Tag Archives: determination

An Athlete’s Mindset – True Grit

The RIO Olympics 2016 have come to an end! I can finally get back to my “normal” sleeping schedule.

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This was probably one of my most-watched-live-events and it was worth EVERY WAKING MINUTE!

I guess everyone who managed to tune in to the RIO Olympics have taken home something.


As an amateur athlete, trying to be my best at my chosen sport, I can ONLY IMAGINE how hard olympians work. I truly believe that you get out what you put in. Your success is measured by ALL your blood, sweat and tears. And of course, having God behind your back! I cannot talk about success without adding in that spiritual element. But that’s just me. 😉

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We can all learn a thing or two about these athletes. They all have similar characteristics. STRONG both MENTALLY and PHYSICALLY. But the mental aspect will determine what the physical aspect will do.


Belief. Determination. Discipline. Fearless.

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You have to BELIEVE that you are capable. Be DETERMINED to achieve. DISCIPLINED to follow through. And FEARLESS when it comes to pushing beyond your limits.


Athletes are defined by their failures and bad days, and NOT giving in.

For the weekend warrior, thriving and striving to train for an event or just to stay active/get fit, you can probably relate to some of these:

-Waking up in the wee hours of the morning when everyone else is tucked in their warm comfy bed just so that you can get that workout in

-Sweating it out, huffing and puffing away (and possibly looking like a dead chicken)

-Dreading the process of the workout, where every step just seems endless

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-Pushing yourself to the point where you absolutely DO NOT want to do this anymore

-Constantly tired and sleep deprived

-Waking up with aches and pains

-Unsightly tan lines, dry hair, dead black toe nails, blistered feet, cuts and bruises

-Days when you miss the podium by a fraction of a second

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Giving 110% during training but still failing time and time again

-Days when your coach screams “ONE MORE REP!”

-Days when you think of skipping your workout (that inner battle)

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-When you are afraid to look at your training schedule because you know it will only get harder

-When you miss out on important gatherings/events involving family and friends

-When you are on a strict diet, watching the rest devouring sweet treats and snacks

-The times spent nuturing an injury and then getting another injury (and possibly another)

-The fear of losingIMG_4970

-Days when you’ve had a bad workout on top of having a bad day

-The times when you trained to your max, ready to take on a race, only to be disappointed by the outcome

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-When everyone else is asking you to give up and telling you otherwise

-When no one is behind your back

-The physical and mental pain of pushing through your workout AND on race day

IMG_4967-When you feel your muscles BURNING, heart PUMPING, lungs BURSTING

-The day you question your sanity, thinking “IS THIS WORTH IT?! WHAT AM I DOING?!”

-The day you feel you have NOTHING left

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-The day you want to quit and throw in the towel

And then…

Somehow…

Somewhere…

Deep in that dark pitt…

You see a ray of light shining through. In your heart and in your gut, you know that you STILL want this. You dig deep, searching for that hope and belief you have within yourself, and then you hang on to it.

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You push through. You fight the negativity.

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And when you overcome the impossible, you smile because you know that all the BAD days were worth it.

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We all have bad days. It is what we do with them that will eventually shape our success and personality. And this applies to EVERY other aspect of our lives.

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Sucess comes to those who stick to what they say they will do, long after the motivation and positive feelings have left. Day in, Day out. Only a few are willing to fight through their current emotions.

Do YOU have it in you?

Post-race Report: Putrajaya Relay Trail Run 2014

3rd trail and relay run of the year! I’m on a roll here.

Again, another last minute unplanned race! Chooi Fern and I registered on Tuesday, 4 days before race day. My main concern was that I was supposed to run the Cyberjaya TwinCity half marathon the following day. Yep, another back to back race weekend!

I went on with it anyway because I liked the idea of it being a relay AND a trail run! So exciting!

15191_10152983333686388_4403048239393488019_n 10308268_10152983333546388_7384886034077365667_n The holiday celebrations have begun! I had a party on Friday night and went to bed at about 3am. 10882087_10152983333341388_2649003867160853947_n<310417569_10152983333386388_1808580056646648577_nI couldn’t sleep in on Saturday because I had lunch with the Uni mates to celebrate Janey’s birthday. Haven’t seen them in MONTHS! Good times.1656299_10152983333431388_2970349827039288371_nPre-race meal – Baked eggs!

