chasing steeples

HELLO!!

So… I haven’t posted before and Mr. Boss-man Azrul said I should lead by example and write something. I was trying to think of a topic to write about, but it’s actually quite hard when most of my brain space at the moment is devoted to bacteria, antibiotics, and genetic diseases. For lack of a better subject, I thought I’d just bore you all with a few of my thoughts about running in general, and my IVP experience. Oh and before I forget,

Whoo we won IVP again yay I guess! Congrats to all the runners and jumpers and throwers and stuff and much respect to all the supporters who braved the elements to cheer their hearts out (UMBRELLAS AND ALL)!

OK now that that’s out of the way, I’ll start with the post proper! Have you ever wondered why you subject yourself to so much physical discomfort by choosing to be a runner? There is no game, no scoreboard. Sometimes it’s really difficult to find the motivation to keep it going in this you-against-yourself-type activity. Perhaps we carry on just because we want to keep fit, reach the targets we set for ourselves, or just to enjoy the company of this awesome club called nusxcountry. We all have our own reasons; I know that one of mine’s to delay my degeneration into a glutton for as long as possible 😛 I’m really not a very sporty person, thanks to the utter lack of any decent physical co-ordination (if you’ve seen me play soccer, you’d know. It’s bad.). Running has made me maintain a (fairly) healthy lifestyle, and I think that’s a good enough reason for me.

Other than that, I’ve found that I like racing. Whether it’s a half-marathon or a steeplechase race, that certain kind of high racing gives you is a great feeling, and it motivates me. I gave the steeplechase my first shot back in Sec 3, and raced in the steeplechase every year from 2005 to 2008 in secondary school and JC (medal-less, though 😛 ). I like the event because… I dunno, I suppose jumping steeples is fun, haha. As the IVP date came closer, I felt much more excitement than anxiety, and rested pretty well before the race. The race itself was really well paced, with neither my fellow steeplechaser Jayanta nor I starting excessively fast. We both slowly caught the main body, and while Jayanta sped ahead, I tried to stick to the guys in 2nd and 3rd place. With one and a half laps to go, I figured I’d definitely lose in a last minute dash and pulled ahead in hopes of maintaining a lead over the other two. Still, a turtle finish meant double overtakes in the last 200m or so and a 4th place finish. Still, I was really happy with my time (finally broke my PB from 3 years ago in JC1!), and the way I ran the race. Plus, Jayanta won!! Which was quite yay 🙂

GO JAYANTA!!

This year, I must say I’ve enjoyed the training sessions leading up to the IVP race, and it’s especially thanks to my training buddy Jayanta (though I’m really trailing him the entire time -.-). I really admire the strength he displays and the positive attitude that he always brings to training sessions. His encouragement has helped me to stay focused when training gets tough, and just watching him power on ahead of me (even despite a trip, fall and roll à la Mission Impossible) during the race spurred me on to chase the rest of the steeples down. And that’s probably the most important motivation for most of us–our teammates! This being the first time I’ve been down to watch IVP tracknfield, I think the best part’s not the race in itself, but the race being surrounded by you guys cheering all of our athletes on. As I’m sure any of our competitors would tell you, the familiar faces and voices are really empowering.

So yes, it’s true that physical discomfort is an inevitable part of being a runner, and it’s also true that it can be really mind-numbing because it’s not a game like many other sports are. Sometimes an injury hampers your progress, or you feel disappointed after failing to hit target times a few sessions in a row. It’s phsyically and emotionally exhausting, and I’m sure everyone has their stories. For myself, I remember this one particular Epic Fail: (video courtesy of my junior Ruiyong!)

Hmm. Talk about emotionally exhausting! I obviously felt pretty screwed up for the rest of the race, and a bit humiliated for being laughed at, but looking back at it now, it was pretty darn hilarious! Luckily, I still managed to finish the race (albeit with a rather wet jersey). What I’m trying to say is, things happen, and we can only try our best to deal with our setbacks. The good part is, we have teammates to help us see things in the best light possible! I mean, after reading Giri’s and Mel’s IVP blogposts, I feel so privileged to have such motivated teammates that I am inspired to continue running for as long as I can.

With a spread like that, how can you not love nusxcountry?

Even though I only started training with the team in June this year, I think I feel quite at home here. I really enjoy the company of our cross country team (though I know I’m too socially defunct to show it), and all other motivations aside, the teammates are what ultimately makes me keep coming down for training. So no game, no scoreboard; no problem. My inspiration is right here 🙂

AND BTW THANKS BEN FOR ALL THE AWESOME PHOTOS!!!

Norman.

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4 thoughts on “chasing steeples

  1. haha thanks yapxiong. @tricia: long time ago lah! i think it was one of the small pre-nationals races at gombak.

  2. Great post Norman! Steeples are tough, so steeplechasers have my ultimate respect. I’m sure you’ll better your 4th placing next year.

    Been great having you around to teach me how to jump properly during the 1st ever steeple training.

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