Assaulted while running! *expletives*!!!

Today started out fine. Left the house and slow jogged to the rendez-vous point, met my running partner at about 4.15 am. By 4.30 am we started an 8km run/jog towards a park where we could do our upper body training. If you’re wondering why, at such an ungodly hour? This is Bahrain, dawn is around 5.15am this time of year with soaring temperatures. 

At about 4.50 am, still dark, we were half way into the journey, somewhere in Juffair. We always run facing traffic. That means running on the left side of the road. A car came up behind us (silver coloured old Datsun or Nissan maybe…can’t tell and didn’t even notice them at first), swerved near where we were, a dude leaned out the window and beat my running partner on her back with what looked like a rubber/P.U. pipe. How did we know it was a pipe? Because they drove about 100+ meters ahead, made a U-turn and came at us again brandishing the weapon and shouting in arabic (can’t tell what it was..we were still in shock). Good thing we saw them coming and hid behind/between 2 cars parked in front of the building. There were 3 people in the car. The one seated at the back was the one holding a pipe about a meter in length.

The road was well lit. I could make out their plate number but we could not identify these fellas. It was dark in the car. I dialed the police, told the policeman on the line what happened. He asked where the car was. I told him I don’t know. The perpetrators drove away. He told us to go to a police station to make a report.

Fast forward, we were transfered from one police station to another. That’s fine – we can take waiting and they were gracious enough to provide transport. But here’s the thing. We could not identify the men. The procedure for them would be to call the owners (since I have the car registration number, they can pull up their database). Then we have to accuse them and confirm to the police that “yes, they are the ones who did this to me”. We can’t do that because we really did not see them. Face? facial hair? hair? We couldn’t answer any of those questions. We ended up rescinding the report.

So they got away with it.

Somebody asked if there were any injuries. Yes, of course there’s a palm sized painful red welt on my friend’s back. You might say it’s not serious, because it didn’t bleed, we didn’t get raped or worse, kidnapped. But then you’d be a fool because the damage to our peace of mind is unquantifiable. While I am thankful we got out of it in one piece, the psychological effect may not manifest itself now but it could later. Apart from that, if they get away with it this time, how many more lady runners will end up being a victim, and how much further damage will they do?

My friend is a brave soul and would not let this ruin our day. I can tell you this though – we (or at least I) could no longer run in the streets of Juffair (like we did countless of times before) without fear and panic welling up to the surface. In fact, we’re not going by that way again, period.

I’m angry but most of all, afraid. Do I have to run with a bat or a stick in hand just in case we get assaulted again?  

What would you do? Do you bring some sort of weapon to your runs? Has this ever happened to you? 

 

 

Viper Challenge…What?!!!

I’ve been MIA for a while now but I’ve been up to some good. In the past few months, I travelled back home (Malaysia), visited the family, met up with old friends, made new ones, opened our own trading company, flew up north for a business trip(Thailand), flew back to Bahrain, unpacked (hubby shifted our home to somewhere nearer town centre), met up with friends, and made some more new ones. Most importantly – started training for the Viper Challenge in August.

What’s Viper Challenge?

Viper_Challenge

“Viper challenge is a 20km Obstacle Course Challenge, which is predominantly filled with man-made obstacles that will put both heart and spirit to the test. It is Asia’s first and largest obstacle challenge, like no other. Imagine obstacles Designed to take you out of your comfort zone, you will enter the challenge either as an individual warrior or as part of a team…  Whichever way you enter, you will finish understanding that cooperation and teamwork will be the likely factors that will help you to get across that finish line, without it, you will find it difficult to succeed. Even individual Warriors will depend on others participating in the course alongside them for a boost at times.” -excerpt from Viper Challenge website.

