Better than I was before, but dust amongst the elites

Posted in Uncategorized on February 12, 2017 by niceyhuey

So I signed up for My Sihat Run 2017 (today) because the cash prize was very good. For a 10 km run, it was RM10,000.00, Second place for RM5,000.00 and third place for RM3,000.00.

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Well, I was being overly ambitious in view of the recent races and placings I have gotten. A grave mistake I make, which inevitably results in a major disappointment in myself at the end of the race. I was definitely naive by not expecting that a race like this would attract elite runners, because it did and it attracted many elite runners. And despite being warned by my fellow running friends, I was still overly optimistic.

Oh, I do need to mention that this was a race boycotted by MKRC because it was only open to Malaysians only. In their view it is discriminatory, which is true – I suppose. But the prize money was too good to not try to race this one. I am not sure if I will get in trouble for this with the club.

Nicolas and Amaury were very nice to have paced me throughout the race and I am extremely grateful. Most times during the course of my career, more often than not I meet people who are not nice and when I do meet nice people, it is really refreshing.

Before the start of the race, I believe I was facing the feeling as I would have felt before a hearing before the court of appeal/federal court, or before a trial which I forsee troubles. I think I was going to vomit. But a few of my friends from MKRC (Amer, Lorna and Ed) were there to cheer me on, so I know I have to at least suffer the peak of my heart rate for the next 50 minutes and do my best. And definitely not forgetting Nic and Amaury waking up so early in the morning to run with me.

I could see that many participants were strong looking runners. I still consider myself to be fairly new to the running scene and would not be able to tell who are the elite local runners. But you could still tell the body physique of a fairly strong runner.

So, the race started. As usual, I started off too quick for the first KM, but could not sustain a sub 4:30 pace consistently. Nic and Amaury joined me after 500 meters into the race and continued to run with me and left me at 200 meters before the end of the race. I had to slow down at the hills and I really could not sustain a good and consistent 4:30 minute pace.

My heart rate was through the roof during the whole course and I finished 46m50s for a slightly shorter distance of 9.7km. And I can say for sure that I am not dramatising this.

(Pictured below: Ed, Lorna, Amaury, (me), Nicolas and Amer)

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It is my personal best for a 10Km, but when I found out that I finished 12th place and I further found out that the timing the runners ahead of me did were between 31m to 41m, I realise that my timing is really nothing to be proud about. To say the least, I am truly humbled by the elite runners.

The best male runner finished a really tough course in 31minutes and the best female did 37m.

I just want to add a note that I am really proud to know that many local runners are able to run at this amazing time, to be able to race with such talent is truly humbling.

My average pace throughout the race was 4:49m pace. And that is definitely a breakthrough for me. My pace prior to this for a 10km run was the Melawati Run (15.1.2017) at an average of 4:52m pace and this race was much more hilly than Melawati Run. So, I should be happy with that.

Nonetheless, I have this feeling that I am simply not good enough and I could do so much more to be better than this. But at the same time, I know that my performance today was as good as it could have been with the training I have done. Maybe when my pacers were asked whether the pace was easy/fast for them, they said it was easy and that was a big stab to my ego. Haha…

(Pictured below: Lorna helping me stretch)

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I admit though, that I am lazy and I do use the excuse that I am not a professional athlete, so I do not have to go overboard in training. But the fact of the matter is I am nothing compared to the elite runners out there. And I really have to manage my expectations. I have this need to be the best, but yet am not putting enough effort for training.

Maybe, just maybe I am still the same competitive person I “was” and probably will always be.

Should I Specialise – in Trail or Road?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 3, 2017 by niceyhuey

It is still the Lunar New Year week and work is slow so far, so I am taking this opportunity to quickly drop an article before it gets busy.

On 22.1.2017, I participated the Conquer the Trail @ Bukit Kiara. It was a race which was highly anticipated, since I have been running the same jungle every Thursday with the MKRC. Oh, did I mention that MKRC is an awesome running club? I joined them since June/July 2016 and met some really nice people with the same crazy passion for running and the same desire to be faster. An additional benefit for me is that most of them are expats, and I get to meet different people from different parts of the world, and learning about our cultural differences – but with the same passion for running.

