Carry On

This is not a deliberate attempt at song promotion. Nor is it a post to impress my teenage son of the wealth of my knowledge about what's in or out. I only came across this song by accident while listening to radio on my usual commute to work. It's a song by Nate Ruess from the group FUN. I have always been a bit curious about this lad's voice when he sang We Are Young, which topped the Billboard Top 100 for weeks. He is what you would say "intense". And the no holds barred kind of vocals that stood out amongst many.

But what really hit home was the title of the song Carry On. At the end of the day, an artist's integrity is about being true to himself and his responsibility, to inspire. Honestly, have you heard some of the 'music' on radio these days? Most of the time, I can hardly work out what they are actually singing or rapping about. Leave alone the contents. Which are usually about sex, puppy love or break ups. Be a bit original ya?

Anyway, Carry On has a rather catchy tune to it. It's rather timely too because Boston Marathon's just around the corner. I believe there's a song for each season. And my season is often defined by a significant running/racing event. I guess most runners do that. For example, my first ever OD Triathlon in Port Dickson was hopelessly and irreversibly fused with the song Rolling in the Deep by Adele. Every time I hear that song, it triggers flashbacks of the PD experience. And the same goes for the song Titanium. That season was particularly meaningful as I was striving for sub 3 in the 2012 Osaka Marathon. I know it's all very peculiar. But it just happened that way. Well, I suppose I have Hits FM to thank for that.

This season, I have a feeling Carry On will be carrying me to Boston. Coincidentally, the song has some Celtic flavour in it too and would definitely befit a place like Boston which is steep in Irish influence and tradition. I will feel right at home in Boston with this one.

Well, on a more personal level, I needed it. Originally, Boston should have been the 'make or break' of a PB. But things don't always go according to plan. Life happens. And consequently, training has taken a back seat. I know it sounds like an excuse. But honestly, I am not even looking for one. It's not as though I could have done better.

C'est la vie. Just have to deal with it, I suppose.

For the past few months, I wasn't even sure if I had it any more in me to run. Sure I still go through the usual training whenever I can. But the drive to push myself further was somewhat missing. I wasn't sure if it was all work related. But the daily grind did exert a significant pressure on an already weary soul and body. To even make it out there for training was already a minor miracle in itself.

But I still put myself through the routine interval, tempo and LSD. Even when I am on call, rain or shine, I would train at Mengkuang Dam with my handphone sealed in a plastic envelope, poised at the beck and call of the hospital. I am doing this not out of sheer stubbornness, blind devotion, or even the consuming passion for running. It was just very automated: I knew what I have to do. And I did it methodically. Like a job.

But something is amiss.

When I heard the song Carry On, I realize that life isn't all about mountaintop or even death valley experiences. Most of the time, it is the mundane daily existence that poses the real challenge. If you can do it day in and day out with perseverance, consistency and unwavering devotion, my friend, it's already a major accomplishment. We are often sold on the idea that everything has to have significance. And life with it's highlights would have to be a roller coaster/bungee jumping/skydiving kind of thrill. Filled with colours and medals and decorated with certificates and accolades. How many of us actually live like that?

But in quiet perseverance, step by step, I just carry on doing what I do. Sure I have ambitions. And ideals. Even the perfect life. But for now, that is in a far away land. My task at hand is my responsibilities to my love ones. My life isn't really my own. I wish I could live without having to answer to anyone. But that is not reality. So, for now, it is on with the job.

The challenge is keeping a constant pace, not lagging, not wavering, not quitting. Pretty much like running. I may not arrive first. I may not be appreciated for the seemingly mundane, irrelevant work. It doesn't really matter. As a matter of fact, I am rather OK with it. It's really about being at peace with the decision. And that, my friends, is just to carry on.

Because I know, I will eventually arrive.


  1. Hi Francis,
    Quite true post.
    Noted you tentatively plan on running the Fuji-san Marathon this fall.
    Is a *great* race and vibe, and obviously beautiful with Mt. Fuji right there. Have run it the last two years and plan to this year, course changed (got harder) this past year. Let me know as the year goes on if you still plan on coming over for it.

    1. Thanks Ted. I am putting most runs on hold at the moment, except Boston and Comrades. Will see if things perk up a little in the latter part of the year. If so, I'll be looking you up in Fujisan Marathon. Will let you know :)

  2. I must be really old cos I have no inkling who Nate Ruess is and the group FUN for that matter ... LOL!

    Now that my marathon training plans are in full swing, just making sure I can find the time to keep to the demanding training schedule is already a marathon effort in itself. But like you said, I just have to do the best I can and carry on.

    1. Haha Nick, that only proves that you rarely listen to radio. That's all.
      Yup, through thick and thin, let's just carry on. And not lose heart.

  3. Thanks for sharing the song, Francis. There's always ups and downs in life and I'm in the later one, and your song is just in time. Running has become a requirement, a mundane, because it's something to 'compensate' my work, and the negative feedback grows like a snowball. 1 week as if 1 day and the tension grows.
    You more modern. I listen to Lite n Easy. Song of the season for me is "This train don't stop there anymore" by Elton John~

    1. hang in there Kent. keep at it. one step at a time. u will be fine :)

  4. awesome, I am not looking for a PB in Boston either... had an injury after HK marathon (which I PB). I am going to take my iphone and take pictures while running... easy. BUT, if you sub-3, I am going to kill you! haha.


    1. haha CL, I have a date with the Wellesley girls this time round. Will not foolishly rush through it like last year :) So, sub 3 will be highly unlikely :)

  5. GREAT! Because I am serious about the killing part... hee hee. I am not going to push, and I am going to enjoy myself. So, please join me as a mere mortal, Superman. We need to be reminded that you can be human!

    1. looking forward to it CL! :) But I am no superman. If anything, YOU are the superwoman. :) So, please don't leave me trailing.


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