Thursday, 18 August 2016

A Half-Assed Runner's Diary

I make no secret of the fact that I am lazy when it comes to exercise. I love outdoor activities and hard physical labour (housework, gardening, hands-on volunteering and home improvement/DIY projects), but running for running's sake just seems like such a mindless, tedious activity to me. I can't for the life of me see why I loved it so much in my schooldays.
This is probably how my friends (who are serious runners) prepare for marathons and road races:
Mon: Slow long distance run
Tues: Speed work
Wed: Recovery run
Thurs: Slow long distance run
Fri: Speed work
Sat: Social / group run
Sun: Sunrise hike up some hill or mountain or the other, where they will take fantastic photos of Broga Hill / Tabur East / Bukit Kutu / Gunung Nuang / Gunung Datuk and post it on Facebook with inspirational quotes about goal-setting.
Repeat every week until the week of the Race. Build up weekly base mileage over a period of 6 months.
Race Week: Carbo-load. Daily tempo run and strength-building exercises.
Night before a race: Get race gear ready, eat well, get plenty of sleep.
And this is how I prepare for half-marathons and road races:
Mon: Play silly buggers. 
Tues: Play silly buggers.
Wed: Play silly buggers.
Thurs: Play silly buggers.
Fri: Play silly buggers.
Repeat each day and each week until the week of the Race.
Night before the race: Go through collection of sneakers to locate pair with lowest number of duct tape patches. Download exciting audiobooks into MP3 player to listen to while running. Go to bed 4 hours before the race.
In spite of my lack of self-discipline and disinclination for training, however, I signed up to run a half-marathon (21km) for Hospis Malaysia in the Run For A Reason category of the Standard Chartered KL Marathon this year. I am a better fundraiser than I am an athlete, and thanks to the generosity of my friends, I managed to raise RM1,400.00 for Hospis Malaysia.
I participated in two road races in July and August, which means I have reached my personal target of running in 3 road races this year (the first one was the Turtle Conservation Run in March). It should have been 3 road races in 3 weeks, but I busted my left ankle during the Standard Chartered KL Marathon and could not participate in the Wild Tiger Run the following Sunday.
On 31st July, I participated in the Blood Donor Fun Run, which I had registered for during my last blood donation on 14th May.
This photo collage was made after my last whole blood donation at the National Blood Bank on 14th May. I had spent the morning observing and making notes on the SPCA's Pet Care Programme, and then went to donate blood during lunch hour. The National Blood Bank has a certain allocation of meatless meals for vegetarian blood donors these days, for which I am grateful. On that particular day, I was given fried kuay teow, a doughnut, an apple and a hot beverage. I then picked up a race form and signed up for the race on my way out of the blood bank.
I completed the Blood Donor Fun Run and picked up my Finisher's Medal despite arriving late (couldn't find a parking spot) and getting distracted several times by a flock of Painted Storks, a Greater Racket-Tailed Drongo and some Black-Naped Orioles.
Painted Storks around the lake at the Bukit Jalil Recreational Park.
Painted Storks ignoring me while I ignored the fact that I had a run to complete.
Completed the run and picked up my Finisher's Medal. What a way to reward and celebrate mediocrity. I get a medal for my half-assed effort. You get a medal, I get a medal, she gets a medal, everybody gets a medal. Wheeee.
Chilling out with Scar the Cat at the SPCA shelter after my run.
The following Sunday, I ran 21km in the Standard Chartered KL Marathon without getting distracted by birds or wildlife, because we ran in the middle of the city.
Truthfully, I hardly felt the boredom or fatigue of running for over 3 hours, since I had some good audiobooks on my little MP3 to keep my mind occupied.
I felt quite pleased with my Finisher's Medal, although my finishing time was less than stellar, because I managed to raise quite a tidy sum for a good cause.
I took the opportunity to have my photo taken at Hospis Malaysia's booth...
 ... and I received a special souvenir t-shirt for succeeding in raising more than RM500 for my chosen charity. I took this photo at home for the benefit of a friend who wanted to know what our souvenir shirts look like. The scowl, gun show and boxing glove are, of course, gratuitous.
I  had also registered for the Wild Tiger Run for tiger conservation, which took place last Sunday, 14th August, but found that I was still unable to put any weight on my left ankle on the morning of the run, and sadly had to bail out.
However, my ankle wasn't bad enough to stop me from going to the SPCA shelter to bathe and tickwash dogs.
 And as is my usual fashion, I made myself a lunchbox of little vegan medals on Monday, as a nod to the 2016 Summer Olympics, flawed though it may be, and to my recent small haul of finisher's medals in road races, mediocre though my performance may be.
I will probably never win any medals for speed and outstanding performance, but that won't stop me from participating in future road races and running for good causes. I may be a half-assed athlete but at least I know I am all heart when it comes to fundraising and volunteering.

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