Tuesday, November 25


Last year, this was me:

Nita's sms about Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon on 8th december raised some nerve-wrecking questions. See, the problem with performing well the first time around you do something, is that you expect to do the same or even better the next time you try to do it. Well, that isn't the case for me, and I usually don't.

Although the focus of this year's race is for us (marian and i) to finish together (or should I say together finish, with an emphasis on together), I can't stop fretting about our performance. Will we be faster? (not really, haven't trained that much, i feel) Will we be slower? (i think so) By how much? Will we make it? AAAAAAAA!

Monday, November 24


Had the most horrible weekend in the history of IR. The whole of my right lower wisdom tooth is coming out. It had emerged about six months ago but now the whole volcano is rising. My jaw is huge. I didn't sleep at all friday night. Barely slept on Saturday night, and last night I managed to go to sleep at 1:30am and woke up at 4 am again only to fall asleep fitfully until seven. I cannot function with sleep deprivation. I have been eating soup for the past three days, and even though I love soup, I am now officially sick of it.

In order to forget about the pain for a bit I went climbing on Saturday and managed to finish my 3x20 minutes endurance sets, even though I was distracted by Jia Wei and his routes. Saturday night Marian finally found out what's wrong with me, and he advised me to chew on something tough (his dentist had advised him to chew on a bread crust) on the wisdom tooth such that the gums will cut and the tooth will be free!! free! I tell ya!!. No bread crust chez Claudia, so I chewed on four almonds. And I remember every one of them. EVERY SINGLE ONE.

Sunday morning found me with a jaw the size of China thanks to the augmenting effect of the almonds. Went to yoga, had some soup (yay!), then crawled back home. Couldn't focus to read or write so I went running. Yesterday was the first day of my interval training. Did 5 minutes jog, 3 minutes sprint (and the sprint was proportional to my tooth ache). Did only four repeats (instead of six) because I ran out of track and I didn't want to turn back. So far so good, I love it.

Watched CSI Miami before going to bed at 10pm. I used to like Horatio about three years ago when I was watching CSI, but now I think he looks and acts like a very spooky Cheshire cat. And now starts my agony. I couldn't sleep, so I played with marian's iphone until it ran out of batteries, listened to music, heated a sock in the microwave oven (to make it hot to apply on the jaw of death - about 1,2 seconds are enough), chewed on a banana, walked around, changed my sleeping (ha!) position, moved on the floor, moved back on the bed, cried, then i finally fell asleep around 1:48 am.

Weekends, I hate.

Thursday, November 20

The smart[er] post I promised last time

I think too much. Not necessary smart thoughts or anything, it's just that I really think too much. Every move that I do while I climb, every action that I take, I must think about it. Generally, this happens after I climb or I do something, at which time I think about how stupid I was.

Like when I saw a notebook with "Exercise your right to free speech" stamped on every page, I laughed. Why? Because it's ironic that in such a tight-lipped society like this one, the way to exercise your right to free speech is by writing things down on your personal notebook, which nobody will read (or hear) - is speech vocal or not, btw? Or is it a pun like really "exercise" as in practice? See, I think too much. Again, not necessary smart thoughts.

So, I finally realized that I think too much when I lead climb. And I think wrongly, which leads me (get it?!:) ) to not committing fully, or to giving up, or to finding excuses and so on. This and my previous observation about how some people are ego/comparison-driven climbers has been my food for thought these past days.

