The Other Race Report: Kuching Marathon 2015

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.” (Martha Washington)

PRE-RACE
I knew today would be a bad day to run the 2015 Kuching Marathon.

I pulled off an impossible task at work this week. The preparation and the job itself not only took a huge chunk of my time, but also my mental focus along as well. Meals were not proper and untimely. I did not had the chance to do a proper carboload. Or, even hydrate myself. Sleepless nights became all too common.

And if this wasn’t enough, I was still recovering from a fall which had caused my kneecap to bruise eventhough it was already 2 weeks.

With all these piling up, I have a bad feeling about how this race would turn out.

On the bright side, my ultra training was on par. I have been logging in sufficient mileage the weeks before. I have replaced my off days this week with a few basic strength training routine.

That was the thread that I was holding on to.

FIRST PART OF THE RACE
Still I was hopeful despite the circumstances.  I keep telling myself that these are mere hurdles.

The perfect race exists in the mind.

I was cruising along with a great pace for the first half. I pictured I was running alongside my favourite athletes. Kilian Journet was leading in front. Anton Krupicka in his buff and arm warmers was right behind him. Beside me was Anna Frost with a big smile, while Sally McRae was right behind with her plaited hair in a trucker hat.

I told my legs to keep up with their pace, and it worked . The cool morning breeze resembled the Alpine air. Asphalt road transformed into lovely trails with boulders and a herd of deers lazing on the plains.

Alas, fatigue caught up with me. I remembered I was just so tired that I had to close my eyes to run. I was dozing off during my mid run and I can feel my energy slowly seeping through the holes in my vibram.

When I opened my eyes, my mental imagery was gone. Kilian became some heavy breathing asian dude with loud steps. Anna Frost became a guy. The herd of deers turned into a herd of noisy runners conversing about pace in Cantonese.

My back started to hurt. I became nauseous.  Stomach was bloated from all the sugary isotonic drinks. And for the first in a long time in marathon racing, I had to succumb.

I began to walk.

I felt I had used up almost 40% of my fuel.

It was there and then I had to make a choice.

SECOND PART OF THE RACE
I was considering the value of achieving a PB. Granted, since I started running marathons, my timing was better than the previous ones. By 29 minutes. By 2 minutes. It has always been better.

It seems this race would be a break to this record. And it was a tough pill to swallow. But I know if I had pushed on and gave it all I got, I might be able to do so by the skin of a teeth.

I began to question the value of a PB. Was it something that was 100% internal – a battle against Jonathan Soon in 2014, or was it fueled by an intention of getting Facebook Likes? To prove to others, not only myself, that I was a better runner  than the 2014 Jonathan Soon.

I made the decision of finishing a race strong, rather than to feel like shit and hating the experience altogether.

Once that decision was made, everything became better. I switched mode. Racing was no longer on the agenda. I walked when I felt like walking. I ran when I felt like running. I was free from the chains of PB because I know would have left me in pieces.

It was this freedom that I started running from the first place.

When I rolled into the 36km aid station, I saw Tony, Grace, Charle and Yong Chuan – and then my emotions went haywire. I was so relieved and happy to see them. It felt like I have been running alone for days, and to see them was like seeing ur family in the wilderness.

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Photo creds to KM36 Support Team

With a renewed zest (and their excellent beverages), I tackled the last 6km with a freedom that I have not experienced in a marathon for a while.

I crossed the Kuching Marathon finishing line. The clock showed 04:13. My PB was 4hrs9mins.

4 minutes.

POST-RACE
When I chose freedom over PB, I started seeing things in a new light.

To see friends toeing the finish line was an amazing feeling. And those who have trained so hard and beat their own personal best. There is no jealousy, but only admiration and an overwhelming sense of pride for them.

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But the virgins, oh the virgins. Their postures were totally out, they were dragging their feet over the finish line. Despite of this, they held their heads high. Their tired smiles and the twinkle in their eyes reminded me that this was why I ran marathons.

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It is about conquering your own fears, to push despite the pain, and finishing the distance on your own.

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Photo creds Hobart Kho Photography

It is what marathoners are made of. Resilience and an iron will.

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Photo creds Hobart Kho Photography

And because of them, I am proud to be a Full Marathoner.

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Why an ultramarathon is not about the finisher shirt or medal

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There is nothing special about being an ultramarathoner.

However, there is something truly amazing about an ultramarathon.

To train for such event is like being invited to this private, spiritual journey, with a guarantee that things will never be the same again.

Just about a year ago, I used to think that medals and finishing shirts were an entitlement.

“I ran 42km, so I must be entitled to at least a finisher shirt and a nifty medal”.

I even posted this on Facebook,

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And only upon training for my 2nd ultra, did I really underestimate the phrase, more than that.

Finishing an ultramarathon has nothing to do with a medal, or a finisher’s shirt that has 3 figures on it.

I initially thought it would, but as I hold them, a piece of metal and a dry fit shirt cannot even capture a slight essence of the journey.

Before I started training, I admit I was quite adamant about having bragging rights. It was the ultimate reward of rubbing into someone’s face when they think they are all that.

However, only when I started training again, I was reminded of how small I was compared to the event. It did not made me felt small, but more of, it made realize my insignificance in the grand scheme of all things.

The ultramarathon strips away things that I thought once mattered. Bragging rights were among the top.

So I completed an ultramarathon, so what?

I trained, I raced, I finished.

It takes away the need to justify myself, or to prove my worth to someone.
Feelings that are not genuine, things that I thought once important were no longer that significant.

A shirt or a medal doesn’t cut it. It can’t explain how I felt during mid week training. When you are sore from the accumulated fatigue and knowing you need to train for 16 miles after a long day at work.

It does not do justice to the amount of discipline and mental bullshit you need to convince yourself to go on. To train under the blistering sun or in cold wet conditions, to do a 5 hour run although you only slept for 2 hours.

Come race day, you finish a 100km on your own two feet, and no amount of money, fabric or metal can summed up the whole experience.

It’s like falling in love and eventually tying the knot. I can’t determine the sacredness of the marriage nor can I imagine the journey the couple has gone through just by the size of their ring.

It redefines, or more accurately, remind us the bare essentials of being human.

To survive.

My crowns and trophies no longer matter.

The ultramarathon stretches the limit of self reliance. It does not matter if I own a Bugatti, or a public figure in my community, the ultramarathon would just spit these 2 words in my face,

“So what?”

That is the beauty of the sport.

The world is telling I need to possess certain items in order to prove my worth.

The ultramarathon teaches me the opposite. It tells me to stop impressing people who constantly expect my worst. To not live someone else’s dreams.

It challenges me to find out who I am, and encourages that pursue with all I got with dignity and respect.

Underestimating the ultra distance is a lack of respect to the race.

Not training hard and smart is saying I do not wish to run this race with dignity.

And when I have gave it all, it made me realized the significance of a medal or a shirt. It is nothing but a memento, a mere souvenir. The lessons that comes with it are far, far more precious than them.

P.S No wonder most 100 miles races do not have finisher shirts.

How running has set aflame to my faith

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The seventh post, dedicated to the most important person in my life – Jesus Christ.

*Found this article which I have wrote for Camp Empowered 2012*

We all have our own fire. When we found a new hobby, fall in love, or setting foot on new soil. Personally, my fire is running. I would be burning streets, cleaving my pleats on the asphalts, and taking pride in every mile which I clocked.

However, that kind of fire does diminish at times. Particularly when I’m tired, hungry, or not being able to hit a personal record. 

I can still remember one incident when I ran on a Sunday morning. My target for that session was doing a sub 30 minutes from Friendship Park to the Kuching Airport.

The first few kms were fine, until I reach the new airport road. Dubbed “The Alley of Agony”, this highway was built on top of a marsh land. It is straight, to a point, which then it decides to take a few curves before it reaches the junction leading to the airport.

