Saturday, December 31, 2005

I haven't blogged since reaching Singapore, partly because my brother managed to make the broadband connection at home all wonky, and also because I've been caught up with a dozen other things. But honestly it's a lovely feeling- being busy catching up with people you haven't seen in a couple of months, getting the chance to touch base with them, just hanging out and doing quirky things you can only do with good pals. Like meeting up with the canoers (haha!) and collectively devouring five slices of cake (six, if you count Vania's chocolate cake which we surreptiously tried to pass off as one of the cafe's offerings) at Secret Recipe in record time, or hanging out with my dearest buddy at Far East Plaza and agonizing over haircuts (we have to go check out those deep-fried Mars Bars too), and going to church at the new location in the Singapore Expo, which was pretty sweet. One week left to do all the things I haven't done yet, as well as stuff my face with all the food I haven't tasted yet. Then it's back to the wintry cold of Michigan and picking my way through the icy slush. Can't wait.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Phew. It does feel good not having to worry about exams and studying... Well, at least until next year, where I'll be unceremoniously flung back into the whole hullabaloo of college classes, crew practice, studying at the law quad, and having to figure out German homework. I'm done for now, though, which is a relief. Isn't it amazing how time passes so fast? I'm one-eighth through with undergraduate college life in the States. I know the three-and-a-half years I have left seem like a pretty long time, but it isn't, really. Especially since in reality we only spend a total of eight or so months in active study- well, in classes, at least- I've realized that going to classes doesn't necessarily constitute engaging your mind in purposeful learning, but of course it's an extremely good idea to do so and I thoroughly advise everyone to do that. Hahaha.

The hallway of my dorm is pretty quiet now- the kids who live on my floor as well as the one below all belong to the Honors College, and we had our last paper for Great Books today- so everyone's pretty much disappeared back home to spend Christmas with their families. I'm looking forward to leaving in a couple of hours! I must say that the past two weeks have probably passed slower than the rest of the four months put together. It's the excitement of the impending return to Singapore, coupled with the studying for exams and the erg practices, which seem to make time drag on for an eternity. I've been subjecting my body to torture over the past few days, because of the 20-hour plane ride home, in which I will be rendered largely immobile, especially so if there is a large American seated next to me. And Northwest Airlines isn't exactly reputed for comfort, its food, or its inflight entertainment, for that matter. It will be a LONG plane ride. Yeah so anyway I've been training like crazy the past few days since I figure I can get rest on the plane- haha it's really sort of funny how my priorities are, I rank training right up with studying for exams. Both are equally important. Most people'd forgo training when it comes to the crunch, say, the day before the exam, or perhaps even a couple of days before. But I couldn't let myself do that, and so, even before Great Books exam this morning, I was out of the door, heels pounding the ice and snow, on my 7-mile run. I don't know why and how I got this hardcore, but let's just say it's intensely fulfilling. Hahaha.

Anyway all I can think about now is how I can possibly get my suitcase to shut. Hmmm. You'll have to excuse me while I go figure it out. See you guys in Singapore soon! I'm still using my Singapore handphone number- the 9476---- one, so just drop me a line, a SMS or something! I'll be back on 24th Dec sometime just past midnight, so I'll be able to enjoy Christmas Eve and Christmas in Singapore. Peace out.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Great Books exam tomorrow- my final paper, but look what I've had to wade through. Boy will I be glad when it's over.

The Iliad
The Odyssey


The Histories


The History of the Peloponnesian War

The Acharnians
The Clouds

The Medea
The Bacchae


Blast those darned Greeks.

Monday, December 19, 2005

I'm staring at my suitcase as I type this and honestly I'm starting to get worried that I won't have enough space for everything. You might wonder, "What? She's only coming back to Singapore for 15 days and she's fretting over not being able to pack everything into her suitcase?" You see, I think I overdid the food bit. Half my suitcase's filled with food (Krispy Kremes, Two-Bite Brownies, about a thousand Hershey's bars) and other things that I've been dispatched to bring back for people, and I'm quite sure I might run into a little trouble when I attempt to shut my suitcase. Oh dear, I'm not looking forward to having to close it at all. And I can just imagine the look on the faces of the baggage handlers as they run my suitcase through the x-ray machine and notice the faint outlines of two dozen circular objects with holes in their centers, amidst other dubious shapes. Extra-large washers? I think not. More like Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnuts.

