Don’t Think, Just Run

I feel like I’ve somewhat passed a strenuous physical exam after recovering from a super strong strain of flu that had my brain dizzy, muscles sore and made me just collapse into a sleeping beauty every night.  My immune system is now super charged and ready to take on what come.  Now it’s time to get ready for the Bangkok Marathon in November.  This week, I’ve started doing extra long runs at the gym. (Not really that long for a professional runner, but long for me)

I usually run two sets of ten minutes in the mornings, but that is really not far at all.  It takes me only roughly a little over a kilometer.  To make 5km, I’m going to have to keep running and running and running. Running for around 40 minutes non-stop.

To do that, this week I’ve been doing running stretches of 20 minutes.  Knowing that my brain would want to give up after ten minutes, I eased myself into running 20 minutes by lowering the speed slightly, but keeping the incline at 1% (so that the treadmill will resemble the outdoor a bit more).

I also had to stop thinking.  Yes, don’t think when you run.

If I think, I always end up stopping.  So I had to keep telling my brain to just ignore the thought process for awhile and kill off the voices from the lazy me inside.  Every five minutes, my lazy me would go through the cycle of trying to talk itself into stopping.

“Five minutes is a nice round number, yes let’s stop here for a bit.”  At this point, my lazy me is smiling and making the stop seem so pleasant.

“No, I’d reply.  Another five minutes then we can stop”  Yes, I trick myself every five minutes to run another five minutes. (I say I’d stop, but actually I won’t, because I’d trick myself again later.)

This self tricking involves not looking at the timer on the treadmill when the seconds count down from 4.56 mins to 4.57mins  to 4.58mins then 4.59mins.  My heart gives a big thump.  I must not give in, no I won’t and so I ignore this awful timer and instead try to look around the room at the other people running and exercising. I look out the window, watch the flickering TV screen and note to myself that the grandpa on the other treadmill seems fitter than me.  By the time I look again it becomes 5.10mins and then I say to myself,

“Haha!! you passed the round number, might as well run to the next round number. You know you are going to feel like a better person for having finished the entire run than giving up on yourself halfway.”

When I finish the run, it is indeed a feeling of accomplishment.  Even though how little the accomplishment, I think it’s a great way to start the day.  You won over yourself and ran a full 20 minutes. You killed the lazy voices, put them in coma.  Next week it’s going to have to start being 25 minute runs.

Yes, lets all stop thinking and just run!  RUN for your health, run for yourself, run for a new life.

Get Ready for the 2011 Bangkok Marathon

This morning while running, I thought about the upcoming Bangkok Marathon.  I have to get a little more serious in my running.  In 53 days, the Bangkok Marathon will be held as it has been for the past few years.  On November 20, 2011 tens of thousands of people will be out running in the wee mornings of the day.  I will be there.  Let’s all be there.  Let’s go out, have some exercise and enjoy the experience.

For those of you who have never joined the marathon, let me tell you this.  Once you’ve experienced it, you will want to keep coming back.  It’s fun, it’s exciting and its open the everyone.  How often do you get to run on the street by the Grand Palace and watch the sunrise?

You don’t have to run the entire 42km marathon.  They have the 10K as well as the 5K for you to choose from.  I will be doing the 5K.  I want to run it all and not walk.

The first time I joined the marathon was 4 years ago, I was unfit, overweight and yes, I let many MANY people pass me by.  One of my most memorable moments was when I was huffling and puffling, red faced and short of breath. Then I looked towards my left and spotted a lady pushing another lady who was sitting on a wheelchair pass me by.  They both looked happy and not in the least bit tired.   That was a “down” moment.  I was overtaken by a lady pushing a wheelchair.   Imagine that.

The second time I joined, I had lost 15K and was running with Alex. I have to tell you the experience was a lot better.  I ran almost halfway before I took a walking break and yes, I finished it all in around 40 minutes which is not too bad for me.  I wasn’t huffling and puffing as much and my heart felt a lot stronger.  It was fun, I met friends, took photos and had a blast of a time.

This year will be third year, and I think I will finish the 5K with an even better timing than the last.  Of course, one must always aim for improvements.

So mark your calendars everyone.  November 20,2011.  Let’s all join the Bangkok Marathon.  Let’s have some “me” time and exercise!

Fear not that you won’t make it.  As a friend said the other day, “Once you start, you’ve gotta finish it.” I totally agree. No matter how long it takes, you will finish it.  Start little, start short distances if you are unsure.  5K is really not much at all. 🙂

Oh, here’s their website!

Cheat Not, Run For Yourself.

It’s a day after the run, and although I only did 5K somehow my legs are still sore.  It must have been the way I “tiptoe” run or perhaps I’m just not used to so much running.  Funny though, even with sore legs,  the exhiliration from the run still lingers on.  I’m still very much stress free and happy.   I ran not for someone else but rather for myself.  It’s something one does to challenge oneself. 

When I signed up for 5K, I knew it wasn’t much at all if you talk to a “real” runner, but for me who a year ago was still 15kgs (32lbs) heavier it was quite something.  I had started running to lose weight.  Prior to that, the last time I remember running was during my childhood days.   I had forgotten how it was to run and be “active.”  So used was I to sitting in my office chair for 10 hours on end staring at the computer screen.  I had derived comfort from sitting, eating, and websurfing.    Sitting was comfortable.   Running was not “my” thing.

Fitter now,  I wanted to see if I could do the 5K.  The weeks running up to the run had been a bit hectic and I had not been training  as much as I should have.   I was nervous and wondered if I should instead lower myself to the 2.5K.    I’m glad it remained a passing thought and that I stayed on track with my 5K.  During the run, I was tempted to cut across the lanes and shorten my run, but then I would only be cheating myself. 

