2014 in a FLASH!

Is it just me or did 2014 passed by in two blinks? We have come to the last page of the last chapter of the year. To say that 2014 was an awesome year is an UNDERSTATEMENT!1620520_10153006265161388_8679834674850829399_nI don’t even know where to start! It has been a big year of experiences, learning, triumphs, celebration, failures, lessons, discoveries, realisation and such. I will try (YES, TRY!) to summarise the running/fitness related aspects of 2014.1620470_689034887876265_5509030869444227803_n

This year, my running life has taken a huge leap. What started out as a mere pass time evolved into one of the main players for much of 2014. I didn’t even know running was THIS big of a thing. I mean, look at the number of running groups and the number of people running! Before 2014, I knew nobody in the running community (I didn’t even know it existed!). Now, I am blessed with so many of them!

So, let’s see what I got up to!10885314_10153006293721388_3457171254213537215_nFirst win of the year!

A few note-worthy points (in no particular order):

– Became a Puma Pacer (and now one of the leaders of the Puma Running Club)

-Competed in 25 races

-Finished on the podium/within the prizes for 24/25 of them

-First year being up on ANY podium and finishing within the prizes (Never came close to winning before 2014)

-Managed 5 champion titles in a row

-Became a part of Team Dirigo

-Ran my first Half Marathon (2XU Compression Run 2014 – 3rd place)

-Ran my first Full Marathon (SCKLM 2014) and finished in 3rd place (BQ too!)

-Featured in a magazine and having my running/health related articles published on Healthworks.my

-Meeting a whole COMMUNITY of runners

-Being able to inspire a few people

-One of the pacers for the Puma Night Run 2014

-Became a Puma Sponsored Athlete

-Ran my first trail run

-Took part in my first relay race followed by a few more (Mix team of 5 – ParX 2014, All-girls team – Allianz Pacesetters Relay 2014, 2-women team – Putrajaya Relay Trail Run 2014, Mix team of 2 – Serama Adventure Race 2014)

These are just a few of the many significant moments in my running life. I have much to be grateful and thankful for.10415655_10153006265271388_4515075272361293232_nLive with no regrets! I am truly humbled by all the experiences, both the good and the bad. Learn from your bad experiences. Your best stories stem from overcoming past failures.

KEEP LEARNING, STAND TALL & NEVER GIVE UP!

10888750_10153006300126388_4729946694401520071_n 10882284_10153006300131388_7424685058556949884_nOk, show and tell is over (teehee!). Now all I gotta’ do is find a place to stash my trophies and medals. It is important to not let your victories go to your head, or your failures to go to your heart. Try not to dwell in your wins and achievements. Yes, they are a form of motivation and it is okay to celebrate but remember to move on. Life is about continuous improvement and moving forward. Never settle for less when you can do SO MUCH MORE!

Ok… MOVING ON!10551723_10152188831976048_5235394676202937990_o

Running has been very rewarding. It works both ways. You can help yourself AND other people along the way.

This year, I realised how important it is to surround yourself with people who truly love, grow and respect you for who you are.

The Puma Running Club

1013612_10153006265136388_2505356129743788350_nI have blogged about this before but it deserves another mention!

This was where it ALL BEGAN (in Dec 2013). It was my first running club and also my first time running with a group of runners. Gone were the days where I ran alone and knew nobody whenever I took part in races. The Puma Family took me in and sucked me into the running world. From there, I came to know even MORE running groups (Cari Runners etc) as well as other runners. For the first time, I was exposed to specific training sessions (Intervals, hill sprints, tempo, etc.). I could see how these sessions were beneficial – I joined more races after taking running more seriously.

10418338_10153006266911388_5341767127642031668_nThe Puma Running Club has been a way for me to help other runners attain their running goals. This was why I agreed to be a part of the Puma Pacer team – to give back to the running community. I know what it takes to work hard for something and reaping the rewards. I want everyone to have that experience. I love to see people achieving their goals through pure blood, sweat and tears. Their expressions are almost always PRICELESS!

1458523_10205867507186460_7536537097201103768_nIn just one year, the Puma Running Club has grown from a few members to a group so big that we can barely handle!

10393881_10153006265451388_6187128639751867794_nThank you for the immense support. Look out for 2015! We have a lot in store for you. We promise to do our best to make every session a smashing one.10403650_10205625191848728_628064876195492104_n

We want to help YOU!

The Running Community

10897776_10153006266451388_3001890739474425903_nThe A TEAM!

The Puma Running Club was the stepping stone to a huge running community that I hadn’t known existed – the Cari Runners and all the friends that I have met along the way! 10882285_10153006265236388_3250072281001828173_nMy ultimate supporter! He wakes up at ungodly hours, drives me to races, waits for me, takes photos/videos and cheers me on! Who else does that? HAH! Thank you for always waiting at the finishing line and being there at my most difficult times! You’re the best! 10888760_10153006265361388_1417554876376447945_nMore than just my training partner. Thank you for teaching me a thing or two about running! I was always the blur one. I don’t know what I’d do without you! She’s an inspiration, a girl with a big heart and a strong mind. 1459303_10153006264936388_2416102104081054634_nFunny how we were all at the same race back in  2013 (we didn’t know each other back then) and look at where we are today!10385376_10152877422980798_8783970220212712765_n10846221_10205960870400482_1256925157986124445_n 1970551_10152773734976388_2562369935450847234_n 15903_10153006266406388_3024720723238382524_n10357513_4681225566059_1085154803915653212_nThe big brother when it comes to running. He knows what he’s talking about! Thank you for bringing me into the Puma Running Club (and then quitting at the end!). Also, for your advice and support!10644790_10153006300136388_1007695928296009072_nThe ever friendly ATM gang.10882309_10153006266866388_2063760121912757528_n 1940020_10152492822162146_6244093865986023529_nTraining and running with a bunch of people that I had just came to know is not something that I would normally do. The immense support, encouragement and motivation from this group made running that much more fun and exciting! THANK YOU!

Team Dirigo

This was probably THE BIGGEST thing that happened. 10881565_10153006266791388_8749098935376212435_n

The try-outs.10384194_10153006266556388_2144342878471011419_n

Trying out for Team Dirigo was something I did out of curiosity. I wanted to see where I stood, and what I was capable of with my new found dedication to the sport. I didn’t expect to be picked for the team! I initially signed up for the 21KM category for SCKLM 2014. That would have been my first 21KM, and my longest race ever. Little did I know that I was required to run the full marathon with Team Dirigo!

10892021_10153006265721388_5992085982191018718_nTraining alongside other professional athletes under a proper running coach was an experience of a lifetime. Any form of proper training was new to me. We had a structured training program to follow and many intense track sessions. Serious stuff! All the athletes displayed focus, dedication, discipline and determination. I was exposed to a whole new world of running. It was a different ball game and I had much to learn. Thankfully, Coach Mark and my Dirigo mates were with me at every step of the way.

