Going The Distance

Completed a 10km run, checked! 

I always wanted to feel how it was like to participate in a large-scale running event, so I signed up 2 months prior to the event since my sister was running in the same event as well. Running such a long distance used to be such an impossible task, given the me who couldn’t pass the timing for 2.4km run during Senior High days. But since going through the training in BMT as a recruit, along with some occasional OTOT runs during the weekends, my timing for 2.4km dropped drastically, and I could feel my speed and stamina improving. But still, the training in army itself isn’t going to be sufficient in helping me complete that 10km run, so I had to do my own training. But where do I start…

After signing up, the next weekend I immediately went for a run since I didn’t have much time to train, not to mention that I had to start from scratch. I did a little research as well as read up in the library for any running techniques and anything related which would help me train up (can’t help the nerd inside of me LOL :X). So after which, for every weekend run I tried to increase my mileage by 1km, and running around the Kembangan track became a weekend routine. I didn’t have any secret training, I just ran and enjoyed being able to run and see civilization  instead of the various buildings and boring scenery back in camp. Also in camp, it’s hard to find a running buddy as literally no one likes to run in my platoon, so I’m forced to run shorter distances than I want to run. Originally my aim was to complete the 10km run within 50mins but I changed it to 55 mins after realizing how lousy my body was LOL. Unfortunately, I fell on my tailbone a few days while playing basketball in camp before the race, and I had to lower my expectations even further to completing it within 1 hour as sudden movement of the legs would incur pain to my back. But the race must go on, and I have gone too far to giving up due to just slight discomfort…

In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.
-Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

Hopping onto raceday itself, it was horrible to wake up so early on a Sunday morning, but I guess I would have to get used to it if I were to participate in future races. I properly hydrated myself, while munching on a banana, and off I went to the race venue. It was an exhilarating experience to participate in such a race, as they were thousands of people present at the venue. I met one of my signal mates there, as well as Scorpion 2IC Naja (you fucking kabai!). After a little warm-up, I was off to my first ever race, and the adrenaline was there. I started perhaps too fast, since I was overly excited and wanted a good timing. Along the route, there were drink stations to provide us with 100 Plus, and there were several volunteers who were cheering us on, which were both pluses and welcomed when you are tired and losing motivation. Around the 4km point, I started to slow down as the legs started to wear out, mainly due to me not pacing myself properly. As we moved onto the beach, running on sand was a total new experience to me, as more energy is required to spring forward as with every step, you sink into the sand. Coincidentally, I was on part of 24km route march to POP just a few months ago, nostalgic ttm! After passing the 9km mark, I was a little down as I knew I wasn’t at my best condition and my timing would probably be over the hour mark. To my surprise, I saw the big clock at the end-point and it was around the 58 min mark. Knowing that gave me some motivation and I sprinted forth down the final stretch, rewarding myself with the cans of 100 Plus and a banana given to those who just completed the run. I was too tired to do my usual cool down (which I regretted for a week), but there was this sense of accomplishment after finishing. Usually on a Sunday morning I would be at home sleeping, but for that Sunday, I was outside doing something which I have always wanted to do, run a race. After the months of training, I achieved my goal: Finish the race, along with a respectable timing, and learnt much more…

I only decided to pick up running again due to this event, and it was one of the best decisions I made in my life. Before, I used to run a little, but with little progress as I was stuck doing 2-3km every time I run due to my poor fitness level. After months of running during BMT through the dreaded AGR and speed training, my fitness level was well enough for me to have a good run for at least 30 minutes. Running has a lot of benefits and it’s like a all-in-one package for me. Running is one exercise which burns a lot of calories (STILL TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT), and feeling the rush of  “runner’s adrenaline” is what really makes me look forward to running. Also, when I run, it seems like it’s just the track in front me of me and nothing else, so it help me clears the clogged head of mines. I know that I may not be the type who looks like a runner, nor the fastest person out there, but hey I took up running as a hobby, just to relax myself from everyday life and participating in events give a sense of accomplishment, since not everyone out there can simply run that long distance.

So here’s a reminder to myself for future runs:

1) Have enough sleep

2) Drink lots and lots and lots of water the day before

3) Do proper warm up and cool down

4) Pace myself, wear a watch if needed

The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.

-John Bingham

Already looking forward to my next running event: 2012 Standard Chartered Marathon. Let’s go fighting!


