Fitness Journal: Quickie pays off

1.42 mi run in 13:31 min (pace: 9’31″ / mi)

Music: Corsten’s Countdown by Ferry Corsten Episode 263



I almost skipped the gym today until I say to myself, heck with it, just go.

One of the many things both pro-athletes and the average Joe still find challenging is motivation. Our goals are always changing, depending on what we want to achieve at that time.

Right now I want to train myself to be a more tolerant person and to have more energy on a day-t0-day basis – mentally, physically, emotionally. I also believe that I can run a 5.5-mile distance by the end of the week. I am determined to achieve this goal I set for myself.

This video is a heartwarming collection of the many honest reasons why runners do what they do.




So despite the cramps from my period, I still make today count:



4.26 – 1.42 = 2.84 mi to go until Tuesday, 4 September 2012



I have faith that I can go that distance, so I run it. I’m not confident whether I can run it all at one workout, but I know I can break the distance down into bite-sized pieces so that, in the long run, I still get stronger.

I didn’t regret my quickie workout today.









Dating Scene

I don't think I've ever asked a guy out on a date in my life.

But I got turned down by lots of publishers by now, which grew on me as a habit and a motivation to write better. It takes many letdowns to achieve a trophy.

So I feel you, boys.

Don't stop at one rejection – keep moving. Before you know it, you're building up a rock-hard confidence!

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Fitness Journal: Slow but sure

1.24 mi run in 12:06 min (pace: 9’45″ / mi)

 Music: International Departures with Myon & Shane 54 Episode 140



5.5 mi – 1.24 mi = 4.26 mi to go until Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Not bad… I’m back to a sub-9:00 again since the last time I checked in with the mosquitoes. My solution? Decorating minced garlic cloves by my bedside. It works wonders – mosquitoes hate me now :D

Today I strictly focused on my agility and flexibility of my legs, as opposed to the usual full-body strength and speed. I’m not confident yet in terms of my endurance, but I’m pretty sure that can build up in the long run.

Another ultra-buff staff PT approached me. In less than a year so far, the same gym has offered me three free personal training sessions. Each session consists of two nonconsecutive days, so that equals to six days of the year I was offered free personal training sessions. (This is one) (This is two) (And then there’s today). I didn’t count all those times I got approached when I have not started accounting my workout sessions in the previous years before, when I wasn’t even a member yet at the gym. Every time the approach goes the same way: “I saw how you train and it seems like you’ve been trained somewhere else. Care to share where?” I try my very best to be friendly each time (with each different trainer) because deep down I’m extremely annoyed. I repeat to myself: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Still working on that and will keep on working.

Let me make it clear once and for all: It’s not that I know any better than they do at bodybuilding, because I’m no bodybuilder. And it’s not that I’m more agile, more speedy, more flexible, more enduring, or much stronger than the certified professionals (duh), but the main focus out of my workouts now is to release life’s stress, train my mental power, and feel relaxed after that (because I’m bad at relaxing myself, and every one’s temperament is different). Over time, my fitness goals are really not that ambitious anymore, and not so much to build my physical strength, but for resistance of the mind. For me the gym is just a training ground for life, not life itself, whereas PTs make a living out of the gym. Life is difficult as we know it, and I want to earn a living too, the way I do in my dreams, so it’s no wonder that I’m always seen sweating like a pig at the gym. All these efforts to be consistent follows through in all areas of my life, and I just try to discipline myself in any way that I can.

I train myself to be self-directed and increase my self-control, physically and mentally, so that I can apply that into my life. I know that those are the essential skills everyone needs to succeed, especially for freelancers who need to master time management.

I know I’m going out of topic, but to me it’s all the same. Pretty much like how all the PTs say the same thing (except the one I had in SF): “Try intervals at 10+km/h”, and/or “Try the machines at the weight room.” OK, I confess: In the four years I’ve been going to the gym, I’ve never, ever, ever used the fanciest machines in the weight room, except those that target my weakest muscles like my hamstrings and the inner and outer thighs. I’ve always relied on dumbbells, kettle balls, and the mat. And all the cardio machines. That’s it.

