Training Log: 27 Aug (swim)

Sun was out this morning and it was sooo warm. Perfect time to hit the pool and that's just what I did.

Met up with my bestfriend and did laps in a 25meter pool. I lost count but I must've done maybe 2K.

First few laps, my arms were complaining. Obviously, these parts are so not used to exercise. Haha. But after a few more laps, everything seemed better. The body truly remembers.

I had so many deep thoughts on swimming but now it's so late and my arms and back are sore. Saying hello to muscles I didn't know I had. Haha.

All I can say is that it's easier to swim than to run. And swimming complements running and vise versa.

I think I have to also thank yoga for teaching me how to breathe efficiently. I think the more relaxed your breathing is, the better your body performs. So even when we're doing intervals, I really try to slow my breath down. Deliberate breathing works for me.

I hope to really be able to mix swimming in my routine. But it's so weather-dependent. Ah well.

Just happy I was able to swim today and happy to have tan lines again. :)


Client Fitting

Just came from client fitting. Just the satin lining of her gown for a wedding she's attending in September.

I'm so happy it fit her perfectly! I was so surprised! I had expected to at least have to take in even half an inch on the sides. Woohoo! Just need to lower the neckline a bit and shorten the hem. Manang will be very happy!

One of the things I loved most in my previous job was when we'd fit the samples of designs executed by suppliers. I loved trying on the clothes and equally loved being the one to pin areas that needed taking in.

These days I really look forward to client fittings. I have a small pouch that contains a tape measure, small scissors, a pencil and a small tin of headed pins. The multi-colored ones with little balls on the head.

When I have to pin a part of a dress, I bite one pin and hold another with my fingers. Saves some time than if I hold one pin at a time. I don't know why but biting that one pin and holding the other makes me feel I'm serious with what I'm doing. Hahaha! Crazy, I know. Just little quirks.

And I am really serious with what I'm doing. I'm not good with small talk and I'm usually just quiet when assessing how the client looks in the dress she's fitting. I really want her to look good and feel good with what she's wearing. I wish I could say this to every person I make a dress for. But I might get weepy and embarrass myself if I even start explaining. Hopefully, they'll just see by how their dress is made, that it is made with a lot of passion and love.

Running Log: 25 Aug (interval training)

I decided to resume my running log here. Need to keep track if I'm going to train for my first half. Still far from that though. Need to transition to 15K first and see what that's like.

Last night I ran with the girls and that was quite a relief.

2K warm-up.

Main run: 2x3x200m.

Coach Sarge was our pacer and these are our times:

1st Set: 0:54; 047; 041
2nd Set: 0:45; 0:40; 0:40

3K cool down. I usually don't do this but Coach Joar insisted so I did it. My legs were so tired already from the sprints and I didn't expect I would be able to finish the cool down. Pwede pala. The battle is really in the mind.

Core strengthening and stretching.

Good training night. Not easy but we made it. :)


Kitchen Experiments

I just made a jar of pesto and chicken tocino.

Went to weekend market on Sunday and got some gorgeous, sweet-smelling basil leaves from the organic stall.

Today we chopped up a cup of basil leaves (leave out the stalks), combined it with half a cup of olive oil, half a cup of grated parmesan, fresh ground pepper and my experimental 3/4 of a siling labuyo. Long ago they used to make pesto by grinding everything on a mortar and pestle. Now we just drop everything in a blender and voila. I love the color and scent of freshly made pesto. Tasted it a bit and love that one can just hint at the siling labuyo. Too bad I ran out of pine nuts. That would've really made it special. Can't wait to have pesto pasta for dinner.

For the chicken tocino, I just got six skinless breast of chicken fillets, sliced them into thin strips and put them in a freezer bag of 4 tbsp salt and 8 tbsp brown sugar. That's it! This is marinating now in the fridge. After three days, we can portion it out into fry-ready packs and place them in the freezer. Friday tocino breakfast!!!

I love how easy to make these two dishes are and how they're such a treat to the senses. Love the colors and the textures when making them. Can't wait for the aroma of pesto pasta and the comforting scent of tocino frying. I don't know about you but it's really beginning to smell a lot like Christmas. Haha.


Hi, I'm L__ And I'm An Introvert

Read this tonight and found myself nodding and smiling at what it says.

For a long time I thought I was an extrovert. As a kid I talked nonstop and often got into trouble because of that. Noon naman basta madaldal, extrovert na.

