RUNNING AWAY …… FROM A SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE by Loke Shu Sun
My life was so different a year ago.
Running was not my forte although I was very active in sports activities during my secondary school days. I took part in running events during my school sports day simply because I was fitter than the rest. When I was in my 20s, I ran in a few 10km events and completed the PJ Half Marathon in 1988. Thereafter, I led a sedentary lifestyle save for the occasional walks in the park.
How it all started
Having completed the 8km run in my company’s cross country in November 2006, I realized that I can run at the age of 44. It was the longest distance I ran since 1988. Although I continued with my thrice weekly walk and jog routine which I have been doing since 2003, that run has ignited the thought of taking part in running events.
In early July 2007, I found out about the NPE-Adidas King of the Road run and I signed up for the 10km category. With about a month to go before the event proper, I knew I have to put in some decent training to last the distance. Although I could train on my own, I was concerned that my enthusiasm will fizzle out after the run especially if I were to struggle to complete the 10km run. I need to have a sustainable regime.
A search through the internet led me to the RunnersMalaysia website. I e-mailed Jamie and he invited me to their Saturday morning run.
14 July 2007. I started the day by running with Wan, Jamie and the rest of the runners from RunnersMalaysia. Thereafter, I chatted with Wan and he explained that the more serious runners would typically do their longer run on Sundays. I did not make any commitment there and then but I called Wan later in the afternoon to confirm that I will join him the next day. I also submitted my application to be a member of the Pacesetters Athletic Club Malaysia (“PACM”).
I met Wan and Kim at the Bukit Aman car park the next morning and we started off at 6:30a.m. I was joining them on their double hill run which I have been forewarned to be a challenging route. Since this is my 1st run along this route, Wan and Kim became my guide and pacer. As expected, I had a hard time keeping up with them although they were running way below their normal pace. To my surprise, I completed the challenging run without stopping. The run was not easy but I enjoyed it tremendously.
The last 12 months
Since my 1st double hill, I ran regularly with fellow runners from RunnersMalaysia on Saturdays and PACM members on Sundays. Depending on work commitments, I also try to incorporate 2 mid-week runs of 5 to 6 km each. For the 1st few months, my run on Sundays was deliberately restricted to double hill. My plan for 2007 was to take part in short distance runs (below 10km) and thereafter to go for distances up to 21km. I did not want to rush and push myself too hard for fear of injuries. Being in the 40 something age group, I knew I will succumb to injuries if I try too hard and do too much too soon.
It was only in December 2007 that I increased the distance for my Sunday run to 20km. By then, I could run up to 20km comfortably as I had already raised my fitness level up a few notches.
Loke in action during the Pacemakers Relay in June 2008
Maintaining the momentum
Running is a very good way to keep fit. However, this alone will not be sufficient incentive/motivation to continue running. The motivation factor is very strong in the early stages of any form of strenuous activity (including running) as a person will normally lose some weight. There will come a time when it will stabilize and this is when enthusiasm may wane. To me, taking part in running events is one way to take away the boredom and to keep the adrenaline flowing.
Last year, I took part in 4 events i.e. NPE-Adidas King of the Road (10km), Mizuno Wave Run (10km), Der Pacemakers Anniversary Run (2.3km relay) and my company’s cross country (5km). So far this year, I ran in 8 events i.e. the Great Eastern Pacesetters 30km (20km), the KL International Marathon 2008 (21km), the New Balance Klang Pacers Half Marathon (21km), the New Balance Pacesetters 15km, RMAF Half Marathon (21km), Der Pacemakers Anniversary Run (3.35km relay), McDonalds Olympic Day Run (7km) and Siemens Charity Run (10km). With so many events to look forward to in 2008 and beyond, there is enough motivation for me to continue running.
Most runners would aspire to complete at least one full marathon and so do I. I know I have to put in a lot of hard work to run the full distance of 42.195km. It is going to be a long journey and I shall need the support and guidance from my running buddies to prepare for it.
Loke Shu Sun
14 July 2008