To me, there are 3 categories of runners.
There are those who are born to run like the wind……
Example: Singapore Marathon 2007 winner, Kenyan Elijah Mbogo in a time of 2h 14 min.
Then, there are those can run really fast but never bothered to try .....
Example: Run For Funds supporter Dr Beh Swan Gin.
He completed his first marathon in a staggering 4h 5 min.
This places him in the top 8% of the runners for the marathon.
Swan Gin – I salute you. Kowtow, kowtow.
Finally, there are those who simply cannot run but insist on doing so……
My finishing time: 5h 52min.
I finished @ the 63rd percentile, ahead of turtles, men running backwards wearing flippers etc.
This is the slowest time I've clocked in the past 5 years.
Many of you sms-ed me to check how I did and more importantly, did my 5th battle to the finish line with the ah pek materialize.
Re ah pek, I did not see him.
I'm pretty sure the ah pek was already on his way home when I crossed the finish line.
For many reasons, compared to previous years, I was happiest and most relieved when I crossed the finish line this year.
Here are some of them.
1. Finished under target time of 6 hours.
My promotion to papa-dom on 9th Nov posed a huge constraint on my training schedule in the final 6 weeks before the marathon.
The lack of sleep also took a toll on my physical well-being.
I was Mr Grouchy (still am), really !
2. Comeback from injuries
Back, shoulder, thigh and calf strains were common since June 07 despite me taking adequate precautions.
The most serious one happened in end Oct, after my US trip.
Tendonitis of the left knee due to overexertion using the gym Nordic ski machine.
The ski-action was not something I was used to and it caused a severe strain.
My left knee swelled and I couldn't walk properly for several days after consulting a sports injury specialist.
Thank God, I was able to recover in 9 days to resume light training again, by which time was set back a few weeks.
3. Running blind - My heart rate monitor strap broke
Since 2002, I've used the heart rate monitor for my training runs.
This is to ensure that I do not over-exert myself during training and the actual marathon - I kia-see (scare to die) lah.
During this year's run, my heart rate monitor chest strap gave me a lot of problems.
It started slipping off at 3 km intervals in the first 21km.
I easily wasted 10 min stopping to readjust.
At the 22km mark, the strap finally snapped.
So from that point, I was running "blind".
I wasn't sure if I was running optimally based on my heart rate.
But to prevent damage to my heart (yes, I do have one), I decided to use the Roxette's rule ie. "Listen to your heart".
Each time, if I listened carefully, when my heart was saying: "Why the heck are you torturing me?", I slowed down or walked.
Hence when I finished, I wasn't tired at all.
4. The weather was scorching !!
The sun was blazing down on the slow runners like me from 8 am (2.5 hrs from the starting time).
Many less experienced runners collapsed along the way due to heat exhaustion.
Coupled with my "running blind" problem which slowed me down significantly, I had lapsed into "slow grill" mode.
I'm pretty sure people who overtook me smelled me frying in my own lard.
I also checked to ensure that people behind me didn't slip on my "oil leak".
At the 26km mark (around 8.30 am), I called home.
My wife was still sleeping in the aircon comfort of our room.
That broke my will and for the first time, I considered giving up.
Again, with the grace of God, I overcame that severe test and continued plodding along, running from shade to shade, drink station to drink station.
When I crossed the finish line, my face was sunburnt.
5. I have 1.5 nipples left
You see, abrasions are BAD news to runners.
Male runners suffer from nipple abrasions from shirts and groin abrasions from shorts.
I use "nip guards" to prevent nipple abrasions.
There is REALLY such a product.
See website: http://www.nipguards.com/
This year, due to papa duties, I didn't have time to buy them.
So I nicked several pairs of nipple concealers (NC) from my cousin who uses them when she wears bare back dresses.
Clearly, that was a bad idea ….. remember I wasn't getting enough sleep and hence clarity of thought was an issue?
The NCs don't stick well after mixing with sweat.
After 10km, I experienced excruciating pain in my nipples and saw, to my horror, to 2 streaks of blood on my running tee.
Luckily, I wore a red running tee so the streaks weren't obvious.
But I tell you, they hurt with every step.
At the 23km mark, I stopped at a public toilet for 10 minutes to use some micropore tape (for taping my feet) to tape my chest / nipples.
That held out for another 10 km but the pain came back again.
So when I crossed the finish line, I reckon I had worn off a quarter of a nipple each side.
Lucky for me, I heard nipples regenerate J
Funds Raised So Far
Having experienced the abovementioned, the real reason that kept me going was I was running to raise funds.
I'd like to thank my generous sponsors.
As I type, contributions have exceeded $9,000.
I'll be closing the books in end Dec and will be in touch re payment.
Stay tuned as I share how the monies will be used to help D'Joy Children's Centre.