BANKER KEEPS HIS EYE
CIMB Group CEO relates lessons learnt from the ‘most humbling’ race
WHEN he crossed that finish line in Boylston Street after a gruelling five hours and 42 minutes, three days ago, Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Aziz Tengku Abdul Aziz took away with him lessons learnt from the “killer” Boston Marathon.
He drew from that experience the many parallels between training for the kind of challenge he was determined to overcome and achieving a professional goal.
The CIMB Group Holdings Bhd group chief executive officer said he should have been better prepared for the race.
The bank was, on the other hand, much better prepared last year when it was not thrown off course by unexpected surprises like Brexit, Trump’s presidential win and volatility in various markets “...because we did all the necessary recalibration that we needed to do in 2015, and our solid financial results for 2016 spoke well of the group’s preparedness in facing unexpected headwinds”.
Speaking at length on the matter, Tengku Zafrul said it was three days ago, in his attempt to nail the six Abbot World Marathon Majors (listed in his “bucket list”), that he completed the Boston Marathon 2017, his fourth after Tokyo, London and Berlin.
“I’ve always managed to record a personal best time at every marathon. I knew Boston would be a tough one, but I thought I would, at the very least, do better than Tokyo, my first marathon.
“As I was waiting for my flight home, very much nursing my sore limbs (and a slightly bruised ego), I reflected on the lessons learnt from my own experience of the ‘killer’ Boston Marathon, and the many parallels between training for one and achieving a professional goal,” he said, adding that his timing, which was worse than his Tokyo’s five hours and 11 minutes, was not just because of the hilly course, but also the heat, which threw him off course.
He made a mental note that there was no such thing as being over-prepared for a challenge.
He recalled how his first 22km were a breeze. He stuck to the plan, kept to his target heart rate and paced himself.
It was between kilometres 23 and 31 that he began to feel more tired than usual, which surprised the banker.
“The hills were killing my legs and the heat didn’t help.
“The first stab of pain hit my left calf as I passed the 32km mark. I knew if I pushed harder, the pain would be worse, so I started to jog .
“As I reached the 33rd kilometre, my left leg started cramping up, so I stopped to stretch a bit before continuing to walk while hydrating and gel-feeding myself.
“I realised then how poorly prepared I was for the Boston Marathon.
“Truth be told, I just could not find enough training time to run two to three times on weekdays to accumulate a total of 30km, and run 20 to 25km on weekends. It didn’t help that I was injured and took three weeks to recover several weeks prior. I could only train again about four weeks before the Boston Marathon,” he said in a personally penned note that was published on www.nst.com.my yesterday.
Accepting the fact that he should have been better prepared, the words world keirin champion Azizulhasni Awang sent to him were a consolation, although they, he said, were interspersed