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Marathon Debut – Standard Chartered KL Marathon

Whoop! Completed my first full marathon recently at the Standard Chartered KL Marathon. It was an amazing, heart-stopping, mind-draining, tear jerking experience…… with an unexpected podium finish! This is a long one. Grab yourself some popcorn and read on!

How I got myself into this mess (joining the Full Marathon):

Dirigo Events held a 5KM speed trial to select athletes for the Dirigo Athlete Development Program. Trying out for Team Dirigo was something I did out of curiosity. I wanted to see where I stood, and what I was capable of. I didn’t expect to be picked for the team! Also, I didn’t know that I was required to run the full marathon with Team Dirigo. This was after I signed the contract. I only knew about it during our first training session with Coach Mark (back in July).

At that time, I still had mixed feelings towards running a marathon. I hadn’t plan on doing so until maybe a year or two later. But I went on with the program, thinking that if I wasn’t good enough they would pull me out anyway. I had nothing to lose.

All of our training sessions together were done on the track. From there, it was pretty obvious that I wasn’t a distance runner. I didn’t have that kind of endurance to run a marathon (at my goal time, at least). They expected all of us to finish on the podium and I knew that I was nowhere near it (I couldn’t even see myself in the Top10). Not just yet. I am glad that Coach Mark didn’t give up on me. He continued to encourage me and push me during our training sessions. It was really tough, but also very satisfying. The first time I ever felt like puking while running was during his training session.

The hardest part for me was putting in the mileage. That meant more time spent on the road and less time with family and friends. I thank them for being so understanding and putting up with my horrible schedule (you know who you are!). I had to make a lot of sacrifices, even time for myself.

10557313_10152828557911388_2548100072912235335_nThere were many ups and downs along the way, both mentally and physically. Physically, at the beginning of stamina phase, every part of me was hurting. Ankles, hamstrings, calves……EVERYTHING! There were the tough times when I was so frustrated and so drained of energy that I just wanted to give up on the whole thing. I felt that I wasn’t good enough to be running under Team Dirigo and Coach Mark. Every time Coach Mark reminded me of my goal time, I can’t help but to think that he was out of his mind. I shunned his goal time for me by giving myself all sorts of excuses: never ran a marathon before, no experience etc (Sorry Coach! But this is the truth). Mentally, I wasn’t prepared to run a marathon.

1911604_10152828557956388_1905644860879136802_nWeek after week, I continued to press on. Run, run, run! Dragging my feet to put in the mileage. I got a slight confidence boost after my first Half Marathon followed by my 2nd Half Marathon 6 days later. That was 2 weeks out from race day and finally, I felt ready. I was mentally ready, if not physically. There was no better time to run a marathon. I told myself that the time was NOW. Still, I wasn’t expecting much from it. Anything between 3:45-4:00, that was my goal (I was being realistic).

Race Day:

10713002_10152828566741388_757989984552150196_nThe days leading up to race day were stressful. I was torn between enjoying my first full marathon experience and living up to expectations.

I had the usual pre-race jitters, except that it was magnified 10-fold. I was overwhelmed by the wave of emotions that I was feeling. Excited, worried, happy, anxious…… you name it, I felt it! I only managed to put in 2 hours of sleep the night before. I was also suffering from gastric the past few days leading up to race day, probably because I wasn’t used to the amount of carbohydrates that I was putting in (more on that in my next post!).

At 1.30am, my eyes were wide opened. I fuelled on a powerbar and a slice of bread. I didn’t want to eat anything more because I didn’t know what 42.2KM would do to my stomach.

Upon arrival at the race venue, I went to look for Coach Mark (because he asked us to but he was too busy with the pacers). Bumped into the sister (Chooi Fern) who apparently had gastric issues as well! Oh, the pain! I didn’t have time to do a proper warm up because I decided to change my shorts 20 minutes before the flag off. The shorts that I changed into had zippers and a bigger pocket to store my gels (3 packs). When you’re out there for 42.2KM, EVERYTHING MATTERS.

1470328_10152828557876388_5381660532147718019_nI was given the privilege to enter Pen A. I was right up front with all the pros. I certainly did not belong there (Haaaaaaaa!). Standing there, I couldn’t believe it. I was about to start my first FULL MARATHON! I was still unsure of my goals. My final mind-set was to DO MY BEST! And that was it.

