Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Let's look at some Data

Just wanted to share with you my running progress so far - as you can see, I started on 9/20, and it's been going on semi-regularly (I've had a few weeks when I couldn't run, either because I was focusing on strength and recovery work or because I had too much work)... but as you can see, I'm adding minutes to my run and my speed is steadily improving.  There are ups and downs within weeks, but if you look at the overall average minute/mile, I'm moving in the right direction.  Also, as my run intervals got longer, I had to slow down on the run, but the fastest run intervals have been finding its steady pace.  I'm very happy with this!

Also to note, my distances are still at sub-3 mile levels.  With my ankles and feet still feeling challenged from time to time, I know that it is not time for me yet to add mileage.  I'm being faithful to the little I can do now, and will add gradually as my running intervals and interval frequencies get higher.  If I can get my running pace at 10:30-11:00 min/mile without huge effort, I'd be stoked.  I can feel the improvements, though, because today, for instance, although the fastest run interval was at 11:16 min/mile (slower than previous weeks), I felt like I was going super easy, especially coming back from a near 2 week break.  I was surprised to see that it was sub 12 min/mile, to be honest.  I'm curious to see where my pace would end up in the next couple of weeks, provided that I do not skip any of my runs.

Slow and steady is the name of the game.  I'm not flinching even a bit to rush into something - if I take a week or two break, I don't jump ahead or rush to get caught up, I just keep continuing from where I left off.  When I can't run, I do strength exercises and I make sure I stretch my ankles and feet.  I have a long-term view on this, so it just doesn't make sense to rush to really go nowhere.  But as I look at this simple table, it shows that I made progress and I'm healing!  Very very happy and grateful.

I started from 1 minute run, and now I can run 7 minutes non-stop at a time!  Hurray!

My run, my program, my pace.  I hope you build your own too and be faithful to the daily progress you can make for yourselves, no matter how big or small.  And smile :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lots have Happened over the past 4 months!

It has been a very long time since my last entry - over past 4 months, my life drastically changed, and of course, for the BETTER.  I'm so grateful and excited to have completed my move to San Francisco in August, after living in Los Angeles for over 10 years. 

Life was insane July and August, as I was moving out of my place in LA and moving into a new place in SF, while starting a new job.  As exciting as it all was, as you can all imagine, moving was seriously physically and mentally challenging - which is something I completely underestimated, having moved very often across continents (no joke!) when I was in my 20's.  I didn't think it was a big deal, but I suppose after having accumulated a lot more things over the years, moving definitely became a bigger deal, quite literally.  

Looking back, all went well.  Without establishing a healthy base I wouldn't have been able to do it all alone.  I'm so grateful that I was able to move everything, including myself, in one piece.  :)

On the other hand, training had to be temporarily put on the sidelines.  I lost about 8 pounds just from moving - which was not the favorable way to lose weight (poor eating, not sleeping, running around non-stop).  It was good, however, because I forced myself to take a break from running and cycling, from which I've suffered more than enough foot and ankle injuries during the Spring and Summer seasons.

Starting in September, I started back from ground zero.  Literally, from the absolute basics.  

I read the book "Run Your Butt Off," which is actually a step by step running guide for beginner runners.  I wouldn't call myself a beginner runner, but because of my recurring injuries I felt compelled to act like one and use the methodology the book was suggesting.  

Basically, it starts with 4 min walk/1 min run intervals of 5 times.  Actually, the very start is to do 30 min walks for a week, but I skipped that step, thanks to my daily walks between work and home (1.5 mile one way - it's a nice little walk, which I LOVE).  I think the daily walks actually made my ankles and feet stronger and help me establish a stronger base for my running program.  Anyway, after my first week of the rather boring 4/1 walk/run intervals, every week or two I progressed onto longer runs...for example, 4 walk/2 run x 4-5 times, then 3 walk/3 run x 4-5 times..and now I'm at 2.5 walk/5 run x 4 times~!   

Believe it or not, the 3 walk/3 run week was tough on my ankles -  i had to take a week break because my feet and ankles were killing me again.  I did ankle strengthening exercises and got on the foam roller instead.  I continued my walks to and from work, though, and they definitely kept my lower body movements consistent.  I so love walking to work now, something I was not able to do at all living in LA.  

Anyway, I have another week of the 2.5 walk/5 run x 4, then moving on to 2 walk/7 run x 3 after that!  I'm excited - because although i had to start from scratch, I'm very happy with the progress - I am actually becoming a more efficient runner, as my time has improved over the weeks as well.  I think this was the way I should have always started, really gradually, step by step, day by day, minute by minute.  I'm going to keep going at this rate, and by mid-January, I will be able to do my first 30-minute full-on run.  Sounds like a long time til then, but really, by then I would have really built up my fundamentals so the run-only session will seem like just a natural progression, not a burdensome challenge.  My body will appreciate the super-slow gradual buildup.
My first 5k since the new training regime is set for 12/2, which I will just run as if I'm training, with a few walks mixed in.  I think in mid-February, I will do a full-run 5k, with some speed added to it.  That i'm really excited about.  

I haven't let go of my goal to do a will just be in 2012.  I deferred my NYC Marathon entry to 2012, so I have that to work towards.  Effectively, I'm training for over a year for my marathon - this may be the wisest decision I've ever made to date.  