After lunch, I had to rush home, pack and leave for Putrajaya. I was feeling so sleepy! Daniel and the sister came over to my place and we left from there.

The interesting thing about this race was that the flag off was at 4.30pm. I was worried that it would be TOO HOT to run. And the funny thing was that it was raining as we were on our way to Putrajaya! I couldn’t decide which was worse!

We were there early to collect our race kits. It was raining so heavily that we had to wait in the car for the rain to come to a light drizzle. We thought that the organizers would delay the race but thank God they didn’t.

It started right on time at 4.30pm (It was still drizzling at that time!). The “baton” was in the form of a hair scrunchy. One team of two members would each take turns to run a 6KM trail route. The sister was off on the run along with the other first leg runners. I went to the bathroom twice while waiting for her to return. OH THE NERVES!

When Daniel came back, I knew that the sister wouldn’t be too far off. A few minutes later, the first female runner returned. To my surprise, it was NOT the sister! I was shocked because who else could be faster than her! I kept asking Daniel if he saw her during the run. Did she fall? Was she ok? I was worried because Daniel suffered a pretty bad fall and he was bleeding.

About 3 minutes later, the sister appeared! PHEW! Huge sigh of relief! I was glad that she was ok. She called out to me and handed the pink scunchy over. She yelled for me to chase the other girl who was well ahead of me. The only thing that flashed in my mind was that the sister was crazy!

The roads were slippery and I had to be extra careful with my footing. When I hit the trails, I didn’t care where my next step was or whether or not there was a huge puddle. I jumped right it. Some of the major turns were not clearly marked and it was easy to lose your way. Thankfully I didn’t because I didn’t have time for that. My main focus was to chase the other girl. I ran hard, splashing into the mud and blazing through the bushes.

About 3KMs in, I spotted her. Target locked! I did not hesitate to overtake her. The pressure was on because I was feeling pretty breathless. The only thing that kept me going was the thought of the sister. I didn’t want to let her down. Managed to pull the gap even further as I went along. Phew!

1504033_10152983333231388_7034122035666969527_n  Covered in MUD!

We emerged overall Champions in the Women’s Open category with a total time of 1:03:54. We both clocked in about 31 minutes respectively. So happy to see the sister jumping up and down like a cray woman at the finish line.

10414883_10152983333291388_7122431156664443479_nThe Puma gang!10613096_10152983333086388_8826837740063516677_n 10422933_10152983333046388_702528871957472712_nApparently, the first female runner to return took a shortcut/ran the wrong way and her team got disqualified. Well, I guess it was still worth the chase! What a stressful run!10882190_10152983333166388_482152915622432830_nDaniel’s team came in 3rd! 10857922_10152983332896388_3662386820614781740_nPost-race selfie. The sister is a fast learner. 😉1527066_10152983341956388_6307194122544522082_n10882326_10152983332986388_5404876185742090594_nPost-race meal – Homemade Assam Laksa! Another party!


535951_10152983342031388_2744017531712751013_nDNS the Cyberjaya TwinCity Half Marathon the next day. I only manage 3 hours of sleep and was feeling very tired. I went to support the other runners! It was fun standing on the other side of the finish line.

And of course, the sister managed another Champion title for the 12KM run!10371996_10152983342051388_4695589448280494311_n 10881730_10152983341991388_8391064050103574223_nThis is what a Champion sandwich would look like.

Michelle was the Champ for the FULL MARATHON! CRAZY WOMAN with an amazing finishing time! Congrats girl!10882145_10152983336451388_2313808842992138411_nStrength in numbers. Stronger together!

How was your weekend?

Happy Holidays and uh,

Keep Running!

 

How to Prepare for a Marathon – Training Part 1

Disclaimer: This is going to be about how I prepared (in terms of Training) for the Marathon. Please note that I’ve only ever ran a Marathon once in my life. So, follow at your own risk.

