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The Life of KND

Finding happiness through running, traveling and living carefree

That Time HostGator Suspended My Hosting (And Closed Multiple Websites I Owned)

Currently all of websites that are hosted on a Shared HostGator plan is SUSPENDED.

There seems to be some sort of malware or something going down. If a hacker decided to get into my websites, no biggie. I’m not too fussed about it.

There were only a couple of important blog posts I wanted to save and look back on. Everything else is pretty easy for me to let go of.

The first one is a long blog post about why I was planning to move to Australia from Vancouver. It outlines my reasons and ultimate escape plan. Of course, I can try to re-create that but it was written with so much emotion so it may be hard to duplicate.

The second one I wanted to keep is a letter to my grandpa when he passed away. That one was important to me because I was close to my gramps and I just wanted to remember what exactly I wrote to him.

Of course, I do have the memories of the past but reading raw posts from the past is much more significant because it captures what our thoughts and emotions were during that particular moment in time.

I have been trying to contact HostGator via live chat, phone, and email and all of those methods are failing. The email address associated with my account is my old, expired university email so they cannot verify my identity. Oh god. I knew I should have updated my account details when I graduated…

Let’s just hope that this issue gets resolved in the next couple of days — it would be a shame to see all of my thoughts go down the drain.

Also, you may have noticed that I am updating via my old WordPress blog. Yes! It is the only channel I currently have to write and express my thoughts. If the websites do not get fixed, I will happily head back to WordPress.com to continue blogging here.

In fact, I will most likely blog more here as there will never be any hosting issues on this reliable site. Woot!

Hmm, I think my mom reads my blog posts so… hi mom!

Time for me to jet and drink some more Melburnian coffee. Talk soon!

xoxo, knd.

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So I FINALLY signed up for BMO Marathon! (11 days until race day!)

“Congratulations! You are now registered for the BMO Vancouver Marathon in the marathon.”

Despite the weirdo typo where it says “marathon” twice in the email… I OFFICIALLY SIGNED UP FOR THE MARATHON AS OF 10 MINUTES AGO and I’m slightly FREAKING OUT.

First of all, it’s waaaay past my bedtime (I’m usually completely out by 11pm since I’m quite a grandma). And second of all, I don’t even know exactly what I am feeling right now since I have already mentally prepared myself that I would be running this marathon.

Whenever someone would ask me whether I was training for a marathon, I would give a wishy-washy answer because I didn’t actually sign up for the marathon. The reason why I took so long to sign up was that I was afraid I would get injured during my training and not be able to finish the race. That fear was so strong and so big that I decided to not sign up until I was 90% confident I would be okay to run on May 3rd.

Now that May 3rd is fast approaching (11 more days!!!), I have a better sense of whether or not my body can handle the upcoming marathon. And the answer is YES!

I know my time won’t be as great as I wanted it to be since I skipped a ton of training days recently due to conflicting weekday work events, but I know I will be able to finish the race someway or another.

These next 11 days are essential to preparing for my race and I will do my best to eat healthy and get more runs in even though my schedule may be packed. I’m still REALLY nervous for the marathon but it’s a good kind of nervous… a mixture of excitement and nervousness all-in-one!

To everyone else who is doing the BMO Marathon or Half-Marathon, keep on truckin’!! Only a week and a bit left until the big day – best of luck to all currently in beastly training-mode!!

Pacific Road Runners & Mizuno First Half (Half Marathon #2!)

On February 15, 2015, AB and I officially finished our second half marathon!!! We ran the Pacific Road Runner & Mizuno First Half  on a gorgeous, winter day.

Training

Training for this one was much harder than the first half marathon because it was during the winter season. Early mornings were completely pitch black and after-work weather was dark as well. It was hard convincing yourself how fun running was when there isn’t beautiful landscape to look at while you train. It was even harder to train during the month of November/December and even mid-way through January because it was holiday season!! I spent a good amount of time attending holiday parties and potlucks and completely ignored this thing called ‘running.’

But eventually, AB and I began to train together because we didn’t want to suffer from any potential injuries from the race.

