Running

The Importance of Rest Days

Lately, the Ninja Turtle has been toying around with her running schedule. She recently made a new friend, who conveniently is a fellow runner and lives on the same street as she does, hence, a shining new running buddy (who is not the reluctant GodzillaPin). It’s marvellous to run with an intrinsically motivated runner, but more importantly, it gives her some much-needed female company.

The Ninja Turtle would lay down her life for her pack of male wolves, but there are many times when she misses the company of Ducky, Baby Turtle, or any woman actually.

The Ninja Turtle would lay down her life for her pack of male wolves, but there are many times when she misses the company of Ducky, Baby Turtle, or any woman actually.

As a result of fiddling with her running schedule, however, she exceeded her weekly mileage by about 10% last week. On top of that, she’s found herself doing some back-to-back key runs (LSD + tempo, or tempo + hill sprints anyone?).

Wait a minute… she hears some readers saying. How is that a bad thing? More running = WIN, right?

Well, in the running community, there is something known as Rest Days, or Recovery Days. It’s days when one takes a break from running, to either cross-train or do bugger-all. The idea is to prevent burn-out, overuse injury, and most likely, boredom. Actually, it’s probably to prevent boredom because even runners have a limit to their insanity. At any rate, they are just as important as training, proper nutrition and sleep if one wishes to improve performance. Somewhere along the cheese and cured meats aisle at the supermarket yesterday, the Ninja Turtle felt her legs suddenly turn to jelly. She knew she had to back off the running for a day or two.

Some very diligent people cross-train, but the Ninja Turtle very much prefers to do this instead:

That may or may not be the Ninja Turtle's third glass before 5.30pm. And she is known to eat upwards of 8oz of cheese at a time. Screw the pizzas, bring on the REAL deal.

That may or may not be the Ninja Turtle’s third glass before 5.30pm. And she is known to eat upwards of 8oz of cheese at a time. Screw the pizzas, bring on the REAL deal. In this picture – Gorgonzola, Camembert de Normandie, Jeune Cantal, Ossau-Iraty of the Basque Country and chèvre.

The biggest upside of taking a proper break is maintaining sanity and by extension, motivation to continue running. You know you’ve crossed a line when you start having dreams/nightmares involving running/food. If you have already experienced such debilitating symptoms, the Ninja Turtle prescribes a hot bath, a glass of red wine and a good mystery book, either separately or all together, depending on your ability to multitask.

As for the Ninja Turtle, she started the day foam-rolling, and ever since, she’s been indulging in documentaries of the Hundred Years War, drunk-enrolling in races, drunk-booking accommodations in the proximity of said races, and pissing herself laughing at readers’ comments on The Guardian.

Rest days are necessary. One should come out of a rest day feeling rested, recharged, replenished and raring to go. If not, you haven’t rested enough, in which case, the Ninja Turtle says, take another rest day. In the long run, this small investment of self-care will pay incredible dividends.

Shout-Out: Happy belated birthday to both our dear Swiss Chick and Runner Bean, who turned 29 and 32 respectively, both on the same day. May your birthdays have been beer/wine/cake/pizza-fuelled orgies in which we wish we had participated in.

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Travel

The Main Purpose of Your Trip Is…

Although GodzillaPin and the Ninja Turtle have had a real blast being tourists in Australia, the primary reason they flew halfway across the world was not the sunshine and the beaches, nor the food and the shopping (although these are pretty good reasons too). No, they made this long trek for a much more important reason – to recognise the Ninja Turtle’s baby sister finishing an important stage of her life, and moving on to the next.

Baby Turtle graduating from the Hogwart's...

Baby Turtle graduating from Hogwart’s…

Mother Turtle was here too, and so was the boyfriend. It was a family event to witness a Miss T turning into a Dr T, as she is now officially a veterinarian.

Mother Turtle is super proud of Baby Turtle

Mother Turtle is super proud of Baby Turtle

It is a relief as much for the family and friends who act as pillars of support, as it is for those who undertake many years of hard slog in chasing their dreams. And that’s what it is – dedication and commitment towards realizing what we really, truly want. It takes a lot of effort, and often times, when we stumble and start doubting ourselves, we need people around us to love us and believe in us.

The Baby Turtle had always wanted to play and work with animals, so it was essentially a childhood fantasy we witnessed being fulfilled at her graduation ceremony. We will never forget the late night phone calls with a stressed voice on the other end, just needing a chat to soothe her nerves, or the tone of pride in her voice as she described her first surgery on a dog. We will remember the sacrifices she’s made along the way – spending her birthday one year all alone in rural Australia for farm work, missing the shop’s closing time and having absolutely no birthday cake, nothing but the memory of that one day’s hard work to remind her she was still alive.

As Baby Turtle ran around sorting out her transcripts, Mother Turtle and GodzillaPin followed the Ninja Turtle back to one of her old favourite hangouts when she used to live in Melbourne – the Queen Victoria Markets. Not only an iconic tourist attraction full of touristy souvenirs, the QV markets primarily service the locals by selling the most beautiful array of fresh fruits and vegetables at a far better price than in the supermarkets. The trick is to wait until the end of the day, when the vendors are trying to clear their goods and one can buy produce at a heavily discounted price. As the vendors yell out reduced prices in a competition to clear their wares, one experiences a slightly surreal moment of witnessing a fruit and vegetable auction.

GodzillaPin is in carrot heaven.

GodzillaPin is in carrot heaven.

Later, Baby Turtle caught up with the group once more, and took GodzillaPin and the Ninja Turtle back to her place, to check out her pad. Another thing that surprised the Ninja Turtle about Baby Turtle was her getting a driver’s license. They all just grow up so fast these days…

GodzillaPin and Ninja Turtle holding on for dear life at the back of the car.

GodzillaPin and Ninja Turtle holding on for dear life at the back of the car.

Although the Ninja Turtle is allergic to cats, she took an antihistamine which kept the symptoms at bay, which was just as well since Baby Turtle not only has a cat at her place, it is literally one of the cutest cats ever.

Newman in his naughty box for a time-out.

Newman in his naughty box for a time-out.

This cat was adopted by Baby Turtle and her three other housemates – all veterinarian students. It is stone deaf, so calling it is useless, and it cannot hear itself, which explains the most ridiculous miaows you hear from it. Between the four students, they managed to rehabilitate what was once a paranoid, anti-social, fearful cat (as it was deaf, it was hard to get along with the other cats) from the shelter, and turned it into a loving, tame and trusting white ball of fur. The Ninja Turtle is not a cat person (really, she’s not), but she could not resist Newman. It was also the first time she had seen a cat on a leash.

The day ended on a high note with the first non-restaurant meal since they left Metz. It was wonderful to have access to a kitchen at Baby Turtle’s, where she put her knowledge of chicken anatomy and surgical skills to carving up the roast chicken in a most equitable division (there were four of us fighting to have various cuts). Mostly, it was just lovely to finally sit down with one’s sister to a quiet meal, and just chat, after having spent a whole year apart.

Roast chicken and peach salad.

Roast chicken and peach salad.

Baby Turtle, we are all so proud of you. Spread your flippers, and may you glide through this world with ease and grace, using your intelligence, skills and compassion to make this world a better place for both animals, and the people who own them. This is only the beginning of your journey, and we hope you know that we will always be there for you.

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