A bad day in the hills of Singapore
Hills of Singapore… Do they even exist??? After yesterday’s North Face 100 run I definitely found some!
I entered the race in the two man team’s event together with work colleague Ivan Tan. We entered in the 50km team’s event which meant we ran 25km each.
In between FITNESS FIRST gym/stair training and UFIT sessions I have also been running 10 – 12km runs twice per week and generally cruise along without any difficulty, and have plenty of ‘gas in the tank’ when I finish. The 25km North Face run I just planned to cruise also. Thus, yesterday morning when my fiancé Stephanie was driving to me to the race, she asked “are you nervous?”, to which I replied “not at all, I am just going to cruise around and talk to Kenneth the whole way”. (I was planning to run alongside Kenneth who I have recently got to know and will be going to Everest next year also).
How wrong could I be!! The race started at 10:00am and it was a very hot day. Here is a brief overview of the race:
Feeling confident, loving life, and so happy to be alive, lost Kenneth early on in the race so was running solo.
Feeling frustrated with the slow pace on the single file parts of the track. Running continuously uphill and downhill. Cracking jokes with fellow competitors.
First sign something was wrong – felt strangely flat and wondered why I was feeling this rough after only 10km. Also starting to feel the heat. Stopped any attempt at making jokes. Started concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other. Started walking the occasional hill
By now I am in trouble. Started walking every hill. This last 5km was the circuit around Bukit Timah and was full of up and down sections all the way. Started wondering what I was doing this race for. (Darren my trainer had advised me against it – how I wished I followed his advice!). Popped some energy gels which taste surprisingly good.
My brain has stopped functioning. Walking all uphills and 50% of the flat also. See a rugby mate named Guy running past me, and call him Bob. See a small boy standing in the track and seriously contemplate running into him and falling over and pretending I have hurt myself so I can stop running and get carried out. Send an SOS SMS to Stephanie and tell her to come and meet me at the finish. Keep thinking how I have to be so much fitter than this for Everest – it sends me into depression. Am so hot it is difficult to resist the temptation to jump into Mac Ritchie reservoir.
On autopilot, mood alternates between anger/ self-pity/depression/ and tiny glimpses of euphoria that the finish line is coming. Kenneth passes me on the way into the finish line. The finish is uphill for about 100m and I shuffle/walk into the end in 3 hours 40 minutes. Find the nearest piece of grass to collapse into and immediately get swamped by about 100 biting ants crawling up my legs – too tired to care.
I am not 100% sure why I felt so flat during this race. It was definitely a bad day for me and beyond normal. Today (Sunday), 24 hours later, I feel fine and ready to train again. Maybe my body was still recovering from the training week beforehand? Although I had rested on the Friday before the race. Maybe my eating plan before the race was not optimum? Looking back I am glad I did it. If for nothing else, the mental battle I fought yesterday made it worthwhile. Mental strength will be a large part of Everest 2011. When it’s freezing cold/windy and I am scared, then it’s being tough ‘up-stairs’ that’s pulls you through.
After reading Ian Mullane’s blog this morning (http://www.ordinarybloke.com/?p=257) about competing in the Sahara Desert Run, I feel like a complete pussy and am now going to consume a large can of harden up juice, put 15kg in my pack and have a stair session in my condominium.
Enjoy your Sunday!