Viper Challenge - August 2013 - Sepang, Malaysia

Viper Challenge – August 2013 – Sepang, Malaysia

Obstacles

Jump Platform / Dusty Trench Crawl / Barb Wire Crawl / Through Tube / M Wall / Container Climb / Ice Jump / Hill Slide / Over Under Walls / Tyre Run / Bars Over Water / Log Jumps / Trench Crawl / On the Wire / Trench Pool / Balance Beam / Pyramid Tree / Corrugated Tunnel / Incline Wall / Cargo Net

I am a WARRIOR

Well…not quite yet. In fact I found out how much of a wuss I really was recently. I’ve been running an average of 60 to 70 km a month. Not much to some but for those who couldn’t care less about exercising, that’s plenty! I joined fitness classes to improve my strength. On the very first day I found out I had virtually no strength at all in my upper body (zilch – nada – zero). couldn’t do even 1 push up. Did 1 burpee and decided that was enough for the day. Could do triceps for 1 rep and thought my arms would fall out. No, I couldn’t move an inch on the monkey bar. Couldn’t even hold on for dear life.

That was two weeks ago. Today I could manage a grumbling, scream inducing 22 push ups in a row (1 minute)…yes, still small for some but heck, I’ve been to hell and back these past two weeks and am very proud of it. Planks, bicep/tricep curls, shoulder, pecs, abs…the works. I’m doing them. Some days, after the workout, I can’t even move an inch. Sitting down means plopping myself down. No grace left. But I will be the warrior!

On a side note

I am afraid of worms and totally phobic when it comes to leeches. I hope to God I don’t have to deal with them nasty blood suckers when the day comes.

Here’s the good thing. This is a self discovery. I love running but this challenge will take more out of us than mere cardio stamina. I questioned myself on how far I would go. Some aim for triathlon, ultras, Gobi desert…I just started running - wanting to be healthy. But it evolved somehow.

Now I don’t want to miss a thing (sounds like a cliché or a lyric of a song ;p) but that’s what it has become. I don’t want life to pass me by without a chance to participate in an adventure.  It’s not to prove something and it’s not me compensating for a lack in something. This is me participating in life. This is how I do it. I am not alone. Chay Alicaba, Dale Alicaba, Andri Iskandar, Moi Koh – am glad we’re all in this together!!

It’s not the end all but it’s a path I’ve chosen to take. And I shall lie in the bed I’ve made.

Godspeed Bopspeed and all Warriors to be, amen.

BAPCO Half Marathon Bahrain

ManamaSkyline

Manama Skyline

If you have ever been to Bahrain, you will understand why so many people have fallen in love with this island. Its skyline is dotted with silhouettes of gorgeous mega structures yet conservative enough to retain the clean lines of Arabian architecture. Buildings are mostly low, akin to Washington D.C. with clusters of high rises in between but nothing close to the claustrophobic atmosphere of the Shaikh Zayed Road in Dubai, yet not as spartan as Muscat. They managed to retain a rich culture despite their transition into modernization and that is something to applaud.

Last Friday, I was one of those lucky fellas that had the opportunity to run a route through the northern part of Manama in cool weather (for an Asian like me, it’s closer to mind numbing cold). That was the furthest I have run in my entire life. Wait…no, no..It’s the longest I have ever jogged/walked in my entire life :)

BAPCO Half Marathon 2013 Route

BAPCO Half Marathon 2013 Route

Preparation

Unlike the Seef Properties Cross Island race, I shed all the gadgets I normally wore because I somehow knew it was going to be tough to carry additional weight, especially for someone as new to this as I am. 21.1 KM my dear friend is no joke (except to marathoner, triathletes or the ultras I suppose ;p). My iPod, watch and a bottle of water was all I brought (as opposed to the waist pouch, med kit, heart rate monitor, etc. I lugged around with me in the desert run).

I trained for weeks (although not consistently) with short distances of up to 10km and 2 sessions of 21.0 km. I couldn’t even go a foot further during the practices. By the time I reached 21 km, my legs were so stiff I couldn’t bend to stretch, much less sit in the car to drive home. In fact I saw stars! So imagine my anxiety as the day of the race drew near. I ate like a horse (literally) throughout the days leading to the 11th Jan.

