Tag Archives: perseverance

How to Prepare for a Marathon – Training Part 2

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.

Summary from the previous post:

-Set your goals (be realistic)

-Train your mind

-Get out there

-Run

You’ve got your Marathon Training Plan all worked out. What’s left to do? RUN! The process is long, tiring and stressful. Here are some of the things to expect during your arduous training days.

What to expect:

Fatigue

This is the number 1 feeling in marathon training: FATIGUE! You’re going to be tired, all the time. You’re going to feel like a lifeless zombie-fied piece of meat.

With a full time job, training for a marathon required a lot of effort. I stuck with training in the evenings (what I’m used to). Putting in a 20KM run at night after work was no easy feat. You’re already tired from a full day of work and then you have to worry about getting your training miles in. Of course, there were days where I looked forward to my runs and days where I would prefer to stay in (to sleep). Sometimes, I train late at night (till 11-ish pm) with team Dirigo. The problem with training so close to bed time is that your heart would still be beating fast and hard. Coupled with the adrenaline rush, it was almost impossible to fall asleep (which adds to fatigue!). And then the whole cycle continues the next day.

Story of my life!

You just have to embrace and deal with it. Get to know that feeling and work around it. It is going to be a long term relationship. Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep every day. Trust me, you will need it! I thank my friends and colleagues for putting up with the lifeless me.

Aches/Pain/Soreness/Stiffness

As you up your training miles, you will suffer all kinds of aches, pains and soreness. It is quite hard to pin point the cause of it. It can be anything from the lack of rest/sleep, incorrect running technique, malnutrition, training shoes, injury (I hope not!) etc.

Identify whether or not your pain is temporary (only when you run) or permanent (all the time). If the pain persists and is beyond bearable, see the doctor and take a few days off. Skipping a few training sessions is better than risking your future running days.

Stamina weeks were the worst! I was not used to running anything more than 50-60KM per week. Increasing my mileage up to 30-40% a week was D-I-S-A-S-T-R-O-U-S (for me). I was aching all over. I was feeling sore, almost every other day! I was hurting in places that never hurt before. Of course, marathon training (or any other form of proper training) was totally new to me. Quality sessions on the track and LSDs left me crippled. Ok, I’m exaggerating (HAH!). But I did have to experiment with ice baths/compression garments/ointments/deep heat/deep cool etc. It was a good learning experience.

Take advantage of all your experiences (good or bad) and make something out of it.

Demotivation

Running isn’t always going to be filled with peaches and cream pie. You will have your highs and your lows, even during your training period. You’re not always going to hit your training paces/times, you’re not always going to feel like running, you’re going to feel tired and totally drained of energy…… it is ok! Welcome to the club. But KEEP GOING, it is how you deal with it that matters.

I didn’t always perform during training and many eyes were on me. In terms of training and running experience, I was considered the slowest and the most inexperience (Hello NEWBIE!) one there. I needed to prove myself at every training session which added a lot of pressure. It can be very demotivating when you know that people doubt your ability (or when YOU start to doubt YOUR OWN ability).

There were a few occasions where I felt so exhausted to the point where I took about 1hr20mins to run 11KM (I am not kidding. I had to walk most of the way). At that time, I couldn’t imagine myself running a FULL MARATHON. Everything came crashing down before my eyes. That was a real downer. But you’ve got to trust the training and the process. Take a day off from running if you have to (but not too many). Go for a massage, relax, clear your mind and refocus on your goals!

Despite all of that, I was at my peak (or peaking). I managed to hit many PBs along the way and I used them as mini milestones to keep me motivated.

Sign up for a few key races during your training period to check your progress. My improvements kept me motivated!

Weight Loss

I guess this is the best part! To everyone out there seeking to lose weight, TRAIN TO RUN A MARATHON! I kept my nutrition intake in check. I made sure I was eating enough. But even then I managed to lose 2KGs.

The temporary weight loss during this period is usually due to water loss and could be a sign of dehydration. Make sure you drink enough!

I kept a training log (to track my progress) and I recorded my weight almost every day. I made sure I never dipped below 44KG.

Don’t overeat but make sure you eat enough to fuel your training.

Bottomless Pit

You come home from your LSD and you turn your kitchen upside down, wiping out everything in sight including that whole pack of cookies. In 10 minutes, you’ve probably eaten more than you burned on the run. Sound familiar?

As your mileage begins to increase, your appetite will be through the roof as your body is trying to fuel your energy needs. To avoid overeating, you have to make wiser food choices throughout the day. Plan your meals. That way, you are less likely to go off track with your eating. The 2 meals that you should take note of are the ones before and after your run. Have a pre-run snack 2 hours before you head out and a balanced post-run recovery meal consisting of carbohydrates, protein and fats within the next 1 hour.

If you need a snack, go for a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts. Think of it as fuelling your body enough to provide you energy for your next run instead of dwelling in the mind-set that you deserve it. Training for a marathon doesn’t give you the license to EAT ALL YOU WANT!

Sunburn/Tan lines/Dry skin

In a tropical country like Malaysia, you’re bound to be exposed to the sun. With marathon training, you’ll be spending most of your time on the road. Depending on the time of day, you will be exposed to both UVA and UVB rays which cause pre-mature skin aging and sunburn respectively. Unless you train very early in the morning or very late at night, always remember to apply sunscreen! You wouldn’t want facial pigmentation as you age. So, (I repeat) apply SUNCREEN!! You’ll thank me in the future.

Your BEST FRIEND!

The best way to avoid tan lines is to not train out in the sun, unless of course you are willing to wear sun protective gear (long sleeve tops and bottoms). I still have those unsightly tan lines (but I’m pretty proud of em)! GAH!

A combination of water loss and the exposure to the sun would render your skin dry. If so, apply moisturizer day and night.