When February 15 came around the corner, it was go-time! I was pretty nervous for the race but I knew if I kept a slow pace, I would be okay.

The Race

Instead of having a time to beat, my goal for this race was to complete it injury-free. I knew I didn’t put enough effort into training so beating my last time seemed unrealistic (I was REALLY disciplined during the fall season compared to the winter season).

One guy ran in an Elmo costume (very impressive!) and was going at a good pace, so I ended up trailing behind Elmo for most of my run. Then I decided to pass Elmo but before I took off I told him that he was AWESOME (anyone who wears funny costumes in long distances blow my mind!). Maybe one day I will be as crazy as those people to run a race in attire that’s heavier than my regular gym strip, but not anytime soon!

The Results

AB finished in about 2:04 and my official time was 2:02:22!!  Although it wasn’t better than my first half marathon, I am SO GLAD I got it over and done with. The best part was that my feet and ankles didn’t feel pain at all!!! It was slightly sore but nothing like what I felt during the final stretches of the first half marathon (my toes were getting crushed!).

Pacific Road Runner Mizuno First Half

Post-Race

The day after the race I was walking perfectly fine and a few days later I got back into the running routine. I was surprised that I wasn’t limping or dragging myself around – I guess once you have completed a couple of major races, your body gets used to it! I am very fortunate that I didn’t suffer from any feet/knee/toe injuries and am stoked for the next challenge.

The Urban Grind @ Harbour Centre in Vancouver

This past Tuesday my friends and I completed The Urban Grind and climbed 28-storeys (40 flights of stairs) to get to the top of Harbour Centre.

It was the inaugural year for the Urban Grind and the turnout was INSANE (the ground floor of Harbour Centre was packed with people in their gym strip when I arrived).

What is the Urban Grind?

The Urban Grind is a new initiative hosted by Harbour Centre that lets fitness-seekers climb 593 steps to the top of the building. It is open between 4:00pm-6:30pm every Tuesday of March and costs $5. The ticket includes a free beer at the top and a $5 food voucher to Harbour Centre’s food court. Once you get to the top, you are greeted by a beautiful 360º aerial view of Vancouver and some live DJ entertainment.

All of THAT for $5? It was such a steal – I couldn’t resist!

The Wait (Long Lineup) 

My friends stood in line around 5:30pm and didn’t get in until 6:20pm (yes, a whole spankin’ 50 minutes!). Luckily I got off work late and joined them around 6:10pm so I didn’t have to wait for too long (heh.. thank goodness for friends!). We all had to sign waiver forms and get a witness’ signature to agree that Harbour Centre would not be liable for any injuries. I didn’t exactly read the waiver form (who does?!) so I signed it quickly and was set to climb to the top! We also received our beer ticket at the front desk so that gave us an incentive for us to complete the entire climb.

The Experience

We began our journey into the secret steps of Harbour Centre and I looked at my phone to check the time before heading up to see how long it would take (it was 6:20pm). Going up was not all that exciting – there were some 8″x11″ signs with the words #UrbanGrind and an arrow that pointed to the direction of the path so I guess that was helpful (even though there was no other way to go than to go up). When we reached the halfway point, I was kind of surprised because it seemed pretty quick but it was still a good workout since my legs at that time were already feeling the burn.

Once we reached the top, I quickly checked my time again and it was 6:28pm. ONLY 8 MINUTES OF CLIMB TIME?! Well, that was short-lived. Despite the short workout, you still get this accomplishing feeling at the top and now could tell your friends that you climbed to the top of Harbour Centre!

The climb took us to the Lookout deck so we were greeted with amazing views of Vancouver. Fortunately the weather was gorgeous that day so we got to see the nice skyline and even catch the sun setting. We grabbed our beers and got jiggy with the music (for like 5 minutes). Not many people were dancing but the music was pretty good.

Urban Grind in Vancouver

Getting our drank on
Getting our drank on

Hello Vancouver!

The Missing Food Vouchers

One thing I realized was that we did not receive our $5 food voucher. An organizer told us that the vouchers were waiting for us at the bottom so we went along with that. But as soon as we got to the bottom, there wasn’t anyone giving out vouchers and apparently they all “ran out”. I felt cheated as nobody from our 8-person group nor many of the people we asked received a voucher. Perhaps next week they will learn their lesson and increase their voucher stock!?