10334328_10153006265806388_5552079757136952395_nBig thanks to Coach Mark and Team Dirigo for seeing me through my FIRST FULL MARATHON! I have always hated long distance running. Anything beyond 10KM was crazy far. I was actually looking forward to the day when I would actually run my first full marathon, which was probably somewhere in the distant future. I guess being a part of Team Dirigo accelerated that process!

10885023_10153006265501388_817482605669920992_n 10474454_10153006265556388_1592770420384951914_nI didn’t expect to complete, BQ AND be up on the podium for my first full marathon. Truly an experience to remember. I want to thank everyone that helped me get up there. Your support means the world to me. I couldn’t have done it without you guys!

1606392_10152272435546048_6098132874055233043_oStill, I wouldn’t consider myself as a long distance runner, far from it actually. But I am slowly learning what it takes to become one. I am truly honoured to be part of Team Dirigo and to be training under Coach Mark Williams. Thank you for not giving up on me.

10676247_10153006265981388_5709845855204752351_nThis year has taught me a lot on how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I have never pushed myself so hard and so far before. I have achieved PBs that I never thought was possible. There really is no limit when it comes to running. Sometimes, it’s not about what you have. It’s about what you do with what you have.

10336688_10153006264781388_2870504447090831086_nWith the new-year upon us, take some time to reflect and to determine your next step. Take on challenges and new experiences. Head confidently into adventures that would take you to new horizons. Believe in yourself and keep an open mind.

10906284_10153006264796388_2984097916222741365_nI pray to God for a good 2015, giving all praise and glory to Him for whatever happened in 2014! 10603720_10153006266246388_3815644368845847000_nSo stoked for what is yet to come! THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING.

 

Post-race Report: Serama Adventure Race 2014

Warning: This is going to be a long read. Expect a relatively detailed report of the event

Muhaizar, fellow Dirigo mate, asked Chooi Fern, Daniel and I if we were interested in taking part in a mix team (1 male, 1 female) adventure race in Malacca. It was the first time I had ever heard of such an event. 10891518_10153003015636388_8566170134574952677_nThis event includes running AND completing several tasks along the way.

He commented that running alone can be boring and that this was something different to break away from the monotony of running. As Muhaizar explained further, we were intrigued! Although we displayed interest, we were still undecided until 1.5 weeks before race day! There were many things that we had to consider (transport, accommodation etc). Yep, the last minute heroes. HAH!

Logistics were easily sorted. Muhaizar offered his place and said that we need not worry about anything. He handled the registration and collected our race kits. Thankfully, we managed to purchase our bus tickets just 2 days before leaving to Malacca.

Pre-race Day

It is the holiday season and I was still very much in the holiday mood. I didn’t think much about preparing for this race. The whole week was filled with easy runs, some core workouts and swimming sessions coupled with A LOT OF FOOD! I had a lot of late nights too which was why I woke up at noon on Saturday. I had a few hours to pack and get some stuff sorted before leaving to the bus station.

I arrived just 10 minutes before the bus left! PHEW! As you read on, you will notice that we had a lot of “JUST IN TIME” moments. The bus left at 5pm sharp.

10420083_10153003015511388_180420355326598659_nWe had a lot of time to kill. 10407044_10153003015431388_5839111537840838544_n 10897038_10153003015576388_5740187871693217858_n“Studying” for his exams. HAAAAAAAA!

Without much traffic, the journey took about 2 hours.

Muhaizar picked us up from Sentral Melaka at around 8pm. 10897768_10153003015486388_5346438006756162133_nWe went for dinner with a few of his friends who were also participating in the race the next day. We were supposed to head to the Serama camp site at 8.45pm for a short race day briefing. Of course, we were fashionably LATE!

The organizer held a separate briefing session specially for us. The race distance was 16 KM with 7 obstacles to complete along the way. It was 90% trail/gravel with 10% of road. After the briefing session, we left for Muhaizar’s crib at 10pm.

10685495_10153003015726388_4624197499808244103_nHis home was warm and comfy. Chooi Fern and I shared a room with a double bed.

Took a cold shower after a long day of being on the road. We chilled for a bit before finally deciding to sleep at 12.30am.

Race Day

Chooi Fern and I got up pretty early. We set the alarm at 4.55am. The whole house was dark and quiet. The boys were still sleeping soundly.10898230_10153003015756388_3825727799554528405_nSleepy faces.1920349_10153003015671388_5051563095747230321_nMatching socks! These socks have the right amount of cushion to prevent blistering. I wear them for all my trail runs!

I took a cold shower and changed into my race outfit. I continued to roll around on the bed before finally deciding to get up to have breakfast. I had a slice of chocolate raisin bread, biscuits and a cold drink while reading a comic book. By then, it was already 5.50am and the boys WERE STILL SLEEPING!10858505_10153003015871388_3847920984787300411_nMuhaizar finally got up at around 6am. The race flag off was at 7am and we were a good 15-20 minutes’ drive away from the race venue. He seemed really cool, as though we had loads of time to kill. I thought he was joking when he mentioned (the day before) that we were going to leave his place at 6.30am.

We left at 6.35am (finally!). The rest of us were feeling very nervous that we would miss the flag off! Muhaizar was cutting it so close! We arrived at 6.55am (“JUST IN TIME” moment). Obviously, we missed the final briefing at 6.30am. HAH! As we got down from the car, Muhaizar said that these events wouldn’t usually start on time, sometimes even an hour later. I believed him and slowly strolled to queue for the toilet (which took forever!). While I was still in the toilet, the marshal announced that we were 5 minutes away from the flag off (WHAT?!).

I rushed to the starting line just seconds before the gun went off (“JUST IN TIME” moment). Muhaizar was nowhere in sight! I poked my head into the crowd, trying to locate him. I wasn’t all that concern because I knew that he would be able to catch up with me. As long as I made sure that I started with the pack, we will be fine.

I started off alone and ran ahead. I made my way to third place. Soon after, Muhaizar caught up with me and said that he had gone to the toilet. GASP! We had a pretty good start. About 1KM in, we made our way to second place.

1st Checkpoint

The first task was a modified version of the ring toss game. We had to toss 5 rubber bands into sticks that were placed on a log. We completed this task fairly quick and we were off to the second check point.

2nd Checkpoint

The male had to play some tunes with the bamboos provided while the female danced along to it. This task felt as though they had ran out of ideas. Didn’t spend 2 minutes on this and we were off.

Along the way, Muhaizar picked up a black belt from the road. He tied it onto the back of his water pouch which carried 2 bottles of electrolyte drink and told me to hold onto the other end of the belt. Holding onto it meant that I couldn’t swing my arms much. He was going really fast and I couldn’t keep up, I had to let go of the belt. I was tired and my legs felt like lead. By then, another group had overtaken us.