As you can see, I have lots of starting over's.... some attempts of mine did not work, some did.  Those that didn't, I learn my lesson from them and just start again.  I know I have these desires to do long distance races for a reason, but they are not going to come easily.  I'm learning to be patient, to be persistent and to NEVER GIVE UP!  This time it will work, I'm really taking my time, advancing little by little.  Hey, a small advance is still an advance!  :)

However, I still have to wonder, what is up with this ankle pain?  In my earlier days, ankle and feet were the last things I needed to worry about during my training... oh well, it is what it is, and I'm learning to deal...  I'm just praying it's just a part of getting old ;)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I'm Not Like Them...and That is the Point

No wonder my heart has been so burdened.  No wonder I've been fatigued, dreaded and heavy in my spirit.  I wasn't being myself, but I have been relentlessly trying to be like others.

Around me, there are some seriously strong riders.  They can do super hilly and long distance rides whenever they decide to, and even do so two days in a row, and suffer no consequences other than the expected soreness.  I, know from experience, that I have to go by the gradual progression of adding mileage and hills in order to get to a certain point.  If not, the consequences would be (and have been) dire.  

When I was training for the Gran Fondo LA (6/26), I had that sudden right foot injury after my first 65 mile/hilly ride.  Since then my foot (actually both feet at this point) have never been the same.  Some of my friends were able to go on another long and even hillier ride the next day.  And they boasted that the post-ride soreness was actually minimal.  Wow - envy.  

Last weekend while I was still trying to ramp back up from the injury, another friend of mine did 80 miles and thought even that wasn't enough for the Vineman Aquabike race (Swim 2.4 miles, Bike 112 miles) coming up, so wanted to 90 miles this morning.  I couldn't even do 40 miles last week because of my foot.  I knew I had no choice and I was ok with it, until I compared myself to my friends.  Discouragement.  Feeling kinda like a loser.

So, with my ego bruised, I told my friend that I'd do the 90 mile ride with her, as a pathetic attempt to redeem myself.  And the ride is today.  I have been up since 445am, getting geared up and ready.  It's 607am right now.  What am I doing writing this?

I crumbled.  I had to admit, after all the pondering, wondering and getting frustrated - that my heart is not in the right place.  That is the reason for all the internal fighting.  Usually, rides like this excite me, and I'm all pumped up for it.  Today, my heart is just NOT in it - not because I don't like riding anymore, not because I want to quit, but because for a while now I have been driven by my ego and envy, but not my heart.  Where is my hope?  Why am I doing this?  Didn't I say I'd do 90 miles because I wanted to feel better about myself?  Because I wanted to feel less like a loser compared to my friends who have been ramping up faster than I have?  

Comparing myself to others... is a dangerous motivator.  In fact, it is not a motivator - it is a source of discouragement and self degradation, ending up in both mental and physical fatigue.  I'm not rationally thinking about my physical status and what I can do given the reality, which actually results in going beyond my perceived limits.  Instead, I'm looking at others, wanting to be like others, then discovering how I am NOT like others, then just shutting myself away from achieving any untapped potential whatsoever - because then I am no longer driven by my heart, but my ego.  Such a tremendous attempt at one's best can never come from ego or envy.  It really is the heart that comes from the bigger purpose of the action itself, which, to me, is to share with YOU that we can do things, and that we are not victims.  I didn't think of YOU, but I thought of ME, comparing myself with people who are not me, and definitely not like you and me.  

As a result, I have fallen victim to my own ego that just kept feeling bad for not being like others.  Is there a worse kind of failure than this?

Such is the fight against our pain.  This fight, has to be a positive, heart-driven fight.  In every step we make, we must rather feel the JOY of improvement and excitement for new experiences, not the feeling of not being good enough because some are doing better than others.  I hope that I did not discourage some of you via my recent efforts.  I only say this because I have been so focusing on my achievements, not the process.  So if you're walking around the block and you read about me bragging about my 65 miles ride without the context behind it, then how would that make you feel?  I apologize for that!

It's 630am.  I am going to go on my own ride, at the pace I want and to the length of time I feel comfortable with.  Then maybe I will go for a run - at my pace, up to my desired distance.  And be grateful for what I can do, and who I am.  By comparing myself to others over the past couple of months, I have rejected myself.  No wonder I wasn't enjoying this process - I wasn't even enjoying my own body!  

Let's just accept myself, and remember that only I can be me, and that I am unique, and I have everything I need to be who I am...and just keep improving from where I am.   That is gratitude, and when you are at peace with that, God pours us with more blessings to our open and available hearts going forward.  

Monday, July 4, 2011

Definitely Not the Ideal...but Doing What I Can

I'm seriously thinking about the recent ramp-up on my training and its effect on my body.

I have been experiencing pretty strong flare-ups and stiffness every day after a workout, even when it is not a long/hard workout day.  On top of that, my ankles and calves have gotten extremely tight, despite my continuous bodywork and strengthening moves.  

Since the right foot freak injury I'm slowly catching back up to longer rides...but will not get there until the end of this week, if all goes as planned.  So far, nothing has really gone as planned.

Don't get me wrong - I've reached a few milestones.  My first 65 mile ride, my first 4,000 meter swim...they are all great.  I slowly started to get back into running as well.  On the flip side, my body's responses to them have been so severe that I feel like every week I'm starting over again.

While I will continue to go by my training plans (albeit modified several times already), I will also be very cautious about my body's reactions.  Perhaps there is some kind of distance and intensity threshold that I need to learn of.  Perhaps not.  I'm in guinea pig mode.

