Fuad Alhabshi is the charismatic lead singer of local rock band Kyoto Protocol, and even though he burns a lot of calories on stage, he wants to take it to the next level. That’s why he’s decided to run the 12KM event in the Men’s Health Women’s Health Night Run by AIA Vitality on 22 July 2017 in MAEPS, Serdang. He’s documenting his journey towards race day, and we’ve got the inside scoop on his progress. Check it out:
Taking part in the 2017 Men’s Health Women’s Health Night Run by AIA Vitality was a difficult decision to make. I was in a transitory point in my life, and I was dealing with a lot of changes both at work and at home. At that point, I was already just trying to keep it together. To add to the hurdles, I found out that a big chunk of the training would be during the fasting month.
However, the chance to work with a personal trainer from Fitness First was a golden opportunity that was too good to pass up. I was proven right as well!
I was reasonably fit in the past, but my regime was focused more on the sports that I love – for example, touch rugby or football. I’ve participated in 10km runs before, but I was never satisfied because of my times. I would aim to run that distance in 60 minutes, but ended up doing closer to 75 instead.
Vincent Cheng, an Elite Personal Trainer with Fitness First, had the arduous task of whipping me into shape. My body weight had plummeted from 75kg to 68kg in the middle of Ramadan, as I lost mostly lean muscle fulfilling my religious obligations. My weakness was noticeable. Even a 3km run was too much for me! So because we didn’t have much time to prepare given the circumstances, I opted to go for the 12km run, based on Vincent’s advice. As a numbers guy, I just couldn’t resist setting a goal of 90 minutes.
Cue Rocky montage – during our training over the 6 weeks, there was never a moment that I felt ‘Oh, this is easy!' but always 'Oh, I never knew this muscle existed, and it hurts’.
In hindsight, our preparations were apt! But race day came too soon, and I was worried. Up to that point, we had only trained for a 5km run once. So I just kept all of Vincent’s pointers in mind:
1) Strike on the ball on my forefoot
2) Control my breathing
3) Maintain my focus
4) Don’t ever stop running
“From the whistle, I did just that: I didn’t stop running. I took it at my own pace, and always ensured I wasn’t running until I panted uncontrollably. In the beginning of my run, many passed me by, which was mildly distracting – but I knew I had to maintain focus. It didn’t take too long for that feeling to reverse: after a couple of kilometres, even more participants started walking, much to my surprise. This gave me reassurance that I was right to listen to Cheng.
“After the midway point, seeing the others walk became more of a temptation. ‘What if I just walked, even for this short but pesky uphill section?’ I asked myself. Swiftly, a mental image of a disappointed Cheng would appear, and banish that thought from existence.
“Before I knew it, I was on the home stretch. The race course always kept me in suspense, and I was looking out for the finish line. As soon as I laid eyes on it, a renewed vigor overtook my body. The pain in my calves and my knees ameliorated. I knew I could take on that last 400 metres with ease. It was then that I started to sprint, focusing only on getting past that line. I didn’t even glance over to see my time. Somehow, I knew I nailed it.
“The incredible feeling of achievement swept over me, because I had ran my personal best in terms of distance. My mind was still sharp, and the adrenaline rush kept me from feeling the aches. My friends said I looked like I hardly broke a sweat! After my previous forays into long-distance running, I would have always looks like a zombie straight out of The Walking Dead.
As I reflect on my journey, the effects of adrenaline have worn off, but the feeling of accomplishment is still going strong. I reckon it will stay with me for a long time. I doubt I’ll run much further than 12km, but I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my fitness journey under the watchful guidance of Cheng. Did you say calisthenics?
Catch up on Fuad's progress in his first three diaries here, here and here.