I have always wanted to climb Mount Kinabalu to signify my personal accomplishment in surviving the PCL surgery. Now 5 years later, the dream still hasn’t been realised, early osteoarthritis has begun to set in, both knees have deteriorated that now I’m surviving on gel/fluid insertion into these knees every 15-18 months, and I’m obviously getting older. I’m actually in constant pain, but it is a condition I’m already accustomed to by now.
I had a chance to put my PCL knee to test recently, a consolation to my inability to make my way to the peak of Mount Kinabalu I suppose. It came in the form of a “Gung-Ho Run” held at my work place. It comprised rowing for about 500m, running for 10km and finally climbing 303 steps to the top of an 11-storey building. I was anxious to see if the knee would hold. So far I’ve only run up to 5km, and have never attempted to exceed that (the regular jogging track around the base where I work makes it convenient for me to limit myself to just 5km).
The day started very early for the Gung-Ho Run. Already at my workplace for breakfast at 0530, Subuh prayer and followed by a warming up session. Off to the boat house by 0700 and after a quick motivational talk by me (hmmmmm.......trying to motivate 90+ staff officers and trainees, including psyching myself up wasn’t as easy as I thought), we were ready to kick start with the first activity ~ rowing.
About to start
12 crew in each boat, and off we went.......... The heavily strapped pinky (link) didn’t bother me much....alhamdulillah. Energy level was high, spirit was high.....but steering technique was totally off....hahahaha.......we were zigzagging to get to the marker buoy and were lucky not to finish last.........
The first boat to arrive....not mine
Now all pumped up for the gruelling 10km run...... After putting on my jogging shoes, and a quick warm up on my own to make sure I was ready, I lined up quickly with the rest at the starting point. A blast of the horn and we were on our way. The morning was beautiful, and the sun was shining brightly to lift up our spirit. Alhamdulillah the knee felt okay initially, but I knew I just had to maintain my snail pace and not be tempted or intimidated to keep up with the faster runners. The agony of pushing through the pain barrier was the biggest challenge. My aim was to complete the run without stopping at all. Glad I have my wife and kids who drove along and waited at strategic places to cheer me on. My pride and joy who have always been there for me.........I’m such a lucky guy.
The starting of the run
Still feeling good early on
Morale booster from the kids
At the first check point I was doing relatively okay.....by my standard that isJ Still running, and maintaining my position just about the middle of the group. However, after the one hour point, the knee started to bother me but I was determined to keep running. My pace got much slower, a few runners behind me began to catch up and I was really struggling to keep moving. A PCL survivor’s quest had to continue........so I just kept on going......”layan jer” as we say it here....
No pain, no gain
The last 500m uphill....with my twins cheering me on
Fliud replenishment before taking a crack at the 303 steps up the building
The route and my time
But wait......the Gung-Ho Run was not quite over yet. I still have another 303 steps up the 11-storey building to be conquered. The pain to complete the climb was obvious......every lift of the leg up each step was a challenge, every level reached made my chest tighter and my breathing faster.......the claustrophobic confine of the stairs did not help one bit as I was deprived of the much needed oxygen............. Then, finally I could hear the clapping and cheering signifying I was only about 20 more steps from completing my dash up the final stretch. As I reached the peak......my time was read out to me: 1 hour 29 min and 35 sec. Actually, I can barely remember now how I rang the bell to signify the end of my run. But rang the bell I did, and this PCL Survivor has finally completed the Gung-Ho Run!! My family was again there to celebrate this significant milestone with me. At this point, the spectacular view from atop the building was second to the sensational feeling I had. Alhamdulillah, I have finally reached the end of this.......running all the way, conquering not only the distance but also the constant pain I felt throughout the run. Gung-Ho Run 2013 is now a history!!!!
The killer steps.....almost there
Your time ~ 1hr 29min 35sec
Are you okay sir?.....the expression says it all
The triumphant ringing of the bell!!!! Yes, it's finally over
Looking back I’m glad I did it. It encapsulates my own personal success in coping with the PCL surgery and the slow battle for recovery. My life has changed forever as a result of the PCL injury. This little feat of completing the Gung-Ho Run reaffirmed the belief that the change may not be so bad........in fact I believe being a PCL Survivor has given me a better outlook on life. As usual, God’s plan is always betterJ As I recuperate from this experience.......ice packs on both knees, a long shower, a short nap and a dip in the base swimming pool; I can’t help to feel really blessed and fortunate. Alhamdulillah atas semua kurnia Mu Ya Allah, I’m really thankful. Life is great!!!!!
They are my pillars of strength....always
Nursing the hurting PCL knee
Iced-cold towel.......such a relief
Medal for one of the Gung-Ho winners