At Parkway’s Starbucks, watching whose line is it anyway. Sipping a toffee nut latte.

oops, not matching with the title!!! K back to the topic =P

Alright, this is a week overdue. The standard chartered marathon highlights

Even though I’ve run many races, and this is my fourth marathon. This is the race that had the most mishaps and later: the most lessons to learn,

One: complacency, cos every race I’ve ran before this went smoothly. I got lulled into a sense of complacency thinking this is gonna be so smooth like before.

As they say: pride comes before a fall. And that complacency affected my preparations.

On the race day, I’ll list the series of mishaps:

First: Only got one hour of sleep (bad news, you’ll need strength to last a long race)

Second: Ate the wrong food to carbo-load (chicken was oily, too much pasta to digest before the race)

Third: Drank Red Bull to boost my strength (backfired later)

Fourth: didn’t check my stuff properly (only brought one sock, discovered just before the start and had to improvise with a bulky one)

Yep, in a nutshell that was complacency. Next: Nasty surprises

The first 2 km of the run involved a slight (considerable upslope along taka, heeren and istana. Then a 500m stretch through fort canning tunnel) bump and humid weather.

Then the first problem, the red bull hangover kicked in. (the feel like dying feeling)

then at 6km, due to bad choices of food, felt like puking. (The bile was in my mouth and the contents actually forced it’s way up, had to spit it out at 8km)

Next, the yoghurt I ate yesterday (intended to take effect JUST before the race took effect two hours late) reacted and i need to like: GO. And it I ran with ‘excess baggage’ for 15 minutes looking for the gents.

As if it wasn’t bad enough, losing about 10-15 minutes of time. I got hungry and thirsty and my body simply rebelled: Almost puked the banana I took, couldn’t swallow the 100plus and water (that kinda feeling you know your body needs it, but just refuses to take it).

And the last straw, becoming mentally and physically exhausted at 16km, way below my breaking point.

One thing is, the mind is a strong influence of your body, and if your mind is set loose on its own. Nasty things can happen: It started to dwell on all the bad stuff that has happened and I was exhausted. And eventually doubts crept into my head:

‘What if I can’t finish’?

‘You’re weak!!!’

‘It doesn’t feel good does it?’

‘I don’t think you’re gonna beat your timing hector’

And the last straw:

‘Why don’t you just give up, you’re not gonna make it!!!’

‘Hector boy, for your safety, you better fall out, give up!!!’

‘Don’t run anymore, why bother, just like your studies, you’re not good at anything anymore bro, you’re a failure’

Those were the thoughts in my head. And fear has its way of inhibiting, limiting your performance, and your potential.

And for the first time, I had tears welling up in my eyes, even while running with all those fears jamming  my head and heart.

And then the most miraculous thing yet happened:

I started to cry out to God with my thoughts: ‘God, I’m really afraid. I’m so scared!!!’

“no child, you’re brave”

‘I’m so scared now!!!’

“You’ll finish this race”

‘How? I had a poor start!!!’

‘You’ll finish stronger than before’

then the most shocking, reassuring answer:

‘how can I do it—-‘

“You’ve already done it child’

That got me quiet……. As if I’ve already done it??!! Has God saw how I’ll finish?

(And if you’ve noticed, he didn’t let me finish my negative thoughts. And he cancelled them with positive ones as soon as I’ve finished mine)

So I kept running, even when I’ve hit my breaking point, his promise and words took on a new meaning, they’ve become my rock, my foundation even when everything seems to be going wrong!!

And times I’ve thought of slowing down, in comes a random runner with an encouraging message which goes along the line of: God is my strength, Isaiah 40:29-31, etcetc. Such strategic times……

And so I kept pushing on, even when the sun came out, even when the pain becomes excruciating. Even when running up the sheares bridge #$%!!!(the last thing you wanna face with the hot sun and 10,000 other twang runners).

Finally, I’ve finished at 4h 54mins.

Despite every mishap, every bad thing that has happened, I still finished under 5 hours.

Race result

God is indeed very good, his words give hope, strength, in ways unimaginable. Even when all goes wrong, once God takes charge: everything’ll be alright =)

Which here lies one valuable lesson:

When fear strikes, it’s very easy to turn away, run away and hide. It’s ok, it’s normal. But no matter how far you’ve run, it’ll always remain there until it’s overcome.

What do you do? The only way to deal with it is to meet it head on: take it on and face it. Better yet, talk to God , ask him, how. And his word will be the answer. He is your strength!! And no matter how fearful you are, facing it will give you courage, believe me. You can do it.

And it needn’t be in an endurance sport, it can be in areas of major weakness: Habits, fears, weaknesses, physical disabilities, phobias, emotions……. Take them all on, they may look big. But always remember God’s B-I-G-G-E-R.

And our dear Mr S.A.TAN is a Wayang King!!! Ignore him, shut him up, he won’t help, so don’t help him put yourself down.

Speaking of facing fears:

I’m gonna take on my biggest one yet: The 100 km. This distance put alot of fear in me.

But hell, I’m gonna conquer this mountain. (Learnt my lesson, gonna prepare carefully this time round;) )