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100k for 100k: On Crappy Days
24 August 2014

An entry written by Dr Tan Poh Kiang, our president, for his 100k for 100k blog on his 100km fundraising run.

Valerie once told me that there were days when she opened her eyes in the morning and immediately recognised a day when she didn’t want to get out of bed. The places that hurt when she went to sleep hurt even more after the supposed rest. Those are what she called crappy days. On such occasions, she even felt sorry for herself.

The pain that taunted Valerie was no small deal; she had metastases of breast cancer to her bones (spine and right thigh). She learned the infamous Pain Score too well. Good days were when her pain was at 6 or 7. Crappy days were 8 or 9.

Then there are occasional “GO TO HELL” days.

fullness of the crappiness, ie., the pain. She allows herself to get angry and even let out some expletives. She cries. She prays. And when the hour is up, no matter what the pain score, she asks her dad to drag her out of bed to commence her daily routine.

Valerie was made of steel. Life sucks, but she soldiered on. I totally admired her.


Yesterday, my training happened on a crappy day. The alarm exploded at 5.15 am but for unknown reasons, my mind woke up filled with resistance.

The workout was typical ie. 2.5 hours with the Cheng Running Club, breakfast and then a drop-off at MacRitchie Reservoir at 11.00 am. I then run all the way to the zoo where Joan collects me at 4.30 pm.

However, inside my head, nothing was typical, and nothing was working. I was reluctant from the word go.

Group running overcame my lethargy, but it was my solitude later that brought out the demons. I felt more pain than usual, in more parts of the body than normal. I had a litany of excuses streaming through my head. The temptation to quit was ever present. I felt sorry for myself.

And then I thought of Valerie. Or should I say the late Valerie – as she had fought the good fight and gone home to the Lord :'(

Valerie’s fierce fighting spirit transferred a new dose of resolve to me. Today’s run sucked. Embrace the suck (a phrase made famous by Chris MacCormack, 2-time Ironman Triathlon World Champion).

Support Dr Tan in 100k for 100k, and make a donation to help us hit our target! Visit the official webpage at www.hca.org.sg/100k, and join us on this journey.