星期日, 6月 28, 2009

Housekeeping

I'll be staying here at the hostel as a cleaner for 2 weeks. My daily tasks include housekeeping, vacuum, toilet/shower room/kitchen/living room cleaning. Busy from 9.30am or 10am after guests checking out till 12 noon. Does this sound like the maid of your house?

I met few Asian friends these two days. 1. Angel from Taiwan, also a cleaner as me. 2. Sunny from Malaysia visited Oamaru with Tomo. 3. Tomo from Japan going to Wanaka for snow boarding next day. 4. Jim from China (NZ citizen) coming to Oamaru for Bachelor Degree industry training...

4 of us (except Jim) went to observe blue penguin last nite just couple of minutes walk from our hostel, but it was in the dark and in the chilling night. We saw few but they refused to came out for a walk and just stayed near the bush. They are cute, a bird swims with wing and they can't fly :P

At least now I can relax for 2 weeks, then I have to worry about my next move and getting a paid job. Everything is back to basic, a shelter and enough food. Although the chocolates, potato chips, milk, cheese & wine here are cheap, but buying them are considered luxury.

My lunch & dinner are very simple, white rice, bowl of mixed vege (with soup/gravy), eggs that's all. Sometimes I share my cook with my workmate. Breakfast always have toast with jam & coffee that provided by hostel. When you are here in this condition, you will just treasure every single rice and appreciate any happy and safe moment.

星期五, 6月 26, 2009

Oamaru

I've made my trip back to Christchurch from Blenheim, then headed to Oamaru at south east. I wonder is this a wise move? Nobody tells me the answer and I've to make the desicion. When I was about to leave Blenheim, surprisingly the hostel owner told me there're a lot of jobs now and it was easy to get a job. I was like unbelievable, it was totally different from what I heard from other people. Anyway, I've made all my arrangement to Oamaru for the cleaner job to exchange for accommodation. And that was really a messy day and messy trip for me. I have never had a trip without itinerary, don't know what, when and how's next. The feeling is sucks!

Now I realized what kept me going to the south instead of staying for a chance to work in vineyard and stay in the messy workers hostel. There is a call from south, from the wilderness. I'm going one step closer to the beauty of nature and to the peaceful places with snow mountain, lake, coast and wildlife. Although I'm getting risk of running out of money faster, but I think that's the main purpose of my trip. I started to have some plan in my mind, once I make it solid, I believe it will come true.

Life is wonderful, human can do wonder.

星期三, 6月 24, 2009

Blenheim and Leaving

Came to this place at north of the south island called Blenheim. It supposes a place all year round with seasonal jobs. Perhaps demand is too little and man power is too much, everyone looks so uncomfortable at their face because the difficulty for getting a job in vineyard.

I founnd this place a hell instead of a haven for most. I was suppose to start work as vineyard pruning but came to know that the contractor that willing to take me is not trustful. The only thing I love here is the year round SUNSHINE :) So, I'm leaving this bloody place, I hope I don't have to return and as desperate as most of them... Pray hard.

So I'm leaving here and move to a more peaceful place call Oamaru. This definitely a U-Turn because I'm going to south now. It cost more now. I need to plan well for next move as transport and cost of living is high... and it is really chilly and I expect much more freezing at Oamaru :(

and.. I'll work as hostel cleaner to exchange for free accommodation and food. Save some cost :)

My NZ handphone (64)0210696187, feel free to text me but I won't be able to reply. I'm turning off my M'sia line.

星期六, 6月 20, 2009

Acclimatization at Christchurch

Everyone says Christchurch is an England liked city, but I thought it looks like US too, until the 2nd day's morning, I do feel it just like London although I've not been there before because it was raining.

I'm spending my time for weather acclimatization and get familiar with everything here, like shopping, eating, internet, phone, banking, public transport, etc. I need to spend wisely as everything is expensive. Lucky that their pipe water is safe to drink so I don't have to buy drinking water. Hostel comes with kitchen and all cooking facilities, I just need to shop for vege,, eggs and rice and I can cook my own lunch & dinner for less than $5 a meal, otherwise it is at least $10 if eating at restaurant.

Weather is cold, but if wearing enough warm clothes, that's fine. I've bought a kid's fleece vest with just $19.90 (the cheapest I found where it normally cost around $40 and above)

Internet is expensive, $3/hr, so I can't spend too much time in writing here, i need to find a job ;)

Take care, DO YOUR BEST IN SCKLM. Taper well, eat well, rest well, and you'll feel amazing that will ease your run!

星期四, 6月 18, 2009

Take Off, Touch Down

I was really busy in packing and settling official issues past few days. That's how I lost my chance to write in Chinese, and perhaps that going to be long time for not writing blog in Chinese. Well, I'll still be writing my dairy in Chinese, let's see is there any fate that it can be shared in a book in future :)

I'm at Changi Airport now, waiting for my next take off at 7.50pm. There is no turning point and this feeling is exactly the same as when I stood in front of a Marathon staring line. That recall Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon 2005, I was not quite sure what was I doing there and why did I do that? And now, I'm also not quite sure what am I doing now and why do I do this?