Anyway so if any one wants to try Krispy Kremes, please stake your claim right now. Apparently they're the best doughnuts on the face of this earth. And since half my baggage space is devoted to eatables you can't find in Singapore, you'd better jump at the chance to try these! God I just hope I can somehow find space for my clothes. -faints.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

One of my favorite songs of all time- the words are starkly simple, yet beautiful.

I've been down and
I'm wondering why
These little black clouds
Keep walking around
With me
With me

It wastes time
And I'd rather be high
Think I'll walk me outside
And buy a rainbow smile
But be free
They're all free

So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home
So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home

I look around at a beautiful life
Been the upperside of down
Been the inside of out
But we breathe
We breathe

I wanna breeze and an open mind
I wanna swim in the ocean
Wanna take my time
For me
All me

So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home
So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home

Stereophonics :: Maybe Tomorrow

Come to think of it, I'll be home soon.
Can't wait.

Friday, December 16, 2005

okay so now I'm officially halfway through exams after Polsci 140 today! Thanks for your prayers (You know who you are. You don't know how much the constant support means to me.) A short take on how the exam went- it was a two-hour long paper, but people were allowed to leave once one hour was up if they'd finished. For the life of me I can't fathom how so many people left after an hour, because I spent an hour and forty-five minutes on the paper, and when I looked up from my last essay I realized that there was scarcely anyone left in the auditorium (which had been almost fully occupied at the beginning of the exam). Of course only the conscientious people stayed till the very end. Hahaha. Anyway, I felt that the paper was possibly the best exam I'd ever sat for- honestly, I had a most enjoyable time answering all the questions and I don't think I could have prepared for it any better than I already had. Only that it was slightly disconcerting when I realized that half an hour into the exam, some people had already started on their long essay (the final component) while I was still in the midst of my compare-and-contrast-political-terms component. I'm really glad I took this class- Introduction to Comparative Politics- in fact, when I first registered for classes I chose Polsci 101 (Introduction to Political Theory), only to realize that, 1. the final exam for the class fell during the exact same time slot as my Great Books final, and I wouldn't be able to take that lest I had a Time-Turner, and 2. Political Theory was unbelievably boring- full of Socratic musings and ancient writings and things I had absolutely no interest in whatever. So I switched to Polsci 140 and from the looks of it I think it was a good decision. It even might be the field of political science I eventually end up majoring in.

Anyway for those of you who want me to order things online and've only just informed me- I'm sorry but I don't think the items you plan to order will arrive in time for me to be able to bring them back, because shipping during the holiday season (especially Christmas time) is insane and there isn't a hope of them arriving by next Wednesday latest. So maybe next time lah. Let me know earlier or something. But if you want food or items that I can procure easily (AND CHEAPLY) then you can try to let me know, but of course I have a selective memory when it comes to such issues- so if I don't oblige you please don't be too offended. (Just pretend I forgot. Even though I most probably didn't. Hahaha.)

And I know Michigan merchandise is awesome (here's a little bit of trivia- the Michigan 'M' is the best-selling and most-recognized college icon in the USA-- Ha I wonder what happened to the prestige of the Ivies? Who even knows (or cares, for that matter), what the Harvard badge looks like? Or the Yale one? Hmmmm?) but it's sort of expensive especially when you take into consideration the exchange rate so please lah, don't be too demanding okay? Thanks. Of course, if you want a Michigan Crew shirt, reason being that you are my No. 1 fan, I'll be more than happy to oblige you and you can even have an autographed photo of me. Otherwise, forget it. Hahaha.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Today marked the last day of classes for the Fall 2005 term, as well as the final day of organized crew practice (well, until we return from winter break. It's nowhere near over yet. Hahaha). My legs were stubbornly uncooperative today, probably owing to the thrashing I gave them yesterday, what with the Romanian deadlifts and Bulgarian squats (I have a fetish for Russian-themed exercises), and seeing that it was 7.5km Medley day, I realized it probably hadn't been an exceptionally brilliant idea to have done all those yesterday. Enough about practice. After practice we traipsed down to Candace's (one of our assistant coaches, a fourth-year senior, I think) place for soups in bread bowls kindly sponsored by our coach, salads, hummus, guacamole, and a range of delectable desserts. I didn't stay for long though, returned to South Quad around 7pm and the relative isolation of my room. It's nice to be in a quiet place sometimes. My teammates are so noisy it's funny. There's a girl called Britta- she's awesome, just that in her friend's words, she has "personality enough for SIX people". Which is perhaps a true measure of her... well, Presence. Once I was at the basement of South Quad and heard a familiar voice thundering from four floors up. Sure enough, it was Britta. When she opens her mouth to speak at the dinner table in the cafeteria, everyone within a ten-meter radius instinctively turns to look at her. That girl is fantastic. Hahaha.

