Pressure? Nay!

With the SCKLM fast approaching, and for some: Sundown 100, one couldn't help but feel something stirring in the air....

Whatever your choice of race, there is no doubt that the anticipation of these events would have some of us thinking: Am I ready for this? 

Well, I am not into Ultra. For me, my date is with SCKLM on 26/6/11.

Call it nerves, call it pre-race jitter, call it fear, call it doubt, whatever you want. The unsettling feeling is there. Almost tanglible. For me, I think it has to do with the fact that SCKLM is my target for a PB.

Many Malaysian marathoners would not miss this event. It's an annual pilgrimage. Most friends that I know have signed up for it. However, SCKLM is not an easy course. It has it's version of "heart break hill" near the end where there are some pretty mean steep inclines. If some have the idea that SCKLM is going to be flat, then they are in for a surprise. http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/32250696

On a personal note, SCKLM holds a certain importance for me because it was here that I did my first marathon many moons ago. This year, even if I had not sign up for any races, I would still slot in SCKLM.

However, this is where it hurts. Having aimed for a PB, I set myself to train hard for it in the recent months. But after assessing my recent performance in Sundown , I am well aware that the PB I have hoped for may not be within reach for now. This is not to say that it will never happen. But it will probably be a miracle if it does!

For a couple of weeks, I have been battling this in my mind. The thought that I may not be able to achieve what I had set out to do. It was depressing. It was frustrating. I was not in the best of mood to say the least. But finally, I had to reach a conclusion: Should I aim for PB? Not this time.

It was very tough coming to terms with the revelation that I am just not ready. If I had simply accepted that, it would probably be a lot easier. But being the type A personality kind of guy, it is easier said than done.

There are 5 stages of grief. They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. (Not necessarily in that order.) And I went through all of it. Physically, sometimes, we KNOW that we cannot push ourselves any further. Not because we are not mentally strong enough. It is simply not the time yet. We can try to fool ourselves into thinking that we can still achieve it despite our actual physical condition, but in the end, we are the ones who will pay the price. I have learned this the hard way many times over in the past. So, I think I know what I am talking about. Coming to terms with this, is sometimes the hardest decision that you will have to make. And sometimes, it is the bravest.

But by this, I am not implying that I am giving up without a fight. I went through those 5 stages, and arrived at the acceptance that I may not be able to achieve my PB in SCKLM this time. BUT, I still have hope that I will do it the next time in some other races. Or maybe in SCKLM 2012.

I have friends who will be going through a tougher race: Sundown 100. What one must muster up to face this immense challenge is really beyond my capacity to comprehend. Nevertheless, we all have our own inner demons to battle. No matter how experienced you are or even if you are a novice in this sport, the important thing that one must come to terms is: Do I have a realistic goal? Even if you are a seasoned marathoner, one can still make the mistake of setting unrealistic goal. The key is to know your limit and give yourself time to develop. Never do a rush work.

I guess the next question is: Why am I doing this? I would like to think that we are all in this for the long run. You don't want to burn out. Or worse still, incur chronic injuries. All of which will seriously take the joy out of running. I have been there too. So, be careful and take care of your temple. This vehicle is not "replaceable". Respect it. Don't abuse it.

My conclusion. Pressure? Nay! I am a bit more comfortable now that I have worked it out. For me, I have come to realize that: I DO NOT HAVE TO PROVE MYSELF. And the best part is, I get to enjoy doing it all over again. Minus the pressure.

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