Well, make things clear... I'm departing for New Zealand, for Work and Holiday. How long? I'm not sure and it depend. It is winter now, the city that I'm touching down, Christchurch having temperature range from 0 to 10 degree celsius, it should be fine as I've stayed in this freezing weather before at Everest Base Camp. But this time is different, I got to stand it for entire winter till after August. My family is worry about me, can I stand the cold? My boy friend is even worrier, with my no-fat body and still hoping going outdoor for cycling.

My dream plan is to cycle touring around NZ from North to South or the other way. But now I've to keep this plan aside, and I feel sucks about it because I'm missing Buck. I've no idea what will the condition be of riding in winter around the wild NZ? To be short, I'm, chicken-ing :( I normally don't afraid of challenges, but one thing I always respect to is the Power of Nature, weather is one of them. The realistic told me to hold on my cycling plan until I'm prepared technically and geographically (I think just an excuse la... hehe)

Anyway, even just traveling, it took a lot of courage and consideration to make the decision. It is a totally change of lifestyle, and everything, You need to put everything aside and do something unpredictable that might cause you loose those hard earning career and existing lifestyle. Some people (I mean most people) think this is crazy! For a 31-years-old woman, she should be married and having a happy family and grown career, but now she quit her job, going to a stranger's land and live there alone.

I do not know is this called crazy or there is another more suitable term/description to describe this. What I knew is, a new chapter of my life has just began, I need a change, to see the world, and let the world see me!

星期日, 6月 07, 2009

Farewell Ride

What: Cycle to Ulu Yam from Batu Caves (59.4km)
When: 07.06.2009 (Sun), 7.30am - 11.30am

A free-lady riding with a just-married man. She rode with a touring bike named Buck and wore like touring, the helmet is non-certified's one and the pair of glove is totally out of shape. He rode with his road bike and wore like racing with clipped-shoe, arm-warmer, perfect helmet and perfect glove. Sigh... this is the difference of a free-lady vs a married-man!



It was a hazzy morning, sun kisses at 10am onwards. We rode in tortoise speed at all the uphills (7-12km/hr) but fast and furious at all the downhills (45-60km/hr). We cycled the same route 2 or 3 times, everytime also suffering a lot because of the no-mercy long uphill. No talking just huff and puff.



The journey always rewarded us with YUMMY loh-mee ;) This time we not entering Ulu Yam Lama but had a try at a restaurant near the market. The taste was fabulous, we added 2 half-boiled kampong eggs and he had a set of toast, mouth watering...

This going to be my last ride riding with my cycling buddy for a long period, perhaps the last one for Buck's wheels rolling on Malaysia's road in 2009. Either it will be resting at home or will be traveling with me to New Zealand next week... can't decide, kind of worry because it going to be sub-10 degree celsius at noon and sub-5 at night. But without Buck, I'm sure I'll feel lonely...

星期一, 6月 01, 2009

Sundown Marathon 2009

Completed: My first ever ULTRA marathon, 84km on 30th May 2009 started at 7pm in 12 hours 24 mins.

THANKS FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORTS, WITHOUT YOU ALL, WITHOUT THIS ACHIEVEMENT!
Result - official
Rank: 22/65
Chip Time: 12:20:08
Split Time: 1st 42km: 5:22:42 2nd 42km: 6:57:26 (Pit stop: 0:23:00)

Before the Ultra - JUST LOAD-LA

Had plenty of carbo-loading, beer-loading, love-loading, support-loading, energy-loading, joy-loading, etc etc…

Enjoyed the XO fish soup dinner with OX ambassadors in Singapore very much at China Town, yummy yummy ;) Thanks dudes!

The Ultra - JUST RUN-LA
1st 42km
I’ve been looking forward this moment to arrive, like a big day of my life with early and plenty of preparations. So lucky to have Tey, Farid and Ida to take MRT and taxi together to the starting point. We had our last preparation: put our baggage to baggage store, special need bag to ultra pit stop, drink some water, eat something and go toilet. Then, waiting for 7.00pm at the ‘starting point’. Tey and I were so blur to stand at the 42km starting line, no wonder not many people there, the crews just informed us to move to another starting line at very last minutes, I can only join in the pack about few minutes later.

I moved slowly, from sunset to sundown till totally dark, and the feeling of running an ultra marathon was getting stronger per every distance I ran. I kept reminded myself, slow is beautiful, keep the manageable pace so I could finish strong. There wasn’t any breeze, or just a very light one until sweat washed my vest, then I decided to take it off, wow, so refreshing!

My pace was so consistently *slow*, averagely 1:15 for every 10km. Good job, that’s my target pace. I had electrolytes replenishment from 5km onwards, all sports drink powder were filled in to all 4 fuel belt’s bottles without water, then asked water station volunteer’s favor to fill for me one a time. This seems to be a good strategy as it reduced the weight I carried and I was guaranteed to have enough electrolytes replenishment.

My feet started to give me problem not even to half way. Both feet were so pain, pain until I need to find soft ground to run. When I see green grass, didn’t care about the uneven surface and just ran on the softer ground. This pain led me to my knee pain. Sigh… I have to hold it for 21km till the pit stop at 2nd loop. I realized it was shoe matter, it was the same sign when I had my 46km training with this pair of shoe, Asics Cumulus 7.

As expected, if I can finish the first loop around 5:30 without much exhaustion, I was most likely to finish the ultra.

photo by adidas Singapore

Pit Stop
When I came in to the ‘finish line’, the clock showed 5:23:50. I still moving slowly, no rush, the journey was still long. After getting my special need bag, Frank and Tey waved to me, wow… so happy to see familiar faces there. I took my time to eat (GU gel), drink (Red Bull Gold), change (short & shoe) and refill, ended up too much time was spent.

Thanks Frank for having his camera at pit stop and snapped this memorable photo

2nd 42km
‘The actual race starts here’
This was how I told myself. I was so happy to put my feet again on the track with Asics GT2120, nice! Feet pain was significantly reduced, mood was remained high and even higher. I was very excited to run beyond 46km which was my longest distance during training. Basically, my form was extremely better than I’d expect.

I moved on with slightly slower pace, about 8’30min/km and kept talking to myself:
‘Keep going, don’t stop, journey is still long.’
‘You are executing your dream, at the same time it might be other people’s dream. So you can’t fail!’
I must ensure my mood remained good because the feel-good endorphin could reduce suffering. So I tried to sing, thought of few motivating and relaxing songs that I used to sing in my youth, recalled the sweet memories when I was the cadet reporter of Sin Chew although it was more than 10 years back.

That was left brain’s job when I recalled the memories, then I switched to right brain by imagination, any kind of imagination, scientific, funny, heroic, etc… as long as it filled my mind by keeping the suffering away.

The feeling of passing the 50km was so GREAT! I gave myself two thumbs up :) But in realistic, feet and knees pain raise to another level.

‘That’s OK, the pair of legs are not yours, so never mind.’ This was what I could tell myself.

When sleepiness came attacked, I took few sips of Red Bull Gold which contain very high level of sugar that can keep me awake, otherwise I had Pocari Sweat and GU2O as electrolytes replenishment and GU gel and Endurox as energy replenishment.

Entering Bedok Reservoir was what I had been expecting because I like running on the trail with a thin layer of sand. It makes the ground softer, and I feel like Kevin Lin Running The Sahara… :P

After Bedok Reservoir, I was about entering 30km mark (72km), wow… I couldn’t believe that I was still running and not walking (of cause with some walking breaks in between especially at water stations). Another two thumbs up for me. 31km… 32km… 33km… 34km… phew… I strongly felt that I’m going to hit the wall. In fact, my pace dropped much from 34km onwards, every km took so long to cover, and can’t even smile and can’t entertained myself anymore.

Courtesy of Onn & Tey for the picture

34km (76km), here’s where I running with extreme suffer. Still running slow or walking fast when legs were really tired, then run again and refused to stop. Because I found if I run after totally walk, my feet taking off and touching down the ground very painfully.

‘Ameba, you can’t fail, this is your 1st ultra marathon, and could be the one and only one ultra, so do it beautifully.’ I told myself.

It was dawn. The sun slowly rising up but I couldn’t see the beautiful sun rise. I was glad I finished 84km before the sun heating up the air. Finishing strong with the cheers of all people around there especially my beloved OX friends. Thanks dudes!

'Ultra Woman coming back!' Shouted Chong Wah loud and clear. Photo by Miow Chin

After the Ultra – JUST SLEEP & EAT-LA
I was so happy, although it was not a good timing or position, but I’ve achieved my target, and I fulfilled my dream. I couldn’t think much, just felt my feet and legs were so painful, whole body’s blood flow to the legs muscles instead of brain, so I was like walking like a zombie. After taking pictures, the 42km finishers enjoyed their breakfast while I have no appetite at all. Just finished the protein shake my recovery drink, then followed by a sandwich and egg tarts an hour later.

After getting back to hostel at Bugis, there was a lot of clearing and cleaning to do. Surprisingly I didn’t really feel sleepy. I think it was due to over limit until brain can’t function as normal and everything gone haywire. Anyway I still slept for 4 hours in the noon and 10 hours at night.

My feeling: Satisfaction and Happy. It's a mental thing :)

Congrats to all my buddies 42km finishers in the pictures, they have been waited for me for hours. Well Done!
Miow Chin, Rho Wen, Ameba, KL, Sam & Chong Wah holding the camera