We were off at 4.30am. I was running alongside the sister and Yu Fang. We started off at a pretty good pace, a bit too fast but still relaxed enough.

Once we hit the major highway (AKLEH), they sped off. I slowed down to the pace that I was supposed to be running at. After about 15KM, negative thoughts started to creep in. I was already thinking about the miles ahead and how it was never going to come to an end. I wasn’t even halfway through! It affected my performance and I felt extremely tired. I had to focus my energy on shutting out the negativity. I kept telling myself: “YOU GOT THIS!” And, it worked. Just like that.

10153041_10152828566676388_8090493810008577660_nThe whole event was really well organised. Dirigo Events nailed it! Volunteers were found at every major turn which made it impossible to lose your way. Water stations, sponges and toilets were placed at every 2/3KM. The only problem was that the other runners took Team Dirigo’s pre-prepared drinks. We were told that we had a separate drink station and that our specially prepared drinks were labelled with a black sticker. None of us managed to grab any.

I had to make-do with whatever that was provided. I made it a point to take a sip at every drink station. After what happened in Terengganu, skipping water stations was a big NONO! I didn’t think or plan which drink to consume (water or the isotonic drink). I grabbed whichever was convenient. And of course, THE SPONGES! Miracle sponges! I turned back twice just to get em’. Once was because Zi Shen took the sponge from the volunteer that I had planned to take it from (STEALER!) and the other was because the volunteer didn’t let it go! Oh, and when Zi Shen caught up with me all he could say was: “4.45 pace”. SPOT ON, i thought.

I was pretty much alone throughout the journey along the 2 major highways (AKLEH and DUKE). It was a long lonely run. Just me and my iPod. I kept talking to myself, smiling to myself, checking out the view, thinking about life, work, family, friends etc. I was also busy calculating my average pace whenever I came across the distance marker. Oh, the things you do when you don’t own a GPS. At least it kept my brain occupied! Sounds pretty crazy but this is what you have to do to keep yourself on track. Also, my mind was consumed by the fear of someone overtaking me along the way (thankfully, nobody did).

10704180_10152828625871388_2003672604511677509_nI think I nailed it pretty well, even without a GPS! I try not to rely too much on gadgets. Know your pace, feel it and lock it in. I was still on track (to hitting my goal time) all the way till about KM 40. And then it went downhill from there. Whoops!

I suffered side stitches (after 10KM) and signs of gastric pain along the way. I had to deal with the pain by not thinking about it. I consumed my gels at KM 15, KM 20 ish and KM 30 ish respectively. The gel taken at KM 30 ish had 1X caffeine. Thank God my body didn’t react to the caffeine in a bad way. Every time I drank or took my gel, I had this lingering fear that my stomach would reject it.

10502065_10152828558081388_3921605657549519550_nWhat’s your running mantra? I usually go with: “If not now, when?”

I expected to hit the wall at KM 30. Before this, I’ve been told countless of times that the real challenge begins after 30KM and that I WILL HIT THE WALL. Thankfully, I didn’t hit the wall (at least not until KM 35-36) or suffer any serious cramps (I was also expecting this to happen). I felt the onset of cramps whenever I slowed down to grab a drink. The solution? JUST KEEP RUNNING. I focused on putting one foot in front of the other, KM after KM. I held on to whatever that would keep me motivated: a smile from a volunteer, a wave, a cheer, the view, the sunrise…… anything! I also made it a point to acknowledge their presence (the volunteers). Thanks to Hui Xin, Cindy, Vic, Elaine and Yuki who cheered me on during the run! So much love!

By the time I hit the Bukit Tungku hill, I was tempted to start walking. But I knew that if I had started walking, it would be very hard to bounce back to the pace that I was at. Also, I wouldn’t forgive myself if someone were to overtake me at the last few KM!

At KM 38, we merged with the Half Marathon and the 10KM group. I knew that I was close to the finish line! SO CLOSE! Just 4 more miserable KMs! My toes were numb and my feet were burning. I wanted to speed up but I just couldn’t. I caught up with Yu Fang and I tried to stay as close to her as possible. But I was going REALLY SLOW. I couldn’t calculate my pace because the timer on my watch stopped at 3 hours and 12 minutes. I had a few seconds of happiness when I saw that my watch read 3:12 during the last 2KM (but in actual fact it had already stopped ticking). It did give me some motivation though. Chee Wai bumped into me at the last 500m. Thanks for cheering me on and partially wanting to wait for me. The last 500m felt like 5KM. KILLER!

