YOLO Run was held on the same weekend as Great Eastern Women’s Run. Prior to signing up for YOLO, I have rejected GE run’s invitation to join the elite category as it was 3 weeks away from SCSM and my intention was do my longest long run, 35-36km on the same weekend.

So when Baoying shared that she got some free slots for YOLO run which was held on a Saturday, I thought it would be nice to do a good 21km followed by 15km to clock my longest run.  Signed up for the run happily, thinking to take this as a good training run.

And then along came the Alfa Romeo challenge, where female and male half-marathoners each stand to drive away with a brand new Alfa Romeo. Of course, it’s not going to be easy. Here’s what it says on the website:-

In light of Singapore’s national record of 1hr 7mins 8secs for the men’s category and 1hr 23mins 16secs for the women’s category, the incredible winners of the 21KM Alfa Romeo Competizione will be the fastest male and the fastest female who can finish the race under the times of 1hr 9mins 0secs and 1hr 25mins 0secs respectively – a feat that must be achieved without the assistance of illegal drugs and steroids.

I certainly cannot run sub 1hr 25mins for a half marathon, not at my current level and definitely not in Singapore. My PB is just under 1hr 28min and that was achieved in Japan, a cool climate perfect for running. So I didn’t paid much attention to this challenge until Rachel shared that there would be cash prizes as consolation prizes if no one can run below 1hr 25min. True enough, I checked the website and it was updated with the new terms:

The fastest entrants who do not run below 1hr09mins (Men) and 1hr25mins (Women) but still run below 1hr15mins (Men) and 1hr37mins (Women), from their respective Men or Women categories, will be entitled to the cash consolation prize(s) of:

– 1st position : SGD3,000

– 2nd position : SGD1,500

– 3rd position : SGD750

Now, 1hr 37 mins sounds a lot more achievable compared to 1hr 25min. So why not just sign up for this challenge since I’m already participating in the run?

So Jackie and I attended the briefing on 1 October at Velocity together with Rachel and Zili. The guys gamely signed up on the spot to join the challenge with us since they thought they do not stand a chance to win in the open category anyway.

11.11.2017. Race Day.

Jackie, Daniel, Ivan and I shared a cab down to Singapore Flyer. We arrived just slightly before 4am. The place was dimly lit. So dark that we received advice from other runners to bring along hand phone (as torchlight) because there was no lights inside the toilets.

Met up with Alex at the pacers’ tent and we mingled, chit-chat and took some pictures. I did my warm up and visited the loo again (super long queue even at 4:35 am. I almost thought I could not make it to the start line by 5am.)


At 4:50 am, we were led to the start line and the emcee introduced the participants of Alfa Romeo Challenge to the crowd. There were altogether seven of us. Four men namely, Soh Rui Yong, Lexus Tan, Poon Zili, and Jackie. For the female participants, there were only three of us, Rachel See, April Mckenna and myself. We were allowed to have one pacer so I have roped in Ivan to run with me.

The race was supposed to start at 5am. We waited..and waited. By 5:40 am, we can sense that the crowd were getting restless. There were some boos from the runners. It was rare to have a race being delayed for so long without any explanation. The emcee tried to calm the runners down by explaining that there has been an incident around Sports Hub area and that we should be flagging off soon.

We were finally flagged off at around 5:50am. Rui Yong disappeared almost immediately with the lead cyclist and his cyclist pacers and that would be the last time I see him. Lexus shot off in great speed and pulled away quickly too. I could see Zili, Jackie and Rachel not too far ahead. Ivan and I ran on, with April following closely behind us.

My first target was to attempt average 4:20″/km pace. I told Ivan beforehand that I wasn’t sure if I could handle this pace as even if I could run without feeling pain in my butt, I may not have the fitness to sustain the pace throughout the 21 km. If that didn’t work out, my second target is to finish under 1hr 37min in order to qualify for the prizes.

Along Nicoll Highway, we spotted Gen. He ran alongside with us and was puzzled by the delayed start. We chatted and ran past the first hydration point, only to find out that it was not ready yet. Yuta, from the open category (which was flagged about 2 mins later) came running past shortly. Gen ran with him and the two disappeared into the darkness to catch up with the rest of the Alfa Romeo challengers ahead. It’s back to just me, Ivan and April. April and I each have a cyclist to lead us. A few more fast runners ran past, one after another spaced some distance apart, Ahmad, Gordon, Ghim.

As we turned into Sports Hub, a few more runners overtook us, Daniel, Jingjie, Derek, Hubert running in a pack. April was still following closely behind me, and I dare not slack. We were running at 4:25″/km pace but I felt comfortable and wasn’t in a rush to get into 4:20″/km.

As we ran past Kallang Wave Mall, the two cyclists who were supposed to lead me and April ended up cycling behind us and talking to each other. At certain turns, we took cues from the pack of runners ahead and follow. I have to request my cyclist to be ahead of us to led the way when we could no longer see any runners ahead.

Left Sport Hub and we headed towards ECP where I know that there would be a u-turn at 9km mark. As we ran towards the u-turn, we could see the rest of the runners on the other side. Ruiyong was so fast that I didn’t get to see him at all throughout the race. Lexus, currently in 2nd place among the 4 male challengers. Jackie was in 3rd place! And I thought to myself that he must be enjoying to have his very own lead cyclist. Not long after spotted Rachel running strong.

Seeing all these runners motivated me and I was soon running at 4:20″/km pace as planned. After the U-turn at 9km mark, we ran towards Marina Barrage, my cyclist actually turned towards Tanjong Rhu. Seemed like not all the cyclists know the race route but luckily we have a rough idea of the race route.

At 10km, April was still hot on my heels. At first, I was glad to have her running closely behind me, as she pushed me to stick to the pace and kept me on my toes. But when this continued even after 12km where Ivan and I started picking up pace and was running under 4:20″/km, I wasn’t sure if I like the idea of her hanging so closely behind us anymore. It was nice running together, but I was hoping April could share the load and perhaps take the lead some time instead of shadowing behind. I guess it’s all part of racing strategy.

At 14km, I was feeling good about the run as I experience no pain at all. I felt thirsty though. There were now many 21km runners on the other side of the race route and it appeared to have only one hydration point at the other side, which was jam packed with runners. Without 2nd thought, I made a move to the right to grab some water from the hydration station. And of course, I got stuck in the crowd of oncoming runners as I tried to retrieve a cup of water. It was a silly and grave mistake which I regretted and paid for it dearly at the end. Upon seeing this, April took the chance to speed up. By the time I got back to the clear but narrow running path, she was ahead by at least 20 m and pulling away fast. I think my mistake could have given her a new found motivation.

