Tag Archives: perserverance

5 Things To Do One Day Before a Race

It really is an encouragement when your friends tell you that they read your blog (People are actually reading my blog! *SQUEALS*) and even push you to update frequently. Said “friends” that I’m referring to here are Swan and Gillian. They deserve to be credited because they gave me inspiration for this post. We were talking about this, among other deep and insightful things, over dinner yesterday. They had so many brilliant ideas/suggestions on what I could do with/write on my blog.

I gave it some thought and since I was running a race the next day (which is today, 23 Feb 2014), I thought I’d make a short list of what to do one day before race day.

This is a list of the 5 things that I do to prepare for a race. It is a pretty generalized list so I hope that you can benefit from it too.

  1. Chill Out

When I say chill out, I really mean CHILL OUT. Sit back, relax, kick your feet up and give them all the love and care they need before the big day. This is the best day to catch up on your favourite TV series or that book that you’ve been wanting to read.

 

I like to go for soothing massages, coffee dates or laze in bed till late afternoon. I try to get as much rest as possible. I would try to save shopping sprees and the running of errands till after the race. Yes, shopping is considered a WORKOUT. In fact, it is a FULL body workout. Carrying shopping bags/clothes, changing from one outfit to the other, walking around, sifting through racks of clothes to find the perfect piece, hunting for bargains……Phew.

So, if I were you, I’d handle the ‘needs’ first and save the ‘wants’ for later. If you are used to putting in a light workout before the big race, you can go for a swim or do some yoga, as long as it is not too vigorous.

2. Eat Well

Eat a well-balanced meal containing carbohydrates (mainly), some proteins and fats. It is as simple as that. If you are planning to carbo-load, do so wisely. Carbo-loading is beneficial if you’re aiming to achieve endurance. However, carbo-loading does not simply mean chowing down on any food that is high in carbohydrates.

There are many forms of carbohydrates. Load up on good and complex carbohydrates. Go for sweet potatoes (my personal favourite), brown rice and wholegrain bread/pasta. These are slow digesting carbohydrates, providing your body the long term fuel that it needs to finish the race. Carbo-loading should be done 2 days before the race as you cannot fill your muscles with glycogen from just one meal.

 

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Avoid foods that are particularly high in fiber, foods that cause bloating or flatulence, spicy foods, dairy products or any other foods that may cause discomfort/irritation. The last thing you want is to feel “heavy” and “bloated” on race day. Constipation is usually unknown to runners. With all that running, your bowels tend to be more “active”. By staying away from those aforementioned foods, you are also able to avoid runner’s trots.

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Favourite pre-race dinner.

A few years ago when I participated in my first night run, I used it as an excuse to carbo-load. I ate half a tin of butter cake, rice with curry and 3 scoops of ice cream 4 hours before the race. I still made it into the top 20 but it was one of the most uncomfortable races EVER.

It is also good to incorporate some proteins in your diet the day before the race. The proteins that you consume would be used to repair damaged muscles more effectively. Eat a light, satisfying meal. DO NOT stuff your face. Bear in mind that you are not consuming MORE calories per day that the usual – it’s just that more of those calories are coming from carbohydrates.

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Complex carbohydrates + Protein + Healthy Fats – CHECKED!

3. Pack your Bag, Race Kit, Race Gear

Experience tells me that I have to pack my bag the night before a race. I used to do it on race morning, scrambling and fumbling around trying to stuff everything I need into my backpack. I either end up being late for the race or end up forgetting something ie: my watch or my hairband. Sometimes, it is not the “thing” that matters but the thought of having it that gives you the security.

When you’re nervous and filled with anxiety, the last thing you need is the thought of not having something that you usually run with (watch, iPod etc). On race day, it is your mental strength that matters. A small detour from your ritual/routine could throw you into paranoia.

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PUMA PUMA PUMA!

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Most runs are held on Sunday mornings. As I have church commitments, I have to pack an extra set of clothes for service. Sorry for the really bad picture quality. I am hoping to get my camera back, ASAP.

4. Prepare your Pre-race Meal

Try to prepare your pre-race meal the night before. This would give you some peace of mind and avoid race day mayhem in the kitchen. I had my fair share of race morning craziness – dropping eggs, spilling water and smashing bowls to the ground just to name a few.

Always be prepared. Whatever you choose to eat for breakfast, make sure that it has been tried and tested. This is not the time to be consuming something that you’ve never had before a race. Have something that is easy to digest and high in carbohydrates. This would ensure that you have enough energy to pull through. Some runners have their morning coffee rituals. If you must have coffee, take in as little as possible. This would allow you to avoid extra potty trips during the race. Drink a glass of water one hour before the race so that you’ll be well hydrated at the starting line.

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I used to go to runs on an empty stomach. But I have learned that it is always better to have breakfast! My usual breakfast would be all-natural peanut butter on wholegrain bread topped with banana and chia seeds. Yum! The perfect balance of carbs, proteins and fats. This would be more than enough to give you that extra kick.

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Most fruits are high in carbs as well as fiber – which may cause stomach discomforts/bloating during the race. Bananas and apples are my go-to, low-fiber choice!

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I’m pretty fussy when it comes to my post-run meals. I usually pack my own snacks to munch on after the race.

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Whenever I can, I would pack cold coconut water into my flask to enjoy after the race! Great way to rehydrate and replace lost electrolytes. YUM!

