Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Some little yearnings....

Barely into the middle of the week, I suddenly have a sudden urge to drop everything I'm doing, head home, pack my backpack and board a plane to somewhere.....anywhere.

No....work ain't that horrible but I have a creepy suspicion that my impending casualty posting is scaring the shit out of me even before I step foot into that department.
I know...I should be outpouring all my positive-thinking-manifestation shit at this very moment but my brain, on autopilot tells me straightaway to run far far away.....and preferably never to return.

Well....considering its halfway into the working week (since this Friday is Independence Day), I spent most of my lunch time looking at Instagram photos of beaches, sunrises & sunsets, far away lands and rugged mountain horizons.
Daydreaming about being anywhere but here definitely did make my day move along so much faster.
(and I'm pretty damn sure I am not the only daydreamer out there going through the same motions today)

Perhaps it's due to the lack of endorphins for the past 2 days.

* My communion with nature...

* Not much of a view...but a view nonetheless....

* Everyone wants to run.....

I needed the rest.

My knees needed a rest.
My ankles concurred on the necessary rest.
My quads argued for more sleep.
My mind says we should go watch a movie......(we did....Premium Rush.....Joseph Gordon Levitt was freakin hot on that beat-up fixie.....my mind was absolutely delighted)

Maybe I'm bored.

I am definitely restless.
Maybe I need more exercise.
Maybe I need to drag my sorry arse back to the Bikram studio.
Maybe I need ice cream.
Maybe.....a teeny-weeny maybe....I need another holiday.
I'm definitely voting for another holiday although a bystander to my life would disagree wholeheartedly with the reason being I've been on one holiday too many.

I'd then would like to say that the bystander is totally jealous, probably working one overtime too many, probably buckling under the burden of too many responsibilities and most likely does not agree to the statement of enjoying life to the fullest when one is young and still has functioning knees.

But of course everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion.

So what's the point of this blog post again?
I don't really know.
I just know that I can't wait for my 2 months at Casualty to be done and over with so I can go back to enjoying my minimal-burden life.

* Perhaps some doughnuts would cheer me up...but then I remembered that I preferred cupcakes....

Anyway....been doing a bit of reading lately.

I swear this month has been superbly productive in the reading department and I'm going through my 7th book of the month.

Currently am enjoying Scott Jurek's 'Eat & Run - My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness', and am welcoming the joyfulness of a non-fiction genre.
(Chuck Palahniuk's 'Fight Club' was terribly disturbing...)

And I have to say, as I journey with Mr. Jurek from his humble beginnings, his rigid upbringing and the people he met along the way....I'm starting to appreciate the hard work this man put into....well, everything!

His dedication....his focus....his pain.....his compassion....his love.....
Totally bowled me over.
The worse part being...it made me look at my dietary habits.....again.
Still....I like to believe nothing would ever change my mind about going back to my vegan days....and so far, I'm holding steadfast to that belief.
(but then again his argument for a vegan diet is mostly for health benefits)

I wouldn't say that my years as a vegan and later as a vegetarian was a waste of time.....
In fact I'd say those were the most informative years of my life.
You see.....I was a vegetarian for 10 years of my life....2 out of that I was a vegan.
I was young....idealistic....and yearning to make a difference.

I said I was against animal cruelty and I took my stand.
I said I was for the environment and I took my stand.
I said I will campaign for animal liberation and I took my stand.

I seek....I read....and I learnt.

I learnt about the abuse....the cruelty.....the industry....the filth....the inhumanity.....the profits....the greed....the inpact.....the effect.

I learnt what was my meal before it was served up on my plate.
I learnt what went into making the food I usually take for granted.
I learnt the processes that took place which I prefer to imagine did not exist.

I was disgusted.
I was enlightened.
I accepted.
And I faltered.

Do I regret going back on a promise I made to myself when I was 17?
Not really.

As I grew older, I no longer hold that strongly onto my ideals.
I learnt there are no ideals....or not those that you can hold strongly onto.

You just work with what you've got to work with.

I consciously decided I wasn't going to consume meat.....and later consciously decided that I was.
But now.....I no longer see it as a patty, a steak, a burger, a meat ball, a nugget, a cup of milk.
I see it for what it is....or rather what it was.
I see it for the animal farming that it was....the bloodshed....the pain....the inhumanity.....the downside.

And I accept.

I accept that I'm part of the problem....and I accept that with every mouthful, I am contributing to the perpetuation of the issue.

And I accept.

I no longer eat with blind ignorance. I know where my food came from.
And yes...it came from a living, breathing, feeling being.

And I accept.

Part of me....a small part of me that held on tightly to my old ideals.....still hold out for the solution.
Perhaps one day.....not anytime soon.....but one day.....I may go back on that path.