I thought I still have a chance to catch her, after all we still have about 6 km till the finishing line. Ivan and I set off to chase, but it was getting harder to run fast especially with oncoming runners sharing the same narrow path at Tanjong Rhu.

Crossed the bridge and we seemed to be closing in to April. However, she glanced back and seemed more determined than ever to get away. I was feeling the fatigue after the sudden surge earlier on. Or my mind is weak and I lost the motivation to chase. I could not react to the change in speed and my pace dropped to 4:40″/km as we ran inside Sports Hub, the gap between me and April widening again. She crossed the road and looked back for the last time before she sped up again to break away.

I ran on, following Ivan. The next moment I saw April running on the grass into the crowd. There was a hydration station on her right. Gosh, is she going to make the same mistake as I did by stopping for water with all the runners out there? We got closer and realised it was actually part of the running route. It was also the u-turn point for 10km runners, which explain the massive crowd. Ivan and I got through the crowd, made our way down the flight of stairs gingerly to get to Kallang Riverside Park. By the time we started running again, we had lost sight of April in the crowd. =(

It was even tougher to run here as we were blocked by slower 10 km runners who were on their return route. It was impossible to overtake on the right as there were on-coming runners coming through. I was trying to get past a guy running in front of me. Tapped on his shoulder lightly and he responded, “Stop Pushing!”


Photo credit to Pictureart Gallery

Hmm.. hello I wasn’t even pushing? I squeezed my way through and relieved to get out of the crowd. Spotted the starting line on the other side. The finishing line should be somewhere towards the back. I checked for the time. To my horror, it was already 1hr 35mins ++ and yet there was no sign of the finishing line.

I got anxious and started speeding up. Saw from a distance the runners running up a slope, where the finishing line was. Would I make it in time? I sprinted and finally crossed the finishing line in 1:36:44. Phew! Just barely under 1:37.

Not the best organised race certainly – late race start, congested running routes, insufficient hydration points etc. I did enjoy the shoulder massage at the end though. And it was a creative and interesting concept to link up with Alfa Romeo to introduce the Alfa Romeo Challenge and let us have a go of breaking records. The incentive that came along with it was a big bonus too.


I am not happy with my race performance, even though I did managed to finish under 1hr 37min and get away with a 3rd place (because there’s only 3 females runners in this category).

No doubt there’s some congestion and that could have been a reason for me to slow down, but somehow I feel that I just did not try hard enough to sustain my target pace. I did not push hard enough to catch April when she pulled away. Instead I gave in to my fatigue. Thinking back, April deserves to win because she wanted it more that me. Every race is a learning experience and I certainly take away loads from this race.

On a side note, I am glad I’m able to run without the pain in the butt feeling. So things are looking up. =)



Newton Challenge (Part 2)

29.10.17. Race day.

The day started at 2.10 am. Woke up, wash up and had my usual breakfast, bread and coffee at 2.30 am.  Jackie and I did not have much problem getting to race site at Marina Barrage as Stella and Joe had kindly offered us a ride to race site. Joe is participating in the 32km run while Stella would be there to support.

Newton Challenge2

We arrived at Marina Barrage just before 3.30 am. Visited the washroom and then we hung around to chit-chat and catch up with other runners who have just arrived. Jackie forgot to bring along the gummy bears so I passed him one packet of energy gel. I had brought along four packets (wanting to finish them as they were past expiry date). Usually I will take one gel ten minutes before the start of the race but decided that I could do without one this time.

At around 4 am, we decided to make our way to the start line. Crossed the bridge and some of us began a light jog towards the start line, where many runners had already gathered. Squeezed our way through and managed to get to the first few rows just behind the start line. Greeted familiar faces and chit chat with friends while waiting patiently for the race to start.

In the first part of my post, I mentioned that the initial plan for this race was to attempt my marathon race pace for SCSM. However, because training has been disrupted and I have not been clocking a lot mileage and doing speed workouts, I decided to treat this race as a training run and see if my legs could handle a faster pace (just below 5 mins) without any pain. I set a target of finishing the 32km under 2hr 40min, which is about 5″min/km. It is a far cry from 2014 Newton Challenge, where I managed to complete in 2hr 25mins, but at my present condition and fitness, I dare not attempt a faster pace in case I aggravate the injury further.

We were pre-empted by the emcee that the race may be delay due to a vehicle obstructing the route. Fortunately, it was clear soon enough and did not cause any delay. At 4.30am sharp, all runners were flagged off. I was cautious about starting too fast and just aim to run comfortably at the start. To my surprise, my first km split registered 4:46″/km. Legs felt ok and I decided to just go with flow. Jackie, Rachel, Zili shot off in top speed and soon faded into the distance. Faster runners, Ngee Hung, Trevor Chua etc ran past me.

I was happy with my pace and simply aim to keep Jenny Huang who was about 30 meters ahead in sight. The first few km were uneventful. I was running mostly on my own, gradually overtaking some runners. Weijie, ActiveSg team mate, came from behind and soon disappeared.

By the time I turned into East Coast Park, the runners have dispersed. I could see a few runners dashing into the toilet at B1 carpark. I ran on, still keeping Jenny in sight who was running strong and seemed to have sped up a little.

It was a dark lonely stretch at ECP. Other than Jenny ahead, there were a few male runners ahead and I tried to keep up with them so we could run together as a group. Not long after, Randall came from behind. He has went to the toilet earlier. We chatted and realised that he was targeting about 5mins pace for the first half and then hopefully pick up the pace later. We decided to run together since we were comfortable with the current running pace which was hovering around 4:45″/km. At around the lagoon area, I was gradually catching up with Jenny and was soon just running beside her. She had her earphones on and was very determined. Each time I passed her, I could hear her quickening her steps and overtook me again.

This continued a few times all the way just before the first u-turn. I overtook her for the last time and could no longer hear her from behind. Randall and I continued running. I was pleased with how the first 12 km has worked out thus far. Other than some discomfort in my glutes (which I expected), I was feeling comfortable and in controlled of the pace. I applied some muscle rub which I have carried with me, hoping that the warm sensation could ease the discomfort.