10710568_10152828556906388_107453096785912263_nSpecial thanks to Victor and Elaine for the picture! They traded sleep to take pictures for both BSN and SCKLM!

I cannot quite describe how I felt running down that last stretch to the finish line. FINALLY! 42.2KM! My dad and brother called out to me as I ran pass. I did not expect to see them there and I was just so happy. Kevin recorded my finish and grabbed me by the side after I crossed the finish line. I could barely walk after running for over 3 hours. At the same time, I was choking up in tears and trying to catch my breath. Everything was blur and fuzzy. I was just too overwhelmed (and very relieved that it was over), exhausted too.

1899961_10152828557821388_2933958739922416704_nThe volunteers hung the 3rd placing badge over my head and I was immediately ushered to the winner’s tent. The next thing I remember was the sister screaming and running towards me to give me a hug. So happy to see her! She went straight for the gold! Awesome stuff! Coach Mark came to check on us and that smile on his face was priceless. I still couldn’t believe that I managed 3rd place!

10698470_10152828558166388_200532651006400873_nWe had to be quarantined in the winner’s tent until we went through the procedures for the doping test. They expected us to pee in a cup after running a marathon (at least 90ml). Seriously? We were already so dehydrated the last thing we could do is pee.

10629709_10152828557396388_1566355223043383765_n 1016573_10152828557481388_1261461103652750572_n 10690105_10152828557286388_2772804736156660894_nWhile waiting for the urge to pee, we hung around the area and chilled out. I pumped myself with 1.8L of water which my body rejected soon after. Purple-blue vomit! Probably due to the gel.

10671404_10152828557611388_5616199517383692030_n 10500443_10152828557731388_2439921601636654416_nWhen the adrenaline started to wear off, I suffered a major headache and felt so sick in the stomach. I felt a lot better after drinking the 100plus provided. The tent was filled with yummy food but I didn’t have the appetite for it. I didn’t have anything to eat until about 12pm. I was too caught up with everything that I was required to do. Filling up forms, getting my IC checked etc. I was very frustrated that I wasn’t allowed out of the tent. I couldn’t meet up with my friends who were there too!

1620460_10152828625891388_8236984567170413797_n3 minutes off my goal time but definitely not what I had in mind. 10703740_10152828557216388_7223643428478922369_nI remember what Coach Mark said to us in the car on the very first day of our training: “You guys will be up on the podium and I will be there with you. And you will remember this moment in my tiny little car where it all began. It is right there for you. You just have to believe in it.”

I never would have believed him, EVER!

Muhaizar! Team Dirigo’s Male Champ! Daniel and Uma did really well too. GO Team D!

After the prize giving ceremony, the sister and I stuck around for a good 2 hours before we could give them our urine sample. We left at about 1pm. Dropped Daniel off and headed home.

What a roller coaster ride! I still cannot put into words about how I feel about this whole experience. Too amazing. I am very grateful and very humbled by it. Hats off to everybody who has ever attempted to run a marathon. Standard Chartered KL Marathon was the perfect place for my Marathon debut. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Once again, thank you Dirigo Events (Rainer Biemens, Gloria Ng), Coach Mark Williams, Team Dirigo (Chooi Fern, Daniel, Muhairzar, Uma), Darnis, Maarof, Nik, Brooks, Powerbar…… Your support means the world to us.

10520600_10152828558126388_4378788326007986911_nI’m still new to this whole marathon thing. I wouldn’t consider myself as a long distance runner, far from it actually. But I am slowly learning what it takes to become one. I am truly honoured to be part of Team Dirigo and to be training under Coach Mark Williams. I have never pushed myself so hard and so far before. I have achieved PBs that I never thought was possible. There really is no limit when it comes to running. You just have to believe in yourself and see what you can do. If you put your heart into it, anything is possible.

I am very excited and anxious for what is yet to come.

This is just the beginning!

10670104_10152828556851388_7982515372125200644_nOh, and I own one of these things now. I’m officially a Marathoner!

When we remember that our STRENGTH is a result of God’s GRACE, we are kept humble.

All Glory, Honour and Power

belongs to You.

Team Dirigo in Terengganu – What Went Down Over The Weekend

My weekend came early this week! Thanks to Dirigo Events, the 5 of us (Muhaizar, Uma, Daniel, Chooi Fern and myself) were off to Terengganu on a racing trip.

