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February « 2011 « Jocelyn Wong's Blog

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Archive for February, 2011

outdoor swimmin’ in February

Monday, February 28th, 2011

when you grow up as a triathlete in California you take things for granted and don’t really appreciate them until you move somewhere with a cold snowy winter.

Like gorgeous, sunny, above-freezing weather and temperatures. All year round. Outdoor pools. Outdoor long course pools. In February!

I used to think it was weird that some pools in this country aren't open year-round.

Contrary to popular belief I’m not heading to Thailand right now like most of my teammates. I’m back home in sunny California for a couple family birthdays (Grandma’s and Papa Wongstar’s) before I go to Las Vegas for the Red Rock Canyon Marathon. Should give me a brief respite from the butt-cold First State, and then when I get home (oops I just realized I refer to two places as “home” now–I mean home = Delaware) then it will be March and should be spring already!

I’ll get over to Thailand in April and race the Samui Island Triathlon. That’s the official tri season opener for me. Woohoo!

And for those curious, here is my current pull buoy:

yes I have a cap that says "Superstar"

I MacGyver’ed it from two Speedo pull buoys. It’s pretty awesome as all things I make are.

Tiggers + White Tiger = no bike fees

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

the most wonderful thing about Tiggers? no bike fees.

Well here I am at the Philly airport, first flight of the year with my new smartphone and my new bike box. Meaning I got to test out if I get charged for my bike and then blog and tweet and facebook about it! Instantly!

I decided to tell them the box contained “paintings for an art show”. Because that’s kind of what it looks like, plus I recently cut my hair short again and put in purple streaks so I could certainly pass for the artsy punk chick type. It’s important to have a look to go with your clever little lie. The check-in ladies loved the bike box and I don’t think it even crossed their minds to measure the box or charge me.

Win win!

MacGyver’ing Bike Box 3.0, part 1

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

It’s that time of year again! Time to break out the MacGyver skills and make another new bike box. Now, some people are freaked out that I travel with a cardboard bike box but hey, this is what they come shipped in from the factory, and I haven’t ever had my bike damaged in my travels (knock on wood). For the amount I fly with my bike, it’s all about skirting airline fees and not having to lug around an uber-heavy ginormous hard plastic case.

The bike box does get a bit beat up by the end of a year and I’m always trying to improve upon the previous year’s design, so this is the third year I’m making my own bike box. Here are the previous designs:

Version 1, the 2009 edition:

very basic and went with me to the Philippines, Singapore, China, Korea, Turkey, Switzerland, and Mexico

Bike Box 2.0 (2010 Hello Kitty edition):

much prettier and a better shape, complete with website advertising for theWongstar.com...but still too big

What you’ll need to make your own:

  • 1 cardboard Cervelo bike box
  • 1 hot glue gun
  • 1 staple gun
  • duct tape in various pretty colors
  • butcher paper…or grocery store advertisements
  • a sharp razor blade knife thing

Bang! Bang! I love my new staple gun

While shopping for a staple gun at Sears, I got a bit distracted by their huge winter coat clearance sale. I found two I absolutely loved and couldn’t decide which I loved more, so I decided on: BOTH. (When in doubt, the answer is always both!) After all, they were both about 85% off…you can’t argue with getting two coats for under $20 each that are originally over $120. Plus the sales guy in the tools & hardware department told me I didn’t need a fancy electric staple gun for cardboard, so I got two coats AND a manual light-duty staple gun for less than the price of a heavy-duty electric staple gun.

Like a good Asian, I love a good deal.

But I digress.

multi-tasking = shopping for the best meat and produce prices while making a bike box.

I didn’t have butcher paper, so first I traced an outline of my Cervelo P3, White Tiger, on grocery store advertisements. Then I made a pattern so I could make the smallest conceivable box and have it fit within the 62-linear-inches parameter.

See, because airlines aren’t supposed to charge you for bikes if they come in a box whose total dimensions add up to 62 inches. I’m not a short girl with a peewee size bike–I ride a 54cm frame–so this proves to be a challenge. This is the first time I’m taking the fork off in the bike-packing process but it’s necessary.

original bike box from Cervelo, becoming MacGyverized and Wongstarized

The plan is to make a mock-up version out of this cardboard (which is like a quarter-inch thick and is essentially doubled when made into a clamshell-like box) and then do a final version out of corrugated plastic.

Stay tuned for more!