Perhaps the adrenaline of catching Jenny has wore off, Randall and I were slightly slower in the next couple of splits, hovering just under 5mins pace from 13th to 16th km. Probably losing some focus here as we started chatting again. I wasn’t too bothered by the pace since it was still under 5mins. But now reflecting on the race, I thought I should have been more focused to sustain 4:45″/km pace.

Soon, we were back to B1 carpark at ECP and we spotted Stella who cheered for us enthusiastically. Got me really pumped up and we started to pick up pace again, knowing that we were getting out of ECP soon. As we left ECP towards Gardens By the Bay, we could see more runners at the other side, mainly some half marathoners who were also on their way back to Marina Barrage.

Dawn broke and the sky was getting brighter as we reached Marina Barrage. Crossed the bridge and was pleasantly surprised to see Ghim who had already finished his race and starting on his recovery jog!

I braced myself for the incline to the roof top, knowing that the hill would add more strain to my already tired glutes and hamstrings. Randall ran hard up the slope and I followed closely. Upon reaching the top, I was surprised to see him slowing down instead. Seemed like fatigue has caught up with him. He waved for me to run ahead. I continue running down the slope, hoping to catch up with some of the men aheah.

Not long after, spotted Weijie running strongly at the other side. He went on and finished 3rd for the Men’s local category. Definitely a confidence booster run for him. Spotted a few more familiar faces as one by one the speedy ones sprinted down the last stretch to cross the finishing line.

It was less than 5 km to the finishing line, I should be speeding up here but somehow it felt tough, I couldn’t get back to 4:45″/km pace and was once again hovering just under 5mins’/km pace. Spotted Jackie at the other side, running strong. Not long after Rachel appeared, looking focused. Zili was not too far back after.

Just as I approached MBS, spotted Jasmine as well on the other side, on route to finishing the race. I pressed on and felt relieved when I finally spotted the u-turn point. Applied more muscle rub on my hamstrings and continued running. Not long after, Baoying who participated in the 21km category ran past me and gradually pulled away. I aimed to keep her insight and tried to speed up a little. Baoying went on to win the 21km female category with a comfortable lead. (Lucky her won the grand prize for the lucky draw too, a Samsung S8! The biggest winner of the day.)

Newton Challenge4

As I approached flower dome, I saw Gen on his bicycle, already on his way home. I would learn later that Gen won the 21 km men’s Singapore category. My pace picked up again to 4:46″/km over the last one km and with the finishing line in sight, I sprinted the last 200m to cross the mat.

Time: 2:35:04. Average pace: 4:49″/km

It was not a fast time but good enough for a 3rd place finish for the 32km Women’s Singapore category this year. After a couple of 4th place finish at Straits Times Run and Army Half Marathon this year, I was happy to be back on podium. Most importantly, I have gotten some confidence having completed 32 km within my expectation. Though there was still some discomfort, it was manageable and I believe it is just a matter of time before I recovered fully.

Shall end this post with some photos taken post-race.

Next up, YOLO run (21.1km).


Newton Challenge (Part 1)

Missed two editions of Newton Challenge and decided to sign up for this year after discussion with coach. We both agreed that it would be a good lead-up to Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) which is happening on 3 Dec 17.

Newton Challenge was meant to be a run to test out of my marathon race pace. However, I had to throw that idea out of the window as I experienced some tightness in my glutes and hamstrings for the past weeks.

At first I thought it was normal after hard training and I simply need to stretch more. Took me two long runs to realise that something was not quite right:

30 Sep 2017: A week after running a (super) half marathon in Bangkok I intend to do a 26-28km long run. Jackie, Daniel, William and I headed to Sentosa for the long run. Barely 3km into the run, I could feel my glutes tightened when I tried running up a slope after Siloso Beach. I could not sustain 5 min/km pace and soon I was falling behind Jackie and Daniel. I could sense that they had slowed down a little to wait for me as I could still keep them in sight even though I was struggling at 5:15″/km pace. By 10km, I was ready to give up and just jog when my splits read 5:37″/km. Took an extended water break inside Sentosa Cove while waiting William to join us. Felt slightly better and I decided to continue the run with William at 5:30 pace while Jackie and Daniel continue with their target pace. I was very thankful to have William running with me as my pace picked up again soon after. However, 4 km into the run, I felt the pain in my glutes and hamstrings and I had to slow down again. When my split at 16km read 6″08/km, I was ready to call it a day. Ran on miserably to finish 20 km to end at Tanjong Beach where we started the run. Average pace: 5:23″/km.

7 Oct 2017: I thought maybe I wasn’t fit enough to attempt 5 min pace for my long run, at least not on a terrain like Sentosa. So I adjusted the target to 5:15″/min pace and hopefully I could increase the pace to 5 mins gradually. This time, I roped in Elston and Peyling to run and pace me at East Coast Park. (I can’t possibly run with Jackie and Daniel as they want to run at 4:40-4:50 pace). Since Elston and Peyling only intend to do 20 km, Jackie, Daniel and I arrived earlier to run 6km first. First 6km felt good. I managed average 5:15″/km as planned. Linked up with Elston and Peyling at B1 Carpark and I was looking forward to pick up the pace with them when suddenly I could feel my glutes tightened again when going up the bridge. The “pain in the butt” feeling was back again. With every step I took, it seemed like my butt was being hammered. My hamstrings tightened; the pain radiated down my legs and I felt numbness. By 10km, my split showed 5:40″/km and everything went downhill from there. I struggled to keep up with Elston and Peyling who were already running slower to accommodate to my pace. I was relieved when we finally u-turn at Jubilee Bridge. Passed the Flower Dome (ard 16-17km mark) and my pace dropped further. I urged them to continue without me. I was very discouraged and contemplated to walk back to ECP. But Peyling refused to let me walk and encouraged me to finish the run. And so with Peyling slightly ahead, catching Pokemon with her phone, I jogged on under the unforgiving sun. My pace dropped to 6:30″/km and after Marina Barrage, the split went as slow as over 7min’/km. Perhaps the 7mins scared me out, I pressed on to run a little faster for the next few km. Finally, we returned to ECP B1 and I decided to stop despite only 23km in total. It seemed pointless to continue running at such slow pace. Avg pace for 23km: 5:51″/km.

After the two miserable runs, I finally figured that something is wrong and it could be more than just tightness in glutes and hamstrings. I googled and my symptoms seemed to align with Piriformis Syndrome. I stumbled across this article on runners’ world, which sounds familiar.