Race day

Of all the days we were to run, it just happened to be the windiest day and coldest temperature so far this entire winter. The moment I stepped out of the car, I had to do a little jig to keep myself warm despite wearing a heavy leather jacket. (ahuh, of course I dashed to the loo first thing – once bitten twice shy).

I jogged all the way to the start area and boy what an atmosphere! It was buzzing with people – the most I’ve ever seen at a race in Bahrain. The music was blaring away and they even played Gangnam style Yeeha! Yes – there were people busting some moves, one of them my running partner Chay. It was exciting! Gotta love the DJ! The downside was my heart thumped in my chest so loud I heard it over the din.

The Race

I have never been so thankful for the layers of fat on my body as when we started the race. We circled the Seef Mall twice. I began to feel slightly warmer but the temperature plummeted when we ran between the buildings along a road leading to the Ritz Carlton roundabout. Oh my dear Lord, it was cold. (Okay, I shouldn’t complain, it’s not 46 degC!!). By the time we reached the corner near Kempinski Hotel, I was starting to seriously doubt my ability to keep on running without a stop. One of the main reasons was that I started out too fast. Rookie mistake. That’s the thing with a race – you see people ahead and all you want to do is catch up. When practicing, you’re not trying to compete with everyone else so you tend to feel a bit more relaxed. This driven phase within the first 5 km took its toll. I was already tired.

But I trudged on.

We hit the highway shortly after, then it was uphill (I mean it in every single way). The incline was gentle but it was endless. Everything that goes up must come down, good thing too – almost hyperventilated. As I climbed the flyover, I saw an oncoming car swerve near the barrier close to where we were all running. It’s mind boggling why someone would get a kick out scaring runners like that.

Moving on.

At the 11th km or thereabouts I started to lose sight of the runners in front of me and those behind me (not that many I assure you). What’s amazing is that there were runners already on their way back passing me by! Gasps!! At this point I felt my energy dwindle and I’ve been running for an hour.

I was looking for some inner strength and I thought about my father lying in the hospital bed (mini stroke – again) and I kept telling myself, I’m doing this for him. I felt a catch in my throat and ended up close to tears instead. That didn’t do. So I thought about what I was going to eat when all is done. After another km, I was thinking about how good I would look in the dress I just bought what with all the muscles, slender arms, smaller tummy (it’s still there you know). Heh! What a trip. On top of that, the view was STUNNING! I know Bahrain is beautiful but running on its streets and through the financial district, the sky was so blue and clear, the palm leaves were swaying (no so gently though), traffic was almost nonexistent, the buildings were sparkly - it was plain ridiculous! Happy!!

Bahrain Financial Harbour

Bahrain Financial Harbour

At this point I reached a bridge just after the Financial Harbour. I’ll never claim to be slim. In fact I’m pretty heavy (though not so chubby compared to 5 months ago), but the wind was SO strong as I attempted to run up the bridge it stopped me in my tracks. I had to lean forward and push on step by step (I walked for the first time since starting). Did I say it was freezing cold?

I made it to the 13th km mark and grabbed a piece of date (God Bless you Bahrain Road Runners). There were two more bridges to look forward to and somewhere in between I got lost! I finally spotted the orange flag and crossed a construction field to get to it. Again God Bless you Bahrain Road Runners!! Also God Bless the cops who cruised in front of me so I could find my way across yet another bridge before I found the loop back to the starting point. While at it, thank you God for the beautiful harbour view and the lapping waves.  After the 16th km, I walked three steps and ran a kilometer, and it went on until I was merely 2 km away from the finish line.

You know that feeling, the anxiousness toward the end, when all you want to do is sprint, cross the line and get it over with? I had to reign myself in. I knew I had precious little energy left and would probably give up with meters to spare if I indulge. So I went on at a slow and steady pace for a km and hollered at everyone I passed by who had a bib “Where’s the finish line???” (almost swore a couple of times too because it was frustratingly near yet so So far!!)