First Valentine’s Day in the First State

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Wow, it’s the first time in 3 years that I actually get to spend Valentine’s Day in this country and not at training camp in a hot & humid Asian country. In 2009 I was in the Philippines and last year I was in Thailand.

I didn’t get a chance to post up a V-day blog last night as I was too busy eating a hefty slice of Godiva chocolate cheesecake. I usually don’t like cheese or cheesecake, but if it’s chocolate-flavored then that makes it allll right. ;) Plus the Cheesecake Factory gets “bazinga” points from the Big Bang Theory. :)

Bazinga! no, seriously. It was REALLY GOOD.

Anyway, nothing says love and hearts like my favorite little Asian comic girl. She likes white boys, just like me. These are from Lela Lee’s book “Angry Little Girls in Love.”

Here’s my version of the 6 stages of dating:

Stage 1. The First Date.

Yes, this happens all the time. Boys lie and post up old (or strategic) photos of themselves.

Stage 2. You realize he’s not The One.

Wait for it...wait for it...

heh heh heh. Some of us are happier being single. Then there are those who bitch about being single all the time.

Stage 3. At this point, you don’t really care if you hurt his feelings.

Man up. Guys don't really have feelings.

Stage 4. See other people.

Stage 5. Dammit, why can’t I get rid of him?

Boys can never take a hint.

Stage 6. Realize that he still pays for dinner and that you are still a struggling pro triathlete.

Keep paying for dinner and I'll let you stick around. ;)

Hey, a girl’s gotta eat. Happy Valentine’s Day :D

the 90-minute treadmill playlist

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

We are WAAAAY overdue for a superstar step. Here you go…How To Become an International Triathlon Superstar, Step #22: Prepare the Soundtrack to the Movie of Your Life.

This goes along with “how to stay motivated during winter” and “how to get excited about treadmill sessions.” Yes, I finally succumbed. I tried to put it off for as long as I could, running outside in sub-freezing temps, but then the snow came and then half-melted into icy slush, emphasis on the “icy.” It was then too dangerous to run outside when you could very well slip on ice and pull a muscle or faceplant or break your collarbone or something else dumb and stupid you don’t want to do when it’s your job to exercise for a living.

this is how I feel like on a treadmill.

Now I loooooove track sessions and have no problems going ’round and ’round for hours on end but the treadmill… I’m still learning to love. No fears, here is what I’ve found to help me conquer the “dreadmill”:

  1. Have a plan. I write out exactly what my workout is, what speed I should go for how many minutes, and what pace this correlates to (both mins/mile and marathon time).
  2. Write down your favorite motivational quotes. (One is the Boss’ “Weak desires get weak results.” I also like “Be the best version of yourself.”)
  3. Print out the course map of your next race.
  4. Put those 3 pieces of paper in ziploc sandwich baggies and tape them onto the face of the treadmill. (I sweat a ton especially treadmill running, to the point that I splash over the display…and to neighboring treadmills. AHAHA. Hence the ziploc baggies.)
  5. Make a special new playlist for each particular treadmill session!

I like to grab a treadmill facing a window but unfortunately I usually get stuck in front of the TV that is playing the “Cookie Jar TV” kiddie channel on Saturday mornings. Apparently they used to stream updated versions of Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake (from my very own childhood) a year ago but now it’s episodes of Horseland and Busyland Mysteries. Seriously?! So I crank up the tunes as loud as I can to focus on the workout because watching these dumb cartoons is way distracting.

This session is a 90-minute run where I increase my speed every 5 minutes. So I go from warm-up pace to Ironman pace to much faster than Ironman pace by the end. I’ve had friends and fans request what kind of music I listen to, so here’s a peek. The trick is to make sure every song excites you–like if you were to hear EACH SONG on the radio, you would yell “I LOOOOOOOVE THIS SONG!!!!!” and sing along to all the lyrics. The songs start out a bit slower and get faster…relatively.

