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Friday, October 30, 2009

Wife

[I got this via email, and I can't imagine myself in the same situation. Well, who can cheat death, right? So, I dedicate this entry to my lovely wife, to tell her how important she is to my life, and to our little happy family]

4 years ago, an accident took my beloved away and very often I wonder, how does my wife, who is now in the heavenly realm, feel right now? She must be feeling extremely sad for leaving a husband who is incapable to taking care of the house and the kid. 'cos that is the exact feeling that I have, as I feel that I have failed to provide for the physical and emotional needs of my child, and failed to be the dad and mum for my child.

There was one particular day, when I had an emergency at work. Hence, I had to leave home whilst my child was still sleeping. So thinking that there was still rice leftovers, I hastily cooked an egg and left after informing my sleepy child.

With the double roles, I am often exhausted at work as well as when I am home. So after a long day, I came home, totally drained of all energy. So with just a brief hug and kiss for my child, I went straight into the room, skipping dinner. However, when I jumped into my bed with intention of just having a well-deserved sleep, all i heard and felt was broken porcelain and warm liquid! I flipped open my blanket, and there lies the source of the 'problem'... a broken bowl with instant noodles and a mess on the bedsheet and blanket!

Boy, was I mad! I was so furious that I took a clothes hanger, charged straight at my child who was happily playing with his toy, and give him a good spanking! He merely cried but not asking for mercy, except a short explanation:

"Dad, I was hungry and there wasn't anymore leftover rice. But you were not back yet, hence I wanted to cook some instant noodles. But I remembered you reminding me not to touch or use the gas stove without any adults around, hence I turned on the shower and used the hot water from the bathroom to cook the noodles. One is for you and the other is for me. However, I was afraid that the noodles will turn cold, so I hid it under the blanket to keep it warm till you return. But I forgot to remind you 'cos I was playing with my toys...I am sorry Dad..."

At that moment, tears were starting to run down my cheeks...but I didn't want my son to see his dad crying so I dashed into the bathroom and cried with the shower head on to mask my cries. After that episode, I went towards my son to give him a tight hug and applied medication on him, while coaxing him to sleep. Then, it was time to clear up the mess on the bed. When everything was done and well past midnight, I passed my son's room, and saw that he was still crying, not from the pain on his little buttock, but from looking at the photograph of his beloved mummy.

A year has passed since the episode, I have tried, in this period, to focus on giving him both the love of his dad and mum, and to attend to most of his needs. And soon, he is turning seven, and will be graduating from kindergarten. Fortunately, the incident did not leave a lasting impression on his childhood memories and he is still happily growing up.

However, not so long ago, I hit my boy again, with much regret. This time, his kindergarten teacher called, informing me of my son's absence from school. I took off early from work and went home, expecting him to explain. But he wasn't to be found, so I went around our house, calling out his name and eventually found him outside a stationery shop, happily playing computer games. I was fuming, brought him home and whack the hell out of him. He did not retaliate, except to say, 'I am sorry, Dad'. But after much probing, I realized that it was a 'Talent Show' organized by his school and the invite is for every student's mummy. And that was the reason for his absence as he has no mummy.....

Few days after the caning, my son came home to tell me, the kindergarten has recently taught him how to read and write. Since then, he has kept to himself and stayed in his room to practise his writing, which I am sure, would make my wife proud, if she was still around. 'cos he makes me proud too!

Time passes by very quickly, and soon another year has passed. It's winter, and its Christmas time. Everywhere the christmas spirit is in every passer-by...Christmas carols and frantic shoppers....but alas, my son got into another trouble. When I was about to knock off from the day's work, the post office called. Due to the peak season, the post master was also on an edgy mood. He called to tell me that my son has attempted to post several letters with no addressee. Although I did make a promise never to hit my son again, I couldn't help but to hit him as I feel that this child of mine is really beyond control. Once again, as before, he apologized, ' I'm sorry, Dad' and no additional reason to explain. I pushed him towards a corner, went to the post office to collect the letters with no addressee and came home, and angrily questioned my son on his prank, during this time of the year.

His answer, amidst his sobbing, was : The letters were for Mummy.

My eyes grew teary, but I tried to control my emotions and continued to ask him: " But why did u post so many letters, at one time?" My son's reply was: " I have been writing to mummy for a long time, but each time I reach out for the post box, it was too high for me, hence I was not able to post the letters. But recently, when I went back to the postbox, I could reach it and I sent it all at once..."

