Tuesday, October 3, 2017

When You Say Nothing At All

First Impressions Last.

Do they?

There are studies that support that saying and like it or not, there really is a huge truth to it. Humans operate around their senses the most dominant of which is the sense of sight. Our brain processes everything we see. Past experiences, our external environment and our learning add up to the conclusion we make about our visual experiences.

Before I entered the corporate world of Human resources, I did not care much about what people looked like. I was always more interested in the 'who' of a person. Although I am still more of that kind of person, I must admit that when my 'recruiter' hat was put to a good use, I was never able to ignore those first 30 seconds upon meeting a person for the first time.

When you embrace the life of a corporate recruiter, you slowly understand the weight on your shoulders. The initial screening and interview you conduct can very much shape the future of the applicant AND the company you are recruiting for. Each company has a formal job description per position which states the basic qualifications required for the job. There are however also certain unspoken and unwritten requirements only the recruiter knows and thus looks for when profiling the candidates for the job. Put together, these paint the whole picture and serves as a guide as to who 'should' be the perfect fit.

As soon as an applicant walks in that door, immediately I look at what the applicant is wearing, what the applicant is holding (sometimes it's an envelope or sometimes a cellphone and sometimes nothing at all), how the applicant walks, if the applicant is smiling or not, how the applicant carries his or herself, etc. And I always come to a premature conclusion about the applicant. As soon as I call in an applicant inside the interview room that is the only time I get to verify and conclude whether my initial assumptions were right or wrong, true or false.

However, much as I would want to say that first impressions do not last, they really do. After thorough questioning and 'getting to know' it always seems that whatever pre interview notions were made often times hold true. Non verbal communication can say so much more than what can be explicitly expressed.

Monday, September 25, 2017

On Running and Humility

Running, I've said humbles me to the bones.

When we conquer things, like goals or once never imagined feats, we find ourselves in a state of belief in oneself. It is during these moments when we realize that we could do so much more or could be so much more than what or who we ever imagined. I assume this to be normal among us. It is what makes us human after all - self centered.

Looking back, there were many instances when I thought I had it all. Worse, when I thought I had it all and actually believed too much in myself. I think there is a fine line that needs to be drawn between confidence and too much of it. Too much of it can be self destructing.

So a few weeks ago, I found myself at the starting line of a half marathon race. Prior to that, I had been doing pretty well in my training. Hammering on the bike and enjoying the lung busting run sessions. I was in the middle of so many other runners feeling as if I was going to conquer the run - like I usually do, or so I thought.

3 kilometers into the run, I knew it was going to be a bad run. Had I not thought of the awful words I would get from my husband if I decided to DNF, I would have just really quit. Half way through I was shaking my head in disbelief. I was sweating profusely, my legs did not want to cooperate and my mind was just telling me I was done. I could not lower my pace to my 'usual race pace' and I just felt so blehh.

Well I finished the race. At the finish line my husband was waiting for me, apparently he had to wait much longer than expected and when I crossed the line all he asked was, "what happened?" And I really did not have an answer at give at that point.

I would have spent the next week analyzing and re-analyzing what went wrong. I decided not to. I decided to say to myself that I had a bad run. That was it.

Weeks after, this insight hits home really hard. We have nothing to boast about moreso, we are nothing without God. Really. I am reminded never to think of myself too highly, for only God sits that high.

Testing the Keyboard

Ok I'm back. Like after what seemed like forever. Well, the keyboard of my laptop decided to conk out. And busy as I am, was not able to buy a USB keyboard right away.

Anyway. What's been going on? A lot.

Be back tomorrow.

Friday, September 8, 2017

This One In Particular

I have a little boy, my second one, who enjoys tinkering with things. He finds joy in assembling objects or putting things together -- with his hands.

He is a very purposeful little boy who wants to understand why he needs to do things first before actually doing it. He often asks, "what is it for?" or "why again will i do it?"
If you explain it well enough he will say "aaahhhhh" and will jump right into it with much gusto.

And voila!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

On Adulting (Part 1 of a million parts)

I have come to a premature conclusion that a huge part of race preparation includes race plotting and planning. When I first embarked in racing triathlon, I jumped into every single opportunity to race signing up for every possible race even if it meant racing almost every week. That year my husband and I decided to do that, it worked for us. I think the excitement and eagerness trumped everything the physical body felt.

Three years into the sport, I am beginning to not just understand what my body is telling me but also actually listen to what it is telling me!

