My Marathon Training Log&

OK…. Most should know by now my accidental sign-up for the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon in January 2018. Its probably a good time for some background information….
Since starting to run from January 2016, I’ve clocked on average about 20-25km per week. Still fairly low by all accounts. This year, I set a personal objective to run one race per month. I’ve run 9 races so far, missing one due to the Typhoon in September. But, I’ll catch up in the month of November.
I’ve also completed a Half marathon last December at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. It was my first 21km run, and I ran and walked some of the way… Completed it in 3hrs 28mins, at a slow slow pace of 8:48/km. My second run at close to 21km distance was at the recent Straits Times Run in July, completing 18.2km in 2hrs 24mins, a pace of 7:56/km. Some improvement lah…
So… with about 22 months of regular running, I approach this accidental 42km with fear and trembling… but some quiet confidence…. I’m not aiming for a fast finish. Just want to complete it. Old already. Bones are rattling. With that…. let me go into the log so far…
Week 1 (25th Sep)
 Day        Planned               Actual                   Remarks
 Mon            Rest                       Rest
Tues             Rest                       Rest
Wed              5km                     5km
Thurs           Rest                       5km
Fri                 5km                      3km                         Diagnosed with right heel tendonitis… A little concerned…
Sat                 16km                    16km
Sun                Rest                      Rest
Total km      21km                29km
Week 2 (2nd Oct)
 Day        Planned               Actual                   Remarks
Mon              7km                       12km
Tues             5km                        3km
Wed              Rest                       Rest
Thurs           5km                       6.4km
Fri                 Rest                       Rest
Sat                 10km                    10km                       2XU Run
Sun                5km                       4.3km
Total km    32km                35.6km
Week 3 (9th Oct)
 Day        Planned               Actual                   Remarks
Mon             6.5km                     7km
Tues             Rest                        Rest
Wed             6.5km                     7.4km
Thurs           Rest                        7.2km
Fri                 6.5km                    Rest
Sat                 13km                     14km
Sun                5km                       6.2km
Total km    37.5km                  42 km
Week 4 (16th Oct)
 Day        Planned               Actual                   Remarks
Mon             6.5km                     8.2km
Tues             Rest                        Rest
Wed             6.5km                     8.4km
Thurs           Rest                        Rest
Fri                 6.5km                    8.1km
Sat                 16km                     16.2km
Sun                5km                       5.1km
Total km    39.5km                  46 km
Week 5 (23rd Oct)
 Day        Planned               Actual                   Remarks
Mon             6.5km                     8.1km
Tues             Rest                        Rest
Wed             6.5km                     8.0km
Thurs           Rest                        Rest
Fri                 6.5km                    7.1km
Sat                 10km                     12.7km
Sun                5km                       5.4km Running in Kuala Lumpur
Total km    34.5km                  41.3 km
Week 6 (30th Oct)
 Day        Planned               Actual                   Remarks
Mon             8km                        8.5km
Tues             Rest                        Rest
Wed             8km                        8.1km
Thurs           8km                        2km
Fri                 Rest                        7.2km
Sat                 10km                     0km                   Christine Back in HK, Cycling 2.9km
Sun                5km                       5.1km                Cycling 24.4km
Total km    39km                      31 km + 27.3km Cycling
Week 7 (6th Nov)
 Day        Planned               Actual                   Remarks
Mon             8km                        0km                       Had a late night meeting. Couldn’t run!!!
Tues             Rest                        9.8km
Wed             8km                        0km                        Had to host someone for dinner. Couldn’t run!!!
Thurs           Rest                        14.9km                   Tried to make up for the inactivity the past few days.
Fri                 8km                        0km
Sat                 20km                     21.2km
Sun                5km                       4.2km
Total km    49km                   50.2km 
Week 8 (13th Nov)
 Day        Planned               Actual                   Remarks
Mon             8km                        0km                       Too tired out….
Tues             Rest                        11.8km
Wed              Rest                        10.0km                  Flew to Singapore in the afternoon
Thurs           8km                        10.5km
Fri                 8km                        0km
Sat                 23km                     22km. First 21km in Singapore in 2017. Humid!
Sun                8km                       1km
Total km     55km                   55.5km 
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Standard Chartered Marathon Hong Kong Family Run 2017

Perhaps a short background is necessary here. Back in July last year, I was planning to run in both the Singapore and Hong Kong Standard Chartered Half Marathons. While I managed to secure a slot for the Singapore Marathon, I wasn’t so lucky with the Hong Kong Marathon, as they had opened the registration period round about the time I was having my ICD changed. By the time I had completed my operation, and fully considered if I would be fit for the Hong Kong Marathon, I realised that all slots for the Hong Kong Marathon had already been snapped up. Although there were still slots to get in via the charity path, it was only the 10K run, which I wasn’t really keen on.