Anthropology final today was pretty uneventful, considering that I finished studying for it on Saturday. One down, three more to go- the next is Political Science on Friday. I'm about halfway done with revision for polsci, and having quite a bit of fun with it since it's a really interesting subject and a class I'm entirely glad I took this semester. Anyway you guys back home- if you have anything you'd like me to possibly procure for you, do let me know. Sam, I remember your jellybellies so don't worry about that. And please remember that after all I am still a poor student studying in a foreign land and not very rich in any sense of the word so please do not ply me with extravagant requests. On the same note, baggage space is limited, so moderation in both aspects will be very much appreciated.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I'm sorry for the post below- of late I've been blogging about pretty cheery things or issues that revolve around decidedly benign topics like school or rowing or life in general. But sometimes it just hits me like a sack of bricks and there I go all over again. Whatever man.

Every so often your MSN icon pops up on my screen and I can barely restrain myself from letting my fingers run over the touchpad, towards the link that I wish would lead me to you. Sometimes I can't help myself and in doing so it opens up a window- in more ways than one, a window of possibilities, that could have been, that might never be. And it's always the same- a blank window, me racking my brain to think of something new I could possibly use to strike up a conversation, always wishing that you'd talk to me again, feeling almost as though I'd give anything for that to happen. But I've resigned myself to the inescapable reality that you'll never be the one who initiates the conversation, it's as though I've faded from your life into nothingness, almost like I never was there in the first place. Sometimes I do manage to weakly tap out an abstract sentence or two- perhaps something like how's it going or how have you been or a similarly meagre attempt at striking up a semblance of a conversation. And then I wait with bated breath for your response; sometimes it never comes, which I'm almost glad of; because when (if) it comes, it's something largely monosyllabic- a terse response, a non-committal answer, something that arises out of obligation. And when that happens, as I know it always will, I'll reply with a superficially cheery answer or a response that tries its best to be enthusiastic- and that'd be the end of it till the next time that familiar icon pops up on my screen and wreaks havoc in my heart all over again.

And I think to myself, hah that's funny, where did the letters and the phone calls and the emails go to?

Then, I remember that we never had those in the first place.

"Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life...You give them a piece of you. They didn't ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like 'maybe we should be just friends' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love."

--Neil Gaiman

Sometimes I wonder- how did we ever fall so far?

Cynical, jaded, faithless, disappointed, disillusioned, used
If I could take back all my sweat, my tears, my sex, my joy
I would
My time, my love, my effort, passion, dedication
In case of mistaken identity I gave these things to you
If I sound angry, bitter, sad, infatuated,
It's the truth
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, just a few
Stages of acceptance that it's really over
It's just so complicated and
I'm stupid for believing in you

I had your back, I held you up,
I told you you were good enough
It was not reciprocated,
You kept affection and yourself apart
You fed your love to me
Like crumbs to pigeons in the park
Sometimes I think you're satisfied
To see me begging like a dog
I wasn't armoured, you were king,
I gave my everything
Because sometimes you showed me
Just a hint of you and then
For just a moment I romanticised the notion
I can take away the torment,
I can love you like they never did

Darren Hayes :: Unlovable

Bloody hell. Why do I still love you?
HAHAHA sorry lah very hungry can? LOL!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

We played basketball for yesterday's cross-training session in the afternoon; it was exhilaratingly fun, especially after not having played a proper game in such a long time. And my teammates are pretty good basketball players, a couple of them played for varsity in high school- one or two'd be ready to take on the guys any time- and even those that weren't on the basketball team back in school, they were still good! It's a far cry from back home where precious few girls (excepting the basketballers) can actually play basketball with some semblance of the real thing. On the whole, it was a fantastic workout and a great game and a much-appreciated respite from erging.