But for now....I know the path....I just choose not to walk it yet.

* My name is Puisan...and I'm a bloody hypocrite....and I accept.

In the mean time, let me continue daydreaming about holidays......

* From better times.....sigh


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blog with Brooks!!!!

If you've been following this blog long enough....you'd know by now that I'm a huge fan of Brooks running shoes.
I kinda blame those Ipoh running uncles of the KRI fame for the love of all things Brooks.
It is after all, sorta like the shoe de rigueur of those fast-footed uncles.

And after I left Ipoh for home.....I still carry with me the brand loyalty instilled during those "formative" running years there.

After all....all my ultras were run in Brooks.....from the my first ever Ghost 2 (my all time favourite model and am sorely disappointed by the subsequent updates) back in Sundown 84km 2010.....to Brooks Ghost 3 for TNF 100km duo 2010.....to Brooks Launch MR25 2010.....to Brooks Ghost Launch (again) for Sundown 100km 2011.

Once they tinkered too much with Ghost model.....my subsequent all time favourite became Launch.....
In fact, I shed a tear when I found out they were discontinuing that model....*sob sob sob*

Anyway....I was delighted to be invited for the 'Blog for Brooks' event that was held at The Curve yesterday....right in front of the Brooks boutique.

* Blog with Brooks!

* Men's selection....

* Ladies' selection....

The nice people from Brooks wanted to properly introduce this brand of (exclusively) running shoes to the running blogging community.....although in actual fact, plenty of runners (and bloggers) are already big fans of the brand.
Still....I'm flattered heaps to be invited for this shindig.


* Waiting for the event to start....

* The introduction....

* My freebie door-gift. Another Brooks running tshirt.

* Healthy meal....unfortunately I was still stuffed from lunch....sigh

* Regular faces in the running community.....Moey and ChinAnn

* "Fast is my FIRST name!!!".....Hafidz, Jason and Moey

* Photog extraordinaire...

* Barefooters....

* Lenglui and Princess....

* Ryan.....looking like he has not eaten for days....

* Hafidz and Emmy.....

After some intro about the brand...about its "stand" in the running shoe market (it's about FUN!!!!)....then goes into a bit more detail about their shoe classifications and their Pure running shoe models.
It is the first time I'm being introduced to the concept of FLOAT versus FEEL shoes.

Please click HERE for more info.....

I thought it was kinda neat to categorize shoes that way......
As oppose to just saying...."regular stability shoes" versus "minimalist-trend shoes"

Oh....also during the shindig, they announced the "Brooks Frunners Challenge".
(I think the F is suppose to stand for....Fun-runners....or was it Facebook-runners.....or the more profane version, perhaps)

Its a competition targeting all running bloggers to showcase Brooks running shoes in a month long campaign.
I'd have to set up a Facebook Fan Page (yes....I NEED more fans!!!) and in that fan page I'm suppose to put up stuff featuring the brand and their shoes according to specific weekly themes.
Or something like that.
(I was a little overwhelmed with the information considering most of my blood pool in my body was actively in my GI system trying its darnest to digest my lunch)

Ooh....I hadn't mention.....the reason why I would be interested in participating in this marketing scheme (besides the fact that my mom thinks I'm practically married to my Macbook, in death do we part) is the fact that there is a prize to be won.....if selected the winner.....
RM800 bucks and equivalent amount in vouchers (yay to more Brooks shoes)!!!
Yes...it's quite an incentive to continue being married to my Macbook.

I figured...sure, I'll be part of the marketing ploy to drive up sales (I'm being honest!!!), but at least I'm helping my FAVOURITE running shoe brand as oppose to....erm.....some other brand.
Yes...that is why it is call brand loyalty.
And the fact that I'd be in the running to win $$ doesn't hurt.

Anyway....out of everything I've heard thus far at the shindig, the best thing I liked about the whole message was the GREEN one.....
Brooks currently is using BioMoGo as their midsole.....one that degrades in our landfill 50 times faster than the regular running shoes.....which is about 20 years as oppose to a 1000 years.
Click HERE for more info on BioMoGo.

Alrighty....I think I better go set up my Facebook fanpage and garner more fans.
Anyone knows where I can find myself some fans!?!?!?!?!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Keen A86 - the unexpected find

Prior to me signing up for my TMBT 50km, I didn't own a REAL pair of trail shoes.

Sure....I had the NB Minimus Trail....but one can hardly even identify that pair of "booties" as trail-anything.

(The minimus does work to a certain extend on trails....but put into the mixture a bit of rain and gravelly rocks, its a sure recipe for an impending disaster)

So I needed a pair of trail shoes.
And nope....never had an actual pair ever....not even when running TNF Singapore a couple of years back....not even for MR25.....nor for the Climbathons 2 years in a row.