For some runners, straight roads are one of the hardest to run on. There aren’t any landmarks which you can say to yourself, “Okay, I will sprint to that signboard and just do a slow run till that building, and start sprinting again.” Apart from a pesky little bridge, there aren’t any prominent signs which I can motivate myself. 

Or so I thought. Lo, behold the air control tower of the airport which can be seen from Agony Alley. That beacon of light. The fortress in which I will fix my eyes upon. And so I ran.

As the highway takes a dip, the tower disappears behind some nasty looking bushes along the road. Ah, it’s ok. It’s just bushes. As long as I move a few steps forward, I can see the tower again and thus my motivation still stands strong. 

However, as Agony Alley takes a curve to the right, the air control tower starts to dissipate. I can’t get off the tracks and run through the marsh field. All I could do was to keep following the road. The more I ran, the further it seems as the road does not have any indication of reverting back.

At that point of time, I was at a loss. Firstly, I am not sure if I am heading the correct direction. My beacon of hope had completely disappeared. Unlike earlier, it is not being shadowed by some bushes. Moving a step forward, or backward, won’t make any difference. The tower is completely obstructed from view.  

What was I to do? I know that if I head back, I will see the tower again, but then that would symbolise retreat. The only plausible thing to do was to take that leap of faith and just run ahead.  After what seems like an eternity, the tower starts to come to view. When it did, it was nearer than I thought it was.

Have I ran that far? Fueled by the sight, I start sprinting as it looks I can finally reached the airport in 25 minutes, shaving off 5 minutes from my original plan.

However, that pesky road took another detour as it diverts to the right again. It was so close. If I had just crossed the marsh, I will have easily reached the airport in like 5 minutes. But no, I had to sprint like tomorrow before I finally reach my destination. 

I checked my running app. 29:35. I did it. Sub 30 mins. And the taste of success is so sweet. Agony Alley has gave me an emotional wrenching experience. It really threw me off, but yet I know if it was not as agonizing as it is, I will not appreciate victory as much as I did at that moment.  

Friends, a journey with Christ is like running along that highway: 

#1 Seeing the Air Control Tower 
It’s like discovering the air control tower when you least expect to find any landmarks along Agony Alley. When we experienced Jesus for the first time, we were so full on fire.

Constantly going to Youth Gatherings, volunteering in events, enthusiastically joining different ministries all at once. That’s good. We are so ablazed with that passion to serve God. We wanna talk about how AWESOME Jesus is and we even managed to convince our friends to join us.

We feel we have finally found a purpose to live for, and that is for God alone. 

#2 Encountering Those Bushes 
Like those annoying little bushes, at times we will encounter little trials and issues that shadow God. Maybe it is times when our clients got angry at us, our friends turn against us, or when our partner has gotten bouts of severe PMS.

Just like those bushes, all we need to do is to take a few steps forward to see the light again.

When we encounter these little trials, we only have to move forward in seeing God’s amazing love again. Make an effort in praying more or just run a few more steps in faith, and we will be able to witness his everlasting glory again.

After all, one angry client does not mean you are a bad employee, or you won’t make new friends, and I’m sure your partner can’t have PMS forever. 

#3 Running the Curved Road 
Ah, this is gonna be a true test of faith. When the path you take does not seem to have an end in sight, and it appears to be that God has abandoned you, and you are all alone.

What would you do? This often happens after you reach a certain stage in your spiritual life. When that fire which had set you ablaze back then now resembles the flickering wick of a candle.

Questions like “What am I doing this for?”, “Does God even care?” or even, “I’m just wasting my time. Doing the works of God only ends up in more pain and sadness. No point lah.” 

Similar to when I start running that morning, I never thought I would end up in Agony Alley, nor will I face that very demoralizing situation. Do I give up and run back to the place, or do I take that leap of faith knowing that the air control tower is nearer than I think it is.

