Sunday, March 01, 2009

Newton Active Run 2009

After a night disturbed by the adrenaline coursing through my veins, my first thought upon waking this morning was, "Not that many people know I signed up for the 10K this morning. If I don't go, it's not that big of a deal." But knowing that I would know, I got up, spent an hour hydrating, fueling, and limbering, and set off for the MRT station.

There, I was encouraged to see other runners also waiting the 14 minutes for the train to Punggol (they don't come so frequently at 6:23 a.m.!). At each stop, a few more runners would trickle on. Making eye contact with them gave me the same feeling I get when I am in a foreign country and see another foreigner. It's that feeling of, "I don't know you, but we're in this together."

When I reached the race at Sengkang, I scanned the crowds for other foreigners. I counted maybe 40 out of the thousands there. One of them was kind enough to lend me $2 for a 100 Plus (think less drastic version of Gatorade) because I was feeling hungry again, and I had only brought my MRT card and my POSB card.

The race began at 7:30 for the open competitive runners, and 7:45 for the veteran runners, which I knew meant that at some point those people would be blowing past us, blinding us with the sweat flying off their more conditioned bodies. No matter. I was ready.

Or was I? I determined not to look at my watch for the first part of the race, nor to think about the fact that I would be running for the next hour. I spent the first five minutes thinking, "Why am I doing this?" But when I glanced at it by the 2km sign, I was surprised to find I'd been keeping just over a 5 min/km pace. I doubted I could maintain that the whole time, but decided to press on rather than slow down.

Sure enough, around the 6-7km mark, the first of the veteran runners loped past me like a gazelle, causing me to glance at my watch and see that I was still doing well. But I know from recent history that I am good for about 7 km and then I want to be doing anything else. And as I suspected, when I entered my last three kilometers I started to drag. Thankfully, at that point my strategic placement of "I'm Taking You With Me" by Relient K and "You Can't Stop the Beat" from Hairspray, as well as a few others, helped me pick up the pace.

The last block was brutal - I could see the finish line the whole time, but I could also see the giant square I had to run around to get to it. When I hit the last stretch I had hoped to give a last minute push, but found it was all I could do to just maintain what I was doing. My goal for this race was to make it under 60 minutes, which I thought would be tough since I had only trained 5 weeks and the only time I timed myself in training I ran it in 62 minutes. But to my great joy, I finished in 56:08! The only downside of this is that I told Erik and the kids it would be an hour, so they showed up 5 minutes after I finished.

But I did it. It was nice to run a shorter distance after that brutal 1/2 marathon. Of course I was quick to think, "Now, next time . . . "


Starlene said...

Way to go, Gina!!! Great retelling of something that sounds like it would be pure torture for me. Not that you made it sound like torture, I just no how much I hate running. ;-)

Gina Marie said...

It was a bit tortuous at times actually. I had bought a Dr. Pepper to celebrate, so at one point I used it for motivation, "If you walk at ALL in this race, you will give that Dr. Pepper to Erik!"

Starlene said...

Ok. Now I'm even more impressed at your discipline. I don't think I could motivate myself to even walk 1 km to get a Dr. Pepper much less run that far or even further. And I love Dr. Pepper. I finally found it for the first time in the One-North Marketplace sometime in January. Where did you find yours?

Gina Marie said...

Mustafa of course! They also have Diet Dr. Pepper, Diet A&W Root Beer and Cream Soda, and Diet 7up.

Starlene said...

I guess some day I'll have to go check out Mustafa. I still haven't been there (or even Little India) yet, if you can believe it.