Anyway, I digressed.

I am generally a clumsy person. I can fall in places where you don’t expect to fall. And yes, naturally I have many scars (especially on my knees). I don’t mind falling and having a wound, I usually like to show it off as labelled it as a Scar of War. I know its lame. Haha.

And as a runner too, I fell – many times. Especially in the trail! Its either I sprained my ankle or fall on my knees. I try to be more careful now, because my last fall on my knees was really painful and it took really long to heal.

My last wound took weeks to heal, and to make it worse – I fell again 2 weeks after this (pictured) fall.

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So during Conquer the Trail 2017, I sprained my ankle and as a result had to run slower than I usually would have. Since its not the first time I have fallen during a trail run, I think I may not be a good trail runner, as I would be a road runner. And I am considering maybe just to focus on one or the other.

But then yesterday happened! Every Thursday the MKRC runs night trail at Bukit Kiara, and the pace groups are generally divided into 2, the fast group and the fun run. I have always joined the fun run and I have not tried the fast group. Yesterday they had a mid-paced group and it was the best time I’ve ever had running the trail.

Now that I have come this far into the article, my conclusion is that I am going to just run whatever I want to run at any given time. And yes, I think too much. Sorry, you may be rolling your eyes now. Haha… Its ok. Keep on running.

First Picture: MKRC @ Conquer Kiara 2017

Second Picture: MKRC Thursday Night Trail Run.

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I don’t meet competition. I crush it.

Posted in Uncategorized on February 2, 2017 by niceyhuey

Haha… That’s a pretty arrogant line which is really not what I intended to write about in this post, I was just hoping that it might catch your attention.

I know I haven’t been diligent enough to write, but it has been a busy year end last year and also a busy start of this year.

To start off, before I started running I have always been a competitive person. And I compete sometimes for no reason, because I just like to win. There was once when my former firm went to an orphanage for charity, we played charades with the orphans and I really wanted to win. Furthermore, in my defence, putting an element of competition just makes everything more fun.

Even being a lawyer, I always have difficulty accepting defeat when losing cases, but its part and parcel of life and definitely do not indicate whether I am a good lawyer or not.

Well, when I started running – naturally the need to compete grew and I really wanted to be better and faster than everyone. I started comparing myself with men who are both older and younger than me, with women who have been running longer than I have.

I forget that I was a rookie runner and that it will take time for me (anyone!) to see improvement in speed.

Anyway, the improvement did not come until much later. But I remember that it came to point that I was emotionally affected that I was not better than the other person (whoever it was). And after every training session, I remember leaving training feeling really dejected thinking that I was not improving. And maybe it was one of the reasons that I hated running in the first few months.

Feeling of dejection was really painful, more than the fact that running is painful.

And to make matters worse, when I started participating in races, I unexpectedly get a top 10 placing. (in my category of course) As a result, I put unnecessary pressure on myself to get a placing for any race. Sometimes I cannot sleep before a race, worrying whether I could get a placing for the race.

To be honest, it was getting abit out of hand. Even I couldn’t stand myself for being such an idiot.

Well, Action Asia Trail in Janda Baik 2016 happened in November, where it had really forced me to change my perspective in competition. I was feeling more pressure than other races (although no one really placed any pressure on me) and I was in a mental mess the day before and the morning right before the race.

Firstly, there were other stronger women runners in my category (which was not the case for the other races). And they finished significantly stronger and faster than me.

Secondly, the race course had defeated me. The hills had defeated me. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. And it was probably the first time, I couldn’t continue running and resorted to walking. This was mental defeat, because my main mantra has always been that I can never walk, I can run slower, but never to walk. Its what I tell everyone who wanted to join me running.

Action Asia 2016 was truly humbling experience and forced me to realise that my only competition is myself. I have since then told myself that as long as I am satisfied with my performance in a race, it really doesn’t matter what placing I get. That was why for Precious Ladies and Men’s Run, I was really pleased with my performance and that is the only thing that matters.

I have to also admit, that I am happier now with this changed perspective. Now I just enjoy the experience of improvement.

