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How to Prepare for a Marathon – Training Part 3

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.

Now that you know what to expect during Marathon training (Part 2), here are 5 things that can help motivate YOU through your training.

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With the right ones, you will go further with your training. Running buddies are SO important during your training period! This year, I discovered the plus points of having a running buddy/buddies. I was once the solo runner, wandering aimlessly without any goals. I wished I had discovered the perks of having other runners around. Oh well, I guess it is never too late!1978658_10152975926821388_4013068389203989849_n 10354876_10152975926486388_4553454346405309912_nI love my running buddies! They are the ones that hold me accountable for my runs. It is more difficult to ditch your run when you have made running plans with your buddies.

10551083_10152975927381388_1695385087311997679_nDon’t think I could have survived my LSDs without them! 10565060_10152975927276388_7385176852154168420_n 10433109_10152975927426388_4581078810600855645_n

10347556_10152975927031388_6361186570224106278_nMake sure you pick the ones that will push and encourage you, those that will not allow you to sit on your goals! They are the ones who will be there to make sure you achieve your running goals!

Music

Set your own personal running playlist. Select your favourite upbeat, heart thumping songs and blast them during your long runs.10592718_10152656829736388_3128014564014387396_nI always have my iPod with me whenever I head out the door.

I brought my iPod with me during the Standard Chartered KL Marathon race! I train with music, so I don’t know what I’d do without it.

New workout gear

You know, when you have nothing else to push you out the door, BUY NEW CLOTHES/SHOES!1480634_10152856017991388_6569379274408307551_n 10603541_10152975927501388_9130140851018380235_nI love flashing my new gear around my neighbourhood (even if nobody is looking). You just feel good, at least for the first few minutes. But by then it will be too late to turn back. HAH!

An excuse to go for your run to “test” your gear AND getting your training done. Win-win situation!

Food

Think about all the FOOD that you can devour after you get your training miles in! Pick your guilty pleasure. JUST ONE! Only have that special treat AFTER you have completed your training. If you haven’t, then you don’t deserve it.10014636_10152975927251388_3490616222323536608_n 10850117_10152975927896388_657589581180123853_nIt worked for me. TRY IT!

Mini milestones

Set mini milestones along the way. The best way to track your progress is by signing up for a few short races before the full marathon! If you fail on your goals, don’t fret! Sit down, think about what went wrong, work on how you can make a change and set ANOTHER GOAL! You-are-never-too-old-to-setPatience, patience, PATIENCE! The results will come. Trust your training. Don’t rush it by training extra hours. Do what you can with what you have. Eat well, sleep well and work hard. You’ll be looking at a faster you in NO TIME!tumblr_mj3ezkgyZs1rprhpmo1_500

Anything to add to this list? I want to know what motivates YOU!

Happy Training!

 

 

Recent Happenings

Oh wow, excuse my absence. I just remembered that I have a blog to update!

The past few weeks have been crazy. The good kind of crazy…I think. Time needs to slow down. Everything just seems to be happening concurrently. I have quite a number of things on my plate right now (work, church, studies, running etc).

Responsibilities are piling up, and I’m trying to do all of them. They are things that I enjoy doing, but I realize that I have less time to do what I need to do. Sometimes, when you try to do too much, you end up giving 25% to each instead of 100%. Still trying to find that balance. BALANCE BALANCE BALANCE!

Time to get moving with my crazy life! Something exciting has happened recently. I can’t reveal anything right now but let’s just say good things come with great responsibility. I am happy and excited but at the same time, afraid of the unknown. Time will tell if this works out. It is a huge commitment on my end and I just hope that I can juggle all that is to come.

In other news, the ParX team relay race is coming up this week (on Sunday)! I haven’t been racing in over a month, so it’ll be something fresh. It was a good break from racing almost every week (and one back to back!). Still, my weekend mornings have been filled with training sessions.

I am really looking forward to this race. My first mix and road relay race. SO EXCITING!

Flashback:

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This was my last race back in June – Score Run 2014.