After hearing this, I was lost. Lost at not knowing what to do, what to say....

I told my son, " Son, mummy is in the heavenly kingdom, so in future, if you have anything to tell her, just burn the letter and it will reach mummy. My son, on hearing this, was much pacified and calm, and soon after, he was sleeping soundly. On promising that I will burn the letters on his behalf, I brought the letters outside, but couldnt help opening the letter before they turn to ash.

And one of the letters broke my heart....

Dear Mummy,
I miss you so much! Today, there was a 'Talent Show' in school, and the school invited all mothers for the show. But you are not around, so I did not want to participate as well. I did not tell Dad about it as I was afraid that Dad would start to cry and miss you all over again. Dad went around looking for me, but in order to hide my sadness, I sat in front of the computer and started playing games at one of the shops. Dad was furious, and he couldnt help it but scolded and hit me, but I did not tell him the real reason. Mummy, everyday I see Dad missing you and whenever he think of you, he is so sad and often hide and cry in his room. I think we both miss you very very much. Too much for our own good I think. But Mummy, I am starting to forget your face. Can you please appear in my dreams so that I can see your face and remember you? I heard that if you fall asleep with the photograph of the person whom you miss, you will see the person in your dreams. But mummy, why havent you appear?

After reading the letter, I cant stop sobbing. 'cos I can never replace the irreplaceable gap left behind by my wife....

For the females with children:
Don't do so much overtime. If you cannot finish the work, it must be some kind of problems within the company, and it is not your sole problem. Feedback to your boss. Endless overtime may not necessary be the answer to the problem. Take care of your health so that you can treasure and take care of your little precious.

For the married men:
Drink less, smoke less, cos nothing can replace your good health, not even business nor clients. Try thinking this way, are you able to work till your clients are totally dependent on you? or your boss is totally dependent on you? In this society, no one is indispensable. Take care of your health, so that you can take care of your little precious and your loved ones.

For those singles out there:
Beauty lies in loving yourself first. With confidence and loving yourself, you will see the beauty in other things around you. You will be able to work better and happier. Don't let your health be affected by your work or your boss, so nothing matters more than your well being.

Out little happy family.
Taken at Genting, during my birthday last Monday.
A great family outing.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dari Mata...

Without any doubt, one of the many reasons why or how I started to venture into doing triathlon and endurance sports is because of being inspired by reading from triathletes’ blogs. There were many good bloggers back then who used to write inspirational posts, even without them realizing it. And somehow, some people (like me) ended up trying to become like them – the power of inspiration.

Things have changed nowadays however, when I noticed Facebook has taken a lot of their attention from blogging. Many inspirational blogs I used to follow are now scaling down. Lesser entries, lesser updates. Many have actively migrated to Facebook, making new home for virtual spiders (hint: leaving cobwebs on the blog).

I’m not talking about everybody or anybody in particular though, because fortunately they are still some active inspirational bloggers who are also actively Facebook-ing. I wonder how many free hours per day these people have.

OK, I should stop talking about this. I’ve diverted further away from what I initially intent to write about. Let’s go back to my point.

I’ve mentioned that I’m in the off-season mode. Right.

But, lately and especially with so many interesting races going around in this last quarter or 2009, which none of them I participated, and upon reading the interesting blog entries about the races, I can’t control my envy-ness inside me. My legs are itchy again.

Time to put a stop to my resting Brooks Cascadia 4.

I signed up for this.

I’m not sure whether this is my closing race for 2009, or should I consider this as a new starter for 2010 season?

One thing for sure, this is going to be something new for me. I need to start twitching my legs one step further – into competitive trail running.

The old folks said, “Dari mata turun ke hati”

I say, “Dari mata, turun ke kaki”.
Terlajak beb.

That’s why I still actively read blogs for inspirations.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Three One

What is so big deal about our age? Well, let's see...

At 6 years old, you can start enroll in a kindergarten school, to play and learn with other kids the same age as yours. Kids nowadays even start going to pre-school as early as 5 years old, some may already be sent to 'pre-of-the-pre-school' when they reached 4 years old. Crazy or weird? Or too advance?