This year I have done 6 standard distance races in a span of 8 months. The last one was just last Sunday (haha). As I backtrack and rethink each post race week, I now know that my body:

1. Works best with adequate rest prior to race day. This means, proper and correct tapering works for me.
2. Is on a high the week right after race day. Call it DOMS but 3-4 days after race day, I am still up and about and able to do the given workouts.
3. Starts to feel the stress and fatigue on the 2nd week after race day. This is an observation I made this year. During this week, I have zero motivation to hammer the workouts and just know in my heart that I want to rest and recover.
4. Will follow what the mind says. And that being said, the mind is a super HUGE player during the race. 

As I approach the almost end of the year, I have decided to be wiser. Well, I always say that but this time I want to actually stick to it.

That being said, I have decided to pass on a 2 races in October and (wait for it) instead, do my first half ironman distance triathlon race in November 😂.

Everybody needs a good laugh sometimes, eh?

Monday, September 4, 2017

Why Sports?

I grew up an athlete. In 5th grade, I started Taekwondo and practiced it well into my high school years when I got competitive and joined division, regional and national meets. Years after I packed the Dobok and kept the belt, I still believed in the cause of sports and how important it is in one's development.

We read many articles on the importance of sports in youth development and how sports plays a vital part in one's childhood. From the point of view of a mother whose children are also into sports, I have listed down a few of the things I have witnessed my children learn through their chosen sports:

1. Sports Can be Hard. Life Too

The reality is, nothing is easy. The vastness that life offers can never be understood in one sitting or in one experience. When children experience sports, they are exposed to all realities of life. Specially for team sports, kids engage themselves with other children coming from different backgrounds, having different beliefs. The teams kids find themselves in teaches them to adapt and adjust to different personalities, different ways and different practices but with the need to embrace each members uniqueness in order to attain the goal of the team.

My eldest son who does competitive triathlon is involved in an individual sport where most assume that one's own strength gets the job done. However, as a parent who has observed the sport over the years, you will understand that this sport requires teamwork and team tactics too. Through the training camps he attends locally and abroad, he meets different other triathletes from other countires and each time he comes home from these camps, he has a dozen stories to tell of the different backgrounds each athlete possesses.

That said, they have a better and bigger understanding of the world around them. They also appreciate what they have but also are driven to be more mindful of Gods blessings and provisions.

2. Hard Work Beats Talent (When Talent Fails to Work Hard)

We've seen it way too many times, talents gone to waste. We've also heard this many times, the time, effort and dedication gets the job done. Add in persistence, consistency and discipline. All these do not come naturally. But yes we have seen natural talents.

I believe in this saying because I think my 3 kids are not naturals. I have hear many coaches say my eldest did not have a fighting chance as a swimmer (with so many reasons given) or that my second son (thin as he is) may have a hard time winning on the track. Bottom line is, my kids were never told "you are a natural at it." However, I was never also a believer of overnight success. Add in our own competitiveness, we are able to drive home the point of working hard to improve on one's skill.

Involvement in sports exposes a child to value hard work and effort. The results will vary. On some days you win, on most days you learn. But what matters is, you did what you had to do.

3. A Healthy Lifestyle Promotes a Healthy Mind

Years ago, when my husband and I enjoyed binge drinking and I loathed not puffing a cigarette our children also did not care about sleeping right and eating right. My eldest had weight concerns, my second son was always sick and my youngest was closely following on the path of his two older brothers.

On that day that we decided to change our ways, I knew there was no turning back. All of us had better sleeping patterns, we took the initiative of drinking more water and choosing the right food to eat. The effects did not happen over night but as time passed, we noticed the children's disposition became calmer and we all had more energy to do the things we needed to do. Over all, we had a clearer mind and we could sense that the children were also doing better in school (and us at work)!