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I took Friday off from work to catch my flight to Terengganu (my first out of KL race!).

I wasn’t feeling too well when I woke up that morning. I’ve had only an average of 5-6 hours of sleep per day throughout the week since my first half marathon (2XU Compression Run 2014). It didn’t help that I was sore all over from Tuesday’s killer workout session. I was on the verge of falling sick and I could feel it.

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My head was pounding that morning. It was so bad that I didn’t even bother going through my “list of things to bring”. From the picture, it seemed like I’ve got everything covered.

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I slept on the train to KLIA2 (something I don’t normally do especially when I’m alone). KLIA2 is huge but I didn’t have much time to wander. I went straight to the departure gate the minute I arrived.

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Met up with Chooi Fern and her posse (her mom, Yu Fang and Bee Hoon). We were a noisy bunch. I apologise on behalf of everybody (haha!). The plane arrived earlier than expected. We were in Terengganu by 12.30pm. Our Manager, Darnis, came to pick us up at the Sultan Mahmud Airport.

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The BEST manager ever, lugging my luggage around for me! Sorry Darnis, I just had to!

After checking in, we unpacked our stuff and went for lunch with the rest of the team.

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We stayed at Batu Burok Beach Resort (400 meters from the starting line) which was right next to the beach. We had the best view! The only downside was that it was too HOT! Darnis promised that it would rain that evening (it didn’t!).

After lunch, I took 2 panadols and conked out for the rest of the afternoon.

At 5.30pm, we got a training wake-up call.

SERIOUSLY? In this heat? We had to unwillingly gear up for a short run along the beach.

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Felt a little bit better after the run. Running along the beach was rather relaxing although the sun was still blazing.

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So privileged to be training with the pros. Muhaizar, the champ, takes the time and makes an effort to teach/show me a thing or two about running! I have learned a lot from him and the rest of the team.

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Gloria, Coach Mark and the rest of Dirigo arrived that evening. We had dinner at a restaurant that was just outside of our hotel.

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Loading up on spaghetti and fish!

Took another 2 panadols after dinner. Although I slept for the most part of the afternoon, I fell asleep the minute my head hit the pillow (thank God!). Chooi Fern was still fiddling around preparing for the race the next day.

At 4am, my eyes were wide open. I got up and slowly got ready. The race was supposed to start at 6.45am which meant that I had to eat breakfast at about 4.45am. Breakfast was in Darnis’s room and I couldn’t contact him until about 5.30am! By then, it was too late to eat breakfast. I settled for one powerbar.

Met up with Coach Mark at about 5.45am for a warm up session. At about 6.20am, I was feeling hungry. My stomach was just not in the right state. I was feeling bloated and hungry at the same time. I had a pack of biscuits before walking towards the starting line.

My only prayer was to survive this race. I really wasn’t feeling my best. By the time we were off, the sun was already shining. I started out a bit too strong (as usual). And soon, I felt the effects of it. The good thing about this route was that there was only one hill. The rest of it was pretty much flat.

I took a sip at the first water station. Thinking that there would be many water stations ahead, I decided to skip the second one. Oh boy was that the biggest mistake ever! The next water station was at least 11KM away! That whole stretch felt like death. On a side note, I could see Muhaizar leading the pack on the opposite side of the road! Wooooo! Ok, back to how I was dying along the bridge. I was crawling my way across the long straight road which seemed to never end. Too monotonous, too tedious. My body was screaming for water.

Also, I had my gel pack in hand which I had to take (long overdue) with water. My heart jumped when I saw what looked like a water station. I ripped my gel pack and started sucking on it. To my horror, it was the SPONGE station! Words simply cannot describe how I felt at that moment. I held the gel in my mouth, swallowing a bit at a time (it was too THICK!). I tried very hard to breathe through my nose or I would have been coughing the rest of the way.

Finally, I saw the water station up ahead. By then, we had already merged with the 10KM group. I literally had to fight for water. Managed to grab one small cup. With that small amount of water, I sucked up the rest of my gel. I grabbed a cold sponge along the way too. That sponge worked wonders! I immediately felt refreshed and energized. The weather was just INSANE. I could feel the heat eating its way through my shoes.

