Why do you need to train so hard?

I don’t like working up a sweat or out of breath, buuuuut.. I don’t dislike sharpening my skills and leveling up – Kozume Kenma, Nekoma High (Haikyuu!!)

Immediately I screamed (silently) Kenma you’re my inner character. Well except I’m not any teams’ brain like him to Nekoma.

He is depicted as quiet guy, absorbed in game, laid back personality and never gets excited. And he wasn’t into volley ball until his childhood friend and neighbor introduced him to the sport.

You should read the manga Haikyuu!! Or watch the anime. It wasn’t pulling me instantly at first, but being a volleyball player during my high school, I continued reading it and I become attached to it.

Kenma’s line reminds that I’m not particularly gifted when it comes to physical activities. As casual player, I can do it, but never beyond it. My running speed is average, my agility is average, and many more. If anyone can do it after few trials, I probably need to put double (or maybe triple) of the effort to be able to do it.

Sometimes I asked myself why I do still do it? Why I push myself that hard?

Well I guess, the feeling of leveling up makes me happy. And you know that the higher level you are, you need to grind more, aka put more time or effort, to level up.

So, why I’m running or swimming or cycling? I guess, I want to be better. As Garmin tag line would be #BeatYesterday

However, I need to be more honest to myself. If I really want to do it or liking something, I need to admit it too.

On meditation

I’ve been wanting to join a meditation journey after hearing one of my friend who often went for a week or two meditation retreat. Because he came back refreshed after the trip.

My friend mentioned that in one of his trip, he was having walking meditation and I thought, how could you meditate while walking?

But recently, I think that it is actually doable. Because during long running alone, I always have a good long talk with my mind and just trying to focus on one thing, completing the it.

And sometimes the route seems very supportive to help us having it (ha)

It happens not just during running, even I have it during long distance cycling too. But at least it’s safer to do it.

So.. maybe we will have a new branch, running meditation 😀

Some of my friends probably will scold me, can we do it in more relax way, like sitting or walking?

Are we there yet?

My friends and I were asking that questions to irritate each other while we were running last week. Sometimes we throw that question to other runner passing us. We all laughed at it and after that we saw some laugh, smile or just relief in our faces. We are not alone in this course. We have our own distance to cover, 100km, 70km, 42km or just like me and my friends, 21km.

Some friends asked me if I like running, and I said I don’t. They looked surprised cos to them I perceived that I like running a lot hence I participated in running events. However, I don’t like it much as I need to go through a series of self questioning before I’m actually running. How long? Where to run? What time am I able to wake up? What to eat before?

And, I never been a fast runner or have a bull stamina, I’m at the opposite spectrum. I’m slow runner, as I like to look around enjoying the scenery. Maybe it’s a self-distract mechanics that my brain devises to motivate me keep running. Until one of my friend commented, why don’t you run faster since you can talk or chit chat. I tried to, without talking, but seems likely body has mechanics to auto-slow myself when I tried to run faster. Speed limit that is.

Why do I run?

Because of the last running event is kinda new to me, I did some research about this and that. (This is also a extra effort, beyond normal that I did about sports) as a result, in my Google app, articles related to running started to appear more and more. Yesterday was this and the day before was this.

After reading these posts, I have the same feeling exactly like how we asked question, are we there yet, during the run. “Ah, I’m not alone in this journey” those people had been there, done that and continue from there.

I told my sensei that I won’t be able to come to my Sunday class because I have a swimming event to join. My sensei asked if I’m good in swimming, and I said I’m not. She said, good, sometimes you just need to challenge yourself.

Do I really like challenge?

Don’t we have enough challenge at work? My sensei told us sometime ago that it’s important to have hobby, an activity you like to do during your free time. Why don’t I take running or swimming (or cycling) as leisure hobby?

I guess, at some point, the hardship that I have while doing those activities makes me more resilient to overcome challenges at work.

The memory

As we are sharing each other stash of photos, glam and unglam ones, and videos. I feel a rush of sensation about the event. My whole body is tingling to repeat that experience again. Well, despite that my black toe is still in recovery process, gradually becomes more and more black.