Never mind… will just run in 2018, or so I thought…..

Then, Standard Chartered Bank wrote in January and invited us to run in the first ever screenshot-32Standard Chartered Marathon Family Run! Of course I snapped at the opportunity! The distance was going to be only 1.8km, and would be a good distance for Elkan to start off with, and perfect for both of us to run together! That there was no registration fees, and that we received all the standard running packs, race T-Shirts, and all the memorial and finisher medals was just fantastic and a wonderful gesture! We are so thankful! Thank you, Standard Chartered Bank!

 

 

The actual day itself was wonderful. Although a tad chilly at 11-13 degrees Celsius, it was perfect weather. No strong winds (which is ideal for the marathon, half and 10k runners). Still air, cold atmosphere, low humidity…. perfect.

We started off in the Wan Chai Sports grounds, and from there, it was a turn across into Hung Hing Road, over the Marsh Road Flyover from Wan Chai North to Wan Chai. And 20x30-hkbo0628-okthen, a left turn into Lockhart Road and straight down to Victoria Park. It was along Lockhart Road that this photo was taken. Love the photo! Elkan looks so good, and so professional. 🙂 And I am so so proud of this young man.

What a privilege to run with Elkan, and I hope that this will give both of us a fantastic memory to last our lifetime.

 

 

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2016 in Reflection

It’s been an extremely good and most interesting year, 2016. And I am so thankful to God for watching over my family and I over the course of 2016.

Health & Fitness

The year started harmless enough.. . With talk of a possible acquisition of the company I was working for, there was cause for some jittery nerves. But, life went on… we should not let things we can’t control affect our moods. We just have to plan and hope for the best, and more importantly, trust in God. With things at work taking that trajectory, things were in a slight limbo, and many projects were on hold, and I ended up having very light days and stable hours. Most days I left the office on time and was mostly home by 6pm or so. It was with this backdrop that my walking regime became more and more consistent.

grand-hyatt-erawan-bangkok-gymDuring one of my trips to Bangkok on the 22nd of January, I wondered about the possibility of running instead of walking. I had by then been walking consistently almost every other day, at 5km per outing. Brisk walking a 5km distance  takes me approximately 60 minutes, at a pace of about 12mins per km. BUT, I had been walking for almost a year now with no significant weight loss. In other words, it wasn’t working. Of course, I didn’t know then that running 5km at 7mins per km would mean that I finish the run within 35 mins, and with my heart rate within a 150-160 beats per min (Aerobic zone), means that I would have a much higher chance of losing the weight I wanted off.

getimageHowever, one of the reasons I stayed off running, was also due largely to an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) that I have in me since 2008. You can read about it here. I had in the months that followed, attempted to run, but in my one or two outings then, was able to feel (not sure if real or perceived) the tugging of the ICD cables on my heart, as well as the extra weight of the ICD on my left chest. The extra weight and tugging made me decide I was unable to run. And, without attempting to try running again, I decided back in 2008, quite prematurely that I wasn’t able to run.

Nevertheless, on that dark morning in Bangkok on the 22nd of January, without thinking
screenshot-24through the detailed math and science, I attempted a run on the treadmill in the Grand Hyatt Erawan. It was the most liberating run for me, as I experienced no perceptible discomfort while running. I had no feeling of any weight or abnormal tugging on my heart which I had (or thought I had) before! Starting slowly, I felt so good, that I was able to continue for 6km! Understandably, this was on a treadmill, and runs on treadmills are a lot easier because you’re assisted by the treadmill engine, so a 7:50/km pace should be discounted to probably a 8:50/km pace. But I was chuffed! I was able to run! and it opened my eyes to the possibilities ahead of me.