3rd Checkpoint

I slowed down to consume my gel. We were in 3rd place when we arrived at the 3rd check point. We were given two raffia strings and we were required to braid it in a certain way. Instructions and a model were given but we didn’t want to waste any time going through it. Muhaizar seemed like he knew what he was doing and I just followed his instructions. We had some trouble with this task and we took quite a while. Chooi Fern and Daniel caught up with us. Crazy fast! They were in the IPT category which flagged off after the Open category.

4 teams went ahead of us when we finally got the green light from the marshal. GAH! Muhaizar said that we could still make our way to top 3.

He left me for a while and told me to run ahead. I ran, without looking back. Soon after, he caught up with me. He had made this rubber band loop big enough to loop around my waist with the other end attached to his water pouch. I thought that it was rope that he had brought along but in actual fact, he made it from scratch! He was so resourceful. It helped quite a bit, especially when it came to going up the hills. I felt a forward thrust. All I had to do was make sure that my legs were still moving. He told me to relax and maintain proper running form.

4th Checkpoint

He was blazing away through the trails. We managed to overtake one or two groups (I cannot recall) before reaching the 4th check point. Here, the male was required to make a catapult for the female to use it to shoot one of the few cans that were hanging on strings. Muhaizar was pretty experienced and he made it with ease. I, on the other hand, took quite a bit of time trying to hit the hanging tin cans with it. WHOOOOPS!

3 teams took off ahead of us before I finally managed to hit one of the cans. As we were about to leave, Chooi Fern and Daniel arrived. They didn’t know what to do but we didn’t have time to stay back to help them. SORRY!

The rest of the tasks were back at the base where the race started. This was our last stretch of running before heading back to base. Muhaizar ran fast and I had to follow closely. Running downhill was a real killer because he was directly in front of me. I couldn’t see what was ahead and where my next step was. If either of us slipped, it would have been an ugly mess.

There were SO many times where I wanted to give up to slow to a walk. My mind was blank and fuzzy, I was tired, I couldn’t feel my legs, I could barely breath and I was THIS close to puking. If I was running my own race, I wouldn’t have pushed myself THIS hard. Muhaizar kept throwing advice and motivational mantras at me. He told me to keep my mind focused and strong. There was no room for slack.

A few KMs in and we overtook our first target. Soon after, we spotted our next target. Muhaizar further increased his speed and said that we had to overtake them. All I could think of was: OHMYGOODNESSAREYOUKIDDINGME! I was dying, literally.1926652_10153003017516388_3517616598378517170_n

Just a few hundred meters away from the base and we made our way back to 2nd place.

5th Checkpoint

There were 2 tasks to be completed simultaneously. I went to do the flying fox while Muhaizar went on to separate 5 different types of beans.

Having experience in climbing and having done the flying fox before, I geared up pretty quickly. The marshal told me to read the safety rules first but I totally ignored him. My brain was still too fuzzy to process anything and I already knew what I had to do. 10881526_10153003016466388_8783016731557009694_n 10444616_10153003017641388_5060060521037858713_n 10897920_10153003017706388_389620143187928164_nAfter collecting the ribbon for the flying fox task, I went to help Muhaizar.10392512_10153003017576388_6664402523688962758_n

10898296_10153003016021388_2170850187532150211_nWe spent close to 10 minutes sorting the beans before moving on to the last two tasks.

6th Checkpoint

We had 2 tasks to complete at this checkpoint.10888668_10153003016681388_2107560116724198774_n

10891585_10153003016646388_8723584219646357456_nIt was a mini obstacle course. We had to go over the wall, push down a barrel filled with water, roll it across the field, put it upright, commando crawl under the tape and ring the bell before going through the obstacle course again in the other direction.1493215_10153003016506388_304754669368701976_n

10897987_10153003016596388_7297587903088924029_n Lastly, we had to pick a tube, get into the water and paddle across the lake. 10303780_831715320184832_7242567086171605784_nWe were still in 2nd place when we got into the water. I paddled relatively fast but the other team was even FASTER! Just a few meters before going back to shore, they overtook us.

We collected our ribbons just seconds apart. The last stretch was about 200 meters of running to the finish line. We were THIS CLOSE to catching up to them. We finished in 3rd place, just seconds (and 5 meters away) from the team ahead of us. They did an AMAZING JOB! Hats off to them!

I couldn’t be happier to finally cross the finish line. I was totally drained of whatever energy I had left.

10407853_10153003017441388_8084961089945108362_nMuhaizar and I were chilling at the café when we saw Chooi Fern getting onto the tube. She didn’t know how to get onto one. Instead of lying on her back, she went on her belly. She spent a good few minutes spinning around and not getting anywhere. The worse part was that Daniel was already halfway across the lake! HE DID NOT WAIT FOR HER (HAHA!)!

We ran down to the lake to give her some tips on what to do. After shouting our lungs out, she finally managed to paddle her way across the lake. At the same time, we were scolding Daniel to go back to drag her along (in the end, he did go back for her). We had a REALLY GOOD LAUGH!

10421278_10153003016216388_875927963522321865_nHad a nice icy cold shower before noming on our Subway sandwiches that was provided. SO FAMISHED! Every bite was OH-SO-GOOD! Probably the best Subway sandwich ever!10891905_10153003016166388_7788220448154082087_n Team THUNDER TIGER (Muhaizar’s idea)!1544329_10153003016396388_4715944031109581915_n 10300161_10153003016251388_5061374773373723306_n I was shocked to know that Chooi Fern and Daniel (Trade Hunter) came in 6th place (one team was disqualified). Later on, I found out that they had spent close to 20 minutes at the 4th checkpoint! They had a 5-10 min lead all the way to the 4th checkpoint! Gah! Wasted. This goes to show that speed alone wouldn’t guarantee a win. At least they can learn from this experience. Till the next race guys!10409388_10153003015896388_1139526006560441221_n 10404155_10153003016061388_1209342488667238055_nDRENCHED!10174834_10153003016096388_7179111622747083856_n 10896938_10153003016731388_6259356044455229590_nFree flow of food and drinks!10401384_10153003018391388_3586823721822401170_n 10401387_10153003018321388_5943060030121318517_n 10898028_10153003018121388_5116847868513946475_nAfter the prize giving ceremony, lucky draw and photo-taking session, we left for round 2 of food!10891558_10153003017311388_4661614867760447546_n 10351475_10153003017751388_8305645376413480434_nThe ATM (Angkatan Tentera Malaysia) gang packed some grub and we headed to the famous coconut shake place! 10885292_10153003017836388_7590833840558354879_nCOCONUT SHAKE tasted so good, especially after a hard run!

It was 2.45pm and we had to leave to Muhaizar’s place, pack up our stuff and rush to the bus station before 4pm. Another “JUST-IN-TIME” moment when we arrived just 5 minutes before the bus left.10888668_10153003015296388_7094147109752927210_n

I want to thank Muhaizar for this really fun experience! He was a really good teammate. Although I was pretty much a total blur case, there were no arguments involved (he was very patient!). He took good care of me throughout the race, making sure I had enough to drink and guiding me along the trails. He pushed me really hard and kept me motivated. If this were a road race, I think I would have hit a PB! Also, he made our stay pleasant and fuss free. Everything was taken cared of. All we had to do was show up and run!

