Sunday, October 19, 2008

A new me!

Two months ago, pumped up with enthusiasm and as a self kick in the butt, I signed up for a 10km run. I figured 2 months should be enough to train up for the run. Since 20 months ago, I've been going to the gym, taking pole lessons and jogging/walking a bit but no way was I fit enough for a 10km run. Two months flashed by and I have not been training even though I have been exercising regularly! Before I knew it, the Mizuno Wave 10km Run day was almost here!

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With some apprehension, I turned up at Padang Merbok on Saturday, 18 Oct to collect my running vest, number and instructions. The Pacesetters Athletic Club has so much experience organizing runs like this, picking up the race pack was a cinch. I didn't tell anyone about the run, half thinking I may just skip this. However, in the race pack was a timing chip to be attached to my running shoe for the run. The chip will record the timing of the individual runner. I am too proud to turn in a chip that doesn't show any running time!

I didn't sleep well the night before. Partly due to nervousness and also my kids were
recovering from flu. They were still coughing a bit in the middle of the night. When the alarm rang this morning, I was battling with myself whether to go ahead with the run. Again, pride took over. I have brisk walked/jog 9km before. What's another 1km? I decided not to put any pressure on myself and just concentrate on enjoying the atmosphere and the run. Treat it as a Sunday morning jog around the park.
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Here I am looking like I could do with more sleep.

Arrived at Padang Merbok bright and early. I found a place to park further up from the Lake Club. That was where I parked when I joined the Kiwanis Fun Run which was attached to the Pacesetters New Balance 5km Run last year. I followed some other runners who were heading the same way. Most people were there as groups or they were seasoned runners who knew people there. I felt pretty lonely. The atmosphere at Padang Merbok was fabulous! Party at 6.30am! Woo hoo! Some runners were doing stretches, some jogged around to warm up. I remember not warming up before the 5km Fun Run and paid a hefty price for it. I was sore for 3 days after! This time around, I stretched a bit and jogged around just to loosen my sleepy joints. I was pumped and ready to go!

I walked past this ambulance and thought "I hope I won't be needing this!"
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My body was trying to convince my brain I should go home. My brain was telling my body, "I can do it! No pressure. Walk when you can't run. Just finish the 10km within the qualifying time" I had entered in the Women Veteran category (aged 35-45), qualifying time 1 hour 50 minutes.

Two aims - complete the race and finish under the qualifying time.
Easy.... right? Man, talk about self doubt!

At 7.15am, all runners gathered at the starting line. I looked around and saw some lean and mean looking runners. They look like seasoned runners. Some had running vests implying they're marathon runners or triathlete. There were all sorts of little gadgets like belt that holds little bottles to keep the body hydrated, canggih-looking running watches, sun visors which I've seen in running magazines. I was also reassured that I was not the only one who were not quite prepared when I saw (I assume) occasional gym-goers who thought it was a good idea to join the race at the time and some teenage boys who were convinced to sign up by parents of one of the friends. I overheard their conversation...

At 7.30am sharp, the horn sounded and we were off! There were 3,100 runners so starting was a little slow. I had placed myself somewhere in the middle. I didn't want to hold back those who are there for the medals, nor do I want to risk starting in the back. Do not want to be the last to cross the finishing line!

I had thought of a strategy. Slow jog the first couple of km. Walk when the road goes uphill and run when downhill. No pressure no hurry. Enjoy the atmosphere and the scenery. The route is quite scenic. I had my Walkman phone on and Harry Connick Jr was cheering me on. Note to self, pick some songs suitable for events like this. HCJ's "Yes We Can Can" was great for cheering myself on. How to go wrong with lyrics like:

I know we can make it
I know darn well can can work it out
Oh yes we can, I know we can can
Yes we can can, why can’t we?
If we wanna get together we can work it out

Must remember not to have "Workin In A Coal Mine" in the playlist!

Five o’clock in the mornin’
I’m already up and gone
Lord, I’m so tired’
How long can this go on

Not with 8km more to go! Just as I was having self doubts again, a barefoot auntie ran past me! She did look like a seasoned runner. Now if someone who is about 10 years older, running barefoot can do it, so can I!

My strategy worked. Walk uphill, run downhill. Just as I was feeling tired, I reached the 5km point. Water station! Hydrated, I continued running again. I kept telling myself, we've made it halfway only 5km more to go. Less than 2 times around the Ampang Hilir hill. No problem! That was also when I knew if I trained regularly, I can run the entire 5km race. Time to look out for the next 5km run.

The next 5km was tough but manageable. Brisk walk uphill, run downhill. The entire time I made sure there were still a big group of people behind me. A few teenage boys who had started the run next to me were still in sight, running/walking at about the same pace. I noticed that whenever I ran, they ran too. They probably thought "If this auntie can run still, so can I!"

We turned a few corners and I could tell we were not far from the finishing line. Sure enough, a volunteer from Pacesetters was at one of the turning points to informg runners another 2.3km to go. Woo hoo! My legs were tired by now but I knew there was still some running juice in them. I will jog my way to the finish line! I tried jogging from the 2km marker. Couldn't run the whole way, so I brisk walked and ran whenever I could. The teenage boys were still at par with me, running whenever I ran. They were tired too. Then I spotted the FINISH LINE! Yay! I finished my 1st 10km run in 1 hour 30 minutes!