Though not visible, I know that if I start running despite the circumstance, I will eventually reach my goal. 

That is what we should do when we are faced with major problems. A crisis in life, loss of a loved one, or tragedies which will set your life in a whole new trajectory.

In that circumstance, we have to be reminded that we have experienced God’s love before. We were set ablaze. And that is reason enough for us to keep trusting Him. I do not know why God put us in trials.

Maybe He is testing us like how He tested Job in the Old Testaments, maybe by pulling back his graces would we seek new ways to discover more about Him, or maybe the trials are actually mercies in disguise.

But what I do know is that God does not leave us all alone despite of this.

Like the air control tower, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there when you cannot see it. And after each trial, we come out stronger. And we begin to see life in ways we have never seen before. 

The choice is ours. Do we continue to stay at where we are, blaming God for our circumstances? Do we go back and return to our old habits? Or do we continue running, moving forward and clinging to that faith that He is there with us. 

#4 Going through the Detour 
When our goal is within our grasp, God at times put us in situations that may require us to wait a while before we reach our goal. And though annoying at times, we need to remember that everything happens under Gods timing.

Even the minute you are using to read this article, it is under God’s time. He allows things to happen naturally, and if we try to rush God to do things at our pace, that feeling of reaching the goal will not be as great as you wait on Him.

I could easily rush through the marsh and reach the airport sooner than my intended goal. But I could have stepped on a piece of shrapnel, bitten by a snake or sprained my ankle on the uneven terrain.  

However, I persevered and went on the designated path and I still managed to reach my goal at my intended time. I didn’t have to sustain any mishaps along the way. In fact, that detour forced me to push past my comfort zone, and forced me to run faster and harder, and I didnt know that I could sprint like that till I encountered the detour.  

When we allow God to complete things in His time, we are bound to get something out of it. A gift or a lesson that we will never come across till we reach that juncture. 

It is good that we are ablaze with the Spirit of God, but what is more important is that flame must keep burning within us.

Instead of letting it die down like a campfire, that kind of flame must be doused with fuel of faith and fanned by our worship to Him. From the size of an inferno to the size of The Big Bang.

That is the crucial part of being set ablaze.

To not let that fire diminish, but to continue be set on fire and eventually becoming a torch for others to follow.

How Hobart, Eldon, Justin and I met and ran our first 21km in 2012?

A half marathon. 21km of madness bliss. Who knew that this distance would be a start of something so amazing?

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The year was 2012 – oh, the sweet age of mid twenties. Quarter life crisis was in full force. Justin and I were just a hi-bye church acquaintance. Hobart was in the same youth ministry as I was. I was putting on weight after Chinese New Year (damn those pineapple tarts!) and something need to be done.

Spring Mall announced that they will be doing a run, and re-introduced the half marathon in Kuching. This must be the solution, I thought.

I was contemplating whether to sign up for a 10km or the half marathon. I run 10km back in uni as circuit training. But uni was 3 years ago then.

It wasn’t until I ran into Justin at a church camp. We were talking about running and turned out, he was also quite excited about this race as well.

“Eh, we signed up 21km then we train together lah.”

I can still remember standing by the information counter at Spring Mall. My hand was quivering, not knowing which category to mark. I even called Justin up, “Oi you sure ah? 21 ah?”

I figured, f this shit, let’s just sign this thing up and see how it goes. So I did it. And went into full blown panic. 21km!! That is running around Kuching! Who does that?!

Justin and I agreed that we should do our own individual runs in the weekday, then meet up on Sunday to attempt a 10km run. Come Sunday, Justin told me “Eh my best friend is joining us. He just came back from KL, and he will be running from his house. He very fit one.”

I was thinking, wah this guy damn terror! We both started from Spring around 630am. And it was only a brief moment before this thin and good looking guy came up behind us.

“Hi, I’m Eldon.” *extend hand*
“Hey, Jonathan here. *extend hand too* Heard you just came back from KL?”
“Yeah, I left my job as an air steward, so planning to back for good.”
“That’s nice”
“You leh”
“Oh, I want to resign from my job also”

And that was how I met Eldon. Such a polite and proper beginning.