I was already going horribly slow. Coupled with a mild side stitch, I was THIS close to walking. The only thing that kept me going was the picture of me jumping into the swimming pool and of course, I had Team Dirigo in mind. During the last 3KM, one lady overtook me from the side. She went up quite far ahead but at the last 2KM, she was just 20m in front of me. I couldn’t be bothered to overtake her. My head was heavy and I was feeling very queasy. If I had sprinted my way passed her, I would have probably end up in the hospital. I kid you not!

After crossing the finish line, I could not hold myself together. I made my way to the medical tent. I was already seeing all sorts of stars. After resting for a bit, I went to meet up with the team.

We went back to the hotel, showered and had buffet breakfast before heading back to the start line for the prize giving ceremony. Food and water never tasted so good!

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Muhaizar put up a good fight all the way to the end! Team Dirigo’s Champion!

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And of course, the sister came in 3rd place! So proud of her. She fought so hard for it and she deserved every bit of it!

I came in 8th place with a time of 1:39:33. Not exactly what I had in mind but I am just grateful for making it to the end. Good thing the prizes from the 6-10th placings were the same. Chasing no. 7 would have done my body more harm than good.

Daniel and Uma did really well too! Everyone gave their best. Thumbs up, Team D!

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Post race beach hangs.

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Bollywood in the making.

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After collecting our prizes, we went back to the hotel room. I was too lazy and too tired to pack. I laid on the bed with all my dirty laundry in the bathroom.

Daniel came over to hang out and load up on bread with jam. Too funny. He was using the bed as his plate! I took a nap while Chooi Fern and Daniel continued to go on and on about everything under the sun. Those kids, bursting with energy. 10628200_10152783843261388_6411494511797440573_n

We checked out at 2pm and went for lunch! We were famished!

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Very authentic Malay meal. Muhaizar was describing each dish, some of which I’ve never tasted. But it was so good!

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The spread.

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And then it was time to leave Terengganu. It was actually my first time there.

1604448_10152786638826388_8337973676534387318_nWill I come back next year? Probably not! Then again, it was a wonderful experience.

Some things just cannot be read or studied, it has to be experienced and felt with the heart. Thanks to Dirigo Events (Rainer Biemans, Gloria, Darnis, Maarof, Nik), Brooks and the rest of team D for this insanely fun weekend! And of course, Coach Mark, who has helped me get to where I am today. Thank you for all of your advice and encouragement. We couldn’t have done it without you!

10606588_10152786638871388_4382993547337678046_nNow, time for some much needed sleep!

*My advice if you are planning to race in Terengganu: BRING YOU OWN WATER!*

Lord, for the blessings of Your grace, I am forever grateful!

Your marvellous, infinite, matchless grace!

Even in times of despair, God showers us with sufficient grace to see us through!

Keep Running!

Half Marathon Debut – 2XU Compression Run 2014

I was supposed to run my first half marathon at SCKLM (Standard Chartered KL Marathon). Registering for the half for the 2XU Compression Run was something I did on an impulse. I regretted my decision soon after. Just about a week ago I requested to change to the Women Open 10KM category. They wanted to charge a RM30 processing fee, which I thought was totally not worth it. RM65 + RM30 to run 10KM? Nah. So I left it at that and decided to take this race as part of my training.

Yes, I honestly didn’t plan to compete. I was planning to follow the 2 hour pacer and even told Kevin that I will only be back after 2 hours. As i didn’t have it in mind to compete, I wasn’t race ready. I didn’t rest enough the day before (I only had 2-3 hours of sleep and I was out the whole day) and didn’t pay any special attention to what I ate. Actually, the thought of not competing eliminated unwanted stress/pressure and I was calm.

I had no clue on how to prepare for my first half marathon. Everything was by trial and error. I woke up at 3am (2 hours before the flag off) to get ready and have my breakfast. I usually eat 1 hour before a 10KM race. Since I was planning to eat a little more, I allocated 2 hours for my food to digest. I had toast, bananas and a powerbar.

We arrived at Lake Gardens 45 minutes before 5am. I was feeling rather fresh and energized. The weather was perfect. It had rained the night before so it was wet and cool.

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I casually strolled to the starting line and I was right up front!

About 5 minutes past 5am, we were off. As usual, I darted out. I have this bad habit of going out too fast at the beginning. I had to keep reminding myself that it was 21.1KM and that I had a long way to go!

200 meters in and we were greeted with the first incline. I heard a lot about this route before the race, about how it was very hilly and challenging. The rumors were TRUE! It was insane.

