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Aug 25

This Race, Where Are You Now?

Speaker: Clement Chio

Club President, District Officers, Fellow Toastmasters & Guests, Good evening.

“Fat, but not unfit.”
This is a phrase which I’ve used in my introductions time and again, meeting after meeting, but I never explained to anyone why I claim so.

In the past 3 years, I’ve completed several 10-16 kilometer races, 3 half marathons and 3 full marathons including the recent Sundown Marathon back in the end of May this year.

When I first decided to join my first marathon back in 2010, I wanted to use running as a means to lose weight.
Well, apparantly, that didnt work out.
What motivated me to sign up for the subsequent 2 marathons though, was purely out of pride.

If there is only ONE thing I learnt from my marathon experience, it’s that, at any time, the power of the mind triumphs over the body.

During the actual marathon, even with adequate training, I only can find myself comfortably cruising the first 15km or so.
From the 15th km onwards, I have to keep my mind engaged and focused on distance goals – both medium and short.

But you know, the REAL challenge comes at the 30km mark.
Take my word for it, somehow, after 30km, it’s becomes purely a mental rather than a physical race.

The closer I get to the finishing line, the more impossible and seemingly unreachable the final goal is.
But when the finishing line is finally in sight, when I can see the huge gantry erected right in front of me with the word FINISH and the clock still ticking away, pure adrenaline kicks in.

And I’ll sprint, and dash, with whatever energy I have left after running for the past 5 hours, and surge past the finishing line to end it all!

Now, Fellow toastmasters, ladies & gentlemen.
I’m not sure how many of you here have ran a marathon before too, and had the same experience as me.
Maybe, most of you here will never run a physical marathon in your lives.

But there is a marathon all of us are running year after year.
And now, you’re running this marathon called 2013.

Today is 1 Aug, the 2nd month of the 3rd quarter of 2013.
7 months ago, on this very day, some of you may have set a goal that you will want to achieve at the end of this year.
Some of you, may not have set one, because you may think that goals or New Years’ Resolutions are pointless, as they are never met.

However, I’m certain that 7 months ago, every one of you will definitely have something in mind that you will want to achieve by the end of this year, whether you deem it a resolution or not.

Think. Think back. What was it that you wanted to achieve at the end of the 2013?
Was it to become a Competent Communicator?
Was it to get recognized by your company?
Was it to lose weight?

What is YOUR finishing line of YOUR 2013 Marathon?
How far or how near are you to your finishing line?
This race, where are you now?
Or, are you even still running?

If you’ve lost sight of the finishing line, maybe, it’s time to re-focus on it.
If the 2013 Marathon is only a passing activity, what is your ultimate prize?

Although a tangible goal is set, place a greater emotional or spiritual achievement behind it.
I initially joined a physical marathon to lose weight, but now I join for the pride that comes with completing a race.
What is YOUR satisfaction from completing YOUR goal?

Just like a real physical marathon, sometimes, the end goal is just too far away to grasp.
But just like a real marathon, bite-sized, achievable goals are the key to the ultimate finish.

My short term goals are the various water points placed every 2 kilometres enroute.

Each water point is not only a chance for me to quench my thirst, cool myself down by pouring water all over myself, but they also act as markers for me to countdown towards my next mid-distance goals.

My mid-distance goals are: the 10km mark, the turning point, and the 32km mark.
Each of these mid-distance goals are only approximately 5 water points away.

And every time I hit these mid-distance goals, I’ll make it a point to snap a photo and post it on social media – Facebook, Twitter and in the last race, Instagram as well.
It’s a physical mark to claim the distance that I had conquered.
More importantly, it creates a mini sense of accomplishment.

What about you?
What are your short term baby steps, or your ‘water points’, in your 2013 marathon?
What are your mid-term checkpoints, or your ‘photo spots’ in this race of yours?

If you’ve lost sight of what you want to achieve by 31 Dec this year, start setting up your own water points and claim your own photo spots.
I truly believe, all these would aid to your race to the 2013 Finish Line.

Maybe, at the beginning of the year, you were enthusiastic in achieving the goal you’ve set.
But in the past 7 months were there times when you were be thrown off track or felt down?
For those that have stopped running, did you stop because of the obstacles along the way?

In any race, recovery is part of the process. And encouragement helps.
Design avenues to fish compliments for yourself to spur yourself on.

Remember I post photos online at my mid-term checkpoints?
After posting a photo, I’d place my phone in my pouch and continue running.
And as I run, every time I feel a buzz, or hear a notification beep, I’d know that it’s a comment on one of my photos.
A word of encouragement from friends, wherever they may be.

I won’t stop to read those comments, but I am greatly thankful for them.
For knowing that I have friends spurring me on throughout my run keeps me strong, keeps me focused, both on the road, on the short & mid distance goals, and most importantly, telling me that no matter what, I cannot give up.

In the last 10km, fellow runners around me were equally tired, but we gave each other support.
A faint smile. A thumbs up. And sometimes, a few simple but powerful words of encouragement “All the way.”
And that is when, I know, I’m not alone.

Do you feel good when you receive encouragement?
Let your friends in of your mid-term goals, and tell them to cheer you on.
Find people that have the same goals and running the same race as you, and spur each other on.
Every word of encouragement goes a long way!

Lastly, it’s all in the MIND.
You may have met with obstacles in your run till now.
You will meet with more.

In the last 10km of the race, somehow, the body will signal to you that a 30km run is too much for it to take.

In that last 10km, my thighs will be numb, my feet will be sore and I’d have to pre-empt and stretch away impending cramps.

But by then, I’d be counting down by the kilometer markers.
“Go Chio, 10km more. 9km more. 8… 7… 6.. I can do it. And I will do it. And I must do it.”

The body can break in the last 10km, but it’s the mind that keeps it going.
The goal, the ultimate prize, is just right within reach, for my taking!

Nothing is impossible.
It’s not whether you can achieve it, it’s whether you WANT to achieve it.

In the next half of your race, fix on the ultimate prize, not on the obstacles.
Conquer your subconscious mind. Practice self-affirmations. Visualise your successes repeatedly.
Countdown to your 2013 Finish Line!

Dear fellow toastmasters?
What are your goals for 2013?

It it an impressive Key Performance Indicator that you’d want to achieve for once?
It it a sales target to put you at the top of your peers?
Is it to lose weight? To get your 6-pack?
To quit smoking? Drink less? To clear all of your debts?
Or simply, for once, to take control of your life?

This race, where are you now?

Let’s finish our marathons together.
Le’t re-focus on our finish line, set mid-term goals, encourage each other and let the power of our minds triumph with positivity the next few months.

So come 31 December this year, we’ll all meet and be proud to say.
This marathon, I’ve done it.

But most importantly, fellow toastmasters,
This race, where are you now?

Continue running on, because
the Pain of running is Temporary.
But Pride of completing one is FOREVER!

Leave some love below! <3

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