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As Priorities Change, The Perspective Changes by Jamie Pang

I went into yesterday's run in a totally carefree spirit. I did everything that I would have balked at just 6 months ago. I ran without starting my watch and wore my Walkman phone. With the good stuff flowing through the earphones, each of the 3 laps went by effortlessly. I enjoyed the easy run though it wasn't really really slow, the weather and the outdoors.


Just 6 months ago, my priorities were different. Work wasn't so crazy, I was logging 60-70K weeks in preparation for the Singapore Marathon, timing splits were everything, I even ran twice a day to ensure that I hit the weekly mileage. Oh yes, I enjoyed every bit of the training. Every hard effort and long runs were relished.

Two months later everything changed.

The project at my workplace I was leading went into overdrive and everything else pretty much went out of the window. I missed hitting the mileage and the critical final week of training before tapering. However because of my base and experience, I didn't do too badly in Singapore and even bettered my timing considerably in the KL Marathon (2 months after the Singapore race).

I fretted a lot when I struggled to find time to run. Coupled with the project deadline the pressure was pretty bad with no outlet. I've not trained nor raced since the KL Marathon and I don't see things changing by much. Lately I've got down to thinking a bit about my running options. There are a few options that I can consider. I struck off buying a gym membership or a treadmill as they are too expensive.

My remaining options are:
1) Waking up an hour earlier eg 5:15am to run.
So that I can get at least 6 hours of sleep, the latest I can stay up is just until 11pm. Getting to go to bed at 11pm depends on how much my other commitments are stacked up for that day or week. I may have website maintenances to do, some leftover work from the office and so on. This option is only viable on certain days of the week.

2) Run on selected evenings when I can get off early.
Early by definition is about 6:30pm. That means I can run for about 35 minutes before leaving to pick up my son from the nanny.

3) Change my mindset.
This is perhaps not an easy thing to do. That goes for anything related to the changing of perspectives and in-grained attitudes. I decided that although this is the hardest to do, it will be the most pragmatic thing.

The initial stage was so difficult, sort of like going cold turkey. I've had to battle the thought that while I was missing my workouts, my friends were getting theirs. While I wasn't even on training mode, they're racing every other weekend. I was envious, and was angry even. Being one who keeps a training log and adhering to it, all these seem like committing hara-kiri.

However over a few weeks and months, change begins to happen. It stems from my decision to control how I feel than to continue beating myself up over the missed times. Either I continue to feel lousy or start feeling better.

What happens next is great. I still only run occassionally, and I usually don't exceed 5K each time I do that. But I don't feel bad anymore. I enjoyed running to music but I do so only because I'm listening to it while running around a park that has plenty of people. For safety reasons, I don't advocate wearing ear phones while running solo on the roads or in the early morning and late evenings. I no longer time my runs and I'm pretty happy just to be out there than worrying about my lap times. Because of that, I've grown to be more appreciative of just having the chance to run. The competitive streak in me is still burning.

Without a doubt, running brings about a healthier and balanced me. But obsessing about it can also bring about anxiety and despair. When you spot yourself heading the negative way, consider your options. Stepping back will get you looking at running in a different yet refreshing light.


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