Tuesday, October 06, 2015

T minus 39 days to the Big Eagle

It's just a little over the month to Ironman. I had initially wanted to write a post with my thoughts about my whole journey at exactly 30 days to Ironman, but I happen to have some free time right now, and my notebook is fully charged right this very moment, so I figured I would do it now.

It's been roughly 8 months since I started my "Road to Ironman" adventure. I had toyed with the idea of taking part in what seemed like an insanely difficult task for a few years now, though I always brushed it off with a laugh at precisely how insane and impossible that idea seemed. My brother, Kevin, has done it numerous times and seemed to love the sport very much. I have had my fair share of Olympic distance triathlons and have uttered the words "I will never do an Ironman" a few times. So what changed?

I guess it all changed last year, when Ironman came back to our shores. After a 4 year hiatus, Ironman Malaysia came back with a bang, and as soon as the registration opened, everybody jumped on that bandwagon. At that time I was still in the state of mind that I will never ever do an Ironman. It was just way too far out of my league. Little did I know, though, that my mind would be changed by the people around me very very quickly.

To cut to the chase, my friends who bike and run were all signed up for this big event and suddenly I was immersed in the Ironman conversation day in and day out. Externally, I shook my head when I read or hear about the training sessions they put themselves through but in my head, something chipped away at the mental wall I had built inside, and slowly I felt a desire to be one of them. I have always had a competitive streak in me and I couldn't help but think that if my friends could do it, so could I. That's right, I could do an Ironman, I totally could!

But even for someone like myself, who usually wings it, I was a little wary of the amount of work I would have to put in to survive the Ironman. I am no longer 21 years old and I knew (as much as I try to deny it) that I couldn't just rock up and swim 3.8km, bike 180km and run 42km with no physical and mental preparation whatsoever. This is a different ball game.

So in April 2014, I completed the 70.3 Ironman Putrajaya. It was painful. But the satisfaction was indescribable. I knew for sure, then, that the full Ironman is no joke. But I was prepared to take it on. I started to take training a little more seriously from then, with the support and help from Gary and my big brother. I knew I wasn't ready to do it in 2014. I wasn't ready to give up so much time for it, yet.

Come 2015, February, as Chinese New Year rolls out of the picture, I decided I was ready. I was going to start taking my training seriously. I was going to set some rules, plan some routines, and told my fiance that if I wailed and whined, he would just need to say "Suck it up, Buttercup" and tell me to stick to it. And this happened on many occasions, to be honest. *oops*

The progression of my training was slow. I started up with just a bike trainer session once a week. Then I ventured into adding a swim session in on a weekly basis. As time went on, I got in long rides on the weekends. Did my first 3-digit ride with my friends, and then did a few more until 3-digit rides became the norm.

It wasn't until I finally signed up for the race in June, when sh*t actually got real. I don't really remember how, but suddenly it was minimum 1 hour training every day, 2 trainer days a week, 2 swim days a week, long rides on weekends and just finding time to swim, bike or run whenever I get some free time. Gone were my naps, gone were my breakfast out with mom and dad, gone were watching tv series on my notebook. I was so tired at the end of every week, Monday just seemed impossible to wake up to. I was on the brink of burning out, and much sooner than I expected.

I know myself very well, and I am not afraid to admit that I am lacking in discipline when it comes to training. Hence, to make it even 3 months long, I think that is quite a feat. I love keeping fit and working out, but I also love relaxing and having down, low key times. So it got too difficult too fast and many times I found myself cursing this Ironman and what it has done to my life. But I usually try to take 3 deep breaths and thank the stars above for sending me kind, patient and loving Gary who bears the brunt of all my worst days and still sticks around to see my pull through.

So that leads me to here. Now. 8 months into my "Road to Ironman". Am I still training like a maniac? Mm...not really anymore. Is it time to taper down already? Probably not, still got 5 weeks. But I am cutting myself some slack for my mental health. I am doing okay. I have worked hard and the results are showing in my performances in the past couple of 113km races. I am cycling better and running stronger. I complain less about the water. I'm on track even though I know I could do more.

Right now I just want to do my best, without sacrificing my life, and my job. I need to work to make a living and I need to spend some time planning for other aspects of my life. But am I still Ironman focused? You bet.

