Friday, February 24, 2006

Aaahhhh this has to be a quick post because I'm going off to bed once my laundry is done, since I've to get up at 4.00am tomorrow morning to catch my flight to Phoenix, Arizona. Spring Break has begun and I'm off to the Grand Canyon for the whole week, for a backpacking trip! It'll be an awesome time- taking time off from school, crew practice, so that I can revel in the nature that is God's creation. No ergs for a week! Probably will go running in the depths of the canyon, though, if we manage to camp anywhere for an extended period of time. I'm pumped. It's gonna be sweet. Okay catch you guys when I get back!

And here's a teaser photo:

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I know I haven't posted in a long time, but as I mentioned in my last entry, these few weeks have been tremendously busy ones and so I've hardly had time to breathe, much less blog about how things have been going. My Great Books midterm is tomorrow, and I've still got to finish revising. This midterm is a pretty hefty one, here's the list of the texts we'll be tested on:

Plato: The Symposium, Phaedo, The Republic
Virgil: The Aeneid
The Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Job

Philosophy really isn't my thing. Plato just about kills me.

Anyway just some quotes that Efrem sent me, which I find extremely inspirational. And I hope you will, too.

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize."
-- 1 Corinthians 9:24.

"Everybody wants to know what I'm on.
What am I on?
I'm on my bike busting my ass six hours a day.
What are you on?"
-- Lance Armstrong

"The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it."
-- Juhn Ruskin

"Those who want to succeed will find a way; those who don't will find an excuse."
-- Leo Aguila


Go watch Torino 2006 Winter Olympics short track speed skating on!

Friday, February 17, 2006

I'm such a good procrastinator sometimes, I can't stand it. Haha. Right now I'm in the basement of the spanking new academic center, in the computer lab, and I'm pretty sure I had every intention to start on revision for my political science midterm next Monday. But instead, all I've accomplished in about thirty-five minutes of sitting in front of the computer is surf about 4 food blogs, a couple of friends' blogs, check my email, eat half a granola bar, and trying to think of more ways I can possibly put off the loathsome revision till sometime else. I've got rowing practice in about an hour and a half's time, not looking forward to that really, but the good thing about that is that it gives me the license to eat many many many many many many many many many many many many bowls of mashed sweet potatoes tonight at dinner. I'm always excited when there's sweet potatoes at dinner. There aren't many types of food at the dorms that stir up similar anticipation in me. Well, okay, perhaps there are a couple. Oatmeal, of course. Cream of wheat is pretty darn good too. BBQ Baked Beans! (Okay I know, they're not exactly gourmet cuisine in any way, but STILL). Salmon. Orzo's great. And Tunisian Greens with Peanuts! Hahaha now you know all about my odd eating habits. Whatever. Haha! Sigh I suppose I should be getting to work now. Ugh. The aforementioned sweet potatoes will be my motivation for the next couple of hours. Ooohh this is exciting. :)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

This has been one hell of a physically, mentally, and emotionally draining week. It's just about impossible to list down everything that's happened in the course of the past seven days, but it's definitely not all that worth mulling about. First, I discovered (not to much surprise) that pulling a 6k trial when you're hit by a virus that's been bugging you for the past two weeks isn't the wisest thing to do. I've never ever felt so much like just getting off the erg in the middle of rowing before. Thankfully, I didn't, because I don't think I'd ever forgive myself, had I done that. But that was definitely a most painful experience. And after the 6k trial came a series of letdowns which weren't the best tonic for my battered morale, and I had to reacquaint myself with the fact that some things just won't happen because they're simply out of my control. But it's heartbreaking, nonetheless, because I've got the results to prove my abilities, just that I'm denied by some other factors which I'm powerless to alter, for the life of me. But as usual, life goes on- and as the adage goes, "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger". Very nearly killed myself (with that 6k), and I hope that going through all this crap and disappointments will only help to mold me further. Perhaps that's what really matters, in the very end.

