Thursday, December 5, 2013

Reflections on the SCSM 2013 (Singapore Marathon)

Photo-credit: Triathlon Family Singapore
It has been four days since the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. In classic style, I ran through my pain barrier, in the last 10km. I was doing so well for the first 32-33km, pacing alongside strong triathletes/marathoners, Ewin Teo and Dr Lim Baoying. The gluteal (buttock) strain I experienced after a tempo run, four days before the marathon, worsened into a hip-joint/right medial gluteal injury. I had to withstand the pain and weakening muscle performance, to a disappointing finishing time.
Photo-credit: Steven Tan Fun Runner
Six weeks after completing the triathlon world championships in Kona, I was able to complete a marathon (with minimal marathon-specific training). I was mainly riding and running (50-60km per week of running, at my maximum). I was on-target for a possible sub-3:30 finish, when I assessed a strong 1:45, turnaround time. However, when my right pinky-toe erupted into a bloody gusher (I felt it when it happen), I suspected something was amidst. Then, my right hip gave me grief with tightening intensity. This progressed, with diminishing results, into a slower run as my right leg could not fired thoroughly. I crossed the line, one minute better than last year, and one second off my course-best timing. Well, it is what it is. 
Photo-credits: Mohd Hafiz
I had a sports-massage after the race, requesting two male masseurs (undergraduates in the Diploma of Sports Science from a polytechnic institution) to work on 'releasing my hip muscles'. It hurt, not helped by skin abrasions I picked up on my run. I had my bloody toe treated at the Medical Tent; thankfully, it stopped bleeding and the nurse was kind enough to keep my foot dry with a large swathe of cotton-gauze. I hobbled out with a discernible limp, on my right side, as was described by my friend, Khina Ong.

On reflection and reviewing my race-day , I realised that my mental fortitude and tenacity drew me to the finishing-line. Endurance athletes develop a deliberate sense of stubbornness from many hours spent doing their favourite discipline. You engage values like determination, patience and commitment to help you complete the task. Thus, developing mental strength as well as physical fitness are complementary and mutually-dependent.
Photo-credits: Running Shots
This is a great time to briskly evaluate your performance, and translate these into future goals for the next racing season. As you rest your weary body, be wary of what works and what does not. Assess your successes as well as misses. There are few failures in life, merely results. A 'perfect race' may be a surprise, earned when you least expect it. Other times, you will experience it coming and ride on the waves of your confidence.

Above all, consider which factors you can control and which you cannot. Focus on what you can do. Relish in your progress. Little gains add up into value: tacit experience and tacit wisdom. That is the education of an athlete, and the learning of a person.

Enjoy your time with yourself.

No comments: