Monday, February 23, 2009

Singapore Sprint Series (Aquathlon) Race Report

This has to be the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life. To start off with, I spent the night before freaking out about the numerous injuries I would have after the swim leg. I've obviously heard too many stories about bloodied noses and black eyes to be able to even have a nice, peaceful night's sleep before the race. Needless to say, like all the other races, I woke up at about 4am thinking I was late. I should just come to terms with the fact that I will always be doing this in future.

There were no hiccups all the way till the start of the race, minus a few moments of shock when G (my rockstar race buddy) and I realised that a 750m swim was a lot less further than we imagined. But G and I had a game plan. In order not to be kicked in the face, we decided to start at the back, way back, essentially as far back as one could possibly get. It was a stupid stupid game plan and I realised that as soon as I started the swim leg. Good gawd, I can't even remember being kicked that many times before by my own fair sex. And because I was at the back, I was stuck with a whole bunch of breast-strokers, which meant more kicking. My goggles got kicked off halfway through, resulting in me treading water and trying to get the water out; I got completely winded when I got a foot in my chest; and one evil b***h tried shoving me down.

I have never felt so out of my depth before. I didn't think I was the fastest swimmer in the world, but I always thought I was a rather strong (which again, doesn't mean fast) swimmer, but the number of times I had to tell myself not to panic was unbelievable. And forget about clear waters blah blah, Sentosa's waters are every bit as crap as the waters at East Coast, minus the garbage floating around you. Half the time I was veering too far right or too far left and because of my need to stick near the buoys, I kept swimming into in. Real clever, huh.

With the swim leg, because of length of the lagoon, we had to swim to one end, run round a cone and swim back again. R, who had come down to give me some moral support, said he witnessed me physically sigh at the start of the lap back. Well, it felt like hell knowing that there was still some more torture to go, so I wasn't all too surprised.

Swim leg was done and I stumbled out of the sea to the transition area, where frankly all I wanted then was for the whole thing to end. I was tired, wet, uncoordinated, thirsty and I had spent what felt like forever in the sea mentally encouraging myself. Somehow though, I stumbled along for the run. Along the way, I saw my best girl pal and CH, who had also come down to cheer me on, bless their souls, and it picked me up a little. G had come out of the water a little behind me and she had caught up with me by now. Thank the good Lord for her, because I swear, without her, I would probably have just walked the entire run leg. So plod through we did and at the end I had to ditch her for the last 100m and just make a wild dash through. It was the 'the faster I get to the finish line, the sooner this will all be over' logic that you almost instantly regret as soon as you make that dash.

Overall, it was a good feeling finishing it, not because I felt the race was fun at any point of time, but because it was so insanely difficult that to complete it felt like I had unlocked some part of my brain...I know it all sounds very abstract but I just can't think of any other way to describe it. The best part about the race though was seeing those friendly faces at the end, that my best friends were there to go through my moment of torture with me, made me feel all fluffy and warm inside.

Race results:
Swim (750m) 23:02mins
Transition 1:40mins (I was really dreading leaving the transition area)
Run (5k) 33:46mins
Overall time 58:29mins

I finished 36 out of 42 for my category, which is crap, but hell, it's my first bi-athlon and I'm really thrilled I finished it under an hour without drowning!

Friday, February 20, 2009

One Long Swim and a Bunch of Allergies

Yesterday I got home to get a long swim in before dinner. And that I did! All of one and a half friggin' kilometres, doods! I totally kicked ass! It was a sweet, sweet night.

Of course all good things must come to an end and today I wake up with a strange rash on my legs and arms. Headed off to the docs to get that checked out, since that annoying allergy cough I had previously is back with a vengeance (thanks to the haze the past couple of days) and I needed that treated. The bombshell was dropped on me - I may be allergic to alcohol....Noooooooo! Don't get me wrong, I'm not so hardcore an alcoholic that I require a drink to get me through the day, but I'd like to think that a night of drinkies wouldn't result in a breakout of hives the next day. Bah.

What I did last night:
Swam 1.5k (phweet phweet!) in 41 minutes

Thursday, February 19, 2009

An Attempt at a Long Run

I say attempt because I swear I really did intend to run all the way home, but I ran out of motivation and grit pretty early on in the run. It's been really hot in Singapore due to the 'bush fires' (I feel stupid using 'bush fires' in the Singapore context because the 'fires' here seem so trivial compared to Aussie bush fires) and the haze that has descended on us. I felt like I was just running in a sauna after 10 minutes and decided to just cut the misery short. Nonetheless, it was a pretty good run - I got to take my new backpack out for its virgin run and it performed well under pressure; I ran 6.5k, almost stitch-less might I add, which is really the furthest I've run in over a month; and it was a decent last run before the Aquathlon on Sunday. So the game plan is one last long swim tonight and then I'll be taking a 2 day break....maybe squeeze in a bit of my much neglected windsurfing on Saturday morning!

What I did yesterday:
Ran 6.5k in 48:58 mins

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Career Crisis

A little background, I work for a hedge fund (yes, I still have a job!) and this has actually been my longest job to date. I think I have a pretty short attention span, considering the million and one sports I take up and give up...soooo anyway, it's pretty impressive that I've been here for almost 2 years now! I'm not complaining though, because I'm working with a team of crazily intelligent doods who've also become great friends.

Just the other day though, the boss-man asked me to think about how I wanted to develop my career going forward and that has somehow caused a huge crisis (I'm sure by now everyone more or less realises I'm melodramatic). It's not that I'm unhappy where I am, but the future also seems kind of hazy at the moment. I know I'm being completely ungrateful, people are getting laid off every day and here I am whining about figuring out my life's purpose, but don't get me wrong, I am thankful every day that I'm where I am. I just wonder whether there should be something more I should be pursuing to enhance my presence at work.

I've toyed around with the idea of doing a Masters in Law, but it just seems completely pointless when I don't really have any intention of working in the legal line. Plus I've always only enjoyed the coursework bit of Law - reading through tons of journals and writing a long essay on it. Then I've thought about doing the bar in Singapore, but for the same reasons, it just seems quite pointless.

Another friend suggested doing an MBA, but it just seems too network-y for me. Granted I'm being a tad biased - I think there are quite a number of MBA graduates who're real pompous asses - but an MBA is a lot of work and a lot of money! I could probably come up with the money, but then the one thing I love about my job now is the time! I have time to go for a run after work, I have my weekends free to windsurf if I choose to...I feel very reluctant to give that up somehow.

So after all the pondering I've come to realise that I still have no idea what I want from life. Which doesn't sit too well with me, I've always needed to have an idea of where I'd be in 10 years time, but currently I have no idea, no plan and absolutely no focus, which is slightly scary. On the flipside, I am doing that whole 'living life for the moment' thing.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Wasted Weekend

I was very lazy this weekend. I find it funny that the closer I get to the biathlon, the less motivated I am to move a muscle. I was pretty good last week, did a miserable stitch-filled 4k run on Wednesday followed by a morning swim on Thursday. And then I did nothing for two days. Friday was my rest day, so I didn't feel too bad sitting around staring at the TV, but when that dragged on to Saturday, my conscience started acting up a little. But still not enough to get me to move my sorry ass. In spite of the slight pangs of guilt, I managed to spend a lovely night with R. He whipped up a kickass curry and we headed out to watch a hilarious play 'What the Butler Saw'. Then it was off to the Dubliner to catch the rugby with a bunch of the work doods. All in all, it was a nice chilled out Saturday (I convinced myself at the end that watching a sport I didn't really enjoy was more or less equivalent to doing a lot of sport).

I think I somewhat redeemed myself on Sunday though. After sleeping in and waking up in time for lunch, finishing lunch and heading back to sleep again, I hauled myself over to the pool to do 15 laps (ended up being 16 laps somehow) and then a 5k run. I felt like dying at the end of it. But at least I did it all (and a little bit more considering the extra lap I swam)!

What I've done:
Last Wednesday - Ran 4k in 33:35mins (had a stitch halfway and had to walk...what's new)
Last Thursday - Did 10 laps in what I considered a relatively fast pace

- Swam 960m in 26:05mins
- Ran 5k in 33:06 min

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Wonders of Jet Lag

I'm finally back from Canada where I did a lot of snowboarding, went snowshoeing once and cycled twice around Stanley Park. I love Vancouver so much! I love the weather, the people (except for one exceptionally bitchy sales person at Hollister called 'Molly'...evil lady), the snow, the lights....Every year I come back home thinking the same thing and every year I resolve to head down to Australia mid-year to get some more snowboarding experience under my belt. Of course, being me of the short attention span, come mid-year I'd have discovered some completely random other thing to do and the Australia idea gets thrown out the window. We'll see how that works out.

Anyway, I arrived back Sunday night and started work the next day and so far the jet lag hasn't been awfully bad. I slept at half past midnight on Sunday and woke up around 7 in the morning. I did an interval session midday - completely stupid because I hadn't run in 2 weeks and I felt dizzy and nauseous...and I hate the treadmill! - and that pathetically short session kept me awake all the way till dinner, where the jet lag hit me. Being the last day of Chinese New Year, we had to go out and do the good Chinese thing and have dinner together so that carried me through till 10pm and therein I died.

Well, after all my longwinded rambling, my point is today I woke up at 6am and managed 15 laps in the pool. And I know I've gone on about how people who exercise in the morning are insane, but it sure is nice waking up really early and having some exercise done before the day really starts. Jet lag rocks...when you're on its good side!

What I did:
Monday - interval training (running fast and loose with the term 'training')
Tuesday - Swam 15 laps in 26:27 mins