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The final stretch…

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And I was the champ. It was totally unexpected…really. It was a pretty good day with lots of watermelon at the finish line. YUMS!

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Cari Team Brazil.

My awesome teammates for the ParX relay! Jing Jing, HYH, Bryan and Zi Shen. These guys are good and it is an honour to be in their team. They recruited me after just knowing me for a few weeks (back in February). Thanks for giving me this chance and believing in me. This team is solid. I am sure that we’re going to be alright.

GAME FACE- ON!

We’re going to go ALL OUT this weekend! Can’t wait!

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This is what our typical training sessions look like. I never thought I’d say this but I am starting to enjoy doing track intervals.

10514623_10152567701141388_6628874600536759067_nTrack…It has become a weekly affair.

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Our training sessions have also been growing in numbers. As we move closer to race day, I guess everyone felt the need to start gearing up! The last minute heroes.

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Support from the Puma gang!

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The final group training session – race route rehearsal. This is it. All the best to all the teams!

Stay safe, train well, sleep tight, eat right & gear up for this weekend!

Back to Back: Cyberjaya Firefighter Night Run & Great Heart Charity Run

Saturday:

I was psyched to run my first night run since two years ago (Energizer Night Run 2012)!

I had only decided on Sunday (the week before the run) to participate in the Great Heart Charity Run. I was in doubt as to whether or not I could do a back to back race. Experience told me that I couldn’t but I thought I’d give it a go.

As this was my first back to back race weekend, I kept my mileage low (rested and cross trained more than usual). I had to alter my Friday night sleeping pattern to be ready for the night run on Saturday. I usually stay up till 4-5am (Saturday morning) just because it’s the weekend.

I had planned to sleep before 12am (the night before) but I had to meet up with Gillian and Swan. They totally messed up my sleeping schedule (Haha!). Totally worth it though, they were my Friday night happy pills!

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Corn for breakfast!

The whole of Saturday was spent lazing around in bed, eating and spending time with the family. Family time was extended beyond what I had allocated and I came home at 5pm. I had to be at Cyberjaya before 6.30pm to collect my race pack and I knew that I would not have made it. I still had to prepare my post-race meal, get changed and leave to Cyberjaya (25mins away). I was glad that Chee Wai was there early and he collected it for me!

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We had 2 hours to kill. Met up with a lot of other runners and got a chance to catch up with them.

Warmed up my muscles at 8pm. The race started on time at about 8.30pm, after the 21KM pack.

The starting is always the hardest – navigating through the crowd. The road was narrow and slightly wet from the light evening shower. I was trying to avoid running into a lady in front of me that I dashed a little too quick to the side and got in the way of Chee Wai who was directly behind me. There was a mini stumbling sesh and I thought that the both of us were going to fall flat on our faces. Luckily, we got our grip and we were off to the front of the pack. Looking back, it was pretty funny!

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Thanks to Aron for this picture. He was on his bike and he called out to me during the race. Always good to see familiar faces!

I knew I was up front so all I had to do was to maintain the pace and speed up towards the end. The roads were long and wide. I kept running in the middle of the road because I wasn’t familiar with the race route. I didn’t know where to turn and I remember at one point, I zig-zagged 4 times in a row. I had to ask the marshals at every turn for directions.

The race would have been slightly better if there were proper signage and road marshals to direct the runners. The roads were also not completely closed and every now and then cars would zoom by.

Kevin waited for me 500-600m from the finish line. When Kevin told me that there was nobody behind, I slowed to a jog before sprinting the final 100m of the way (to conserve energy for the next day, although I don’t think it made any difference).

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After crossing the finish line, Wai Ching (kid to my right) was the first person to shake my hand to congratulate me. Such a sweet kid! I was still too frazzled from the run to give a proper response.

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Warmed down properly to avoid post-race muscle soreness. Wore both compression calf guards this time. They fit like a glove. So warm and snug. They work wonders for my calf muscles, protecting against muscles soreness and leg fatigue.

