the 1500m – first of many

This ASEAN Para Games (APG) has been a huge roller coaster ride for me. Lots and lots went on behind the scene.
After training hard well for my 1500m, I was informed 2 weeks prior to the games that it was cancelled and I would be competing only in the 400m. I think by now, everyone could have a glimpse of how frustrated I was back then, losing my pet event and having to compete in an event in which I know (almost certainly) that I would be last. I could not understand why it happened this way and I was extremely disappointed with the situation. All I could do was to pray in hopes that I will be given back my pet event.
I prayed for a miracle, to have 1 more competitor in this event so that it will be pushed on but as the days go by, I started to resign to that fact that the 1500m is all but lost.
On the eve of the opening ceremony, I was told that the 1500m was put back on! This totally fired me up and suddenly I was all excited about racing. Thank God for putting the event back.
However, the roller coaster ride continued. 2 days before my event, my grandmother was admitted into the emergency ward and was told by doctors that she had less than 48 hours to live. After getting special permission, I rushed over to the hospital. What made it worse was that my parents flew out of the country that very morning and they had to rush back into the country. Everyone was praying hard for my father to be back to see his mother once more before she passed on. Thankfully, my parents made it back to Singapore the next evening and my grandmother was holding up. Knowing that my parents are emotionally stable and handling themselves well, I decided it was time for me to check back into the games village and prepare myself for the race. This was how I spent my days leading up to my 1500m event. Emotionally drained and probably a little physically drained from the lack of rest. Not the ideal lead-up but I have got to be responsible and do what is right: to race my hearts out.
After 3 days of athletics competition, there had been talks that I was Singapore’s best medal hopeful for athletics and deep down the pressure was building. I tried not to be sucked into the pressure and reminded myself that it is all about the clock and myself.
Since my marathon days, it has always been me and the clock, this is not going to change.” I kept reminding myself and focused on what I needed to do. I have always thought of racing as “collecting my report card”. All the hard work has be laid and done during training. All the throwing up, falling down, crawling to get back on my feet, heat chamber training etc had all be done. It is time to enjoy the run and reap what I had sowed.
I was definitely nervous going into the race. But the moment I went to do my warm up, listening to my music and my body just went into auto-pilot mode and soon, I was in race mode. 
As I was walking out into the stadium, I could hear cheers from friends and that really gave a little more pressure! Then again, it was good pressure. These were the people whom I had spent half my life-time with, there will be no holding back. Even if I had to tear my hamstrings, I was determined to try to go for Gold.
The race unfolded according to my “research”. I knew the Indonesian would take the lead right from the start because he was the previous gold medalist and he has a good quick 400m. I also knew the Vietnamese would try to edge me during our next 800m. So I made sure I protected the inner lane and made him take the outer lane (so he will always run a little more than me). I tried to close the gap during the 3rd lap but I eventually lost the race to the better runner. Kudos to Timin for the brilliant race.

A huge thank you to those who believed that I will one day run again. Because you didn’t give up on me, I had that extra assurance. I know I have lots of support from down under too! And I love you guys! More work will be done in Perth that’s for sure. I know this is my first step out as a 1500m runner and I am still learning the ropes.  Rest assure, I will continue to push on for the coming years and God willing if I will bag a few more medals.

The bros. It meant alot to me.
Talk about leaving everything on the track.

The smile says it all.

Thank you to all volunteers, especially to those at the stadium! Love you guys to bits! Thanks for making everything so awesome, without which this would not be such a wonderful experience.

Nil Sine Labore
prepared and written by Zac Leow