Justin and I barely managed to cover 10km on that day, but Eldon did it like a breeze. All three of us were so happy. It was as if both Justin and I tasted bak kua for the first time. We took artistic pics of our shoes, posted our time (it was probably around 1hr30mins) on Facebook and it felt like the biggest achievement to date.

Later in the week, Hobart asked if the 3 of us were running again, and he wants to join us, if it was alright with us.

The next Sunday, Hobart appeared in a green cotton tanktop, knee length pants and a pair of black wushu shoes (I think la). He told us that it was his first 10km, and both Justin and I looked at each other nervously. We knew how 10km felt like and it wasnt an easy feat.

Who knew,  Hobart was much better than the both of us. He was the 2nd to finish after Eldon, and we were like whoa, where did this kid came from?

Each Sunday, we would repeat the same thing. It wasn’t until a month later when Eldon introduced us to Ah Wong, Yong Suk, Philip Chua and the rest. I remembered feeling so intimidated when we first met.

These are the real runners. Them rubbing vaseline on their soles, with their singlet and short pants. Full marathon finishers. And man, were they fast.

We didn’t have a proper training regime. We didn’t even know what are the do’s and don’ts. One Sunday, we ran from Giant to Unimas and I had the smart idea of running around the new campus. Hobart was away then, and there were only the 3 of us.

By the time we were done, the sun was up, and we didn’t bring any money with us (so smart of us eh). We scoured the whole uni for water cooler in a state of mild panic. It was to no avail.

By some stroke of miracle, Justin met his friend in the carpark. She was coming into to do some research and basically the conversation went like this,

“Eh hey! Long time no see!”
“Yeah, eh what u guys doing here?”
“Oh we were running from Giant, and we are running back now. U leh?”
“I’m here to meet my supervisor. Wah, steady man u guys.”
“Haha nolah. Eh, can we borrow 5 bucks to buy drinks? ”
“Ha?! here is 10.”

A friend in need is a friend indeed.

However, no matter how much we tried to hydrate with 10 bucks, it wasn’t enough. It was close to 10am! Eldon managed to make it back to Giant first, and when I arrived, he was pushing a trolley around.

“Eh, later we use this to go and fetch Justin yeah. Hahahaha”

5 minutes later, Justin called and say he couldn’t take it anymore. Shit just got real.

When we picked Justin up, he was on his knees. Lips were pale, and his fingers were cramped into pincher-like grip. We didn’t realize the severity of the situation, we even made a joke out of it then,

“Eh Justin! U OK or not?!”
*mumbles mumbles mumbles*
“Look at his hands. Like ketam like that! Hahahaha”
“Oi Mr Crab! U OK or not? Hahahah”
*mumbles mumbles mumbles*

We sped towards the nearest coffeeshop, and I was directed to get some drinks. I was not sure whether it was the sun, or the fatigue, but I just got some drinks, sat at the table and waited for them. Eldon finally came out 5 minutes later and grabbed the drinks and go.

I could not imagine what must have went through his mind when he saw me waiting there. Must be a combination of vulgarity.

Justin appeared about 10 minutes later, and he appeared alright. He probably had a mini sun stroke. It seemed funny then, but if the same thing would happen now, it will be a different reaction altogether.

And one would thought we have learnt to not attempt crazy shit.

A big fat nawp.

Come Gawai 2012, the four of us decided to run up from Choice Daily at Semariang up to Damai. The distance was about 24km. Waay above the half marathon distance.

But we figured we should do it anyway. At least, we know that we can finish 21km, and we can get over the mental hump.

Or so we thought.

So it was 3am, June 1st. We even had a system. Fetch Hobart from Damai where he will put his car so that we can have a way down, drop our water bottles at different spots along the route.

Sounds like a reasonable plan. Until we put so many water stations that I got confused.

I ended up running 18km without any water, and we are talking about the rolling hills of Damai. There were no stalls opened then. Justin, Eldon and Hobart were way ahead.

I had to resort to drink from a dripping pipe outside one of the houses. It wasn’t until at 19km where I saw an uncle who just opened his stall. Angels were singing when I finally grabbed that 500ml of clean drinking water.

I thought my troubles were over, until the storm hits. Literally. It was at the 20km mark and rain was pouring in sheets. Cars were zooming past and it was a miracle that I survived the ordeal.

I did try to take shelter at sheds, but I was afraid I would get hypothermia if I had just stayed there. I ran for another 3km before I saw the sign which indicated that it was 1km more to Damai.

I also saw Hobart, Eldon and Justin heading towards me in a car.

They asked me to get in, but I hesitated. Only 1km more! It wasn’t until I got screwed by 3 of them simultaneously before I resigned to the fate of getting into the vehicle.

Talking about having your priorities checked.

2 weeks later, it was the long awaited half marathon. We were ready to take on this!

And they did. Hobart, Eldon and Justin broke their half marathon cherries well.

I, on the other hand, had a sharp pain on my right kneecap at the 10km mark. I had a few options then.

1. Asked my friend James Lai who was biking alongside me to alert the marshalls, and I will be sent back in an ambulance.

2. Walked slowly and get roasted by the morning sun.

3. Toughen the shit up and finished the last 11km as soon as I could.

I opted for option 3, and it was a very painful 11km.

I finally completed my first hm in 2hrs44mins.

Only the next day when I met with Esther, my long time friend and physio, was when I realized my patella was inflamed and I could have incurred long term damage to my legs.

Not only I had to undergo 6 weeks of treatment, endure the constant pain when I go down the stairs, but I had to change my shoes (which brings to the discovery of vibrams) which took another 8 weeks of readjustment before I could run 10km without any pain.

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If you are still reading this, congratulations! You have managed to withstand my long winded post, and this proves you don’t have the attention span of a 4 year old child.

2 Sundays ago, the four of us did the Spring Half Marathon, for the fourth time. Each of us had gone down different paths ever since that fateful day.

Hobart no longer wears his green cotton tanktop to run. He is now a Brooks sponsored athlete. His fastest (and latest) marathon was completed in 3h5mins.

Eldon is also no longer the polite young man anymore. He recently became a father, completes full Marathons easily under 4 hours, and finished a 100km ultra-trail marathon last year in 17h46mins. He will be doing another 100km ultra-trail again, and this will be in the rainforest of Sabah come August.

Justin, unfortunately was diagnosed with some medical condition, and had to take a break for a while. He did, however, bounced back hard. He finally did 3 full marathons last year, and he will be attempting a 50km road ultra at the end of the year.

Myself? I have not learnt my lesson, and still as stubborn as before, though I prefer the word resilient now.

I ran my first full marathon in tonsillitis and fever in 2013. Recovered, and ran 3 full marathons in August, September and October with Eldon and Hobart in the same year.

I ran my Spring Half Marathon last year when I had diarrhoea. Completed it in 2hrs26mins despite a trip to the public toilet in the middle of the race. Went to the toilet for 16 times after the race on the same day.

And my greatest running achievement?  Finishing TNF100 2014 ultra-trail marathon in 16h5mins, with the cherry of being no.27 in the 100km category.

As for Spring this year, I finished it in 1h52mins and earning the long awaited finisher tee.

I guess, what I am trying to say, is that all 4 of us were the least people you would expect to see on the road. We were beginners once. We had our shares of mishaps, injuries, and we went through all the silliness.

The only thing that sets us apart is that, we stuck to what we did. We refused to give up when things got hard. Even heatstroke didn’t stand in the way.

And it all began with a half marathon. 21km of madness bliss.

Who knew that this distance would be a start of something so amazing?

Why activities should not define you?

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2nd week of training. The weariness is slowly seeping in.

