Tuesday October 2, 2007
Running to manage stress
By NG WEI LOON
REALISING that her clothes were getting tighter as her weight began to pile up, financial controller Kim Teh Seok Im knew that she had to go on a physical regime to get her weight under control.
Despite her hectic work schedule, the rookie runner started jogging on her own in May last year.
“Previously, I led a sedentary life-style. But, I found that not having enough time to exercise is just an unacceptable excuse,” said Teh, add-ing that she now wakes up early in the morning to go for a light workout before heading to work on weekdays.
“A year ago, I had to drag myself to follow my brother to run around a short circuit at the Lake Gardens,” she recalled.
But, she managed to get herself on the right track when she joined the www.runnersmalaysia.com.my website support running group for beginners under the tutelage of former Pacesetters Athletics Club Ma-laysia (PACM) president Wan Yew Leong and avid social runner Jamie Pang.
At the same time, she also signed up for her company's 100-day wellness challenge.
“It was a way my employer encouraged the employees to get fitter and healthier. We had a nutritionist's assistance to chart our progress. I did not fare that well in the challenge. But, I continued my running routine diligently because I was determined to pull it through,” she said.
After following the beginners' group for workouts at the Lake Gardens every Saturday morning, she has not only shed 10kg off her heavier 60kg body frame.
“Running has other positive benefits,” she said.
She acknowledged that her passion for running was an ideal stress management therapy and a platform to expand her social circle.
“Besides the opportunity to mingle with people from diverse backgrounds who share the joy of running, the peer support was an important factor in helping beginners start off on the correct footing,” Teh added.
Besides running up to four times a week, she swims twice a week as an alternative low impact cardiovascular exercise to complement her training programme.
In the four races – Great Eastern Pacesetters 30km, Kuala Lumpur International Marathon (KLIM), New Balance Pacesetters 15km and Mizuno Wave 10km Run – that she has completed thus far, she has chalked up satisfactory results.
“In fact, she finished ahead of me in all the four events this year. She has shown fast progress in such a short period. She has achieved what she set out to do. She can only get better, provided she wants to put in the effort to move on to the next stage. Going competitive is not necessarily every one's aim. Most of us are social runners – we run on a recreational basis to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” said Wan.
After only about a month of proper training, she worked up the courage to sign up for the 20km event at the Great Eastern Pace-setters 30km.
After following Wan's pace for 15km on the 20km course, she returned home with her first ever medal.
“ When I was in school, I was one of the 'nerdy' high scorers with good academic grades and I had never won a single sports medal. Winning a medal was definitely a highlight of my life,” she added.
She also clocked 1'56 in her debut 21km race at the KLIM and finished 20th in the women's open section.
In addition, she came home 21st overall in the women's category at the recent Mizuno Wave 10km Run with a time of 56 minutes.
“I have not set specific targets as I am enjoying running without the obligation to perform. I am glad that I can enjoy my occasional roti canai and nasi lemak treat without feeling guilty about it! But, it will be good if I could improve on my timing gradually along the way,” Kim said.