5. GO TO BED…..EARLY!

Ah! Guilty! I am usually filled with mix feelings of excitement, anxiety and nervousness. On a good day, I would be able to get a maximum of 7 hours of sleep the night before. But that is considered a luxury. I would normally only get about 2 hours of TROUBLED sleep. Meaning, I would be waking up every few minutes with my heart thumping, almost bursting out of my chest. It is the adrenaline rush on race morning that really gets me going. So thank your body for producing such amazing chemicals.

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Sleep is good both mentally and physically. The lack of it can have a serious impact on your performance on race day. Relax, take deep breaths and hold it for 5 seconds before taking the next, clear your mind and you will eventually slip into dreamland (I hope!).

In related news:

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I managed my first sub-50 for 10KM (9.5-9.6KM to be exact) at the ICE charity run 2014. My Personal Best.

Although I was being pushed around by other runners at the start of the race, I came in at number 6. Two uncles congratulated me at the end of the race. They said that I had a really good pace. This is not the first time that random runners have come up to me to either compliment or congratulate me. I am very grateful for all their kind words.

Sometimes, it is these comments that keeps you going. What a great way to start the week. Loads of support and encouragement from the running gang too. So much love.

In other news:

Gillian and Swan threw me a mini be-early surprise birthday dinner with cupcakes! <3 They are awesome like that. Don’t know what I did to deserve them.

Guys, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so supportive. You have no idea how much this means to me and your sincerity is what I need. Words simply cannot express how I feel.

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CUTE-ness OVERLOAD!

Quote of the day:

“Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life.” – Haruki Murakami

Continue to push yourself. Never settle for less because you are capable of so much more. You will never discover what you can do by remaining in your comfort zone. Have the courage to go above and beyond your limits! Have a great week ahead!

OK, I really should get some sleep now.

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!

Epic Run – Desa Park City Run 2013

A few months back, Dr Victor (my boss) had promised me prize money if I could beat him in the Park City 10K run. The race was on 24 November 2013.

On race morning, I opened my eyes groggily. It was still dark outside. It felt as though I’d been sleeping for a very long time. I wondered when the alarm on my phone would ring so that I could finally drag myself out of bed. I blinked on my phone, and my heart skipped a beat: 6.04AM! I had to wash up, get changed, grab some breakfast, drive myself to Desa Park City, park my car and then get to the starting line, all within the next 36 minutes. Every minute wasted would pull me further away from the prize.

I jumped out of bed, bathed and got dressed within minutes. I was panicky, and was literally shaking when trying to place my contact lenses onto my eyeballs. Funnily enough, I had decided to pack everything into my backpack the night before, instead of rushing on the morning of the run like I would normally do. I thank God I made that call, because my brains were too frazzled for any decision making or clear thinking.

I managed to shove a spoonful of chia seeds into my mouth, gulp down a mouthful of water and grab two slices of bread for breakfast before zooming out the front door. The journey to DPC took about 15 minutes. During the drive I fumbled around, alternating between having my phone and my breakfast in hand, made a few calls and tweeted (I am not a good example. Parents, tell your kids about me). I called and arranged to meet up with Yvonne (my colleague) on the road, and she was nice enough to wait for me (the initial plan was to meet her at her house) so that I could tail her car to Desa Park City. Yvonne handed over my race pack which had my running vest and running bib. I didn’t even have enough time to change into my running vest. After parking our cars illegally at the side of the road, we headed to the starting area. It was already 10 minutes after the 10K flag off. The pack had taken off and I was still walking towards the starting area, trying to pin my bib on. As soon as I passed the starting mat, I broke into a jog.

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The first few kilometres were horrible. I was feeling so demotivated. I was right at the back of the pack. I had to slither my way through the crowd which took forever. There was no way I could catch up with Dr Victor, let alone spot him among the sea of runners. Thinking about how hopeless it all was, I thought I’d just take it slow, nice and easy.

I would have continued that half-hearted pace if it wasn’t for a pervy-looking uncle that started matching my pace and running beside me! He started talking to me. Whenever I tried to break ahead, he would speed up and then ease into a slow jog beside me.

When we reached the edge of a hill, I decided to shake him off, once and for all. I’m pretty good at hills, so I started sprinting up thinking that it would be a short one. I’d soon find out that it was over 1 kilometer long. Nearing the top, before the course turn around, I spotted Dr Victor on the opposite side of the road! He was already on his way down and I still had quite a bit left to reach the top. But seeing Dr Victor gave me a surge of adrenaline. I forgot about the long hill I had just run up. Nothing else mattered, I knew I had to catch him now or I’d lose sight of him.

I dug deep, gathered my strength and burst into a sprint like it was my last kilometer. I zipped down the hill. At that pace, I did wonder if I had enough energy to finish the race when I eventually caught up to him. Nevertheless, I was in my element. My legs were flying, my mind focused.

One kilometer later, he was within sight. As I ran pass him, I gave him my best grin. All he could say was “OUUUII!” and that was the last I heard of him until after the finish line. I was still slowly closing gaps to the other runners that were ahead of me, which meant that I was still accelerating. Or maybe the other runners were slowing! I was breathless and my feet were burning by the time I crossed the finish line. I waited for him and we high-fived. It was a happy ending, for me at least.

I had overcome a less than ideal start to finish strongly. All I can say is, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish!

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Set Goals. Commit. Work Hard. Train Mean. Accomplish.