Sunday, March 31, 2019

Reflections, quarter one, two oh one nine

Last December, I wondered why I only did reflections end of the year. If it felt fulfilling to rewind the moments (of course the good was better but the bad also made the good better), why did I not just do more of it? So, I set monthly reminders - last Saturday of each month, recurring reminders from January to December.


Have I succeeded? Well, the below was a draft I started in January 2019. I did not get around to really sitting down my ass to truly think, and my feeble attempt was to jot down the loose thoughts I had.


January 2019.


1. I shall spend money on experiences, not material things.
2. I shall spend more time with my family - collectively as awesome-foursome; but also individually (alone with the husband and daughter and son) to have quality time together.
3. Read books
4. Continue with consistent exercise - HIIT / yoga / running
5. Take up a course - I'm considering a yoga-certification, or a personal trainer certification course
6. Save money


===========================================================


I remember thinking that it was just not good enough. I did not have enough real thoughts, that it felt lame to just toss those out as they were just a list of my resolutions.


Today is the last day of March. I realise that perfect can be over-rated. What is a perfect composition/post? Also, so much happens that the point of me reminding myself to reflect regularly is to just capture all that had happened; so it is not necessary for drama. I also think I did not bother enough to reflect. So, here goes... I'll start with my list.


Spending on experiences, not material things.
I think I did fine on this. Truth be told, I did spend on some things. I got some new underwear, and skincare for myself, I also bought clothes for the children. I also have purchased groceries relentlessly - woe be to (too much) convenience of online shopping. I have browsed, ala 'window shopping' online, but never tempted to add to cart or check out. So good job, well done to me.


The husband and I also went for a concert together. It was a pretty understated singer, known to the xin yao folks in the 1990s; and it was enjoyable enough. We then had a bonus night of supper, which has also led us to more adventures of new supper spots in our hood. I hope we continue to do this - again, experience plus time together, win!


Time with family.
I never stopped doing this, but can I do more? Of course.
Our family rolled into a new routine for Saturdays as the husband and I split duties per child to take on activities with them - rugby (new thing) for the boy, homework revision (constant old) with the girl. We paid to watch our first rugby match as a family due to this new interest of the son's, and we will be going for more.
We continue our family meals when we can and Friday evenings with the family is truly the best way to launch into the weekend.
The relationship with the girl can be better, as we seem to spend (too much) time discussing and fighting over work. The boy is adapting well into primary school and is pretty much a breeze to handle around academics.
The husband and I have a pretty clockwork system of taking a child to school each on most days and it is working out well.


I have not done time alone too much with the children, and the movie tickets are still in the house somewhere, unused. Gotta use them soon!


Reading and exercising
The former is going a bit slow, the latter is going well. I have read some books, but lost the reading zest as I couldn't find more palatable books to consume. I'm currently re-reading a book from Jodi Picoult which I have read before; but because it is kinda moody and super touching to the core; it suits my pensive mood and so I am on it. May I constantly find good reads and have the luck to get sucked into the world of whatever it is.


Just took my stats at the gym 2 days back and it read pretty much 95% the same as end Jan, so I guess I'm doing well. I still get my cravings (which usually results in cravings 1 - self-discipline 0). The husband lamented that I was very skinny, and so I guess it is mostly my mind playing tricks than actually how much I look, so I shall not complain and be thankful that I have a healthy and fit body to keep active.


Take up a course / saving
I was considering a Personal Trainer course - I went as far as to write in to enquire about a course; spoke to a girlfriend about it but it has come to nothing. I cannot commit to it.
I also considered a yoga certification, and went as far as to a yoga clinic which talked me through the course, schedule... my take-away was that I think that school is not bad and I quite liked the yoga teacher, but again, I cannot commit.


A part of it all was money (which I wanted to save) but truth is I think it is just not a priority enough for me. It all takes time away from my family and I think I am ok to drop this thought this year. My want to be with the family is greater than the need for my certification; so I will park this guilt-free. I shall continue to keep active so that I can still find my happiness in sweating out on my own, or with the trustworthy apps/sites that has been keeping me in good company.


Saving up - I am trying, and I am also spending. We are parking aside good money for our travel plans this year, so I am willingly putting it aside. One clear area of improvement is in the grocery department, so I'll see how I manage that better.


There. Nothing too hard, nothing too exciting, and I've done a quick check against how I am achieving and it has been not too bad at all.


Now, for the hard, gritty part.


Three weeks ago, I celebrated my birthday. It started with meals with colleagues & family, a much-desired massage that helped with my stiff neck & shoulders, flowers, beach time and dinner with my closest, day with the kids and I collected pictures which I wanted to post and commemorate me turning 39. That day turned out to be truly memorable, in a very unexpected way.
I believe 18 March will always hold a different for me hereon.


The days that followed were dark and sad, and I was in a space that I had nearly forgotten of. Years ago, the macabre and dramatic June dwelled in that space pretty often (unhealthily so) and I was thrown back into those days of darkness. My sense of self-worth was very low, and I only managed to get through the days because I much preferred to pretend that all was well, and because the kids were priority. Having to support and take them through their days like clockwork made it helpful to move along; but I was in a very bad space.


The husband and I had a hard talk some days later and it has now been 3 weeks. Things are better, way better but I definitely learnt some good lessons.


  • I learnt that my priorities are my husband and children and there is no need to test this in any form.
  • I learnt that I can be such an idiot because I am so dumb sometimes and that hurt. It hurts a lot but I am willing to suck it up because my top priorities are important enough for me to face my ugly.
  • I learnt that when I say that I am 'sad', it is probably real in some form but in the real deal when I was truly sad for those long-short-painful days, facing possible loss was the real deal; something that I am glad I have fleetingly experienced but not needed to dwell more on.
  • I learnt that respect is under-rated and I can show it more to those who I truly respect.
  • I learnt that love can be enough sometimes, just enough to get by.
I am in a good space today and I am so thankful for so much.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

2019

A whole year (& a bit more) has passed since my last entry.


I have an incomplete draft on one of my biggest athlete achievements from December 2017; and 2018 had been pretty eventful.... including
  • Surviving Primary 3 (shaky and challenging)
  • Graduating from Kindergarten
  • Husband's national achievement during National Day
  • Getting promoted
  • Moving into our new home
  • Blessed with two babies into our family
These are on top of the easily-taken-for-granted-things like family, eating meals, exercising, little laughs.... all very important too.


I didn't intend to write. I haven't visited my blog for months and I have been spending too much time browsing social media for no reason at all. A random occurrence two days back had the sister ask, "why are you blogging?" (when I wasn't); but maybe that's how things are meant to be.. they happen for one tiny reason and was seeded in my brain and seemingly, as if for no specific reason, I set at this table and opened up my blog and decided that why not, pen something, a start for 2019.


So, a few resolutions (I say that with hesitation because I view it more as, continuous improvement; or things that always matter than a 'new start' per se):


1. I shall spend money on experiences, not material things.
2. I shall spend more time with my family - collectively as awesome-foursome; but also individually (alone with the husband and daughter and son) to have quality time together.
3. Read books
4. Continue with consistent exercise - HIIT / yoga / running
5. Take up a course - I'm considering a yoga-certification, or a personal trainer certification course
6. Save money


Nothing revolutionary (except, maybe for the certification); and they are pretty similar to what I set out to do year on year.


It's all about the positive mindset we set off with to achieve. Let's go, 2019.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

I am loved.

Reminder that I am loved.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Kids dash #SCSM2017

It's 2 December and the day of the Kid's Dash! The children skipped this run for 3 years, since their first / previous experience in 2014. Look at how teeny J was then!


This year, the t-shirts finally fit them both (I got them the same size) and being the seasoned racers they are, we left for their run with not just bibs on, but game faces too!


