I had just landed in Australia and I was ready for a week of sightseeing and filling up my iPhone photo albums with blue seas, green lawns full of sheep and cows, quokkas, great food and wine tasting… when I received a text from Cheryl, informing me that I am ROCKstar of the Month for August.
My response: [‘_’]
It seemed like an unenthusiastic response but I was actually humbled.. and nervous. It is so challenging to narrate myself, not knowing where and how to start. It’s been about 30 minutes since I switched on my laptop. So here goes…
My parents wanted the best of me and they wanted me to be sporty. During a time when there were no iPads or Pokemon-Go in primary school, I took up swimming on weekends and Taekwondo twice a week. Memorable moments from my childhood included coming in third in the 4 x 50m freestyle relay.
Following which, I picked up basketball in secondary school and even played in the inter-school tournament. However, I did not take the sport seriously as playing basketball, to me, was more about getting [some] attention from the school beaus. I had some luck in that, fortunately. 😉 But it didn’t last long.
I got busy with schoolwork, which involved late night drafting and model making, so I stopped being active during my polytechnic days and that was when my physique swelled out of proportion. Thank God for the trend of baggy pants and oversized jerseys back then, which helped me to hide my body.
At that time, I was already running. I started running during the slimmest period of my life and I looked to it as a fun way to challenge myself and break limits. I recalled being very happy when I finally hit IPPT-Gold standard time in the 2.4km run and earned an early book-out from camp. I was also constantly involved with the combat unit’s cross-country team, representing it in the division’s games. I even did my first half marathon then.
But everything stopped again during my time in the National University of Singapore. I put back more than 10kg of my weight, making me even more plus sized than my polytechnic days. The passion of running was replaced by the love of making great architectural designs and late night suppers.
After I graduated and started my career in private practices, I still couldn’t find the discipline of keeping an active fitness routine. It was also during this time that I went through three incidents that knocked me down hard.
First, my dad passed away unexpectedly due to cardiac arrest. I do not have a pretty picture of a perfect family. I recall how I used to get so excited when I saw my dad (four times a year) and then often cried when he had to fly back for work after his brief visit home. So losing him like that, was very painful.
Second, years later, my childhood friend was the only victim in a car crash. Third, I broke up with my girlfriend of seven years after we laid plans for marriage.
All of these caused me to slip into depression. I did move on, I dated someone (it didn’t work out though). Then my ex-colleagues encouraged me to seek an avenue to keep myself occupied. I took up running and gymming, something I missed out on during the peak of young adulthood.
I started running four times a day and did weight training every weekend. Exercise gradually replaced my smoking habits. I found the most joy in running and my friends started to notice the subtle changes in me.
Under peer influence, I joined the Sundown half-marathon in 2014, making a confident comeback after a long hiatus (my last half-marathon was in 2006). And I have never stopped since then. You can see all the different running races I’ve taken part in on my Facebook over the last three years.
Early this year, I came to know of Rock The Naked Truth and I joined ROCKrunners in hope of establishing a network of new friends, and getting to know like-minded people who share similar passions in running.
They became my second family. The close-knit friendships among the members are what make the group so special. We’ve also learnt how to love and be honest with each other.
Over the years of running, my plus-sized physique remains and even till this day, I still get mocked at for my tummy’s trajectory size. However, this time I did not get bigger sized clothes to hid under.
Instead, I embraced negativities and made the best joke out of the naysayers. I am also not a firm believer of eating clean food, thus I am guilt free when I eat. It is about loving and accepting yourselves first for who you are; do not desire to be like someone else. What’s most important is to truthfully being you.
I am who I am today, with God’s grace, my dad’s blessing from above and my mother’s guidance; I am stronger, knowing that I walked though the darkest days; I am still a runner, awaiting more routes to run and discover; I am happier and blessed.
Remember the then-girlfriend I mentioned earlier? We reconciled and exchanged our marriage vows on our 10th year of courtship last year! I am currently more prepared for challenges ahead to come and hey, I am proud to be a ROCKstar!
Look at this fat kid, a few months prior to graduation from NUS Architecture. I look like a middle-aged man, LOL!
But now, I am happy and here’s to the lady of my life.
Lastly, this T-shirt speaks a lot to me. I give my best at every race and to all my friends in RR, I will always have your back.