I hate running and will always hate it for as long as I live.

It makes me sweaty, makes my muscles hurt and always makes me want to give up barely 10 mins in, yet I run. So why do I run?

A photo of feet in running shoes climbing stairs by Bruno Nascimento
These are not my feet, these feet are shot by Bruno Nascimento

Running is the cheapest sport

Running is mostly free, all you need is a path and a pair of good running shoes. I have joined gyms before, thinking that the fee paid will be a good motivation. Nope. Instead of motivating me, I got really frustrated instead and terminated my membership as soon as possible. I do not like being forced to do something just because I am pressured to extrinsically. Plus, I have Horlu to grow too. It is now or never.

Turning 30

As of this blog article, I am turning 30 soon. I heard stories where it gets harder to burn fat once you hit 30 and also, the increase in health complications. I enjoy eating and I do not want my age and health to get in my way. Bending down to tie my shoelace causes my face to turn red and it gets somewhat hard to breathe. My fat stomach area irritates me whenever I sit down. Fearing that these might be signs of health issues so I decided to start exercising.

Getting out the RT and IPT game

Being a Singapore male, my physical fitness is monitored by the government with annual examinations known as Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT). IPPT examines us on 3 stations, push-ups, sit-ups and 2.4km run. You can guess which is my weakest station. Sure, I can just keep doing IPPT Preparatory Training (IPT), but I really want to do better than that.

Confidence (or a lack of)

I’ll admit it, I like to look good as a man. Whether I’m metrosexual or otherwise, is irrelevant but my shape, or lack of thereof was starting to get to me. I slowly ballooned from a slender 70kg after BMT to a chunky 80kg and finally, a bounteous 88kg just 2 years after NS. I had to give away all of my fancy pre-NS clothing and am left with size 30 jeans. And boy, having to buy new jeans frequently is an EXPENSIVE affair. The final straw broke when I went to audition for SIA as a cabin crew. I failed, 4 times. Each time, the same, short fat cabin crew executive tut tutted about my weight and I really, simply cannot accept a fat short guy calling me fat.

A great running buddy

Doing things that you do not like alone, sucks. I had many starts and stops because I failed to motivate myself until I met my friend, B. This guy is tall, slim and has a much better physique than I yet we are the exact same age. One day, he started joining marathons and slowly but surely, gotten faster at them. Even without the pressure of IPPT (he’s Malaysian), he’s still way fitter than me. One day, he invited me to join him. Now, I had ‘friends’ in the past who jio-ed me to run but whenever I slowed down, they would just keep on running and leave me in the dust, panting in my own misery. But B, however, always ran alongside with me even though he could have run faster. With his encouragement, I improved from a pathetic 8mins/km to a slightly more respectable 6:30min/km.

After the run

That surge of euphoria after finishing a good run is something I am addicted to. The running process is truly excruciating. I start fine but once I’ve ran the first kilometre, I really just wanna give up. My inner voice keeps telling me to give up because there is always tomorrow. Despite the burn in my lungs and limbs and that pesky voice in my head bombarding me, I will still complete my self-imposed 4km run because that feeling right I get right after I finish the run is just amazing. It makes me feel like I can run for another 4km, but no thank you, until next time :).

Ultimately, it is all for myself

Whether it is to pass my IPPT or not, ultimately, I am doing this for myself. To prove to myself that I can finally achieve something just because I want to without breaking the bank. Through running, I learnt that everything is mostly just in my head. Unlike push-ups where your body ensures that you simply, really cannot push up anymore, running is a psychological game where you can actually go faster and keep hitting asphalt, step after step. Gotta learn to believe in yourself.

I have registered for 2XU’s 21.1km run this coming April. This will be my first half marathon as I have only run up to 12km. I hope to finish it within 2hrs:45mins. Wish me good weather and a well-rested body.