I decided it’s time to take a short break and seek for help from a physio. I approached Trevor to help with massage to relieve the tightness. He also taught me some strengthening exercises.

I rested for 4 days. Jogged 3km on Friday and because I need to clock some mileage, I decided to join Safra running club at ECP for a long run on Sunday. The plan was to cover as much distance as I could at 6 min pace, hopefully with no pain. Started the long run with William, Freddy, Chua and Zhilei at just under 6min pace. Felt comfortable. Qian Yi joined us after 10km. The five of us went on to run to Marina Barrage and u-turn at Flower Dome. There was some discomfort but still manageable. Back to B1 carpark, that’s about 22km and we enjoyed some watermelon and drinks which Safra Toa Payoh had prepared. Since I was still feeling ok, I decided to continue the run with Qian Yi. We went on to complete 8 km to round up the distance to 30 km, while the guys continue to finish 32km. Average pace: 5:45″/km.

30km run

No doubt a slow pace, but I was grateful and happy to finish 30 km. This was probably my longest run since Taipei Marathon in Feb.

This long run gave me the confidence to attempt a faster pace the following weekend. It was just a week from Newton Challenge; I planned to do 25 km. Started the run with Jackie from home to Pandan Reservoir to meet Ivan. 1st loop (about 6km) feels ok, and we picked up the pace to 5:10-5:15. However, into the 2nd loop, I could feel the discomfort and had to slow down. Perhaps over the past weeks, I might had lost a bit of fitness as well. I was panting even though I was not running fast. Initially, I had plan to complete one more loop around the reservoir, but decided to stop since I was feeling the discomfort in my glutes again. In the end, I managed only 21 km at average 5:29″/km (including the distance to and fro home). Not too good, but I guess it was still better than the 2 miserable runs some weeks ago.

Long story short, because of this pain in the butt, my training was disrupted. I wasn’t in the best condition to race, physically and mentally.

(To be continued..)


Income Eco Run

I had been participating in the 21km category for the past editions. Discussed with coach, and we decided to go for the 10km category this year. After a marathon in Feb, it is an off season for me and we are back to focusing on speed. The idea was just to go for short races to build up my speed.

I had a good training leading up to this event. I was eating and resting well. I even incorporated some body balance classes into my routine to relieve my tight hips and hamstrings that has been bothering me for the past months. I was so looking forward to Income Eco 10 km race. After a 4th place at the recent Sundown Marathon 10km Challenge, I was hoping I could earn a podium position this time.

Never in life I would imagine myself DNF a 10km race.

The morning seemed to be starting right. Jackie and I woke up on time, had our usual breakfast and grab down to F1 Pit Building. Other than enduring a stinky cigarette smell inside the car, the ride was uneventful. We arrived at the race site at 5.30 am, which is exactly 1 hour before the flag off. Unlike the rush during Sundown 10km Challenge, we had ample time to deposit our bags, visit the loo and I even managed a 10 mins warm-up jog. Spotted fellow ASICS and ActiveSg team mate, Banjamin and we made our way to the pen together just slightly after 6 am.

The pen was filling up quickly but Jackie, Banja and I managed to squeeze our way to the front where we met and greeted several familiar faces, Adriel, Joshua, Yvonne, Jenny, Desmond, all of them participating in the team category. Ghim joined us a short while later.

We chit-chatted and waited patiently for the flag-off. Few minutes before the flag off, the organisers released the chain and runners started moving forward and finding space. I counted and realised I am now in the 9th row from the front, which wasn’t ideal but something I could live with. There was a slight delay and all runners were beginning to feel restless and raring to go. Finally at 6.38 am, the horn sounded and off we go.

I started my garmin and crossed the starting line. The start was slower than usual partly because I was in the 9th row (unlike the 2nd or 3rd row I was usually at). There was probably some pushing and jostling as runners from behind dashed forward. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw one participant ahead fell. The next moment, to my horror, I fell, my knees scrapping the hard tarmac road. I tried to get up. Then someone fell over me (or did some one step on me? I’m not sure) My face slammed against the road hard. For that split second, I was so afraid that I couldn’t get up and I could be trampled by the rest of the runners.

Shortly later, I got up. Something fell out of my mouth. I would learn later that those are the chips from my teeth when I was in the ambulance. My legs were wobbly. A glance at the surroundings and realised that all the runners had ran off. It was almost a minute after flag off. Can I still continue to run? I wanted to but somehow I knew I was not in a good condition to race anymore. I touched my face, and saw blood on my hands.

I was unsure of where to go. I spotted Jackie at the side. Thank god he’s still around. He came towards me, looking concerned. I told him I think I’m ok, and he should probably continue his race. He took one look at me and said, “It’s bad, I better go with you”. Edwin, who is one of the escort cyclists, fellow Jurong Safra member, came forward asked what had happened. I can’t see how I look but I must be quite a sight and was starting to draw some attention. I could feel the blood oozing from my face. Someone came forward and led us to the medic. It was then I noticed that there was a 2nd wave waiting for flag off.

The medic took one look at me and decided to send me to hospital immediately. They dressed the wounds on my two kneecaps, passed me a packet of ice and asked me to press onto a cut on my nose bridge. After Jackie picked up our bags from the baggage deposit, we were whisked into the ambulance. On the way to SGH, it was then I felt the pain on my face and realised that I had two chipped teeth. The accident started to sink in and I couldn’t help but cry, in pain and in disappointment. Why did such thing happen to me?

Photo 30-4-17, 7 51 31 AM

The run that lasted less than 2 minutes. Scratches on the face, figuratively and literally. =(

Shortly later, we arrived at SGH A&E department. A doctor on duty examined me and asked me some questions pertaining to the accident. I was arranged to see a dentist and plastic surgeon. There was some waiting before I see a doctor again where I received an injection. Then I went for a X-ray for the face to make sure nothing is broken. Some more waiting and I get to see the dentist next. As they do not have proper equipment to fix the teeth on the spot, the dentist fixed a metal wire to stabilize my three shaky teeth so I can consume food easily. He also mend one of my chipped teeth. I was given an appointment to see the dentist on Tuesday.

Photo 30-4-17, 7 34 36 AM

Minor cuts and bruises on the knees. Thankful that it just superficial injuries and nothing serious. 

