Sunday, September 28, 2014

Finally I am back to running after a 5 years hiatus!

A mass of blue. Smiling faces. A sense of camaraderie.
Heart-pumping music at the start of the race. The anticipation of the road ahead.

Ah! How I missed this feeling!

This is the first time I am back running at an organised mass run, after a hiatus of 5 years. It marks a significant milestone, because it means that I am officially back on track after a period of disruption from pregnancy and motherhood.

The last time I participated in a race was before I had my two kids. That seems like a thousand years ago!

It seems like my life is divided into two eras: Without Kids, and With Kids. How totally, absolutely different these two eras are. So imagine how carefree I feel, running down the road, as I hark back to the times pre-motherhood when all I cared about was Myself, Myself and Myself.

Aside from that, I really LOOOOVE to run.

There is something about these kind of races that makes it really fun. It is different from running on your own in the park. For this kind of organised runs, there is a definite start and end, so when you finish your race, there is a wonderful sense of achievement. And there are thousands and thousands of people, all wearing the same clothes as you, running down the same path. I suppose this is the closest to joining a cult I will ever feel, where everybody is united in the same path and working towards the same objective.

The activities at the end of the race also makes it doubly fun. There is this carnival feel in the air, where all the endorphins-pumped individuals go around taking photos with each other (hey, I did it!). There are also silly activities such as taking (more) photos with a giant can of 100-plus, Zumba-dancing (the most popular form of exercise now), and "like-ing" products on facebooks to get free gifts.

To top it all, I participated in the mass run with my sister. If it feels great just participating in a run, it feels doubly-great when you participate it with fantastic company. We had fun on the road taking selfies of ourselves, and pointing out all the "weird" people you see along the way. (There was not a lot of "interesting" people in this particular run, but still there were one or two. For example, there was this lady that ran barefoot, and displayed her shoes prominently so people will notice.)

All in all, we had a great time! I really enjoyed the laughter, the companionship, and the blast of endorphins as we reached our "runner's high". So the logical question to ask is, when is the next run?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Committment and the Constant Struggle with Myself

It’s been more than a month since I last blogged. What happened to the commitment to blog at least once a week? Well, we all know what happened. There are the usual excuses – I was busy, I had no topic in mind, I don’t know why I started this project in the first place… yadedadeda….

It’s the constant struggle that I have: how to keep the promises that I made to myself.

In an interview with Steven Covey, author of the 7 habits, he mentioned that the first three habits that he taught can be summarised in a sentence: “Make and keep a promise”. I have always wondered about that comment.
To be frank, the first thing that came to my mind when I heard his reply was, you mean I read half the book, it can actually be summarized in one sentence? Hahaha…
Wise-crack comments aside, this reply struck me as quite apt after I paused to think about it. If you recall, Steven Covey’s first three habits were:
  • Be proactive
  • Begin with the end in mind
  • Do the first things first
The three habits are all about self-leadership. And the difficult part about self-leadership is not the intent, but how do we go about taking actions and then sticking to these actions day in and out.
The constant struggle that we have is all about the littlest things. Whether we should snuggle in bed for another hour, or wake up early so as to do all sorts of things that we promised ourselves we will do; Whether to eat that tasty-looking sinful French fries, or the yucky broccoli that’s sitting on our plates; Whether to open our mouths and start scolding someone who has made us angry, or just pause and reflect on what happened.
Well, I have arrived at a philosophy of handling such things. I think life is a constant struggle against ourselves. Sometimes we win, and sometimes we lose. The important thing is not to give up. If you really want something, you have to keep at it, no matter how long it takes, and no matter that you are not seeing any progress.
It is really easy to write about this, but so much harder to do it in real life. As I have done countless of times, I will start a project (like this), with a burst of passion and enthusiasm. And then that burst of fire will die off, and then this blog will just be a silly project that I started. Keeping to your commitment requires a kind of doggedness and stubbornness to say to yourselves, over and over: I will do this!
And on that hopeful note, I will continue this struggle with myself!
Let’s persevere, and at the end of it, we will look back on this journey and proudly belt out the Frank Sinatra song: “ I did it my way!”