But I guess I’ll get used to this feeling. As I like to write/scribble a lot too, sometimes I feel nostalgic when I read them again.

Post run

The muscle pain was gone after 2 days. I guess that’s the average recovery day for me, I can step down from staircase properly on day 3. But I have other things to take care of. My stiff upper back and headache, which according to the traditional Chinese doctor, is caused by muscle inflammation. Hence the blood doesn’t circulate well and it causes all the stiff neck-shoulder and headache.

For the first time or rarely, I have a thought I rather desperate to run. A light one. Maybe I just want to feel good like the post-run day last week? I don’t know whether my two running buddies think the same. (Maybe it’s just me)

But I take it that recovery is also part of it. If I do it halfway, I probably won’t be able to do it for a long run due to injury and so on.

And part of me said, take it easy tiger. You still need to tidy up your room, settle the laundry (you still owe Salomon a good wash). This is your current “race” XD


So Kartika, we are not there yet.

Things to tell yourself when you see a hill

Few friends and I joined Vietnam Mountain Marathon over this weekend and it’s kind of special for me. Because there are many first about this event, first trail run event, first overseas sport event, first time to Hanoi and Sa Pa, first sport trip with friends and first half marathon distance for trail. So, it’s really memorable.

Although I (tried to) ran regularly preparing myself for this event, but it still wasn’t enough. As a result, when I poked myself at random place, most likely it’s a sore spot. #IDidNotSignUpForThis

You can check out the route in Vietnam Mountain Marathon website. To me, the highlight of the 21km is the first 7km stretch is a climb, second 7km is descend and last 7km is steep climb then (almost) flat to the finish line

So, during the climb I have plenty of time talking to myself (ha!)

1. What goes up, there will go down

And same thing goes, when goes down, will have time to go up. That’s the fun part than flat, right?

My motto, climb is okay, down is not okay. I stumped my toes, both left and right this time, so the down part is killing me. Uphill is tiring, but I kinda enjoy taking one step after another, and figuring out where to step and so on. I feel like I’m training to be a ninja. Just need to give me a shuriken to throw. #kidding

2. Just one more step

Sometimes I take my own sweet time to put one step. My butt is hurting, my legs are screaming, my heart is racing, but my brain and hands are having fun #weird

3. The only one you race with is yourself

Looking up and seeing people up there sometimes can be demoralizing, but it gives me a sense of relief too, that’s where I’ll go too. Don’t rush yourself. #OTOT = own time, own target.

Lastly, I’m so glad that I don’t do this alone. There are many times that having friends around gave you extra boost of energy. I think I’d give up halfway without them.

How about you? What do you tell yourself when you see a hill?

Bonus: here is the photo of the last hill (Mt. Silverstone) to the finish line

And to myself, next time, please practice more

The pain needed to grow

Back in 90s there is a TV show called “Growing Pains”, and I grew up watching it. I didn’t think much about the meaning of title back then.

Sometime ago, Ajahn Brahm also mentioned in one of his talks about growing pain.

Pain is usually associated with bad or negative energy, unpleasant feeling, and no one wants it. It’s not always about the physical pain like bruise, but it can be one too.

When you’re aiming to complete something but didn’t go smoothly.

For example, there are times at work when I was so caught up with the situation I’m in. I thought, why can’t we have a smooth work. There are many factors contributing to it, aren’t it?

Or when you’re trying to run a marathon, when you just want to finish it but your legs won’t just cooperate.

At first, those pains make me upset, disappointed or irritated. But I start to appreciate it as pit stop. When things just move smoothly, sometimes I tend to forget what happened around me.

Tired mind could be caused by ourselves, we think too much, or take the damage to ourselves. Muscle pain because we hardly exercise or we do it wrongly. So let’s embrace them.

As things are happened for a reason.

Do you have any growing pains moment lately?

The only competition I’m having is

While last week I was inspired by my sensei’s word,  but this week I get my inspiration through this talk in YouTube. The talk appears in the recommendation to watch list. I like it so much and I shared the video in my LinkedIn too.  Within Simon’s video and what sensei told us, there is a similar message.

