Mt. Kinabalu : We Came, We Saw, We Conquered!

Me with Mount Kinabalu at the background.

It was January of 2011 when hubby and I found ourselves packing our bags and taking the flight to Kota Kinabalu to climb the majestically surreal Mt Kinabalu –  4,095 meters above sea level, the lure of  Guinness World Records’ world’s highest via ferrata, was so hard for us to resist that we HAD to try it for ourselves.


A via ferrata (Italian for “iron road”) is a mountain route which is equipped with fixed cables, stemples, ladders, and bridges. 

The use of these allows otherwise isolated routes to be joined to create longer routes which are accessible to people with a wide range of climbing abilities. 

Walkers and climbers can follow via ferratas without needing to use their own ropes and belays, and without the risks associated with unprotected scrambling and climbing. – Wikipedia

Just the perfect husband and wife adventure! 

The day of the climb, our guide picked us up from our hotel and eventually was introduced to two American Navy doctors  and a French Quality Manager of Petzl.  

Our guide was a silent, yet pleasantly friendly Malaysian guy named Francis – It was THE perfect team.
Hubby and I at the Timpohon Gate

The climb started with a refreshing view of Carson’s Waterfalls after Timpohon Gate, 1,866 meters above sea level.

As the elevation increased, lush forest unfolded, flora of all kinds, rock formations that served as our stairs welcomed us as we continued on our seemingly never-ending climb.

The big old trees were such breathtaking sights to behold with their large trunks and the greenest of greens served as our backdrop as we climbed our way towards our destination.

The four hour climb had us taking short recovery stops every once in a while as my heart rate was constantly at 160bpm (oh yes, I was using my HR monitor during the whole climb).

Interestingly, the distance was less than 10km but at 3,289m starting at Timpohon’s  1,866m and acclimating to thin air while climbing, we left the gate at 9:30am and arrived at the Laban Rata base camp at 1:30pm.

Coming from a tropical country, it was the first time for me to experience 10 degrees Celcius. I took a mental note of thanks for bringing along a pair of gloves, bonnet, thermal pants, 2 shirts, and a warm jacket.  Inside Pendant Hut where we were staying, I was freezing. 

By 3:30pm, our Mountain Torq trainer was already familiarizing the five of us on how to work with the steel rungs and cables embracing the mountain’s rock face and eventually, we had our early dinner since we needed to sleep early and wake up at 2am.

At 8:30pm, it was lights out. The room was comfortable and had double beds to accommodate us five climbers – I guess it was excitement plus the low temperature that gave me a hard time sleeping  that I found myself tossing and turning in my sleeping bag until it was 1:45am. 

After our light breakfast, at around 2:30 am it was time for our ascent to Low’s Peak. The highest accessible peak in South East Asia.

It was a freezingly cold non-stop uphill climb that tested our wits and strength. It was all mental, factoring in the steep incline, darkness, near zero temperature – The mind has to agree that you can do it – but it was totally all worth it. 

Our camera conked out on us and we have to ask for a stranger to take this photo for posterity.
Four months after,  he sent us the file via email and we were so happy even if it was a funny unexpected shot.

 Upon reaching Low’s Peak – the highest point – we have to have our picture taken at the peak’s signpost for posterity. But since our camera’s battery died out from the altitude, we have to ask for a stranger to take ours! 

The two American US Navy Doctors and us.

It feels surreal to be transported in a place were you just were looking at in the photographs as posted in the internet and then, actually feeling, being and enveloping yourself with the whole experience – an experience well worth the challenging spectacular climb. 

The sunrise was breathtaking – seeing how it slowly casts its rays to the majestic granite rock face of Low’s Peak makes it seem eerie yet beautiful that even a high end cam would not give justice in capturing how it really looks – there was a bluish green metallic glow on its granite as the sunrise started to show its way and make its presence felt. It was one of those moments that make you feel so thankful to be alive. 

After a few shots with our friend’s camera.  We have to go take on another  task – the via ferrata.

After the initial descent from Low’s Peak, we then met the our Via Ferrata trainer at Sayat Hut @ 3,600m for Walk the Torq – Asia’s first Via Ferrata.

It was such an exhilarating experience going down the mountain via ferrata and knowing that we came, we saw and we conquered.

Fruits, My New Best Friend

Just recently, Xhi and I had decided to go on a 7-Day Detox Diet.
The first part of the diet is an “All Fruit Day” challenge.

