October 31, 2016 by Soo Ee
Newton Challenge, 32km.
The weather was cool due to the rain the night before. This doesn’t seem like a popular race. The crowd was small. Before we were flagged off at 4.30am, we had to walk from one end of the roof to the other. We all wondered why. I wanted to go to the registration counter to exchange my 32km entry for a 21km. I didn’t see the counter until I was at the start line on the green roof. It was behind the bridge, just outside the toilet where the baggage counter was at. It was too late.
We ran from Marina Barrage to East Coast and back, without much sun. Good thing the race started at 4.30am, though I had to wake up really early to make sure I secure a parking space inside the carpark. The sun wouldn’t be out for another 2 hours and even if it did and even if I took more than 3 hours to do the race, it wouldn’t be too hot. The rain that fell the night before and the clouds in the sky kept the sun away.
It was no fun running with a running nose. Apologies to the fellow runners who had to witness me clear my blocked nose’s mucus throughout the run. I am really sorry and am thankful to all for bearing with me.
I was so stacked up on medication I didn’t realise my bib had fallen off. I wanted to just do 21 km despite not clearing with the organizers if I could (in case I collected the 21 km medal and tee and someone else didnt get his/hers cos of that) So I thought I would just not collect the medal and the finisher tee. It was a race to add to my forty races so it didn’t matter if I had the tee or medal or not. But I think I missed the U-turn back to Marina Barrage and ended up going out 12km before we u-turned. I was horrified to learn that I had to go another 15km when I reached the point where the 21km and 32km runners merge to return to Marina Barrage. I heard someone encouraging her running mates “it’s only 15km more to go!” And I told myself, yes, another 15 km but I think my body was reluctant to run on. My mind was on the verge of giving up and I wanted to stop and walk or uber myself back to where I parked the car and forget about the medal and finisher tee. I played Pokémon Go for a bit because I really needed something to distract me from all the pain and the blocked nose. The pokestops and Pokémons only managed to distract me for a while. My mind kept going back to ‘let’s stop now and walk’, or ‘let’s call for medical assistance.’ I decided to keep the phone away and continue running. Running is faster than walking and the longer I am on my feet, the more pain I would feel from the feet. “Just run, alright, just run,” I kept telling myself.
On the way back to Marina Barrage, I kept playing the ‘check in’ game with my mind and body. ‘Let’s reach the turn in front and we can take a break,’ ‘Look! Another water point! Let’s go!’ ‘After this turn, we will be closer.’ ‘You are not going to die. It is just your brain speaking.’
When we finally got back to Marina Barrage, we had to go up the green roof before we embarked on our last 5km till we get to the finish line. I uttered the word ‘crap’ before I started my ascend up the green roof. What sadistic organizers would make us run uphill at the point where our bodies were dying. Running uphill at 27 km was hell on the tired heavy legs and a severely dehydrated body. I forgot to rehydrate like how I would. I took only one pack of gel because, ya I was in a sadomachistic mood and I wanted to my body to pain, on top of being unwell.
I must really looked like I had gone through hell and back. They let me through to collect my medal and finisher tee without questioning me much, when I told them I lost my bib.
If I could turn back time, I would still want to do the 21 km instead of 32km. I guess the run really broke my mind.