Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tigger punches out Eeyore, huzzah!

I was out Christmas shopping after work today and some Tiggers caught my eye...

It was then I realized I haven't felt like an Eeyore for over two weeks now.

And that's a good thing. A happy feeling, literally.

I was grouchy right after the bike crash when I couldn't train. When I got better, I was frustrated I couldn't do very much training while trying to work a full-time job again. I was so upset that I was getting fat and out of shape. When I was able to manage my time better, I was miserable that some days I didn't feel like training anyway. I fluctuated between not wanting to train, and mad at my body for not being 100% healed. Then I was sad that I didn't enjoy training any more. I got depressed realizing that triathlon was no longer fun, and that I didn't want to do it any more. Then I got more sad at the thought of never doing triathlon again.

Triathlon + Wongstar = love-hate relationship.

I know that there are some people out there who are disappointed in my decision to walk away from triathlon, but I ultimately realized that if I kept doing something that made me such a miserable, negative, dark & twisty Eeyore, the person who would be most disappointed would be... myself.

I haven't randomly felt like crying or bursting into tears for over 2 weeks now. FINALLY.

In related news, I watched the Winnie the Pooh movie in the theater with my friend Steph when it first came out over the summer. We were the only "big kids" in the audience...meaning, sure there were people our age there, but they brought their kids. I highly recommend it if you are ever feeling like an Eeyore. It is the most fun and hilarious movie ever! I vowed to buy the DVD when it came out and to watch it whenever I needed cheering up. Sherpa got me it for my birthday. But I haven't felt like an Eeyore since then!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

whispering the loudest and talking at the top of your lungs

Yesterday my favorite Hungarian/Canadian/Jewish fan (you know who you are) sent me a message saying, "we runners used to say that race walking is like seeing who can whisper the loudest."

Well, I told him that we Chinese people are well known for talking at the top of our lungs, but it's not considered screaming. (Just go into any Chinatown tea house. You just step in and there's this ROAR all around you.)

No coincidence, the best racewalkers in the world hail from Russia and CHINA. That's what Wikipedia tells me anyway, and everyone knows that Wikipedia is like the Magic Eight Ball and has all the answers to life's biggest questions. (42!)

And check it out, the fastest two Chinese are Wang's. That's a close cousin to Wong, of course.

Clearly this is my destiny.

Even trippier, 3+ years ago, after Brett watched me run for the first time at teamTBB training camp in fall of 2008, he promptly instructed me to go on YouTube and watch racewalkers. I was supposed to run like a racewalker who was cheating. (They aren't allowed to have both feet off the ground at the same time.) The emphasis was on the heel strike, and high cadence.

Another year later, we were at the training camp in Jeju, South Korea, where it seems many significant events in my life have taken place (spooky?), and we trained on the same track as the national team's racewalking unit. I actually blogged about it in my little spoof "Making the Grade at Sutto's Triathlon Academy." They were really quite amazing to watch, one guy was walking circles around some of our guys!

This was the first time I really did my racewalking "homework," and learned through my Google research that Chinese girls can indeed have six-pack abs. The Abzilla pictured above is the 3rd fastest girl on the all-time list, Liu Hongyu, who took 4th in the last Olympics and got 2nd last year at the world championships. (If you watched the video I posted up on Monday, you will recognize her as 2nd across the line. But yeah, I know, we all look the same, eh?)

Back then (2+ years ago), I believed that if I ate "right" (inadvertently starving myself) and kept up the ridiculous hours of Ironman training, those six-pack abs would be mine. Wrong! I will have to racewalk like a maniac to get them!

Anyway, other than getting distracted once again by the awesomeness that is racewalkers' abdominal muscles, I think I meant to say that Chinese people are really good at two things:

  1. racewalking.
  2. talking super loud (but below the scream threshold), which is like being able to whisper the loudest, which is like racewalking.
Therefore: because I'm full-blooded Chinese, then: I should be really good at this new sport too. Right.

In similar news, I had Lesson #2 today and it went well! I am holding my form even when increasing speed. This first month is all about getting the technique down. Details next time!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

ninja rubber duckies and Chinese Christmas tree angels

random Tuesday ramblings:

1. Glee has gone downhill. Tonight's Christmas special...whew.

2. I just ordered some art! From, where else.

3. I heard a rumor there is a 10-day super cold going around.

4. I found two more ninja rubber ducks today!

Last weekend, the Sherpa hid a bunch of ninja rubber duckies all around the house while I was out practicing my new sport. He did not warn me and the sneaky ninjas started launching their stealth attack on me. Next to my shampoo in the shower, buried in my underwear drawer, beside the K-cup's in the coffee drawer, chillin' in the refrigerator, and hiding deep in my SHOE!!!