What else have you experienced that are not listed here? DO SHARE!

Stay active, 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!

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.

Post-race Report: Bomba Run (Larian Bersama Bomba) 2014

Pre-race Week:

I think I killed (REALLY KILLED) my right calf muscle after the last race (Muzium Run). I couldn’t muscle through the last few KMs (the route was only a total of 4.4KM) during the KL Car Free Day Fun run which took place 3 days after the Muzium Run. The pain was sharp and intense which was worrying because it didn’t feel like the normal post-run muscle soreness.

The Bomba Run was less than 7 days away and if I wanted to stave off any further injury, I knew that I had to stay away from running for the next few days leading up to race day for maximum recovery. I was feeling pretty low throughout the week because as the days went by my calf didn’t feel any better. Walking in certain angles would trigger a sharp pain down the side of my leg and I was afraid that it would turn into something more permanent.

I continued to cross train and kept my heart rate up by doing many laps in the pool. One hour of swimming was not enough to satisfy my run-crave but that was all that I could do. I also worked on my core but nothing that required the use of my calf muscle.

It was a good week of self-discovery/learning. I had to learn how to deal with my emotions and inner thoughts. With my free time, I read up quite a bit on recovery, all the do’s and don’ts etc. I tried nearly everything under the sun from KT tape, to ultrasound, to radio frequency, to massages and deep heat treatments, there was probably nothing left to try. I also received a lot of encouragement and advice from the people around me which made all the difference!

1948223_10152458610651388_8045280154351282539_n

Ultrasound. Did it by myself in the clinic. Fun stuff.

Race Day:

I slept really well the night before, probably because I wasn’t expecting too much from the run and myself. I woke up feeling excited though. Excited to run but also hoping that my calf wouldn’t give way.

Kevin was on time (without my morning-call!) and we were there by 6am. The first thing on our list was to look for the public toilet and to locate Chee Wai. Chee Wai offered to let me use his brand new compression calf guard for the race (THANKS A BUNCH!). I hadn’t tried running in compression guards before this so I decided to only wear the right calf guard. At least, if at any point in time during the race it felt uncomfortable, it would only be in one leg instead of two (Forward thinking! Haaaa!).

This race was a little different for me because I had a pacer! Zi Shen was kind enough to offer to pace me throughout the race. Actually, he probably only agreed (finally) on accounts of his bib not being in his name and probably already calculated that he would still be eligible for the limited 150 finisher’s medal.

We met up with all the other runners, took a few photos and continued to look for the public toilet – that was our pre-race warm up.

10171810_10204232867561491_2395349137595755475_n

10313433_10204232873801647_2646377009079355221_n

10300634_10204232902002352_8499780792704549729_n

Within the enclosed area…waiting…

We waited for a good 15 minutes in the barricaded area for the VIP to finally arrive to flag us off. We were off at 7.38am. My pacer had already told me beforehand that we would be running at a certain constant pace but as soon as the gun went off, I totally forgot whatever he had said and darted out with the crowd. I liked the feeling of being ahead although I knew that I couldn’t keep that pace for long. He even said: “Seriously? This pace?!” and chuckled in disbelief.

He pointed out a few of my competitors and signalled me to keep up. I slowed down quite a bit at KM 5-6 probably because I was battling with my inner negative thoughts (can’t even remember what they were). I was so slow that my pacer wondered if he had to stop to wait for me.

I took a sip at the first water station which was also the half point mark where we had to grab the ribbon. Zi Shen signalled me 3 times to remind me to take the ribbon, as if it was my first time running in a race. Seriously? I think my pacer needs to have more confidence in me. After KM 7, I sped up and managed to run almost side by side with my pacer.

I couldn’t be any happier when my pacer made a hand gesture that we had 2KM left. At the same time, he glanced back but didn’t say a word. I was tempted to know what that meant but decided not to ask. At the last KM, he glanced back again. This time, he said: “100m”.

At that point, I was already tempted to start walking. My feet were burning. He told me to keep the pace but it already felt like death. At the final bend, with 200m left, he looked back and told me that I was “safe”. I didn’t care what he said at that time, all I wanted to do was to reach that finish line.

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Ahhhhhhhhh! THAT feeling you get when you cross the line, that feeling is always gold. I came in 5th and my pacer got a card with the number 62 (obviously still within 150!).

Cooled off for a bit and drank up whatever they had to offer. I waited at the finish line with a cup of Milo for Kevin. I think he achieved his Personal Best! All that running with Helix (his dog) paid off.

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2 thumbs-up for my pacer!

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The Puma gang. What a great turn out!

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PUMA KICKS!

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Special thanks to Victor and Elaine for supporting the event and for taking all the photos!

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And of course, there’s always time for a SELFIE!

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Pacer’s GPS. Not too shabby for an injured runner. I was just glad that there wasn’t any significant pain throughout the run. Either the compression calf guard worked or the adrenaline completely masked the pain.

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Top 10.

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The VIP.

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Somewhere during this time, Chooi Fern (The insanely fast girl on my right) asked if Kevin was an Indian. I laughed so hard, I couldn’t contain myself.

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Post-race thoughts:

-Trust your pacer and follow their lead. Instead of listening to my pacer, I made the mistake of setting my own pace and my pacer had to adjust accordingly.

Ok, I only have one thought/lesson.

Post-race Noms:

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Salmon! Healthy fats and protein.

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It was Mothers’ Day so it was an excuse for me to order cake. This brown butter cake with vanilla frosting and salted caramel was baked by Su-Yi’s (Uni mate) mom.

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Of course, I had a slice, or two, or three maybe. Oh, the buttery goodness! So GOOD!

At the end of the day, all Praise and Glory and Honour goes back to Him.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13