Studying race routes before races is not my thing. I don’t fancy knowing what I’m up against. I like “discovering” the route on race day. I was glad I did the same for this race. If I had known how crazy this route was, I would have been demotivated at the starting line.

Running is not all about your physical ability; it is about your mental ability as well. In fact, it is more mental than it is physical. It’s all in your head! As cliché as it may sound, you have to believe in yourself. Believe that you can do it. That is the first step. *hint hint*1524934_10152773735676388_3113678794514105039_nIn terms of pace, I was just as clueless. My goal was to either maintain the pace or speed up. I told myself that if I felt good then go for it. I didn’t reserve any energy for anything because I didn’t know what was ahead of me. Every hill came as a surprise and kilometre after kilometre, I gave my best.

There were many U-turns throughout this route. It was pretty scary as I could see how far or how near my opponents were. The only good thing about these U-turns is that you are able to cheer for the other runners.

1896803_10152776567801388_5539403941500996667_nI felt a surge of energy every time my friends /other runners cheered for me. It made a lot of difference! THANK YOU!

I was constantly monitoring how I felt throughout the race. I usually ignore water stations but this time, I made it a point to drink at every station even if it was just a sip. In terms of fuel, I ripped my gel pack after passing the 10KM mark. I was actually planning to take my gel after 1 hour but I didn’t want to wait until my body was crying for it. I didn’t want to wait until I felt tired or cold before fuelling up. The only mistake I made was taking the gel without water which threw me into a mini coughing fit. Thankfully the water station was up ahead!

We ran the whole course in the dark. I could barely see the road beneath my feet. Thankfully there were road marshals at every major turn. After inching my way up the last hill which felt like death, the race was finally coming to an end. I could smell the finish line!

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A wave of energy coursed through my veins at the thought that I had 4KM left. Again, it is all in your head! Your body is capable of it, you just have to convince your mind.

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Crossing the finish line was the best feeling ever. My first half marathon, done and dusted in 1:43:22. Kevin made it just in time to catch a glimpse of me running through the last stretch. He wasn’t expecting me until after 2 hours (because I said that I wasn’t planning on competing). He was contemplating on a nap but he had a hunch to be there earlier (Yay! So much love!).

Camera roll:

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With Voon Ying who also finished strong! Thumbs up!

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The sister. 5KM Champ!

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Yvonne, my colleague, took part in the 10KM category.

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Zi Shen who didn’t wait for me. We crossed paths 3 times throughout the race! Grrr! He also said he was going to “take it easy”. Lies, all lies! Lucas, on my left, did really well too!

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Goh Shu Wei.

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ParX team mate, Goh Jing Jing.

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Doon! She has improved so much! So proud of her. The only goal I gave her was to keep running. Every time she felt like stopping she could imagine my nagging voice in her head. Haaaaa! I guess that’s a good thing! Well done girl!

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Daniel hit his PB but he ended up on a drip at the emergency tent. Got a shock when I heard that he fainted. Thank God he was okay!

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3 monkeys?

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3rd place.

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Team Dirigo – 1, 2, 3!

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With the Champs!

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Stuff from the race.

This route was perfect for my half marathon debut, challenging with many unexpected twists and turns. No regrets. I truly enjoyed every moment of it. Zooming down the hills and climbing up others in the dark was pretty exhilarating.

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Yep, this race was totally RAD! Very happy with my first half marathon! Looking forward to all the other races in the future! Bring it!

Keep Running!

Word text images from various sources: Tumblr, Instagram, Google

Weekend Update: From Feeling On Top Of The World To Hitting Rock Bottom

Weekend update! Another back to back race weekend, or so it was supposed to be.

Here goes:

Saturday:

Took part in the Larian Hari Malaysia – Maksak 2014. Always thankful for races on Saturdays because that would mean that I can attend church on Sundays!

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This was my first time eating a Powerbar before a race. I know I shouldn’t try anything new on race day but oh well!

This stuff is awesome! Vanilla crisp tastes exactly like my favourite Kellogg’s rice crispies! Why didn’t I discover this earlier! Going to have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper…… okay let’s not get carried away.

Arrived rather early. Met up with the running sister and we did a mini warm up session together. I was feeling pretty nervous, the usual pre-race jitters. Bumped into our coach and he gave us a lil pep talk before the race. He also realised that he had signed up for the wrong category. Too funny.