For my first marathon experience, I was fortunate enough to be training under Coach Mark with Team Dirigo. You can say that we had it easy. Everything was laid out for us. Basically, all we had to do was execute (which was actually the hardest part).

Before I continue, I won’t be revealing anything from our training program in respect to Coach Mark. Sorry to burst your bubble but if you were expecting a detailed A-Z training plan for a marathon, you’re going to be a little disappointed. However, I will share a bit on what you can do, what qualities you should possess and what to expect during your training period (over several blog posts).

I don’t think our training plan is any (or very) different from those that you can get online (for free). Sometimes, it is just the case of getting it done. It is not about what we don’t know (we all know what it takes to run a marathon!). Just like how we know fried chicken is bad for health but we eat it anyway. We KNOW, we just need to DO IT (or not do it).10849889_10152967847101388_7325605152711666392_nI can tell you what these training programs require: HARD WORK. We live in a society that craves instant solutions and results. We crave for the quickest, shortest and most efficient way. Sometimes, we wish to achieve the impossible without putting in any effort. While you’re still sitting there looking for the fastest way out with instant results, someone else is out there doing all the hard work.nothing-worth-having-comes-easy-soar-like-an-eagle-by-david-fishNothing worth having comes easy – TRUTH.

Typical training process

Running, running, running and more running! Our training program was over 14 weeks. But these days, you can get training programs over 6-8weeks (of course, it depends on your current fitness level)! There are all sorts that you can find on the internet. 10846438_10152967854706388_3417336763464331437_nThink of the training program as a piece of cake. The cake (Long runs), layers of cream cheese filling (Tempo runs) with caramel swirls (Interval runs). Slice a piece off as the weeks go by. That’s the gist of it. Training intensity and volume would depend on your specific race goals.

Before you start any training program, you have to:

Set some realistic goals

Sub 4? Sub 4.30? You decide. Nobody knows you best but you. Always remember to set the bar high. Make the most of your current potential and triple that. A good tactic for you to make sure that you stick to your goal is to get into a buddy system or better yet, announce your race goal to the world. That way, you are accountable for what you said you would do.10308717_10152918953086388_9103945441158821353_nTo run a marathon, you need a strong mind and the right mindset. These are your must-haves:

Self-discipline

Once you’ve set a goal, be discipline to follow through. Dedicate yourself to it and stick to it. There will be days when you don’t feel like running, PUSH THROUGH THEM. Get the mileage in. This is going to be the determining factor that will set you apart from the rest. People usually give in when they don’t feel like running, DON’T!10734172_10152918952236388_1765638990880207031_nIt was hard for me too. There were days where I hoped for rain as an excuse, days where I laid in bed battling with my inner self, days where I craved for fatty foods and sugar (not advisable during marathon training)……

Determination

Keep your eyes on your goal. Remind yourself of it. How bad do you want this? You’ve got to want this enough to get you through your training. Find your motivation, write it down somewhere. Stick it on your mirror, on your notebook, set it as your mobile phone wallpaper…… anywhere, as long as you can see them.

10469867_10152918952396388_1723076991407226270_nFocus on the “now”. Live in the present moment and make the most of it.

Stay Focus

It is very important to stay focus during your training runs. When you’re training (alone especially), it can be very tempting to deviate from your set pace. Your long runs can easily turn into recovery runs if you don’t stay focus. Don’t defeat the purpose of your runs. Make them count, turn them into quality runs. Also, you’ve got to FEEL your runs. Identify all your aches and pains (side stitches, cramps etc.). Feel them, correct them or adapt to them if you have to. That way on race day, these wouldn’t come as a surprise to you.

I had side stitches after about 10KM into the marathon. I remained calm and knew what to do about it because I had them during my training runs.

Perseverance

It is going to be hard. Nobody said that it would be a walk in the park. If it were easy, everyone would have done it. I have this bad habit (or a fear) of not wanting to push myself to the maximum. I hate it. I hate that feeling. I like to remain in my comfort zone. If you want change, you’ve got to do something different. 1601253_10152918952631388_4647049890723274925_nThanks to Coach Mark for pushing me through each training session. It was crazy. There were times where I felt like stepping off the track to give up. But I knew that I had to hold it for just a little while more. Every session left me with jelly legs and a few stars dancing around my head.

