Health & Well-Being

Never Stop Dreaming

Never Stop Dreaming

How would you feel if you:

  • Took risks without promises of success?
  • Pack up all your things and leave your life behind?
  • Did what you wanted to do instead of what your parents wanted to do?
  • Quit a good paying job without another one lined up?
  • Start a new career from the bottom up?
  • Decide to remain unmarried and childless?
  • Decide to do everything against all of society’s predetermined conventions?
  • Didn’t care what other people thought of you?

It’s scary.

But that’s why most people live conventional, boring and predictable lives.
That’s why they do the same thing as everybody else.
That’s why everybody is afraid to step outside of the box.
That’s why everybody is so hesitant on accepting the different.
That’s why everybody is afraid to be different.

That’s why society is so bound by common conventions.

Don’t be afraid to take risks and step outside of your comfort zone…
…of the comfort zone of everyone in society.
Do the unconventional.
Be the unconventional.

We are so often caught up in the fear of the unknown.
But shouldn’t we focus on what we may gain?
We may not necessarily gain a reward but we will always gain experience.

Have courage.

Live a life with no regrets.
You don’t have to be in control all of the time.
What’s the point in living if you have your entire life planned?
Predictability is boring.
Who wants to live by the same routine everyday?
The most memorable moments and best opportunities usually spawn from spontaneity.

Nobody has it all figured out.
If they did, that means they stopped growing as a person.
They’ve stopped dreaming.

The more we abandon this freedom to do what we want to do, the more stagnant we become.
Welcome the unknown, the uncertainty and the unpredictable.
Free yourself from the perception of what you “need” to do…
…and do what y0u want to do.

Surrender yourself into the flow of life and let adventure take a hold of you.

The quest to meaning is all about the journey.
When you have stopped growing, you have already ended your journey.
There shouldn’t ever be an end in sight.
When you think you’ve reached the end, take a break but keep on going.

Never stop growing, learning and dreaming.

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    The Pilgrimage Up Mont Ventoux

    The Pilgrimage Up Mont Ventoux

    My schedule is becoming less hectic and the cold and wet weather settling in means I have more free time when I’m in town during the weekends (normally, I’d be out ALL day on the bike). And honestly, at the end of year, I always slide into a “slump” where I have less motivation to exercise… but it’s okay because I’ve been riding and lifting non-stop since January. I am still riding, but mainly commutes to and from work and if it’s a dry weekend, I may go for a nice and slow long ride. But only if I feel like it. No pressure or guilt.

    The best way to get over slumps is to “slow down and smell the roses.” Stop riding for speed and fitness, but ride just to ride— when you take the pressure off of ‘wanting’ to go fast, it makes it a lot more enjoyable.

    As avid fitness enthusiasts, sometimes it takes more discipline to not work out than to actually work out. That is what you call first world problems… so now is a good time to work on that discipline. Practice gratitude and start to notice everything that makes you feel good such as the cool, crisp air that wakes you in the morning, or when the sun peaks out from behind the clouds and you realize how lucky you are to be immersed in the glorious outdoors. All those little things add up and that is one of the keys to happiness. You can’t be sad or angry when everything around you is so uplifting!

    Viva La France | I Fucking Love Fitness | June 2014

    This entry is a way overdue but I still haven’t written about my Great Escape to Europe last spring. The trip changed my perspective on life in so many ways while I reveled in limitless experiences and worked on my bucket list.

    One of them was a pilgrimage up Mont Ventoux.

    Mont Ventoux is one of those mythical Tour de France climbs and although there are many mountains in Europe, I wanted to tackle this legendary one first. I was already a month into my travels. I had passed by London, Berlin, Munich, Santorini, and Athens, Rome and Nice. The ride always meant to be the highlight of my trip but it was bittersweet because the end was drawing near.

    As for training, I went to a gym once in London and did a workout on my patio looking over the caldera in Santorini but other than that, walking was my main source of activity. Nice was supposed to be a vacation during my vacation. I was there for the longest duration of my trip to spend quality time with one of my best friends (whose on the extremely extroverted end of the Artisan temperaments… while I’m the extremely introverted version). I would go the gym every morning spinning out intervals and lifting weights— a last attempt to prepare myself for Ventoux, have lunch and shop, and then as soon as her restaurant closed late at night, we would hit the clubs. I work extremely well under pressure so sacrificing time to get my ass on the spin bike was not an issue when the clock began to tick.

