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The Beginning of A Wonderful Thing by Ooi Wei-Min

I have been running on and off since I was in college. That time I was an occasional runner. I used to run with my housemate in Subang Lake, however the maximum distance I could run was 1 round plus (1.3km if I still remember correctly) without stopping. My friend runs 5 laps every time. I used to admire that. Later we shifted to SS14. There is when I stopped running. Started picking up running again by late 2008 early 2009 when my friend working for Standard Chartered informed me about the Standard Chartered Run 2009. This is the first time I ever start focusing on preparing a race. I slowed down almost immediately after the race. I still run in gym, but sort of running aimlessly. I start running consistently with focus when I join routine Saturday 7:30am at lakeside run organized by Wan at the end of Sept 09. Prior to Standard Chartered run 09, I saw Wan's sat run on the Malaysia runner website, but somehow distraction came and I totally forget about it until late September (sometimes I wonder, if somehow I totally forget about the website, will my path being change and missed out all the fun? Well, thank goodness it is the other way round). I still remember I couldn't even finish the whole 6 km route the first time. I got stuck half way, out of breath. The other day when we rerun 6km route, it was just like warming up, the body cell was jumping wanting to go for more. I think I finish the route in less than 35min. Anyway, from the group I make a few friends and started running with Joline, Uncle Jerry, Ng and Koo on double hill consistently after Mizuno wave run.

Ooi with friends post Mizuno Wave Run

Why running? I like the feeling of running fastest possible in the open feeling the sense of speed. It gives me sense of freedom and release. No problem, no stress, as if the whole world is just down to me and myself and no other things. Running is a sport that basically requires very less things. Any time any place, as long as you have your sport shoe with you, you can run. You don't have to wait for people. But as I start running recently, I start to see running from different point of view. I start to realize that life in some way is like running a New York Marathon. There is always limited space. When you are in the game, you better appreciate it as you only have one chance to get it right. There is no turning back. Along the way you make new friends. Some run with you for a longer period of time, some just a bit less. No matter whether you like it or not, you will have to finish the race yourself. No one else will be able to complete the journey for you, not even your father. What you do along the way and how you finish it, is entirely up to you. Some might run faster than you, some run slower than you. It doesn't really matter, because the whole idea is to overcome our self. I have learned that my focus should be shortening the race time and not jealous or envy about other's success. This is because everyone comes from different background and level of effort put in is different. Life is also the same thing. Sometimes we tend to be jealous with people's success but forget about how much effort have they invested and how many failure have they face before arriving at that moment of glory. Success occurred at that moment, but hard work behind the scene is permanent.

Ooi after the Malakoff 12K

Running give me an opportunity to get closer to myself, especially, when face with challenge. This is the time where major communications between you and yourself occur most heavily. Running in someway has changed my life style, I tend to sleep a bit earlier and wake up early because routine run/ competition normally happen on 6am in the morning. My night activity has reduced. Before this I tend to slept at 2-4am. It used to be big challenge for me to wake up 7am, but now, I am already used to it. One of the biggest challenges I think in running is about keeping/continuing your pace/ strategy without being influence by other runners. The influence is especially strong when you are in the race. That's why people tend to finished the race faster then their trail (group influence). The downside of this is that if you run too fast during start (my opinion, one time runner- (non routine runner) tend to do this often, and you will see a lot of this people in running competition, then half way they will give up) , you might loose your energy half way especially for long distance run. That's why it is very important to know your objective before you run. The whole idea is finishing the race consistently not seeking temporary victory at some point along the run. On and off I still have to remind myself to slow down during the starting of the run, even though I have so much energy. So you see, running is not just merely about sport, it is about life. Even now when I run, I still learn new stuff.

My first run
The first run that I have ever participated with preparation is Standard Chartered Charity Run 2009. It was 5km. Training was all done in gym. Even though it was a short one, this was the first time that I ran full 5km without stopping. Before this I could not even finish running 2km. This run really inspired me a lot because I meet up a group of people from Hong Kong Blind Sport Association. Most of them are vision impaired (cannot see well), but they can run better than anyone else who is perfectly healthy. After this I also participated in New Balance Klang Pacers 6km Run (in which I saw an elderly guy running faster than me, barefoot, this really get me motivated), Mizuno Wave Run, and Malakoff 12km run.

