I so know this to be right that I might as well write it on my t-shirt or smth.

So. Remember i said that I put in 12 hours of sleep from friday to saturday? Well ... saturday evening just before the marathon I went to bed at nine thirty and managed to sleep at 1. Woke up at 02:50 and started getting ready. Left the house at 03:30 and found a smart cabbie that dropped us just behind Fullerton hotel. I was meeting Yap, Shumei and Kiak at 04:45 at the cenotaph and we were there at ... 03:50. Good, good*! :)) Stretched, used the toilet like a gazillion of times, kissed Marian goodbye and went for the finish line. [Warning!! Somehow yucky tales coming up]

I ran with Kiak for about 13 clicks or so, but when I took a sip of water I had the mother of all cramps from hell, so I slowed down a bit and lost Kiak. Yap caught up with me but when I spotted a toilet I ran for it... Yup. What was the worse that could happen? Period cramps!! Yey! Even though I was prepared for it, I was kinda hoping that maybe this time my horrendous luck wouldn't show its face!!! Well ... IT DID!!! Normally when this happens i like to lay down, eat and read, in silence. But not yesterday ... I ran the first 14 km in 1 hr 15 minutes, so I was actually contemplating a finish in under 4 hours, but no no no no no ... Every time I would drink something, or even worse, have a power gel, I would have to stop for the loo .... I had to struggle to see if the water point had any toilet. If it did, I would drink, if it didn't... too bad ... About km 30 or so I realized that pushing down the elastic of my tights so as not to be on my stomach helped a lot, so afterwards it was better.

But ... I was reaching the end of my fuel line, and by km 34 I felt my muscles starting to contract... Maybe this is what pre-cramping feels like. Anyhow, I had seen that the other runners put deep heating muscle rub on their calves ** so I did that. After km 35 or so, I started yelling to the guys that were walking, "Come on!" and "We're there!" and "Let's go!".My favorite one was "We're kenyans!", and "I see giraffes!" (even though only an old guy got it) and I did that a lot too. It got quite a few of them running if I do say so myself (after the finish line one guy came and shook my hand, gush!).

Things I saw during the race:
- a lot of supporters
- one guy had a sign on his back saying: "PEACE, NOT BUSH" (lovely)
- a lot of caucasians with signs, t-shirts or even a flag of their home country - next year I'm doing that too!!!
- one old guy who was at his 43th (OMG!) marathon

Pains and aches:
- relatively painless, roughly the same as after the 30 km run (tomorrow I'm back training for Aconcagua, man!)
- the only thing that really hurts is my left foot, whenever I put my weight on it. Why, oh why!?!?

* when i was little my grandparents were afraid that we would loose the bus (in the country) or that there won't be any train tickets (we bought them directly from the station) that they used to get me to the station about 2 - 3 hours before. I would sit there and play, run around etc. Taking a breather where the trip starts is still one of my favorite rituals before leaving for a trip.

** ahem. Initially I thought that the deep heating muscle rub was anti-abrasion cream :))) [talk about what people fear the most :))] so i put it on my inner thighs ... :)) it never got absorbed :)). I smart.

All in all, a good first marathon. I learned a lot. Looking forward to the next one.

Update: Final results are out (and yes, i spent all day refreshing the results page, thank you very much): 1063 place (wohoo!! 8641 behind me), 123rd woman (1181 behind - so few ladies?!), 52nd in my age and sex division. And ... ahem
"Opposite Sex
For the record, you were ahead of about 89% of male finishers."

Girl power!!

Sunday, December 2


Saturday, December 1

Occasionally windy

... passing showers in the afternoon.

Feeling a bit nervous about tomorrow, but not as bad as I was expecting. Tonite Shumei is cooking pasta!!!! There will be a pasta party at her place, at five!!! Initially i thought it was going to be my place, but I don't know how it got changed, all for the best I guess since i only have two burners for my stove and one is very lazy. I have eaten so much pasta this past few days that believe it or not I dun like it anymore. I used to think that I am not eating bread or pasta to stay fit, it turns out I don't like it as much as I thought. Good good!

I managed to put in roughly 12 hours of sleep last night, a priori for tonight, when I know I will not be able to go to sleep. All clothes for tomorrow are already prepared. Now all i need is endurance and a clear head for tomorrow. And hopefully no rain! I also discovered that there will be pacers for tomorrow's run (don't ask me how i know -- i just lurked on singaporean blogs about running and found a guy that i a pacer for tomorrow*), which is a blast!! So my main task will be to find a pacer and stalk him/her, muhahahahaha!

* As opposed to the army half, when i was so clueless about everything that I actually carried a 0.5l bottle of water because i didn't know there will be water points, I wanted to get it right this time, hope it will be worth it!!