    Mont Ventoux's Malaucène  Route | I Fucking Love Fitness | June 2014

    After Nice, I took a train to Nimes, an old town that use to be a Roman village, where I based myself for the new few days. I wanted my vacation to be relaxing and completely stress free so I hired 44|5 Cycling Tours, ran by two cycling enthusiasts: John and Gerry. The company name are the map coordinates of Mont Ventoux a.k.a. their “local hill.” Just the sound of that fills me with envy! Can you imagine Ventoux in your backyard?  It’s like when my friend in Southern France tells me she goes over the border to Milan to shop while I go to Seattle. Ugh. The grass always seem greener on the other side.

    There are three routes that will take you to the summit and after a bit of contemplating, I chose Malaucène. John picked me up from my cute little cottage that I rented from AirBnB, and drove me to the starting point where we also picked up my rental bike, shoes and helmet. They had everything planned out for me so this felt like a luxury cycling vacation… just so I can get all disgusting sweaty and really make the most out of my suffer-fest later on. That’s one of the best things about cycling— you can ride in isolation so no one can see the pain in your expression and not have to listen to your moans and groans as you slowly pedal yourself and your bike uphill. But I don’t moan and groan. I swear.

    You can imagine the excitement building up prior to the ride. It’s been on my bucket list ever since I discovered cycling and although I couldn’t really train, I wasn’t nervous. After climbing so many mountains at home, this was just another climb… and I knew I would get to the top one way or another. Conquering mountains is all about mindset, but most importantly, you have to remember to have fun. When you choose to look at challenges in a different away, you can easily avoid any fears or anxieties. Just embrace it.

    Mont Ventoux | I Fucking Love Fitness | June 2014

    The beginning of a two hour spin up this mountain. I definitely took it easy and didn’t push myself because I was having knee issues caused by a tight ITB… which was fine with me. The climb turned out to be easy because of that but I wanted to enjoy the moment and not get caught up trying to get to the top within a certain time. That’s the reason why competitive cycling never interested me. Cycling is supposed to be fun and fueled by intrinsic motivation which makes it sustainable because it does not depend on external awards. Thus turning it into a lifestyle.

    Mont Ventoux | I Fucking Love Fitness | June 2014

    I stopped to stretch at one point when I felt my knees starting to get really tight. John was in a support car following me up the entire way, making sure I had everything I needed and more importantly, snapping photos so I can have solid memories of this ride! I love memories. I hope he didn’t get annoyed when I demanded him to take photos of this and that …and this and that!

    Mont Ventoux | I Fucking Love Fitness | June 2014

    I quickly settled into a rhythm and spun up the mountain. I spun and spun and spun while trying to take in all the beauty around me.

    Mont Ventoux | I Fucking Love Fitness | June 2014

    Freedom. This is truly what it means to live… when you are doing what you love!

    Mont Ventoux | I Fucking Love Fitness | June 2014

    I was climbing a road to nowhere… nowhere but the summit. The famous barren limestone tip of Ventoux was finally in sight! It was as if I was climbing towards heaven.

    As I was counting down the kilometers and getting closer and closer to the top, I began to feel a little somber… I didn’t want the ride to end! After all these months of planning… it was going to be over. Only two hours of slow climbing up this monster they call the Beast of Provence? I wanted the moment to last forever!! Of course, I had to talk myself into realizing that all roads eventually come to an end so when I got to the top, I was ecstatic. You know that feeling when you finally achieve something that you’ve wanted to do for a long time? Epic. EPIC EPIC EPIC!!! I will never forget that moment.

    Writing about this experience over a year later, all I can recall was how happy I felt during the entire climb. Emotions are what makes memories come alive. I know parts of the ride had to be grueling with the 12% gradients but like with any hard ride, I don’t remember it at all! Our brains are good at leaving out the details of the suffering and leave us with the only pleasant memories to dwell upon. That’s what makes cycling so addicting and makes you come crawling back for more… with tight ITBs, hip flexors and all. Every moment of pain is worth it because it never lasts forever.

