The 10th Anniversary of the Great Eastern Women’s Run on Sunday set a record with 17, 000 women participating in it.

Oh, don’t let the gold medal mislead you. All 17,000 women who participated in this all-women run in Asia got a gold medal — a tribute to the 10th edition of this run.

It was a beautiful day for the run. A total of 15 elite runners from Japan, North Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Taiwan competed for a total prize purse of USD$16,500 and SGD$6,700 in their respective elite categories. If you are keen to know the race results of the 10km and 21.1km runners, click on the link.

In honor of the run’s 10th anniversary, I will share these ten insights with you…

Lesson #1 Show Up

Confession time: the night before the run, I wistfully looked at the sky to see if there was any residue haze left! I felt anxious; like a student unprepared for the final exams the next day. I ran errands and made school runs (i.e. driving kids to and from school). I’m FREAKING OUT!!!

But when I turned up at The Float@Marina Bay and felt the energy of the 17, 000 strong women running as a body, I was happy I showed up. Things don’t look as bad as it seems.

Lesson #2 — Pace Yourself

Once I started running, I had to pace myself to endure the 10km distance. The music downloaded by the kids kept me energized. I alternate walking with running, kept my breathing even and just enjoyed the motion of running! I know I will not win. But I also know that I will not lose. This is not a rat race. I can afford to pace myself to enjoy the experience.

Lesson #3 — Have Big & Small Goals

What kept me motivated during the run were two ladies in their tutus in the picture below. They were my barometer to keep pace with. If they got too far ahead of me, I would run after them. When they begin to overtake me, I start running again.

Sometimes, my goals were that tree in the distant or the hydration station at the next kilometer. Whether they are big goals or small goals, they are necessary motivators in your life.

Lesson #4 — Take Baby Steps And Focus On Smaller Milestones

Some goals seem a little distant to achieve. The trick is to take baby steps towards it. Even though this is my not my first 10Km run, it was still daunting to think of the distance. The first few kilometers were easily passed as I followed my tutu-clad runners and had the music to motivate me.

By the fourth kilometer, I was lagging a little. I focused on arriving at my next kilometer instead of the final destination. It was easier to tell myself, “Yay! I am at the middle mark. Now let’s aim for the 6th km (then the 7th and so on).” Honey, the next time I try motivating my kids towards a grade I want them to achieve, remind me of this lesson.

Lesson #5 – Cheer Yourself On

Whenever I passed each kilometer sign, I cheered inwardly. Running made me more aware of my Inner Voice. I am so used to the default critical voice pointing out all my flaws that I was surprised by the encouraging coaching voice that cheered me on:

“It’s the last 2 kilometers. I know its hard but you can do it!”

“That was a good walk, now start running!” 

Lesson #6 — Replenish, Rehydrate, Recharge

I think I stopped at three hydration stations that day. They offered both water and/or 100 plus. I remember thinking “Thank GOD!” each time I stopped at these hydration stations to have a drink. Just a cup of 100plus was enough to re-energize me for my run ahead.

You have probably heard this sage advice before but it works wonders! Make an effort to schedule short breaks and replenish your love tank and life’s engine. What a powerful pill this small gesture can make. It will give you that much-needed boost to carry you through to the next phase of your journey.

Lesson #7 — Stay Focused 

One of the job hazards being a blogger is that you want to photograph everything. It was so tempting to stop and snap a quick selfie for your social media. But I was determined to be focused on the run, so I snapped a quick photo of other runners taking selfies on the run.

Running

Lesson #8 — Spot The Tutu

Running on your own (whether its training run or actual run) can be boring. Find some opportunities to create fun moments for yourself. When I reached the 5km mark and joined the 5km runners, I zipped in between pockets of runners to break the monotony of running in a straight line.

I “invented” a game called spot the tutu and will run towards the one I spotted. When I reached it, I will move on to my next targeted tutu. You will be surprised how far this game will take you, and how much you are NOT thinking of running while actually running. Makes sense?

Lesson #9 — It’s All In YOUR Mind

Running is as much a mental sport as it is a physical sport. Aside from the physical motion of moving your legs, there is a lot of discipline and techniques that go into running. And most of it is in the mind. I remember thinking that 10km is such an intimidating distance. But once I “conquered” it, I was able to sign up for my second 10km (this one). And now that I have accomplished this run, I am aiming to improve my time.

Great Eastern Women's Run

Photo Credit: Christy from Kids R Simple.

Lesson # 10 — Keep Running

What can I say… Plan for your next running challenge and apply the above nine insights. Check out this calendar of running events from now to 2016.

Tell us what keeps you running in the comments below and connect with us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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