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What’s the worst thing that can happen to you in a race?

Strong winds pushing against you? A pulled thigh muscle acting up? Or mucus blocking your nose, reducing the amount of oxygen intake?

All of the above. In addition, I felt that my heart had problems beating like normal.
The first British Wednesday run with the running club ended up feeling thoroughly exhausted and off form. It was a staggered race – everyone gives an estimated timing of their completion time and the slowest expected person should start first. Everyone should end up at the finishing line around the same time. A length of 6.4km, it spanned between Hammersmith and Putney Bridge and we had about 15-20 of us bracing the cold and aiming for a personal best.

I targeted myself for 35minutes and I was 27 seconds off. Obviously I was disappointed but along the halfway mark, I was already well aware of my condition and I was debating whether to stop and walk lest a potential ‘heart’ condition might occur? Although I had no known heart conditions, it has been a while since I felt this kind of discomfort when running.

Four members overtook me eventually one by one and I took a look at my watch. Apparently as I tried to speed up towards the last 2 km, I was not too far off as I had thought. I even managed to open my strides as I thundered towards the finishing line. In the second half of the run, all I tried to do was to keep my pace and refused to be influenced by the others. I had my own target and my own criteriae – from my last poem – Measure Not – it was part of my learning process where I realised I was different from others and I (tried to) stop comparing myself and others. This thought kept me going for the most difficult part where I thought I might have to stop my run. “If I keep running at the same pace, I should be able to still complete”. I did and even accelerated for the last 100m.

Once again, my mind won over my body and despite the slight disappointment, I was still extremely pleased with myself.