I'm trying not to get greedy - if I am doing all this for my health, I cannot take this to a point where my health is actually deteriorating.  However, I don't want to give up prematurely either.  So I'm closely monitoring my body.  It's been a challenge, and it's frustrating and stressful, but I still enjoy the moments of reaching my milestones, and for that I am grateful.

The future is unknown, so I focus on the present.  

Happy 4th of July everyone!  

Monday, June 20, 2011


Ouch! Woke up at 2am with excruciating pain in my right foot, around the arch and top. The pain was sharp to the touch (literally tears welled up) and could not land on it without screaming. Took advil and iced it for a while, which helped it down to dull pain.

Have no idea how this happened, but I guess my 1st day of NYC Marathon training will have to wait!

I won't let delays cause frustration..wait  patiently with anticipation while taking care of my immediate needs...

Kinda humorous actually.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Quick Nutrition Stuff during Training Ramp-up Periods

Lately my training has been ramping up as I get closer to my Vineman Aquabike race... Just wanted to note some of the nutritional supplements I have been taking more regularly recently:

  • Vitamin C - heavy loads of working out can weaken our immune system as our vitamins and minerals get depleted.  Don't want to get sick, and also V-C is known to strengthen your capillaries so I take them to not only keep my immune system strong but also to prevent frequent bruising
  • Calcium - learned a good lesson from my fractured shin bone that I need to take calcium supplements, especially as I am getting older (egh)  
  • Iron - fatigue from long workouts are largely due to iron deficiency, and my anemia already has me at low iron levels.  Gotta replenish frequently
Additionally, my diet has been even more strict, loading up on fresh vegetables and fruits and eating lean protein.  I have not had even a glass of wine in about 2 months and I feel great.  Sweets are limited to dark chocolate once in a while so that I don't deprive myself of anything, which causes me to binge at times.

Yesterday I managed to complete a hilly 65-mile bike ride (after last weekend's flat 60 miler), and tomorrow I am swimming 4000 meters...this is going to ramp up to 6 hours of bike riding (around 80-90 miles) and over 5000 meters of swimming over the next two weeks.  Kinda scary, but I am taking cautious measures to make this work, including having rest or yoga days every other day, allowing myself enough time to recover and rest between workouts, and keeping a very regular sleep schedule.  

Tomorrow I begin training for the NYC marathon (11/6) in parallel with the continued Aquabike (7/30) training.  Should be interesting to see how it all plays out together.  Because, I am my own guinea pig.  Happily so.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Team Luna Chix has Graciously Offered me a Guest Blogging Opportunity...

I'm excited to share with you that Team Luna Chix, sponsored by Clif Bar, has asked me to be a guest blogger for this month.  I joined Team Luna Chix this year as part of the LA Cycling team to encourage woman to participate in the sport and also to fundraise for the Breast Cancer Fund (!  

My team holds two beginner-friendly rides every month and occasionally holds bike clinics to help women become experienced and knowledgeable cyclists.  If you are interesting in riding with us, go to and check us out - you will find ride schedules and intro to our team mates, and several blog updates about our rides.  

Anyway, here is the location of my blog entry:

Also, if you are interested in donating to the breast cancer fund through my team, please go to:

Today's all about links.  

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Raining Hard

It rained all night and it is raining now. For safety reasons everyone is reconsidering. I guess the report that today's weather would be better was totally wrong. I'm so upset. I thought it would drizzle in the worst situation, which would still be dangerous but at least endurable.

Watching the weather closely. Looking out and just hoping it would get better.

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Lake Tahoe America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride - 72 miles tomorrow

I'm in beautiful Lake Tahoe.  It is rainy and cold (in the 40's).  It is said that this weather will continue tomorrow, combined with thunderstorms.  

Drove from LA, which meant driving 6.5 hrs to San Francisco, stayed over night with friends (and slept very poorly) and then drove another 4 hours in the pouring rain and traffic (stressful!) to Lake Tahoe, as fatigue and my pre-existing cold system only got worse along the way.  So easy to just set myself up for discouragement.  

Cold and rainy means stiff muscles and dangerous road conditions.  I am quite fearful of the worst things that could happen, as this course includes quite steep up and downhills.  On a wet, slippery road, one must caution BIG TIME especially on downhill turns.  

As i am about to go to sleep, I try to calm my mind not to worry, put my faith forward and just do my best to be safe out there and not get arrogant.  I do the best i can, I stay thankful that I have made it here safely and I get to ride along one of the most beautiful lakes in America.  I am tempted to back out without even trying.  So tempted.  But I will not.  

I will start.  I will put on my cycling gear, rain gear, put together my nutrition and hydration package (it's a production!) and just start.  And then deal as difficulties come - and enjoy as I ride with friends and appreciate the scenery.  I will not let fear of the unknown, or the illusion of what could go wrong, stop me.  I will remember that I am not just doing this for myself, but to those who have not yet started their adventure into healing...and I pray that my attempt tomorrow will encourage you a little more to start your path to less pain...and ultimately an awesome life that we are all supposed to live.

It's June and there is snow all around me!  Unbelievable!  

Unless is torrential downpour, I'm going to start this!  Let's go ( bed, for now)!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

**Catching up**

I’ve been off the radar for a while.  Training has been pretty consistent, I don’t think I have much to report on that right now, just working towards the Vineman Aquabike race in July (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike).

I started writing today because I have been feeling very humbled lately.  It started with a wonderful note from one of the readers, who left me a comment saying that he completed his first triathlon recently, and that reading my blog helped.  Wow – how can I take credit for someone’s amazing accomplishment!  I’m so happy for that person, and I am just floored by his endeavor and congratulate him on starting a new chapter of his life.