It was a good catch up-run session. We haven’t met since the Standard Chartered KL Marathon!

10898306_10153003015366388_400027582304170217_nTerima Kasih Muhaizar, the ATM gang and the race organizers for this awesome experience! Great fun! We will be back for more!

 

How to Prepare for a Marathon – Training Part 3

Disclaimer: This is going to be about how I prepared (in terms of training) for the Marathon. Please note that I’ve only ever ran a Marathon once in my life. So, follow at your own risk.

Now that you know what to expect during Marathon training (Part 2), here are 5 things that can help motivate YOU through your training.

Running buddy/buddies250542_10152975927666388_6431754036890512746_n

With the right ones, you will go further with your training. Running buddies are SO important during your training period! This year, I discovered the plus points of having a running buddy/buddies. I was once the solo runner, wandering aimlessly without any goals. I wished I had discovered the perks of having other runners around. Oh well, I guess it is never too late!1978658_10152975926821388_4013068389203989849_n 10354876_10152975926486388_4553454346405309912_nI love my running buddies! They are the ones that hold me accountable for my runs. It is more difficult to ditch your run when you have made running plans with your buddies.

10551083_10152975927381388_1695385087311997679_nDon’t think I could have survived my LSDs without them! 10565060_10152975927276388_7385176852154168420_n 10433109_10152975927426388_4581078810600855645_n

10347556_10152975927031388_6361186570224106278_nMake sure you pick the ones that will push and encourage you, those that will not allow you to sit on your goals! They are the ones who will be there to make sure you achieve your running goals!

Music

Set your own personal running playlist. Select your favourite upbeat, heart thumping songs and blast them during your long runs.10592718_10152656829736388_3128014564014387396_nI always have my iPod with me whenever I head out the door.

I brought my iPod with me during the Standard Chartered KL Marathon race! I train with music, so I don’t know what I’d do without it.

New workout gear

You know, when you have nothing else to push you out the door, BUY NEW CLOTHES/SHOES!1480634_10152856017991388_6569379274408307551_n 10603541_10152975927501388_9130140851018380235_nI love flashing my new gear around my neighbourhood (even if nobody is looking). You just feel good, at least for the first few minutes. But by then it will be too late to turn back. HAH!

An excuse to go for your run to “test” your gear AND getting your training done. Win-win situation!

Food

Think about all the FOOD that you can devour after you get your training miles in! Pick your guilty pleasure. JUST ONE! Only have that special treat AFTER you have completed your training. If you haven’t, then you don’t deserve it.10014636_10152975927251388_3490616222323536608_n 10850117_10152975927896388_657589581180123853_nIt worked for me. TRY IT!

Mini milestones

Set mini milestones along the way. The best way to track your progress is by signing up for a few short races before the full marathon! If you fail on your goals, don’t fret! Sit down, think about what went wrong, work on how you can make a change and set ANOTHER GOAL! You-are-never-too-old-to-setPatience, patience, PATIENCE! The results will come. Trust your training. Don’t rush it by training extra hours. Do what you can with what you have. Eat well, sleep well and work hard. You’ll be looking at a faster you in NO TIME!tumblr_mj3ezkgyZs1rprhpmo1_500

Anything to add to this list? I want to know what motivates YOU!

Happy Training!

 

 

Post-race Report: Putrajaya Relay Trail Run 2014

3rd trail and relay run of the year! I’m on a roll here.

Again, another last minute unplanned race! Chooi Fern and I registered on Tuesday, 4 days before race day. My main concern was that I was supposed to run the Cyberjaya TwinCity half marathon the following day. Yep, another back to back race weekend!

I went on with it anyway because I liked the idea of it being a relay AND a trail run! So exciting!

15191_10152983333686388_4403048239393488019_n 10308268_10152983333546388_7384886034077365667_n The holiday celebrations have begun! I had a party on Friday night and went to bed at about 3am. 10882087_10152983333341388_2649003867160853947_n10417569_10152983333386388_1808580056646648577_nI couldn’t sleep in on Saturday because I had lunch with the Uni mates to celebrate Janey’s birthday. Haven’t seen them in MONTHS! Good times.1656299_10152983333431388_2970349827039288371_nPre-race meal – Baked eggs!

After lunch, I had to rush home, pack and leave for Putrajaya. I was feeling so sleepy! Daniel and the sister came over to my place and we left from there.

The interesting thing about this race was that the flag off was at 4.30pm. I was worried that it would be TOO HOT to run. And the funny thing was that it was raining as we were on our way to Putrajaya! I couldn’t decide which was worse!

We were there early to collect our race kits. It was raining so heavily that we had to wait in the car for the rain to come to a light drizzle. We thought that the organizers would delay the race but thank God they didn’t.

It started right on time at 4.30pm (It was still drizzling at that time!). The “baton” was in the form of a hair scrunchy. One team of two members would each take turns to run a 6KM trail route. The sister was off on the run along with the other first leg runners. I went to the bathroom twice while waiting for her to return. OH THE NERVES!

When Daniel came back, I knew that the sister wouldn’t be too far off. A few minutes later, the first female runner returned. To my surprise, it was NOT the sister! I was shocked because who else could be faster than her! I kept asking Daniel if he saw her during the run. Did she fall? Was she ok? I was worried because Daniel suffered a pretty bad fall and he was bleeding.

About 3 minutes later, the sister appeared! PHEW! Huge sigh of relief! I was glad that she was ok. She called out to me and handed the pink scunchy over. She yelled for me to chase the other girl who was well ahead of me. The only thing that flashed in my mind was that the sister was crazy!

The roads were slippery and I had to be extra careful with my footing. When I hit the trails, I didn’t care where my next step was or whether or not there was a huge puddle. I jumped right it. Some of the major turns were not clearly marked and it was easy to lose your way. Thankfully I didn’t because I didn’t have time for that. My main focus was to chase the other girl. I ran hard, splashing into the mud and blazing through the bushes.

About 3KMs in, I spotted her. Target locked! I did not hesitate to overtake her. The pressure was on because I was feeling pretty breathless. The only thing that kept me going was the thought of the sister. I didn’t want to let her down. Managed to pull the gap even further as I went along. Phew!

1504033_10152983333231388_7034122035666969527_n  Covered in MUD!

We emerged overall Champions in the Women’s Open category with a total time of 1:03:54. We both clocked in about 31 minutes respectively. So happy to see the sister jumping up and down like a cray woman at the finish line.