Anyway I just spent my entire Thursday night doing absolutely nothing and my finals start next week so perhaps I should begin worrying now. Okay whatever lah I'll make sure I mug anthropology real hard tomorrow to make up for it. Gotta chiong like mad already! (Speaking of chionging, it's pretty funny how I have to resist the temptation to use words like these when talking to my American friends, especially my teammates. Like you know how we always used to use "chiong" in canoeing, for instance when Jiao4 Lian4 gives us 8 x 500m pieces at, say, 80% intensity, then we'll go "let's chiong the last 500m!" or something to that effect. So the other day I was on the erg between pieces and I was talking to one of my teammates, I can't remember who, but she was on the erg besides mine. And the program that particular day was short but painfully intense. I think we were almost done, probably at the last couple of sets, so during the rest period I turned to her and said "Good job! Now we just gotta chion--, errr, I mean, now we've just got to pull really hard for the last few minutes!" Good thing I didn't say "chiong"; I think it's a word that'll probably sound strangely awkward and jarring to American ears. Hahaha.)

The other day as I was walking to practice with Jay Chou's Ye Qu plugged into my ears, my coach happened to pop out of her office and she went "What are you listening to?" Well I couldn't very possibly tell her Jay Chou, since she'd have no inkling who he was anyway, so I just replied "Chinese music". (Makes it sound like I'm listening to classical Chinese opera or something of that sort). So now apparently I've been delegated the task of making an "Asian Music Mix" for erging to. My goodness. If anyone's got any fast-paced or remotely energetic Asian songs, please send them to me. For the life of me, I can barely think of any. Haha.

Bloody hell the South Quad fire alarm went off just as I finished the above paragraph and so I've just returned from my sojourn downstairs clad in my sleeping pants, t-shirt and jacket. And it didn't go off as the result of a fire drill or anything remotely legitimate- it went off to signal the start of the annual Snowball Fight between South and West Quad (it's an event that takes place during the first heavy snowfall of winter, where the residents of both dorms will congregate in the piercing cold and hurl snowballs, or, if you're slightly deranged and sadistic, lumps of ice, at each other across the street). Gah! I debated staying in my room but decided against it because I somehow know that the one time I remain in my room in deliberate ignorance of a fire alarm will be the one time it's a genuine alarm. So I went downstairs and mooshed around in the snow a bit and found Michela who was similarly pissed by the whole affair since she'd been asleep since 10.30pm. We crept back into South Quad after the alarmingly obese security officers switched the alarm off and so here I am typing this when the rest of my dorm is out mucking about in the snow and generally getting wet and soggy. As you can probably tell, I'm not much of a fan when it comes to snow. I much prefer sleep, thank you very much. Aiiight it's time for bed now.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

phoooooooey my GTBOOKS paper is killing me! I'm caught in that odd sort of situation where you've got a ton of ideas yet nothing to say at the very same time, which is a distinctly uncomfortable place to be in right now. Those of you who like tragedy and lots of gloom, the play The Medea will probably be your cup of tea. I'll take a brief moment to give you a better idea of what it's about. It isn't boring, I promise.

It involves a jilted woman (Medea), her children, a Golden Fleece, the woman's gormless husband (Jason) and a young princess (Glauce) he intends to marry after the divorce is finalized, the princess' father (Creon), a visiting king who happens to be infertile (Aegeus), and of course the obligatory Chorus which is made up of a dozen or so women who don't really do anything of much significance besides bursting abruptly into song at the most unexpected of intervals. Anyway so Medea is jilted by Jason even after she's helped him gain the Golden Fleece (I really don't see the beauty of a Golden Fleece, but apparently some people like that sort of thing) and gone through all sorts of trials and tribulations. And she's a really vengeful woman, you see, so she plots to kill her children (so they can't carry on the patriarchal line) as well as the lovely young thing her husband has deserted her for. But she has a problem- she doesn't know where to seek asylum after carrying out her grisly mission. Suddenly, however, Aegeus appears out of nowhere (bad move here, Euripides- it's the equivalent of ending your story with waking from a dream when you can't think of an alternative plausible ending) and Medea promises him drugs to cure his infertility in return for her seeking asylum in Athens. So he agrees, and she is happy, and off she goes to kill everyone. And her creativity in murder is laudable- she has her children carry gifts of a diadem and a dress to Glauce, so that nothing is suspect. Glauce gleefully dons the diadem and dress (Ooohh! Clothes for my wedding! How nice!) and sashays up and down along the length of the hall. But all of a sudden she starts frothing at the mouth and her skin starts peeling off, and... I can't begin to describe it, but essentially it's not a pretty sight. Oh no it isn't. And Creon has absolutely no idea what's happening and rushes to save her and in the process the poison welds him to her as well and they die in the most tragic of embraces. And after that Medea kills her children and Jason rushes out but it's far too late for him to do anything- she's already hovering ten feet above him in the air in- get this, a chariot drawn by dragons- and she gives a tinkling laugh, waves goodbye to him with the most merry of expressions, and gallops away.

