Sunday, May 25, 2008

RMAF : Running in Memory and Absolute compassion For...

The air is really getting bad these days...
Given a hypersentitive body - it can detect the air, atmosphere, drugs and even food!! I haven't been well for the last couple of days. Running nose, watery eyes, itchy throat are all signalling to me the eruption of an allergy or flu anytime. The condition worsened yesterday with a headache and a cold.

Since RMAF (Royal Malaysian Air Force) run is one race which I had been looking forward to, I decided to race anyway. I last ran this race in 1996. Today after 12 years, they made a comeback. I had enjoyed this event especially at the starting where runners had a chance to run the 2km runway. Fireworks display, a decent race course, adequate water stations add up to making this event commendable.

Medals and cash awards aside, I believe that as I "moved on to maturity" - my priorities are different...I'd like to look for having a reason, a cause or a purpose to race. This, I guess will add meaning to an otherwise mundane competition. Therefore, as I stood there at the starting line this morning, I was not filled with anxiety, but with a purpose and that purpose was : I'm gonna Run in Memory n Absolute compassion For...victims whose lives and families that have perished in the recent disasters in Myanmar and Sichuan, China. Instead of focusing on the prize $$ that awaits me or lament about being unwell, I decided to spend the entire 21km remembering the less fortunate.

Sometimes unfortunate things happen beyond our control. Some pastors said it's the evil one working to destroy God's people, while feng shui masters said it's ancestral sin! I subscribed to believe that some things happen to build character and teach us important lessons. But 2 natural disasters in a month overwhelm, not only for the victims whose home were wrecked, but the hearts of bystanders like me. First, it was political injustice, then famine which resulted in skyrocketing prices. Global warming and now cyclones and earthquakes. "Just how much can one do to support?" Monetary support only play a small part. Kungfu superstar Jackie Chan suggested, "just by not spending lavishly - by being conscious about the food that we consume - by spending a little time in solitude each day dedicated to the victims; we are in a way showing our support to them."

As I made up my mind to focus my running for a higher purpose than self, I realized that my body was not as wrecked as it should to be (the fact that I was really unwell). In fact, when some runners were dropping off at the KL/Seremban Highway stretch, I increased my pace and moved forward. Today, I crossed the finishing line with a time of 1hr 48mins - completely exhausted, but with a sense of reverence and satisfaction in believing that I've achieved my goal of Running in Memory and Absolute compassion For the people I don't even know!

But this race has brought me closer to my concept of becoming an athlete and a whole sportsperson - one who is feeling and connected to others. Unfortunately, postrace ceremonies do not include any awards for achieving your own personal purpose for running or becoming the person you've always wanted to be.

To my surprise, I still managed to maintain my top ten standing and won a cash award and it will certainly benefit a charitable organization.


John J. C. Lew said...

With a body like yours and doing things like what you're doing, it's quite unbelievable you are up to it. That itself is a fine example of mind over body. Pretty sure things have escalated to a new level.

Many years ago I was with the Royal Malaysian Air Force but I never had a chance to run on the runway. I did roller-bladed in an aircraft hanger and got myself disciplinary action because of doing so. So much vain without a good cause. Foolish past.

Keep running, the runner.

John Lew,

The Runner, Dreamer, Observer, Seeker said...

Hi, was surprised to hear you were with the RMAF before! Ha! Ha!
The good thing about this sensitive body of mine is that while it often misbehave and caused much discomfort, it doesn't take too long a time to heal. That itself is a blessing (to me, at least). For as long as it has allowed me to run, I have to learn to love it because like they said "Love your body and it will love you back!" Well..i hope so.
Thanks for reminding me once again of the Soul over Mind over Body!