2017 Year in Review

It's that time of the year again for reflections.

2017 has been a roller coaster ride for me.

I started out in 2017 with overly ambitious objectives:
  1. To become a mini "ultra-marathoner" going beyond 42km for the first time
  2. To complete 12 x 12  (12 ultra/full marathons in 12 months)
  3. To chase after 3 hours 45 minutes in a full marathon
  4. To participate in another half Ironman distance triathlon (my second)
  5. To write 8-10 articles per month for running blog
But sometimes in life, things don't work out the way we planned. And there are bound to have surprises along the way.

2017 Year in Review

I completed nine (9) ultra/full marathons (1 x 50km ultra marathon and 8 x 42km full marathons), one (1) triathlon (sprint-distance), and one (1) 11km race in 2017.  

This also means that since I started running in 2010, I have completed 30 ultra/full marathons and 3 triathlons.

Below are the key highlights / lowlights of 2017:

  • I finally braved myself to test my physical limit beyond 42km and became a mini "ultra-marathoner" by completing my first 50 km ultra-marathon at Route 68 Challenge 2017.
  • I didn't manage to complete 12 ultra/full marathons in year but I managed to complete 9 ultra / full marathons in total, the most full/ultra marathons in a year for me thus far. I did one FM in 2012 - my first. Then in 2013, I completed 4 FMs. I added two more to 6 FMs in 2014. But in 2015 and 2016, I completed 5 FMs each.
    • #9  Klang City International Marathon 2017  |  42 km (FM#29)  |  4:19:43  | Saucony Kinvara 8  |  Race Review
    • #8  Penang Bridge International Marathon 2017 (PBIM2017) | 42 km (FM#28) | 4:33:41 | New Balance 1500v3  |  Race Review
    • #7  Taiwan Rice Heaven Tianzhong Marathon 2017 台湾米仓田中马拉松2017 |  42 km (FM#27) |  3:49:11 (Sub4#11) |  ASICS Thartherzeal 5 |  Race Review (Race Day) |  Race Review (Pre Race Day)
    • #6 Hat Yai Marathon 2017  |  42 km (FM#26)  |  3:59:33 (Sub4#10) |  Saucony Kinvara 8 Red  |  Race Review
    • #5  Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2017  | 42 km (FM#25) | 4:26:26  | Saucony Kinvara 8 Red  | Race Review
    • #4  Perlis Marathon 2017, Kangar, Perlis | 42 km (FM#24) | 4:07:51 | Male Veteran #23 | Saucony Kinvara 6 Orange | Race Review
    • #3  Route 68 Challenge 2017, Gombak, Selangor |  50 km (UltraMarathon#1) | 5:17:49 | Male Category #12; Overall #13 | Saucony Kinvara 6 Orange | Race Review
    • #2 Twincity Marathon 2017, Cyberjaya / Putrajaya | 42 km (FM#23) | 3:48:38 (Sub4#9) | Saucony Kinvara 6 Orange | Race Review 
    • #1  Yoma Yangon International Marathon 2017, Yangon, Myanmar | 42 km (FM#22) | 3:48:53 (Sub4#8) | Saucony Kinvara 6 Orange | Race Review
  • I was still far off from achieving 3:45 full marathon. But I'm glad to achieve all-time PB 3:48:53 in a full marathon at Yoma Yangon International Marathon 2017. 
  • Out of the 8 full marathons completed in 2017, 4 were sub-4-hour, 3 were sub-4:30-hour, and 1 was sub-5:00-hour.
  • While achieving all-time PB in 2017, I also achieved my PW (Personal Worst) in the last 3.5 years, and my first >4:30 hour full marathon at Penang Bridge International Marathon 2017.
  • I ran in the most foreign countries (3) in a year: Myanmar (Yangon), Taiwan (Tianzhong) and Thailand (Hat Yai).
  •  I didn't manage to participate in a half ironman triathlon for the second time. But I substituted it with an sprint distance triathlon, making it 3rd year in a row participating in a triathlon
    • Putrajaya Perdana Triathlon 2017  |  Sprint: swim 750 m + bike 20 km + run 5 km (Tri#3) | 1 hr 31 min | Saucony Kinvara 8 |  Race Review
  • I also tried out 2 new brands of running shoes ASICS and New Balance besides Saucony
    • Ran 6 full marathons and 1 ultra marathon in Saucony Kinvara 8
    • Ran 1 full marathon in ASICS Thartherzeal 5
    • Ran 1 full marathon in New Balance 1500v3
  • I continued to write and share on my running blog as a life journal but I failed to achieve my monthly target. 