So you sort of get the idea. I can just see Euripides starting to slowly rotate in his grave at my retelling of his beloved play, but whatever. Anyway below are the opening two paragraphs of my essay. I've got to get back to finishing this paper now. Enjoy!

Moral ambiguity is a hallmark of Greek tragedy, and Euripides leaves the audience to ponder the dilemma between rationality and reason as explored in The Medea. The main character of the play, Medea, is entirely antithetical to the ancient Greek ideal of the heroic protagonist; she is female, a sorceress, and a foreigner, all of which are characteristics that work towards creating a perception of her which is inadvertently clouded by traditional bias. She synthesizes the traits that typically characterize passion and reason, in the process defying stereotypes and evoking dilemma. By transcending the rational through allowing her actions to be guided by base emotions, she reacquaints the audience with the harsh, inescapable realities of human violence. The fundamental question that Euripides evokes through the complex portrayal of Medea and her motivations stem from the correlation between sympathy for her and condemnation of her actions, culminating in the creation of dilemma- just exactly what measure of her deeds can be attributed to logical reason and thus lawfully condoned?

Euripides masterfully exploits a trick of the sophistic movement by evoking conflicting sentiments in the audience concerning Medea’s actions. Initially, the audience is inclined to sympathize with her over the blatant injustice she has been dealt by Jason, and also because she is subject to marginalization due to her position in society. However, as the play progresses, the audience is gradually introduced to the darker, horrific realities of the situation; where Medea’s deeds can no longer be attributed purely to the irrationality caused by the accompanying emotional upheaval following Jason’s actions. Rather, they are borne out of her macabre, vengeful desire for retribution that is only assuaged upon the massacre of Creon, Glauce, and perhaps most disturbing of all, her children. Herein lies the inherent ambiguity which obscures the play; the fine line between condoning and condemning actions borne out of emotion is increasingly difficult to define as the plot unfolds. At the very end of the play, amidst the fading reverberations of horror, the audience is forced to contemplate the rationale behind Medea’s deed and whether the wrongs dealt to her were deserving of the gruesome recourse she unleashed in her fury. The audience is gradually subsumed into the swirling morass of retribution as the plot progresses, swayed by the cunning ingenuity and conviction of Medea; only waking to the unpleasant realization at the end that perhaps the boundaries for justice have been trespassed.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

wow damn shagged today, and lots of things to do by the end of the week to boot. my last great books 191 paper- it's far more difficult to get this one done (and by done, i mean with standard) than the previous one, perhaps because my expectations are relatively high following the A+ on that paper which was not entirely unexpected (because i worked for it, you limeys) HAHA. My brain is full of random ideas but i've to take the time to sieve them through and it's not happening yet. and i've got a German roleplay on thursday and lines to dutifully memorize for my part, which is also nowhere near happening yet. and for crew practice today we had a forty-minute continuous swing row which is probably the worst sort of practice you can hit me with. it's bloody boring and i can't help but to be acutely aware of the clock ticking down on my ergometer. isn't it fascinating how it takes no effort at all to space out in class, but on the ergometer every second drags by like it's attached to a lead weight? the good thing about today is that i registered for my classes next semester- so i'll be taking German 102, Great Books 192, Communications 101 and Comm Lab 111, as well as Political Science 160. i'm pretty pleased with my schedule (although its 17 credits) so that works out fine. okay sorry i just had to rant a little about my busy busy life, i suppose i'm ok now. hahaha not quite, but almost!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

It's been a long day but it's finally winding to an end, but of course that similarly implies that half my weekend is gone, which isn't a very pretty thought either. As typically expected, I proceeded to pummel myself in the morning with an erg workout at 8.30am, followed by weights at the CCRB at 10, and finishing it off with a 7-mile run at the Nichols Arb with Heidi (one of my teammates). It's the first time I've been to the Arb- for those of you unacquainted with U-M terminology, Arb is short for the Nichols Arboretum, a beautiful expanse of rolling hills and breathtaking scenery flanking the Huron River; in the heart of Ann Arbor, and very much a part of the college campus. After the run, we went for lunch at Stockwell where she stays, and feasted on Cream of Wheat (Cream of Wheat is the next best thing to oatmeal, I assure you) and had an altogether splendid time since we are both large fans of those two foods. Anyway after that I went back to my room and spent four hours agonizing over my polsci paper- but I've finally managed to get it out of the way and I hope I get a decent grade for that. Looking forward to dinner with Julie at the Real Seafood Co. along Main Street tomorrow- it's been eons since I had a decent slab of fish; the fish here is either overcooked, dry and flaky, or there simply isn't any to subject to such harsh cooking methods at all. It's going to be quite expensive but I guess it'll be worth it! Finals are coming up in a matter of days- exactly ten days to my first final, which is Anthropology. Oh well, honestly I'm not too worried about the exams, which is somewhat strange since I've always been a bundle of nerves when it comes to final exams. Hopefully that bodes well for my grades!