(pictured below: I am nothing when running with the best)img_1880

 

Precious Ladies and Men’s Run 2016

Posted in Uncategorized on December 13, 2016 by niceyhuey

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This race was held yesterday, 12.12.2016 and no, I am not about to give a race review on the event. I believe that all races deserves to be given a chance, whether organised properly or not. The only thing which is important is how well you did while running.

What I’d like to write about is the difficulties which I had faced yesterday during the race.

The Cross Country Team had engaged famous celebrity coach, Mark Williams (or you may know him from the local favourite, Ola Bola movie) to train us for the next race against Singapore. And he has always told us on the respective gears to use while running:-

Gear 1 – recovery speed (flat feet on the ground while jogging)

Gear 2 – easy pace

Gear 3 – Marathon Pace

Gear 4 – 10km pace

Gear 5 – Interval pace

Gear 6 – Repetition

Easy enough to understand in theory, but difficult to apply. My problem has always been that I start off too fast and eventually tire myself out and can’t push myself to be faster.

For example, for interval / fartlek trainings, when there are 5 to 8 laps of intense running, Mark has always told us to apply Gear 5 during these laps and make sure that we don’t wear ourselves out. The key was to maintain the same speed for all laps.

Well, the mistake I make and I seem to never learn from is that I go out too fast, and by the 3rd or 4th round of running, I really struggle to continue. Although I still push myself to continue running at a reasonable speed, I have to say this is where “mind over matter” actually plays a major role.

Still, that is not efficient running.

But how you apply it to actual running like a maths formula is beyond me, for now at least. Its not exactly a gear box of a vehicle that you can just engage your legs in gear 5 for example. Nonetheless, I trust that with more experience in running I should be able to grasp that concept. *fingers crossed*

Going back to my race yesterday. Well, the flag off was delayed for almost an hour, 45 minutes to be exact. Whatever warm up I attempted in doing prior to that was cooled down when the race eventually flagged off. So I did struggle with my heart rate for the first few kms.

It was a 12KM run with a total elevation of 209 metres and the hill along the hockey stadium was a killer, luckily after that major hill, it was mainly downhill after that. I thankfully had Joachim Kern (from the MKRC) to pace me along that killer hill, so that I don’t give in to any temptation to walk.

Note to self: work harder on them hills!

Pictured below: MKRC Gang

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I didn’t have any expectations because I know that there are some strong female runners who were running as well. I just wanted to do my best. After my humbling experience at Action Asia 2016, I have to continue to remind myself that what matters is that I do my best at that point for that race and not some podium placing. Sometimes, I place unnecessary pressure on myself to get a podium placing when actually that really does not matter. Podium placing depends entirely on your performance that day, which better and stronger runner participates and how tough the course is. What is within your control is how well you perform.

And if after doing your best, you do not get any placing, then you do not deserve a placing and should not get upset. It is after all, just a race which does not define you. It probably means that you have to work harder, but it is not the end of the world.

Again, I started off too quickly at a 4:39 to 4:45 pace for the first 3km and that was too quick which had either built up lactic acid or somewhat wore me out a bit for the next 5 km. I had only managed to build up the energy to run faster the last 3km.

I thought I did pretty well for a 12km race and finished with a timing of 1hour and 09 seconds. I thought it was a pretty awesome timing. I can only count the last 2 times I felt this good about my performance and that was my first full marathon and my last half marathon.

There are many other female and male runners who are better, but its ok. My competition is myself and I have to be better than myself in the next race. Of course, I aim to be better, but for the time being, I’m quite satisfied. And most importantly, I had fun.

Pictured below: My official timing recorded and flying hair. (don’t mind my huge calves)

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The Birth of My Running Journey

Posted in Uncategorized on December 5, 2016 by niceyhuey

Before this year, I have to admit that I never liked running. The only reason I run prior to this year, was to lose weight and after having found a gym (Muayfit PJ) I stopped running entirely.

Oh and I thought that you didn’t need any skill to run, unlike football, badminton, squash etc. Because all you needed to do is just put on a pair of shoes and run, which is still somewhat true.