10414883_10152983333291388_7122431156664443479_nThe Puma gang!10613096_10152983333086388_8826837740063516677_n 10422933_10152983333046388_702528871957472712_nApparently, the first female runner to return took a shortcut/ran the wrong way and her team got disqualified. Well, I guess it was still worth the chase! What a stressful run!10882190_10152983333166388_482152915622432830_nDaniel’s team came in 3rd! 10857922_10152983332896388_3662386820614781740_nPost-race selfie. The sister is a fast learner. 😉1527066_10152983341956388_6307194122544522082_n10882326_10152983332986388_5404876185742090594_nPost-race meal – Homemade Assam Laksa! Another party!


535951_10152983342031388_2744017531712751013_nDNS the Cyberjaya TwinCity Half Marathon the next day. I only manage 3 hours of sleep and was feeling very tired. I went to support the other runners! It was fun standing on the other side of the finish line.

And of course, the sister managed another Champion title for the 12KM run!10371996_10152983342051388_4695589448280494311_n 10881730_10152983341991388_8391064050103574223_nThis is what a Champion sandwich would look like.

Michelle was the Champ for the FULL MARATHON! CRAZY WOMAN with an amazing finishing time! Congrats girl!10882145_10152983336451388_2313808842992138411_nStrength in numbers. Stronger together!

How was your weekend?

Happy Holidays and uh,

Keep Running!

 

Post-race Report: Allianz Pacesetters Relay

My first all-girls relay team event!

The decision to join this race was rather spontaneous. I didn’t have any plans to take part in this relay. To cut the long story short (there were many obstacles and decision making along the way), we formed our own PUMA team to compete in the Women’s Open category.

Since it was pretty last minute, we didn’t have time to train together. We just trusted that each of us would do our very best for the team! And we delivered! Very proud of this team of strong women.

We did a bit of planning on whom would go first, second, third and fourth, but we didn’t have a concrete plan or strategy. We did, however, put quite a bit of thought into what we were going to wear on race day! Oh, you know, FASHION FIRST, RUN LATER! At least, if we didn’t win, we’d still look good.10270600_10152967900966388_4440921778844475019_n

We had a lot of fun in motivating each other and adding a little spark of excitement here and there throughout the week leading up to race day. Angel was so nervous that she had a nightmare about the race! PHEW! The pressure was definitely on. When it comes to a team event, you have to perform for yourself AND your teammates! Everybody is dependent on each other. And that is the beauty of relay races!10714560_10152490055816048_4169086941689649075_o

Serious stuff, don’t mess. Or maybe not. Michelle was probably thinking of what to eat post race. HAHA!

The first half of the route was hilly. We had to control our paces at the start to be able to survive the rest of the way. My legs were SO heavy at the start! GAH! 10801934_10152967915711388_135880156933732139_nChooi Fern was the first to go! She did an amazing job in pulling a huge gap for the rest of us. She was the first female to come back and the rest of us maintained the position all the way! YAY! Thank God Michelle agreed to run the last leg. I don’t think I could have handled that level of STRESS! GO MICHELLE!

10370888_10152967915726388_3260157988714327767_nWe were shouting and screaming our lungs out for each other. Got a few stares from the other runners. WHOOPS! We waited at the end for Michelle to come in. We couldn’t contain our excitement the minute she crossed the finish line! Thanks to Kevin for being there and recording each of our start, pass and finish!

10382819_10152967915461388_5080913832746798114_n

TEAM PUMA IN RED! 10450797_10152967915466388_2055905110660099358_n

Champion!10873625_10152967915721388_5783350751524576706_o

Very proud of Angel. She has improved so much! Despite being so worried before the race, she did an awesome job! Don’t ever doubt your ability. Believe in yourself and strive for the best!1511735_10152967915486388_4144789173914312684_n

The champs of each category.1669875_10152492015491048_6112850447887302593_o

Puma represent! Podium finish for the whole Puma team!

Peng Peng’s Team – 2nd place (U26 Women)

Daniel’s Team – 2nd place (U26 Men)

Goh Shu Wei’s Team – 5th place (Men Open)

Yung Hui’s Team – 5th place (U26 Men)

10857718_10152967915471388_4475283667323629469_n

My girls.10689427_10152967900961388_9192645460837005624_n

Nuff’ said.

We stand together, hand in hand, till the very end!

Let’s do this again! Can’t wait for our next relay event.

Keep Running!

Mini Races over October and November

Recap, some notes and a photolog of the mini races that I took part in over the months of October and November.

Frost the Trail Run

Thanks to Frost & Sullivan for sponsoring 1 team of 4 and 4 individuals from Puma Malaysia to take part in this trail run. It was my first official trail run and also my first time running in FRIM. I’ve always wanted to go to FRIM! I guess I finally did.

It was definitely not the best idea to do a trail run 6 days after running the Standard Chartered KL Marathon. My body was still in recovery mode. The route was hilly, rocky, slippery, steep and muddy! Everything you’d expect from a trail run. It was also the first time that I had to slow down to a walk during a race. I guess this breaks my no-walking streak! The hills were too steep and my legs were just not in the right shape. My hamstrings were screaming! It was a pretty tough route but I had a lot of fun!

1606872_10152955236251388_7090352395624023746_n13078_10152955236441388_8844583733554187419_n 1534287_10152955236276388_1123947250468641512_n It was a little over distance (9.3KM instead of 8KM).1488818_10152955235296388_6904259509567699896_n1, 2, 3 & 4!1526255_10152955235361388_7644200626522906821_nGoing nuts!10354735_10152955235611388_8106216107109936417_nOur prizes! 10428598_10152955235466388_1679235153132171455_nTop 3 for the individual category (Mixed men & women).10406739_10152955235671388_3358481455572971192_nTeam and individual.10523141_10152955235821388_5886407469903095849_nThe Puma Team owned the race! We won the team challenge and the 4 individuals were in the top 4! Sweet! I guess we won’t be getting another invite anytime soon (Ooooppss).

CAPAM International Run10419005_10152955236331388_3193858608043640408_n 10366199_10152955236366388_5452795789202057904_nThis run took place after the Frost the Trail Run! I didn’t realise that I had signed up for a back-2-back race weekend just a week after SCKLM 2014!

10850155_10152955235901388_6945377034490158529_n Legs felt like lead. I was extremely tired and the trail run the day before killed my knees!10171860_10152955236061388_5616711985161838325_nWith our coach who won 1st place in his category.

Puma Night Run10417442_10152955236556388_4297944405959126266_nRead about it here.

LLG Run

DNS for this as I was down with fever.

Alpha Run 2014

After the back-2-back race weekend, my body decided to give up on me. I suffered from insomnia (probably due to overtraining/running) and fell sick after the Puma Night Run. I was in bed for 3 days trying to recover from the flu. It hit me hard and my body was not able to fight it. I still felt ill on the morning of the Alpha Run. Good thing the route was under distance (about 8.8KM).

10849760_10152955236691388_8435644012466430745_n 10846420_10152955236601388_7365119287406072262_n 10846312_10152955236646388_5799624630069799928_n 150170_10152955236801388_1927061126155741471_n 1240345_10152955236756388_3515415912982032987_nWorld Diabetes Day Run

This was a small scale event aimed to raise awareness of diabetes. It was a great run on familiar grounds. Made a few new friends too while waiting for the prize giving ceremony!