I’ve been thinking – victories are great.  Recognitions like this are great, and I feel pretty proud of myself sometimes.  But, what about some of the not-so-victorious days?  What if I never got any recognition for what I did?  What is my true motivation for blogging about my battle with my condition?  Am I truly helping those who feel hopeless when it comes to getting out of the vicious cycle?

Lately I have been focusing so much on my victories, what I did well, and what I did right, etc… but I ignored my struggles of not doing well, feeling defeated, facing confusion and pain… I don’t think I was identifying with myself anymore in this blog!

Maybe I got arrogant – as if I’m this can-do-it-all-by-myself endurance athlete, only going for the wins but not counting the losses, not appreciating how I got here, but only remembering that I am here right now… I know I don’t dwell on weaknesses and negativity, but perhaps I’ve become insensitive to what others are going through, or even sometimes very insensitive to what I’m going through when things are rough!  I feel like I haven’t even been allowing myself to be weak, in the pursuit of perfection (my biggest personality flaw).

I’m wondering if my recent entries have become almost too distant for other fibromyalgia patients to identify with – I discuss of no struggles and no questions, I just always seem to be doing the right thing and I’m feeling great and I’m doing great and I’m doing these crazy workouts… kinda lame.

Arrogance and complacency is what eventually catches us by surprise, I think – just when I think I am doing great and my health is at its peak, if I don’t stay humble and cautious, I could just go back to where I started.  I still need to eat right, exercise regularly, keep a healthy sleep schedule, and not overextend myself.  Once the cycle is broken, then things start going off track… I don’t want to go there.  And thankfully, I have such wonderful people doing amazing things that leave me very encouraging messages to make sure I don’t go there.  Because they remind me of how it all got started.  How hard it was the first time.  But what it means to have gotten there. 

At this stage in my experience with training and racing in endurance races, it is so easy to get wrapped up in meeting the training goals, performing well, staying strong, etc… but today I’m remembering why I’m doing this in the first place.  It’s not about the race, or kicking butt, or boasting about my personal victories…it’s about sharing my experience with the pain, and how I lessen the pain…and how we can all do so by making small changes.  I’m just a guiney pig to prove that even the hard-core exercising is not harmful for my condition, so that some of you can start enjoying a nice walk, a nice stretch and a better life. 

I didn’t do this all by myself – my life as a triathlete started only because I was in so much pain and misery for so long, that I had no choice but to desperately pray and ask what I was supposed to do to turn my life around…and I was gifted with a vision of crossing that finish line once again.  I cannot possibly take credit for all this…  it was a gift.  And I promise to keep sharing this gift with you, so that it helps YOU, not fulfill my own ego. 

Ok, with that said – 72 mile bike ride coming ahead this weekend in Lake Tahoe … it’s going to take me a long time to finish this as I’m only trained so far for maybe 55 miles, and that is a stretch.  But I will do it with joy and gratitude!  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

**A Renewed Heart and Mind – With a Little Help from My Friends**

A lot of new beginnings lately, and I’m excited.  These beginnings all have their respective goals, and I’m dashing towards them.  Whether I will get there or not, I will never know until I try, but with a little help from my friends and a little extra help from above (or around, from the universe, whichever you believe) I know somehow someway I will get there.  Actually, with more friends, the easier it gets.

  •  A new career:  as previously mentioned in my earlier posts, I left my last job mid-March, seeking for an opportunity that I know both my passion and skillset will flourish in (think smaller, more hands-on, working to build, not just working to process).  I have been meeting tons of people, from recruiters to entrepreneurs, getting their insight, pitching the vision for my new career, sharing my excitement and learning more and more what my future could be.  There is definitely a lot of self-driven research going on, but my friends have been amazingly supportive and helpful in this process – not only with daily encouragements and genuine well wishes, but with connecting me with people they know and educating me about everything I don’t know.  I know I still have ways ahead and what I’m looking for is going to take a little longer than just finding the next *job*, but I know that I will find that extra special something in due time.  The challenge is to stick to my belief and not cave to lower hanging fruits when things feel desperate. 
  • A new race:  One of the races I aim to complete this year is the Vineman Aquabike, which is a 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike race in Sonoma, CA.  It will take place on July 30.  This is a whole new training and racing paradigm for me.  Training can be daunting, especially on the long bike rides, but thanks to my friends who love to ride I know I will never be alone on the road.  Furthermore, I know at those moments when I feel like I can’t go on anymore, I know it will be my friends that will help me get through it and accomplish my training goals…and eventually my race goals.
  •  A new team, new initiative: This year, I had the honor of being invited by a friend and fellow cyclist to join the local Team Luna Chix cycling group.  Basically, Team Luna Chix ( aims to “brings together women interested in learning new sports, staying active and inspiring others to do the same. Teams train together and support each other, while also fundraising for LUNA’s non-profit partner, the Breast Cancer Fund.”  You gotta check it out!  It didn’t take that much time for me to join the team, and a couple of weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to go to the National Summit Weekend of Team Luna Chix, where women from all over the country who have joined the team gathered to learn more about the cause and our responsibilities as ambassadors for the sports we each represent (Mountain biking, cycling, running, triathlons).  Being a part of this group took my involvement in the sport to another level (e.g. impacting the community, getting involved on a national level, etc), I think – I will have a team that I will ride with and participate in races with, while fundraising for a great charitable organization (The Breast Cancer Fund) together and recruiting more people out there to join the healthy and active lifestyle I so cherish.  A band of friends that make a difference!  Now that is an exciting initiative!!!