My last race prior to 2016 was in back in October 2011, where I clocked in a ridiculous 3 hours 09 mins for a half marathon (then known as BSN Putrajaya Night Marathon). I did zero training and I only took my friend’s bib, because she found out that she was pregnant. And subsequent to that in the same year, I tried the Subang Jaya Run (I don’t ever remember what race it was) for 10km to which I never bothered checking my results. And I definitely did a lot of walking during these races.

And no, this hadn’t converted me into a runner yet.

After that, my exercise regime was merely watching and following Jillian Michaels’ exercise videos at home, running a few loops around my housing area (without strava!) playing around with the exercise machines in true fitness on my own. I have and still do love my own company. My only goal was to lose weight.

After having found Muayfit in year 2014 and of course with a series of unfortunate events which had occurred in my life, I switched my focus from being an emotional wreck to exercise and also with the hope of overcoming the ever continuing struggle to lose weight. Vanity problems.

I was pretty satisfied with the classes offered in Muayfit, which included boxing classes. And it was fun, to be able to punch someone without committing an offence is always fun. Oh yes, eye candy in the gym was pretty yummy too.

Now, how it actually started was when the convenor (special mention to Lilian, if she ever reads this) of the Cross Country Bar Team contacted me in February 2016 to join the Malaysian Cross Country Running Team and participate in the competition against Singapore. And this request was made because of my performance for a relay run in January the same year. I said yes but only because I was extremely flattered that I was “wanted” to part of the cross country team.

Well, I can’t say that it was love at first sight between running and me. To participate in the competition obviously mean that I have to train and boy oh boy, training was VERY tough.

I dreaded every moment of training. There was 3 sessions weekly of training and I cannot emphasise how much I hated every minute of it. But backing out would bruise my ego and I do have a lot of it, so I really had no choice but to carry on.

I was whining, hating and dreading before every training session. I was always dead tired after every single session. And during the session, all I wanted to do is sit down and cry. I swear.

I do not even feel half as tired as I do, after a boot camp class in the gym and mind you, I could do 2-3 classes back to back in a day.

It was very difficult and I never realised that my heart rate could go as high as it did during every running training. I kept telling myself that I was going to stop running after the competition. I did not want run anymore. The gym was much easier, at least I could cheat and catch my breath when the trainer isn’t looking. But with running, I couldn’t!

I think I improved during these sessions, but I was too tired to bother. I just wanted to get the competition over and done with, so I can go back to my comfortable life in the gym.

So the big day came on 30.4.2016, we, the Malaysian Cross Country Team won the competition against Singapore, after 13 years of being defeated by the Singaporeans! (pictured below)

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I came in the top fourth female and the top 3 were our strong and inspiring Malaysian women runners.

The experience of a win was phenomenal. I mean I have won cases after a hard fought trial and the feeling is pretty darn awesome too, but winning a race was exhilarating! The thought of having being part of an extremely memorable moment like that was very, very nice! The cheers at that moment when the results was announced is unforgettable. I could not have a more genuine wide grin on my face.

All the inner, constant grunting and whining of how difficult it was during training was immediately forgotten.

So, I continued running.

And now, after 2 full marathons and 3 half marathons only in year 2016 (not mentioning the other running races which I have participated), I have found another passion which add more colours to my life.

I have always known that I loved being a lawyer (although when I have a bad day, I have to remind myself again and again), but running became my next passion and I loved the improvements which I have made every time I run. I love how it feels after a run. It is mostly satisfying.

Running is still difficult, but after every run, I always feel like I have improved and have the potential to do better. And I feel and hope that there isn’t a ceiling where I can stop improving. It makes me feel like I can achieve so much more and I can reach milestones which I would have never thought was ever possible to achieve.

My latest record to date for a half marathon is 1 hour 48 mins (Great Eastern Bubble Run 2016), and 4 hours and 08 mins for a full marathon (Putrajaya Night Run 2016).

From my last record of 3 hours and 09 mins for a half marathon in 2011, I never ever thought this was ever possible. I never even thought I would run a full marathon, but I did – two in fact!

Now I train with the main goal to be better. Although losing weight in the process is kinda nice too.

This journey of discovering this new passion of running has been incredibly fun and exciting, and I will definitely try to write my continuous journey of running here, but I would like to conclude by quoting Haruki Murakami:-

People basically become runners because they’re meant to.

