SINGAPORE - Ms Goh J-Ing's love affair with marathons started when she chanced upon an advertisement for the Army Half Marathon and signed up for the 10km run "just to experience what it was like to run in a race".
She was 17 and had been on her school track team since she was 14, so she was no stranger to running.
"I (then) signed myself up for countless races simply because I enjoyed the atmosphere of such events, and through every race of mixed distances, I would discover my strengths and weaknesses," she said.
As Ms Goh's skills and confidence grew, she took on tougher endurance races, such as the Metasprint Triathlon, Nike We Run SG and Sundown Ultra-Marathon.
Come July 20, the 21-year-old will be taking part in the KM Duathlon. The KM in the name stands for kilometres, to show that it is the longest duathlon in Singapore.
The inaugural event, organised by design house Infinitus Productions, consists of running and cycling over two distances - KM60 is a 10km run, then a 40km cycle, followed by another 10km run while the KM30 is a shorter distance of 5km-20km-5km.
Ms Goh is partnering her boyfriend, a national serviceman, in the relay or two-person category. To prepare for the event, they have been pushing each other through four running sessions a week.
On days when they are not running, they swim or go to the gym, she said. Having just graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic with a diploma in business studies, Ms Goh will be pursuing a degree in sports science in Australia next year.
Till then, she is working as a rugby coach and racing for a cause. She has put her running skills to good use by signing up as a charity athlete for the Singapore Cancer Society and the Handcycling Association of Singapore.
Her father heads a business unit while her mother works as a general manager. She has a 17-year-old sister. She stands 169cm tall and weighs 54kg.
What do you do to keep fit?
I usually run between 7km and 12km four times a week. However, as I am now training for the KM Duathlon, I am doing longer distances of 10km to 15km, four days a week. I also cycle as well as run during the weekend.
On Saturdays, I spend the afternoon training and bonding with the youth team from the Handcycling Association of Singapore. It is a chance for me to unwind with a leisurely jog.
I also try to include three gym sessions a week, where I do a lot of core workouts and squats.
What is your secret to looking so fabulous?
Discipline. The discipline to make time for training and the discipline to make healthier food choices.
Eating healthy isn't about restricting your calories but feeding your body the nutrition it needs.
Has there ever been a time when you were not fit and fab?
I have always been sporty. But back in secondary school, I was a heavy kid, weighing 62kg at my heaviest. I felt self-conscious and unhealthy.
What did you do about it?
I knew that I did not want to continue feeling that way, so I signed up for the track team when I was in Secondary 2. I then learnt to take good care of myself, eat right and enjoy the sport.
I've always admired the discipline shown by the seniors on the team towards training. The first training session was very tough for me but I discovered that I was strong enough not to give up. After that session, I was even more motivated to go back for more.
What is your diet like?
I don't believe in counting calories or going on a restrictive diet.
Instead, I believe in nourishing my body. It's much better to eat healthy than to diet. I love to see my plate filled with greens and lean meat.
I do crave sinful food but I indulge in moderation. And I try to avoid processed food.
When I am preparing for a race, I can really eat a lot. I prefer homecooked meals during this period.
On race day itself, I like to go for comfort food like chocolates and soft drinks, which do wonders for me. What are your indulgences?
Carrot cake and chocolate brownies topped with chocolate ice cream.
How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?
After a busy week, I may go fishing, which I find therapeutic.
I maintain a healthy work-life balance by giving myself breaks from training.
It is very important to give your body ample time to rest and recover.
On those days, I will spend my evenings with my grandparents or go for a meal of roti prata with my friends. What are the three most important things in your life?
My family, my health and having opportunities to race for a cause.
Would you go for plastic surgery?
No, plastic surgery is a no-go for me. It's not that I am against it. Some people believe that plastic surgery will make them look prettier, but I think that in doing so, you risk losing your individuality.
I value contentment and don't want to change the way I look.
Do you think you're sexy?
I'm definitely not the sexy type who will turn heads. I am more of the "tough cookie" type of sexy.
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