When I was planning my groceries for the week, I was thinking to myself “Yeah, the most common would be oranges and apples” how hard could that be? But checking out my favorite grocery store near our area, I was amazed of the wide range of options I have in the fruit section!

There I saw blueberries, raspberries and all the other colorful anti-oxidants wrapped up in packs. I opted to go for a melon, seedless orange and some fruits that were all new for me — nectarines, red pears, plums and persimmon.

The day ended with me filling up on fruits and just that. Cool. Today is All-Veggie day, but I do recommend that you try it out some time.
Sharing these ideas I read might stimulate your fruit consumption. 
So, why do we have to eat five to nine fresh pieces a day, organically grown if possible?

Republishing a post from thefruitpages.

For the largest part fruit consists of water just like the human body does
80% of our body is water so does 80% of fruit consist of water!

If you think about it, it’s logical for the human body to consume food that contains as much water as the body itself. The nutrition that meets that requirement is fruit. There is no other food than fruit on this planet that contains on average 80% water. Vegetables also contain a lot of water and are therefore second best.

Fruit stimulates the memory
If you didn’t know yet: fruit is the ultimate brain fuel. Fruit has a positive effect on our brains. The way this works still has to be found out and many scientists are looking into it as we speak. What we do know is that if you consume fruit effectively, your brains can recall information faster and more easily. This is very useful information for people who are preparing for an exam. 
The idea that fruit is an expensive nutrition
Did you always think that fruit was an expensive product? Take a good look at how much money you spend on other food. It could be worth something to replace some of those expenses with fruit. We think that fruit is the healthiest food on earth and therefore it is well worth spending our money on.
The miraculous healing effects of fruit
Spectacular stories about people that cured from uncurable diseases by a strict diet of raw fruits and/or vegetables are well known but do we want to believe them? We still don’t know that much about fruit and its contents.
We do know now that a diet with plenty of fibers helps against high blood pressure, and other factors that increase the chance for a heart disease. The consumed amount of fibers maybe even a more important factor than the amount of fat that is consumed by people! The food that contains these healthy (natural) fibers is…. right: fruit! (vegetables as well). The American Heart Association advises to consume 25 to 30 grams of fibers out of fresh fruits and/or vegetables. In practice this means: have five to nine portions of fresh fruits or vegetables a day. 

Fruit makes you feel better
Several stories have told us about people that were frequently depressed and how they got out of their depression slowly but surely after consuming substantial amounts of fresh fruit on a regular basis. Eating much fruit can have a mysterious healing effect on human beings. Even better is to drink a lot of freshly squeezed fruit drinks on a regular basis. It will take approximately 30 days until you start to notice the effects. Don’t forget to drink these smoothies 20 minutes before the consumption of other meals. This way the fruit will not ferment in the stomach and the nutritious elements can be absorbed by the blood effectively.
Fruit is the most natural food
When you see a piece of fruit hanging from a tree you could easily imagine that tree saying: “Pick my fruits and help me spread the seeds.”  That’s how nature works. Humans eat vegetables and fruits and consequently help the plants to spread. Humans use animals to work the land to grow the plants and trees that produce these fruits and vegetables.
A human diet 
A healthy diet should consist for a great deal of freshly squeezed fruit juices, raw fruits and vegetables. Some tips:
  • A good start is to eat and drink more fresh fruits;
  • it’s as simple as that. Before you know it you will feel much better;
  • Don’t forget to eat fruit on an empty stomach, not after other meals and;
  • inform yourself about the substances that our ‘modern’ food contains.


So fellow pinayfitness sisses, what are your favorite fruits?

Run Forrest Run! But wait! How do you prepare for one? – Part 2

So now you’ve read the previous post (click here)…
What next?

So you fee the energy… your watch, synchronized with the big digital clock.. the beat of the drums that the event organizers prepared for the runners sounds like your own heart beat..
Then the count down.. five.. four.. three.. two.. one!
The gun goes off.. and so does the runners!

What do you do?