I did some heat and humidity training yesterday in the late morning. Was looping at the park and clocking in about 14km. By the time I was done, it was already nearly noon.

I was like, wtf did I signed up for this ultra? Maybe it was the heat, or the 74% humidity (excluding the humidity of being encaved in a forest reserve), but damn, it was not easy.

This morning, I finally ran for 3 hours and managed to finished about 27km. Air was humid, and with only 4.5 hours of sleep the night before, I was only looking forward to the coconut water (which is not available in 7-E) and some good ole rest.

With the combination of training fatigue, I have realised that I would need to compartmentalise my life. It is very easy to get cranky when I am tired, and my already very low tolerance for bullshit will be none existent. It will become a 2nd nature for me to bite off the next person I meet if he/she seemed to be wasting my time.

It seemed pretty selfish, doesn’t it?

I also realised that I cannot focus well during training when something is troubling me. It could be conflicts in one of my relationships, or work becomes too much to handle. When that happens, I am not able to exert my best.

So what is the solution?

I need to remember, first and foremost, of my values, my principles, and my philosophy. These 3 items should define who I am as a person. Activities are just an extension of what I do. Running cannot be my sole identity. Nor does my work define me who I am.

It can be very difficult to navigate the different switches as I switched from one setting to the other. I can not expect my non running friends to understand what does it mean to train at 3am in the morning. Nor can my runner friends identify with the enormousity of my work scope.

I would need to try to not let these areas become too much of a venn diagram. The only intersection should only be my values, principles and philosophy. The highs and lows of each area, should stay out of each other.

At least, this is the only way to go at the moment.

What is the allure of an evening run?

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Today, I officially start training.

Perhaps it was the setting which triggered some memories. The sensation of running in the bright evening sun, and entering the period where dusk meets twilight.

The pinkish hues turning everything into a Katy Perry music video set. Cotton candy walkway, the magenta sky littered with streaks of blue and white.

The thinning out of traffic as the city plunges into darkness. The dry leaves dancing around in the slight breeze across the pavement.

And there I was, still running.

There is something about being in a constant movement as the city transforms. A hush transcendence of sorts. To witness something so natural, yet there is a slight melancholic beauty to it.

This is probably why many are keen to run in the evening . It was as though we are invited to be a part of something that is larger than ourselves. To be let in on a secret which is hidden in plain sight.

Running allows us to escape from the clutches of technological distraction, however brief it may be, and encourages us to be an observer of the many splendid things that are actually unfolding.

Why it is a struggle to get up on the last day before training?

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As I gently refuse my body from getting up, I can’t help but to think this is probably the last Sunday I can afford to sleep in. For a very long time at least.

Tomorrow will begin my 16 weeks of ultra training, 32 weeks should I joined TNF100 Thailand. This means 8 months, 75% of a whole year to focus on 2 races.

It is like a mixture of excitement and nervousness. An inbalance concoction of dread and eagerness. I have always been a fan of pushing my own limits, to be the best version of an athlete I am capable of. At the same time, this would come at a high cost. Hard work is not pleasant. Fatigue is not pleasant. After all, our human body in this age, has been conditioned to choose the easy way out.

Running an ultra is 80% mental. Thus, the training has to support that. As a novice ultra runner, I am at the stage of self reliance. I know I need to work on this. I am almost likely to refuse help. It is not a matter of pride. It is more of not wanting to trouble someone else in your journey.

As I am gearing up to live up to my very best, I would want the people around me to live to their best as well. That could possibly posed a problem. Many are pretty comfortable in where they are, and would reject any notion to change. When things don’t swing in their favour, the blame game is what they major at. Instead of being introspective,  many would choose the easy way.

This could be a problem, you see, as in my moment of weakness, I may resort to that. And that is how ultra runners DNF.

I probably need to get up, and live my last day of inhabited freedom before I embark on a journey of monotony, drudgery, and discipline,  which will ultimately lead to true uninhabited freedom, hopefully.