Still Got the Blues
Sunday - a week post TNF100 Singapore. My wife is away to Penang for a short holiday, and I have been babysitting the princesses. I have dragged them across the city the evening before, and they were completely spent. Aiden woke up around Subuh for her milk, and Iris still curling, now fully covered under the duvet on a cool Sunday morning. It was 6.45 a.m., and as the sun fast breaking up, I lay flat staring at the ceiling fan, feeling hollow. And completely confused. My mind eagerly waking my me up, saying that I needed to be somewhere. I needed to do something. I ought to put my running gears and head out into somewhere.
For some crumbling seconds, I almost felt guilty.
The week after the big adventure is always a state of confusion for me, as much as the week leading to it. The biggest dialogue I'd always have still spirals to weight management, how paranoid I am to gain all the weight I worked so hard to lose. I always wonder when shall I start running again, and should I rest longer. Will the blisters turn into a gangrene, or at least manifest in itself thousands of worms feeding on the dead skins.
But the blisters are all dried up, and the left pinky toenail has completely fallen off. So did the big right toenail. I have cut them off and planted in the pandan pot as edible sculptures for the ants and cockroaches.
And I have always hate the carboloading week when I force myself to eat. A natural progression for long distance runners is not a natural progression for a fat guy trying to lose his weight. Eat more to stock on carbs and exercise less? Insane, right?
Since I joined TNF Singapore back in 2009, I have learnt about the glorious brunch they put up, and it is one of the motivation I kept coming each year - for the Double Chocolate Cookies. And this year was no different. After 2010 edition where we came close to food rationing, this year they stocked well on cookies - peanut butter, oatmeal, raisins, double chocolates etc, as well as curry puffs by Mushroom Cafe (halal meal), a wide selection of Subway sandwiches (non-halal meals), a wide array of fresh cut fruits, strawberries, bananas, apples and all. Truly, coupled with a running event like no other - I felt the fees I have paid was well worth it.
So naturally, my confusion with food for pre and post runs are not dumbfounded. It is even celebrated. But what I strongly disagree is the strong camp which advocates glorious food in the name of carboloading, and celebration. I think this is a time bomb.
At least for me. With such food, I cannot afford to be careless. I think the saying 'Run to Eat' is misleading, as though running is an escapism so we could eat senselessly. That could have been the most careless and insensitive reflection any runners would want to associate themselves to, and for the beginner runners coming in - those words are disparaging.
And when I would fantasize traveling into exotic locations to run, I found travelling into the race city is also not easy for me. Shall I sleep the entire trip? Would I find trouble to sleep at night? Shall I get 2 seats to stretch my long legs? Should I bring a book (non-running book, regardless) to read during the journey? What if I needed to go after the litres of Gatorade I have been sipping?
And the doubts you keep hearing in your head. I have so far some good and junk miles under my, err, shoes, after starting 'training'. I have found pleasure in running everyday, and discovered some pain and fatigue, and been feeling pretty ok I'd do myself justice when running the TNF, but that nagging feeling - 'have I done enough?'.
Well obviously those will never be enough, but it was all I could do. But I knock myself silly with these doubts. The same doubt returned after the run, dragging my feet heavy and telling me to stay in bed, and withdraw from running. That I deserve this break. This Zero Week.
But a week post TNF100, this unconscious-self have long forgotten the sharp pain that ground him to a screeching halt at KM34.6, and already ravishing about the the next year's edition. So I think that could be the plan. I would aim for Standard Chartered KL Marathon, and a TNF Series per year, maybe 2 TNF Series if I am lucky and have some dough to spend, and that's all I needed to keep busy. Perhaps the dream for a triathlon event is still apparent somewhere in betweens. Sounds like a plan. Good thing to know something tangible comes out from this unnecessary confusion.
And the trip to Singapore has been the smoothest thus far. I am grateful, and Kash has been a selfless host. After some months and FB-ing, it was heartwarming to meet a great friend like her, after all these months. With the comfortable night at her Dragon Mansion and the twilight event that took place, it was set to be a great run. But I was still doubting myself when we were gunned off, and that was the last time I glimpsed into Kash, and left her at the back. Sorry partner - the thought of braving 9 hours beyond Lor Asrame made me going upfront to minimise risks later when running at 2 p.m. But thanks Kash! And I can never thank you enough!
I had no chance to book-shopping in Bras Basah, and meeting my friend Mohammed, or visit the many gorgeous homes around Singapore, or replenish my Individuel.
I could recall many encounters of this withdrawal syndrome over the years I run, especially when the big race is over. I suppose it's a silly way the body is telling us to slowdown, having tagging with the brunt over the weeks. But I have allowed my body to recover and rest the whole last week, and I hope now it will be re-awaken in time for Powerman. Then, only after then, I'd worry over the next race and think how to deal with it. Perhaps my slight-dyslexicity state keeps me anxious over petty things.
What I would strive to achieve is a minimum of 7-hours sleep/nights.
That already sound like a win-win situation.