The Finish

At the 21st km, I walked and jogged numerous times until I saw someone holding the finisher medals and made a beeline for it. Phewww!!!! It was OVER! I DID IT!!! My first ever Half Marathon :)

Actually it’s OUR first ever Half Marathon (I didn’t get everyone’s picture but these are a few).

First Timers! Not sure it's Sanjeev's first time. He looks too fit for it to be his first :)

First Timers!
Not sure it’s Sanjeev’s first time. He looks too fit for it to be his first :)

I finished 188th among 197 participants with a time of 2:29:25. I got such a high from the run I was greeting complete strangers and wanted to say hello and hug everybody (like a maniac). I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face (like a clown). It’s been an incredible journey getting here.

And Here are some of those who broke their own records. Amazing! (BTW, runners here are crazy good. The fastest clocked in at 1 hour 14 minutes don’t play play!!)

Record Breakers Trophy Winners!

Record Breakers Trophy Winners!

Huge thanks to all those who made this happen especially the Bahrain Road Runners committee and volunteers, BAPCO, Seef Mall, the Bahrain Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Works, participants (highly inspiring and supportive especially those winners above), supporters and just about everybody! May this be the first Half Marathon of many to come for us beginners. Godspeed Bopspeed Amen.

P/S: I borrowed the pictures (Manama Skyline & Bahrain Financial Harbour) above. If it happens to be yours, I sincerely apologize. If you forgive me, then let me thank you for making it available on the net. It’s so frustrating not to be able to run with my DSLR ;)

Just Say Hello

I don’t remember where I read it or who said it but this message is ingrained in my mind:

Don’t tell others to be friendly, show them how!

I did write somewhere in my post about loving the moment of a run when you’re alone with your thoughts, thoroughly enjoying pounding the pavement in solitude but there’s an etiquette to follow if you are not alone. In this beautiful small island of Bahrain, there are times that you hardly pass by other runners/joggers/walkers on your route. When I do, I make it a point to lift up a hand in greeting or acknowledgement, sometimes met with total lack of response, or confusion and even on rare occasions, a dirty look! I tell myself they probably have it going tough  running/jogging/walking an X number of miles, so give ‘em a break. Either that or they’re having a bad day.

The truth is, some communities are just not used to it. Friendliness is a habit that must be cultivated, it doesn’t come naturally.

SayHello

Or Hi would suffice if hello is just too long a word ;)

Not a lot of people realize that greeting others on the road when running is part of the runner’s etiquette. It is practiced worldwide for many reasons. Here are some of them in layman’s terms:

1. Motivation

You acknowledge the other person for the effort they put in when exercising be it running, jogging or walking. You give them a short wave, a nod or words of encouragement (Good Job! Keep it Up! Doing Good! You can Do It! etc.) or just say hello to tell them you understand. It simply means you see them and you know how hard they work at it. You do this to make others feel good about themselves and to spur them on. You GET IT!

Contrary to popular belief, runners aren’t super humans. They are just like everyone else but they take the extra step towards attaining better health or to meet certain goals (like winning a race – what else). So they slog and huff and puff to get where they want to go. It isn’t always easy. If it looks easy for some, it’s because they have put in a huge number of miles to condition their bodies to weather the toll on their physique.

You acknowledge beginner runners/joggers/walkers so they feel comfortable on their route and enjoy being out for the exercise so they will be motivated to do it again the next day and the next.

If you're brave enough, give 'em a High Five!

If you’re brave enough, give ‘em a High Five!

2. Safety

Either I start early in the morning when it’s still dark outside or quite late in the evenings. Even if we avoid unlit roads, some routes are less well lit compared to others , so I make it a point to be noticed by wearing reflective gear. For practical reasons, I also make it a point to greet others on the road so they are aware I’m there or have been through that area (just in case I disappear, get knocked out, or abducted). I know I know..I sound so paranoid but that’s just me. Better be safe than sorry.

