Posts Tagged ‘journey’

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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)

The Journey of ASM 2012

Posted: February 18, 2012 in Shooting
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Have been wanting to record down all the daily tiny meaningful experiences in this journey of ASM 2012, but the body just don’t have the drive and the mind is lacking on words. It’s been pretty much tiring at the end of each day and all you want is just to have a good rest or enjoy the rest of the day, or rather night, getting some entertainment.

Well, I guess I’ll just do it now. Although the vivid and reliving experiences would probably not be felt as I go on to describe, I guess that’s the best I can do at this point in time. Sigh. Oh well…

The training running up to my matches was intense. Pretty intense. Well, there were official days of training specifically allocated to our formation and on the rest of the days we, basically, took on a position as “squatters” waiting to see if there were spare rounds that we might be able to train with. The bottom line is, we were there at the range everyday and we literally trained everyday, even if it was just a couple of shots, in multiples of ten. No doubt about it, it was definitely tiring. Both physically and mentally. More of the latter though. I remember that during my second week of training, frustration was building when I couldn’t understand why my shots were going haywire and I could not attribute any reasons to the outcome. I started out the week good, and got better the next day. By the third day, I hit a slump, and it got bad the next day and much worse the day after. I was like: “ARGHHHH, what is happening…” It was making me crazy with all the unfathomable outcomes, especially with the sharp declining performance with each day.

So I thought of the endless list of reasons, trying to isolate the cause so that I could perform on the actual day. First, I thought the slump was natural because I have been training everyday, and I lack adequate rest, particularly for the mind. So I accepted the performance and told myself, I must really really rest a lot. But then, I was still insecure. I recalled my first week and realised I cleaned my rifle to the least of a 95% free of carbon at the end of the week. So it might have helped the performance in the beginning of the second week. So I cleaned, disregarding my initial belief of not pulling through the barrel which was probably equally layered with carbon considering how my grouping has been tight on the targets. Still, there was a block in the road. Looking back at this point in time, I think I pretty much lost confidence in myself by the end of that week, letting myself being near-entirely affected by my daily performances.

The weird truth that sports shooters, particularly the rifle shooters, cannot truly do well in shooting with Army rifles. Hmm…well, I don’t know how much truth there is in this matter but I must agree to a certain extent, at least in my opinion. It is just the in-built mindset that has been there since my beginning of sports shooting, is to take your time, get in place, and shoot. You can’t change a mindset in period of less than a month. I mean you can mock it up, and build a temporal routine. But it’s really hard to simply push away a mindset that has been around for like…8 or 9 years? Well, the common belief is that if you are a shooter, air rifle or air pistol or similar in secondary schools or junior colleges, you can shoot well and be a marksman. Hell no…. Okay, maybe yes. But ahh well, it’s a very subjective matter and there’s a whole lot of factors that I’m not even considering to cover here.

The thing is because of this belief, there tends to a self-imposed pressure on oneself, that we are able to do as well in this discipline of shooting, and for ASM or any other similar competitions. It is an invisible expectation people expect to see. But damn it, it’s a No!

Even though, fortunately enough, I got put to compete in the Open category as an individual, the irrelevant pressure still lurks around.

Well, beyond the many pressures, obstacles and roadblocks, there are always an element of surprise in competition. No one knows, but those who expect them and are unperturbed by them will gain the advantage. The saying goes, anything can happen, especially on the actual day. And all that matters, is the very day itself. You could have done well in practice and all the training running up to that very day. But if you lose the ability to compose yourself and remain constant on your emotion graph, it just takes a poke to make you lose balance and zone out of your game. It was interesting to watch how the events and surprises were unfolding itself, the looks and expressions on the faces of the competitors. It was kinda humorous, in a way, I think.

But don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t me that was hit with the surprise on match day. I had mine just the day before. And apparently following, the previous competition I had last month, in January, when I was very ill during the match, this back injury I received before my ASM match, seem to me like a sign. Don’t exactly know what it means though. Well, I nearly didn’t manage to get through the whole ASM 2012, without actually shooting a proper actual official match, be it because of my back injury or the incident on match day. But of course, I did, eventually. And the performance? I would say it’s of total irrelevance. The performance, the outcome, it didn’t matter at all by the time I got my first shot out. I was just purely in the zone to get my routines right, get my actions right, because for all I have prepared, I could have only done that much.

It’s been a wonderful journey. There’s so much more to say. But ASM, it ain’t over. There’s still one more week.

And I thank everyone who’s been involved in giving me the opportunity to journey through this Meet, because it’s just one of the milestone in this year that shows me how much I am wanting my life to change, how much I am wanting to put and see things in a more positive perspective.

Much remains…