Conquering As, and more

I realised that I blogged A LOT regarding me studying for the stupid A-level exams, but never really consolidated my thoughts into 1 post. So this would be my final post regarding this and I can finally put a close into this chapter of life. For those who are taking their A-levels soon or in a few years, this is just a recount of my experience taking the exams and what went right/wrong for me, which you might want to read if you want a perspective of how your 2 years will be. (sorry again for the repetitiveness of this topic ><)

Just a piece of paper with random alphabets on it LOL

AAAAD, with PW that’s 5As. It’s not straight As, but with that score I can go to any course that I wanted to go in. At first, this score didn’t seem really much relatively in school, with many scoring 6,7, and 8As. But when I went to BMT and SI, I found out many would die for my grades. Some didn’t even got a single A, or worse not even a B. I was proud to said that I did my best, no regrets, even the stupid D in GP will make me need to do English modules. Many others probably have many regrets, such as not studying hard enough etc, so I’m definitely contended with what I achieved, not simply because my results were good, it’s because I knew that I did my best and gave it my all, so there was little that I could have changed regarding the outcome. The main reason that I was happy with my results wasn’t because that they were As, but throughout my 2 years in JC, achieving these grades has thought me much more. Especially in the Singaporean society where results are expected from you and looked upon a lot, many cracked under the pressure and didn’t manage to do their best. Both of my parents, especially my mother, are no exception. My dad considered me as one who was “academically challenged”, and didn’t really expect much from me, while my mom just wanted me to be able to go into a university, so I was fortunate to not have been pressured so much as compared to some of my schoolmates. Getting such results really made them happy, and for the first time in a long time, I was glad I didn’t let them down and actually made them feel proud of me. If there are people who you don’t want to disappoint, the top of the list would be your parents, since you owe them so much. *stares at my sister* Ok you beat my PSLE score, try scoring better than me in the As HAHA! 😛

I was also pessimistic whether studying hard will equate to results. But after the exams, I’m a believer total believer. If you think you can’t do it, then you will never be able to do it. Nothing is free in the world, if you want something, you got to work hard for it. There is no shortcut to success, but since people expect so much from us, many try to find these shortcuts. “There are no such things as dumb people, only people who are lazy.” I remembered this quote from Ban Ki-moon while watching YongSeo. People who don’t do well naturally give up and pushing the blame to lousy teachers/notes/ themselves not being “smart” enough. Keep this in mind, you are not born dumb. Sure, you may take more time to learn and understand things, but don’t use it as an excuse and give up easily. I’m a slow learner myself, as exhibited during BMT where I had a 1 hour personal session with Sgt Wenbo in rifle assembling and my constant SOC screw-ups. During my Signals course, I didn’t study at all and got below average scores (but good enough to pass), which shows what could have possibly happened for As if I didn’t get that wake-up call (which I’m seriously forever grateful for). Many like to tease me about being a smarty-pants due to my results. I never, ever considered myself a smart guy. I see myself as simply someone whose hard work paid off. The first thing you need to realise is that only you can help yourself, and if you have given up, you lost the battle already. Believe in yourself that you can do it, and half the battle is won already. Drill that new mentality into your head, and do what you have to do to achieve your goals. For myself, I always used the brick wall analogy and apply it to anything I face in life. If you want something, show it how badly you want it.

Regarding the studying part, I didn’t exactly mug my ass off for those grades (as many thought I did), it was more of studying smart and consistency. I was watching K-videos and poker videos during the exams period, not to mention the K-dramas and variety shows I watched. You can’t study all the time, so do reward yourself with breaks. Most importantly, as hard as it may seem, studying can be an enjoyable thing. Head to your favorite mugging place along with a friend or two, plug in your earphones with some awesome music, equipped with pens and highlighters and you are all set to go! I talked with many teachers since a group of people I know didn’t do well and I had to point out their problems. Most force themselves to study, which shows the importance of finding your area of passion in university so that you won’t find studying a chore. Some lack focus, so if you are going to do something, might as well do it properly. Do it once, do it well. There isn’t really a fool-proof method on acing exams, as everyone has their own way/style of studying. Your 2 years in JC is going to fly fast, and remember that your results come in first priority. Don’t compromise it, or it will haunt you forever. I learnt a lot a hell lot about myself and the virtues of life that simply was there, just that I didn’t follow. How “enriching” your life is not determined by your social circle/your results/the things you have. Life is all about improving yourself, and finding joy and happiness along the way. (But of course unless you’re a Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, I suggest sticking to studying no matter how much you may hate it)

When you think like you can’t do it and just give up (this applies to anything in life), sometimes you just have to ignore all these negative thoughts which only make things worse, be more positive and put this optimism into your actions, and say: “I can do it, watch me!”