WAIT! Pace yourself, Relax and Have Fun.
  • DO NOT SPRINT! It is oh so easy to go with the flow and sprint with the pack after the gun shot, BUT that will wear you out easily. Stick to the plan and start slow.
  • DO find a running buddy that has the the same pace as you do. It’s more fun to run with a “pace buddies” and the sense of accomplishment is much better if shared.
  • DO take a sip when you pass by a water station even if you are not thirsty. “Thirsty” is your body’s special way of saying “I am dehydrated!”
  • DO breathe. Relax and shake your arms and shoulders every once in a while to avoid muscle tightness. Avoid slouching during the race and be conscious of your posture.
  • DO take time to enjoy the scenery. Sometimes we get focused on beating our personal record (PR) that we tend to forget to enjoy the run!
  • DO NOT THINK NEGATIVE THOUGHTS. Be aware that this is a mind game. Change your thoughts into positive affirmations and think about how it would feel once you finish the race and how proud your family and friends will be of you and your accomplishment I remember during my first ever 10K race, I was thinking of my four kids during the last stretch — imagining them cheering for me until the finish. And yes, it worked.
Listen to your Body!
  • A run is one way of getting to know how your body reacts to stimulus. If during your run, you feel uncomfortable, slow down and assess how bad it really is. If it goes away resume your regular pace, but if the pain persists DO consider stopping and getting some help. No race is worth the risk of hurting yourself.  Pain is the body’s way of letting us know something is wrong.
  • DO hydrate upon reaching the finish line.
  • DO take care of blisters, cramping, or any other injuries immediately after the race.
  • DO re-fuel yourself and restore your glycogen stores with a healthy and nutritious meal, preferably high in good carbs.
  • DO NOT drink alcohol after pushing your body to its limits. What it needs is a healthy meal and water to replenish all that it lost during the race.
  • DO cool down and stretch within 20 minutes of completing your event. This helps avoid lactic acid build up and Delayed Onset Muscular Soreness (DOMS).
  • DO NOT lie down or sit immediately after the race. Move, mingle and take photographs for posterity. Now is the time to meet new friends!

So there!
Now that you know how to prepare for a run, let’s lace up our shoes and shout it out..

“RUN (insert name here) RUN!!!     *see you on the road!

Run Forrest Run! But wait! How do you prepare for one? – Part 1

How can we forget that segment in the movie, “Forrest Gump,” when he describes why he started running?

So he says : “That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I’d run this far, maybe I’d just run across the great state of Alabama. And that’s what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason, I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going.

As he’s narrating his run where now hundreds are following him, he says, “I had run for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours.” 

I wonder how our ultramarathoners would fare with that? Wait… three years two months fourteen days and sixteen hours.

WOW! How does one prepare for THAT?

With all the races going on in the metro, though we do not plan for a three year run, we still need to do preparation for our runs.  This article will be supplying you with information on how to arm yourself for THE BIG RACE.

Pre-Race Night:

  • Have all your stuff needed for the run ready. Put out the running outfit you have, chose your colors to further motivate you to run. I remember Coach Xhi would always make it a point to wear orange in her runs and I had wanted the color pink. A splash of color during the race makes it more fun. Prepare your outfit and your equipment (water bottle, energy bars / gels, cap, iPod playlist, etc.) so that its all ready to go for the next day.
  • Make sure that your toenails are trimmed the night before so that they won’t be caught dead the next day!
  • Hydrate yourself. Water (and the rest room) is your friend.
  • Put in your 8 hours so that you’d be up and about during the race. You wouldn’t want to be on low battery by running on just a few hours of sleep!
Race Day Preparation:
  • The early bird catches the worm, and would have the time to eat a light breakfast.You would definitely need it for energy.
  • Never underestimate the power of the anti-chaffing petroleum jelly.
  • Make sure that you have your race kit with you!
  • Expect parking to be far from the race venue so leave early and plan for time to park – use the walking time from the parking to race venue as warm up.
  • Do jumping jacks, dynamic stretches or what ever works as warm up before you race. For some, a slow jog also helps.

Nutrition and Fueling Strategy
  • Before the race DO eat a light meal an hour to an hour and a half. Bread, pasta, rice, water and non-acidic fruit like bananas are good choices.
  • DO NOT eat or drink something you have never ever tried before. Add to the list are dairy products, fried foods, fiber rich foods or anything you are not used to. 
  • Pre-hydration is ok until 15 minutes before the race starts as long as you could still go to the restroom before the start (good luck with the long lines though)

 Next post will be regarding the race itself.

Read here:  Run Forrest Run! But wait! How do you prepare for one? – Part 2