The most hilarious part is that the Chinese Christmas angel tree topper I ordered had come in. I was pretty excited, because it's our first Christmas living together. We just had an ugly sparkly silver star, but I wanted an angel, and it was NOT going to be some blonde-haired blue-eyed white girl angel. Not in this household!

Isn't she adorable?? I got her from this website that Google magically found for me when I googled "Chinese Christmas angel": They even have Korean and Vietnamese ones!

Ok that part wasn't the hilarious part yet. The hilarious part is that I put the angel up over the weekend and the ninja duck was staring right at me. I didn't notice him there until just now, when I went to take a picture of the tree with the angel on top. Can you see him masquerading as a Christmas ornament? Crazy ninja rubber duckies!

Monday, December 12, 2011

introducing: the Wongstar's new sport!

So I mentioned I was on the hunt for a new sport.

I've always been the kind of person who focuses on what I can do instead of dwelling on the can't. Since I started to take the knee injury more seriously (instead of ignoring it and being A Big Giant Denial-Head), I had to face the fact that if I wanted it to heal up, I couldn't bike or run on it. For an indefinite amount of time...crappy little ligaments have poor blood supply and just take time to heal. Who knows how long.

I realized that dwelling on not being able to bike or run was making me into a very bitter, angry, depressed and dejected sourpuss. Not very like me at all. Sure I could swim...with a pull buoy, or just light kicking...but the last two winters I've focused on swimming hard-core, and doing something that is my least favorite sport all winter makes me grumpy and bitter too.

Still, I needed to do something. My original plan was to get into ultramarathons, when I first thought I could still run and not bike. But running over 70 minutes made my knee swell up a little. So back to the drawing board. I figured I needed to find a sport that I could enjoy and also be competitive in. It also had to be low-impact and not bother my knee. And tap into my ginormous endurance base and burn lots of calories and provide a nice endorphin high. And probably nothing to do with throwing and catching things, of which I'm not so coordinated. I'm not much of a team player either. hahaha! "Doesn't play well with others."

So no team sports or ball sports and low impact and endurance-ish.

Enter one of the most obscure Olympic events known to Americans:


Yeah, did you know it's an official track & field event? The 20km is the standard distance at the Olympics. Here is a clip from last year's track & field world championships in Daegu:

The world record is 1:25:08. You know, when I ran the Penn Relays 20km and won it earlier this year, I did it in 1:28:20. Holy crap, they can walk faster than I can run!


So yes, it does look really funny but abs, people, ABS. I had my first technique lesson last Wednesday. The weirdest part is not how it looks but learning how to "walk" all over again. I'd liken it to being a freestyle swimmer and learning how to do butterfly or breaststroke after years and years of doing freestyle only. Something like that.

And it is an Olympic event! And they have killer abs! Sign me up!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Buzz Lightyear kicks out White Tiger

I updated my header image. If you are using a blog reader and can't see it, open up in a new browser.

I was tired of looking at myself riding White Tiger. (I know...poor White Tiger has been relegated to the basement. Heart stickers and all.) I haven't mentioned the post-traumatic-car-crash syndrome (like PTSS but specifically from car crashes), maybe it'll be another blog another day.

Anyway, making my Buzz Lightyear costume and running around in it for Halloween was a big highlight this crazy year. I can relate to him because we are both really obnoxious, totally awesome, and slightly out of touch with reality. ("I can fly!!!") Unfortunately the best photo of myself as Buzz is in front of ugly furniture in a messy living room. Anyone a Photoshop whiz out there? Then again, Space Rangers have to make do with the strange planets they land on. :)

I've been inundated with all kinds of messages since announcing that I don't want to race as a pro triathlete any more. For the most part, true friends and fans that have followed me the past years have been overwhelmingly supportive, and I'm so appreciative beyond words. I feel like I've been out of racing form for such a long time (oh, a whole year), that I guess I was surprised so many people still followed me and read this blog. I haven't had time to respond to everyone's messages but am hoping to get to all of them soon.

In the meantime, I renamed the blog. Oh, there will still be shenanigans, always, but I liked the idea of "To infinity, and beyond triathlon..." because what also sorta-not-really surprised me, was the responses on the Slowtwitch forum on my retirement thread. (And I stand by my statement, nothing says "triathlon superstar" like your very own retirement thread on Slowtwitch!) I've definitely learned to not take any negativity directed towards me personally because people tend to be jackasses when they can hide behind their computers. I once even had some marathon girl send me hatemail calling me a "fuckin' loser." WOW.