I always hit a point in training where I hated running to the core and found myself asking: “What am I doing? Why am I even running? Is it worth it?” But yet, I love it enough to do it all over again.images

I love that feeling after a tough workout. But first, you gotta’ go through it!

Trust me, you’re going to have a lot of self-doubt. You’re going to want to give up. Don’t.

Sit down. Breathe. Think. Evaluate your goals. Talk to a friend. Get motivated. Trust your training and progress. And then jump right back! All the best!

This just happened! (Okay, not really)

Oh, Hi!

So many exciting things, to me at least, have been happening both in terms of work and running. Since this is a running blog, I shall skip everything about work.

I’ve recently become more “public” about my running. It all started a few months ago when I heard that Puma Malaysia was starting a running club. If you know me well enough you would know that I’m an introvert solo runner, the lone ranger running around the neighbourhood. I have done so for the past 6 years (at least) minus the 1 or 2 times I ran with my neighbours. Solo running does have its perks. I started out as a solo runner because I craved that solitary moment. Completely clearing my mind and shutting out the world. Also, I’m always on a tight schedule. I don’t enjoy wasting time waiting for people to show up to run together. Or maybe I just couldn’t be bothered. It was not as if I had many running friends to begin with.

Deciding to join the Puma Running Club was a huge leap for me. Attending the first session itself was a daunting task. I was very nervous to begin with, and to be honest, the thought of getting free socks at the end of the first session was probably the only thing that pushed me to go. I know, I’m easily amused. For the first time ever, I had the privilege of running with pacers. We did 2 loops around the park which was about 4.4KM. And accordingly, I was considered a pretty okay female runner. Their constant compliments overwhelmed me. Honestly, I didn’t know what to say or how to react. The Puma Pacers were serious runners, timing themselves down to the very second. And there I was, running to feel, unbound by timing. After the first session, I went home a happy runner with free Puma socks and a bunch of new friends.

ImagePUMA FREEBIES!

By the third session, I was asked if I was interested to become a Puma Pacer. Wait, WHAT? Without thinking twice, I agreed. Mainly because of the FREEBIES (you knew that was coming eh?) and of course I thought that it was high time I shared my passion for running with other runners. I guess many people join running clubs because it gives them accountability, though I never really had a problem with that. I was disciplined enough to get my butt out the door to run and occasionally improving on my speed. Early last year, I think I hit a wall (not literally) with my running. I didn’t aim to improve, I was just drifting. I soon realised that for me, this was a perk of running with a group – I tend to put in more effort when I’m running with other people. There was also the wealth of knowledge from other runners; some of the things I learnt might have taken a very long time to learn as a lone runner.

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The Puma Family!

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Oh, and another family – Cari Group! These guys are crazy runners. They welcomed me with open arms to join their final run before the Chinese New Year. The kind soul on the far right paced me all the way.

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The rest of them! Elaine, the girl standing beside me, has been such a doll! Thanks for everything!

In my opinion, the best thing to do would be to compromise – do both solo and group running. The experience of running in a group (this particular group) has been an eye opener. They have been so friendly and so willing to share whatever they know about running. How they train, their goals, timing, races…… All I can say is that I am so blessed and overwhelmed and excited and anxious for everything that has yet to come.

Discover more about yourself and other runners!

Happy Running!

Tis’ the season to be EATING!

It’s that time of the year again! Christmas and New Year celebrations are rolling in! When you think of these festivities, you’d think of your loved ones and of course, FOOD (the best part!)! There’s something so comforting and warm about being surrounded by your loved ones while enjoying a home-cooked meal.

EAT LOVE

Once you hit the relaxed and stress free mode, you tend to want to indulge in all the glorious foods that this season has to offer and break free from your healthy habits. You tell yourself that you’ll “get back on track” once the holiday season comes to an end. I usually fall into this trap. I tell myself that I’ll indulge NOW, and work twice as hard LATER. Well, that usually never happens. And if you’re living in Malaysia, festivities occur all year round. There is always a reason or season to be stuffing your face. Chinese New Year, Mooncake Festival… not to mention taking advantage of our multiracial culture by riding on other celebrations such as Hari Raya and Deepavali!