And on November 14th, 2015, I will cross that finish line, and I'm gonna be an Ironman. Don't believe me, just watch. =)

Sunday, March 09, 2014


Hello again. If you still read my blog, I say thank you very much, and sorry for the very very very infrequent postings. I have obviously too much on my plate right now, and also a fading interest in typing out my personal thoughts. I think I am becoming cold and hollow inside, like everyone else in this age of technology. Because we can create an emotion whenever and wherever we like these days. Want to laugh - go read 9Gag. Want to cry - just listen to the news. Want to feel jealous - scroll down your FB news feed. Want to b*tch about people - do the same. Everything feels superficial, man-made. Nothing ever comes from the heart any more.

I feel like that these days. I feel like my daily mission nowadays is nothing more than "Make more money". I have become one of those people who do their accounts every month end, gasp in disbelief, start to freak out, frantically try to piece together a new plan to save money and make more money simultaneously, and the whole thing repeats itself in a monthly cycle. Fast fading is my passion for sport and outdoor enjoyment.

Training sessions which were once fun things for me to do during the weekend have now become a thing I dread but know I have to execute. It has become "homework". I hate homework. I hate school and academics and anything that forces me to do things I do not like to do. I am starting to get cranky whenever people take sport so seriously. Especially the poor boyfie, who has done no wrong except to want to train and take his sport seriously. That, for some stupid reason, makes me feel like I am not taking things seriously enough and that annoys me. Because from the very get go, I never take my sport this seriously. It was always just an avenue to sweat, burn calories, make friends, go really fast and feel the wind in my hair, and that's it! I never really aimed to better my time, to correct my stroke, to reduce my inefficiencies. I never wanted to play this seriously but somehow, somewhere, sometime ago I got caught in the hype of it all. The kiasuness is intolerable. I have done the bike route of my Putrajaya IM TWICE! My inner hipster triathlete is going Whuuuuuuuttttt?!! Since when, in my 15 years of athleticism, have I ever checked out the route prior to race day. Like NEVER!

But I cannot blame anybody but myself. I am conflicted. On one hand, I have my business, which is my baby at the moment. My top priority. Every decision I make, and everything I do this year have got to do with growing my business. I am dealing with emails, and phone calls, and furniture, and fitness articles and programs and running clinics, and corporate companies, and locksmiths and so many many many things that I am so so so worn out by the end of the day. Mustering the strength to do a 90km bike ride on a Saturday morning just sounds unappealing as it is, what more if I have to go and struggle to keep up with my boyfriend and his friends. My ego has never been stretched this thin. Yet, on the other hand, I know that somewhere deep inside of me I am still that person who wants to succeed. I want to be able to race on 13th of April, and emerge victorious. I'm not looking to win top 3, but I would be extremely disappointed if I failed to complete this race. This damn race which costs me 250 USD.

Why did I sign up for this race? For reasons I still cannot fathom, I signed myself up for a RM650 race. Who the hell spends that sort of money on a damn hobby and then not train for it? Again, it boils back down to money. Or the lack thereof.

Urgh, the pressure! The stress! The regret! I feel it every single day as the day draws closer. What is wrong with me?

Thursday, December 19, 2013


So...last post was September. Glorious month for 2013, that one. It was the month I truly felt liberated to run my own show, do my own thing where my career was concerned. Things were going smoothly, money was coming in, life was good.

Now it's almost 4 months later. I think things are still going well, but I haven't really been super happy of late. For starters, I seem to keep getting myself into all sorts of fixes with my friends. And the irony is that they all stem from me trying to do something nice for someone. From that, I somehow find myself either in a heated debate on my principles or, like what I did just yesterday, I end up paying through my nose for a careless careless mistake.

Maybe it is the pressure or stress from shouldering all responsibilities from my business? Or maybe it is just merely the fact that I have been resting my foot, and not running at all, and so I feel like I don't have an outlet. I think it is also the fact that I am DYING to move out and live my own life with my happy, but extremely high maintenance puppy, Milo, and get out of everyone's hair in this house, but I can't because I am not rich enough to buy or even rent a place of my own.

Maybe it is all. I guess this is it la, what everyone has complained about being an grown up, all the responsibilities, the stress, the fear of failure and rejection, the pressure to emerge successful. I am finally weathering this storm called Life and I don't know if I am handling it very well.

Poor Gary has had to endure a couple of my bitch fits because I am too stubborn to listen to any other person. I really should be a better girlfriend.

So, I am a little impatient for the year to end, truth be told. I am quite done with December, I've lost enough money and have only made very little in return. I have lost my head a few times due to the setbacks. I really think I need to manage my life a bit better...

It starts with being completely on my own, I feel. I need my own place. I really do. I am adult enough to make decisions on my own that does not require consent from anyone else.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

And then we have 1 year.

