One thing that blogging helps me to be better is

The phone buzzed, a reminder to blog showed up. Ah, it’s time for it again.

Sometimes I have the idea around mid week, and I started to write it, set it on schedule and when the reminder showed up, just ticked it, and I’m done.

There are also days when I don’t have the idea until the reminder is showing. Or, on top of that, I have other commitments which made me unable to set aside a time to write.

So, I asked myself, did the week just pass by with nothing interesting happened to me? Or without learning something from it.

That question reminds me of my sensei’s statement to us during classroom. As she likes to ask random question to us, like do you meet strange people while going to class, or do you find a money on the street, so on, my classmate and I tend to be quiet. Partially, we are thinking how to answer her, and the other half, is trying to recollect of those happened to us.

She’s jokingly saying, that we are not interested in the world outside ours (i.e. phone).

And I find it somewhat true.

Most of the times, I don’t pay attention to what happened around me during commuting, it’s all going on auto-pilot mode, leave the house, lock the door, walk to MRT, get the EZ link card, tap on the gate, go up to platform, wait for the train, hop in (or squeeze in) and so on.

Speaking about this auto-pilot mode reminded me of an old talk by Ajahn Brahm. That we are not living in the present and lack of awareness.

And the funny thing is, both of them suggested similar method. For example, instead of always turn right after a building, we turn right earlier or later (but make sure there is a path to go to our destination), we might see different things along the way. Or, when you brush your teeth, do you always start from the left side or from the right side, top half of the mouth first or the other area of the mouth first?

Back to the question I asked myself, yes, I have one or two events which I found it memorable. I’ll share here some other time. Thanks to that, I’m able to remember more important lesson, which is to be in the present moment.

How about you, can you remember all the events happened to you last week? Or maybe your lunches.

PS: this view might be the opposite of why Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs always wear the same color shirt and same jeans everyday. They prioritize making decision over choosing a style. Hence they go auto-pilot on wardrobe.

A note from last week

I saw that pin from Pinterest app.

And I’m amazed how coincidence it is because of what happened to me yesterday when I was in the middle of completing a race. Halfway mark I felt my legs were giving up.

The talk by Simon Grimstrup when my friends and I were in Vietnam emerged from my mind. He said, usually he had 3 options in his head, option A is to complete the race within xx time frame, option B is to complete it within yy time frame and the last option is just to complete the race.

I asked myself, it’s halfway there, what do you want to do? Flag a cab? Why am I rushing? To meet my friends at the finishing line? How about if I can’t meet them? That’s okay too isn’t it? I still can meet them some other day.. and, comparing to your friends, you have a cut off time (on top of the race cut off time). Because you still need to go to class after this. Do you have to go to class? You were skipping few lessons back then because of races too.. so..?

After having all of those convo, I decided to go with option C. Just complete it. I’ll think of the rest later after crossing the finishing line.

I listened to my legs, they barely could run for 500m, so, I walked almost the last 8km. But I jogged in between especially when I spotted cameraman.. for few seconds of glory, the legs agreed.

And darn right! The feeling crossing the finish line was incredibly awesome.

PS: I still went to my class, although was late for 20mins, then walked like penguin back home, tried to take a nap but the euphoria made my mind alert somehow. So, I decided to watch Pokémon while having light dinner. (Although I entitled for 2000 calories meal) Did some rolling as my friends suggested to ease the pain and call it a day.

PPS: I’ll do my best to enjoy the soreness before the next one (wottt) and back to civilian life

To worry or not to worry

When did the last time you feel worry before you are about to do something? It could be something very important, and if you screw it up, it would be a nightmare. Or, it could be something you’re going to do for the first time.

Well I still feel the butterfly in my stomach on D-1 of my race. Regardless the distance or the sports. But those tensions are more like a self-impose pressure. Without realizing, I put pressure on myself when I’m doing something. Be better than your previous self. And I hate to lose to myself (lol)

There are more things that I learned from the manga Haikyuu! that I read this week:

1. All you need at start is just a bit of curiosity.

When you begin doing something, you don’t need an “unshakable will” or “impressive motivation”. Little by little, what you’ve begun will naturally become important to you. – Kiyoko Shimizu

(When Hitoka Yachi was uncertain and not confident about being volleyball club manager)

It’s okay to not to have the better result after every event I joined. Keep the “how do I…” flame alive, find out more from friends, research or reading. Give it a try, remember the outcome and learn from it.

2. There will be next race

Isn’t it defeat more like a trial to overcome? Of whether you can stand up and walk again after falling to your knees. If you remain on your knees like that, then it would be a sign of weakness.

(Takeda Ittetsu to Kageyama Tobio and Hinata Shoyo after their defeat against Aoba Johsai during Interhigh)

As long as you properly recover, train more and better preparation next time. There are so much things you can control, but there are also other things you can’t. Train well, and translate those into the actual race. Without panic or worry.

PS: to myself, I know you usually like to grind more (put more effort) than the actual required (read: in RPG game = level) and there is always “I did not … enough” thought lingering. As long as you have done your best, isn’t it good enough?

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?