After that, I did another X-ray, this time for my right knee which is swollen. Then, we waited again to see the plastic surgeon. He cleaned the wounds on my face with some soap water and alcohol. As there is loss of skin surrounding the cut on the nose bridge, he could not stitch it for me. The cut was deep so can only let it heal on its own. He mentioned that this cut may leave a scar in future. =(  Another cut was stitched up within minutes. The injection prior to the stitching is more painful than the stitching itself. Thankfully, the abrasion on the upper lips are minor and will heal without leaving a scar. I was scheduled to return for review on Tuesday.

And finally after close to 5 hours in the hospital, I was discharged. Thankful to have the hubby to be with me throughout the ordeal.

Photo 30-4-17, edit

How I look after leaving the hospital. The gauze covering the cuts on the nose bridge. Smiling awkwardly because of the metal wire (something like braces) on my teeth. 

Run safe never ring so true before. To all runners out there, please be careful especially at the race start where it can get chaotic and messy when runners dashed forward. Some are just too excited. Some are simply too competitive or aggressive. Most of the time it’s not intentional but it still pose the same danger. I heard about it, seen it, but just didn’t expect it to happen to me. It could happen to anyone. Do keep a lookout for fellow runners and make running safe for all!

Seoul 10 km Challenge

I received an invitation from Pocari Sweat Singapore last November to participate in the Seoul Marathon. There was a change in plan however, after I unexpectedly qualified for Rio Olympics’ women marathon.

As I do not have a coach, SAA stepped in to appoint Mr Steven Quek to be my coach. His first advice was that there is no need for me to do another marathon from now until the Olympics. This is because I have just completed SCMS in Dec 15 and if I were to run Seoul marathon in Mar 16, followed by Olympics in Aug 16, that will be 3 marathons in 8 months and that would be quite taxing on my body. I would not be able to perform with Rio being the last and most important marathon too.

I agreed with Coach and also feel that I was not ready to do another marathon in March. So I quickly requested Pocari Sweat to change my race slot for the 10km race instead. This would also be in line with the training which Coach has planned for me, which is to improve my 10km and 21km timing first before we start preparing for the full marathon.

The Plan 

I met up with coach in late January to discuss my training program for Rio. As the time frame was too short, he does not wish to make any drastic changes to my current training regime. I shared with him my training log, personal bests for my 10km and 21km and he feels that we should focus on improving my speed for 10km first, followed by 21km before we focus on preparing for full marathon. Thus, my training was broken into three phases:

(1) Feb – Mar, 10km focused training and compete in Seoul 10km challenge on 20 March.

(2) Apr-May, half marathon focused training. Find a half marathon race in mid or end May.

(3) June-July, full marathon training. No more races until Rio Olympics.

The Target

My personal best for 10km races were around 41-42 mins. Coach set the target of achieving 40 mins, a personal best for Seoul 10km challenge. We will then target to do a half marathon in May.

Training (1st Phase) 

My training officially began on 1 Feb 2016. As my workplace is at Fusionopolis, which is a stone’s throw away from NUS, I could train with the NUS cross-country team at NUS track on Mondays and Thursday evenings after work. I remembered meeting Janielle and Faith for the first time and both of them shared with me their warm up routine and drills they did before they start their workout. It was the first time I was introduced to these drills and I took some time to learn and do the drills properly.

My weekdays training are intervals, ranging for 6km to 10km, starting with 400m repeats at 10km race pace (96s per 400m). We started with 16 x 500m intervals and coach gradually increased the intervals to 15 x 600m, 13 x 700m, 12 x 800m and finally 10 x 1km one week before my race.

For shorter intervals, it will be at a faster pace, 92s per 400m. At first, I was not used to the intervals as the number of intervals were more than what I usually do back when I train with Jurong Safra Running Club. But after a few weeks, I learnt how to run relax and run comfortably. I rest on Wednesday and do easy runs on Tuesday, cross training/easy run on Friday and Sunday.

There is no major change in my weekend training. I still stick to 20km long run on Saturdays, though Coach emphasized that the long run should not be too hard as I need to recover for the two hard interval training on weekdays.

Frankly speaking, I wasn’t sure if I would be able achieve the target time for my 10km race as I have not exactly been running at 4mins/km pace continuously. No doubt I have several good workouts during this 7 weeks of training, but there were times I struggled through the training. Like the 13 x 700m workout which I felt the fatigue right after 3 sets and in the end managed only 12 sets and did not complete the workout as plan.

Still, Coach is very encouraging and believes that it is possible. I just have to believe in myself and the training. The final workout 10 x 1km was a confidence booster as I managed complete the workout successfully.


I departed Singapore on 18 March afternoon and arrived in Seoul on 18 March night. One of the Korea Pocari Sweat staff,  Lee Sang Kyu is very kind to pick me up from airport and send me all the way to the hotel. It was close to midnight by the time I settled in my hotel.

I woke up early to meet the Pocari Sweat team from Indonesia at 8am. They have two runners, one a national runner and another a celebrity, participating in Seoul Marathon. We did our easy run at the Gwanghwamun Square, where it would be the start of the full marathon event. I jogged for 30 minutes and did some drills.



With team Pocari Sweat from Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Korea!

We met up with Team Pocari Sweat for lunch before going to the Olympic Stadium to check out the expo.



In the evening, Wina and I meet up with Alex and Rudin who were also in Seoul to do the Seoul Marathon. Alex was injured so he decided not to race and support Rudin instead.


20 March 2016, race day

Thanks to Pocari Sweat’s hospitality, I have no trouble getting to the venue and arrived at the race site with plenty of time to change, attend to a short interview, and warm up. It was easy getting to the front of the start line too with Pocari Sweat’s help.


The race started at 1030am. Weather was cool at around 10 degree cel. I wasn’t feeling cold at all as the sun was out. Decided that I will not need my arm sleeves, I removed them just before I entered the race pen and put on my shades when I toed the starting line.

Many runners shot off when the race started and passed me. Adrenaline pumping, I ran along, telling myself to keep to my own race pace. My garmin alerted me 3:57min for my first km and it was exactly 4mins when I passed the first kilometer distance marker. I realised I may have to run slightly faster than what my Garmin indicated so as to meet my target of sub 40 mins. My pace for the 2nd km and 3rd km dropped due to undulating terrain and an incline. I was behind my target by 8 seconds when I passed the 3km distance marker.