Am I bragging about how many great friends I have?  No (I mean, yes I have some AMAZING friends, but I can brag about them perhaps another time) – my point here is that whatever I’m doing, I am not doing it alone.  I’m not alone in this.  I can achieve the things I never thought were possible, I can get through moments that feel daunting and scary, and I can just keep trying doing whatever I aim to accomplish – thanks to my friends that are there with me every step of the way!  Just look around and reach out – your real friends will reach right back out to you. 

Your battle with fibromyalgia – although at times you may feel that you’re on your own on this, but the truth is, you’re not alone.  Look around you – they may not ever fully understand what you’re going through (but do you really want them to?), but you have your family, your friends, and even… strangers that you may have just met, that might just want to be there and give you a smile (that makes a HUGE difference).  And when you feel that there is no one around you, instead of feeling shut out, just reach out – you will be surprised by the outcome of it.  I have learned that I end up alone or feeling alone because it is me that shuts others out – not because people just straight out avoid me for no particular reason.  When I started seeing the magic unfold when I reach out instead of waiting for someone to find me, it encouraged me more to extend my arms and heart and meet more people that ended up becoming important parts of my life of healing…. We are not alone.  You are not alone.  With a little help of our friends, you, me – we, can tackle this thing together.  

Friday, April 8, 2011

Taking control of my time

Ok real quick lesson learned today... never ever will I ever take calls when I know I have a whole set of prep and training to do. Never. I must take control of my time, not postpone training times without discretion.

I can always call people back, but when the pool closes or you forget something crucial (e.g. A swimsuit!) from packing while on the phone (distraction!) and you dont have time to go back and return, it really isn't anybody's fault but my own.

I pay the price by having to get up super early tomorrow to finish today's training before my ride, at which I will end up inconveniencing my teammates by being 15 minutes late.

Never again. I need to stop trying to be everything for everybody. If I am not well I cannot do anything for anybody.


Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Minimizing the Conflicts in My Life Minimizes My Pain

Physically staying active is important.  Eating right is important.  Sleeping well is super important.  Speaking of sleeping well, when there is a lot on our minds, we all know sleep is not easily achievable.  Constant stress from underlying concerns, issues, inner-conflicts, external conflicts, etc… also contribute to pain, as stress lowers our serotonin levels, exposing us to higher levels of pain perception (as substance-P takes over weakened serotonin levels in our brains).
Why am I talking about this?  Well, I want to focus on a different aspect of well-being in this post, a small diversion from my usual focus of the physical, only because I do believe our sub consciousness plays a huge role in our physical conditions.  When things aren’t right, there is always an explanation beyond “oh it’s because I have fibro,” which I think is lame, not because I think fibro is lame, but because I believe that every flare-up has a logical explanation.  And that logical explanation leads to prevention or elimination of pain when it re-occurs.
My health has generally been amazing since I started exercising years ago, as I have been saying all along.  However, I have noticed that I have been feeling "less better" quite often starting…hmm, let’s say almost 9 months ago?  I was definitely waking up feeling more tired, less rested, and with more pain in my neck and shoulders than usual.  While it took me a while to identify where it was really coming from, in hindsight it definitely became as clear as day. 
Let’s start backwards.  March 10 was my last day at my last job.  Let’s just say that I defined that as my last day at any kind of a large, structured corporation, where politics rule over productivity and professional growth.  To date, I have spent my career working at very reputable Fortune 100 companies – I am fortunate to have had the experience, but now I am ready for a change.  See, I think that mindset has been brewing inside me for a while, but it took some terrible and very unfair experiences at the workplace for me to finally see that I was no longer to stay there.  Long story short, starting September/October of last year, things got pretty bad at work and although I worked hard, ate fairly healthy and exercised hard as usual, I was just feeling worn down, felt more pain than usual on a daily basis...also my immune system weakened drastically, suffering from a bad flu and several cold symptoms repeatedly, which was something I didn’t have to deal with for years.  My last two months at work were really tough, just feeling like I was being dragged into the office mindlessly, as I was so conflicted within about who I believed I was versus who I was living as.  I knew I no longer belonged, but I kept going because I gave them a commitment – but my heart and mind were already moving on to the vision and hope for the next move, my next career…  man, every day was just a challenge. 
I have to say, the first week after March 10 was one of my best-feeling weeks in recent months.  Then and only then did I realize, oh wow, not having that gut wrenching feeling anymore, not feeling conflicted anymore, despite the risk of just resigning without my next career position lined up, freed me from a lot of the pain I was feeling.  I woke up and I didn’t feel like I was run over by a truck.  I woke up and I could immediately get up.  I woke up ready to start the day.  I was happy.  That weight in my mind, heart and soul were gone – and physically I was better.
Being true to myself and taking the risk was the best decision I have made in a while.  It really helped me realize how important it is for me to let go of any complications in life that are possible for me to get rid of.  Let go and set myself free – that was what I needed to do.  I am focused on building my future now, not focused on getting through the day at a place where I felt completely minimized and overused.  I am looking forward to the future that I am working towards, and that gives me hope, and that hope gives me energy, turning on those serotonins in my brain and charging up my spirit.  I am devoting myself to the future, and not the past.  I am finally one with myself – then my body got better. 
Is there anything that you are holding on to, afraid of letting go because of the risks involved, or just making small decisions that you don’t feel comfortable with but making them anyway because of external pressure?  Do your concerns keep you up at night, make you frown, and weigh you down, both mentally and physically?  Do you feel conflicted between what you want and what you think others want?  Let it all go – do what you feel is right in your heart, and even if there are risks involved, just go with it with hope.  If you are aware of the risks, all you have to do is just be prepared for it and face them as you go.  At least that is what I’m telling myself.  I’m feeling better and just more hopeful.  I am charged, and I am able to renew my determination every day.  And that makes me healthier – which gives me more energy to keep pushing along, to find my next awesome adventure in my career, train for my races and prep for my future with joy. 
There are a lot of external sources of stress.  We can’t control what happens around us, but we can control whatever stress and conflicts that reside within – let’s start from there and eliminate or minimize yet another factor that could cause some of the flare-ups that we hate so much!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bad Sleep Night

