Time for a double post special by Jackie! My title was inspired by Pat’s post, like how Newton saw an apple which led to his formulation of his three Laws (not implying that my post is equally brilliant). Also, it refers to my consumption of three apples post race. Uek.
10/10/10 seems to be a special day for runners because not only was there the Mizuno Wave Run that day (congrats Patpatpat for winning it), there was another race called the Newton 30km/18km at the East Coast Park (ECP) as well! Unsurprisingly, I mentioned this because yours truly managed to sign up for the 18km race.
My day started early. I usually don’t sleep the day before and then sleep really early so that I can wake up at 2am to avoid oversleeping for the race. I have the hugest fear of being late to the race. My pre race ritual was my favorite bottle of tea with my Fong Seng meal at 3am. After that, I twiddled my thumbs and played my PSP until 5am, where I took a cab to ECP. Tip: Always look for people to share cab with. Your wallet will feel less pain.
A gentle drizzle greeted me as I walked towards the starting area on the western side of ECP, near the Big Splash. The air was cool, the wind was gentle…I had a good feeling about this. Out of habit, I walked around to size up the competition. Okay fine you caught me I was checking the girls out as well. My long hair met many stares, often accompanied by chuckles. I guess I don’t look the usual runner, with close cropped hair and tights and all. On a side note, if you wanna look really pro you might want to consider an investment in a pair of tights, a pair of shades and a haircut. You look infinitely more intimidating.
The 30km people started earlier, at 7am. An observation: this isn’t exactly the best time to start for them because it was so close to full sunrise. Even if you took 3 hours to run, you would have to bear the full brunt of the sun from 9am onwards. I was amused because there were long lines of people queuing up for the Portapotty nearby. Suffice to say, a significant number ended up starting late. After watching a long stream of runners, my category started 15 minutes later without much aplomb, other than the sight of late runners who missed the starting call.
I started with a nice comfortable pace and it wasn’t too bad. After a long hiatus from racing, the Newton 18km was a test run for my high mileage training. It was a pleasant surprise to find that my body could keep up with the speed that I initially started with. The first half of my race was rather fun and challenging because I had to weave in and out between the 30km runners, who helped me maintain my pace and probably gave me an incentive to speed up. An even more pleasant surprise was suddenly seeing Benedict with his signature camera at the 3km mark (we’re psychically connected that way). The choice of route, I’ve to say, was not too exciting because the poor 30km and 18km runners had to do a 10km loop THRICE and TWICE respectively. In addition to that, some parts of the route were rather narrow. Focusing on the race is challenging when you’re trying to avoid front-to-back collisions.
The second half of the 18km wasn’t so bad because the crowd began to thin out and I was starting to catch up with relatively faster 30km runners who started out earlier. Coupled with my creeping fatigue and pain in my soles, I held on and continued running. At this point, I’d like to share a little trick that I use during such races to relieve my pain. I’ll look at runners running in the opposite direction and mentally cheer them on. It keeps you occupied and you get to spot chicks from time to time.
I was leading for the first 15km with a comfortable pace. Unfortunately, as I turned around a blind corner I suddenly collided into a man who was walking in the opposite direction. It knocked the wind out of me and I lost a lot of momentum. It took quite a while for me to recover and by then I was overtaken. OH WOE IS ME! ): I struggled to catch up but by then pain started setting in and my muscles began to stiffen up. It looked like my training hasn’t prepared me for this sort of situation. Even so, I gritted my teeth and continued on, feeling the need to maintain my manliness and my Cross pride (I was wearing the Cross vest so I can’t embarrass you guys). I finished second looking like this.
I finished second with a PB – it’s my first 18km race – and it wasn’t so bad. Mok won the 30km race and I saw some familiar faces (HAI JAYANTA, MOK, ERIC, ROY, BEN AND OTHERS!!!). Eric had the smell of a manly worker. A woman was checking him out intensely. Here’s the proof.
Stepping up on the podium, I winced as my aches started to set in. The free massage and lotion rub provided by the organizers really helped though (I love those services). All in all, it was a good race. It could have been better, but nonetheless it’s a good sign. I guess I’ve to train harder from now on. Let’s train harder guys! (: I hope Pat and my race posts will inspire you guys to go out there and push yourselves (appropriately) for whatever races that you’re going for.
Jackie Tan Yen, Newton 18km Challenge 2010 Second Finisher
P.S. Believe it or not, 18km is the longest race I have successfully competed in so far. My 21km doesn’t count because I didn’t finish properly last year.