And so IVP draws to a close.. again. Actually I’m quite glad it’s over. I’m sure my shoes think so too. They have fought a good 4 ½ years worth of running battles on the track and on random cross country terrains. Lots of mud, blood, sweat and countless blue toes. Finally, during the 3k race yesterday, in absolute perfect timing, my dearest flying shoes chose to die on me during my 3rd lap.
It was an interesting race. For one, it poured right before the start of our race, just as we were getting all psyched up to run. Having never run a race in the rain before, it was pretty fun.. at the beginning. The ‘Splat! Splat!” sound of shoes pounding on the track became quite therapeutic. Then my shoe died. Running with one sole less is quite amusing, even during a race although I’m not sure if Madan would agree with this.
So anyway, fast-forward to the end of the race… I came in 3rd. Not my best timing, but it didn’t really matter. To Michelle who came in first, I’m super duper happy for her because it’s her last IVP and she really fought with her body to run this race. It takes sheer determination. And to Sumiko I take my hat off to her, because after running her 1500m she still did a good 3k, plus she was so chirpy and smiley while walking to the start line.
As I was hanging up my medal last night, it occurred to me that the greatest takeaway from this probably isn’t the medal. In a few years time, this medal will be relegated to a clump of metallic ‘past glories’. The biggest takeaway is the friendships forged. When you’re racing, nothing beats knowing that your friends are just there cheering and screaming their lungs out for you. And after you cross the finish line, it’s the reassuring smiles and hugs. I love cheering for others too.. feeling both excitement and fear intertwined for those competing, hopping, jumping and screaming as they run past you.
The grueling process of training brought us all together. Sometimes I wonder why I put myself through such crazy training. But then again, I think it’s worth it.
The people you meet are worth it.
From your competitors themselves that you see occasionally at random races – for me it was Sumiko and Hui Qin, there’s a lot to learn. Their attitude towards racing is always inspiring and sometimes it’s always nice to see a familiar face in some unfamiliar grounds, the smiles shared before the race and even wider grins exchanged after.
As for NUS Cross Country, it’s the best team I’ve ever had. All brought together in our crazy love for running. The people make a difference. Think Emelyn and her cute little smile, Zak in all her sweetness, Siew and her amazing ability to fly at the last 100m, this contrasted with her classic ‘auntie’ jog, CaiSang and her classic comments that crack us up all the time “I wish it will rain now so we don’t have to train! I ate too full again. HOW!!!”, Mei Hui who runs and runs because she loves it and her unmistakable voice!, Sarah who always has the energy to go for soccer and then come and train again the next day, Tricia who always goes “melmel”… Azrul my btc friend who can get quite lame at times, Pat with his stories of stars and sailing out to sea and organizing eating outings at cool places, Nic and his super loud voice and all the encouragement.. Yap Xiong who I think is like a wise owl, Ben our resident photographer taking amazing shots of people flying through the air and whining about life…. Mr Quek who comes up with the funniest comments and for being so patient with all of us. The list goes on..
Thank you everyone for all the cheers and encouragement. Thank you for all the prayers as well especially from my mummy and my 3 besties on the other side of the world. Most importantly, thank you God for everything and for running with me.
My shoes let out a sigh, a mixture of relief and content at the end of the race. I did too. Next year, I will be screaming my lungs out from the sidelines for all you NUS crossers there who will own the track!!!