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Post-race smoothie: Oats, frozen banana, Greek yoghurt and chia seeds. Just throw everything into the blender and start blending away! I didn’t measure out the ingredients. I just went with whatever I wanted.

Nutrient breakdown:

Banana- Rich source of potassium which helps lower the risk of muscle cramps. It is also a good source of manganese, dietary fiber and vitamins B6 and C.

Coconut water- Coconut water is the ideal post-workout drink packed with electrolytes, minerals and simple sugar to replenish hydration levels within the body. It is also a rich source of potassium.

Greek Yoghurt- Greek Yoghurt has nearly twice the amount of protein compared to regular yoghurt. It is a great post-workout snack as your body needs the extra protein to repair worn out muscles.

Chia Seeds- It boasts 20% protein, having 5 times more calcium than milk, 7 times more vitamins than oranges and 8 times more omega fatty acids than salmon. Need I say more?

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Thick, creamy goodness! Give this recipe a go!

Had my recovery smoothie 30mins later to replenish lost calories. I don’t usually prepare post-run smoothies but because I was going to run the next day, I had to make sure I was properly fed.

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My recovery meal was a tuna-avocado-egg mash. I had no appetite but I had to force feed. It was so good but so hard to chow down. I kept everything in the cooler bag so it was still fresh and cool when it was time for me to savour them.

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Chooi Fern was so hyper! Like a charged up bunny!

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The boys monkeying around.

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It was supposed to be a group picture of all the top 5 runners. Don’t know why they didn’t get up on stage so the both of us had our syok-sendiri moment. Congrats to Sylvia too! 🙂

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We left after the prize giving ceremony.

I had exactly 4 hours of sleep before I had to wake up for the next race.

Sunday:

The alarm had to wake me up this time. I was dead tired.

I felt energized and pumped as soon as it hit me that I had to run. Oh, the wonders of adrenaline.

Got dressed and had my breakfast in the car. I was so hungry. My stomach felt like a black hole. Breakfast didn’t fill me up but I couldn’t eat too much before the run.

We got there at about 6am. Collected my race pack and we went to McDonalds to chill. Met up with Shu Wei but Daniel was nowhere in sight.

By 6.30am everyone proceeded to the starting line. The race was supposed to start at 7am so I was puzzled but I followed the crowd anyway.

To my surprise, they flagged us off at 6.40am. I didn’t even have time to decide whether or not I wanted to wear my calf compression guard.

The push off from the crowd felt a lot harder. My legs felt jelly-like. Thank God my muscles were not sore, just overworked. I guess post-race fuel is very important for your body to begin repairing and replenishing worn out muscles.

I should make it a habit to prepare post-race smoothies in the future. A little bit more effort and time but oh so WORTH IT!

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Daniel was late because he dropped his key into the toilet bowl. Gross! He had to pick them up with his bare hands! As he ran passed me, I told him the lead pack was about 1.5KM ahead. He sped up and manage to come in 3rd!

This was supposed to be my “recovery” run. So, I took it easy towards the end. As usual, Kevin ran the last 500m with me. 🙂

He was there to support me and drive me to both races (in fact, almost ALL the runs). Thank You! 🙂

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I was the first female runner to arrive. WOOHOO!

Double champion for my first back to back race weekend. What a great end to my week!

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Post-race treats! Double load of ICE CREAM! *pats back*

 Share your back-to-back race weekends (if any)! I’d love to hear them!

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!

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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.

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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

Post-race Report: Run 4 Peace!

The night before the “Run 4 Peace” race was spent rolling around on my bed. This is typical pre-race day sleepless night. I almost never get a good night’s sleep the day before.

My brain just wouldn’t let me rest no matter how hard I tried. When my alarm finally went off at 5.25am, I rolled out of bed. Despite not sleeping much throughout the night, I was feeling okay. In fact, I was more than okay, I was pumped! I guess pre-race jitters are not all bad. Your body releases endocannabinoids to deal with mental stress. Endocannabinoids have the same effect as marijuana, which would explain why I was feeling slightly high.