10363553_10152955236931388_1534576251715773655_nDesa Park City Run

Signed up for this run for the sake of it! I just wanted to make up for the time where I was 10 minutes late for this race last year! I was feeling lazy and signed up for the 5KM run instead of the 10KM.10354819_10152955237086388_1453563892227889475_n 10372102_10152955237006388_7457402233043603242_nNo. 2 for the both of us.

 Managed to squeeze into 2nd place behind the super fast small kid!

MRCA Run

The race took place around SkyPark One City, an area that I have not set foot on before. Upon arrival, I was surprised to see many families and young runners (a good sight). Many of the usual suspects were not there. Then again, there were close to 15 races over this particular weekend. Still, I had expected to see more familiar faces. I was glad that Peng Peng (fellow Puma Pacer) was there!988868_10152955238711388_3112019774644514920_nI was at the starting line just 5 minutes before the flag off. I was busy queuing up (20 minutes) for the toilet! Overall, the race was pretty well organised except for the last stretch where we merged with the 5KM group. TOO CROWDED!

The best part after the race was of course, the (FREE!) food! We were each given a food card where we could go collect our food at the independent stalls that were set-up (Coffee, fruits, pancakes, Baskin Robbins, sandwiches, chocolate milk, biscuits, milk etc). Had a lot of fun strolling around and queuing up (brushing against other runners) for food.11099_10152955238571388_6238098593494695341_nI finished 2nd behind Michele Tan. It was nice meeting her and we had a good talk after the race.

We had loads of time to kill before the prize giving ceremony. Much of it was spent relaxing and watching all sorts of performances on stage (magic shows). They even had giant robots walking around! SO COOL!10845961_10152955238636388_281625962749514743_nIf you’re a casual runner looking for a good time after the race with loads of food, THIS IS IT!

Petzl Trail Night Run

My second trail run! I regretted this decision (to run) the day before because I was suffering from lower back aches. On top of that, I didn’t have proper trail running shoes AND it is a night run. I settled for my Puma Mobium Ride NightCat series. I have to say, it held up pretty well.10514710_10152955238381388_992928259274079065_n 10710580_10152955238406388_4380521835097925430_nWe were there 3 hours before the flag off (8.45pm for the Women’s Open) to collect our race kits. We killed time by watching other people pulling off stunts at the skate park. It brought back a lot of memories from my skating days. I will invest in in-line skates soon!

The women’s group were off 15 minutes after the men’s group. I started off in 3rd place and soon made my way to 2nd place behind Amelia. It was a few KMs of road before we hit the trails. It was dark, though we had our Petzl headlights on. As soon as we hit the trails, my paced dropped. It was hard navigating through when we caught up with the men’s group. The trails were narrow and most of them slowed to a jog/walk. It was muddy and slippery too. I recall tripping/slipping on my ankle 3 times! GAH!

I came to a point where there were only a few men in front of me. We were at a fork road and I followed them down (left) instead of heading up. Halfway through, a few of them realised that we were on the wrong track because there was no one else ahead of us. Also, we didn’t see any glow sticks along the trail. Soon, we were off the trail and started sliding down and then climbing/crawling on all fours back up. Luckily we spotted the pack ahead of us. PHEW! That was close!

We had no idea how far off we went but I was still in second place. It was a really fun trail route and getting lost added an element of excitement!1377629_10152955238501388_45686739888970473_n 10690300_10152955238436388_4532088001252359674_nPHEW! That sums it up!

What did you guys get up to?

Keep running!

xoxo

How to Prepare for a Marathon – Training Part 2

Disclaimer: This is going to be about how I prepared (in terms of Training) for the Marathon. Please note that I’ve only ever ran a Marathon once in my life. So, follow at your own risk.

Summary from the previous post:

-Set your goals (be realistic)

-Train your mind

-Get out there

-Run

You’ve got your Marathon Training Plan all worked out. What’s left to do? RUN! The process is long, tiring and stressful. Here are some of the things to expect during your arduous training days.

What to expect:

Fatigue

This is the number 1 feeling in marathon training: FATIGUE! You’re going to be tired, all the time. You’re going to feel like a lifeless zombie-fied piece of meat.

With a full time job, training for a marathon required a lot of effort. I stuck with training in the evenings (what I’m used to). Putting in a 20KM run at night after work was no easy feat. You’re already tired from a full day of work and then you have to worry about getting your training miles in. Of course, there were days where I looked forward to my runs and days where I would prefer to stay in (to sleep). Sometimes, I train late at night (till 11-ish pm) with team Dirigo. The problem with training so close to bed time is that your heart would still be beating fast and hard. Coupled with the adrenaline rush, it was almost impossible to fall asleep (which adds to fatigue!). And then the whole cycle continues the next day.

Story of my life!

You just have to embrace and deal with it. Get to know that feeling and work around it. It is going to be a long term relationship. Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep every day. Trust me, you will need it! I thank my friends and colleagues for putting up with the lifeless me.

Aches/Pain/Soreness/Stiffness

As you up your training miles, you will suffer all kinds of aches, pains and soreness. It is quite hard to pin point the cause of it. It can be anything from the lack of rest/sleep, incorrect running technique, malnutrition, training shoes, injury (I hope not!) etc.

Identify whether or not your pain is temporary (only when you run) or permanent (all the time). If the pain persists and is beyond bearable, see the doctor and take a few days off. Skipping a few training sessions is better than risking your future running days.

Stamina weeks were the worst! I was not used to running anything more than 50-60KM per week. Increasing my mileage up to 30-40% a week was D-I-S-A-S-T-R-O-U-S (for me). I was aching all over. I was feeling sore, almost every other day! I was hurting in places that never hurt before. Of course, marathon training (or any other form of proper training) was totally new to me. Quality sessions on the track and LSDs left me crippled. Ok, I’m exaggerating (HAH!). But I did have to experiment with ice baths/compression garments/ointments/deep heat/deep cool etc. It was a good learning experience.

Take advantage of all your experiences (good or bad) and make something out of it.

Demotivation

Running isn’t always going to be filled with peaches and cream pie. You will have your highs and your lows, even during your training period. You’re not always going to hit your training paces/times, you’re not always going to feel like running, you’re going to feel tired and totally drained of energy…… it is ok! Welcome to the club. But KEEP GOING, it is how you deal with it that matters.

I didn’t always perform during training and many eyes were on me. In terms of training and running experience, I was considered the slowest and the most inexperience (Hello NEWBIE!) one there. I needed to prove myself at every training session which added a lot of pressure. It can be very demotivating when you know that people doubt your ability (or when YOU start to doubt YOUR OWN ability).