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Why am I here again?

Posted in Uncategorized on October 22, 2015 by niceyhuey

Today I was asked what my bucket list was.

I thought about it briefly and just simply answered that I would like to visit the world’s top attractions which I have not visited, namely the Niagara falls in United States, the pyramids, Great Wall of China, the White house in Washington and maybe try sky diving.

But the truth is, there is nothing that I would say I would regret if I was gone tomorrow. Life is life, it has been good to me and god forbid me to forget when it has been bad to me. I have lived knowing how is it like to love the most and lost, to love again, to lust, to hate, to be sad, to be depressed etc. I have experienced most of my fantasies, not to mention – substances, traveled a fair bit around the world and live to become a person my parents can somewhat be proud of. I have lived til today knowing that there is nothing that I have regretted doing or not doing.

So, that begs the question – why am I here again?

I used to be very sure of what I had wanted to achieve. When I was in my early twenties, I just wanted to be with someone I love and get married. But then I became a lawyer in my mid twenties, I said “fuck marriage, I want to make a difference!”, so I joined politics. After politics screwed me in my late twenties, I told myself that I should focus on being a good lawyer and make a difference in the people around me. And to be perfectly honest, at any point during my golden twenties I was more than happy pursuing what I want achieve and I knew that was what I wanted.

Now I have hit my thirties and I will be turning 32 pretty soon. I suddenly do not know what am I living for. I do not have children that I could nurture, I do not have a better half to turn [unfortunately there is no one currently who I think could be my better half], there is no need for me to succeed in my firm because I now have a partner who can very much handle the firm on his own.

I can only guess what changed, but it still does not explain clearly what has.

I no longer have the key to my own happiness. I have to say – it looks pretty bleak from here.

Reflection

Posted in Uncategorized on September 26, 2015 by niceyhuey

My last post was in 2010. 5 years ago. Much has happened since.

In 2010 and before, I was an idealist with dreams of making a difference with the usual methods people would have thought was the best way to, and that was to join politics.

And after learning it the hard way, my personality was and is such that politics was not for me. After the many events preceding to this post, I am a lot more free spirited than I would have thought I was. There was a certain rigidity in politics that could have never made me a good politician, certain protocols which I felt were unnecessary.

I have always known that when I know I am making a difference, I would be happy. But what is making a difference? Because now with the gray hairs sprouting from my head, I am pretty sure that making a difference is very subjective and everyone has their own definition of making a difference.

Sure, I could attend rallies. I could volunteer at an orphanage. I could donate to the National Kidney Foundation [which i immensely regretted, after having found out that our beloved PM is part of the Committee. After the recent 1MDB events, I have lost any ounce of faith in him and do think it is entirely possible that he would take money from the NKF]. Having said all that, are these the “differences” that I was making which could make me happy?

Now here I am, still trying to figure out love, life and the workings of it.

What the biggest change so far since 2010, is that I have started my own firm. Circumstances had kind of forced me into venturing out on my own and I have to say I have struggled the most part of it. Entrepreneurship is really not my thing. I loved being employed, loved the stability, loved that there was a place I belonged, loved the shield my employers gave me, loved that there was office gossip etc.

I am still struggling everyday, wondering what do I wake up to every morning. Why do I need to work hard? And with whom I can share my achievements with?

I suppose I look to figures such as Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh etc for guidance. What makes them want to do what they do? And they do make entrepreneurship really really fun and exciting, especially Richard Branson.

Well, I am still not any where near to getting my question answered, but I do have an idea of what do to moving forward.

When I see that the clients I represented are satisfied with my service and that I have made their life earlier, that makes me kinda happy.

When I feel that I have done a good job in court or drafting an agreement, my heart skips a beat.

Or on a more personal note, I see that my jokes or me being silly cracks my friends up, that cheers me up.

Or I see that whatever I share on facebook makes my FB friends get inspired, that makes me smile.

At the end of the day, doing something which makes me happy is what i strive to achieve, and I really hope that I do not have to wait too long to be happy and to find what Buddha calls – “Enlightenment”

Eunice