Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Templer's Park Natural Swimming Pool

The Taman Rimba Templer Swimming Pool is a great place to practice swimming laps in semi open-water type conditions. Excellent pool close to Kuala Lumpur for folks who want to practice for the swim leg of upcoming triathlons. The pool is about 50 m long and 20 m wide, and is fed by refreshingly cold water from the Templer Waterfalls further upstream.
The Pool fed by icy cold water from the Waterfalls further upstream (steps to Falls rear left)

I’ve played in the Pool before, but never tried swimming laps in it, until today. After work I drove there from FRIM where I work (about 10 minute drive). I parked at the carpark (there are public toilets and changing rooms there). The Pool is a 500 m walk gentle uphill walk into the park, on paved

Saturday, June 25, 2011

PD Triathlon 2011: In My Dreams Only?

Summary of Post
Struggling with kidney problems, all I can do is wait and see if I can recover before registration closes for the PD Tri (July 1). At the moment, it looks unlikely (Note: 23 July 2011, I did it! Race report here.). Nice thing though is, in my dreams, I am strong and whole, and running free!

Recurring Dream
It’s pretty cool that even when my real body is sick and weak, sometimes in my dreams Avatar Grace is whole and strong. I love my flying dreams, where I soar above the green fields and dodge the occasional power line.  My current favorite is my running dream. I am running lightfooted as a deer along a forest trail. Although I am going fast as can be, I don’t feel like I will ever get tired. Every breath I suck into my lungs revitalizes me. My body feels powerful. In this running dream of mine, I don’t have kidney problems bothering me… don’t feel weak from losing protein and blood in my pee ... don't have sharp arthritic pains shooting through my joints … I just … feel … good…  

OCD, Me?
“Don’t be so obsessive!”, my wonderful doctor of 12 years lectures when I tell her that I test my pee (with a dipstick)  for proteinuria every morning. I smile as I remember her kind-hearted scoldings, and I am still smiling as I journal the results of this morning’s dipstick test: “Trace” proteinuria, the dipstick says. Muuuuch better than the 4+ (ridiculous) reading on 18 June (which was the day before the Hoohathlon). Once I get down to “negative” proteinuria, and feel settled, I can again start tapering off the dratted meds (corticosteroids) that I take for my illness (Henoch Schonlein Purpura). Hopefully that happens in the next few days, so I can sign up for the PD Tri! If not? Well, if not, I’ll just go to PD and do the triathlon distances there whenever I am good and ready. There’s much to be said about ‘Mind Over Matter’, but if I push mindlessly when I am ill, it will indeed matter – it will kill me. :p . Don’t even get me started on ‘What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger’…

The Week Past
Didn’t do a whole lot of training this week but put in some time every day after work. Just enough to break a sweat, which is 30 minutes on my elliptical machine. My body is limited to gentle namby pamby exercise, however, my mind seems to have gone into Quantum Hyperdrive Fantasy Mode. I imagine myself swimming the 800 m (sprint distance) with the salty waves lapping against me… the transitions … the 20 km bike ride on my trusty road-slick-tyred mountain bike, wind against my face … my legs pumping through the 5 k run. I am grateful that I have memories of my past life (before and between bouts of illness) that I can draw on for my imaginings. We'll know by next week's post if the PD Triathlon is 'Only in my dreams'...

“A healthy man has many wishes, but a sick man has only one…”

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xo Gracie

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hoohathlon 2011 Race Report: A Taste of Tri

As I sat down to write this race report, a plethora of emotions washed over me. The Hoohathlon that I participated in yesterday, 19 June 2011, was incredibly meaningful to me because I had always wanted to do a triathlon, and this was my first taste of a tri, an 'appetizer'. My journey to this point has been derailed so many times because of illness, and this flicker of hope almost snuffed out in 2009, that I barely dared to hope again to tri. A few years ago, I had thought my illness conquered, and had planned to do my first tri ('Tri-ing for Me: Triathlon after Illness). It never happened. A family crisis brought on the worst relapse that I had had since diagnosed with the rare illness (Henoch Schonlein Purpura) ten years ago. Instead of triathlon training and brick workouts, in a desperate bid to get better I ended up camped in the Florida Everglades with alligators, rattlesnakes and other friendly wildlife as my companions!

Humbled... and grateful. That is how I feel right now. Because I know I could never have gotten here without the support of the people in my life… my devoted husband, also my biggest cheerleader … my family and friends … my employer, FRIM, who accommodated for my illness… and my God.

Pre-Race Prep
For months I had been slowly tapering my medications under my doctor’s supervision, while preparing for the race. When I first started training I was very weak but I faithfully put in time on my elliptical machine every evening after work, increasing from 10 minutes to an hour a day, over two months. After I signed up for the race, I started training in earnest. The week before, I had successfully completed the Hoohathlon distances: 150 m swim in my apartment pool, 10 km bike and 5 km run at the scenic Kepong Botanical Gardens in FRIM. Unfortunately, I relapsed from food poisoning two days before the race. I wasn’t sure if I should/could/would do the race at all.

Race Day
I woke up 5.30 am, felt 'okay' (as much as a relapsing person with protein and blood in the pee could feel, which in the early stages