Roads were so packed. We strolled to our start point.

It was manic madness! There was no scheduled starts despite the organiser's best intents and by the time we got through, it was a mishmash of everyone who signed up for the run. It was a good mix of children running with parents / sans parents though, and I wonder if the kids will be fine to do so independently next time. After squeezing through crowds and crowds, we waited in the holding area.

Superhero and Princess

SCSM 2017!

One with my princess

Team boy - the hanging bunting's kinda cute

By the time it was our turn to get into the real start pen, the skies were dark.

Finally, we can see the start line.
Her nervous face

His excited face (he has been raving about wanting
to "run on the road" since forever before!)
The children made it to the front of our pen's starting line and it was so amusing to see them all excited/nervous/raring to go. J even wanted to do a proper runner's start (akin in a race on the tracks) and we had to tell him to chill. The husband and I devised a plan for him to race after J as he would be super quick, and me to run after K.


When the bell went off, the kids all DASHED! K really surprised us as she totally took off! They were so super speedy that I lost K for the first 50m of the race. I was able to catch sight of the husband then traced J in front of him speedily; and at some point we switched roles quickly for me to trail J and him to race after K. Phew, I felt all giddy from the stress of being cramped with the crowds, sticking close to the family and taking off so suddenly. I managed to snap some video of J doing what he does best, hi-fiving people for encouragement/fun; he picked this up from our past experiences at races and he does so love to do it. I think he just loves jazzing it up and passing on the love. What an extrovert.


The kids felt accomplished after the race and I made it a deal that they received their very own medals! Then just before we stepped out of the race zone for dinner, we had to take this family shot.

With my champions, on the roads, Xmas season - life is good!

The kids were on such a high after, recounting their race over and over; us giggling over their antics and moments that made them laugh/excited/annoyed.


They also enjoyed drinking H20 ("after exercise can drink this u'noe!") as they felt entitled to it. Ha! So adorbs. As always, it is such a pleasure and joy introducing the children to the fun dash. They are already so used to playing with devices that I am thrilled that they still seek joy in wanting to partake in such runs/outdoor physical activities. It will be impossible to limit/not have them play with devices, but I hope that the husband and I act as good role models for them to at least still appreciate and yearn for outdoor play.


This ends the race that they were looking forward to, and they did so well! I'm so proud of my little champs!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Pre-run jitters

The children are on a short cruise with their beloved grandparents and the past few days have been peaceful and busy. On Thursday, the one night that the husband and I were free, we met to pick up the race packs.


One for posterity

After which, we had dinner and stopped by a bar for 1 beer (his) and 1 dessert (ours). I have been taking carbo loading very seriously (cannot make my sister un-proud of me!) and after a week of eating full; I am quite tired of it already (hah).

View from the bar
That evening, we talked about our home renovations, our upcoming holiday plans and the run. The husband asked, "what's your strategy?" I stared at him, clueless. I hadn't thought about it at all; I am doing this to complete and tick off the bucket list. I want to enjoy running it to some degree, with little pressure or pain. He told me that he will run it with me and that is one of the most romantic and sweetest thing honestly; I truly appreciate it (inside joke, though one person will appreciate this more than the other).


