1st 1500m of 2016

First 1500m of 2016.
First 1500m back in Perth.
First 1500m after I have “upgraded some parts” in Singapore.

Let’s just say I did not have high hopes for this race because I have yet worked on the physiological aspects of my run yet (aerobic capacity etc). I know my biomechanics have improved a lot since the ASEAN Para Games. At long last, I had that “kick” at the end of a long run, to overtake someone in the final stretch and that was tested out recently during one of the training session but in Perth and I certainly love this “upgrade”.

Given the lack of preparation, I knew the chances of me doing a new PB (personal best) and “NR” (national record) will be slim. Still, there were a few things I wanted to get out of this race:

1. To make sure I “kick” at the final 100m stretch (I usually finish off the last 100m of my 1500m in a limp)

2. To run every 400m faster than the one previous so that I can do a ‘negative split”.

3. To be more relax before a race because not every race is a “must win” and I want to be daring to try a different strategy/style even if it means that I might screw up the race.

With these agenda set, I prepared myself for the race.

Listening to some awesome music on my Sony B Trainer while visualising the run. Its kinda my way of ‘relaxing’ and removing all other distractions.

After the warm up jog, it was time to change into my race attire.
Side story: This pair of “pure neon yellow” spikes were given to athletes who competed at the previous World Championships. I hope this spikes will bring me closer to Paralympics and WC qualifications.

One of the many things that were taught to me by Coach Luis was to constantly check for my form, to give myself feedback on how my running mechanics are rather than just relying on feelings. Lots to work on, lots to remind myself of, but I am certain with all the work I put in, one day they will all pay off. Nil Sine Labore.

Final stride and video check before I get report to the call room.

Doing some mental preparation, reminding myself what Grant and Luis would have told me if they were physically here.

Race start! I can literally hear Luis saying: “Let your body fall, knee drive, ‘punch with your elbows’, feel relax and no back mechanics”
For the first time, I managed to stick to the running pack for a while before I got dropped off. Pretty happy about it.

 The race came as a surprise because I did not expect myself to be stick in the midst of a pack of runners. Think I might have started my first 400m a little too fast but it was still within my limits hence I didn’t blow up.

For a moment, I was wondering if I should keep up the pace so that I can continue to draft the runners. Abandoned that thought by the 600m mark and ran my own pace, putting my focus on original race plan and the final kick.

Interestingly, every time I come round a bend, I “hear” Luis shouting: Zac! No back mechanics!!
Thanks Coach. Those 2 months were well spent =)

Going for the final “kick” and I managed to overtake 1 person with 20m to go. This is the first time I won an abled bodied individual in the 1500m. I hope this is a good sign! =)

Managed to finish the race with a smile =)

Not only did I finished the race meeting all the agenda set prior, I managed to sneak in a new personal best and “national record”.
Cant wait to get the physiology aspect of things sorted out. I’m certain Grant’s going to make me spill during training and I am ready for it!
If it a’int challenging, I a’int training hard enough. Isn’t it? =)

Nil Sine Labore.

ps. If you are wondering why my “national records” are always in ” “.  It is because Singapore has no official national records and I am still waiting for the council to sort this issue out. So for now, every record I set is “unofficial” till the sporting body sort itself out.

More bad news. again.

Something has been weighing me down since Tuesday. Saw a different Doctor at the hospital for my #spinalcordinjury review here in Perth and was told (again) that:

1. It is a “miracle” that I am able to do what I do now. But, I will not improve further;

2. I may be basically waiting for my condition to worsen bringing me back to “where the prognosis was originally stated”;

3. Me training so hard on a daily basis is “trading” whatever limited “miracle” time i have left before my condition worsens.

These are not new information but this just weighs me down so badly and it makes me think if whatever I am doing now, is the best for me. Especially if this is the opening statement whenever I visit a new doctor. In addition, this doctor gave a new insight stating that my next fall could be one that sends me back to my wheelchair because it affects my nerves.

This reminds me of what a privilege it is to stand, walk and run. I am excited about the future as I push for the #paralympics but I also fear for it, if the doctor is right. Subconsciously, this has been holding me back for my past 2 training sessions and I really need to clear my mind to get on with “whatever’s left. Given the fact that I have been having unexplainable blurred vision and dizziness at times, I think I am beginning to buy into this story. Funny how I always have bad news coming to me whenever I start running well. Wonder if this is a sign or a distraction..