I figured now was as good as any time to be having one.

But I didn't know what trail shoes to get.

Salomon was way over-budget for the government servant's paycheck's point of view....

Brooks Cascadia were a tad narrow for my liking despite my brand loyalty to Brooks....and the fact that I LOVE Scott Jurek.....

New Balance.....erm, nah!

Asics.....pricey and I'd always had my reservations about the brand being a tad elitist.
(I'm allowed my own pre-judgement of certain brands)

Northface.....I don't like Dean Karnazes that much....

Other brands.....difficult to obtain in this country. Apparently trail running ain't that popular.
(We are after all the fattest nation of South East Asia...if not Asia itself!!!!! God bless Malaysia)

So one day while walking around Paradigm Mall's World of Sports (being a mall-rat is the quintessential Malaysian pass time, after all) I spotted a pair Keen Shoes on 40% off.

I like discounts.
And the shoe amounted to less than rm200....which is very very affordable.
But.....I've not heard about this brand before.

I tried it on.....
They only have it in Men's sizes....the smallest being size 7.
I tried it on with socks.
It fit just right.

Very tempted.

I stood next to the shoes, adjacent to the sales guy...and googled up 'Keen + trail running + shoes"....

And this was what I've found....

Click HERE.....and HERE.

I was SOLD!!

Bought it there and then.

So...what did I think of the shoes!?

First thing that strikes you about these shoes are....they are light.
And they are low to the ground....unlike the usual bulky trail shoes.
It is classified as a minimalistic sorta footwear....

What I LOVE most about this pair of shoes is...the toe box is wide.
I have broad feet, unfortunately....y'know, those type of feet that AREN'T made to wear pointy heels. And after running for amore than 20km, my feet typically swells a little (ok, a lot!)....and if the toe box isn't big enough, I'm bound to have a very unpleasant remaining run....not to mention blisters and the likes.

I also like it sorta-minimalist because I feel more stable running on trail if I can "feel" the ground.
...even if sometimes "feeling" the ground hurts...especially on gravel.
I also tend not to trip over that frequent when the ground and I are "feeling" each other.

What I didn't like about the shoes......
The shoe laces suck....they reminded me of my old school shoes and they didn't feel snug despite me tugging at them constantly before each run.
And because I couldn't get them snug enough.....stones and sand get into the shoes and pisses the hell outta me while running.
(but I got around the issue by lacing them with lock-laces....)

So far.....I've taken them multiple times to kiara and kota damansara trails.

I would buy more pairs but it is bloody difficult to find them...and they are only available in the colour below.
Also I managed to convince Aileen to get a pair....
But if you're traveling overseas, the colour schemes of this model are tremendous.
Frankly I'm dying to get it in black and blue.....

* Mine with Lock-laces...Aileen's without, with the original lacings.

Anyway.....I highly recommend this pair of trail shoes for those who is interested in something minimalist but not too bare.

But of course...if you insist on brand loyalty....


Friday, August 17, 2012

Get the blogging juice flowing!!!!!

......I didn't mean to wanna blog today.
Especially not at this very moment.

In fact, I was quite happy to have put this blog on the back burner for another few more weeks...(ok...actually 2 months and there's a legit reason for that specific duration as well!)

Also...I was rather contented about pretending to NOT having this blog as to one less reason to spend that much time online.
With all the time saved from not actually being online as often as before....and we're talking in relative terms of course....my mom still thinks I'm married to my Macbook on certain days, I actually had a fair mind to delete this blog for good.


Oh I don't know. I thought perhaps this blog had ran its course and on certain days, I'm not sure what exactly I "should" be blogging anymore.
And after a while....all my races seemed to be a repetition of the year before....and if I were to just copy-and-paste last year's blog post on a particular event...change the dates...update the photos and change my finishing time....I had a sneaky feeling no one would even notice.
(.....but if by any chance, you DO notice the lack of discrepancies....my goodness...please get a life and read something else!!!)

And....I guess I didn't wanna blog about how my PD tri went....
(It was really good, if you're wondering...)

Mainly...I was getting a little lazy.

So...the other day after I finished my run at Kiara and bumped into Marmee......she was surprised to see me there...and quickly asked when I was gonna update my blog.
I was a bit stunned...I have to admit.
You don't greet someone, followed up with a comment about their lack of blogging activities.
(but then again...she said she was a fan. I was so touched.....)

I guess.....for continuation sake....I should blog.
Or at least not just blog about races....which I felt was what I've been doing for a while.

So mind me...for the next few weeks or so....I'd like to blog about absolute bullshit.
Yes....mind-numbing-full-of-shit-crap bullshit.