Summary

Overall the Urban Grind experience was GREAT and I plan to do it again next week (though I’m not looking forward to the long line-up). You get a decent workout, free beer at the top, an amazing view and (if all goes according to plan) a $5 food voucher. I would totally recommend it to anyone looking for something to do during Tuesday evenings in the month of March! Perhaps I’ll do it multiple times within the 4:00pm-6:30pm time slot to get a more intense workout next time (ehhh, we’ll see about that!).

Last taper run before the Pacific Road Runner’s “First Half”

Just finished 5.8 km with AB and I feel HORRIBLE.

Both of my calves were tensed up and didn’t feel smooth and the arch of my inner right foot was feeling like there was a pulled muscle there. Ugh, not the greatest run. And guess what? The “First Half” is in one.. two.. THREE DAYS!

I need to relax and tell myself that everything will be okay, despite my body not feeling so well.

Though I was excited for my first half marathon in October, I’m not as pumped up to run the one that’s coming up.

On the brighter side, tomorrow I will be heading to Forerunners to pick up my race package. Picking up race packages is actually one of my favourite things to do when I sign up for a race… as silly as it sounds. But who doesn’t like to get FREE STUFF and be surrounded by hearty and healthy people?! Okay, okay, the packages aren’t “free” since we all paid race fees to get into the event, but race packages are so damn cool… they’re like the adult version of a birthday party lootbag.

Anyway, getting my “loot bag” will hopefully raise my mood in running this half marathon. I really hope I figure out a way to relax my calves before Sunday, otherwise I may be one of those cranky runners on the course!

The calm before the storm (the days before my half marathon)…

In just 5 days, I’ll be competing in the Pacific Road Runners First Half.

I’m slightly nervous for this half marathon because I did not fully train for the run, but trained enough that I know I won’t injure myself.

Last Saturday, AB and I ran 16 km, so that was our last long run before the race. My feet did not feel like I was dancing on clouds. In fact, a huge callus formed on my left pinky toe and a mini one formed on my fourth toe (is there a name for the second shortest toe?!). To add to that, the arch on my right foot was sore and my both feet felt very uncomfortable during the run.

Did I mention I was also wearing cotton socks during our VERY, WET run, which means they were completely soaked during the entire time?! Yeeeeah, it wasn’t as pleasant as my other runs but at least I pushed through and finished it!

This week I’m focusing on completing two shorter runs (both 5 km each). I’ve already done one yesterday night with Kat and the next will be on Thursday with AB. I’m not entirely sure how I will do on Sunday’s race but my goal is to just run it slowly and finish it without having to drag myself to the finish line.

Wish me good luck and please feel free to bring your wheelbarrow out to the race in case I decide to call you. 😉

Short term and long term goals

I realized that it’s been a while since I have taken the time to actual write down and track my goals, so here goes!

  1. To pay off student loans by 2017
  2. To go on a 2-3 week trip each year
    My friend is heading to Delhi, India in November, so I’m thinking of joining her. My other close friend is heading to NY in a month, so I’m thinking of doing a mini weekend trip to visit him!
  3. To finish two half marathons in 2015 (And finish one under 1:45)
    Signed for the Pacific Road Runners Half and the MEC Vancouver Half. Didn’t exactly train enough for the first one but let’s see how I do… (it’s in less than 2 weeks!)
  4. To clean more around the house and be able to invite people over
    My 7-person house is forever a mess, so I want to help keep it organized. At least keep my room tidy 😛
  5. To start a running crew in Surrey
    Kat and I are in the process of starting a running crew in Surrey, BC. We are currently posting #werunsurrey Instagram shots under @werunsurreycrew and have scheduled Monday runs @ 7:30pm. We have no idea how what the turnout will be like but I’m excited to see what will happen with this!
  6. To love myself, so I can be able to love others
    You would think I would be a pro at relationships by now since I started dated at 17 but nope. Somehow I have managed to make it more complicated than it should be. Love is weird and strange. It comes and goes. It gets you excited and gets you pissed off. I really do not think I am destined to be with anyone because most of my relationships have crashed and burned. But it’s time I realize that I need to take a breather and not rush things. Love is patient, and that is my goal for the year – to keep things slow and work towards becoming a better me before getting involved with another relationship.
  7. To appreciate life and not worry about the little things
    I have to learn to take my own advice and stop worrying about every little detail. “Difficult life choices” are much easier than people really think, so I want to stop overthinking trivial things and start focusing on the bigger picture. I also need to stop taking EVERYONE’s opinion into consideration and start to learn how to filter the good stuff only.

Welp, those are my goals for now.

I plan to stick with the above and provide updates when I can. Thanks for reading and feel free to share your goals with me too (it helps keep us both accountable ;)).

2014 Year in Review

From traveling solo to landing my first big girl job, 2014 was a year full of “big wins”.

But if you really asked me how my year was, I would honestly say that 2014 wasn’t one of my fondest years and I spent a lot of those months moping, hoping, and feeling a bit depressed. Although I’m typically a positive person, my negative thoughts pulled me down from dreaming big and I became lost in an illusion of mixed thoughts about what I wanted to do after graduation or who I wanted to become in the future. I still can’t seem to pinpoint what drives me but like everyone else, I’m still searching for my purpose and finding the best ways to use my talent.

Now let’s reflect together, shall we?

The Beginning (January – February)

I spent my NYE in Hanoi, Vietnam with my partner at that time. It was my first time in Hanoi and my first time away from home on New Year’s. It was an exciting feeling being so far away during such a special day. The first week of January was spent in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and I had a great time exploring the city on bike and getting to know the locals. My partner made me feel at home because him and his family hosted me during my stay and welcomed me into their home. 6 months before that, I was living in Australia and was hosted by a family friend so it was a year where I started to appreciate the kindness of strangers and understand the meaning of unconditional love.

The day I had to board the plane home, I felt like an antsy 5-year old not wanting to return to a world so fun and carefree. I was so used to ‘wanderlusting’ that I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived home. Would people treat me differently? What did I miss back home? How do I adapt to a regular university life? I feared coming home but knew I had a lot of big girl responsibilities that I needed to face like finishing my last semester and paying off my student loans.

Finishing my final semester (January – April)

For four months, I didn’t feel like myself. Although I was surrounded by my closest family and friends, I didn’t feel like I had fit in.

I changed. My perspectives changed. Everyone was busy with their own lives that they didn’t care to ask me how I was feeling. I kept most of my feelings and thoughts inside of me and only was able to talk openly about my travels with my boyfriend at that time. Although he listened, he began thinking my dreams were being too childish for his liking and it was obvious he was getting annoyed. Because of that, I stopped thinking out loud. The only people who really understood me were the friends I had met abroad in Australia, my besties who were now scattered all over the world. From Bilbao to Toronto to Melbourne, I had friends everywhere and despite the distance, I still talked to them as if they were sitting right beside me, with as much enthusiasm and emotion.

I was suffering from “post-exchange syndrome,” so it was really difficult adapting to my regular life in Vancouver. I told myself I would just finish this final semester and then I would be a free bird that can fly in any direction I choose to.

The Temp Job (February to July)

Coming home from the exchange meant that I was in need to make up the funds I had spent. Luckily I was working in Australia, so I didn’t rack up a huge debt on my credit card. Actually, I had no debt on my credit card (woo hoo!). I just had to pay my parents back around $1k for my flight back home.

Since there was rarely a time where I was unemployed during university, I thought I might as well take up a job. I wasn’t too picky on the job because I needed money to pay off my exchange, so I wasn’t thinking long term unless it was a sweet opportunity that I couldn’t say no to.

Fortunately, I got a job offer within weeks after I arrived home and started working in February. My friend referred me to a customer support position at a tech company and although I have never done anything like that, I thought it would be a cool opportunity to learn more about the tech industry and meet interesting people.