From 7 to 12 years old, we had to go to primary school. During my time, I remember only taking 4 subjects for UPSR (the big exam at standard six), but I have no idea how many subjects kids nowadays have to cover. These were the years where the words like “no”, or “don't” can never blend well with our brain wave.

13 to 17 years old, the secondary school premier. If I ever to give advise to those students in secondary school on how to pass the exam with flying colors – memorize everything! Only after I finished with my SPM that I know about this little secret. The more you can memorize, the higher the chance is for you to score well in the exams. But, even if anyone would ever ask me to re-do my SPM, I definitely will say NO. Ahahaha.

One of the scariest moment in my life was when I stepped into and sat inside the 747-400 Boeing airplane, on my way from Subang Airport (back then Subang Airport was the international airport, before KLIA was built) to Heathrow Airport in London, to pursue my higher education oversea. Being 17 years old at that time, it was a big challenge for me to be far far far far far away from my beloved family. Knowing that I had to spend 5 years in the United Kingdom, I prayed that I can return safely back to my home country, with a degree in my hand, as a present to my parents.

I still remember when I got the result of my final year exam which I passed, I called up my father:

“Dad, my result just came out. I'm sorry I can't meet the target as you set for me. I couldn't get a first class degree. I'm sorry. I've tried my best, but it was so hard to score first class. I'm sorry dad.”

“So, are you saying you've got your degree? You passed the final exams?” My dad trying to reconfirm what he have just heard.

“Yes dad, I passed. But I did not get first class.” I clarified him.

There was a silence on the end of the phone line. I was waiting to be scolded, or something similar to that from my father. But it was just a silence.

“Dad, are you okay? I'm sorry I can't get first class as I promised.”. I tried to break the silence.

With a voice like someone who is in tears, my dad said...

“...It's okay son. I don't care what your result is. I know you've tried your best. I am just so happy to hear that you've passed your exam and now you have a bachelor degree in engineering in your hand. I'm so proud of you son. Sorry for the short silence just now, I did sujud syukur. I am so grateful. Now my responsibility to give formal education to you have finished, and I hope you grow up to become a good man.”

Hearing that, I broke into tears.

That was 9 years ago, and I was 22 years old.

From then onwards, my life continued further with me having a family, a career, making many more new friends and though I was done with my formal education, I never let myself stop learning.

Today, my age turned 31. And I still haven't stop learning. I love to learn (though I can say I hate exams). I like to learn about life, about people's behavior, about how to become a better person.

For me, the only way to become better is to learn. Learn the good and the bad from what you experience, from what you see around you, from what people are talking about, from what you read, and convert them all to make yourself better.

I don't know for how many more days, or months or years I will be alive, but I pray that I will always have the strength and interest to continue learning and to become a better person.

Happy 31st birthday, EnAikAY.
LOOK FORWARD, THINK AHEAD.

P/s: I don't like cake as much as I like roast chicken. Cake can make me fat and unhealthy, but roast chicken can make me one happy birthday boy!

Errr... boy?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Morning With Mini LSD

It has been quite long time since I last did a Long Slow Distance (LSD) run. I can't even remember when was the last time I did it. Perhaps the 21km run during Desaru Long Distance triathlon back in August was the last long run I did. And that was in a race environment, not a training session.

Being in the off-season mode, which to me means that I'm not entering any competition at this moment, I still do some maintenance training. It depends on the available time I have, as well as the itchiness in my legs. So, once in a while I still do one or two 5km-ish run per week, and lucky enough if I can also clock some short distance cycling mileage during the weekly Wednesday night ride in JB.

And as you know in the month of Syawal, open houses were everywhere, every weekends. That provided an easy excuse for not going out to run during the weekends. Oh ya, at least I was able to do two sessions of trail running. First at Gunung Nuang, the second time at FRIM. Trail running is fun.

And that's how I've been living in my off-season mode.

For me, LSD training is something on it's own. I think only those who are going to do a half or full marathon race will have to do few LSD runs, to enhance their endurance capabilities. LSD is tiring, it's hard and it's definitely boring to be done alone.

But this morning I woke up early, for not knowing what the main reason was, took my trusty Adidas Adizero LT shoes and headed to Kiara Park. I set in mind to run from Kiara Park, to Petronas station at Hartamas and make a u-turn there.

And that was what I did this morning. A good mini LSD run of about 14km, ran in a slow time of 1hr20min.