Did a bit of research (reading up a very nice book) and here (TADA!!) are some things that indeed, do distract me when I lead climb:

  • negative inner dialogue - "shit, I'm too far from the next clip", "this crimp is shit", "mayday, mayday, mayday", "abort, abort, abort", "omg, this is hard", "shit, just get to where sandra fell then you are can fall too"[1], "shit [2], i can't do this move", "i am not flexible/dynamic", "i can't reach"

  • reacting - this happens rarely and not while climbing, but in real life, when i am upset about some stuff and take it out on people (like my mom, for example), whom i know can take my behavior. [3]

  • hoping and wishing - "i wish the hold was better, then I can hold it", "i hope i can finish this climb"

[1] - Comparison, you evil bitch! Although in this particular case, it is somewhat positive, because it helps me get past the already shitty holds that sandra, (bless her crimping power, woo hoo!!!) held, it is still, comparison, an evil bitch.
[2] - A lot of "shit" in this post, ain't it?
[3] - Just realized that "reacting" happened while mountaineering. When we were going down Matterhorn and I was frustrated that a) we didn't summit and b) it was taking horrendously long to come down and c) we had a very good chance of not living, I told our rookie "We're lucky if we make it out of here alive", a totally unnecessary remark which would have troubled the poor soul had he heard it.

Wednesday, November 19

Totally shacked

Climbed today from 09:30am (exactly) till 11:10 am (exactly). Did 20 minutes ARC around the gym with 20 minutes rest. Would not have been able to make it past the first set without the company of San, Dor, and Teck Chew. It's amazing how the presence and absence of people can influence a training session. Now I am totally sapped, my forearms and biceps (do they really exist?) are still quasi-pumped. It is definitely not the best time to start strengthening my Related Work section. My supervisor says it needs to be stronger. Titanium? How can i strengthen something when i'm so weak? [enter here 5 minutes of self pity].

Wanted to write something smarttt todae but i. just. can't.

Forgot to mention the elusive presence of Jiasheng who stopped by just to watch us bicker and bully Doris. And also to make me chase him barefoot, but the story about that particular revenge will be the subject of another post :)

Monday, November 17


BIRTHDAY!!!! To Marian!!! Woohoo!! happie 27th (a nice odd, cube number too!)!!!!

Ran about 20 clicks yesterday for Marian's birthday. It was a "ok" run. We got to see Orchard and North Bridge Road full (and I mean FULL) of hookers and drunk people [puking]. A different sight from your normal, septic Singapore. At Clark Quay we even saw a police team by the side of the road. They were watching the hookers on the other side, not doing anything. The hookers were watching them too. Hey, do you think we walked into a stare-down?! Would hate for that to happen!!

The best thing was watching the sunrise from the Merlion. Really really nice and peaceful. This was our last big run before the standard chartered marathon on the 7th of december. Would have wanted it to be longer, but we were tired and cranky, and hell, bored! so we put the run to sleep around harbour front. Had a drink and dried up, then took the bus home to a nice breakfast cooked by yours truly.

Later lunch and movie with our friends, hanging out and laughing. Talking with mom in the evening and frantically searching for our house key which we forever lost apparently.

Weekends, I like.

Thursday, November 13


The Ego is a mental entity, a crude and ruthless ghost masquerading as our "self". It is a mental construct, produced by socialization, which rewards and punishes us with feelings of self-worth. The Ego lives by comparison. It identifies with events in our past and then compares our history to the histories of others. This comparison leaves us feeling better or worse than, but not equal to, others.

Tuesday, November 11

While I was in the woods ...

it seems like the whole world decided to post blog posts, emails, articles and stuffs.

Been stuck in the land of project submissions for the whole day yesterday. By the end of the day my brain was mush. By the end of the night's training, my body was mush as well. We did (in this order, designed to sap you of any energy you have left): pull-up contest (we didn't lose, yay!) to which i contributed with 20 pull-ups (2x10), some PT that I seem to be blocking out of my mind, and flash comp. It's been a long time since we really climbed and I had a lot of fun. The open men had to climb with us and they didn't seem to be having any fun (our routes were boring and easy, i guess), but too bad for them! IR really enjoyed herself. Afterwards crawled home and into bed.

SUNDAY!! We had the most amazing run ever! Ran for about an hour and 15 minutes on the Macritchie reservoir 12 km route. This means that we did trail running! It was such a pleasure to run in the cool jungle, with absolutely nobody on the trail, away from cars, exhaustion gas and traffic lights!