It is good practice to warn others if you’re passing them by so they are aware that you’re there, especially those with headphones or running  watching their feet while at it. It is a sort of warning. When driving, you have your indicators or the horn. When running, you only have your mouth and hands. (By the way, when passing other runners, make sure you run at a pace that will propel you a distance away from the person you just passed and at a slightly wider berth – don’t linger in front of them in case your feet get tangled up).

3. Being Nice

It’s just nice to be nice. Nuff said!

P.S: It is NOT nice to make kissy noises or to hoot women runners when you’re passing them by. Just saying.

As I said in the beginning, don’t tell others to be friendly, show them how. So on my new year run at dusk yesterday, I hollered “Happy New Year” to runners, and family of walkers, joggers, security guards posted in front of buildings and the cops parked by the roadside. Just as I was finishing my run, a fellow runner coming in from the opposite direction gave me a big High Five. Life is great! :)

Seef Properties Cross Island Classic 2012, Bahrain

I promised myself if I ever got through this race, I would write about the experience, so here goes:

About the Cross Island Classic

This is a race in Bahrain that takes place every year some time in December when temperatures cool to a mere 20 degrees Celsius or thereabouts. It is organized by the Bahrain Road Runners with support from various local/international corporations. The race takes runners across the Island of Bahrain from coast to coast, covering a span of 17 to 18 kilometres. The trail begins on the east coast and leads through the desert with a gamut of terrains to finish at the west coast. The trail differs from one year to another. This year they said was the toughest. Since this was my first participation, naturally, I agreed!

Cross Island Classic Route

Cross Island Classic Route

Preparation

Like any proper novice, I began googling desert running. I was already nervous about the race, it being the longest run I would have participated in, along with a totally different surface for running - the desert. Plus, I did not have time to train as much as I wanted since we went for a holiday in Malaysia for 3 weeks prior to the race.

I came upon blogs of previous races that did not shed much on how the race was to be. So I continued looking for answers and chanced upon pages about the Sahara and Gobi desert races. That scared the socks off me. I went running 10 km that day just to ease my fears ;p  Aside from that I added extraordinary amounts of tomatoes (for electrolytes) and spinach (obvious benefits) into my diet with plenty of protein. I started hydrating well before the event (as in 3 days before), all that while working up my nerves to the point of mania.

The BRR committee gave us some tips to ready ourselves as well. Hydrate plenty (despite it being cold because we sweat anyway), wear old shoes just in case you destroy the new ones (it was going to be messy), don’t layer up on running clothes (weather is cold but the body temp increases from the exertion) and plenty more. Dominique, Nada and Hisham, a BIG thank you lovelies!!!

The race day

Bopspeed and Chay.

Bopspeed and Chay.

We beginners tend to go overboard on gadgets I tell you. I had my iPhone strapped to the arm, earphones at the ready, the waist pouch with water bottle strapped on, the sunnies hanging by strings around my neck and the trusty Buell cap (of course), and my Suunto watch. (The art of paranoia - also had some panadols, aspirin, ventolin, band aids, ORS, gum, power juice tucked into the waist pouch). “Just in case”.

We were all transported to the starting line by bus . This year, 200 people signed up (for this tiny island of Bahrain, that’s plenty!), but 177 turned up. As soon as we disembarked about half an hour later, everyone made a mad dash for piles of rocks or sand dunes scattered around for cover to relieve our bladders. I managed to pull down my shorts but alas not a drop in sight. Performance anxiety. ;)

The race 

At about 2 pm the race kicked off from the coastal road off Ad-Dur, climbing towards a bridge that crosses over a main arterial highway and down to where pavement hits sand. All along the route were orange flags, marshals and volunteers to guide our path and keep us hydrated. I was among the last though I psyched myself enough to be convinced it was going to be a breeze. *chuckles* . 2 kilometres in, we hit desert sand. It was so soft, as soon as the foot hits ground, it sinks in. If you have run along the beach in soft sand, you’ll know what I  mean.