Sports is a huge topic. Huger nowadays with the many breakthroughs in research and product development. However, if we go back to the basics and understand the deeper essence of sports as an excellent arena for character building, you will appreciate the beauty of transformation that happens when children embrace the love for this. A coach told me, winning (in sports) is always just a cherry on top of the cake. It is how it molds you for life that the trophy is won.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Mt. Mayon Triathlon Race Recap

Taken from the plane window. Beautiful Mt. Mayon

2 years ago, my husband raced the Mt. Mayon Triathlon. I was with him then as a supporter, spectator and cheerer. He had just come from the Cebu Ironman 70.3 race a week before but still managed to snag a podium finish despite the "uphell run rout" and "hilly bike ride." 
This year, the organizers made this race an ASTC race sanctioned by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines so my husband and I (despite the last minute decision), registered for this race. 
We arrived in Legazpi City in the early morning of Saturday. Went straight to the inn where we were booked. Since check in time was still at 2PM, we decided to unpack and set up our bikes in the lobby.
As soon as the bikes were set up, we decided to head on to the swim area, try out the water and try out our bikes as well. There were a lot of athletes when we got to the swim start area. All trying out the waters. After that, we had a quick breakfast before heading back to the inn. Thankfully, even if it was not yet 2PM, the frontdesk lady allowed us to check in. My husband and I were both hungry for sleep by this time. So we settled in and took a quick nap. We woke up just in time for a late lunch. We prepped out bikes and then went to eat.
In the afternoon, we checked in our bikes and then attended the race briefing.

The next day, we were up early. Drank a cup of coffee and then headed out to the starting line. We got there just in time to see the choppy waters. The elite men and women went first and we age groupers still had about an hour to wait before our gunstart. We got to watch the junior elite athletes race, a lot of whom were teammates and friends of our eldest son. We had a blast cheering them on.
15 minutes before our gun start, my husband said we had to head on over to the swim warm up area. It was an area not too clean but we made do with whatever space there was to warm up a bit. I don't think I am ever able to warm up properly before a race. 
The women were the 1st wave. After getting some pre race tips from my husband, it was time for us to start. As soon as I got into the water, I knew I was in for a horrible swim. Given the fact that I am not a good swimmer and the water was choppy with strong current, I tried my best to stay focused albeit the waves that kept smashing into my face every time I would try to do some sighting. I saw my husband pass me and I wanted so much to tell him to swim with me haha! I finally finished the swim leg in 44 minutes (horrible time).
As soon as I got to T1, I saw that none of the bikes of my ladies in my AG were there. They had all gone ahead and I had no idea how far ahead they had gone. As soon as I got on my bike I grabbed my gel, ate and hydrated. About a kilometer into the bike, I told myself I had to make it a point to pass at least 15 ladies to make sure I was not to far behind. I started counting on the 2nd kilometer. At about the 10th kilometer, I saw the hills we had to climb on the bike. Knowing I hardly had any saddle time I shook my head and laughed to myself. I was on verge of 'relaxing' up the hill before I remembered that I loved the hills! I took a big gulp of water and then started pedaling harder. Sometimes I forget how I love the climbs. I started to pass other ladies and continued counting. After the turn around point, it went really fast. The closed roads made the ride enjoyable and safe.
I entered T2 with the sun blaring on us. There were a number of bikes already racked but I had no more time to spare to count. I just knew that if I exerted effort on the bike, I would need to exert even more on the run.
The Mt. Mayon tri run route IS the most challenging route, this is the claim of the organizers. Initially, I was intimidated but then again, remember I love the hills. I exited T2 with cramps. I was laughing to myself and telling myself, "what did you expect?!" I ate 1 more gel and stopped at the 1st water station.
My initial thoughts were, there was no way I was going to catch up with anyone anymore. But because the mind is our greatest enemy, I had to remind myself to dismiss that thought. So I ran. 2kms into the run, I met the fastest female in our age group, I cheered her on and told myself that I had to push harder. I started to see other ladies along the route. On the first hill, I passed 2 ladies. I continued to dig deeper and reminded myself to stay focused. As I always do, I keep my eyes on the ground when I run to avoid any other possible distraction. I stopped at every water station to drink and to pour ice water over my head. Because this route was not a looping one, I never saw my husband on the run. By km 7, I knew I had just 1 more hard push to go before running to the finish line. It was mid morning by this time and the heat was a bit too much already. 
I passed the last water station and knew there was just 1 kilometer to go. I sucked it in and just maintained my run. When the finishline was in sight, I picked up the pace and tried my best to hold it. 200 meters to the tape, I saw my husband cheering for me. He was in high spirits so I assumed he did well on his race.
I crossed the finish line grateful as always. As usual, I had an awful swim but I was able to pick up quite a bit on the bike before managing a strong (not really fast) run.
I lift my eyes to the hills,
from where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
who made heaven and earth
Psalm 121:1-2

When You Say Nothing At All

First Impressions Last. Do they? There are studies that support that  saying  and like it or not, there really is a huge truth to it. Hu...