As part of the training, which is actually as hard as the run, I have some reflections:
  • Sickness sucks. There were a few weeks I was on total form, killing kilometres by the bulk and while my body ached, my mind was so happy and determined to keep on track. Then came the flu bug and it just made me all slothy and unwell.
  • Running can take place anywhere: having a partner who takes exercise as part of life is great, as we just run on-the-go; like on our trip to Japan within training period. As part of our upcoming holiday planning, I am talking trekking, walking, lots of nature and fresh air. Woot!
  • Doing only one thing is boring. I quite like running - it is efficient, it gives me fulfilment to see distance clocked (I'm not being on speed/time; accomplishment and finish is more for me) and my kilos on the Nike app go up steadily. However, when training, I have to run to train and over time, that makes it slightly dreary. Some days, I wish to do other forms of exercise so that's a bit of a strain.
  • The body is amazing - many have said that I should run at least 30km to get myself ready but I have not done so. I only did 2 runs that are longish, at 21km and 23km. These runs were a week apart and with the testing of gels on these runs, I felt pretty good from the 1st to 2nd run. It's been 2 weeks since and I hope that my 3rd and final long run will be as ok as can be!
  • Diet: I have always been pretty ok in my diet, eating whenever and whatever. The past week has been fun in carbo-loading (eat eat eat away!) and I have intentionally watched my alcohol intake the past month. I can actually count what I have had - no more than 4 glasses of wine and no beer. It was my company's D&D last night and I had 3 sips of beer. Proud of myself!
  • My toes: lessons picked up are that Vaseline works better than tape for my toes. I have also given up having normal toe nails (or any at all). I have also learnt how to manage and treat my own blisters. It's a good skill to know!
  • The husband is my rock. I deem my husband to be a fit man. He is an ironman, he is fit for work and besides being a great partner in sport, he is my rock. For him to be by my side will be so reassuring for me. Thank you, babe.
On the eve of the run, I still cannot imagine how my run will be, especially past the 20km mark; and I hope to remember these:
  • Try to enjoy it. On my YOLO run, I walked and did not beat myself up about it. It is ok to walk. It is still making distance (no matter how slowly - ever hear the story of the tortoise and the hare?)
  • Don't stress. I think I a quite a serious runner. My face is kinda frowny and I seem worried. I will try to remember to not worry about anything!
  • Look around - I will try to take in the sights, the people around me, the weather, the everything. It's all part of the experience.
  • I will be ok. Having no expectations can only be a good thing!
1-2-3-4.

First up, the children are doing the run this evening and I am going to have some fun with them - hoorah! Counting down... 13 more hours!

Monday, November 27, 2017

23km - my last long-run

After my first long run during this practice period, I asked the husband to go for another with me. We set off on a Sunday morning, not too early; and I felt tired.... I wasn't sure how far I could go but I had an idea that I wanted to hit at least a 21km.


What made this run more challenging (and shady, a good thing) is that we ran the MacRitchie trails, which added challenge of trail and undulations; the run a week before did me good as I persevered and did not stop the entire trail; I felt proud of myself! The husband was in good form, despite not training at all (though to be fair, he'd been swimming/running for his biathlon so... still some training). Our route was sorta planned; estimated at about 20km.


We started off from the Polo Club, then through MacRitchie, past the trail forest to emerge at Thomson Road... past Upper Pierce Reservoir to Seletar Reservoir (I don't know if it's the right name, but it's past the Casurina Road roti prata). We only had 1 water point which we stopped at both to-and-fro directions. I also prepared to consume my gel (1 pack) and I learnt how to feel it course through my body and provide me with energy.


We stopped at about 19km, as we rounded back to MacRitchie and chanced into V2.
23km at final stop
At 19km, we were both tired and the chance encounter was a good break for us to chat and stretch. After bidding goodbye, the husband and I slowly walked our way back to the start point to end off our last long run before the run.






Beautiful end

We have never ventured to this end of the club and it was a peaceful end to our morning. That afternoon, we refueled with a ton of popiah and kueh pie tees and my body was not in as much pain as the week before. A much needed training slot indeed!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

YOLO - my 4th half marathon & my practise run

Running a marathon was one on the bucket list; it was kinda an idea that snuck around in my brain since my past halfs - my first in 2013, my first night-run but 2nd half in 2014, and my 3rd where I ran because it was paid for (cheap, but true!). Through time, my impetus to run faded slowly but surely as
I discovered yoga and HIIT. If I can keep fit and in good shape in different ways, why not? Why do I need to sign up for runs? Thus, the bucket list item of running a marathon disappeared.
So, I kinda gave up on signing up for runs. Until my not-sure-it's-most-brilliant-brilliant moment when I got sick and tired of muddling about (just about this point when I sure felt muddled)... and I signed myself up for a marathon.
-insert shocked face-
So, it started. My training. I started trying to do longer runs; and after months, I can comfortably hit 10km. I scheduled in more paid runs including the Asics one, to help clock distance. This YOLO, was one that came about quite serendipitously and thank goodness I ran it because it was my first long run and it hurt.