And so it began….. I started running, and running, and running…. . By the 31st of screencapture-strava-athlete-calendar-1483155527504December 2016, I had covered 1,075km. I had started the year at over 101kg, and by October 2016, I had dropped just over 12kgs, and I weigh 89kg now. It has been an awesome health journey, and one that I want to continue.

screenshot_2016-10-08-09-36-25

Dramatic drop …

And I am so thankful for good friends who have been on this journey with me, helping to 13256402_10153812511769585_8520833136700451715_nmake this journey interesting and varied. I took part in my first race in May, a 5k Straits Times Run. Being my first run, I was really green, but really chuffed that I could do this with my childhood buddies.

I then followed this up with a 10k Disney Run in September in Hong Kong by myself. The force was really strong with me. This was a meandering run through the Disneyland property in Hong Kong. A fun and easy run.

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Cool Troopers

I then took on a Half Marathon in December in Singapore at the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore. This was a challenge that I thought I would not be able to see through, as I had just undergone an ICD replacement operation in October, and I was really worried in October that I would not be able to run in December. But my fears were unfounded. I found that I had mostly recovered two weeks after the operation.

20x30-smcd6891

 

More photos of my running adventures here.

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Still more to lose… but good progress!

Family

On the home front, I have been extremely happy that the kids are growing into confident
young teenagers. They’ve integrated well into their school, 12274264_10208221286995954_7396476150361501967_nand managing young adult relationships among their friends fairly well. I’ve been particularly happy with the way they have been handling the departure of some of their close friends from Hong Kong, and how they still keep in touch with technology.

 

Ariel had a trip to Huangshan (黄山) in Anhui, China in March.15781633_10154436847219585_307167216372366955_n

And Kyla made a trip to Barcelona, Spain, also in March.

They’ve also adjusted extremely well into the Island ECC Youth Group, making new friends and inviting their school friends to church as well.

 

 

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As a family, we’ve also continued to be able to spend much more time together than weimg_20160618_114151 ever were able to back in Singapore. For this, I am extremely thankful. We’ve been able to take 3 trips this year.. one to Macau (with Fabian, Karen and Athena), Perth, and another to Hanoi.

The Macau trip in June was excellent as the cousins were able to muck around together having not met since Chinese New Year in February, and also served as a way for the children to follow Uncle Fabian and Aunty Karen back to Singapore while Christine and I ran away to the Philippines for our own little getaway. More photos of our Macau trip here.

And so… Christine and I reached a milestone where we were able to make a week’s trip toimg_20160701_092903 Boracay without the children. Its been a most interesting trip, rediscovering how to fill in
the gaps of silence without the children in tow. We were literally free! Married without
kids…. at least for that week in Boracay. 🙂 I know that we will be exploring future adventures without the children too.

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More photos of our Boracay trip here.

We then followed up the June trips with a further one to Perth, in August. This was another long 13882168_10154013688124585_5718801365020807735_nawaited trip, as we last made the pilgrimage to my Alma mater more than 17 years ago. We also took the opportunity to meet with Pastors John and Patti, whom we’ve not met for more than 17 years now. Incidentally, they’ve also never seen the kids before….

More photos of our Perth trip here.13903170_10154022529529585_2131626711992711057_n

Then, we planned a trip to Hanoi Vietnam in December. Unfortunately, Kyla wasn’t able to join us, as she was prepping for her final exams this year. So, only four of us made the trip to Hanoi. But, we were also plagued with the flu and cold for most for the trip, with 15622426_10154413079234585_7696270161553380552_nElkan down with headaches for most of the trip… but we made do and tried our best to enjoy ourselves. And we certainly did. Thankfully, Elkan became well enough on the 4th day, and we were able to enjoy the sights and sounds of Hanoi’s Old Quarters.

 

 

 

Career

Career wise, with the year starting fairly bleak, it quickly progressed to the
announcement of the acquisition in April of 2016, to due diligence activities and to the conclusion of the acquisition by July. Mid-way through the due diligence activities, as I met with the team from the buyer, I quickly made up my mind that I would follow my company into the acquisition (as I had an option of staying on in the larger group of my company, and not follow the sale of the smaller company). By the time I announced my decision to my President, he was more than dismayed, and did not understand why I had wanted to move with the sale. I had to endure a month where he refused to speak with me.