The jungle was so cool and free of people (not of animals, mind you) because we started our run around 7pm. Yup. It was pitch dark people, there be no lights in the jungle. But! I had my trusty Petzl headlamp (pictured). This gave us about 1 - 2 m visibility. At one point we were sprinting (running the polar zones training - this requires you to run at about 60% of your maximum heart rate for a while - 30 mins, at 70% for another while - 30 mins, then at 80%-90% for yet another while - 5 - 15 mins) uphill and/or downhill, jumping on/from protruding roots, rocks, stumbling into mud puddles. All while we could only see 1 m or so in front of us. So exciting!!! (just realized how much i enjoy getting dirty while running - gives me such a REAL feeling compared to running on singapore's clean streets)

We saw 2-3 birds with red eyes (because of our light, but still very freaky to see one flying towards you). One bat flew past us (too close for comfort). We scared the shit out of one toad who was taking a stroll on the human-free path. We confused a lot of moths with our light. It was fabulous.

Thursday, November 6

News in the geek world

  • Dumbo aka TickCross aka CrossTick learned about perfect numbers!! After she learns about Fermat's last theorem, maybe we can talk about the greatest number in history ... 42 ... And we could then figure out how my Nike+ sensor functions.

  • Marian got his SSD hard drive today!! An early birthday and XMas present from all of us (this is the problem with geeks, you'd better not surprise them if instead you can share the burden of a expensive gadget)

  • The deadline for the software engineering project I am supervising is tomorrow. My students are marveling me with their unfounded confidence in their programming skills. All would have been much easier if they had started coding early and would have asked me stuffs.

  • Windows 3.x era is over. For most of us (not me, I had System 7.0. Snob!!) it was our first graphical/windows based operating system. One of the most stable Windows versions, too!

Monday, November 3


Just general thoughts. Will not start writing here about why I climb and so on (save you all the mushy stuff) but I seriously gotta get this off my chest before I explode. Ok.

A question that really ticks me off is something along the lines of "what was the hardest (in terms of grade) route that you did today?" I hate that question. Not "what was the nicest/funniest/challenging/great sequence route that you did today?". Not "what was the route that showed you where you need to improve?". But "what was the hardest". That and "I clinched x place". I do understand that for other people the only way in which they can improve is in a "friendly" (my ass!) competition with other climbers, but it just gets on my nerves sometimes.

Other than the scales of value imposed on us by society, the only scale(s) that I will live by in this life are those that I impose on myself. And the only person that I allow to raise the level of the scale is myself. You are not a better climber than X if you can climb 9a or 12a or V15 or what have you and X cannot. You are not a better climber than X if you spend a week learning the moves on one 8a and then drop like a fly at the first bolt on a 6c, while X has been climbing "with the girls". You are a better climber because last month you couldn't climb 12a because you just couldn't get your mind around dyno-ing from crimps to crimps and now you have improved and you can! The only one that "you" can compare yourself with is you. Period. You are a great climber if you know just how far to push yourself. If you know where your limit is such that you rest and relax even when others are still trying the route. You are a smart mountaineer for example if you know when to call it quits (but that is another lesson).

The scale is not 6c,7a, 7b, 7c etc because when you will not have time to train you will have a meltdown. The scale is easy, ok, still ok, hard, "omg this is not for me". It's "comfortable, challenging, uncomfortable, MENTAL, "I seriously need to improve"". Climbing mates are not A - "climbs 8a", B - "climbs 6c", C - "climbs better than me, still", D - "i don't take climbing advice from her cause she climbs only 6a", ... X - "one of this days I will climb better than him/her", Y - "I did this route and he couldn't". Climbing friends are (will spare the names so as not to get mushy) A - "will not take any bullshit from me so I have to try my best", B - "gives crazy routes", C - "gives routes with crammed moves that I can span, woo hoo", etc.