A month or two ago, I signed up as part of a team to run the ASICS Relay in Singapore. I like relay races because they usually mean a much shorter distance, so the ratio of fun to pain is better, and it’s more exciting and more communal an experience than just a bunch of people running from somewhere to somewhere else and back again. However, with my foot continuing to give me gyp, I haven’t been training anywhere as much as I wanted to (well, I haven’t run at all for the last two weeks) and so I was a bit worried about the run today.
The race started near the old Kallang airport, then went out along by the Nicholl Highway and then looped back on itself, bringing back unhappy memories of some of the last parts of the Sundown Marathon from earlier this year. Unlike the Sundown, it didn’t start late in the night, but at 6pm on an incredibly hot day. Before the race start, I’d been sat in the shade on some asphalt, and it still felt hot enough to cook on.
I was first person in our team (we ran 5.25k each) so I had the pleasure of lining up at the start and listening to the mandatory safety warnings (“listen to your boddeee” again and again) and then an aerobic session from Fitness First before we started (because all running races should start with some star jumps, I guess). Then the air horns went off, confetti flied everywhere, and two or three people tripped up with a thousand people behind them. It was carnage.
It carried on like that for the first hundred metres – the course had lots of tight corners, and high curbs on the sides of the road so if you tried to cut a corner or were just unlucky, down you went. People seemed to be falling like ninepins, and I was worried I’d either get taken down, or have to hurdle a prone runner and muck it up and smash my face on the road.
I survived, though.
Like every 5k, it was both shorter and longer than expected. My legs felt a bit weak but weren’t the limiting factor today – it was a combination of my brain not being fully focussed, and my lungs and heart not being tip-top super strong, and running round places I’d put so many miles in over the past few years. Boredom is a hard barrier to overcome.
Still, I made it back in under 25 minutes (that had been my target – not a particularly credible 5k time, or rather not a credible 5k time if I was in the shape I’d been in earlier this year). Somebody kindly said I didn’t look very sweaty for somebody who’d just run a race, and then I happily went home, narrowly missing getting soaked in a deluge as the hot and humid air was replaced by a thunderstorm. Back on track for the next marathon? Probably not. But it’s a start. Everything is a start or an end.