I have been back to Malaysia for more than 2 years now. But officially, my company Kia Kaha Fitness was registered on this day, 5th of September, 1 year ago. =)

Confused rant few days ago aside, I actually am feeling pretty blessed. To have been given this opportunity to blossom as an Entrepreneur. To learn the tricks of the trade, stand on my own two feet, make my own decisions and call my own shots. To meet the many wonderful people that have made me feel so happy to be Karen Siah, Personal trainer and Fitness Instructor, as well as those who showed me the ways to better myself in every way.

I have endless gratitude to my parents and brothers, for without them many of my endeavours would have stopped short. I thank them for every single time they have egged me on. To my boyfriend and all my friends who have put up with my first few training sessions (while having a lack of experience), for those who signed up with me and went through my arduous sessions, I truly appreciate your support =) ALso thanks a million for the recommendations that you have sent my way. I hope to repay you with coffee, pints of Guiness or dinner as often as possible =)

1 year is a milestone, but most definitely nothing to shout about. The journey is just starting and I intend to make it a long and joy-filled one, with many a food for the soul and many a time for laughter :)

Monday, September 02, 2013

I feel bleh.

I think I should start blogging here again. Because I am starting to feel a little bleeehhh. Maybe this is my quarter life crisis. Maybe this is Life as we all know it, but I have not quite accepted it.

I read and see pictures about marathons and runs and races that have past. Friends and acquaintances take part and rave about it. I have this sinking feeling that I should be the one taking part in these runs. I miss doing that and being in the atmosphere of it all. Yet I feel the act of running simply growing stale. I feel like I need to do something else to feed me the same endorphin and adrenaline to stimulate my passion for these things again. But the things I want to do take time and money and I feel like time and money always have better places to be channeled into than my hobbies. Being a grown up sux.

I am jealous. Of friends and peers who can own nice flash cars, buy homes, invest in businesses, get married and plan a family. I don't like trailing behind. I like trendsetting. I like jet-setting. I like telling people about things I have done. I don't like listening in awe.

And what happened to running a marathon in a different country every year? I forgot that little thing called Cost when I made that plan. Why does everything cost so much? I am letting my years slip me by.

Life is good but it isn't really panning out the way I had hoped. Not fast enough at least.

I need more money. I need to have more purpose.

Monday, May 13, 2013

27 is the new awesome.

I'm twenty-friggin-seven years old. To me, that sounds extremely old. Mainly because I had envisioned myself to be married and probably with a kid now. Because at my age right now, my mum already had my big brother.

But when I think about it, I think I am living the best times of my life. Life for me, is pinker than a bed of roses, bluer than the sky on a summer's day, and peachier than peaches. When I laid my head to rest yesterday, completely exhausted from my weekend, I had the widest smile on my face. I fell asleep feeling so amazingly blessed, words won't do it justice.

I mean sure I just had my house broken into about a week ago, and my skin is close to charred from the sun, and I have an ulcer the size of Dumbo in my mouth making it very painful for me to shout, and eat and drink. But I am really happy.

My career is really bringing me places. I am now the new Ambassador for Nike Training Club, representing Nike Malaysia. I met the most amazing girls in fitness, from different nations. I have the most amazing job. My clients are succeeding in their heath goals. I am the fittest and strongest I have ever been in my whole life. I love the way I look and how I owe it all to just doing my job, and loving my job. Jobs, plural, actually. But the gist of it is I am so happy!

My friends, both old ones and new, are the most awesome people. Just because they are always lending their support in any way they can. I know they humour me most of the time, but God, I love them! Always a Whatsapp message away :)

My boyfriend, Gary, is heaven-sent. The most supportive and attentive partner I can dream of having, he makes me feel extremely loved and cared for every single day. He takes it all in, my tantrum should I throw it his way, my odd working hours, my need to constantly train, and sleep, and eat, he just takes it all in and creates an environment so conducive for me and my life. I struck gold the day I met him.I am extremely grateful.

My family never fails to show their support for everything I do. My brothers are the most amazing brothers, keeping track of my activities, and keeping me close to their hearts. My parents have to deal with my erratic lifestyle, exchanging the cars in the driveway for me, washing up my really dirty clothes, humoring me when I talk for hours on end about fitness and people I train.

I hope this never ends. I hope the downhill of all these joyous moments is lightyears from now, and that my life will continue to flourish till the day I die. =) That will be my birthday wish every damn year.