Friday, December 02, 2005

HEY Y'ALL! OMG can't believe how long it's been since we last met- and yes, porn star (2nd from right, for the uninformed), I miss you so! :)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

My hair is in dire need of assistance! Gah. Well, I suppose I can wait a little while longer. Haha. It's been dreadfully uncooperative recently- either it's pancake-flat against my head, or it stands up in a thousand directions at once, both of which are mildly disturbing especially when I wake up in the morning and have more pressing things to do besides fussing over my hair, like getting to practice on time.

The snow has started falling again- it started this afternoon, just when one of my teammates and I were returning from our 6.5 mile run for cross-training today. I know it probably strikes you as insane that we'd choose to run outside in sub-zero temperatures; but actually it's a blast. It was a great run and definitely a nice change from erging (since when do we ever do anything else besides erging). I'd initially planned on nailing my back with lifting today, but for some reason my back was shot today, and anyway we have team lifting sessions on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, so I figured I'd take a day off. Gotta listen to my body sometimes, I've discovered! It's so hard to find a happy medium between pushing yourself hard and overtraining. You've got to be careful not to overtrain.

This has been a pretty busy week for me, so I'm glad it's finally over (well, almost)! At least classes are done for the week, so now all that's left is the final draft of my anthropology paper which is due tomorrow, the argument-evidence page (you know how much I detest doing outlines for essays- I'd much rather just knock something out straightaway instead of doing a detailed plan. But whatever, as long as it helps me get a better grade in the end! I've got an 8-10 page political science paper due Monday as well, so I believe that's what tomorrow and perhaps a little of tonight will be primarily devoted to.

And to top it all off with the proverbial cherry on top, our coach wants us to finish our week off with a bang; which means that it's a Level 1 workout tomorrow, which is absolutely awesome/ awful, depending on how you want to look at it. Philip, if you're reading this (I know you are, you gym freak, haha), this might be really useful to incorporate into your program. This is the definition of a Level 1 workout: Level 1 workouts are the backbone of our training. These workouts are performed at intensities of 95-105% of competitive 2k pace. They are extremely demanding (pfffffft! Understatement of the Century!) and require significant recovery to realize their full benefits. Thus, we will only perform Level 1 workouts once a week/ once every other week. The basic format is to row short intervals with active recovery (vs. passive recovery= complete inactivity). Typical Level 1 workouts include 8 x 500m; 4 x 1k.

Tomorrow's workout is 4 x 1k on 10 minute centers @ 2k pace; which essentially means that we're given a total of 10 minutes to row a 1km piece at our 2k pace, and take the remainder of whatever time's left to recover actively (which often means just tugging half-heartedly at the chain since you're already rather bushed from the earlier sprint), and you repeat this 3 more times. It doesn't seem all that bad when you think about it now, because it's only 4km, which is really short compared to the mileage we normally clock per erg session (around 12km or so every afternoon practice), so inclusive of warmup (which I estimate will be around 20 minutes ~ 4km), it'll be only 8km for tomorrow. But 8km at 2k pace is insane- my 2k split is 2:01min/500m. I hope I don't turn a startling shade of blue from the duress of tomorrow's workout. No wonder my coach adds a cryptic "ROW BLUE" at the end of some of the training material she gives us. I should've known it implied something more than just a display of school loyalty through the college colors.

Well, folks, if you need some inspiration, read the words in the picture below. It's a portion of a handout titled "Introduction to Novice Training Plan", given to us by our coach. This specific part is called "Qualities of a Champion". Doesn't the title alone psyche you up? Haha! This is the quintessential guide to Clean Living! And when I say Clean Living, I don't mean living in a state of depravity either- though life right now personally demands a lot from me, sometimes almost more than what I'd readily give, it's the rewards in the end, the ultimate outcome, that makes everything worthwhile. So there you go.

(and did you notice the "ROW BLUE" at the end?) -groan-