Simon mentioned that there are 2 type of games or competitions, finite and infinite. Players in finite environment tend to have mindset to win it. On the other hand, in infinite environment, players are playing to keep the game going.

He used Apple as example. Apple doesn’t always get praises from their customers, however they are focusing on up-ing their own product than defeating the other players. There are days when you perform slightly below average, but that’s okay. Learned from it and be better.

These days, I’m practicing running and swimming quite a lot. However, I felt that I’m still no good for swimming although as in compared to before taking the class, I felt there are some improvement.

Few friends told me that they were bad at first too. Believe in yourself, keep practicing, and one day, you’ll get better.

So, my running time is not that great, but as in compared to me running 6km for the first time in 2010-2011 under the rain back then which took me almost 1 hour to finish it, now I can run 5-6km comfortably.

About swimming, when I’m thinking about it.. I only started to be able to swim breast stroke somewhere around 2005-2006 and I hardly swim (or exercise =_=!). Then, only lately learning free style again. So, in terms of mileage in the water, I’m still a baby.

There is still long way to go Kartika. Don’t lose sight of it and remember to keep improving your miles. In land and water.

And, participate in one race at a time, do your best to complete it then challenge it again.

Let’s challenge it (again)

One of my Japanese classmate passed her N1 recently. To me, it’s like the pinnacle of mastering the Japanese language because I’m still holding N3 since few years ago and haven’t done my N2 again since failed to pass it around 2 years ago.

I’m going to give it another go this year, but was distracted with other goals which also requires me to put sometime grinding experience, so hopefully next year I can take it. (No more excuses Kartika, okay?)

Sensei added, why don’t you still take it (N1) in 2 years time, so that you will be able to know how much you had grown. And to keep the motivation to learn going.

Why I didn’t think of that before?

So far, similar to my PMP, or certain license, they will ask you to do a refresher course to maintain the license or certification.

One of my running buddy has a mission to join running event for the same distance when she ran in that event for the first time. To find out what’s her timing like year by year.

For me, who only started to run regularly around four years ago, I started to find some favorite running events to join. But I didn’t think of making it as reevaluation about my running time.

How about you? Do you have any activities which you always do as rechallenge?

What I wish that I know when I was

J.K. Rowling said that in her Harvard commencement speech. She said that she was racking her head what should she share in a commencement speech. So she thought that what she wished to know when she was at the same age with the graduates.

Her words made me think, what are the think I want to tell my younger self? Or maybe what would my future self would tell the present me.

(I’m sure that Luffy wouldn’t want to hear it. Because it won’t be fun anymore.)

One thing I can think of now, if I can tell my younger self would be, write more. Whether it’s a scribble, a diary, or just a shoutout. Daily if possible.

My sensei usually will ask this question during lesson, anything interesting happened in the past few days? And as usual, most of us will just smile at her. She will make a comment that we are not paying attention to life, and as if, living it in auto-pilot mode which makes us easily forget what happened around us, during commute, at home, or at work. She said, write a diary, write about the weather, clothes we wear that day, food we eat and so son. The year after that, you can read what did you eat and eat the same food this year. (Interesting idea ne)

I like to write diary. I was writing my diary in English when I was in junior and high school time. As practice. These days, I’m writing it in Japanese with same purpose in mind. As practice. When I’m in my hometown and found my old diary, I had a good laugh by reading them.

Two years ago, I wrote a time capsule message to the 2020 myself. Honestly, I can’t recall at all what did I write that day. I’m looking forward to the day to open it. Then I’ll write another one to the 2025 myself.

Back to J.K. Rowling’s speech, there is one thing that I like the most. It’s about humility to know that life is difficult, complicated and can be out of control. Even an adult might still have the greatest question in life, what I want to do. So, take your time as life is not a race to complete a checklist.

As my sensei always advised us in the class, try to do things differently, and as you get different result, you will find life will give you more colour. Like greeting her “good morning” when our class is in the evening, or keeping a diamond in a watermelon.

Just have some fun~!