The weekend was pretty good, though, because I managed to complete my readings and even finish some extra ones (by extra I mean readings beyond the first lesson of each week), finish my German journal without procrastinating till the hour before Monday's class like I typically do, and get started on my Great Books essay about Virgil's Aeneid (thinking of the beginning is usually the hardest part of any essay for me). Had a great dinner at that lovely Indian Vegetarian hole-in-the-wall last night, and joined three other Singaporeans (Efrem, Edwin and Aileen) for a 10-mile training run held by the Tortoise and Hare Running Store. It was an extremely well-organized training run (in testament to the fact that Ann Arbor is quite a sports' lover's town), with mile markers along the looping, scenic route, and drinks and gels at the 5-mile station. And there was a storewide sale and free pizza at the store at the end of the run (the sale I like, but I can barely comprehend why they'd distribute free pizza- it isn't exactly the healthiest thing to consume, especially when you're dealing with a whole bunch of supposed fitness aficionados). It was a good run and a great way for me to get my recovery cardio in- ran at around 60% of intensity since Sunday is technically the only off day I have from practice, and so I didn't want to push too hard since there's a Level 1 erg workout on the schedule tomorrow. I'm quite a fan of the running community and culture here in the USA- it's really heartening how runners never fail to wave or say hi when they pass you, going in the opposite direction- it's such a simple gesture but it never fails to brighten up my mood especially in the middle of a long run by myself, which can get pretty dreary sometimes. And it's interesting to see how there are two very distinct groups of people here- the fat and sedentary, and the extremely fit people. The sporting culture in the USA is great, if you know where to look. If not, all you'll probably see are the obese masses gorging themselves on Triple Whoppers and White Castle sliders.

Well there's still much more to be done, with two midterms coming up next week- but at least there's Spring Break to be looked forward to! For the uninformed, I'm going to Arizona for a 7-day sojourn in the Grand Canyon- a field camp of sorts, it's a backpacking trip where we'll be carrying everything we've brought along on our backs and spending 5 nights outfield. I'm looking forward to it, even though I'm more inclined towards sports than adventure- it's time I reacquainted myself with some semblance of military, outdoorsy skills, and it'll more than replace my cardio/strength workouts for the week. Because, as stated on the trip website- climbing out of the Grand Canyon is comparable to climbing a 300-storey skyscraper. Except that you don't have the added privilege of proper steps to aid you in your ascent, rather, you've got to navigate your way through a mass of crumbly rocks and stones, steep precipices, the like. I'm pumped!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Thanks to Daffy, I've created my own South Park character! It's marvelously addictive. Don't laugh at me. C'mon, I know you're secretly dying to make your own as well. Who wouldn't want to be immortalized as Kenny (in more ways than one)? So here you go!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

“Anything is possible. You can be told that you have a 90-percent chance or a 50-percent chance or a 1-percent chance, but you have to believe, and you have to fight.”

- Lance Armstrong


So I suppose it'll be biking next semester.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Thank you so much. You'll never know what that meant to me. That's why I'd never trade our friendship for anything else in the world.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

- Psalm 23

Monday, February 06, 2006

I put this song on repeat, cranked up the intensity on the spinning bike, and lost myself in the frenzy of cardio for an hour. It's awesome. Hahahahahahaha! Boybands exist for a reason. Don't know what I'd do without them.

I will never stop until you're mine
I can wait forever till the end of time
'Cause my heart is in your hands
Don't you understand
I'll never stop

Do you believe me
When my heart is in your hands


On another note, an article I found in the Ann Arbor Paper. Pretty interesting. Only because I was searching for Leo Zulueta, on the account that he's perhaps one of the best tribal tattoo artists ever. And it's so coincidental that he's set up shop right down the street in Ann Arbor, MI. What luck. I've seen actual specimens of his work, and it's mighty impressive.

Leo Zulueta has been called the “father of tribal tattooing.” The Hawaii native got his start over 20 years ago in California and has since become a legend in the tattoo world, known for his distinctive heavy black designs inspired by the tattoos of the Marquesas Islands in Polynesia. A couple of years ago, he disappeared. Some people even said he was dead. The truth is that after a couple of years spent at various international tattoo conventions, Zulueta is happily settled with partner Dianne Mansfield in Michigan. They opened Spiral Tattoo in a sunny space on Packard in February.