Now I really don’t care what you think of my taste in music (yes there is some Britney and Paris Hilton and a former Spice Girl), but this is what gets me excited to run on the treadmill. I don’t make fun of your music and I’m not ashamed of mine:

1. Pork and Beans — Weezer
2. Love the Way You Lie — Eminem feat. Rihanna
3. Amnesia — Britney Spears
4. Poker Face — Lady Gaga
5. Don’t Stop Believin’ — Journey
6. Secrets — OneRepublic
7. Sometime Around Midnight — The Airborne Toxic Event
8. Bad Romance — Lady Gaga
9. Not Falling Apart (Tiesto Remix) — Maroon 5
10. Take On Me — a-Ha
11. Hot N Cold — Katy Perry
12. Raise Your Glass — P!nk
13. Spaceman — The Killers
14. In My Arms (Bimbo Jones Club Extended Mix) –Plumb
15. Holding Out for a Hero (Club Remix) — Bonnie Tyler
16. I’m So Sick — Flyleaf
17. Mr. Brightside — The Killers
18. Nothing In This World (Dave Aude Radio Edit) — Paris Hilton
19. Not in Love — Crystal Castles feat. Robert Smith
20. I Turn To You (Hex Hector Radio Mix) — Melanie C
21. Papercut — Linkin Park
22. Major Tom (Coming Home) — Shiny Toy Guns

Enjoy and happy treadmill running! :) P.S. What’s REALLY exciting is that temps are supposed to go well over 50*F on Monday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday!!!! WOOHOOOOO East Coast heat wave!!!

the Wongstar’s Superbowl Recap

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

I don’t really watch football. I get disgruntled that the football players each get paid a bajillion dollars as professional athletes. I certainly don’t make a bajillion dollars. Then I get upset when they don’t catch the freakin’ football. Why are you getting paid a bajillion dollars to fumble, dammit?

I don’t know all the rules and positions, and I always giggle when they say “tight end.” But you know, once a year there’s the Superbowl, which I only watch for the commercials, to see what exciting celebrities are singing the national anthem and performing at the half time show, and for the awesome food at Superbowl parties.

Apparently Christina Aguilera screwed up the lyrics to the Star-Spangled Banner, which I kind of thought she did, because I always sing along in my head and I thought maybe I screwed up, but nope, it was her. The Black-Eyed Peas did the half-time show and they were all right, though I kind of hated Fergie’s outfit and there were no wardrobe malfunctions. Their “I Gotta Feeling” song, made popular by the teamTBB music video back in 2009, is still a big hit:

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The coolest part of the half-time show was when Usher came on and danced. He’s an awesome dancer. I wish I could dance half as good as Usher. (You can see my moves or rather lack thereof in the above video.)

I also kept seeing “Superbowl XLV” and thinking “Superbowl Extra Love.”

As for who was playing and who won, I was rooting for the team with the yellow pants. If you didn’t watch, both teams actually had the same yellow pants. This made the game extra confusing for me. I don’t know why they couldn’t talk to each other beforehand and wear different colored pants, unless it was on purpose and they wanted to be coordinated. Kind of like going to a party and someone else is wearing the same outfit. Awwwwkward!

I am absolutely amazed that it costs $3 million for a 30-second Superbowl commercial. Eminem was in two commercials. In the first one, he was animated and said something about “that’s why I don’t do commercials,” then in his second one he was live-action and I kept yelling “Hypocrite! Hypocrite! You’re doing another commercial!” Then there was the sexy Kim Kardashian ad with those stupid Skecher shoes that don’t even work:

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But as a Star Wars nerd, my favorite was the little Darth Vader commercial. I had already seen it on YouTube earlier but still gotta loooove it:

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As for Superbowl party food, I made some awesome guacamole and then the best things ever…I have christened them “Pigs in Bacon Blankets”:

mmm look at that delicious bacon grease!

All you do is cut bacon strips into thirds, wrap little cocktail hotdogs in them and toss them in the oven at 350*F for 15 minutes. Magical! The best part is that there are leftovers. :D

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Friday, February 4th, 2011

not that the Wongstar ever needs an excuse to party.

What’s way more exciting and important than silly ole Groundhog Day? CHINESE NEW YEAR! Wahoo! Happy Year of the Rabbit! Here is my new favorite Sanrio bunny, Kuromi:

drink more water, be a superstar!

Which comes with a superstar secret tip on how to encourage yourself to stay hydrated: get yourself a supercute BPA-free water bottle. This bottle was under $10 at Target, by Thermos’s “SIPP” line. I like how it looks uber trendy like a bottle of VOSS water you get at fancy nightclubs. Then I slapped on a Kuromi sticker (from Ebay) and now I loooooove it even more and want to drink water all the time!

Kuromi is like the mischievous punk answer to the sweet pink My Melody (my childhood favorite). Here’s what the Sanrio website has to say about her: “My Melody’s friendly rival is a tomboy who loves making mischief and causing trouble! Although she may look tough, she is actually very girly and is attracted to good-looking guys! Kuromi enjoys writing in her diary and is hooked on romantic short-stories.”

