Running Connor’s Run

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I know that my eating disorder should not bring me as much shame as it does, but it still embarrasses me to admit that I did have a terrible binge the night before the 18.8km run. What started off as getting out of bed at 11.30pm for a ‘little snack’ morphed into a feast of a 250g pack of Medjool dates (~11 dates), four large ripe bananas and four cups worth of nutty oatmeal. All of it could have easily amounted to 2000 calories, which is close to maybe 3 quarters of a relatively active female’s day’s worth. I told only one person as it happened, and she told me only three things:

  1. To give myself permission to have a less than perfect recovery experience;
  2. That struggle and relapses are okay;
  3. And that God, as He always will be, was there to heal my heart — “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” Ps. 34:17.

With my sheets drenched in tears and a heart that refused to pardon me even an ounce of forgiveness, it was difficult falling asleep. Exhaustion eventually brought me into slumber that night, and it was the same exhaustion that I woke up with the next morning — waking up at 5.30am with the dreary memory of the binge could have been likened to a living nightmare, but waking up to venus (the last star to disappear every morning and the first star to appear every night) and a waning crescent, though, was downright spectacular.

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I didn’t think there was any worth in going for the run because of how much pain my gut still was in (the pain forced me to skip breakfast), but there was an unexplained source of strength that I somehow found, and it was that exact strength that I banked on to bring me through the next few hours as I forced myself out of bed, changed into my running gear, took the train to Sandringham, and ran 18.8km to the heart of the Yarra.

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A few months ago, I jokingly told a friend I couldn’t ever run long distances because I didn’t think I’d ever have the mental endurance to sustain a run longer than 30 minutes. (The 22km K2 race with Yi Herng was already a bit of a stretch… just ‘a bit’ haha.) Amidst the laughter, an unsettling realisation settled in my heart: I was the only person saying/ thinking that. I was the only person stopping myself from going the distance. No one else. Just me. If I were to stop saying, “I couldn’t run”, there wouldn’t be ANYONE in this world who said I couldn’t run. I stopped saying that to people and myself, signed up for an almost-half-marathon (18.8km Connor’s Run), and my self-training commenced. I cried on some days, smiled on most. Loved ones and friends fuelled me psychologically and morally, while I fuelled myself with calories. Today, beginning at the shining beachside of Sandringham and ending at the beautiful stretch by the Yarra (swipe right right right for some pictures I captured during the run 🌟), I ran 18.8km with the hope of developments in brain cancer research (check out the amazing work of the @rcdfoundation) in my heart, the sunshine of today on my face, and the shadow of yesterday behind me. I thought it was a miracle that I finished, until I realised that the real miracle was that I had the courage to stop what stopped me and start what would propel me. (You can do it too. Just stop saying You can't. Because You CAN!!) There was another miracle that transpired today: Today’s sunshine was sandwiched between two days of downpour. I quote someone who I overheard talking after the finish line, “Connor is still making special things happen from up there.” I smiled in agreement and walked off to grab myself a banana.

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It is only months later that I’m writing this, and it is only now that I realise the ‘unexplained source of strength’ that I mentioned above could have only come from one source — the very one that sustains the weary, the very one that never runs dry, relents, or fails:

God.

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