Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Perfect 11s

Jumping on the Liebster bandwagon that seems to be going around the blogiverse. Because this is a thing on the internet its provenance is not entirely clear, but what the Liebster Award seems to be is a way of helping little blogs (like yours truly) with a handful of followers (<200? <3,000? I prefer the latter because it has a heart in it) get noticed.

You're supposed to write 11 things about yourself...

1. I have the attention span of a bored housefly.

2. There are many things I would like to be. Eg: a vegetarian (not out of love for vegetables, or any particularly animal-activist reason, but out of sheer meat-takes-more-resources-to-produce guilt.)

3. Or: a boy (this about ten per cent of the time).
3a. Or at least, "gender-fluid ambisexual pancuddler".
3b. Or Tilda Swinton.

4. I hate labels.

5. I have always had a terrible crush on Tilda Swinton.

6. My single favourite item of clothing is a pair of bright-pink size-small fleece trousers with neon green frogs on them going 'Ribbit', which I obtained for $7 from the Marshalls in Somerville, Massachusetts. I have worn them on all sorts of chilly nights: a climbing/ camping trip in Red Rocks, Nevada; apres-apres-ski during a ski trip to Nagano; and reallyreallysoon, to hike the Heaphy Track in New Zealand.

7. I can't sleep with trousers on - it's shorts or less. Yes, this ties in with the fact that my favourite item of clothing is basically a pair of fleece pajama trousers.

8. From age 9 to 16, I was in a gifted-students programme, which basically meant "where they put the nerds". (True story. Fellow programme victims are at a science-olympiad type competition. Three of them in one corner having a very intense discussion about something. One of the others turns around and says, "Is this how the rest of the world sees us?") The programme was also my salvation: take one awkward, nerdy 9-year-old and put her with other people exactly like her. Presto - friends!

9. I'm right-handed but I wear my watch on my right wrist. Don't ask me why, it just feels right!

10. When I was 8, I memorised the longest poem I could find in any book I owned: "The Highwayman", by Alfred Noyes.

11. This is taking far longer than it should - can I go to bed now?

...and answer 11 questions from the blogger (Holly) who nominated you...

1. If you could eat any breakfast food right now, what would it be?  Please be very descriptive.  I love breakfast food and want to drool all over your descriptions.

A large breakfast burrito, scrambled eggs, cheese, salsa, and guacamole, in a flour tortilla. Alternatively, poached eggs with corned beef hash and some homefries from The Fort diner in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Or homemade granola with lots of nuts and chocolate chips. Alternatively alternatively, a large cup of oatmeal with warmed blueberries and a drizzle of cream...

2. What book is closest to where you’re sitting, right this very minute?

Edward Humes' 'Garbology' - about how very much trash we developed countries produce. (If we were so developed we wouldn't produce that much trash.)
Also the very funny Mindy Kaling's 'Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and other concerns'.

3. Think about something you really want to do (you don’t have to share what it is).  What’s holding you back?

Timing. (Isn't it always timing?)

4. Which holiday has the traditions that you enjoy the most?

Chinese New Year, mostly because it involves serious time with my wonderful extended family.

5. Fill in the blanks: I would do twice as much (insert household task/chore), in exchange for never having to (insert another household task/chore) EVER AGAIN.

I would do twice as much laundry (I feel like I am already doing twice as much laundry), in exchange for never having to take out the trash EVER AGAIN.

6. Do you like how common your name is?  [ie, "Sarah"s, do you like sharing your name with half the world?  "Shelande"s, do you like having such a unique name?]

When I was in Secondary 2, there were three of us named Grace in the same class: Grace Chua, Grace Chong, and Grace Chen. Even our Chinese names were similar: Wan Jun, Xiao Jun, and Cai Hong. I don't know how traumatic this was for the other two but it was for me.

7. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?

A paediatrician (my parents are doctors), a journalist (my mom keeps copies of a 'newspaper' I put together at age six, complete with ads), a ballet dancer, a journalist, a forensic pathologist, a journalist... and then I kind of stopped there.

8.  Do you have as much trouble with the “Insert Numbered List” function as I do?  It always – ALWAYS – screws up my formatting.  I’ve resigned myself to actually typing the numbers.

Hogawd. It's word-processing programs. They hate me.

9. What are you using to replace/instead of Google Reader? 

Trying out Feedly...

10. What smell is nostalgic to you?

Books have a very distinctive smell. (I spent a lot of time in libraries growing up.)