I pressed on, determined to chase the time. I could see a girl running ahead of me and target to keep her sight. Got a little worried when my 4th km took me 4:08min and I was behind time by 16 seconds. Still, I kept going, knowing that the 2nd half of the race is flat and I still have a chance to do a sub 40mins 10km.


Half way point, time check at 20 min 12 sec. I was gradually gaining back the time lost. I was also closing up on the girl ahead of me and that got me quite motivated. And at 7km mark, I finally caught up with her. My split read 3:52″/km. She tried to keep up and followed me for a while. 8th km was slightly slower at 3:58″/km so I was still slightly behind my target time. I knew I have to speed up or risk missing my target. It was only until 9km, with my watch reading I finally on track for a 40mins 10km.

As I approached the Jamsil Olympic Main Stadium, I got really excited and sped up a bit. As I entered the stadium and stepped onto the track, I could see and hear many supporters cheering for the runners. Gave my all and ran as fast as I could round the track. The finishing line was in sight and I was determined to finish the race under 40mins.

And I did it! Crossed the finishing line in 39 min 50 sec, a personal best. It is my first sub 40 mins 10km run. 1796440_10153612246761025_7422838963730084352_n


Wina, country manager of Pocari Sweat Singapore was there welcoming me back with a hug.



Make a new friend that day. =) This is Nicole, the girl whom I was chasing from the 1st to 7th km of the race. She came in 2nd, not far away from me.


And what a surprise and bonus to come in first for the 10km race for the women’s category!


In the evening, team Pocari Sweat hosted a dinner for all of us to celebrate our achievement. We had such a good time eating, drinking and chatting. Thank you team Pocari Sweat for the hospitality and support! So glad to be part of this family.



Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon

I signed up for the half marathon category this year. Mainly because I know I’m not quite ready to do another full marathon so soon after SCMS in December.

My personal best for half marathon was last achieved at SCHKM 2013 where I ran 1:31:17. I have been trying for the longest time to do a sub 1:30 for half marathon and have not been successful. I was hoping the cool climate in HK would be able to help me achieve this target, if not at least a PB.

However, training did not go according to plan. I took a long time to recover from SCMS and could not perform during training. Training had also been inconsistent as I cut down on my training to visit my maternal grandpa (who was unwell and in critical condition) as often as I could. *Grandpa passed away peacefully on 2 Jan 2016. Though we were heartbroken and sad, we were glad that he need not suffer and was free from the agony. He is in a better place now*

I went to HK with a heavy heart. Having missed key workouts in January, I was feeling unfit and certainly not in the best shape to attempt a sub 1:30 half marathon. Still, I thought I could try for a PB.

17 Jan 2016, Race Day

Jackie managed to sign up for the half marathon category during race pack collection the day before. We started the race together at about 4:20″/km pace and eased into 4:15″/km pace. However, I faded off and slowed down barely 10km into the race.

I have ran SCHKM for the past three years, yet I don’t remember the route being so hilly and undulating. I struggled at the last third of the half marathon. I kept chasing for the time, hoping to run a bit faster but my legs felt heavy and breathing felt hard.


Smile because for that moment it took away your fatigue.IMG_1090

It seemed like an eternity has gone by the time I entered Victoria Park and saw the finishing line.


Lack of training and it totally showed during the race. So spent!


A photo after the race. (Taken by Team Manager, Carissa who was there to support the Singaporean athletes.)

Completed the half marathon in 1:31:23.

Not a PB and certainly not one of my best races, but I glad I pressed on to complete the race in the best effort possible. Have to be contented with this season best time for now.


Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2015

The Preparation

Having plagued by plantar fasciitis (PF) on my left foot since July, my first goal for SCMS was simply to arrive at the start line, feeling fit and healthy.

During the injury period, I cut down on my mileage and replaced most of my runs on cross-trainers and with spinning classes. I did more strengthening and core exercises too. Though my stamina and fitness declined during this period, I was quite happy with my progress as I felt physically stronger than before. My tight calves muscles (particularly on my left calf) were finally loosening. My PF was on route to recovery. The injury was a blessing in disguise I guess; it has forced me to rest my fatigued legs and I learnt to appreciate the simple joy of being able to run freely without the stress of chasing the time.

In September, I started running outdoors or on treadmills (due to haze) when I no longer feel pain when I run. As the pain usually come after my runs, I was careful not to ramp up my mileage or intensity too quickly. I continued to ice the affected area daily and foam-rolled every other day to reduce the tightness in my calves.

Then came October. My PF was healing well and I was able to put in some decent training in October, choosing quality over quantity. I went back to running 4-5 times a week in mid-Oct, while continuing my gym routine (simply because I really enjoyed the spinning classes). My mileage averaged 65km-70km per week. Training in October went well. I felt more confident in my tempo runs, and managed to run at a faster pace (as compared to pre-injury days) for some of the key workouts.

On 1 November, I participated in the Great Eastern Women’s Run which I completed in 1:31:35. (few seconds slower than last year.) It was lung-bursting effort and I struggled at the last 5km. Still, I was pleasantly surprised by the results as I wasn’t sure I could run a sub 1:32 timing. It was a confidence-booster and closer to race day, I decided to base on this race to determine my target race pace for SCMS. Since my average pace for GE Run was 4:20″/km, I thought 4:40″/km or somewhere around would be a good target. Perhaps if I still feel good after the half-way mark, I could try increasing my pace to 4:35″/km. And so my 2nd goal for SCMS was to sustain 4:35″-4:40″/km pace. If all goes well, I hope to finish the marathon in 3hr 15min -3hr 17min.

If it doesn’t go well, my third goal would be to do better than my local PB time of 3hr 23min which I achieved last year.

Training continued as per normal in November. This year, other than Jackie who accompanied me on most of my runs, I am thankful to be able to do my long runs with a few more training buddies on some weekend mornings. I was so used to doing long runs that average about 5 min”/km to 5:15 min”/km pace in the past year. This group pushed me to run close to race pace, and to start slow and finished fast for long runs. It was tough but they made the training bearable and enjoyable.

Three weeks out from race day, I did my longest long run at East Coast Park with Safra Running Club. Jackie had a back pain and had no choice but to skip the run when the pain flare up the moment he started running. I ran 35 km on my own at an average 5 min”/km pace and that brought my highest volume in this 9-wks training cycle to 85km. I was relieved to get the longest run out of the way and looking forward to tapering.

