Bear in mind that we are still in our thirties (dammit, not much time to call ourselves 30s already), we still have a lot of years ahead of us and as such, it is time to start pacing ourselves to ensure we have enough legs to walk to our respective graves by ourselves. Besides, I look very unglam in a walker and I can't pull off the suave gait of Johnnie Walker with his walking stick.
Anyway, the theme of our project is RunForFunds where it was originally intended to tie the marathon to us. Now that all the aging Super Friends, with Adrian being the last, are no longer gunning for the full 42km, what would be the future for RunForFunds?
Granted that we'd probably be running the shorter 21km at the next StanChart Marathon (technically still a marathon event), I can't help but feel a little bit of the spirit is lost there.
How ah? Can we have new blood and fresh legs to carrying the torch?
You'd recall 7 days before the marathon on 5th December (Sunday), I was down with fever and a badly infected throat.
Under normal circumstances, this would have been a knock-out punch for a marathon runner preparing for a race.
It would be dangerous to run even if one has a slight flu, much less an infection with fever. But with the wonders of antibiotics, adequate rest and (I believe) divine intervention, I made a full recovery 48 hours before the run.
To be honest, I wasn't feeling "top of the world" on Friday but because of my extensive training for the past 4 months, I knew I could finish the race (somehow).
But just in case my ego got the better of me and to assure my family that there would be no heroics, I consulted my family doc on Saturday who gave me an all clear.
This year's race had a new route which started at Orchard Road 19,000 runners started the 42km run at 0500h, only 15,000 completed it.
I wasn't surprised by the attrition rate.
People signed up but didn't train for it.
At 3km, I could see some folks walking and panting with hands on their hips.
I also saw couples walking hand-in-hand, sauntering down East Coast parkway at their 13km mark (and I, a slow runner, had already covered 28 km!)
These people had no intent to finish the race.
The start of my run wasn't great.
I was directed to the wrong starting pen and was caught up with the straddlers.
For the 1st 10 km, I was running more sideways than forward.
On any other day, I would have been extremely flustered.
But since it was my final marathon, I decided I should take it easy and soak in the atmosphere and enjoy the sites along the way (also took note of restaurants along Amoy Street…… a lot of Korean makan).
This year's race was exceptionally tough because for a long stretch (29-36km), runners had to go round Marina reclaimed areas, on tracks beside construction sites.
There wasn't shade in these areas and the sun was blazing down on me and yes, I got sun burnt.
Morale of runners sunk to greater depths when occasional ambulances whizzed by with casualties of heat exhaustion (probably).
Thigh cramps also set in at this stage of the race.
It was quite a struggle but I could manage the pain.
I also received a lot of encouragement from fellow runners.
Must be because of my race tag........
At the 36 km mark, I turned into the AYE, opposite Marina Bay Sands, heading towards East Coast.
I looked up and saw a steep 2 km uphill run ahead of me (new route).
I was shocked and the shock waves obviously travelled from my head to my calves.
I've never experienced such massive calf muscle seizures before.
I stood rooted to the spot, not able to lift my foot at all.
With a huge stroke of luck, a medical staff happened to walk by.
I asked for help and he sat me down and massaged my rock-solid calves for 10 minutes (For the 1st minute, he was actually punching my calves to loosen the muscles).
I rested another 10 minutes before I could lift my foot an inch off the ground.
The medic asked if I wanted the ambulance to pick me up and I declined.
I told him I wanted to finish the race.
I've come too far to give up.
Besides, I could still force a smile for the cameraman ...........
It took me close to 2 hours to shuffle my feet 6 – 12 inches at a time to complete the last 6 km.
My average speed for the last 12 km was 5.4km/hr.
Any ah pek could have overtaken me comfortably….. really !!
(This year, the ah peks win).
Slowly but surely, I shuffled my way past the finished line.
From the pic, the pain is evident ??? :)
I've always told myself when I started running marathons in 2003 that if I took more than 6 hours to complete the race, I'd give it up.
This year, perhaps a self fulfilling prophesy, my finish time was 6h 16 min and 33 secs.
Amongst the finishers, I was 55th percentile.
As the results show, it is time to call it quits.
I'm happy with my 7 finisher's medals
However, it doesn't mean I'll stop running.
I love my pork lard (with meepok) too much give up exercise.
Next year, I'm signing up for the 21km run and will be aiming for a sub-2hr timing.
Maybe you can join me next year?