Why focus on individual parts of the body when you can do it all at once? Well, with the exception to the individual muscle groups I’m weakest, I pretty much always do circuits and stretching or the usual weights and cardio combo, as long as I’m not bored and my workouts are always different, but challenging.

Sometimes, temptations come into our lives in the mask of challenges. We thought it’s a test of our tolerance, but if you’re not confident about it from the beginning, you will fail. If someone challenges you to run a 5-min mile when you’re 50 pounds overweight, and you take that challenge, it will only harm your self-esteem in the long run as you fail repeatedly. Why am I saying this? Because I see people like this everyday and I myself used to be that kind of person. Now I’d rather look ridiculously stupid but sooner or later I can run a 5-min mile at my own time, at my own pace, which is why I refused all those personal training offers.

Over time, I try not to stress my body anymore, but to listen to it and respond accordingly. I heard that regular 30-minute-or-more exercise lowers stress, strength training slows down aging, and that you should never underestimate rest and recovery in your training: Canadian Olympians who maintain good sleeping habits from early on perform better than those with sleeping problems. America’s renowned marathoner Ryan Hall says: “Sleep is huge in my sport. Recovery is the limiting factor, not my ability to run hard. I typically sleep about eight to nine hours a night but then I make sure to schedule 90 minute ‘business meetings’—aka naps—into my day for an afternoon rest,” whereas most endurance athletes tend to experience insomnia on most nights.

Amanda L. Ebner, MA, MEd, tells Everyday Health: “If you focus only on the old-fashioned cardio-and-weights duality, you will miss out on some amazing workout alternatives, such as power lifting (strength), high-intensity interval training (speed), team sports (agility), marathon/triathlon training (endurance), and yoga (flexibility).” Her advice? “Try to identify the areas of fitness in which you are weakest and take up a workout activity targeted at building those missing skills.” (Source)

The most important lesson I learned is that prevention is better than cure, in fitness and in life. That’s a quote from my boyfriend, and I have a lot to learn from him. He’s cautious and I’m risky. He’s careful and I’m careless. And so on. We have very different temperaments, that’s why I think we go well together.

Ever since I’m with him, I have tried and will keep trying to stay safe with my workout progress, knowing that I can go further and faster in time but not right now. I’ll go slow like a turtle and get approached by personal trainers who offer free training sessions so that they can stop the perspired hog from huffing and puffing.

If you want to know whether I’ve improved, well, I have. Last time I measured, my waist-to-hip ratio was 0.78 (25.5 and 32.5). Now it’s 0.72 (25 and 35). That’s close to a sweet spot of 0.7, which is the ideal proportion for a woman.


Recommended Restaurant: Authentic pho’ sure

Summer rolls: This has been my third or fourth time here. Each visit brings more customers. When it used to be relatively deserted, Pho’ House is now receiving its due recognition. Location-wise they’re strategically nestled in the heart of Pluit at Muara Karang, where local neighborhoods especially favor foods from the Orient (most inhabitants like my family are the Hokkien-speaking migrants from Medan in North Sumatra). For the appetizer, we normally order the classic ricepaper-wrapped shrimp roll, or gỏi cuốn in Vietnamese. Since the restaurant’s gaining more visitors, I’m not surprised they’re currently out of it. But don’t worry, this one is worth trying too. Another spin to a classic Vietnamese dish, the chả nem, or “(fried) spring roll”, is usually prepared as a wrap of minced pork, but we ordered chicken instead, and they tasted as delicious as a welcoming summer. Traditionally Vietnamese rolls are prepared with sliced carrots, jicama, and kohlrabi wrapped in salty golden-brown crisp with meat, then dipped into a sweet condiment (combination of fish sauce, lemon squeeze, vinegar, and perhaps some more sugar) to taste.