Had a pretty long swim session yesterday (2200 meters). Yet had very poor sleep last nite, chances of proper recovery is shot, and my muscles are feeling it.

Managed to take a quick nap and I do feel slightly better.

Drinking lots of water and stretching out my body thruout the day. Will attempt a 60 min bike session on the trainer as well.

We all know, some days are good, some days are a little harder.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, March 21, 2011

Eat Your Colors!

Today's lunch - are you eating your colors peeps? Keep it fresh and colorful! I am adding a little hummus on the side for some healthy fats (olive oil + chick peas).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cheering on the LA Marathoners...

It is torrential downpour n wind in LA today... Cheering on the runners, soaking wet, freezing... But so proud of them, my dear friends that r on the course. I wish I was on the course with them... Next time I am sure I will be.

Just thinking about the amazing tenacity of my friends that are pushing thru the rain, the cold, n the fatigue that is starting to really set this point it is all a mental fight.

May God be there to strengthen u when u r weak. Then make it all yours to push thru the finish line!!

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, March 19, 2011

When one dream dies, Dream your next Dream

Post my first 16 mile run, I suffered injuries from a bruised left shin bone.  It turns out that it was a result of a misalignment of my left side that primarily came from my weak left glutes (think butt cheek!).  I was fascinated by how the connections from my hip all the way down to my foot could basically cause such a collapse as one part started weakening.  I have tried many times to run again, only to result in massive pain in my ankle and foot.  After assessing the bruise and how weak my left glute has become, I had to give up on my dream to finish the LA Marathon  – my FIRST marathon.  WAH!~  I was very discouraged, I felt like a failure, my ego was bruised… I was upset to say the least.  Luckily, I had a two week vacation in Argentina to help me overcome the disappointment faster, but limping on hikes and sometimes on just random walks and short runs were hurtful reminders that I was not going to be able to do the marathon. 

I kept telling people, “yeah, I’m not doing the marathon…I’m injured...i tried my best, but 16 miles was the max my body could handle.”  Then I just got sick of hearing myself say words of defeat over and over.  I had to ask myself, ok, what’s next??

Two objectives:
  1. Strengthen weak parts of my body, re-establish structural integrity of my body
  2. 7/30 Vineman Aquabike – 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike.  NO RUN (hooray!)

Which means, I get to still train with a goal while working on my weaknesses.  I’m already sick of talking about my injury and WHY I’m not doing the LA marathon – so I need to move on and talk about what I will be doing instead! 

When one dream dies, dream your next dream… don’t dwell on old disappointments, don’t fold your enthusiasm because of a road block…even road blocks are a platform to grow and improve, depending on what you do with it.  Does this mean that I will not run again?  No – I will work on strengthening my hips and legs (and I’ve been saying this for years, but obviously I need to do it BETTER), while still expanding my swimming and biking capabilities.  When I know I can try again for a marathon, I will go for it.  I have not dropped my BIG dream, which is to one day complete an Ironman distance triathlon.  I’m just working towards it…whatever path is presented before me (obviously that path is way longer than I thought!), I must follow and keep striving.

Big dreams, then smaller dreams that make us get us there…we must DO to achieve them..and DOING includes trying, failing, and yes of course, succeeding, which is the most exhilarating part of it all.  I crave that moment, and it is my hunger for that sense of accomplishment that I’m willing to weather a few failures too on the way…

This week’s small successes:
  • Got back on the bike – for the first time since May last year.  I know, pathetic!  But guess what, I got back, and I’m starting from scratch and building up…
  • Got back on the swim – for the first time since September last year.  I have gained about 15 seconds to my 100m.  So I obviously have another swim goal for the next month or so :)
  • Identified key problem areas that contributed to my injury and developed exercise program that would help eliminate those problems (and already did a couple of sessions…whoa, serious soreness, but already feel the difference!)

My mind is focused, my body is already waking up from the various ailments as I removed one significant conflicting element in my life (will have another blog entry on this), and I am just amazingly ready for what’s next.  I feel that I’m finally back to where I was, mind and body, when I was prepping for my half ironman race in 2009.  Clean body, clean mind, just a very very clear focus and amazing level of positive energy… man, it took a while to get back to that state.  

So, what is your next dream?  And what are you going to do today to get closer?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My first 16 Mile Run - I Surprised Myself!

I had one of those amazing run days.  Not just because I ran my longest distance to date, but all the more because it was one of those days where I felt like I could run forever (except for a few sharp pain in the hip here and there).

Yesterday, I did a 5 mile trail run with a friend - I was pretty sore from it this morning.  I slept in, took my time to loosen up, waited until I felt a bit more recovered.  I had debated postponing the 16 miler to tomorrow, but I knew there was no way I had 4 extra hours to dedicate to my already full day (all day work, evening networking event).  I had to just try it out and hope for the best.  