After the sale of the company in July, things moved quickly as we worked to integrate the company with the buyer’s company. By then, we also had some unplanned news as the buyer company had just brought on board a new CEO and CFO. We were sailing into uncharted waters. I began wondering if I had made the right decision. But, by the month of September, I was asked to take on the CTO position in the new company, as the incumbent was asked to leave. This propelled me to a position I had not planned on (at least not this quickly).

On October 1st, I took on the role of the CTO of the new company, now, taking on more than the responsibilities of my previous business, including the businesses of the buyer company. The last 3 months has been more than hectic, but rewarding, as I worked with my new colleagues on reshaping the organization, and the culture of the way things work. There is still much work to be done, and the plans for change will lay the technology foundation for the entire group for the next lap.

Conclusion

And so….. I have so much to be thankful for. For good health, a beautiful and wonderful wife and mother to our children, respectful (ok… sometimes not..) and delightful children…. all of us (maybe except me..lol) having a good pair of heads screwed on tightly on our shoulders, a good job in the market place, and in being in this place during this season where God has placed us. And as I reflect on all of these, I’m again convinced by the wise words of Charles Swindoll, who said

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

May I take this opportunity to wish everyone a Healthy, Wealthy and Wise 2017! Onward March!

 

 

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Christians in the Marketplace

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I’ve been thinking long and hard about whether to share this, mainly because it is of some religious nature, and I was concerned that as with material shared on the Internet, bares a risks for it to be mis-contrued. But, I decided that I would share it anyways, as this is something I do feel strongly and passionately about, and as there is very little sharing on how Christians should conduct themselves at their work place.

Back in early 2013, when I had just moved to Hong Kong, I had observed that there were some fellow believers at the work place, and as I had then had the privilege of listening to an excellent sermon by Ps Chung Kai at church (CEFC Singapore), I thought to write a note to my fellow believers who were on my team.

Recently, in my move to my new work place, I got myself to re-read this again, and it ministered to me significantly, as I am reminded again, that God is sovereign, and that I need to continually depend on Him. I hope that if you are a fellow believer, that this would also become your way of depending on God in all that you do. For my friends who are non-believers, I hope you will see that the advocacy is for Christians to be competent in all that they do, rather than playing their religiosity at the workplace. It never works.

As mentioned, this was a note I wrote to my team members in Hong Kong back in 2013, most of whom are still working with me.

—————————————–

 

Hi guys,
I’m writing because I know we are believers. In all of my 4 years or so in the Singapore office and in managing South Asia, I have never had the privilege of finding so many believers in the office and in the team. But when I came to Hong Kong this year, I was so pleasantly surprised that just within the Hong Kong team, there are already 4 believers. I am encouraged, and know that Hong Kong is very much opened to God despite its clearly Buddhist heritage and background.
You know that I don’t regularly share very much about Christ and Christianity during work days, but you would also know that I am very much guided by what God has laid down for us in the way we should conduct ourselves both at home and at work. As Christians at the workplace, we face constant challenges in ensuring we stay upright and ethical in all of our dealings with people so that the glory of God is shown through our lives. The other challenge we have is in ensuring that we are competent in what we do.
How do we be good practicing Christians who bring glory and honor to our God and yet be relevant to the jobs that God has called us to? Everyone of you knows that I am a stickler for competency, and I demand nothing less. Why is that so? Because I believe that although we are Christians, in the work place, we should never ever play our “religious” card first. We must ALWAYS demonstrate our “competency” card first, so that as we win respect and trust, we can then explain that we are Christians. In so doing, we glorify our Father in heaven. This in itself, is worship to God.
In one of the sermons at church, this was expounded on in some detail, and I would like to share the gist of it with you, and I hope that it can be your guiding principals at work as it is mine.
How should we manage our work as a worship to God? There are 3 key things we need to watch out for, and they are:

1. Our Competency – Be good and competent in whatever you do!
2. Our Diligence – Work hard!! Work Hard!! and Work Hard!!! Don’t be lazy
3. My Righteousness – In all that we do, we have to always be righteous before God and Man…

We also need to Keep God in the center of it all by:

1. Starting our day by committing our tasks to Him. This shows DEPENDENCY on God
2. Thanking God when things go well. This HONORS God
3. Closing the day by seeking God’s approval for what we did in the day. This ensures VALIDATION by God

I hope you have  a restful weekend with your friends and families and as you recharge for the new week. If you feel these type of sharing is useful, please let me know. we can take this off the company email and continue this through our personal email addresses. Take care

Paul

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2013 Blog review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 42 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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2013 in Perspective

2013 has been more than a challenging year. In 12 months, I’ve encountered significant changes to career, living environment and personal life. Usually, one tends to keep planned changes to a manageable amount, but this year, both planned and unplanned changes came a plenty, and there were crosswinds which I didn’t expect.