What I have learned in 2017...

1. Rest is important to prevent burn-out and injury

I was too eager to complete 12 ultra/full marathons in 12 months. And in order to do that, I signed up for full marathons that were too close with each other.

For example:
  • Twincity Marathon was one week after Yoma Yangon Marathon
  •  Perlis Marathon was two weeks after Route 68 Challenge (50 km)
  • Standard Chartered KL Marathon was three weeks after Perlis Marathon
  • Penang Bridge International Marathon was 2 weeks after Taiwan Rice Heaven Tianzhong Marathon
  • Klang City International Marathon was 2 weeks after Penang Bridge International Marathon
2017 has been a very tiring year for me physically running too many races - the most for me in a year. I will need to plan better in future taking into consideration my body capability so that I have enough rest in between races. In fact, due to running too many races, I was also injured with ITB band injury and sidelined for more than six months. A hard lesson for me to learn!

2. Kinder and gentler to myself

I was really pushing myself too hard to achieve better times. And when I didn't manage to achieve it a good time in a full marathon according to my own standard and expectation, the disappointments and despair overtook the joy of running! That's totally wrong!

By achieving my personal worst time in the last 3.5 years, it's definitely a good lesson for me to learn to deal with "disappointment" in the hardest way.

The outcome? I have learned to be kinder and gentler to myself.  I need to listen to body more and accept whatever the outcome it may be as long as I have given my best.

3. Never forget the joy of running

I guess I always like to use my previous time as a benchmark to better myself. I would like today's me to be better than yesterday's me. It's one of the key motivations for me to train and run.

But it shall never replace the joy of running.

If I lose the joy of running because I have been chasing for better times, then it really defeats the purpose of running.

I will constantly remind myself of the joy of running - be it fast or slow!

4. It's not the shoes, it's the engine!

I have so desperately tried to improve my time until I resorted to "shortcut" ways in looking for "faster" running shoes!

"Faster" running shoes? 

Well, I finally bought myself ASICS Thartherzeal 5 because I see many elite and fast runners wearing it. 

And I also bought New Balance 1500 v3 because of the awesome timing I saw in Cico. 

In fact, I also wanted to buy Newton Distance after listening to Darren's sharing. But the price was too expensive and the old model ran out of my shoe size.

But I neglected my own training regime. I forgot about the engine! And I still continued to clock in only about 40-42 km weekly mileage. I also didn't do tempo and interval training on weekdays. 

I remember what my fast runner friend Khoo told me about how small streams end up becoming a river. He runs about 12 km every day. 12 km every day! That's about 84 km per week! And I clocked only half of his weekly mileage! 

How can I expect better result / time without putting more effort on the "engine"?

5. Don't always measure "success" by quantifiable results

I believe I set myself too many targets and KPIs in running for 2017. 

I wanted to run more. 

I wanted to run longer distance.

I wanted to run fast.

I wanted to write more.

Therefore, I put high measurable KPIs to each objective. 

At the end of the day, they have mounted up and created stress and pressure for me to "deliver numbers" / "deliver results". 

It's all self-imposed due to my own high expectation of myself.

I shall learn to slow down and use "intangible' outcome as a measure of "success".

For example, my KPI should be,

"What's my happiness level in 2017 in running?"

Thank you 2017 for such a wonderful year in running and triathlon!

I'm blessed for being able to swim, bike and run!

To friends and readers

Thank you very much for going through running and fitness journey with me in 2017. Your encouragement, support and care really motivate me. This shall be my last article in 2017.

I will see you in 2018!

Run Happy
Run Grumpy
Run Speedy
Run Slow
Run A Little
Run A Lot


Word:   Vincent Khor
Date :    December 13, 2017


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