    Mont Ventoux | I Fucking Love Fitness | June 2014

    So there we have Ventoux. Next year as I let myself aimlessly wander in Europe again, I will be joining John and Gerry on their Girona Breakaway Tour in Spain. I am naively letting all the stalkers of the internet know my whereabouts but I am happy if it’s going to get anyone on a bike.

    If you are interested in climbing Mont Ventoux, mark your calendars in July (ahem *TOUR DE FRANCE*) and join the guys on their epic Highroad Ventoux tour where you will have a live view of the pros battling it out on the slopes, just after riding it yourself. How cool does that sound? If I didn’t have to be attending bridesmaids duties at that time, I would be on tour with them and perhaps get my chance to ride up all three routes in one day (so I can cross the Triple Ventoux off my bucket list). But I have all my life to do it again…

    With Ventoux conquered, I hopped on a train and headed to Barcelona where I literally had 10 hours of sleep during my 5 days there. That’s how you celebrate crossing something off your bucket list.

    Paying homage to The Beast of Provence

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      A Women’s Guide to Dressing for Cycling

      A Women’s Guide to Dressing for Cycling

      Dressing for Cycling: A Chilly Commute Home

      This was during a below -5°C commute home from work in January (didn’t put on my shoe covers yet). Thinking about just getting out there fills me with dread, but I always remind myself that I warm up within 5-10 minutes as long as I keep my fingers, toes and head warm. I would much rather brave the cold than be stuck in a car driving home!!

      What to wear? Am I going to be warm enough? Am I going to overheat? Dressing for cycling is one of the hardest parts of cycling. It’s easy during summer and the dead of winter because of the extreme temperatures but we are now in fall, as with spring, the temperatures are wavering in the middle and I am always a tad bit anxious if I’m wearing the right gear or not.

      If for some reason you need to stop for a long period of time (waiting for others, coffee breaks, etc), the thought of the first 10 minutes of riding again will make you want to cab home. Unfortunately there’s no solution and something we have to suck up, but the right gear makes ALL the difference in a ride. I ride in the sun, rain [and when the snow has melted off the roads]— weather doesn’t phase me as long as I am dressed for the right conditions. There really isn’t anything like riding in the crisp winter air …after your body has warmed up!!

      I’ve been taking notes for this women’s guide to dressing for cycling for a couple years and it saved me earlier this season before my first true “fall” ride when I forgot how I should be dressing for the 6°C weather! I’m still working on getting my layering-game but these notes are what works for me and I think I’ve almost got it to a tee. Remember everyone is different so you need to experiment with what works the best for you.

      -10°C (19°F) and under

      Cycling: -10°C (19°F) and under
      • I wear my snowboarding jacket + face mask
      • + the warmest + thickest gloves I own that doesn’t interfere with gearing
      • + wind-blocking & thermal everything

      -5°C (23°F) and under

      Cycling: -5°C (23°F) and under

      0°C (32°F) and under

      Cycling: 0°C (32°F) and under
      • Base layer, long-sleeve thermal jersey, windbreaker, thermal tights, wool socks, shoe covers, skull cap, balaclava, full-fingered windproof gloves
      • Everything should be thermal + wind-blocking
      • I roll up a waterproof outer-shell in my extra water-bottle cage
      • This is when the piercing cold feels like it’s slicing into you!!

      5°C – 0°C (41°F – 32°F)

      Cycling: 5°C – 0°C (41°F – 32°F)
      • Base layer, long-sleeve thermal jersey, windbreaker, thermal tights, wool socks, shoe covers, thermal headband, thin neck warmer, full-fingered gloves
      • I keep a windbreaker in my pocket / for beginning of rides.
      • This is when it starts to feel really cold but not cold enough for an outershell because I always warm up.

      10°C – 5°C (50°F – 41°F)

      Cycling: 10°C – 5°C (50°F – 41°F)
      • Base layer, long-sleeve thermal jersey, thermal tights, wool socks, shoe covers, thermal headband, full-fingered gloves
      • Full shoe covers a must if doing longer rides
      • Toe covers are fine for short rides
      • Windbreaker (in jersey pocket)
      • Sometimes I’ll wear a thin neck warmer in the beginning of a ride (especially at night) but I always take it off because I tend to overheat.

