Archive for the ‘Life Struggles’ Category

IMG_4041

IMG_4044IMG_4046


5 July 2015. It’s the completion of yet another milestone – my first Full Marathon; 42.195km; Osim Sundown Marathon 2015.

Gun Time: 6:49:18 | Race time: 6:39:17

To some, it may have been their x number of times. To some, it may also have been their first. And to the seasoned ones, it probably would have been another training, a race to improve their personal bests, or to compete with other fellow athletes. Whatever the reason may be, the experience for me was a refreshing one, albeit nowhere near easy.

I think the race couldn’t have taken place more aptly at this point in time. A point in time, where in which recently I am filled with much uncertainty and yet another dose of douse in confidence. I had the time to indulge in my thoughts as I spent that 6.5 hours conquering that gruelling distance and also relate to what happened along the way. I truly thank God for the strength He has given me to keep on going, the will to keep on fighting, and His loving grace to lift me up through such a struggle.

The time I spent training for this race was also a struggle. But in no way, could those training experiences culminate to the experience of this one long journey (not the longest marathon, but for me, the longest I’ve ever ran.)

Exciting as it may be, awaiting to get flagged off. Mind’s ready. Body’s ready. 42.195km right? Easy peasy right? We can do it. You feel the excitement, the readiness, all geared up and ready to go. And then we’re off! Pacing oneself, not too fast, not too slow. Just at a comfortable pace, without tiring yourself.

And then to my unbelievable surprise, the route took a painstakingly steep uphill already at the initial kilometres. One that even machines with horsepower will indefinitely decelerate. Let alone human legs. I think, though, this was indicated on the running route given. I probably didn’t took notice of it and thus, my jaw-dropping and bulging eyes. Talk about surprises. This was one surprise I wasn’t prepared for. But I took it in, like all the rest did, and trudged on.

And soon after, hell began. Pardon my language here, but there’s no better way to put this. The next stretch of distance which amounts to about 20km is the bitch. It’s the part that never seems to end and you just gotta keep going and going and going. At least in this case, you know you’ll come to the point where that 20km will come to a close.

It’s only some time into that 20km, probably 2-3km in? That I already felt.. the temptation to stop running. That was only somewhat 7km or so. And damn, I thought to myself: Am I seriously even able to finish this? Doubts were already setting in. I had to satisfy my hunger. Downed 2 bananas at the next hydration station and only to realise I couldn’t run until they digested. So I took the next half an hour to sort out my thoughts, and kept walking, fast walk. Not brisk walk yet.

And when I got back on pace, it was already 3am in the morning. About 2 hours into the gun time. So the alternating paces began. Brisk Walk, Brisk Run, Brisk Walk, Brisk Run. 4km. And then, Fast Walk. 1km. Seemed to work out pretty well. And I kept going on. Then I hit my half-marathon distance. The lactic in the quads, in the shin, in my extensors. I started doing stretches just before the fast walks.

The lactic, though, wasn’t letting up. They built up, more and more, as I kept going on. And the journey, obviously, got tougher and tougher. I prayed. For strength. For Resilience. I wasn’t ready to give up. I wasn’t intending to. I would be lying, if I said that the thought of falling out and throwing in the towel altogether didn’t cross my mind.

Look around you. So many people fighting on. People even as old as 70+? 80+ probably? You can give all sort of excuses to stop. But they aren’t, are they? The crew are cheering on for you. Strangers, who aren’t even crew, supporting and cheering, providing coffee, chocolate milk, etc. What’s all these?

How can I fail with an army behind? It’s not a statement of expectation. It’s a declaration of the heartwarming support from the world. Faith. Hope. and Love.

For many bits during the run, the warmth of those thoughts damped my eyes.

I pressed on.

And on.

30km. I’m en-route. Time to plug in to rock to the beat of my running music. A surge of energy with the beats driving the mind. I was ready to conquer the last 12.195km.

But things seems to always fall short of the optimism. 33km. I was hit hard. The lactic is so saturated in my shin and quads. I can’t barely run. I was so ready to bring down the final 10km with ease. But as it turned out, this is probably the worst 10km I’ve ever done in my life.

I’m pushing to run. The legs cried the otherwise. They wanted to stop. So close. So close to the finish line. There was no way I was stopping. I kept walking. I would even crawl or roll to the finish line, if I had to (obviously, I didn’t. But I was prepared to.)

Rests and breaks became more inherent. Stretches relieved the lactic temporarily. But only enough to cover 1km or so.

And then, 2 more touching acts reached out to me. Muscle-tension relief spray at Marina Barrage from non-crew. 37km. And then slightly before 38km, a fellow runner offered me muscle rub, when I took to a seat along the route at Gardens by the Bay. Although I kinda declined the offer for the latter, I am thankful and grateful to both.

4km to go. Just gotta keep walking.

And what was surprising? I was actually still on target for my goal time.

By the time I reached the floating platform, I knew the end was near. Though not in sight as yet, it was less than a kilometres away. I was ready. Ready to unleash my rolling finish. I’ll never walk to cross the finish line.

Sun was up. I gathered some moments to take in the heat. Warm up the cold and exhausted body for one last, final burst. And off I went with small paces. 42km marked. 195 metres more. There it went, the final sprint. BOOMED!!

Pain aside. Fatigue aside. I ran all out. (even with a constipated facial expression)

I am to proud to say I am officially and certainly a finisher of a full marathon!!

Thank you. Thank you God. Thank you everyone.

I’ll be back.. for more.. next year..

(Deutsche Version kommt später)

when was my last post? Let’s see…it’s coming to almost a year since I last posted.

I was actually contemplating whether to even log in and type something, because it’s definitely gonna be nothing short of a super lengthy post, considering the length of hiatus from this blog, and I still have to catch up on my online lectures for engineering mathematics (and also the quizzes to complete!!!)

but i guess if I am here, I’ve made that decision to type, and it has to be that important to reflect on how it has been for the past 11+ months.

So I started working full-time in mid Oct 2012 and at the same time, started learning German. And then work started to get monotonous and repetitive. Same stuff, same tasks with the occasional challenges that makes the brain tick. But as soon as the brain gets by the learning stage and logs them under the automation stage, it becomes peanuts. And then the brain just switches off on weekdays. Sounds like a real easy time for me, isn’t it?

On the contrary, i would say it’s kinda depriving for me. I don’t feel motivated. So much so that I demanded more from myself in learning German. So much so that I took 3 lessons per week for a term, an evening during weekdays and 2 back-to-back lessons with a lunch break on Saturday.  On one hand, I was definitely in need of reaching the advance level asap, on the other hand, it is really kinda crazy to do so, while you’re still working full-time. Well, not that I minded anyone terming me as crazy. But I still managed it, in the end. Fulfilling but exhausting. So I continued with 2 courses per week, until mid-October.

Then July came, applications to dual study programs in Germany opened. Applied 3. but already 2 rejected outcomes. As if the application process wasn’t already tough enough, because I had to juggle between German homework, 8-hours of work life, and translating my applications from English to German and ensuring they sound grammatically correct in German with the help of my sister’s fiancé, I had to have a phone interview, fully in German for almost an hour. God helped me, I don’t know how I survived it. All I knew was that I was drained the next 2 days.

And then November came, 2 months of no-pay leave, in order for me to further continue my German course in Germany. And that’s where I am typing from now. It’s exciting to know that your classmates come from all over the world, though mostly from Europe. But it’s also kinda intimidating when you’re put into such an environment for the first time, especially when it’s much different from studying in a university where you’ll probably meet common people. I don’t know what I am exactly trying to describe here actually. I am saying, it’s neither bad nor really great. It’s just kinda like being thrown onto a deserted island, just not so stone-aged.

….there’s so much bleakness lying around here recently. I want to pursue mech engrg yet I don’t have a confirmed place to study. Not yet. I need an advance level certification on my German proficiency but I’m still struggling to become fluent. (but this takes times, seriously. I know that.) And then comes the troubling issue…

Throughout this time, throughout this 11+ months, I feel like I’m simply pursuing challenge after challenge, demanding more and more out of each time, testing my limits, and being conscious that I am able to succeed from one to another. Somehow it sounds like I’m filling my own ego here. And right now, my biggest toughest challenge stands in front of me, to get uni placing. But the point is, so what if I get the placing, so what if I can complete the challenge successfully? Yes, I do get a place to study what I want to pursue. But am I really feeling the true happiness in successfully completing the challenge? Perhaps, just perhaps, not.

It almost feels like I’m hopping around from one dot to another aimlessly and haphazardly. I don’t feel the rootedness and the connection to my soul. I feel different when I go for training sessions for NP and when I’m suited up to pull the trigger. I feel different when I’m behind the wheel, envisioning the development of my driving techniques. That difference in feeling while pursuing a passion and knowing this is what you want to do. Am I simply missing what I have put aside for too long? Or am I oppressing my own passions?

Or maybe I’m just too impatient?

I need to get back into action with these passions, which simply defines me, engages me, and excites me. I am gonna have to find a way to integrate seeking sports excellence and adrenaline with how I can contribute and impact the society in a better way. Looks like this is yet another challenge, that awaits me.

..that is, if I’m able to get out of this maze.