15 Nov @ECP

35km done! =)

The following weekend, I ran 27km with Alex Tiong and Ivan Eng, starting from MR to Upper Peirce to Seletar and back. The guys were kind to follow my pace at just under 5min”/km. I’m sure they are capable of going faster if not because of me. Towards the last 5km, they started picking up the pace and I ran at sub 4:40″/km till the end. Another confidence booster long run.

I remembered I was feeling low and lethargic as I struggled through my intervals two days later. Jackie assured me that it was normal to feel more tired than usual at this time due to the training volume over the past weeks and that I should be able to peak at the right time when race day arrived. Indeed, my energy level was up again the following week. I only had two workouts on the last week leading to race day: 5 x 800 m intervals at avg 3:08 min per set on Wednesday (suppose to do this on Tuesday but it rained) and an easy 40 mins run on Thursday. And when I toed the starting line on 6 Dec, I was feeling fit, healthy, fresh and relaxed. =)

The Day before the Race

Jackie and I went to Sports Hub to support the Kids’ Dash which was held a day before the 10km, half marathon and marathon. My elder brother has signed my 35 months old nephew up for the 700m Kids’ Dash and we wanted to support. It was fun watching the little ones run and walk. After lunch at Kallang Wave Mall foodcourt, where I had a nice bowl of salmon don, Jackie and I headed to City Hall.  This year, I suggested to book a hotel room near the race site so we could sleep in a while more on race day morning.

After checking into Peninsular Excelsior hotel, we rested a while before visiting the National Art Gallery which was just a stone’s throw away from the hotel. In the evening, we had dinner with Ghim at Marina Square. I had Japanese curry rice with pork cutlet while Jackie had the same but with chicken cutlet. We all ordered the set which came with a free salad bar.

By the time we finished dinner, it was about 7.45 pm. We decided to return to hotel to rest, shower and prep our race gears for tomorrow.

The initial plan was to turn in by 9pm to get at least 6 hours of sleep. But I suddenly remembered I have not studied the race route and hydration points to plan the exact distance where I should take my energy gels. So by the time we hit the sack, it was already after 9.30pm. Nevertheless, I was well-rested and slept like a baby throughout the night.

Race Day

I  woke up feeling fresh when my alarm rang at 3am. Washed up before waking up Jackie. I had my breakfast, coffee and bread by 3:30am. I find taking breakfast 1.5hrs to 2hrs before race works for me.

Since our hotel is near the end point, there is no need to deposit our baggage and that save time cause the baggage queue could get really long. We decided to warm up by jogging to Orchard Road. I must say the hub has a really good sense of direction. We arrived at somerset in no time and stopped by Orchard Central to use the toilets before walking towards Ngee Ann City to meet up with our training buddies.

Goodness, there was already a huge crowd waiting to enter the race pens. It would be hard to spot anyone in that crowd. We bumped into Alex Tai and Run’er and a moment later the pens opens and all of us entered the race pen 2 allocated for 3hrs-4hrs marathoners. We quickly made our way to the front, hopefully to find a space as close to the start line as possible.

As we waited patiently for 5am to arrive, we saw more familiar faces and everyone exchanged words of encouragements,”jiayous” and “all the best”. The atmosphere was filled with excitement and positive vibes. The time crept closer to 5am. The chain that held us back from the elites runners were taken down and we moved forward to merge with the runners in the priority pen. No special privilege to start at the priority pen this year but no issue since runners from Pen 1 and 2 would be flagged off at the same time.

The race started promptly at 5am. The runners in front shot off at top speed. Runners at the back pushed and dashed off in a flash. Adrenaline pumping, I ran alongside with Jackie, reminding myself to run my own race and not get “pulled” by the faster groups ahead.

Jackie and I maintained around 4:35-4:40″/km as planned. Joshua sped past us after some time as he tried to catch up with Ying Rong and her friends ahead. The next few km went past uneventfully as we settled into race pace.

Time Check at 5km: 22:57 

By 7km, Jackie was dropping back and I knew I was on my own when I could not hear him behind me anymore. Ran past the Floating Platform and saw many Ekiden runners finished the first leg of the relay. Received some cheers from them too.

It was dark along F1 pit, but I could make out the two ladies in front – Jasmine and Jenny! I ran on and caught up with them after a while. Not long after exchanging some words of encouragement, I was out of the F1 pit and onto Nicoll Highway. By then, most runners have dispersed and I could only see a handful on the road ahead.

Time check at 10km: 46:26

I was feeling good but I knew it was still too early to know how the marathon would fare in the end. So I try not to get too excited and focused on maintaining the same pace. Took my first packet of gel as I approached the next hydration station. Lost sight of Ying Rong and group just before entering into ECP. I pressed on, knowing that I still have a long way to go. It was early in the morning but there were already many supporters out at ECP cheering for all the runners. I gradually caught up with two guys ahead and decided to tag along with them since we were all running around the same pace. Suddenly, I caught sight of Trevor from Safra MF. He joined our group and we ran together for a while.

Time check at 15km: 1:09:40

One of the guys, Julien Guienne (I got to know his name after ironlady, Ling Er tagged him in one of the pictures on fb) asked for the time I was hoping to finish the marathon. I glanced at my Garmin and told him, at the pace we were running, it seemed like 3hr 15min is possible. However as there’s still more than half-way to go, I told him I shall see how it goes after the 21km mark. We pressed on and sped up a little, probably excited about the possibility of completing the marathon in 3:15. Not long later, his friend dropped back and then it was just me and Julien pacing each other.

I took my 2nd pack of gel at the 18km mark as planned. Spotted Baoying just ahead and she was still looking strong and fresh. She was surprised to see me as she thought I was ahead. We chatted briefly, wish each other well and I ran on with Julien. I always like approaching the u-turn point, cause that’s when you could see all your friends on the other side and cheered for one another. It was a sight to behold when I saw a contingent of runners comprising of Andy Neo, Rachel, Poon ZL, Ivan, Baldwin, Alex Thiong, Ewin, Chun Kiat and many more, running at 4:30″/km pace, on route to a 3:10 marathon. Cheered for them as they ran past looking very focused. Not far behind were a few more runners, Ying Rong and her friends. And I knew I was currently in 3rd place for the local women’s category.