11. Self-Serving Question: What would you like to read more of on this blog?

What work is like for a running coach!

...and ask 11 more questions of other small-time bloggers i want to share the love with. (It's 11.30pm and I've run out of energy after a hard track workout this evening involving 8x100 strides, 4x400 at mile pace, and 4x800 at mile pace which quickly degenerated into 4:15s. Now I'm sitting in a puddle on my couch waiting for the second load of laundry to be done, so this might have to wait.)

But wait! 
I have some BIG NEWS and some not-so-big news.

Big news: I am slowly shedding a toenail. (Aren't you glad I waited till after the description of breakfast food?) Toenails are overrated - at least that's what I'll keep telling myself. Last year I'd go for a long trail run then (this is the correct order, pay attention!) come home, eat second breakfast, take a shower, stretch, and THEN check to make sure my toenails were all still there.

The goal is the same as ever - A goal - sub 4:30 even if it hurts a little (and learn to hurt a little); B goal - sub 5:00 and have fun, no cramping; C goal - run an entire marathon without cramping.
Last year I did the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon in 5:19, thanks to crippling quad/knee-cramps. It may be time to treat myself to some compression capris. I love my calf sleeves but my calves haven't been giving me any issues of late. Time to give the quads some love. Nuun has been keeping me relatively cramp-free and I may try taking a half tablet for some concentrated electrolytes mid-run.

What's your goal race this year? Or your running goals for the year? 



    You have a very American taste in breakfast. We shall have you have you guys over for brunch one day.

    Washing machines here are very small. Does your flat have a trash chute? Trash chutes are a recent discovery of mine. I love them.

    How's Feedly?


    Wait a second. You train at "mile" pace?? I'm so confused. Do you think in miles or km??

    Compression capris: YES. I don't have much 2XU gear, but I *love* CWX. Check out Amazon for a good deal, sometimes. I squeeeeeze into a small, so you'd probably be XS. If you can wait a few more months, I'll sherpa them back from the US for you. (Along with lots of Nuun.)

    That is all, for now. Over and out.

  2. Heaphy - late May!

    Brunch - yes please. Also the other way round works too. I also like prata, chwee kuay, chye tow kuay, vegetarian beehoon, porridge, and laksa, but I feel like those are ANY TIME OF DAY foods. :)

    Feedly's working out quite well so far - more image-heavy than I'm used to with Google Reader but I'm getting used to it.

    Mile pace - Oh I think in km. Coach said 'run your 400s at 1-mile pace' yesterday and all of us (mostly from Commonwealth countries) looked at him, baffled. It was hilarious.

    Tights - I'll trust your judgment. According to size charts I'm on the cusp between small and XS. (I don't trust size charts - the Under Armour one told me I was a small and then I tried on a friend's shirt and it was flopping around on me.)

  3. Can I hide in your hiking pack (only until you arrive)?

    American food is legit for all day, too (says the girl who grew up in the land of the diner).

    I'm pretty sure my behind is significantly bigger than yours. But you're welcome to try mine on, and decide for yourself.

    1. Sure, if you can squish into a 70L pack alongside all my gear :) I'll do some scouting around and decide whether to order compression tights online. I want to keep my favourite bricks-and-mortar running store alive <-- justification for buying new shoes from them every 6 months

  4. Those pants sound pretty awesome! Pictures please :D

    1. Eventually, when I get round to taking a photo! (WAIT WHAT I HAVE NO PHOTOS OF MY FAVOURITE PANTS HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE)

      Another thing I've been seeing around my neighbourhood: Psychedelic Auntie Leggings (that's psychedelic leggings worn by aunties, not leggings worn by psychedelic aunties) with extra sparkle, prints of the Milky Way, newsprint, etc. And now I've found just the shop at Jurong East selling them for $10. When I am 50 I want to be that fabulous too...

    2. Eh why can't you be fabulous now? I think you should wear the newsprint ones to work please. And when I read "Leggings worn by psychedelic Aunties" I laughed out loud.

      PS Can I link you in my sidebar please?

    3. Sure! Erm.. I probably could wear them, but that's beyond my fashion-styling capabilities :D (You or Kim could totally pull those off.)

  5. Hmmm....I left a comment and it disappeared. Let me see if this one does the same.

    What I said was...those were the main reasons I turned vegetarian as well. The whole resource thing. And I also want to see the trousers.