Here's a quick summary of my run, from pre-run prep to post-run care.

Pre-run Prep

  • Power breakfast:  steel-cut oatmeal + 10g protein powder (whey) + 1 tablespoon of Almond butter + fresh blackberries = nutrition and yummy taste!  
  • Coffee
  • Hydration and fuel prep:  Water, Heed mix, and pasty mix of Perpetuem in a flask (and on to my fuel belt)
  • Dynamic stretching and warmup
  • Mental prep
  • Miles 1-4:  from home to the Marina.  cloudy but no rain.  a bit of a wind.  easy strides, not even thinking how many more miles to go, as it would only discourage me
  • 5-8: back towards home.  started drizzling around mile 6.  left glute slightly starting to hurt.  took forever to find the right fit with the left shoe - adjusted shoe laces at least 6 times
  • Stop at home, refill water and change into something warmer, as I was freezing for some reason
  • 8-12: rain starts POURING down as I run back out.  however, only lasts about 10 minutes, then drizzle, mile 9, sunshine.  still windy.  around mile 10, a bit of dizziness started bugging me, feeling a little nauseous... went away in about 15 minutes. left glute really starting to hurt.  
  • 12-16: kinda in disbelief that i'm still able to run, while appreciating the 1 minute walk breaks every so often to stretch out my hips.  at mile 13.3ish, my left hip (in the back) snapped and almost felt like the joint repositioned itself or something.  It was painful, but it was quick.  calves were really burning, piriformis (both butt cheeks) were HURTING.  However, amazingly, I was able to pick up speed in the last mile, up to my first 4 mile speed!  I didn't understand where I was getting all this energy.  I could have gone 2 more miles if I were forced to.  Unbelievable feeling of joy and surprise as I finished.
Post-run Stuff

  • Recoverite:  has protein and glutamine, helps muscle recovery.  the chocolate taste doesn't hurt!  Hammer Nutrition products have been so amazing for me - love their quality products (Heed and Perpetuem are also Hammer products)
  • Rewarding myself with my favorite Triple Berry Cake from Sweet Lady Jane!  Our bodies can absorb and burn off pretty much whatever we eat within its first 20 minute window after an intense workout.  I took advantage of that window :)
  • Coffee - caffeine eases the pain
  • Stretch - hamstrings, calves, hip flexors, quads...
  • Ice - on those hips!
  • Hot shower
I couldn't contain the surprise and joy I was feeling from today's run.  Another milestone, but this time achieved under superb conditions.  I hydrated regularly, I refueled every 30-45 minutes, I started slow and maintained consistency, I just thought about the finish...not when I would finish, but that I will finish, I will not give up, and that I'll be so happy when i'm done.  And so it happened.  

My muscles are definitely more sore than my usual runs - I ran harder, and I ran the longest.   It reminds me of how sore I was after my first half marathon nearly 4 years ago.  I've come a long way.

Had fresh veggies and lean chicken and beef for dinner - and drank a lot of water throughout the evening.  

Next weekend is 18 miles.  I can definitely do it!!!

Usually fatigue reaches its max 2 days after a big event - at least for me.  Tomorrow I'll be ok, but Tuesday could get a bit challenging.  If there are any random changes, I will update...until then, I will just enjoy the awesome memories from today's unexpected triumph.

Good night

Saturday, January 29, 2011

16 miles longest run EVER

i'm mentally getting ready for my first 16-mile run ever.  

it's going to be very very tough, especially after 10 miles...but I will finish it, even if it requires me to walk some of's about getting the mileage in order to prepare for the 26.2 miles.  

it's amazing how i'm so nervous about 16 miles, but on race day i'm still going to have to run another 10 miles after that!  it's definitely hitting me more and more how tough this marathon is going to be.  therefore, I should prepare accordingly.

can't wait to update my blog tomorrow after the run is done!  what will i end up saying????

Sunday, January 23, 2011

12 miles done!

A quick word before I go to bed.

I wasn't feeling all that great so I didn't know I could do it.

Even in moments I thought my legs were too tired, I was able to accelerate!

The first 3 miles are always the most challenging, as the body struggles to find its pace. Miles 3-7 feel nicer, your body gets into a rhythm, with proper hydration and nutrition (Hammer Perpetuem Solids!). Miles 8-10, pain starts kicking in so does doubt. Once you get thru the period of self doubt and beat the constant temptation to quit, the last two miles become actually sorta fun because despite the pain u can taste the finish.

Came home and stretched, iced those crazy inflamed hips while drinking Hammer's Recoverite. It's got protein and glutamine that help muscle recovery - it has done wonders for me! Ate Indian food (a great treat!) for dinner. And drank lots of water.

I will be proud of being sore tomorrow.

Good night!
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Saturday, January 22, 2011

We are what we See, We are what we Think

Reviewing the past three weeks…

Massive jetlag upon my return from Korea,

Sleepless nights finishing up a project the week following,

Announced to my current employer that I will be leaving (without my next job in place) and started a massive search,

A nasty sinus infection this week…

…all leading up to one thing:  CRAPPY TRAINING.