Aw how sweet. Making mischief, causing trouble, attracted to good-looking guys…just switch “diary” to “blog” and she sounds just like me. ;)

Anyway, a Chinese New Year blog is incomplete without a proper Chinese horoscope forecast for 2011! Here is mine from Moonslipper.com:

“The Year of the Rabbit will be a much quieter year than 2010 for the Rooster. However, the Rooster will have to curb his natural exuberance and enthusiasm just a bit in 2011 and practice some patience and common sense.

On the work front, it will be vital for the Rooster to work closely with his colleagues and practice his networking skills. This will stand to him during the months of March, April, November and December when unexpected developments happen. All the work he does now on the career front will pay dividends in 2012, the Chinese Year of the Dragon. The Rooster should also consider any opportunities he may have to study or for training. This would go extremely well for him and again benefit him greatly later on in the year.

On the social and romantic side of life, this will be a much more settled and quiet year, which will be to many a Rooster’s liking. March, July and August look to be the most active on the social scene. A word of warning though – the Rooster must take care to temper his words with friends and not be too harsh. A quarrel or end of a close relationship could result.

Financially, the Rooster may have a few home-related expenses this year with repairs, decorating and renovations. It would be wise to manage any project sensibly and shop around for the best deal; Chinese Rabbit years can be expensive for all signs. On the whole, 2011 looks like being a pleasurable and encouraging year for all Roosters.”

Happy New Year everyone! Tonight I am celebrating with lychee martinis made from Haamonii Smooth Shochu. This weekend I plan to head over to Philly’s Chinatown to see what kind of New Year shenanigans are going on over there and hunt down some authentic Chinese food. Maybe there will even be lion dancing and firecrackers which used to scare the bejeezus out of me when I was younger. I’m totally jonesing for some Peking Duck!

Happy Groundhog Day!

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

February 2nd is Groundhog Day. I remember learning about this erm, “holiday” when I was a kid–something about a groundhog coming out of the ground and whether he sees his shadow or not means that spring will come earlier or later.

Now this never really meant anything to me as I’ve never really lived anywhere before where an “early spring” mattered. I mean, winter kind of just blended into spring and summer, most especially in California. And I’m not sure I’ve ever actually seen a real live groundhog with my own two eyes. It’s supposedly like a ginormous gopher. (We have gophers back home.) I think if I ever saw one I might be seriously freaked out.

So now I’m living somewhere wishing spring would come soon, so the snow and ice and slush can melt and I don’t have to worry that I’m going to slip on ice and wreck myself. Just this morning I was thinking I need to invest in some waterproof snow boots, and wondering, do they come with half-inch track spikes? My high school had a dirt track but they are finally getting a new rubber track this year (yay) and the hurdlers and sprinters got to wear the giant half-inch spikes on their track shoes, would be useful here on the ice, methinks. Oh yeah, and now I understand all the stories of senior citizens fracturing their hips during winter by slipping on ice. mmm-Hmm.

he's supposed to be the size of a medium dog.

Well then, so the whole groundhog telling us if spring is coming early this year? I was suddenly all very interested. I didn’t even remember how it went until I looked it up today–if he sees his shadow does that mean spring is coming earlier or later? Good news today! He did NOT see his shadow, which means that there will indeed be an early spring.

Good thing he probably looked for his shadow this morning, because by the time I finished the indoor bike part of my brick, it was sunny out and the roads dry enough that I got to do my run outside. I *only* needed one pair of tights (not two), one pair of socks (not two), a running cap instead of a beanie, no little hot pockets (that’s what I call the hand warmer things) and no ski mittens. I didn’t have to wear a fleece jacket either. It was awesome and I felt super rejuvenated.

I’ve been struggling a bit with staying motivated when the weather’s crap and just looked at the monthly weather averages for Wilmington a few days ago…turns out that January and February are the two coldest months. Now that January’s over, I can say I’ve survived the coldest month here! It can only get warmer. I like how from February on, the average temp jumps up 10 degrees every month up to June.

So my first Ironman of the year is most likely going to be IM China at the end of May, and holy crap, that’s six entire months with no Ironmans (!!!), what the heck am I going to do with myself?! Soooo, I have signed up for a marathon in early March which gives me something to look forward to. Somewhere warmer. Stay tuned. By the time I get back, it’ll be March and high time for outdoor training again! Yippee. In the meantime, I just have to get through February. Winter Blues be damned.