      15°C – 10°C (59°F – 50°F)

      Cycling: 15°C – 10°C (59°F – 50°F)
      • Base layer, short sleeve jersey + arm warmers OR thermal jacket (depends on the look I want), capris OR shorts + leg warmers, full-fingered gloves for long rides, finger-less gloves for short, head band, toe covers
      • Windbreaker (in jersey pocket)
      • This range is the worst because I never know what to wear!

      20°C – 15°C (68°F – 59°F)

      Cycling: 15°C - 20°C (59°F - 68°F)
      • Short sleeve jersey, capris, arm warmers, bike capris, headband, finger-less gloves.
      • Windbreaker or vest  for descents (in jersey pocket)

      20°C (68°F) +

      Cycling: 20°C (68°F) +
      • Short sleeve jersey, bike shorts, finger-less gloves
      • I wear sunscreens to cover up as much as possible to avoid the sun

      Layering Basics

      • Layering can be complicated but will keep your core warm. It’s personal preference and something you will learn over-time. Here are the basics:
        1. Base-Layer: Invest in a good quality base layer which will keep you warm and dry and you should always wear one under your jersey when it’s below 10°C. Don’t cheap out! It will also prevent you from smelling like a wet dog when you arrive at your destination.
        2. Mid-layer: Over your base layer, you should be wearing a jersey with polyester/merino wool or some type of technical fabric that will keep you warm. On super cold days, you can double up this layer (or bring arm warmers you can take off).
        3. Outer-Shell: The most outer layer should be wind-proof and water-resistant. You can get light-weight jackets that have both properties or either one, which may also be stuffed into jersey pockets when not needed. *On colder and wet days, you will need a heavy-duty jacket that is for example, completely waterproof (when it’s raining).
      A collar makes all the difference to keep you warm on winter rides... especially on chilly descents!

      A collar makes all the difference to keep you warm on winter rides… especially on chilly descents!

      On Collars:

      • +7°C: they are overkill!
      • 8°C – 0°C: Look for thin, breathable fabrics. Depending how hard the ride is, overheating is still an issue but you can always take it off.
      • 0°C to -5°C: Depends on how hard the ride is, wind conditions, or if it’s just a commute but I normally wear a thin neck warmer that can be “bunched” up.
      • Below -5°C: I will wear my thicker, fleece ski mask. You NEED a mask or your lungs will feel like it’s freezing!
      • *Tip for vain-lady-cyclists like me: wear a pretty scarf on cooler spring/fall days!

      Your head:

      • Below 10°C: Wear a thermal cap.
      • I always wear headbands in the summer to soak up sweat and keep my hair in place. Nothing cycling specific but I just find cute and cheap headbands from stores like F21.
      Just Creeping...

      CREEPER’S GOTTA CREEP. Look there are actually people riding in February! I don’t know how this guy does it with no gloves though. And the exposed ankles. Brrrr.

      Hands:

      • My fingers and toes are always the first to get cold.
      • When it goes below 5°C, I always bring an extra pair of gloves and double up because my fingers get super cold. Merino glove liners are the best.

      Feet:

      Lower Body

      • I’ve never had a problem with lower-body temperatures even in the freezing cold with my trusty Sugoi thermal tights that I own 4 pairs of!
      • 10-15°C: Capri or shorts with leg warmers
      • 15°C+: Shorts
      Dressing for Cycling: June in Vancouver

      June in Vancouver is a great month because you can finally save a few more grams on the bike and can finally be almost naked in shorts and a simple jersey! But I NEVER ride without my arm screens, which quietly aids in my losing battle against tan lines.

      Other Notes:

      • Overcast days will obviously require extra warmth compared to sunny days of the same temperature.
      • If it’s windy, wear wind-blocking gear. I always stuff a windbreaker in my jersey pockets.
      • The first 15 minutes of a winter ride may feel like hell but you will eventually warm up. No matter how much it sucks, you just need to keep on reminding yourself that!
      • For anything -20°C and under, I’ll be curled up at home!
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