If this offends you (I'm inclined to think of how narrow minded some people out there are these days especially in the era of the world wide web and Google, that it boggles my mind and shakes my belief system about the "smartness" of the homo sapiens and about evolution to my very core), by all means...there are a million and one less-bullshitting blogs out there.
Go pick one.

Anyway.....like I mentioned earlier....I didn't exactly feel any spark to go on a blogging mission up until about 20 minutes ago.

Y'see......since coming back from my Indonesia trip.....I had a semi-epiphany.
(look...if I had a full on epiphany....I would tell my boss I'm taking 3 months of unpaid leave and go frolicking in my birthday suit along some isolated beach somewhere.....but I'm still here blogging)

I needed more adventure.
No....not just needed...I craved.....I ached for.....I yearn right down to my freakin core.....for more adventure.
I wanted to travel...I need to see a bit more of this world....I want to be immerse in a culture to vastly different from the shit I've grown accustomed to.....
Also....(without sounding pathetically cliche...) I wanted to know myself a bit more.
I want to feel exposed...turned inside out....to see what the hell I am really truly made off....physically....emotionally....spiritually.
I wanna read.....to explore all the literature genres available to me.....to see into bits and pieces of this world through words...through imagination.....
And I truly wanna fall in love.....cartwheeling and free-falling type of in love....with just one person....MYSELF.

Yes...I want self-discovery....I want to understand and to realize all the many facets of my awesomeness!!!!

So I've been reading travel books......books on enlightenment......books on spiritual journeys.....books on self discovery......

....and on this very day, I'm paging through one of the best ever written book about solitary travel and self discovery......and I felt an incomprehensible urge to blog about everything thus far.
I felt the need to journal my supposed journey to my own awesomeness......(get use to that word from now onwards!!)
(you guys SO have to get your hands on Cheryl Strayed's WILD - From lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail....it is EPIC!!!!)

Since PD tri.......I've not run on road......not even once.

Nope...didn't feel like it.
Hated the very idea of pounding the tarmac....very suddenly, that it caught it by utter surprise.
Instead.....I've taken to trail.
If you know me well enough....you'd know that trail and me...well, we don't do well together.
I have poor footing....crap balance....have twisted my ankles so often that it is purely amazing a fact that they are still attached to my legs.
I can still vividly remember my first EVER trail race back in TNF 2010......the one I cried after crossing the finish line.
The one that ached so badly...hurt so deeply.....hated to purely.
The same one I swore never to return...and have so far kept my promise to myself.
Or would you remember my both Climbathon attempts.....with many slippage and landing on my behind.
Or my phobia about downhill climb.....sigh

But I (kinda) signed up for TMBT (it's next month, by the way) and I need to train.

I need to not fear.
I need my body to connect with the trail.
I need to feel as if I'm Anna Frost!!!! (I'd take 1/10th of being her)
I need to run down a hill like I'm a gazelle......graceful and purposeful.....not thumping away like my tibia is gonna break in two.....
I need to be able to run over exposed roots and unkindly rocks......without tripping over and falling flat on my face.
I wanna feel natural on trail.....not awkward like how I was when I first started....or how I still am on certain days.

So I kept going back.

I ran...and I jumped....and I leaped.....and I walked....
But I kept on going back.
I tried my darnest to do hills despite naturally hating them with all my guts.
I shall conquer....and not be conquered.....I'd tell myself.
I tried to ignore the fear....of going downhill...of slipping....of falling....of losing my balance.
I just kept on running.

And one day....while I was walking up a rather steep incline during one my of solo runs (which Karen forbade me to go....but I needed to run), I had a thought.....

I don't wanna do road races anymore.....or at least not in the next year or so.
I don't wanna repeat races anymore.
Been there...done that...unless it means something more to me, save the money and forget about it.
And....I wanna do ultras again.

I know...I know.....the last ultra I did...totally burnt me off my passion to run.....
But I totally believe there's a reason and a season for all things.....for after my last ultra, I did more triathlons than I possibly thought I could do.
And perhaps I'm ready for the distance again.

More specifically....I've been toying with the idea of running the Vibram Hong Kong 100km.
I've been spiraling it around in my mind, letting it slip in and out of my conscious thoughts.....until it cements itself into my unconscious....that at this very moment.....I've decided that I will take the plunge and give it a go....(Clifford....get ready my free dinner in Hong Kong)

I did say I am yearning for an adventure, didn't I?

Oh....and I've been doing a great service for the aviation economy by booking in advance all my air tickets to various parts of Asia....to travel solo.....to live and to experience....to feel fear and to overcome....to be independent and resourceful....
Hopefully....to discover that I can depend on myself....learn whole lot more about myself....and to enjoy my own company a bit more.
(this is what all these readings have done to me.....sigh)

And in the meantime....I pray fervently that my bank account can keep up with all these imminent bouts of "self-discovering-journey".