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I broke my personal record at the Richmond Parkrun on Saturday. Best time ever since I started on it. I have thought about breaking my record since the beginning of the year but it never seemed to happen. Even if I had thought of breaking it, I didn’t think it would be possible to cut it down by 15 seconds. In a 5km run, shaving a quarter of a minute of your own record is ALOT.

As a result I made a couple of self discoveries.

1. It is good to pace someone at the start if you do not know how to pace yourself. Similar to my life, I always found it best to reference on the experience from others if I don’t know what to set for myself. Hence I managed to drive myself further than what I have usually done. And I did not realise that I had the capacity to go at a faster pace than what I would usually have done.

2. The energy I usually reserve to last for the later part of a run was more than I had expected. It allowed me to hold on right till the end and was steadily exhausted over a longer distance than I had originally thought possible.

3. Keeping up my own pace was important when my ‘self-allocated’ pacer slowed down towards the last one third of the race. I started ahead, he overtook me; I caught up and lead for a while and he caught up again. I kept pace with me for some meters and eventually powered ahead of him and held onto my own pace. I survived and the rest is history.

4. Of course the most important element was my own mental power. I mistook it for my 10th run and an idea struck me that it could be possible to achieve a personal best at the 10th milestone. It was totally random but I stuck by it and focused on my pace. When I believed the possibility, I actually put in more effort to stick by it.

A combination of factors – determination, belief and a guide enabled me to find the hidden potential within myself. By sharing this story, I hope each one of you will ask yourself the same question and continue to probe the limits of your own potential.