After the run, I went looking for something to drink and perhaps a light breakfast. There were lots of fruits available, isotonic drinks as well as tau foo fah. The Milo van was there too and just like back in school, there was a long queue snaking towards the van! Host unlimited photos at for FREE!

A few things I learned from this experience:

* I need to train. Joining Pacesetters' organized training on Sunday mornings will help a lot! I can get to know more runners too, so I won't have to go to these events alone.
* I can do anything if I put my mind to it
* Join runs organized by Pacesetters Athletic Club any time! Always well organized.
* Do not plan anything strenuous after the event or the day after. My legs are sore!



Blogger cheeky.cicak said...

Thank you for posting the story. It reminded me of when I did a 15-mile bikeathon, filled with self-doubt and apprehension. I, like you, had signed up by myself, and it felt weird seeing everyone else with company. But when I finally managed to talk myself into going the morning of, and to finish the entire route, I knew that I had accomplished it on my own merits, and that was something I could be proud of. :-)

4:14 pm  
Blogger Min said...

*high five cheeky.cicak* Yeah, you said it! A real sense of accomplishment alright. Do you bike regularly now? I will like to take up biking but where to bike and not get run over by reckless drivers?

4:22 pm  
Anonymous Niki said...

Min! :D

Congrats on your great time. First run too - that was a brilliant run!

Yeah, it was a shame we didn't bump into each other. I went with a few friends (who I cajoled to join since I didn't want to run alone too). This was my second race, and I felt the same as you the first time I ran, except I had no choice 'cos it was for work and there was a condition that I had to complete the run.

I don't do too much training to be honest, but I run as much as I can about 2 months before the run. Like, 2-3 times a week where I do different distances. Like I might do just 3km but at a very fast pace and when I do 8km, I take it slower.

Don't know lah if I'm doing the right thing hehe but seems to be working.

Are you running Terry Fox on Nov 2? Or there's the Pacesetters breakfast run? If my knee gets better by mid-week, I might sign up for the Pacesetters run.

Hope to see you at more runs! I'm hooked!

8:59 am  
Blogger cheeky.cicak said...

Unfortunately, that wasn't in Malaysia. It's a shame, really, about the reckless drivers, I don't think I would venture out in a bicycle if I were in KL either. There should be a bike advocacy group here since biking is so much more environmentally (and budget!) friendly.

6:55 pm  
Blogger Sathiya said...

Min.. u are my inspiration .. did i spell tht right ..LOL ..
Anyway i do wish i can do it like u dear . But i am glad tht u got me motivated. N Well done on ur 10KM.. i hope one day i can do it too ..

10:21 pm  
Blogger Sathiya said...

Min.. u are my inspiration .. did i spell tht right ..LOL ..
Anyway i do wish i can do it like u dear . But i am glad tht u got me motivated. N Well done on ur 10KM.. i hope one day i can do it too ..

10:21 pm  
Anonymous babe_kl said...

well done Min!!!

10:55 am  
Anonymous kat said...

Way to go, Min! I'm still thinking about running. Since last winter!! :D

Was just reading about this run from another blogger. He did it in under 53 mins, I think. Seasoned sportsman, this fler. He blogged about H.Connick Jr's concert too. So ngam!

6:18 pm  
Blogger Babysmooches said...

I really salute you!! *salute*
My hubby is joining a 10km race in 2 weeks' time and had been pestering me to join him in his weekend morning jogs but I prefer lying a little longer in bed...
Gosh, you are a superwoman... (me feeling malu).. :P

10:32 pm  
Blogger Min said...

Niki, it is very easy to get hooked right? Good, I'll contact you the next time I sign up for a run. Got company. How was the breakfast run? I had a really busy week, without much time to recover from the run too. Dove straight into cake making with very little sleep. Had my sleep marathon in the weekend. Much needed! See you at the Terry Fox Run!

Thanks, Sathiya, Babe and Babysmooches! I'm not a superwoman lah. Far from it. Just someone who has to challenge myself or I'll balloon up to my unhealthy self again. Since I can't give up eating yummy food, need to work off the extra calories right?

Kat, sign up for run and you're sure to get hooked :D

5:13 pm  
Blogger Angeline said...

Hi, I am Angeline. My 1st time at your blog. How should I address you...ermm..Laura or Min. Anyway, I found you through Patrick's blog. I was lead there n here by my customer abt your cakes. I was alone at the mizuno run too, was lonely that day as my hubby was away for business trip. My 1st time 10km. Previously 9km or less. I try to join as many runs as i can. Next is the Pg Bridge run. I practiced once or twice a week. Not a good runner. I bake too but i have to say you bake lovely cakes. Amazing. A sifu of art. Good luck.

11:02 pm  
Blogger Min said...

Hi Angeline, I'm Min, also known as Mama Min :D Laura is my daughter's name.

Good to meet another baker AND runner :D Wow, you're joining the Penang Bridge Run too! Good luck! I've not mustered the courage to go for outstation running events. What if my legs become so tired I can't drive back?? hahaha

11:22 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hiya Min,
Have you seen this new product by Sunway Medical Center.. Its called the Travel Health Kit ..What a fantastic product unbelievable i absolutely think its brilliant ..i saw it at KK Mart store in Bangsar..check it out.

6:41 pm  

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