A few years ago I took the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and got INFJ (Introversion, Intuition, Feeling and Judging). This is how the different types are described, in a nutshell:

Extraversion -- preference to focus on the outer world of people and things
Introversion -- preference to focus on the inner world of ideas and impressions

Sensing -- tendency to focus on the present and on concrete information gained from your senses
Intuition -- tendency to focus on the future, with a view towards patterns and possibilities

Thinking -- tendency to base your decisions primarily on logic and on objective analysis of cause and effect
Feeling -- tendency to base your decisions primarily on values and on subjective evaluation of person-centered concerns

Judging -- you like a planned and organized approach to life and prefer to have things settled
Perceiving -- you like a flexible and spontaneous approach to life and prefer to keep your options open

On Facebook, I took the test again and got INFP. A close college friend commented that she never thought of me as introverted. And I said maybe because I have a "game or work face". It was just my little theory and the essay on introversion confirms it.

I've made presentations to big groups, I love selling my stuff in bazaars, I post like crazy on Facebook and comment like there's no tomorrow too. But one-on-one conversations with people (close friends and family included) are something I dread. In fact, when I'm going to a party or family gathering, C knows that I have to be given time to prepare. To psych myself up, to imagine who will be there and to practice in my mind what I'm going to say to people I'll meet.

Long ago, C had to get me iced latte before each visit to his family. Hahaha.

In Facebook, sometimes I feel I've overdosed and I'd be quiet for weeks.

Now I understand why, at parties, I start out cheery, chatty and really hyper sometimes. But give me an hour or two of that and I suddenly turn into a zombie, just staring at people (or more often, wall hangings!), and carefully making sure I nod and laugh at appropriate times.

I live in a compound of townhouses and I need to walk past some neighbors' homes to get to the car. Believe me, if I could make sure the street was clear before I ventured out, I would. My body tenses up each time someone even says good morning!

I'm such an introvert that I don't have a public listing of this blog (except on my twitter account which no one knows about anyway). I posted the blog address on Facebook and took it out a few days after.

Why even blog, right? Well, I love writing and I'd like to keep a record of things for when I'm old and gray and I can't even remember who I am. Haha. It's a safe place to be myself. And I like interacting with the very few (two? three? haha) people who read this blog. It's easy and yet still meaningful.

A lot of times I feel bad because people might mistake the silence and the preference to being alone as a sign of aloofness or uncaring.

It's not that. Sometimes it's just difficult to put across what I want to say. There's no time to edit, unlike when I'm writing.

I think I speak for most introverts when I say that it's not that we don't like being with people. Because we do. It's just that our socializing battery empties out fast and needs recharging more frequently than others.

I feel liberated having read Jonathan Rauch's essay. He hit it right on the nail.


Morning Sounds

Good morning!

What do you usually hear in the morning when you wake up?

For us, the sounds of birds chirping. I feel blessed that we still have a lot of birds in Quezon City. Their morning songs are one of the first stirrings of the day for us.

Roosters crowing far away. I think that's still a lovely sound, no matter how cliche and how many times you've heard it.

Then come the bleeps of car alarms being disabled, car doors being opened.

Then voices. Still low and slow.

Then if I listen closely, I hear food sauteeing. That'll soon be followed by children crying, being awoken for school.

It's all mayhem from there. Haha.

Good morning to you! It's a holiday today and we're off for a long, easy run.

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Back from a relaxed 10K in UP. The sun was up as we ran a route just outside the Academic Oval.

Our first 1K, another runner passed us and said good morning. I think that's something really heartwarming. I should learn to do that too. As well as cheer on runners at the finish line.

After our run we got taho and sat on one of the benches at the Acad Oval. Watched an elderly man doing tai-chi. Very beautiful, especially with sunlight streaming through the trees. Must bring cam next time.

While we people watched we got treated to the sounds of the newly restored Carillon. First, just a church bell-like count of the hours (8am) then a rendition of The Way We Were. Awww... Perfect for an old fogey like UP.

Time to have breakfast now! It'll be buttered honey wheat toast for us and coffee. :) Good morning!!!


Running With The Bulls, este Boys

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

–– from the movie Coach Carter

C shared this with me last night as I was telling him about last night's run clinic.

We did two sets of 3x400m. And I got lumped with the boys, together with another girl who's quite new to the clinic.

I find it difficult to run with a group because I always feel pressured to keep pace with everyone. Human nature not to want to be the last!

I think having that cup of Nissin Yakisoba an hour and a half before the run helped a lot because I had energy to keep up with the boys. Not just keep up but beat them in one lap. There I said it.

At the end of each lap, the guys and the coaches would often tease me that I was fast. Nilalampaso ang boys.

The new girl also kept asking how I could run so fast.

I would cringe at each compliment. I'm not comfortable with praise. Because honestly, I run for myself. I push myself because I like challenging myself. It's not to impress or get praised. Honest.

Being praised feels good of course. But it really makes me uncomfortable. What to say? "Thank you"? Ang yabang naman. So I end up saying: "hindi naman... ", sabay tungo and pretend to flick away some lint.