You may tell yourself that its only 1 pound of weight gained over the festive season, but 1 pound times 3-5 seasons a year adds up and you could be gaining a lot of weight over a few years.

What’s the harm you say? According to an article in the Nutrition Journal, it is difficult to lose the weight gained during the Holiday Season, even if it’s just 1 pound. This retained weight gain could have potential long-term health consequences. It is also important to note that this is a factor which contributes to adult obesity.

SISTER LOVE 2

Obesity? SAY WHAT?!

We all know that the key to enjoying holiday treats without the extra pounds is portion control. The problem lies in executing what we already know (portion control!) when temptations are right before our eyes. The next question would be: does this even apply to us runners? What better way to clear all speculations than to experiment with your own body. Studies and scientific research will give you many different views and answers, some saying that you may gain weight and some saying that you may not.

So, the best way is to be your own lab rat. For me, I find that when I over-indulge for just over one week while still continuing my weekly mileage, I’m pretty much immune to the unsightly tummy bulge. Of course, if you plan to continue at this rate without doubling your weekly mileage, you’ll be in for a surprise at the end of the holiday season!

SILLY PEOPLE!

Portion Control. Hmmmm…

 I came up with a few tips on how to not go overboard during this festive season! I am sharing what has worked for me but they may or may not work for you. At the end of the day, it is not what we know or don’t know. Rather, it is whether or not we are willing to and determined enough to avoid temptation.

  1. Put in that workout! This one is obvious and full proof against holiday weight gain. I know it is hard. I’ve been there. Quick tip: GET IT DONE FIRST THING IN THE MORNING! Get it over and done with and out of the way. That way, you’re free to help out around the kitchen or do your last minute shopping or maybe just spend quality time with your loved ones.
  2. Pace yourself. If you know that you’ll be attending a party that night, avoid heavy meals and unnecessary snacking throughout the day. The point is to eat light and not starve yourself.
  3. Doubling up! If you want to eat and not gain weight, you have to put in the work. Try doubling your workouts one month before the holiday season or slowly increase the intensity of each workout to burn off the excess fat. Come holiday season, you’ll be lean and mean to stuff your face with food. I’m kidding. You’ll just feel less guilty because you know you’ve worked your butt off for it.
  4. WATER WATER WATER! I cannot stress this enough. Hydration is so important! We tend to mistake thirst for hunger. And this is true because I have experienced this myself. Also, when we’re dehydrated, fatigue sinks in. And when that happens, we look for FOOD! Always keep a water bottle with you. STAY HYDRATED!
  5. Reflect. Think back on all those hours, blood, sweat and tears that you put yourself through. Waking up early in the morning when you’d rather be sleeping just to put in that run. Think about how far you’ve come on your journey. This should give you enough will power to say NO to over eating. Well, if it doesn’t then I don’t think you’re working hard enough! (HAHA!)
  6. The main focus. The focus during these festive seasons should be on your family and friends. This is the one time when family and friends from all over the world gather together. Use this time to catch up with them instead of stuffing yourself silly. Opportunities like these don’t come very often!
  7. Choose wisely. Always start off with fiber rich foods: fruits and vegetables! This would leave you feeling partially full. Decide on what you want to eat. If you want to spend your calories on that slice of cake that you’ve been eyeing on, then cut back on your mains.
  8. Maintenance. The goal for the holiday season should be focused on maintaining instead of losing or gaining. Rest well, eat well and run consistently. Put your weight loss goals on hold and don’t miss out on the holiday treats!
  9. It is OKAY to indulge. If you slip up, forgive yourself and move on. Don’t beat yourself up. Try eating a healthier meal the next day and slowly get back on track. You can do it!

SISTERLY LOVE

Ahhhh. NOM NOM NOM!

So there you go! I’m still cracking my head to come up with a 10th tip. Just to make things even. I’m OCD like that. When I eventually come up with one, I’ll add it in. Any ideas?

Till then, BLESSED CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR GUYS!

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