Waking up at an unearthly hour.

Creeping about the kitchen to feed myself

Reading material - I was trying to take note of drinking stations

I was meant to do the run with the husband, but he didn't make it (overseas travel), so I went all by myself. Yup. At the last minute, just as I was stepping out of the house, I remembered to tape my toes (preventing blisters through friction) - not that it really helped, so that's one lesson I learnt.


I drove myself to the Singapore Flyer carpark, very close to the start/finish line. Best decision ever - and honestly, while the area was slowly swarming with people, and there was some traffic, it's generally a really quiet and smooth drive.


Upon arrival, I headed to the loo. I held nothing at all except for things I needed during my run. Then I headed to the start pen.

As far as I could worm forward

The start was delayed and here, I'm going to bullet note my run progress:
  • Drinking water (3 big gulps) and not starting the run caused me to need to pee. Flag off was delayed (logistics error, boo to organisers) and everyone stood waiting around for 50 minutes. My wait was probably about 35 minutes as I only entered the start pen past 5am.
  • At the 2km mark, I made a toilet stop.
  • At the 11km mark, I saw a professional runner on his way back. How mad quick was that!
  • My right hip muscle started to twitch and ache past the 10km mark and it escalated.
  • In sync with my plan and hydration station, I consumed my first-ever gel. It was orange flavoured and not awful.
  • The plasters did not help my toes.
  • I walked at several points in the race because I was just not feeling it.
  • I felt energetic with the gels, but I felt heavy and could not push myself more.
  • I started to walk but enjoy the walking; not worth stressing as I was not gunning for any time at all.
  • It was a relatively cool morning and I am thankful for that.
  • At the 16km mark, I had to stop at a hydration point to stretch. The ache in my hip was increasingly uncomfortable/painful.
  • When the mind is weak, the going is near impossible.
  • I was in pain towards the end because my toes were squishy and rubbing hard against each other (the tape!)
  • I managed to jog the final 2km because I wanted to finish the race.
ZOMG so long.
Shot with the girls who did 10km, except that the silly organisers
shortened the run to 7km without informing any runners.

I was totally aching when I met with the girls. My hip ache was screaming for me to do something about it (it was one of those pains where I couldn't resolve just by stretching) and my legs super achey that I nearly-cramped on a few occasions as I was walking - ouch. I made it to the car safely and spent a good 45minutes stretching the sh*t out of my legs because oh-so-painful.


arghhh the pain, and arghhh I did it!
Lesson to self: don't only tape random toes. I had a giant blister on my
3rd toe (right foot) and I had to self-operate it thrice.

Hooray at least NIKE applauds my achievement
Truly, the run was an awakening for me. It was necessary because I had not done any long runs prior to this and it gave me a taste of how much pain I would be for the real run. It also taught me that the gel that I ate helped me. While I could have been mentally stronger and ran more, the gel surely helped in my energy levels not crashing; and I actually felt better than I expected.


Still running - last 2km


Serious face

I learnt a few key lessons and here are my parting thoughts:
  • Not pressuring myself to perform helped me just cruise along
  • Consuming the gel made me more aware of my body and how it can help
  • I held the small bottle of water throughout the run but I did not need to actually, so it's a decision I have to make if I want to hold something for the full run
  • Aching legs are surely a pain and this made me realise that the pain will go away.
  • Just keep going.
A good overall experience to add to my training, gahhh!