We were off at 7.30am. This time, I didn’t start out too strong. I kept to my pace and followed the pack. It was a tough one with many competitors. But that’s the best part about racing! I tailed behind the 6th female runner all the way to the end. I managed to sprint my heart out for the final 100m and I was just 2 seconds behind her. In terms of nett time, I was 1 second ahead of her. I came in 7th place by gun time but I hit a new PB! WHOOP! It didn’t feel like it so I was pretty surprised.

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Met up with Michelle too! The 3 Puma girls.

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Pro Veteran runners!

After the prize giving ceremony, Chooi Fern and I made our way to KL for the Standard Chartered KL Marathon Media Route Tour. Team Dirigo was given a spot on the bus!

10407423_10152678685155798_9118000045645758234_nPhoto courtesy of Kin K Yum

When the rest of the crew finally arrived, we set off on our journey around KL.

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We drove along the Marathon route, escorted by police outriders. We managed to escape the Saturday afternoon jam. Many other drivers were poking their heads out, wondering who these bunch of jokers were hogging up the road! We felt like royalty with our 1 hour of fame.

10433068_10152678685670798_8745284133006635559_nPhoto courtesy of Kin K Yum

The little minions.

10531420_10152678662970798_1497674498397423630_oPhoto courtesy of Kin K Yum

Coach Mark led the session.

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Driving on the opposite side!

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We went up for some fresh air! Sylvia was there too.

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When the Media Tour finally came to an end, we walked to Chinatown for some grub. We hadn’t eaten anything since the race!

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FOOD!

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Tea time snacks courtesy of the sister! So much love! Marble and poppy seed, my favourite!

Sunday:

My colleague was kind enough to register the BHP run for me. Sadly, I couldn’t wake up and I missed it. GAH! It took me a day and a half to get over it.

I had doubts about showing up for the race the night before. But knowing me, I wouldn’t just give up on a race. I set my alarm. But I guess my body was too exhausted to function. I slept till 11am! Nearly 12 hours of sleep!

When i woke up, I was partially in shock and everything felt like a dream. I was feeling so depressed and disappointed at myself.

I woke up this morning, still feeling as empty as ever. I hadn’t gotten over the fact that I had missed yesterday’s race.

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I thank God for the friends that He placed in my life. It took my non-runner bestie to “wake” me up and to remind me of why I love running. It was a real slap in the face. And I love her for that. Thanks for being there for me, through the good and the bad. You can read me inside out and say all the right words.

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Yep, nobody is perfect. There is always failure and sadness. You wish things hadn’t happen but they did. Look on the bright side. There is always hope. Everyone fails once in a while. It is how you pull yourself out of it that matters. What is done is done. Accept it, learn from it and make the best of it. Those are the best kinds of mistakes.

2When you’re grateful for what you’ve got, you won’t complain for what you don’t have.

Today, I channeled all that negative energy into putting in one of my best LSDs ever! My confidence is through the roof right now. I’m celebrating the little things and the mini milestones that I’ve achieved.

Goals are important but it is also important with being okay with where you’re at. Right now, I am okay. Enjoying every bit of the process.

When I reflect on all that has happened, I am grateful that I came this far. All the pain, experiences, training, knowledge…… SO worth it.

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The little sister who is always on the lookout for me. Thanks for pushing me through all the tough training sessions. Couldn’t have done them without you.

image1Yep. Let God. I trust that He has a plan for me. I just have to keep believing!

Happy Running!

Word text images from various sources: Tumblr, Instagram, Google etc

Running Spots in KL

Thanks to http://www.healthworks.my/ for featuring my article on “Running Spots in KL”!

They feature everything from food to fitness to health advice to daily motivations. If you’re a health nut like me, you would definitely want to check them out. Remember to “LIKE” their Facebook page too.

The article that was featured:

Congratulations, you’ve decided to run! You’ve bought some flashy (and most probably expensive) running gear. You’ve set some goals for yourselves (hopefully). Now the question is: Where to run? The real answer to that question is: Anywhere!

But I guess sometimes we just need specific pointers to get started, so fret not, here’s a quick and short list to help you identify suitable running locations. Okay, I know the locations listed below (except for number 1) are mostly in Kuala Lumpur. That’s because I’ve only listed the locations that are familiar to me. But hopefully, even if most of the locations on this list aren’t very accessible to you, you’ll find it a handy guide to look for and find your very own running trail!