There were a few occasions where I felt so exhausted to the point where I took about 1hr20mins to run 11KM (I am not kidding. I had to walk most of the way). At that time, I couldn’t imagine myself running a FULL MARATHON. Everything came crashing down before my eyes. That was a real downer. But you’ve got to trust the training and the process. Take a day off from running if you have to (but not too many). Go for a massage, relax, clear your mind and refocus on your goals!

Despite all of that, I was at my peak (or peaking). I managed to hit many PBs along the way and I used them as mini milestones to keep me motivated.

Sign up for a few key races during your training period to check your progress. My improvements kept me motivated!

Weight Loss

I guess this is the best part! To everyone out there seeking to lose weight, TRAIN TO RUN A MARATHON! I kept my nutrition intake in check. I made sure I was eating enough. But even then I managed to lose 2KGs.

The temporary weight loss during this period is usually due to water loss and could be a sign of dehydration. Make sure you drink enough!

I kept a training log (to track my progress) and I recorded my weight almost every day. I made sure I never dipped below 44KG.

Don’t overeat but make sure you eat enough to fuel your training.

Bottomless Pit

You come home from your LSD and you turn your kitchen upside down, wiping out everything in sight including that whole pack of cookies. In 10 minutes, you’ve probably eaten more than you burned on the run. Sound familiar?

As your mileage begins to increase, your appetite will be through the roof as your body is trying to fuel your energy needs. To avoid overeating, you have to make wiser food choices throughout the day. Plan your meals. That way, you are less likely to go off track with your eating. The 2 meals that you should take note of are the ones before and after your run. Have a pre-run snack 2 hours before you head out and a balanced post-run recovery meal consisting of carbohydrates, protein and fats within the next 1 hour.

If you need a snack, go for a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts. Think of it as fuelling your body enough to provide you energy for your next run instead of dwelling in the mind-set that you deserve it. Training for a marathon doesn’t give you the license to EAT ALL YOU WANT!

Sunburn/Tan lines/Dry skin

In a tropical country like Malaysia, you’re bound to be exposed to the sun. With marathon training, you’ll be spending most of your time on the road. Depending on the time of day, you will be exposed to both UVA and UVB rays which cause pre-mature skin aging and sunburn respectively. Unless you train very early in the morning or very late at night, always remember to apply sunscreen! You wouldn’t want facial pigmentation as you age. So, (I repeat) apply SUNCREEN!! You’ll thank me in the future.

Your BEST FRIEND!

The best way to avoid tan lines is to not train out in the sun, unless of course you are willing to wear sun protective gear (long sleeve tops and bottoms). I still have those unsightly tan lines (but I’m pretty proud of em)! GAH!

A combination of water loss and the exposure to the sun would render your skin dry. If so, apply moisturizer day and night.

What else have you experienced that are not listed here? DO SHARE!

Stay active, keep running!

How to Prepare for a Marathon – Training Part 1

Disclaimer: This is going to be about how I prepared (in terms of Training) for the Marathon. Please note that I’ve only ever ran a Marathon once in my life. So, follow at your own risk.

For my first marathon experience, I was fortunate enough to be training under Coach Mark with Team Dirigo. You can say that we had it easy. Everything was laid out for us. Basically, all we had to do was execute (which was actually the hardest part).

Before I continue, I won’t be revealing anything from our training program in respect to Coach Mark. Sorry to burst your bubble but if you were expecting a detailed A-Z training plan for a marathon, you’re going to be a little disappointed. However, I will share a bit on what you can do, what qualities you should possess and what to expect during your training period (over several blog posts).

I don’t think our training plan is any (or very) different from those that you can get online (for free). Sometimes, it is just the case of getting it done. It is not about what we don’t know (we all know what it takes to run a marathon!). Just like how we know fried chicken is bad for health but we eat it anyway. We KNOW, we just need to DO IT (or not do it).10849889_10152967847101388_7325605152711666392_nI can tell you what these training programs require: HARD WORK. We live in a society that craves instant solutions and results. We crave for the quickest, shortest and most efficient way. Sometimes, we wish to achieve the impossible without putting in any effort. While you’re still sitting there looking for the fastest way out with instant results, someone else is out there doing all the hard work.nothing-worth-having-comes-easy-soar-like-an-eagle-by-david-fishNothing worth having comes easy – TRUTH.

Typical training process

Running, running, running and more running! Our training program was over 14 weeks. But these days, you can get training programs over 6-8weeks (of course, it depends on your current fitness level)! There are all sorts that you can find on the internet. 10846438_10152967854706388_3417336763464331437_nThink of the training program as a piece of cake. The cake (Long runs), layers of cream cheese filling (Tempo runs) with caramel swirls (Interval runs). Slice a piece off as the weeks go by. That’s the gist of it. Training intensity and volume would depend on your specific race goals.

Before you start any training program, you have to:

Set some realistic goals

Sub 4? Sub 4.30? You decide. Nobody knows you best but you. Always remember to set the bar high. Make the most of your current potential and triple that. A good tactic for you to make sure that you stick to your goal is to get into a buddy system or better yet, announce your race goal to the world. That way, you are accountable for what you said you would do.10308717_10152918953086388_9103945441158821353_nTo run a marathon, you need a strong mind and the right mindset. These are your must-haves:

Self-discipline

Once you’ve set a goal, be discipline to follow through. Dedicate yourself to it and stick to it. There will be days when you don’t feel like running, PUSH THROUGH THEM. Get the mileage in. This is going to be the determining factor that will set you apart from the rest. People usually give in when they don’t feel like running, DON’T!10734172_10152918952236388_1765638990880207031_nIt was hard for me too. There were days where I hoped for rain as an excuse, days where I laid in bed battling with my inner self, days where I craved for fatty foods and sugar (not advisable during marathon training)……

Determination

Keep your eyes on your goal. Remind yourself of it. How bad do you want this? You’ve got to want this enough to get you through your training. Find your motivation, write it down somewhere. Stick it on your mirror, on your notebook, set it as your mobile phone wallpaper…… anywhere, as long as you can see them.

10469867_10152918952396388_1723076991407226270_nFocus on the “now”. Live in the present moment and make the most of it.

Stay Focus

It is very important to stay focus during your training runs. When you’re training (alone especially), it can be very tempting to deviate from your set pace. Your long runs can easily turn into recovery runs if you don’t stay focus. Don’t defeat the purpose of your runs. Make them count, turn them into quality runs. Also, you’ve got to FEEL your runs. Identify all your aches and pains (side stitches, cramps etc.). Feel them, correct them or adapt to them if you have to. That way on race day, these wouldn’t come as a surprise to you.

I had side stitches after about 10KM into the marathon. I remained calm and knew what to do about it because I had them during my training runs.

Perseverance

It is going to be hard. Nobody said that it would be a walk in the park. If it were easy, everyone would have done it. I have this bad habit (or a fear) of not wanting to push myself to the maximum. I hate it. I hate that feeling. I like to remain in my comfort zone. If you want change, you’ve got to do something different. 1601253_10152918952631388_4647049890723274925_nThanks to Coach Mark for pushing me through each training session. It was crazy. There were times where I felt like stepping off the track to give up. But I knew that I had to hold it for just a little while more. Every session left me with jelly legs and a few stars dancing around my head.