Phở bò (Noodle soup with beef): One thing I love about the pho is how little preparation it takes. It’s amazing how much natural ingredients the dish relies on to make for its signature flavor. Both chả nem (with pork) and phở are listed on the “50 most delicious foods in the world” on CNN. Pho’ House serves their rolls, quality of noodles, and its respective broths true to their original taste (comparable to the same dishes served at family-owned restaurant Turtle Tower, which won the #1 spot as The Best of CitySearch 2009 for Vietnamese Food in San Francisco). For someone who doesn’t normally enjoy eating meat, much less its flank and steak, I did not dare to try anything on this dish but the broth. Warm, hearty umami travels down my belly, then invigorated with the scents of lime juice, mint, basil, cilantro, onion cuts, bean sprouts, and chili peppers. It was a refreshing slurp (and burp).

Phở gà (Noodle soup with chicken): I love this dish. I squeezed in extra lemon juice and mixed in all the dressings into the broth. The result is a bowl of long and soft white rice noodles with fleshy but sweet chicken meat, bathed and spiced up in hot, fragrant soup. You can never stop at one spoonful – there’s a bittersweet quality to the whole combination, notably from their use of fresh produce and the wonderful textures they provide to the human teeth. From a delicate stalk of cilantro leaves to the chewy twigs of bean sprouts, the medley enriches the taste by adding a vibrant contrast to an already-fragrant broth. Simple, original, and yummy for sure. (Note: Of course I left out the internal organs, i.e. lungs and heart… but meat lovers will surely enjoy them).




Pho’ House Vietnamese Noodle Soup
Jl. Muara Karang Blok L9 Timur No. 5-6
Jakarta Utara 14450
(021) 660 2989







The pleasant surprise I got

This is an update following my post yesterday:


They are both taped on my desk now for my daily inspiration :)


In his big bag of surprise, in addition to these fat piggy miniatures, there are boxes of Tieguanyin (Chinese Oolong tea) leaves, Chinese teapot, Chinese snacks and Chinese sweets. He’s only been gone in 4 days, but apparently home is always on his mind…


This tiny teapot is the perfect gift for tea lovers from all walks of life. Besides preserving the temperature and aroma of your tea, the pot simultaneously acts like a strainer too. The opening of the spout is so tiny it retains the tea leaves in the pot whenever you pour your tea into a separate cup.


We went to an authentic Chinese body massage last night at Yu Yuan Tang. My fixed air-con arrived late afternoon yesterday. My room is full of minced garlic to naturally drive the mosquitoes away.

#WhatMadeMyDay I slept long and well last night. I am blessed, and this is why the whole idea of gift-giving is my passion 0=)








Goal distance for coming week

This post is just one of those self-affirming words I tell myself to improve my current state, sort of a motivation I give myself but hopefully it motivates you to take a step further too. 



Counting today, the past week my weekly distance has been:


0.96 + 1.8 + 1.03 = 3.79 mi

:( That’s insufficient to prepare for a 10k race :( The previous week I only went to the gym once, so that week the distance I covered was a sad 1.52 mi :(

Ok, ok, stop frowning, Stace. You’ve got 19 more days to prepare. Barely 3 weeks. You can do it.

Next week, I want to increase my weekly distance into 5.5 miles. That’s not exactly a baby step but it’s achievable, considering my current progress. In fact, like I mentioned, every gym visit does not only include a treadmill workout, but others too. Normally it looks like I go to the weight room first, then an interval on the elliptical for 10-15 minutes, and then the treadmill. Then some light stretches and extra leg workout, plus a bit of abs.

But I decided not to count any of those. I decided to focus on my running. That’s how much it takes me to warm up for a good run.

I can do it. 5.5 miles a week, that means going to the gym 5 times a week with roughly the same distance I’ve been running at one workout. And that’s the plan.

#WhatMadeMyDay I’m going to get a good full-body massage tonight! (Been ages). I’m also going to receive a surprise from my boyfriend! (Which I have no idea what). He just came back from China yesterday, and I just want to see him for now. That’s all.