By the 5th km of the race, I thought to myself amidst accelerated heart rate, “What the F*^% were you thinking of you Fool!”. Also “Oh no, I’m going to take 4 hours to complete this 17km race”, “You know what, forget it – I’ll just walk all the way”, “Urghhhh”, “Owww…my thighs, my back, my calves”. Of course it was all internal. Would not want anyone to know I’m a wimp do I? :)

Some of the surfaces we ran on

Some of the surfaces we ran on

With all the jiggling and maneuvering in the desert, I felt the first gentle pressure on my bladder. From then on, all I could think about was finding cover and cursing myself for not being able to do it with everyone else in the beginning. Shyness has no place in the open desert. I thank my lucky stars when I saw a tiny little hut right at the foot of a mount we were to climb and made a dash for it. What a relief!! (but that set me back a few minutes – as if that would matter in the grander scheme of things).

The Mountain of Smoke (Jabal Al Dukhan)

The Mountain of Smoke (Jabal Al Dukhan)

Thankfully, after about 5 kilometres of soft sand, climbing over gas pipelines, going up and down mounds of rocky sand, we actually came to pavement. And there I happily pounded away at the ground, once again elated to be a runner. That didn’t last. With every metre I got more anxious with the prospect of having to run in sand again. By that time, my wide toed Brooks shoes were filled with fine (as in puny and light as opposed to fine and dandy) sand and I was already dragging my feet. We were hardly half way into the race.

Not minutes later, we came upon a group of ATV riders. They were a friendly bunch spurring us on or just waving a cheerful hello. However, these quad bikes kicked up a dust storm and I could hardly see my running buddies ahead. Then we hit traffic and I was about ready to explode in fury. The dust kicked up by all those vehicles (cars, quad bikes, motorcycles, trucks, lorries) were akin to a scene from some nightmarish movie where fog descends onto the land and hampered your view of your fingers much less 5 feet away. By that time with heart pounding in my chest to the rhythm of the run, I was inhaling fistful of dust at every breath. I thought “good thing I warned hubby I might just die at the race”. (I’m exaggerating but I do deserve my title of drama queen). Thank God the marshals from Bahrain Road Runners came to the rescue and physically pulled our hands and brought us to safety.

Then we hit the desert sand again but this time, it was not as soft as the first leg of the race, albeit a bit more rocky. So I trudged on faster than before. As we climbed an incline, I felt my ankle give and a sharp pain travelled from the inside of my right calve right up  the thigh. I stopped running yet again and walked. The most comforting thought at that time was that the finishing line is a mere 5 km away. No reason to stop now. I saw my running buddies begin their descent at warp speed ready to burn their reserve energy for the last leg…and there I was hobbling along. Then I told me “Get a grip, it’s just a tiny bit of pain. So what if I’m injured, it’s probably nothing. I’ll recover in a couple of weeks, enough time to train for the upcoming half marathon. No biggie. I can do it!” And I did it. I ran and ran until the pain became a steady throbbing, until I saw a grove of palm trees up ahead in the distance, until my feet reached pavement again, until I was a mere 2 km away from the finish, until I felt no pain at all, until I dropped my water bottle from exhaustion, until I saw the Bahrain Road Runners committee cheering us on…Until I finished!!

I wanted to cry but I smiled instead. 2 hours 15 minutes and 26 seconds, finishing at 171st place out of 176. I finished. We did!!

The End

Chay, Bopspeed, Mun Ching
The End

Looking back, this must’ve been the highlight of my stay in Bahrain in 2012. In the midst of it, the race seemed endless and I questioned myself at every turn. I almost gave up at least 3 times in the course of the run. Words cannot express the jubilation I felt at the end. We all could push past the barriers we set for ourselves. For us beginners, physical training and strength is not the end all. It takes great will and determination, mind over matter to carry us to the finish line.

Would I do it again next year? If you asked me right after the race, I would have said no because the emotions were still raw. But few days on, it’s a resounding YES!

P.S. What I didn’t write earlier on (just adding this as I edit), is that the view was absolutely amazing. Some moments during the run despite the pain, I just wanted to savor the horizon where earth meets sea meets sky. We were running while the sun was setting, need I say more.