Leading a life with a full time (more like over-time) career, training for a marathon, trying to look for the next move in my career, trying to eat healthy and regularly while traveling more than usual, with a chronic pain condition…requires serious planning and maintenance.  While I hate to blame my condition for having to set limits to my activities, when it comes to the activities I commit to, I make sure I place high discretion in what I choose to do (or not do, e.g. not getting enough sleep) and when.  Especially in a professional setting, I make sure my responsibilities are met and I allow no excuses for any delays or underperformance.  This means, when the work needs to get done, I get it done no matter what, and I worry about getting enough rest later when no one is looking.  That is why exercise and eating well are hugely important me, because they help me keep the energy flowing and relieve stress.  If I sat around worrying about a possible flare-up because of working too hard and not getting enough sleep, really that wouldn’t do me any good – it would not only make me unprofessional, but it would also be something like anticipating something bad to happen (and trust me, if you anticipate it, it happens!). 

Sometimes, chaos happens.  It feels uncontrollable, but only I can bring back order – not by throwing in the towel and making everything stop, but by planning when to rest and when to work, when to eat and when to sleep, when to socialize and when to be alone.  And also, the attitude of not fretting in “scary” moments (when you think something will be bad for your condition, or would cause a symptom, etc.) and the flexibility to revise and re-plan preexisting schedules are absolutely necessary.

Training for the last 3 weeks were very wishy washy.  But I did maintain a semi-regular schedule of moderate-paced shorter runs (4-5 miles), and finished, in snail’s pace, a 15 miler just last weekend.  Whatever I could do, I did.  And instead of beating myself up for what I couldn’t accomplish, I felt good about what I was able to accomplish.
Well that is about to change for the next 3-4 weeks, until I leave for Argentina.  As my sinus infection is clearing out, I’m pumped about my 12 mile run tomorrow.  Yesterday’s quick 4-miler felt pretty good.  Today, I took it easy with a yoga session and a somewhat strenuous upper body/core strength exercise, in light of tomorrow’s long run. 

What’s amazing is that by the time I leave for Argentina, I will have done my first 20-mile run – EVER!  I wonder how I will feel during and after that run, but all I know is that if I somehow get thru it, no matter how slow, I can do the LA Marathon.  One thing I do caution though, is how it is going to affect my body afterwards – how will my recovery be?  Where will I hurt, if at all (besides the obvious legs and hips, of course)?  But I won’t know until I try… until then I have to just keep building up my endurance level. 

I was sort of in tears the other night, just randomly thinking about all the adventures to come, and realizing how far I’ve come to be able to enjoy them all.  4-5 years ago, I was bed-ridden like clockwork, every other week, felt like life meant nothing, felt like I meant nothing…with nowhere to go in my future.  Here I am now, planning my first marathon, planning my adventure to Patagonia in Argentina, and gearing up for the next stage in my career with obscene excitement for something new!  Had I not recalled the moment of my first triathlon when I was lying in bed sobbing, had I not taken that first step to walk 20 minutes around my neighborhood to start my training for my comeback triathlon, had I not used myself as my own guinea pig to try all sorts of different strategies and approaches to improve my health, where would I be right now?  Could I have possibly fathomed this kind of amazing future when I was sulking in self-pity almost half a decade ago?  No…but at some point I did know that life wasn’t supposed to feel that way, life wasn’t supposed to feel dreadful and sad and meaningless.  So just kinda went forward to reverse it…little did I know I’d be here right now. 
People ask, how did I do it?  To be honest, I mean, it’s not like I had a master plan when I started this whole thing.  It’s not like I knew what to do.  I just knew what it was supposed to feel like.  I went where my heart told me to go…when my heart was wrong, I stepped back and took a different route…which still came from my heart.  When I failed, I put that aside and tried something else.  When I succeeded, I repeated it.  I think my past blog posts do contain some of the things I’ve tried that worked and some things I tried but didn’t work at all.  All in all, I just tried whatever I read and heard of that I thought pertained to me.  And then found what worked for me. 

I wish I could help those who don’t know where to start.  But before you even do anything, maybe we start at what we are thinking first?  What are you thinking about your life?  Where do you want to be in 6 months?  1 year?  5 years?  Are you seeing yourself happy, kicking butt, experiencing what the world has to offer?  Or are you seeing yourself in bed, in pain, feeling sad, in a dark, dark room?  I do think that the moment I started to change my life was when I started seeing myself differently.  I saw myself crossing that finish line that once made me feel like a badass.  I kept seeing it…so I had to make myself cross it again.  6 months later, I did.  :) 

What do you see in front of you?  What do you see inside of you?  Is there chaos, darkness, and confusion?  What can you do to bring order, light and understanding?  What are you thinking?  Hopelessness, being the victim, and loneliness?  Or are you thinking hope, victory and love?  We are how we see ourselves, and we are what we think!  We have the power to change what we are, where we are…and sometimes even who we are.  Unfortunately yet very fortunately, no one else can do it for us. 

I am not a victim of this painful condition.  I may have it, I have to deal with it, but I will do more BECAUSE of it, not in spite of it.  When it hurts, laugh it off, endure thru it, then get back up.  Control and plan as much as you can, but what you can’t, just be open and flexible about the change in our lives…  if we have the vision of success, hope, joy, health and happiness, the chaos that happens occasionally should not threaten us.  The goal is the finish line of life – where we ought to raise are hands up in the air and make that big leap with a big, giant smile – whatever comes in between, we just gotta get through it with the knowing that the finish line is there.  And that we’re going to smile then.  Create your happy finish line moment.  Keep that picture in your head.  And let’s take steps, small, immediate steps, that we think will take us closer and closer…

This blog kinda sounds more like a speech…I got carried away.  :)