The general tone from a lot of Slowtwitch folks was that if I was retiring from triathlon, I was saying good-bye to competitive athletics completely. Of course, this is coming from triathletes only, and I guess to a triathlete, if you're not doing triathlon, you're not doing anything. Mm-hmm. You know there are other sports out there, right guys?

Somewhere in the middle of the decision process, I started to think of my pro triathlon career not as the end goal, but thought "maybe I have yet to find out what I'm really good at." And maybe this whole tri thing was merely a stepping stone to something even bigger and better.

So here we after triathlon. Fasten your seat belts, because yes, I plan to keep blogging. I was a blogger long before I was a pro triathlete and I will continue to blog about my new adventures. Whatever I do, wherever I go. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

it's not about the knee.

I can blame the knee, the car accident, the stupid Korean driver all I want, but what it came down to, was this:

I don't want to do it any more. I am so burnt out.

There was this small voice in my mind that had been saying this for longer than I care to admit. It wasn't about being poor, it wasn't about the knee damage, although those were definitely some of the straws that broke the camel's back.

It took me a long time to even admit this to myself, and once I did, I finally started to feel better. But for a long time, I had a lot of guilt associated with feeling this way. Because why should I feel this way? Everyone kept saying they wish they had my "job". Oh, how wonderful it must be, to do this for a "living"! Gosh I wish I could get paid to just train all day! You are the luckiest girl in the whole world!

I don't mean to sound ungrateful, and I do appreciate all the support and encouragement from everyone.


I just wasn't happy any more.

Somewhere along the line, something that I loved to do and wanted to do became something I had to do, was obligated to do. It became something I resented and even hated at times.

I have had enough triathlon stuffed down my throat to last several lifetimes.

I am proud of everything I have done, and of course reserve the right to get over being burnt out and gimp'ed out and change my mind to come crawling back to triathlons and Ironman someday, but in the meantime, I am walking away.

Please respect my decision because this is finally MY OWN decision after letting myself be influenced by too many other people for far too long.

Which means, I don't want to hear you telling me:

  • you'll get over it
  • oh, you can't quit now! you were on the verge of a breakthrough!
  • just do this (fill in the blank) race with me!
  • (or any variations of the above)

In the meantime...I have a new sporting adventure planned. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 5, 2011

doors of happiness

"When one door of happiness closes, another opens,
but often we look so long at the closed door
that we do not see the one that has been opened for us."

I will neither confirm nor deny the rumors of my triathlon retirement.

Let's just say:

  1. I am starting to see another open door.
  2. 2012 is the last year of eligibility for my triathlon pro license.
  3. I have no intention to sign up for any triathlons next year.

Friday, December 2, 2011

30 things to do before 30

In early 2009 (in between my first and second teamTBB training camps), I made a list of "30 things I want to do before I turn 30." I was 27, so I had almost 3 years, since I have a late birthday. Over Thanksgiving and the birthday weekend, I got to ruminate over "the list" and have no regrets on how it all panned out.

Here are things I accomplished on the list:
  • Go to a shooting range.
  • Break 10 hours in an Ironman.
  • Break 3:15 in an open marathon.
  • Visit two new continents.
  • Win a triathlon.
  • Land a major individual sponsor.
  • Get a six-pack.
  • Get pro triathlon license.
  • Do a prosthetic mission in Southeast Asia.
  • Find true love. (I actually crossed this off early on.)
  • Go XC skiing or snowshoeing at Tahoe.
  • Break a record.

Here are things I sorta did or sorta almost:
  • Make cover of a magazine.
  • Run a beer mile.  FAST!
  • Lead a GT MSPO class on an international mission.

Things I didn't even come close to doing:
  • Become semi-fluent in Mandarin.
  • Take Qigong classes.
  • Take surf lessons.
  • Pay off student loans. (hahahaha!)
  • Run my sister through her first marathon.
  • Host karaoke night at the Seahorse Saloon.
  • Learn to drive stick shift.
  • Get out of credit card debt.
  • Do 100 manly push-ups.
  • Do a P&O career talk at a college or university.
  • Get my FAAOP.

Learned a few're not entirely responsible for making a goal happen if it heavily depends on another person (like the sister's marathon or true love). It's good to be ambitious and dream big. Some things are arbitrary--the "major individual sponsor" that I landed is Haamonii Smooth Shochu, a liquor company based in San Francisco. How many pro triathletes do you know who have their own liquor sponsor? :D

Some things I didn't quite accomplish, and still want to do. Some things I didn't quite accomplish and don't care to do any more. Then there are all those things that I experienced and accomplished, that I didn't even think to put on the list (like ride in a hot air balloon in the Philippines!).

Now I get to come up with a new list. 40 things before 40? That'll give me 10 years to do a bunch of stuff. Or maybe 35 things before 35...I don't want to think about turning 40 yet!