Happy Faces!

Happy Faces!

Yo Beginners! Grains of sand, over time, can build a mountain!

The equivalent to this proverb is the Malay saying “Sikit-sikit, Lama-lama jadi bukit”. It normally applies to savings but today we speak of running. In which case, slow and steady wins the race (not really – but do read on, you’ll get the drift).

I can’t help but observe us beginners at a 5km run recently. I noticed a bunch of people (yours truly included) trying to start off faster than we usually go so to keep up with the throngs of advanced or pro runners at the first km. BIG MISTAKE! By the 2nd km, the body temperature rises to an unbearable level and the entire being screams for us to just stop running. I pushed on regardless and finished the 5km but almost hyperventilate at the end. My breathing was so loud I sounded like someone in the throes of passion (and that’s a real nice way of putting it – I could think up a dozen lines that would suit it better but that would just be impolite ;) ). Along the way, I saw runners stop and walk for a while before they could continue.

Here’s the deal. It may be a race – but I race myself. Forget about other runners or how fast they go (or how slow I really am) and just concentrate on getting to the finish line having enjoyed the run.

I’ve been taking this running activity seriously since August. It’s been two and a half months and I’ve clocked in an average of 25 km/week, a whopping total of 250km (gosh, I sure impress myself sometimes..haha). As I said, grains of sand, over time, can build a mountain. Whether I’ve made a mountain out of a molehill remains to be seen ;p

Here’s what all those kilometres did for me:

1. My first 5km took 45 minutes to complete. Today, I do it in 33 minutes.

2. In August 2012, I couldn’t run more than 5 kms. By September I did 8kms and this month (October) I could go on non-stop for 10kms.

3. My first 10 km about a week ago took 1 hr and 20 mins to complete. Today I did it in 1 hr and 16 mins.

Image

4. In August, I’d have fainted at the thought of running uphill for anything longer than a minute. Today I could trudge on at an even pace (snail’s pace - not getting too far ahead of myself).

5. I could even hold a conversation while running while months back my partner would not have been able to comprehend the conversation what with the panting and all (fuh “I think” fah fuh fah “I’m” fuh fah “going to” fuh fah fuh fah “faint!”)

So really who cares if I end up being last in the race. I’ve already won!

Taking it a step at a time for my 10km run this Friday. Godspeed Bopspeed and us beginners all.

The Oh So Sweet Award

On the first of October, I was awarded the Oh So Sweet award by a fellow blogger the Walking Woman. Visit her at http://icelandpenny.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/awards-so-sweet-so-thought-provoking/. I’ve been following her blog that has fantastic chronicles of places and photographs along her journey in seeking her own best path towards her own best life. In a way, that is also what I try to attain. Seeing another person’s journey inspires me to find my own path.

I’ve taken so long to write this mainly because when I was given this award, I was admittedly embarrassed!! I never saw myself as sweet. In fact before I started my own journey, I was grappling with a long list of insecurities, mostly concentrated on my body image (being fat/chubby/tub of lard/sack of potatoes/ etc.). In time, I’ve started to adopt a more positive attitude towards the self and life and this is with the help of writers such as the Walking Woman and few others.

So in turn, I too would like to present the Oh So Sweet Award award to those who have made a difference in my journey through their sharing:

1. iRuniBreathe . She has just made it through her first marathon and her articles of this experience along with her journey towards this moment has been eye opening and awe inspiring.

2. Run,Hemingway,Run! This guy went from ‘can’t run, won’t run’ to ‘can run, will run, have to run 13.1miles’ in four months. Actually it’s have run because he made it!

3. CultFit It’s all about exercise. I love reading this blog mainly because it humanizes the journey, making it more bearable with constant reminders and encouragement.

It’s amazing the number of people that has the ability to touch your life in different ways, knowingly or unknowingly. For them all, I give my heartfelt gratitude.  But today, that’s the three in my list and not forgetting the Walking Woman too. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!