The learning curve was steep and people used more acronyms than words when speaking to one another, so that excited me because it meant there was a LOT to learn. I became a sponge and absorbed as much knowledge I could, but things quickly became sour and I realized the work environment wasn’t a good fit for me and wasn’t as fulfilling as I wanted it to be. I voiced my concerns regularly but those started to drown. My talents were not being used and I didn’t feel like I was reaching my potential so I began searching for a new opportunity.

The Job Hunt (April – June)

I created an online portfolio (after two years of procrastination), did site visits, went to coffee chats, and had a few interviews, but still did not get a job offer from anyone.

A lot of my close family and friends knew I was not happy in my current job and encouraged me to find something new. It was a stressful time for me and I felt like there was a lot of pressure on me to find “the perfect job.”

Since I was already leaving my current job, I told myself that if I didn’t find something by June, I would go traveling in the summer. June was the month of my convocation so I couldn’t leave the country until then. Finding a job seemed hopeless and I often went back and forth to my friends and mentors to get their advice and opinion on what I should do.

Then one week in June, the stars began to align. I had two job offers from two places I would have loved to work for. Now this time I was stressing over having to choose which job to go for. In many people’s eyes, they could see that one choice was better than the other, but in my eyes, I saw them both as equal opportunities to help me grow. One job was at a growing startup whereas the other was a higher position at my old co-op place, a large technology association.

One of my criterion for making a choice is “what will I learn and takeaway from this job?” I’m someone who is motivated by learning new things every day. I love challenges and solving problems (maybe that’s why I was so competitive in math class back in grade school). So I knew I needed something new and difficult enough for me to feel uncomfortable. Oh, and I also knew that I wanted to work in a place where I will be surrounded by awesome people because having a great support system helps me become a better person.

Switching Gears, Reactivating Motivation (June)

I took a job offer and said no to the other.

I thought it would be hard to say no because I had already indirectly said yes before knowing about the second job offer. Luckily, there were no documents signed so it was easier to say no. The employer was very understanding about my choice and current situation, but I still felt really bad for rejecting the offer. I recommended a close friend to the position and she ended up scoring the opportunity so everything worked out.

The job offer I took had a really good benefit to it. The job would commence in September, which meant I still had a few months to plan what I wanted to do with the extra time. And since traveling was at the top of my mind, that’s what I ended up doing.

I knew I still needed to make some money before going so I stuck around my current job for two more months before leaving. I gave a generous notice (4 weeks) so they knew about my plans already. Luckily I had thought ahead and began saving for “my trip” since February, putting away at least $500 every month towards my savings account. This money was originally being saved to pay off my student loans (ha ha!) but I used it all for my excursion in August (see? Saving has its benefits!).

During these months, I felt more alive and at peace with myself. I stopped struggling with feeling hopeless and depressed, and saw things with more light and clarity. The puzzle pieces were finally starting to fall into place.

Traveling to Europe, 5 Weeks of Adventure (July – September)

On July 25, I boarded my flight and went into a land that I have never stepped foot on – Europe!!!!

I spent the first third of my trip traveling solo which worried the bejeezus out of my parents but luckily everything went well and no near death moments occurred. Riding in 6-hour car rides with strangers is normal, right? YES. Now quit being a worry-wort.

I learned a lot about myself. And a lot about what I find in a good travel buddy. I met up with my exchange best friends in Spain whom I met in Australia and we caught up with stories from the year. I stayed with family friends and fellow people from the couchsurfer community. And met the nicest and kindest people from Blablacar, a car sharing site for people in Europe. I got lost in Lisbon while I was carrying my backpack in the boiling sun. I got kicked out of a hostel one night because I stupidly did not book an extra day. I danced all night in a reggae club and ate the best Caribbean dish from a small food truck in Berlin. I fell off my bike, injured my hands and knees, but got right back up with a smile despite seeing blood clots on my palms. I hiked a trail in the Spanish heat that seemed to never end. I fell in love with San Sebastian, a place of neverending cervezas and pinxtos (note: San Sebastian is a city). I made a lot of memories and friends and had the most incredible time during my summer, but I knew I had to go home and start my new job so it was bittersweet.