I had my usual breakfast: 2 slices of whole wheat bread with peanut butter and banana + one glass of water.

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The race was held at the International Islamic University of Malaysia, Gombak. In the wee hours of the morning, the journey took about 21 minutes (Yay for smooth traffic!).

We were rather early (earlier than expected), the sky was still dark.

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That’s us standing in the dark!

After parking our car, we gathered our stuff and strolled towards the start/finish area. We stood there for a bit and watched as many people decked out in the blue “Run 4 Peace” shirt started filling up the area.

I was waiting for Jing Jing (Fellow runner and PARX teammate) to hand me my race pack. He was kind enough to collect it for me the day before! Good thing he was in bright yellow, he stood out from the crowd and I spotted him easily. I didn’t bother changing into the “Run 4 Peace” shirt and proceeded to pin the bib on the shirt that I had on.

At about 7.05am, the MC got the ball rolling.

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We were just standing around.

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It started off with a simple dance/warm-up session, which I totally skipped. I just stood there and watched them jump around. It was pretty entertaining! From the picture, you can see that I was still standing there. And Kevin was just squatting by the side. Whoooops!

The men’s 10KM open pack flagged off 5 minutes before the women’s 10KM open. When they were off, I made my way to the starting point. Met up with HuiXin (Puma Pacer) and we stood together.

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Pre-race prayers.

When that distinctive sounding horn blew, I glanced at my watch – 7.25am. Almost immediately, I dashed out from the pack. My main focus was to slither through the crowd to “get away”.

Within the next 100m, I was already in front and for the rest of the run, let’s just say I cannot really recall what happened. It felt like a dream. All I could think of was “RUN RUN RUN!”. I had a pretty good start. So, all I had to do was maintain and speed up towards the end.

Two veterans overtook me, one at KM 1.5 and the other at KM 3 or 4. I overtook 4 other women in my category that started off with the men’s pack (Hmmmmmm!). I drank from 2 water stations, something I don’t normally do. At least I didn’t splash my face with 100plus like I did during the I.C.E run earlier this year.

Nearing the last 300m, I saw Kevin. He was wearing the Malaysian football jersey, so it was not easy to miss. He had my camera in hand and ran the last few meters with me. He caught the last stretch of the run on video, which was so funny to watch.

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That feeling!10273990_10152437582516388_3433861541458322534_n

Familiar faces ahead! 10269369_10152437582211388_3177113708118250141_n 10313453_10152437582251388_1352666970889388974_n 10305505_10152437581921388_5359681602559804231_n

At the finish line, the guy handed me an A4 piece of paper which had the number 3 on it.

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While trying to catch my breath, I think I was pretty satisfied. Everything happened too quickly and I didn’t manage to fully process what had happened at that time. And then I remembered to check my watch, 8.13am. 48 minutes. I think I just hit a new personal best for a distance of 10.3KM (according to other people’s GPS profile).

 

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With HuiXin.

A guy fist-bumped me and said “It was great running with you!”. I guess he was the guy behind me making loud breathing noises for the last kilometre or two.

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I had nearly 2 hours to kill before the prize giving ceremony. I walked around for a bit before settling down to eat my post-run snacks of apples, yoghurt and coconut water.

 

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I got another surprise during the prize giving session, I came in second! YAY!

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14008950076_50dfa8f1fe_oCredits: IKRAM Siswa UIAM Gombak

Post-race meal for the rest of the day – double dose of Japanese food. I don’t think I will ever get sick of Japanese food.

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Lunch.

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Dinner.

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And of course, MOOCOW!

Carbs, proteins, healthy fats and iron for recovery.

I’m still feeling the after-effects from the run. Owwwwwww! I was really happy and grateful that I managed to run. I was still in the process of recovering from a sore right calf. My right calf was feeling tight throughout the run but I pulled through!

Thanks to Kevin for being there and supporting me all the way!