The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

I think Running Wolf has returned……..

on February 9, 2015

“I think my marathon training days are over. I think they are. Right now, I haven’t the energy or commitment to even consider a half marathon, which is quite a good distance. Not far enough to make you cry but not short enough you have to sprint. But one day I’ll be ready for it……..”
April 2014

This is an excerpt from a post I wrote in April last year about my days of long distance running titled ‘My name is Running Wolf’ http://wp.me/p3Os6f-oA

IMG_2765

This Saturday, almost ten months to the day I wrote that post, I’ll be running in the Brooks Marina Half Marathon. It’s just five days away and I’m half nervous and half excited. I guess it’s the anticipation building up that comes with every race you enter. Helps get the adrenaline going.

So how did that happen after feeling quite sure that 5km was hard enough work in this 30 degree tropical heat?

I spent three months last summer without doing any running at all. Not even a half hearted ten minute plod. I had a chest infection that just wouldn’t clear and it was annoying. I thought it was my body responding to Embracing Forty. I quickly felt unfit, lardy and with no outlet to let off steam, I grew restless with cabin fever.

IMG_2766

Luckily, the chest infection cleared without return (touch wood) a couple of weeks into my mammoth UK trip. I wondered how I was going to sustain the level of activity I needed with this annoying wheeze and cough going on and even worse, how was I going to deal with my Dad, Mr Li’s accusation of not looking after myself properly.

But in all those seven weeks I only managed to get in one outdoor run in the UK a few days before I was about to return to Singapore. It made me feel better at having made room in my suitcase for my running trainers.

How did it feel to run in the UK again after six and a half years? Down winding lanes overlooking undulating fields in a fresh, crisp 9 degrees. It felt amazing. Invigorating and after not running for five months, I felt the blood pumping through my veins and decided I could do with much more of this.

IMG_2767

So I came back to Singapore and decided it was time to stop using the weather, time constraints and general apathy as excuses for not getting out more. And off I went.

Once I decided it was time to get back into running wholeheartedly, it became a lot easier. The first time I ran further than 10km in Singapore was my first 10km in over seven years. It still is muggy and sweaty running in this tropical heat but somehow you can make your mind overcome this factor and carry on.

IMG_2768

I was astounded at how much time had elapsed since running was such a regular part of my everyday. But then I remind myself that the arrival of #1, 2 and 3 changed a lot of my everyday.

And when you set yourself a challenge, it’s always easier with support. It’s a lot easier with support and with a purpose. Twin One (or she could be Twin Two, I’ve never really asked who arrived first) asked me to join her running ‘cult’ that congregates at 6.30am every Tuesday morning for a 7 or 11km run.

Mention the word ‘club’ in any context to me and it conjures up images of having to be good at that particular thing. And so instead of risking falling in a heap by the pavement after ten minutes (which is what I feel like doing every single run), I decided to go and ‘practice’. Yep. I did. I started running the distance just to be sure I could cover it.

I’m not as fast as the others but it’s a good incentive to strive to be faster. I’ve broken a few PBs already. It’s hard work and I can’t join in any conversations that they’re having as I need to save my breathe to keep myself alive.

IMG_2773

What I appreciate, which I have never had in all my running days before, is that feeling of community. Sounds weird doesn’t it? But it is a community. Everyone enjoys running for the joy of running. Some run as part of a more rounded exercise regime and others just run once or twice a week. I used to think of running as a solitary pastime and sometimes it is which is good for the soul and clearing your mind. With other times and having company, it helps to keep you motivated and it helps to push you further and harder than you would on your own. But I like being able to talk about running with them without sounding a total bore. And for others to give encouragement and advice on how to have a better run the next time. I’ve really enjoyed their company. So thank you Twin One (or Twin Two).

The other thing that was holding me back was the idea of getting up at 6am, sometimes a touch earlier just to go running seemed such a waste of sleep time. The sun doesn’t rise properly until 6.45am and so because it’s dark, it feels like it’s still very early but actually it’s not. And really, all year round you don’t have to wake up so extremely early to catch the sunrise.

IMG_2775

That’s another pull for running. Previously I only ever ran in the evenings and catching the sunset around 7.15pm. It’s amazing and especially where we live that takes in glorious views of Singapore’s river skyline. I love a good night scene where the lights twinkle up and down skyscrapers, across bridges and reflected in the river.

But then I had never had the pleasure of appreciating a beautiful sunrise for many years. It’s less congested for a start and eases my Runner’s Rage (you know when you want to shout at people to get the f out of the way). It’s all dark one moment and suddenly you can see the way in front of you marking the start of a brand new day. As the sun breaks through and changes the colour in the sky from a golden orange hue to mottled pinks and silver. It’s definitely worth getting up and running along the East Coast Parkway by the beach I had previously only noticed the oil tankers in the distance. The beauty of nature completely overrides this I’ve discovered.

Saturday just gone I was aiming for a leisurely 11km along the beach but halfway through I decided I was going to run just for the enjoyment of it and take in my surroundings and sit on the beach for a while and watch the waves crash in. It’s probably my last Saturday morning run for a while so that Husband can reclaim a weekend morning lie in or get out on his bike to catch his own sunrise.

IMG_2771

I’ve been chasing the miles and clocking up the minutes for the last six weeks. Gone are the days of using a piece of string and an A-Z to measure the miles. I’ve been tracking it with a handy app on my phone. I hope the measurements are accurate and I’ve been covering the distance it says I have!

There are hoards of runners out every time of all shapes, sizes and abilities. It doesn’t matter what your running style is or for what reason you want to run, just go out there and do it. There is one thing that I will say though and that is, ladies and gentlemen runners, even if you think you have no boobs, when you run, everyone has boobs and it’s a good idea to get them housed appropriately.

After signing up for this half marathon race and putting in the time to train for it, I’ve regained the drive to do something that asks for commitment and effort. Instead of feeling exhausted, I feel energised from it and I’ve really enjoyed myself. I really have.

IMG_2772

Running isn’t something I used to do. It’s something that I do. Before and after #1, 2 and 3. So to that end, I feel like I’m reclaiming a part of myself that was there beforehand and was just having a rest.

Eight years it’s been since I ran a half marathon. It’s no major achievement or world changing event I know. But it’s awakened that part of me that relishes drive, focus and purpose. It makes me wonder, where else can I put this to use?

So I think it’s time. It’s definitely time. And I’m ready for it.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: