Monday, May 2, 2011

My Affair With That Thing Called Running

Sometimes it amazes me to see the distances some of my online running friends can do in a week. I'm simply astonished and have the utmost respect for them. Here I am, a 44 year old, at times struggling with my pace and distances and there I see some incredible runner going out and doing an amazing 55K run or even running ultra-marathons!

How do these guys do it? What I wouldn't give to be able to run distances like that. I've recently (over the past one year) started falling in love with running all over again. I started running way back in 1989 when my best buddy first dragged me to take part in the PJ Half Marathon. I was unprepared, untrained and knew next to nothing about running let alone a half marathon.

But being young and all that, I still somehow managed to muster the energy and strength to actually complete the PJ half marathon within the qualifying time and came in with a respectable time (well, at least for a newbie like me anyway) of 2:29:38. Though I was practically crawling across the finish line I was simply overjoyed that I actually ran my first ever half marathon.

That was when I fell in love with the sport of running and vowed that I would come back next year and do much better. And I did do better the next year. I was training religiously all year and completed my second edition of the PJ Half in 2:11:28 coming out in position 671. I still even have my bib numbers and the certs to this very day :D

Back then I used to run every morning along with my buddy and we were constantly racing each other to do better. Our running route those days started from section 8 taking us through the hilly parts of section 5 all the way through the federal highway and ending back at his house. Though these days running on the federal highway would prove suicidal.

It was a fun time. All we talked about was running. Weekends were reserved for running. I remember a time when he wanted to see his girlfriend who lived in Subang Jaya and instead of taking a bus to go see her, we decided to run there, hang out with her and then run back home covering a distance of 21K ... LOL! We were crazy about running back then.

Then work and other commitments came along and running started taking a back seat altogether. Soon, I completely stopped running. That was when the pounds started piling up and though I tried to get started again numerous times but always ended up making all sorts of excuses for not running. It also didn't help that I didn't have a running buddy to spur me on anymore.

It went on that way for years on end until last year when wifey and me decided that we're not young anymore and need to start taking care of our health again. We both started working out and getting in some running. Not far at first, just a kilometer or two and soon the passion I felt for running started slowly coming back to me.

I started increasing the intensity of my training to try and get back to some semblance of my running days of the past. I knew I wouldn't be able to get back the youth and stamina I had back then but I was adamant to try. Besides, now I have a running buddy to spur me on again namely my wife who equally shares my passion for running.

After a year of rediscovering my love for running, I'm happy to say that I'm running faster, better and longer than I've ever been in youth. All that hard work that I put in the past year is slowly but surely having an effect. I totally forgot how much I enjoyed running. I can't even imagine why I stopped running in the first place. I suppose I just used 'no time' as an excuse to not run. I believe you can always make time for anything. It's whether you want to or not.

While I'm enjoying myself considerably with my running again, I'm still being a little careful to avoid injuries. At my age, injuries is something that I worry about quite a bit. After the bout of shin splints that I suffered a few months back from over training, I'm a little more cautious and am just taking things progressively with my running.

Which is why I'm utterly in awe of you guys and girls who run countless of kilometers a week and are doing it on a daily basis. You guys are an inspiration. I have a couple of aims that I intend to accomplish starting with trying to run and hopefully finish my first ever marathon before the end of this year or early next year and if I'm still up to it, maybe an ultra-marathon one day. As much as I would love to take part in a triathlon, I simply cannot swim so that's out of the question. A duathlon is more of an option for me.

All that said and done, I'm blessed to have a wife who shares my passion for running and encourages me to keep on running and to not give up on my dreams of running a marathon. There is one more dream that I have which to me is the most important of all, which is to cross the finish line of a marathon along with her :D

8 comments:

  1. Struggling pace? LIES!!! 5 mins for 10km or more, I'm jealous. I actually started running when I was younger but my academic was falling out that my dad went all strict that I had to stop focusing on sports. Only got back on my feet in the past year. I think the weight got to me. Initially just wanted to lose some kg but end up running for passion.

    And yes, you get even motivated when you have friends. I mean tons of em. I manage to meet some new friends through running, who cheered on me during the marathon, I think everytime I wanted to stop, they kept me going. I owe it to them for the motivation to be better.

    I think my comment is a bit long lmao. Running conversations/topic gets me excited. I like this post.

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  2. Good stuff Nick, i can relate to your writing, especially the injuries issues, since my injuries last year i'm more concern on finishing any race/trainings injury free.

    Good luck on your 1st FM, i shared the same belief on Evolution rather than Revolution, took me a year for my 1st FM, and never looked back since.

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  3. Maslight - It's a struggle to keep doing that pace you know ... LOL! But seriously, I wish I could do a much faster pace.

    It's always good to have friends to motivate you. The great thing is everyone in the running circle are a great bunch of people who are not selfish and are every ready to give you a tip or two and some words of encouragement. Now if only the rest of the world was like that :D

    No worries about long comments. I get excited when I talk about running too ... LOL!

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  4. Ray - Injuries, especially at my age is one of my most worrying thoughts. I subscribe to the take it slow and easy approach and you'll get there eventually.

    One year to finish your 1st FM? Now that is encouraging news :D Hopefully I'll be able to do it before the end of this year :D

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  5. well PBIM is a very good venue for the Virgin Marathon ..good luck and see u there at the starting line :)

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  6. Ray - Keeping my fingers crossed :)

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  7. Hey Nick!! :) I am going to put Happy Feet on my blog stalk list! So watch out for my long comments that I'm known for! LOL!

    Anyways, I used to do the 800m, 1500m at school last time.. Although the 1500m was just a "reserve" position. I used to jog during college, then again after I gave birth to Buddy (for vanity reasons of course).

    But then I stopped like every other lazy hag out there after Allie was born. I work out to try to shed those pounds and it was fun.. for a while.. then with Massy and Nessa and you going all marathoning on me, I gave in and started running at Subang Park. And like every gullible beginners, I fell in love with it too.

    On days that I can't go to Subang Park, I just use the condo's gym to try and up my speed and all. But I hope today it won't rain so I can go... I'm doing this From Couch Potato to 5km training on CoolRunning.com.

    So hopefully after 9 weeks, I can do 5km (I know, a baby's marathon for you) but I hope I can manage to do it and upgrade from there.

    Will be checking out more running tips and stories on Happy Feet from now on. Told ya... me and my long comments. :\

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  8. Shemah - LOL! Don't worry, I'm used to your long comments ... hehehe ...

    It doesn't matter if you do a 5K or even a 2k, running is running :D Glad that you're into running these days.

    The more people who run, the better this world will be cos runners are all a friendly lot of people :D

    Start small, a 5K is just right and then work your way up and soon you'll be hitting the miles like you won't believe :D

    I'm no pro but I'll share whatever tips I have here anytime.

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