It was boring to run alone. I used to run this route together with Kash few months ago while we were preparing for KL International Marathon and doing up to 25km or 30km with a training buddy was still bearable, and doable. Not sure if I can run that long alone. Anyway, I felt a good sensation for having completed the run alone. Ironic huh?

And as my fitness level is not at it's best level now, I had to do few walk breaks along the way, especially when attacking some climbs. I also felt a glitch of pain on my calves, nothing serious. That's normal. No big deal. I know I can handle it.

It was fun to be running on the road again. Equally fun to be seeing many other people at the park putting the effort to exercise, living a healthy lifestyle.

Yeah, now I remember. To have a healthy lifestyle was the main reason why I woke up this morning to run this mini LSD.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Off-Season-ing

Dua tiga kucing berlari,
Mana nak sama si kucing belang,
Saya memang dah lama tak lari,
Terasa fitness dah makin kurang.

Sorong papan tarik papan,
Buah keranji dalam perahu,
Suruh makan saya makan,
Suruh carboloading memang saya laju!!

Pulau Pandan jauh ke tengah,
Gunung Daik bercabang tiga,
Baru 10km dah rasa mengah,
Kalau 20km lupakan aje!

Pisang emas dibawa belayar,
Masak sebiji di atas peti,
Bila nak training saya cakap “malas lar”,
Bila nak race saya cakap “ini boleh mati!”

Pucuk pauh delima batu,
Anak semilang di tapak tangan,
Badan dah rasa letih dan lesu,
Tak turun training, nah rasakan!

Buah cempedak di tepi tebing,
Ambil galah tolong jolokkan,
Saya budak dah malas nak training,
“Off-season mode” dijadikan alasan.

Berakit-rakit ke hulu,
Berenang-renang ke Langkawi..
Alang-alang terus buat Ironman.

[Hahaha.. tingginya angan-anganku]

Tee Dough Lar Ghee Sir Darp

Monday, October 19, 2009

YEA!

The Young Endurance Athlete (YEA) triathlon 2009 was held at Putrajaya Presint 6 last weekend, and I was there as a volunteer, among others, to give help whenever and wherever needed.

The Participation T-shirt

The registration and triathlon race clinic was held on Saturday morning, while the actual race where the kids braved themselves with the three disciplines of a triathlon, was on Sunday morning. Being purely a volunteer this time, I don't really know what's going on behind the scenes from the organizing committee's perspective, nor that I know what the participants felt during the two days. But I hope everything went well, and most importantly, enjoyable!

Saturday's Triathlon Clinic

I arrived just slightly after 7am and there were already some parents registering their children. I met a few triathlete friends who were there as the organizing committee and coaches, and some others who turned up just like me, to become volunteers.

Committee members and volunteers working hand in hand to make sure the success of this event.

I mingled around the registration area, helping out here and there, as required, as well as to do what I think was necessary. Being a volunteer, there are times where your instinct and initiative plays a greater role. Having some experience when I helped out during JB City Eco Challenge few months ago, it helps me in my 'taking initiative' department this time.

Kash helping out her daughter putting on the race number.

Parents helping their kids at the bike transition area.

When the triathlon clinic started, the participants were grouped into their respective age groups. All of them were then brought to the swimming pool, where the coaches taught them some basic stretching tips, and other tips regarding triathlon swimming. And especially in triathlon, there is such thing we call 'mass-swimming', i.e. swimming together close to each other that body contacts might occur. So one should be mentally aware and at least, know what to expect during the swim.

Stretching session by the pool side. Proper stretching is a must in a multisport like triathlon.

Water confidence verification was done to see whether there were any participants who might need some assistance during the swim leg on race day.

After they were done with the swim, each of the three age groups were asked to follow three team of coaches where next triathlon tips were taught, namely the transition, the bike, and finally the run.

Short break at water/fruit station to quench the thirst.

Another view of the transition area.

Watch out!!!

Weapon! This babe can sit three triathletes at one time ya' know.

Triathlete In Action!

A coach giving some tips on bike handling skills. How to turn, how to mount, how to dismount, etc.

Another coach shared her knowledge on what to do during transition. In triathlon, there are two transitions, 1) Swim-Bike transition, and 2) Bike-Run transition. It may sound easy, but it's actually pretty tricky. Have you seen a triathlete running with a helmet on, or cycling while still wearing swimming goggles?