I feel proud of course to have earned the right to run with the boys (usually the clinic is divided into two or three groups, sometimes four, based on skill level). Heck I feel so damn proud.

But I also don't want to be seen as conceited or one of those people who push to excel so they'd be noticed and praised. I think I'd push myself as much even when no one's looking.

I've become close to two boys in the clinic: Noel and Winsley. We're pretty much regular attendees in the clinics and we seem to agree that we're in this for the long haul.

Last night, they kept on teasing me about my speed. And I told them, there are some points in the lap when I can see dots already. Really! Sabi ko nga, there are times I'm just following the sound in front of me kasi wala na akong makita. Hahaha! Talk about blacking out from the effort.

And that I guess is what I honestly want to say when someone asks how I do it. I push myself. I push till I'm almost blacking out. Bahala na, bubuhatin naman siguro ako pag nahimatay ako. It's not something that comes easily. I really give it my all each time. Because it's a good feeling to do that! That plain and simple.

But how to accept praise with grace is difficult. Because when I say "hindi naman", I'm not being truthful, right? Because the fact is, I was fast. I wish I could follow Coach Carter's advice and just be comfortable with praise. To own it. If it means freeing other people (like that new girl) to do better, to be the best they can be. (That sounds so cheesy, I know.) But how to do it is something I still need to learn.

For now, I'm just happy I can tell C (and you, reader) when I've done a good job.

My legs are shaking today. And that makes me smile. :)


La Mer

Sharing one of my favorite songs from the soundtrack of French Kiss. It's such a nice soundtrack. A classic, if you ask me.

I miss blogging. Just been busy and have nothing really fancy to write about.

Hope to write about something or nothing soon. Have a great week!


When Life Gives You Lemons (or in my case, when you choose to get the lemons)...

Interesting docu. A good friend sent me the link. He's a graphic artist and is now back to working in an ad agency. This is what his email said:

This reminds me a lot about our conversation years ago. One that left me unemployed (but at peace) for almost a year, and you into the fashion industry. A piece of me is missing that feeling and I wonder when the next wave will hit and give me the courage to let go again and just follow what my gut tells me.

Three years after I quit UNICEF... It feels so much longer than that. I think I've learned more about work, life, myself, my marriage, family, friends and country in the last three years than in the many years before that.

Lemons aren't that bad. They make the best lemonades! :)


President Cory, Salamat

Woke up early Saturday morning, the 1st of August. Mang Nado the patternmaker was coming to the house and I had to get ready. I got a slice of pineapple to eat in front of the TV while waiting for Mang Nado to arrive.

Turned TV on and forgot about the pineapple.

President Corazon C. Aquino had passed on at 3:18 am.

I woke C up. Usually that's a dangerous thing to do on a weekend morning. But he was up in a second and didn't growl nor show fangs. This was news we've been covering for a while.

I remember telling C that President Cory was "on schedule". I was referring to how her illness was progressing. The loss of appetite, the difficulty in breathing, the need for a breathing apparatus, the "stable" condition. My aunt had just recently passed away after over a year of battling with stomach cancer. Cory's 'progress' was awfully familiar.

I guess we all expected to hear of Cory's passing. But maybe we were also anticipating a miracle. After all, many miracles happened in Cory's time.

I was weepy the entire weekend. Even at a clothes fitting at the house of a friend, I couldn't help but sigh and weep as we watched on TV the coverage of the transfer of the remains from Heritage Park to La Salle Greenhills. It didn't help that when they took the casket out of the hearse, it was raining. Something about the solemnity of military honors done in the rain. Like a scene from a war movie.

I think a lot of people agree that President Cory wasn't perfect. She made some poor decisions too. But one thing we all have to agree on is that she loved this country deeply and did everything she could to serve it well, even after her presidency.

She was decent. She was humble. She sacrificed much.

On Saturday morning, I felt that the world was older and more tired.

I guess part of my youth had died with Cory. She came to power in a time when I was too young to know cynicism. My parents brought me to EDSA to witness history unfolding.

There was so much hope during that time. Hope that drove out fear. And it was a frail woman in yellow who inspired such hope.

Now that she is gone, what hope do we cling on to?

Perhaps the deep sadness we all feel now will lead to a renewed collective strength to hope again. This time in ourselves and what we can do individually and collectively.

We shouldn't wait for another Cory. There will never be one.

P.S. In a TV feature on Cory, a former presidential staff talked about how decent President Cory was, even in the small things. Her grandchildren would be playing in Malacanan and they'd ask: "Lola, is this candy ours or the government's?" The presidential staff went on to say that the grand kids knew that they couldn't use/get government property, not even a piece of candy.

If only most, if not all, public servants had even a fraction of this kind of decency and respect for the country they served.