Without further ado, here’s my list:

  1. Your own neighbourhood

Sometimes things are just outside your door step! Before you venture far away in search of that perfect running trail, explore the surroundings that you commute past every day on your way to school or work. I’ve been surprised because some people tell me that they’ve never considered their own neighbourhood for running.
Think of it as a tour – how well do you know your own neighbourhood, really? You can make your run more interesting by greeting and chatting with your neighbours (not too long, though!), smelling the literal roses, petting a friendly dog (make sure it’s friendly!), or checking out that newly renovated house (perhaps chuckling to yourself that money can’t always buy taste). You may also spot some eye candy you’ve never noticed – a shiny new car, a hot girl, a cute guy.

A good thing about running around your own neighbourhood: you don’t have to look for parking space!

  1. Desa Park City

If you feel motivated by the sight of other people running, this is where you should be. Parking is free and safe, on accounts of guards patrolling the area. There are many other runners in the park, along with cyclists, people walking their dogs, families and their kids.

There is a relatively flat running/walking track that makes a big loop around the waterfront, for a distance of 2.2 kilometres. If that is not challenging enough for you, you can go all the way up to Ridgewood, also known as “DPC Hill”. Be prepared for a non-stop 600 metres of uphill torture! There is an additional 200 metres up to the water tank, but I’ll leave that for you to decide once you reach the round-about. I will say, GO FOR IT!

You can run here at any time, even late at night.

central-parkSource: desaparkcity.org

 10001511_10203681770064398_1275453995_n“DPC Hill”

1723556_10203681816825567_472968638_nOn the way down from the water tank!

Source: Victor Chong

  1. Lake Gardens (now known as Perdana Botanical Gardens)

This is a popular place for runners in Kuala Lumpur, especially on weekends. Many runners do their LSD (long slow distance runs) there, and many running clubs and communities gather there. Go and join in the fun and meet new people. Most are welcoming and will let you run with them.

There is a variety of terrain to keep things interesting – a mix of stairs, hills, flats, twists and turns.

The park itself is relatively safe with a lot of runners around during peak times, but it is a big place. Take care if you are running alone, in the more isolated areas. Don’t leave valuables in the car, as there have been cases of break-ins.

Segway-Tour-Lake-Gardens-KL-Kuala-Lumpur-bridgeSource: Google

  1. KLCC Park

Another popular location for runners, this park is convenient if you work in the heart of the city and want to put in a run after work, or before. One loop around the purpose built running/jogging track is 1.2 km. It is quite safe, as there are guards patrolling the park. I believe the park is closed after 10 or 11 PM.

Parking is expensive. You are, however, rewarded with a view of the Petronas Twin Towers, and the park and track itself is very well-maintained, with water fountains located throughout.

1538793_10202927450041525_900563239608092125_nYeah, we have loads of fun (at our Puma Running Club Sessions)! Or maybe its just me.

Source: Victor Chong

  1. Kg Pandan Sports Complex Track

This is a competition 6-lane running track (where one loop equals 400 metres). The track is open and free to the public. Parking is free and relatively secure – you can see your car from the track so if you’re the paranoid type you can even keep an eye on it while doing laps around the track!

There are quite a number of runners after working hours and on weekends, but not so crowded that you can’t run properly. On a “closed” flat track with clearly marked distances like this one, it is easy to train with speed runs and intervals.

 

kampung-pandan-trackSource: kakithon.blogspot.com

  1. Indoor

I very much prefer running outdoors than doing miles on a machine, I love the wind in my face and the feeling of covering ground with my own feet. But there is an alternative when circumstances just don’t allow running outdoors (Rain? Hail? Snow?): the treadmill, either at home or in the gym.

The good part is the convenience. But the convenience can also be a bad thing – you can easily hop off the machine and quit a run halfway!

When you’re out running, your main focus is of course the run itself. But safety is paramount. If you are used to running with some tunes, lower the volume so that you still hear the sounds around you – it’s not a good thing to not be able to hear a car beeping their horn because you’ve strayed onto the road!

1003585_10152347139061388_1610799531_nWhen you run, don’t just focus on your footwork. Look up, be aware of your surroundings (and also enjoy the view along the way). Remain alert, especially when you’re running alone. Have fun and stay safe!

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Long runs are better when the sun goes down.

Time to explore the road ahead of you. GO!