Time check at 21.1km: 1:37:29

I was happy to finally reach the half-way mark of the marathon, feeling strong and fresh, vastly different from how I felt during SEA Games and even last year’s SCMS. I was beginning to feel quite optimistic about this race. Julien and I worked together for the next few kilometres. I drank as I ran, picking up two cups at a go, one for drinking and one for cooling down over my head. He on the other hand, prefers to slow to a walk to drink. But he would always caught up with me after that.


Julien and I worked together from 13km to 30km of the race. Thankful to have him to run alongside me inside ECP, where it could get really mental after the u-turn. 

Time check at 25km: 1:55:14

We had sped up over the last 4km after the half way mark. I was beginning to feel the first sign of fatigue setting in and very much looking forward to the support station set up by Tampines and Toa Payoh Safra Running Club at 28km mark, where I received lots of support and encouragement from fellow Safra members.

The next few km went by in a daze. It seemed more difficult to maintain the pace and I got the feeling that I was then running at more than 4:45″/km pace. But each time I checked the 1km split, to my relief, I was still hovering at 4:35 – 4:40″/km. I told myself to keep going and 30km would be my checkpoint to reassess my pace.

Time check at 30km: 2:18:20

I was gradually overtaking more runners at the last stretch of ECP. At the last water water station, Julien fell back and I was all on my own again. (He eventually finished in a respectable 3hr 23min). I did a quick body check. Running posture ok, breathing controlled. So far so good. I was not feeling as exhausted as I thought I would be. Seemed like the race was really working out well. Still,  it was too early to tell. After all, marathoners would know the race only starts at 32km. Finally, I arrived at the end of East Coast Park and just in time to see Ying Rong breaking away from her friends and running strongly towards the golf course.  Joshua was not far ahead and I was hoping I could catch up with him soon.

At the 31km mark, I was pleasantly surprised to see Jackie again. But there was no time for chit-chat cause I’m in a race! We ran together and overtook a couple of runners. Caught up with Joshua first, and then Poon ZL. As we ran past the golf course, we spotted Ivan too from the 3:10 contingent. We encouraged him to run with us. But he was having bad cramps and slowed to a walk eventually. Jackie and I ran on and saw Chun Kiat and Ngee Hung. We cheered and motivated one other. I was getting really excited as we approached Gardens by the bay. It was 33km and I was feeling better than before now that we were so close to the end! The pain which I was anticipating after 32km never hit me. I took that as a positive sign that the next 9km would be manageable somehow.

At Gardens By the Bay where it was once again a long straight road, I could see Ying Rong less than 50 metres ahead. Not wanting to increase my pace too suddenly and risk cramping, I aimed to just keep her in sight. That being said, I must have gotten a little motivated to see that she was so close, and by the time we crossed the bridge to Marina Barrage, I was closing in and she was just 20 metres ahead.

It was a joy to receive support and cheers from Jurong and Mount Faber Safra Running Club at the Marina Barrage. (After the race, Zhilei told me that we were their first “customers” so they could not react in time.) As I grabbed a cup of water at the next water point to myself down, Ewin, who has slowed to a walk due to cramps, encouraged me to chase after Ying Rong who was just ahead. Motivated, I ran on.

Time check at 35km: 2:40:12

I was finally shoulder to shoulder with Ying Rong as we ran past flower dome. I was hoping I could pull away from her at this point but Ying Rong was determined and hung on closely. I was getting nervous. On one hand, we still have 7km to go and it’s gotta be tough to fight for this 2nd placing. On the other hand, I was glad that Ying Rong has kept up. It’s always better to run together and push one and another to reach the fullest potential. And so we worked together for the next couple of km towards Benjamin Sheares Bridge, the infamous heartbreak hill of Singapore, where it could make or break your run.


Credit to second wind magazine for this photo. I think this was taken right after Marina Barrage, towards Sheares Bridge. 

With Ying Rong hot on my heels, I dare not slow down. I tried to maintain the same effort as I pounded up the bridge. I thought of those hills I ran on during my training- NTU hill loops, M&M at Upper Pierce, Sentosa etc. “Make them count!” I told myself as I put one foot forward after the next. Step by step, I could no longer hear Ying Rong behind me. But I dare not slack, as she may surprise me when we go downhill after 38km.

As I was approaching the top of the bridge, I saw a familiar figure in pink ahead. It was Rachel! Motivated, I pushed myself and finally caught up with her. I was winded and could barely muttered any encouragement to her. Rachel cheered for me and I pressed on. With the upslope out of the way, I cruised down Sheares Bridge as fast as my legs could carry me, not daring to look back to see how far Ying Rong was behind. It suddenly dawned on me that we weren’t competing for 2nd place anymore, but the first place cause I was now leading the local women’s category!

Reached Republic Blvd road and merged with the 10km and 21km runners. It was so crowded and we spent some effort weaving in and out of the crowd. I wasn’t sure how far Ying Rong was behind, but knowing what a strong runner she is, I knew I could not afford to slow down even one second. I was determined to hold onto this lead for as long as possible.

Time check at 40km: 3:05:01

I had exactly 10 minutes to cover the remaining 2.195km. Can I make it under 3:15? Spotted Alex Thiong as we made our way towards Raffles Ave. I was too breathless to cheer for him, but Alex saw us and tried to keep up with us. Up Raffles Ave and then another right turn onto Esplanade Drive. There was lots of supporters at the side cheering the runners on. Spotted Colin (this year as supporter), shouted for us from the right side. One last bend and I would see the finishing line. The last 200m signboard never feel so welcoming before. Gave my all and sprinted to the finishing line as I watched the clocked ticked 3:14:xx closing onto 3:15.


And yes, I did it! I crossed the line in 3:15:02 (net time), bettered my local pb by more than 8 minutes! A bonus to come in first for the Singaporean Women’s category too! Gosh, I won the Singapore marathon! I could hardly believe it.  After two years of second placings in 2012 and 2014, and one disappointing 6th in 2013, the victory is especially sweet.

And what was even more astonishing was to receive news that I came in top 10 for the Women Open’s Category; which according to IAAF’s guideline, this is consider a qualification for Rio Olympics! Gosh, it’s like a dream that seems to good to be true!


Photo with Rachel, my ascis teammate & running bff. She put up a good fight and finished the marathon in 3:19, coming in 3rd for Local Women’s category. So glad that we are both on podium again this year. 



Prize presenation =) Happy to have the chance to raise the trophy this year. And huge congratulations to Ying Rong meimei for her PB and 2nd placing too!  


And of course a photo with my dearest hubby, who has been so supportive in my running journey.