In January, I made a planned move over to Hong Kong to take on a larger role within the company. The expanded role was tough, where I took on two additional roles until I was able to build the team to take on the responsibilities. To put it simply, the whole process of finding the right individuals was not completed until July. Even now, I am still filling some positions, but the key ones are filled.

I was in Hong Kong for a good seven months alone, before the family joined me in August. During this time, Dad fell ill in late January, and was literally in and out of hospital until he passed away on 5th April. The first two quarters were one of the most difficult times I had to go through. Apart from having to deal with the challenges of taking on 3 jobs at work, I had also to work in my travel back to Singapore because of Dad’s illness.

I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that without God’s guidance and leading, I would never have made it through. In fact, it was God’s divine intervention in March, when I was back in Singapore for a 3 day visit, which allowed me to spend the last 2 weeks with Dad before he passed away. On the day I was originally supposed to fly back to Hong Kong, I came down with an unexplained stomach ulcer which caused me to cancel my flight back. I had already checked in my luggage, but the pain I felt in my stomach was just too great to bear. I rushed to the hospital. In the following days, I had another stomach ulcer episode which saw me in the emergency department opposite Dad! LoL! In short, my original planned 3 day trip to Singapore was extended to 1 month, as I spent Dad’s last two weeks with him, and was with my family as we organised Dad’s funeral arrangements. If I had not come down with the unexplained stomach ulcer, I would never have had those last precious time with Dad. I am really grateful to God.

When I got back to Hong Kong in April, I plunged myself deep into my work to dull my emotions, and it was a struggle. I questioned my transfer to Hong Kong, and whether it was the right move. I also sought directions spiritually to try and make sense of the challenges I was facing in finding a church I could feel comfortable in, in Hong Kong. I never found spiritual support or a good spiritual community I could feel comfortable in for the entire duration I was in Hong Kong before my family came.

Things took a positive turn in August when Christine, Kyla, Ariel and Elkan came over. Instead of coming back to an empty house, the family is now with me. 🙂 getting the kids into Singapore International School was not too difficult, but caused some anxiety until we got formal confirmation that the kids had been accepted into the school. Things started to slowly get into perspective.

One of the best things that saw me through the ups and downs was a daily time of reading the Bible and journaling. It kept my perspective constantly on Christ. Without a doubt, I am still very much work in progress, but I know that my Redeemer is faithful and true. With 2013 coming to a close, I give thanks to God for a challenging year, where I discovered more of myself, or rather…. less of myself, and more of Him. I discovered that it was not important what was thrown at me, and how much of it was coming, but it was more important to know who is the centre of my life and for whom I am living for.

This is what I will bring with me into 2014. I am certain the new year will bring new challenges, but I also know that what ever the future holds, my God will be in that future with me.

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Our Journey in Hong Kong

I’ve been in Hong Kong for a little over ten months now, and Chris and the kids have been here for over 2 months. By and large, we’ve settled down well in Hong Kong. The kids have particularly taken well to school at the Singapore International School (SIS). They’ve got friends, and are blending in well. Christine’s found her small group of Singaporean Mummies of fellow school children at SIS, and has regular breakfasts, lunches, and parent volunteer events at school.

So… why do I still feel a little miserable at times? Well, I think we still have not found a good Christian community where there are families with school going children like ourselves. When I compare the situation with what we’ve got in Singapore, it pales in comparison.

True, we’re attending a church with a good teaching. However, it currently does not have any children’s church. This means that the children sit along with us during service. The word is good, but its not catered for children. So, this means they drift off mentally, and eventually get on their mobiles playing games to pass the time. Not the best…. 😦

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Ideally, I’m really looking for a church with Singaporean families with young school going children, have children’s church. In short… I’m looking for what we’ve left behind in Singapore. I’m sure this isn’t exactly realistic, but one can hope. 🙂

We’ve got school, and the day to day stuff settled, and I really need to ensure that our spiritual journey as a family is well catered for. Please do pray with us….

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