Track and Field, 2015

I ate something that disagreed with me in no uncertain terms yesterday; I have that to blame for feeling terrible yesterday, and then all sorts of upsetting and embarrassing behaviour when I made it out of bed at noon today. But you don’t want to read about all that crap. I was upset the haze had cleared as it meant my chance to avoid the races I’d so clearly failed to train for had evaporated, and I was going to have to do them.

The race organisers were very strict. I was told off for not having my shirt tucked into my shorts, and for not sticking a number label on my shorts at exactly the right place on my hip. It seems the sort of person who volunteers is also the kind of person who really, really wants everything to be done properly. Oh, and I was almost told off for not using safety pins to fix the number labels to my shorts (which felt a bit redundant when the label was made from super sticky stuff.

On the other hand, nobody got struck by a javelin so you can’t really complain.

I realise the last time I ran the 1500 would have been at a school sports day, and I don’t think we participated in those during the Sixth Form, so that would have been in 1993. That time, I sprinted the first hundred metres, and then blew up. I ran the rest so slow that I think everyone got confused and I ran one less lap than necessary. Efficient, right?

This time I did the whole thing. I started off feeling the pace was pretty easy, until we got to the end of the first straight. (I’ve not been stupid enough to run in daylight in Singapore since 2012, so a 3pm run was also pretty horrendous.) People kept overtaking me for a time, until he penultimate lap, where my position seemed secure. Then one of the Sri Lankans went past me. On the closing lap, final straight I gunned it and went past him again, crossing the line in 5:49, and inwardly rejoicing that my guts hadn’t betrayed me while I was on track.

I left to go to a children’s party where I could hardly speak, only realising then how jiggered I was, and then two hours later I had to be back for the 4×400 relay. This did not endear me to La Serpiente, as we got home, and then instead of me accompanying her in, I sped off in the taxi again.

I arrived just in time at the stadium to check in for the race. Except we found out we couldn’t race, because there was a special relay race form nobody had known about. Argument followed argument, until I produced a receipt showing I’d paid $20 today for races (ten for the 1500 and ten for the 4×400) and, confronted by more paperwork, they gave in. Although I’ve got a funny feeling somebody else has already paid my race entry, and so Singapore Athletics has $20 than they need.

We lined up for the race. We were told we were lined up incorrectly. We lined up again. They sent us to the other end of the track, then called us back. Then they told off the Indian over-70s team for nothing I could understand. And then we raced. I was first out and did about a 1:10 lap; nothing great but faster than I’d expected. (Our final lap was 13 seconds faster) and then stops by the side of the track, wheezing, until we were all done. We came third in our heat but by some complexity of the age order I think we placed fourth overall – pretty good without any training or spiked shoes, I think.

I went home; the kids were asleep. We watched tv to numb our brains, then shut the windows at 11:30 when the wind changed and the smog blew back in. Dirty days ahead, but at least today was clean.

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