I've got a teammate who's planning to get inked on what I perceive to be the part of the body that'll hurt the most. Okay, maybe not the most, but it's going to hurt really bad. She's intending on getting a Gaelic word (I can't remember what word, she told me and I promptly forgot) tattooed on the surface of her foot, just beneath the toes- the place where the sandal strap meets the skin. Owwww.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Remember my weights logbook? I'm pretty sure the rest of the RJcanoeing girls do. Originally, I began using it during the first three months in NJcanoeing, conscientiously recording the details of every practice we had, but I left off once I transferred to RJC after the release of the 'A'Level results. I resurrected it when Huilin, the captain of the J2 team when we were in JC1, mentioned that ideally we ought to keep a logbook of the weights we were using to facilitate keeping track of our progress and so we wouldn't have to select random weights everytime we did a workout. So this logbook has been with me, and I've used it since.

It's filled with scribblings of my workouts and weights used, interspersed with random flashes of artistic brilliance courtesy of several of my teammates, who either used it as a platform to deride my affinity and overenthusiasm for fitness and exercise, or as a tool to profess their eligibility (and desperation) lest I happened to forget and leave my book in a random gym and someone (a desirable male, they hoped) would happen to chance across it. But unfortunately that didn't happen, and the book came with me over to Michigan, where I've been making great use of it- not so much for recording lifting workouts because I use the computers for that purpose, but more for writing down erg times for the rowing workouts that I've been doing.

You might have noticed the proliferation of motivational quotes on my blog of late, including my most recent entry which was comprised entirely of them. I've taken to scribbling some of my personal favorites at various intervals in my book, so that when I'm sitting on the erg, preparing for a workout, I can just flip through the pages and somehow garner inspiration from those words. It's pretty miraculous how a couple of words somehow gel together to form a phrase which you can glean strength from. The resounding nature and value of those sentences are just unmistakable, and personally I find that they help to reacquaint me with the nature of the task (or challenge) at hand, and enable me to focus.

I guess no one will ever be able to understand the apprehension that wells up within me at times especially when it comes to rowing, the challenges I find myself baulking at, the things I've to go through in the process of practice. And it's an everyday affair, it's not just a one-off occasion where you row till you pass out and go home and never come back again. Rather, I come back everyday for more, and more, and die everyday just to return and do it all over again. See, I know everyone will say it's plain stupid to do this to myself. But there are things I see in it that perhaps no one else will share. Sometimes I take a step back and I do think I'm insane. And occasionally when I stop to think about it, I can't for the life of me figure out why I do such things to myself. I never was like that before. It eludes me. But then the clouds clear from my thoughts and I realize that perhaps I can't define it, but to put it in the basest of terms, it's a challenge, a race to outdo myself. Pushing the limits beyond what I fathomed achievable for myself.

We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

You can have anything you want, if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose.
- Abraham Lincoln

Doctors and scientists said that breaking the four-minute mile was impossible, that one would die in the attempt. Thus, when I got up from the track after collapsing at the finish line, I figured I was dead.
- Roger Bannister

Don't accept that others know you better than yourself. Work joyfully and peacefully, knowing that right thoughts and right efforts will inevitably bring about right results.
- James Allen

The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am. Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have or would have done, or what they can't do.
- Dennis Waitley

When a goal matters enough to a person, that person will find a way to accomplish what at first seemed impossible.
- Nido Qubein

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out and meet it.
- Thucydides

Never underestimate the heart of a champion.
- Rudy Tomjanovich

No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.
- William Penn

One of the redeeming things about being an athlete is redefining what is humanly possible.
- Lance Armstrong

The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.
- Roger Bannister

Champions aren't made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: A desire, a dream, a vision.
- Muhammed Ali

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.
- Vincent Lombardi