In serious desperate need of some positive energy. Dear Lord, help me tide this one through.
I have no doubt in my determination to constantly push myself to my limits even if my body were to start to deteriorate. But it is more of “if its worth it” and “if the doctors are right”.


I can just think of it as: since I am a miracle, i do not obey the normal projected pathway.
Yeah. I think I will go on with that theory. Lets just treasure the moment, continue better my best and hope that I will wake up walking the next day.

After chatting with my fiancé, we have come to the conclusion to live my and our lives to the fullest and not hold back. Quality of life and enjoying what I love. What a good wifey =)

This actually sounds like a good plan. All the more I have got to make my “remaining running days” worth while. I pray that I will be able to taste the freedom of running for a long time to come.. And that i will go a little faster.. And maybe do a sub 4 hour marathon again.

Please.. Lets just keep going on.
Everything is possible for one who believes (Mark 9:23). #webelieve
In fact, he doesnt even want to have a follow-up appointment with me because it was all “done-deal” and probably improvements in medical treatments for me wouldnt come soon enough.

My last fall might very well end everything. But.. lets go for it. Not in my character to hold back.

First race of 2016

When the ASEAN Para Games ended, one important question was looming over my head.
What’s next?
Obviously the next big meet would be the Rio Olympics and Paralympics but I am ready to actually challenge at that level, or even simply to qualify for it?
I took a good look at my 1500m results and I needed to shave off 45s in order to qualify for it.
45s is a massive time to cut. Maybe I should just wait for Tokyo 2020…
After sitting on that thought for a while, I realised that I have never backed down from a challenge, so why should I back down now? Regardless if I qualify for Rio2016, I will still train hard isn’t it? So might as well go for it. Make the fullest of every moment in life and live with no regret!
With that goal set, I knew I needed help while I am in Singapore and fortunately, I was given the opportunity to train with Singapore Athletics National head coach, Luis Cunha, who is a biomechanist sprints expert. Knowing that my running gait is my limiting factor, I am excited to see how improving my gait will help me in my runs. 
Before I knew it, the SAA series 1 arrived. 
I was really glad to see other para-athletes participating in this series. I believe this is a first step taken to integrate para-sports into the abled-body events. Its good for confidence building for para-athletes and also for public awareness too! =)
Para athletes competing in the 200m.
Although my daily workouts and warmups have changed drastically over these 2 months, my pre-race warm up was kept the same.
As for me, it was this standard routine that makes me feel comfortable, focused and ready to race, regardless the race and location. Thanks to sports science for this wonderful knowledge and habit =p
Popped on my sony smart B-trainers, listening to my favourite Japanese rock music and away I went for my warm up jog and drills with my asics tri noosa. Unfortunately, no cooling vest this time round =(
While waiting at the call room, I went through the motions that coach Luis often reminded me of: “no back mechanics!”. 
Then, there I was standing at the starting line. Said my prayers and I got ready. No block starts this time round simply because I haven’t been practicing it. Rather lose that 0.2s than to fall face down =x. 
My mind thought of nothing, it was a state of blank and BANG
Body falling forward, knees up, elbows blocked, I have taken off.
I ran a very evenly paced 400m and finished with a timing of 67.11s.
A trade mark I had make for myself over the years. 
A new personal best and renewed my previous “national record”. 
In 2 months, I shaved off 3.49s in the 400m.
This would have been deemed “impossible” to able-bodied or para-athletes. 
If you never try, you’ll never know. *grins*
Getting a new 400m PB gave me the confidence that a sub 5 min 1500m is getting closer every single training session. Just got to have the patience, be healthy, train hard and listen to coach. 
My next race will be back in Perth at the end of Feb and it will be my pet 1500m. 
Looking forward to the pain it brings.
Looking forward to the lactate.
Looking forward to running my lungs out.
Looking forward to push my body and mind to its limit once again.
Looking forward to smashing it.
No regrets. 
God willing that I will get closer to the qualifying mark race after race.
Really thankful for SDSC, SAA and coach Luis for making this special arrangement for me to train with such an awesome team. Not forgetting my team mates who push me every training session, never viewing me as someone less abled. 
Also, a huge “thank you” to everyone who came up to me, encouraged, cheered for me. Despite the humidity, head and sun, I’m beginning to love to race in Singapore a lot because of this “home support”. Thank you
Nil Sine Labore
Glad to be able to keep up with some young pups this time round
Trying my best to imitate the “head dive” at the end of the sprint. Not quite successful though =x