I would not be cheating anyone since this run is for “fun” with no competition.  However, if I had cut across, I would have “cheated” myself.   I would have “cheated” by telling myself that I did 5K when in reality I didn’t.  I would have meant I had taken the easy way out rather than pushing through to the end.  It was not a habit I wanted to have.  A habit that is not good for running, nor for anything else in life.  I believe that if you want to do something, do it with full intention and do it with full effort.  If not, don’t do it.

The run wasn’t really physically tiring, it was mentally challenging.  The brain kept wanting to stop when the body could go on for much more.  It’s an internal battle you just have to beat.  When on my weightloss, the battle was much more intense.  I wanted to stop at every opportunity.   Now the “enemy of lazy bones” has been losing and hopefully they will one day give up the fight. 

What once you feared, upon doing it, it often turns out to be easier than thought.   I’m actually now tempted to do the 10K next year.  If I choose to, I have a year to train.  It won’t kill me.  At worst, I’ll just end up walking.   So that is what running for me is all about.  It’s not only about keeping fit, but its about challenging yourself, challenging your mental attitude, challenging your mind to accomplish what you set out to do.  Reach for your goal and accomplish it!

My 5K Bangkok Marathon

An event I had been looking forward to with much anticipation finally arrived today: The Bangkok Marathon.  The last time I ran (well walked most of it) was two years ago when I was still very chubby and very unfit.  This year, I registered for the 5K and being fitter I wanted to see how I would do. I wanted to see how actually running most of the 5K would turn out to be like.  It was also a fun event that Alex and I could both do together.

The day started out early.  The 5K runners or what they call “micro-marathon” were to start running at 6.20am and due to the massive amount of people, I wanted to get there early.  Roads had been blocked around the beautiful historic area of Bangkok since early morning when the marathoners started out on their 4 hour long run.  Maybe one day I’ll be crazy enough to do it, but for now I am happy with 5K. 

There is a certain feeling of anticipation and unexplicable fun that comes with participating in such a big event.  Driving out towards my destination before the sunrise, when most of the people were still dreaming away in their cosy beds,  I spotted fellow runners in their cars.  You can tell by the shirt they’re wearing and the numbers they have pinned to their shirt.  Then I drive pass roads that had been sectioned off for the runners.  Unexpectedly, I spot a very fit marathoner bicyling to the event in full gear, and another jogging off track, perhaps having a long warm-up.  It makes me feel wonderful to think that so many people can be up early for such a healthy cause.

Upon reaching the starting line, there were massive amounts of people. Everywhere I looked there were people.  People of all ages, all nationalities and all fitness levels.  There were even dogs dressed up for the run and some even had their own number! I love the owner’s sense of fun.  Everyone wanted to be there and most importantly, everyone was happy.  A stage by the starting line was filled with dancers and music.  It was entertaining and fun.  People danced along to the beat, some took photos and some just stood there smiling. The cool morning air was alive with energy. The beautiful backdrop of the Grand Palace shone out in all it’s glory.

Nearing the starting time, you could feel the level of energy increase.  Everyone was waiting for the countdown and that unique blast of the horn that would send tens of thousands of people out onto the roads. Tens of thousands of people running.  I was number 41300 of the 5K.  I think there must have been a hundred thousand people at this event.  The rush of energy that accompanied the horn was incredibly fun.  All of a sudden everyone around you was running and jogging.

I decided I would run slow and keep my pace. I wanted to run for as long as I could before starting to walk. Now in all my running sessions at the fitness, I had never reached 4k, let alone 5K.  This was going to be interesting.  I ran very slow, but the most important thing was to keep the pace going and not walk.  If you stayed constant and steady, you’d be fine.

As I ran, several thoughts kept going through my mind. Of course the lazy me, comes up instantly and starts asking me why I had to subject myself to such a ridiculous amount of running. I ignore it and push on.  Then the complaining me pops into my head and asks me why the course was so long.  I had to run from the Grand Palace to the Democracy Monument, to the United Nations and then back again.  Again I push it out.  Then the stomach aches and the feet aches start coming up.  Oh no, my body wants to stop.  Luckily Alex is besides me and he looks like this run is just a warm up.  For him, this is easy.  He’s looking around and enjoying the view of Historic Bangkok while I’m panting like a panda. He tells me to look at the cute Siberian Husky and the pair of Pugs.  I grunt along.  He pushes me along and I manage to somehow continue on with the run.

I run out of breath at around 2K and need to have a little walk before continuing on.  I’m told I’m not breathing correctly and I run like I’m tiptoeing.  No wonder I tire easily and make loud noises on the treadmill.  I try to adapt the way I run and it gets better but there is much to be improved.

I push along the last leg of the run and finally reach the finish line 40 minutes after I set out.  I’m happy.  Actually, I’m very happy I did manage to Run/Walk the 5K.  It felt extremely tiring during the run, but now it’s done, I wish I could do it again.  There was actually a part where I enjoyed the running, jumping left and right around people, some trees and some people taking pictures.  If only, I could make that part sustainable.

What I liked most about the Marathon though was looking at the faces of everyone around you.  You could see smiles of happiness and satisfaction.  This run made people feel good.  There were families out there running with young kids and some probably in their sixties. There were wheelchair participants, being pushed along.  Everyone here was running because they wanted to.  It was an event open to all.   It was good for your health, both body and mind.

I have to say that its definitely an event to be remembered.  Sometimes we need events like these to remind us how good life is. Happiness can be had from the simplest things.  Simple things such as running.  All you need is pair of running shoes, some socks, and an open mind. 🙂 Happy Running!