The writer after a recent race in Klang

As I am writing, I have just participated in Kelab Penembak Bandar Diraja Klang 15KM Run 2010 (very exciting course, should have checked before I participate). During the race, every time when you overcome one hill, there seems to be another one which is higher waiting for you down the road. This continues and it gives you a feeling that the hill seems to be endless. On top of that, the morning fog covers the height of the hill, gives you an impression that the path is leading you to the sky. The sense of frustration and depression is very strong especially while you are running. My body and mental is asking me to stop and join the crowd who has already given up. I still continue running. One step at a time, follow by left leg, follow by right, as if the body does not belongs to me. When I come to the near end of the last major hill, I realized that it is not as difficult as it seems. I have covered more than twice of distance compare to my trail run. I was feeling light that time. This run make me realized that sometimes challenges are like a huge lion from far, it roar like thunder. it look fierce and ready to tear u into pieces and gobble u up anytime as soon as u go near, but when u continue proceed near, you will find out that it is just a cute little kitten waiting for you to pat on its head, wanting to lick you and want you to play with it. Sometimes challenges can be very deceiving, overcoming it might not be as hard as you think! I finished at 1:48:30. I could not finish running the full course. But, my time had improved. My trail run was more than 2 hours and I could not even finish running half of the track, end up walk the rest of it. Now, at least I manage finish running 13km out of 15.7km. Up to this point I might have not won any medal yet (finisher medal is different story), but I can see significant improvement in terms of time and endurance (6km in October 09 to 12km in Dec 09) as I move on. I am excited about it.

We are currently running double hill 10.8 km constantly (before the year end holidays). Do looking forward to start running 17km next week. I can still remember clearly on one Sunday run, while running beside me, Mr. Wan told (in a tone as if he is standing still talking to me) me that people my age should complete double hill in less than 50 min. I was out of breath and could hardly even reply him. I pretty much have to shout. Well, I guess that is what I will be working on also. My next goal is to run half marathon in Standard Chartered Run in June 10. I will be most likely be participating on a full marathon by June 2011. Then I will start cycling and eventually triathlon before age 35. At the moment I am taking it slowly. I would like enjoy process. Besides that, there is only limited time I can commit for running as I still have few other commitments to take care of. I have a dream that eventually one day I will be able to run in foreign cities (Mongol 100km run seems to be very interesting) anytime I want and tour the city before or after the run. Of course, New York ING Marathon and Boston marathon is definitely in the list. My advice to new runner is take your time, enjoy the process, don't expect overnight success and of course most important of all - have fun! Just try to push the limit bit by bit every time you run. If you continue and not quit and improve along the way, achieving your goal is.

Well, that is my little running story. Hope to hear yours. Happy Running.

Special Thanks
I would like to thank Mr. Wan for the inspiration and motivation and the contribution of the article in Footloose. He encourages us to share our story. That is the main reason why I am writing this article, hoping to give some back after taking so much from you guys. Also, I would like to thank people who has contributed article to Footloose, and providing advice and inspiration along the way. Thank you. I would like to give special thanks to following people, uncle Jerry for the motivation, even though he had angioplasty in late 2008, but anytime he can still outrun a lot of us. Thanks Ng for taking the initiative and suggesting we write our running testimonials, if not I believe until next year, I still have not started yet (too much excuse). He gives me a target to go for, as he is the fastest in the routine run. Joline for proof reading the article and breakfast after Mizuno run. She has a very good attitude, despite so many challenges on running, she just do not know when to quit. Koo for pulling the whole group together to consistently run on Saturday or Friday( when holiday). He might look "tidak apa" at the front, but he trained very hard besides the routine run. Thanks Tee for doing so much background preparation work (one of it, is that he stick his camera out of the car window one hand holding camera, the other on steering wheel and record the whole route while driving) for recent race and the 100 Plus. All your commitment inspired me. Finally, I would like to thank family and friends support and myself for the consistency and commitment on running.



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