Saturday, April 20, 2013

Running the Distance

Hello homo sapiens. 
I am still alive.

6 months away and I am of the below:

~ 6 months older.
Women by nature are sensitive towards numbers when it comes to age they say. True. No doubt. But let's face it. Its the truth. No? In a positive context, I am now 6 months more mature than my last post! 

~ 6 months of self discovery
6 months ago, 2 days after my last post, I completed my first half marathon! Yay! It's my longest thus far! An in another 70 days, I will be doing my first competitive FULL! (still can't believe what I've done! LOL)

For the past 10months, I've been running a lot more than I used to months before. From a random new friend's (whom i got to know last June) invitation to join his midweek running group, I've been running very consistently since then.

10 months - and it has been one great adventure thus far - one journey i wish to continue to travel till the days when i can't run nor walk anymore. It's something i wish i would still be doing at the age of 70. 

Why running? You ask. 

I used to run 10k when i was in high school then stop when i went to uni. Back then I run because I know I didn't stand a chance to join the track events in school. I just simple ain't fast enough for the 100m or the 200m. In school, if you are not fast, you are not athletic. I know I may not be fast, but I know I can endure the distance. So on my own account, I registered myself for my first 10k in 2000.

10 years later on a random day in 2011, I decided to pick it up again when I was going through a rough patch with Mr Big. It was the only thing that was keeping me sane. I ran then so i can feel the adrenaline rush. I ran then just to feel the real pain and aches on my muscle so I can't feel the invisible pain in my heart. That time, I ran, all just because i wanted so badly to run away from my darkest moments....

BUT for the last 6 months, I've discovered so much more to running than just running away from fear or running to hide my tears. Running has become part of me. Running is no longer a chore like it is to many. Running to me is not about completing the distance or to compete who finish faster. It's NOT about filling up the gap of the broken piece in me. It's so much more now.

Running to me is about:

1. Self discovery
Every new distance i complete, every run I've done, I discover more of myself and that I am so much more resistant than before. I could cross the finish line if i set myself to it. Set a target, laced up and RUN the distance. Before I know it, I am crossing the finish line. With this mentality, I am now more positive in all my actions and thinking. I am no longer reading horoscope to determine how I am going to let the course of life takes me, but I am now setting goals and working hard to "run" the distance to achieve them.

2. My ME time
Like enjoying a cup of good coffee over a good book, running is the best time I reflect on the past and present problems. When I am on the road running, anything and everything is like a giant slideshow in my head - family, friends, work, financial problems. Running won't solve all my problems. My financial problems will not magically disappear when I cross the finish line but at least, i feel i am at ease. Research claims, when you run, the feel good hormone, endorphins are release into your system and thus all stress will be "switch-off". 

3. Friendship
It's the camaraderie that forms with running friends - the random new people I've met at training, at races and at the park are now my friends and some become close friends. My social circle expands and running is no longer an alone thingy. Whenever I start running, I'll active my running app on my phone and it automatically send a wall post to my facebook, and friends cheer me on. Some friends think that it's annoying that i am sharing my run on my FB wall, but to some friends, they think my wall post is an encouragement for them to get out of bed on saturday or sunday mornings. 

4. For causes I support
So last November, I joined the Terry Fox Foundation Run. it's my first time running for a cause - a cause that is so dear to my heart. A month before the run, my mom had a recurrence and had to go through another round of chemo and running that short distance and pacing a good friend of mine who was doing her first 5k and furthest run in her life thus far, was filled with so many emotions beyond words. 
on 11.11.12, I ran for a reason. I ran for those who can't. I ran to show my mum, we can fight the battle together

When I found out later in the night that my message was featured on the gigantic board, I couldn't be more delighted - as I was hoping that whomever who have read the message said a little prayer for me and my family.  

my message got featured on the gigantic board

5. Having fun!
Last but not least, running is for fun! When I did my first half marathon in Oct, at 7k, I was cursing myself for signing up for the distance. At 17k, i just felt like giving up - but I hung on. At 20k, with just 200m to go to finish line, i was about to stop running, but with friends who stood nearby cheered me on. I was in so much pain when i cross the finish line and i was so exhausted then... but the joy of completion?? SKY ROCKET HIGH! the pain and the muscle soreness after the long run - i call it the "fun pain"!!! 

First half marathon: That's me in pain, crossing the finish line. YEEHAA!

Last 2 weeks, I did another half marathon but this time is with another best friend of mine! In celebration of our 19 years of friendship and in support of the fairer sex in running, we crossed the line together at 2:48! It's her first sub 3 for a halfie and her PB (personal best) so far! 

on our last 200m to finish line....

last 100m and we are jumping....

That's us floating in the air after crossing the finish line

 with the Marathon Woman - Kathrine Switzer. The first lady that ran the prestigious Boston Marathon and the lady who paved the way for woman to run the distance. 

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" - I took mine, have you?