Not to forget that running also requires some kind of knowledge. We definitely do not want to get injured during running, do we?

I can't help it but seeing the many kinds of helmets were very entertaining. My favorite would definitely be the one with the horns. Cool, isn't it?

I also saw this helmet, compete with a visor! Don't play-play okay!

The triathlon clinic ended somewhere in the afternoon, but I had to leave slightly earlier due to the many Raya open house invitations I have to fulfill that Saturday afternoon.

Sunday's Triathlon Race

I arrived Putrajaya as early as 6.10am in the morning as there were very limited resource of volunteers but many things to be done before any participants and parents arrive. Unfortunately due to a strong storm and rain earlier in the morning, all cones that were used to mark the road were blown off from their original positions, and I spent some times in the dark rearranging them.

Once the parents and participants arrived, I made myself busy manning the body marking area. This was my first experience to body mark people, where all this while I was the one being marked.
(Photos courtesy of Kash)

By 7.30am, the race briefing took place. Kids being kids, and parents being parents, I guess the committee had a tough time getting and holding their attention. As a triathlete myself, I always consider race briefing as one important aspect when going to an event, because eventhough the race route might be similar to the previous years', there might just be some additional information being given during a race briefing. As a racer, I never skipped any race briefing so far.

Race briefing in progress.

Since I had to be stationed at the swimming pool, I did not bring along my camera. No more photos from then onwards.

At the swimming pool, we gathered the age groupers and released them for their races in three waves. One group at a time. Most of them were eager to start the race, especially the smaller kids. They just can't wait to get things started.

And since the format of the race was that, we let each age groupers to finish all the swim, bike and run first before we release the next age groupers to start with their swims. That means, I had to be only at the swimming pool and not being able to watch the kids bike and run and collect the medals at the finishing line. Anyway, I was just a volunteer, so I don't mind (but, I am incapable of telling more stories about what happened outside the swimming pool).

After releasing the final age groupers and making sure they all swam successfully, I quickly went to grab my camera and rushed myself to the finishing line to grab some more photos.

The finishing line.

Go, go, go!

So cute.

Anyway, the race ended well, with no injuries or any kind of incidents (not that I know of). I'm not sure what the participants thought about the event, and am not sure what the comments are from the parents. I hope all were OK, and hopefully all had fun. Once again, I was not part of the committee. And as a volunteer, it was a bless to see the kids and parents smiling.

I guess the parents were as proud as the participants. I think they all love the medals.

Loads of drinks and fruits were served. What a treat!

This group of triathletes came from Ipoh, and they stayed overnight at the event area. And two of them won both the C and B categories. They were packing their stuffs onto the truck before heading home with a new experience being a, triathlete.

That's all from me, thank you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kiara Park

Just a quick guide for those who have heard about Kiara Park at TTDI (Tmn Tun Dr. Ismail) but have not been there yet. Here is some basic information I would like to share, summarized in the form of satellite view image. You can come here if you want to run around the park, or do some off road trail running, or tackle the torturing Kiara Hill.

You can start with looking up at Google Maps Malaysia with a search text of “Taman Tun Doktor Ismail” or “Kiara Park”, and you will be showed a satellite view or map as below. Zoom further in if you wish to see more details.

For those who are not familiar with PJ area, first easy landmark you can use to start your navigation would be One Utama. Follow the map above, and you can get to Kiara Park. It would take less than 5 minutes to get there by car, from One Utama.
(Click image to enlarge)

Look for Jalan Abang Haji Openg, and you will find two entrance doors of the Kiara Park. Enter the car park area. And if the car park is full (as it normally does on weekend mornings and evenings), you may park along side Jalan Abang Haji Openg (at your own risk). Somewhere on the east side of the car park area, you can find an off-road trail.
(Click image to enlarge)

If the off-road trail isn’t sufficient to satisfy your hunger for self-torture (read: good training), you can make your way towards Kiara Hill. From the car park, go southwards, then east, then north (following the green arrows), then you will meet a long inclination or tarmac, where the Kiara Hill tarmac track begins.
(Click image to enlarge)

Hope this little information helps to clarify something, especially for those who are not familiar with TTDI/PJ area. I used to run here a few times with Kash during our SC KL marathon training (starts from Kiara Park and u-turn at Jln Duta Mosque), also did the off-road trail run once, and a couple of times running up Kiara Hill.

Enjoy!