I always hit a point in training where I hated running to the core and found myself asking: “What am I doing? Why am I even running? Is it worth it?” But yet, I love it enough to do it all over again.images

I love that feeling after a tough workout. But first, you gotta’ go through it!

Trust me, you’re going to have a lot of self-doubt. You’re going to want to give up. Don’t.

Sit down. Breathe. Think. Evaluate your goals. Talk to a friend. Get motivated. Trust your training and progress. And then jump right back! All the best!

Post-Marathon Recovery

You’ve just crossed the finish line, you earned that Finishers Medal around your neck, you’ve hit a new personal best, and you’re in a state of euphoria……and then what?

Many marathon runners make the common mistake of not recovering optimally after the race. Your post-marathon recovery plan begins immediately after you cross the finish line. I was no master when it came to post marathon recovery, having made many bad decisions and went against everything in the rule book. But we all learn from our mistakes (and now you can learn from mine).

Here are a few things that you can do to help your body bounce back into shape.

After Crossing the Finishing Line:

1. Cool down with a slow jog

A short cool down (slow jog) of about 10-15 minutes is essential. Depending on the race day set up, it may not always be convenient to do so. Just make sure you don’t stop abruptly after crossing the finishing line. I felt light headed and sick in the stomach because I came to a complete stop after having been running for a few hours which caused my blood pressure to drop.

2. Drink up (but not too quickly)

Remember to replenish lost fluids. Pick the ones rich in glucose and electrolytes (100plus, Revive, Gatorade, PowerBar Recovery drink). I drank too much too soon (1.5L in 30 mins) and ended up puking. This is dangerous as it would further deplete your body’s fluids leading to dehydration. Take in about 500ml every 30mins-1 hour. This will also help in flushing out waste products from the body. Drink up!

3. Eat something within 1 hour of finishing

Snack on something within the next 1 hour even if you don’t have the appetite for it. You have to get some food in your system as muscle glycogen is rapidly replaced within the first 1-2 hours. Most marathons provide runners with some bananas or apples at the finish line. Eat up to maintain blood sugar levels! You can eat a big meal after to replace everything else that you’ve lost during the run.

4. Don’t stretch too much

Try not to stretch your tired muscles too much as this may lead to injury. 1379973_10152903418911388_1817569158902519087_nIf something hurts, ice the area immediately for about 10-15 minutes to reduce the inflammation. Massage areas or the medical tent should offer everything you need to attend to your injury.

The Following Week:

5. Take time off running

The biggest mistake you can make is running too soon after a marathon. Scheduling in time for recovery is just as crucial as planning your next workout. After months of training and completing the marathon itself, the body needs time to return back to “normal”. It has gone through an intense session of physical stress and the last thing you want to do is to put it under more stress. Even during your recovery period, your body is not at rest. It is busy breaking down, repairing, refueling and recovering.

6. Go for low-impact workouts

You need to find the ultimate balance between activity and inactivity. Engage in an activity that would decrease muscle stiffness/soreness and encourage blood circulation. After a marathon, there will be an accumulation of lactic acid and fluid in the muscles. Increased circulation to the area will help to remove the excess fluid and built up waste whilst enriching the area with nutrients and oxygen. Jog post marathonFocus on low impact workouts that require minimal effort. For example, a light jog on a soft surface (grass, track).

Stretch post marathon

Post-Marathon Activities / Workouts

The key is to start slow! You will initially feel the pinch on your energy levels. Stop your workout if you have to. 10257110_10152903419141388_4054225727019881833_nDo a bit of light stretching for about 10-15 minutes every day. This will help to increase blood circulation and to loosen up any tight areas. My hamstrings were screaming in pain for at least 2 weeks post marathon. Try not to engage in any hard workouts by signing up for races in the weeks following a marathon. You can start to slowly build up mileage and intensity over the next few weeks if you feel good.

As you rest and eat well post marathon, you may begin to feel ready and strong to take on the next race. I had back to back races the week after my marathon. Wrong call! For the first race, I felt strong and fresh. 5KM into the race and my hamstrings were already crying for help. It was a trail run and the hills were STEEP! It was the first time that I had to walk in a race. It was tough and I was completely drained after that. WARNING: Do not attempt. 10465499_10152648264306388_7470217386104035149_o

Cross train by engaging in different activities. You can do anything from swimming to cycling, as long as it doesn’t put too much stress on your legs. I did 20-30 minutes of swimming every other day to get my muscles warmed up.

Post-Marathon Nutrition/Fuel

Enjoy your favourite meals throughout the week. Make sure you eat well balanced meals with 3-4 parts of carbohydrates and 1 part protein to replenish your muscle’s glycogen stores and to rebuild damaged tissues and cells respectively. Choose good quality carbohydrates (complex) and proteins.10801528_10152903401346388_3665916727056616987_n

If you crave for particular foods, satisfy those cravings. Your body knows what it needs. And you deserve it. I was craving for foods that were high in fat (burger and fries) for 2 weeks! Eat whatever is pleasing to your eyes. Continue to hydrate well. 10368238_10152903419026388_1692792890374342481_n

Eat and drink to strengthen your immune system which has been severely compromised post marathon.

Post-Marathon Sleep/Rest

Sleep like a baby! Your body recovers and repairs itself when it is in full rest. You may feel as though your body has been hit by a truck! This fatigue may last over a week. 1240148_10152903401286388_5117757271586368252_nI cannot stress enough how important sleep is. I fell sick 2 weeks after the marathon because I suffered from insomnia. I had about 4-5 hours of sleep every day over the 2nd week and my body eventually gave up. 10366140_10152903419176388_1032711180761417043_nGo to bed early to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.

Post-Marathon Pleasure

My ideal post marathon treat would be a full body massage. Source: Adele WongI went for a deep Thai aromatherapy massage a week after the marathon and it was the best thing ever. You may also want to indulge in a facial session as your skin has been exposed to the harmful UV rays over a few hours on the road. Just kick your feet up. Spend time with your family and friends. Go for that long awaited holiday. Do whatever, just TREAT YOURSELF!1966056_10152903419226388_5663874179444917341_o

Recovery and rest are the last things in any runner’s book. It takes a great deal to convince a runner to take off days. Many runners have this extreme fear that taking days off the road would severely affect their hard earned fitness (especially after training for a marathon).

After all the months of training, resting seems like a curve ball to their normal routine. However, if you’re going to be in it for the long run, it would be a good idea to take time off from running (to prevent injuries) post marathon, even if you’re faced with the reality of a decrease in fitness. Take it from me, REST!10393661_10152903419361388_8779876335544672797_n                                                               So TRUE!

Thanks to http://www.healthworks.my for featuring this article! Check out their page!