Posts Tagged ‘life lessons’

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)

It’s over. A week of matches. A month of intensive training. And all the effort. It has all come to end on this day. 13 July 2012, Friday.

Wonder when will it ever be the next time I pick up an Air Rifle or a Free Rifle, again. I got a good feeling it won’t be a long wait anyway.

The week has been tiring, physically and mentally. I believe it is for any athlete who shoots 3 events in a week! Perhaps, it dawns on me because it’s really my first go at competing 3 events in one whole week. Afterall, it starts with the most exhausting event, 3 positions, followed by the toughest mental game: 10m Air Rifle and end it of with…the most precise game: prone? Haha.

Hectic, tiring, frustrating. I mean imagine staying on the north-eastern part of this island and waking up hours early and just to reach the range which is all the way on the WEST!! before the start time. That’s zombifyingly tiring? What about battling the peak hour heavy traffic of the expressway? God, it’s like you don’t even know you can get to the range on time even if you move out of your house like nearly 1.5 hours before the start time. 1.5 hours?!!! A journey which usually takes me 25 mins to drive on smooth traffic conditions, takes me nearly 3 times more!

Well, now if I start looking at why monthly shoots are put on Sundays, yeah, I think it’s a good idea.

Stash the morning rush and frustration aside, now let’s shift to performance of each event.

50m FR-3P:
Prone: 92 94 93 94 373 11x
Standing: 82 89 91 85 347 1x
Kneeling: 87 88 887 83 345 4x
Total: 1065

Final: 6.5 5.9 6.1 9.7 10.2 0.0 4.5 6.9 10.2 6.5 66.5
3P+ Final: 1131.5

10m ARM:
88 90 91 92 92 91 544 13x

50m FRP:
93 98 96 96 93 89 565 18x

3P was a good improvement. Not major. But decent, in comparison to my previous monthly shoot in April. And the fact that it’s my second 3P shoot. So honestly, I don’t have much to complain about except for my prone, which is, well, could be better.

AIR RIFLE. SIGH. seriously, I think this cannot get any much more  indecent. Can’t even remember when was the last time I managed a 540+. Okay, I can. Back in January for Inter-formation, but that was because I was too severely ill. DISASTROUS. RIDICULOUS. Damn, throw in any word in your vocabulary to describe this outrageous performance. 540 scores have to end and so does 550. It’s time to throw them in the history books and seal them deep underground. Goodbye.

And finally, we come to prone, which was today. Not the best. Not the worst, definitely. But it was pretty well done, except for the last series which somehow, a 7 happily pops out. Got off to quite a bad start. But thanks to 3M’s stick-it notes, wrote some stuff down and just stuck them at the firing line, read & visualised the steps in my head as I shot. And it ran through my 2nd, 3rd and 4th series. Then, the rhythm broke.

The team got 2nd for both 3P and prone. But I am not ignoring the fact that there were only 3 teams. The silver was probably just a….well, it didn’t felt honorable to me. It just wasn’t well competed for. Maybe a bit for prone, especially since we’re 6 points behind! But 3P is just far far away.

But still, I must thank all who encouraged and gave me pointers along the way. Particularly, I think Uncle Kasmijan deserves most credit for constantly harping on the points, that I’ve already known, but truthfully, emotions took over and disregarded them. These points are essential. But emotions…still seems to be quite an issue.

Reflections

Somehow, 2012 seems to be a year of many revelations.

First was Inter-formation, where I was made to appreciate more.
Then the Army Shooting Meet, where I was given the opportunity to see and experience.
Now, it’s this. My own game. My greatest opponent. My greatest fear. Myself.

10th year.
Not very long.
But long enough,
to know what’s going on inside of me
to see what truly needs help
to feel my true strength

Fear. Self-Doubt. Diminished confidence. Self-demeaning words.
These are big words and they are not to be under-estimated. They trampled over me. Undermining my potential. Stabbing a knife into my confidence. Ripped away what I could have. But that’s past.

No more. It ends here.

I will face you head-on. YOU WILL NEVER EVER PUT YOUR WEIGHT OVER ME, never again.
Yes, there are times that I must admit, it’s not good enough.
But it’s NEVER AN ALWAYS. SCREW YOU, BLOODY WORDS.

I HAVE BEEN GOOD. MANY TIMES. AND I AM WAY BETTER THAN YOU THINK.
SO GET THE DAMN HELL OUT OF MY HEAD. OR THOU SHALL RE-IGNITE THE PAST FLAMES and BURN YOU DOWN, ONE BY ONE. not even a dot left on any alphabet.

No more hesitation. No more being nice. There’s a limit to everything. And my limit’s reached.

I am myself.
I am what I am.
I am Dennis Tan.
And I am good. Not just good. Very good.

My game is a silent battle and the playground’s over at the range.

No time to waste. It’s time to roar and….
.
.
.
BANGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!

 

p.s. i think i seriously need a coach. argh.

Singapore Open Shooting Championships 2012 is starting this weekend with all the administration procedures on registration and equipment control.

And as far as I know, I am shooting all 3 rifle events in this competition; namely 10m Air Rifle, 50m Free Rifle Prone and 50m Free Rifle 3-Positions.

Am I ready? Honestly, no. I am not mentally ready. As a matter of fact, I am coming down with a lot of pre-competition pressure and stress. Totally unnecessary. Apart from 3P, I think 10m AR and 50m prone ain’t gonna be a problem at all. Technically that is.

This is killing me. It’s really breaking me down. I feel like my brain is heading for a meltdown.

Cause? One word: Expectations.

Normally, having expectations are good. It gets you motivated, sets you at doing something and drives you towards it. But there are times, when our own expectations thread beyond the safety zone and crosses into where danger lurks. Over-expectations lead to unnecessary pressure, stress, anxiety, inhibitive reactions, etc. Puts an athlete really at the edge and eventually when he breaks, his brains will just bust. Even if he doesn’t, the performance will just go way under. Frustration’s gonna build up and self-confidence is gonna take a big dip with all the self-blame on oneself.

Oh mannn…

This is all what I am suffering right now. Well, at least the only consolation I get is that I am still sane enough to know and identify before I really go crazy.

Damn. this sucks. Sigh.

I need to do something that detaches me totally off the expectations pre-conceived in this head of mine. I need to enjoy the game. And seriously, I can’t remember when was the last time I truly enjoyed the game.

End quote: Too much expectations = more disappointment. Just get in the game, and have fun. (note to self)