But to maximize my time in Europe, I strategically planned my departure date to be just one day before I start work – oh yeeeah!

Training for my Half Marathon (September)

I started work in September but also had an inkling to do something MORE after my trip because I was already high on life, so I decided to train for a half marathon. But here’s the catch, the race was in 6 weeks!

I immediately signed up for the Rock n’ Roll Oasis Vancouver Half Marathon and began training with a friend who has also never ran a half marathon. Last time I “trained” for a half marathon, I almost injured my knee for life so I knew I had to be more careful this time to not train excessively. I busted my knee in 2012 and the physiotherapist told me that I shouldn’t ever run more than 10km, so I was pretty down during that year and stopped running. This time, I stuck with a training plan and rediscovered my passion for running. Once again, I fell in love. But with running!

October 26 came and I was pumped to run my first half marathon. Justin Bieber’s “Baby” played at the start line (lol) so that pumped me up even more. I ran my best during the run and finished in 1:52:02! My goal was sub 2-hours so I managed to beat it by 8 whole minutes!! Although my ankles and knees were sore and slightly in pain for 3 weeks after, it was worth it.

Choosing Happiness (November)

Finishing the half marathon, coming back from traveling, and completely changing my hairstyle forced me to think about what makes me happy. I have had struggles all year and I think November pushed me to make another big decision that would change my path.

I ended my relationship with my boyfriend.

I realized I wasn’t genuinely happy anymore and kept replaying all of the good memories from the past. I realized we were different people with different directions so parting was inevitable. Breaking up is different for everyone. To me, it meant that it would help me figure out what I want to do with life and not be bound to certain decisions.

Reflecting (December)

The whole year has been pretty difficult but above all of the fog, I still had some space to reflect and learn about myself.

I learned that in order to keep myself motivated, I need to create a realistic plan and timeline for my goals. I also need to share my goals with a few friends to help me keep myself accountable. Training for my first half marathon was an incredible experience that helped me realize that anything is possible, as long as you have a plan and stick with it. From following the plan and having a short timeline (6 weeks), I was able to complete my goal of finishing my first half marathon without feeling tired during the race.

Another lesson learned is that life should not be taken so seriously. As a naturally carefree and easygoing person, I found myself having difficultly understanding those who had an opposite mindset – people who lived to criticize, start arguments, and hold onto grudges. Being surrounded by negative people wasn’t helping me become a better person so I decided to cut some people out of my life. Once you stopped focusing your attention to them, life simply gets better by default.

Above all else, I learned that TAKING ACTION beats planning, dreaming, or thinking about the next steps in life. I spent way too much time reading dumb articles on EliteDaily and those other websites that share insights on relationships, love, and happiness, that I didn’t even get to carve my own path and write my own story.

For a good period of my life, I was living the same life daily and it was so boring and ultimately confusing because I didn’t know what my next steps would be so I ended up not taking any steps forward at all. I was living in fear and feeling reluctant to do what I wanted to do. But now I know that sometimes it’s okay to not know all the answers before making a decision… sometimes you just have to listen to your gut and use your head and everything will turn out just fine.

2014 was pretty memorable, but I can’t wait for 2015 to be even BETTER THAN EVER.

xoxo, knd.

TIME TO TRAIN – Half-Marathon #2!

So I thought my half-marathon was on the last week of February but I recently received an email reminding me that it is on February 15!!!

Half Marathon Reminder

I immediately thought, “Oh, shit,” and realized I only have 6 more weeks to train!!

The entire month of December was spent stuffing my face with turkey, chocolates, and everything Christmas-y, so it’s now to cut the crap out of my diet and FOCUS. I purposely chose to live the happy and fat life because it was the holidays, but now I’m not too sure if it was a good idea that I had entirely cut out my exercise regime as well.

Even my mom noticed that I was putting on weight – ouch.

Although I trained for my last half-marathon in only 6 weeks, my running partner and I agreed that our training was a bit rushed and it might have been better to start, perhaps 8 weeks from the start date.

Oh well, can’t turn back time now! Next week will be officially Week #1 of this training season – eep. Wish me good luck!!

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