The conversation in my mind during a race

Shape Run 2009 at Raffles Boulevard.

Shape Run 09

Reporting the carnage in my mind…

Before the race started:

7:00 AM      Why are there still so many participants milling about all over the world? We’re supposed to gather at the start point by 6:45 am. Some people are still having coffee in Starbucks.

7:01 AM      Queuing up at 5 km waiting point, near the front. So many girls in pink. But I don’t see 8,000 people.

7:10 AM      Hahaha. Someone is wearing Standard Chartered Marathon tee from last year.

7:15 AM      I need to pee.

7:16 AM      I already peed three times in the last 30 minutes! Stupid bladder.

7:17 AM      That giant bowl of milk (with cereal) and that glass of water were taken at 5 am. Why does my body produce so much water by itself? I hate hate hate my bladder.

7:20 AM      STOMACH ACHE!!! DAMN YOU CEREAL. DAMN YOU WATER.

7:30 AM      Can they start already???!!! DJ talk so much in front but it’s all muffled. Can’t hear a thing. 10 km participants pushing through every 10 seconds to get to the front. Irritating.

7:35 AM      Zzz… Need to pee. Need to toilet. I hate Shape Run. I hate latecomers. I hate Singapore events for never starting on time.

7:40 AM      Finally 10km flag off! Relief! Why is everyone clapping? Flag off also must clap? Never mind just clap cos it’s kinda cool.

7:45 AM      5 km people allowed to run up to official starting line to queue up and wait some more. Some 10 km people have just arrived and are hurriedly joining the race. Siao lah, so late.

7:50 AM      DJ, stop talking so much, flag us off already before my bladder explodes.

7:55 AM      FINALLY. I DON’T BELIEVE THEY ARE LETTING US START.

Shape Run 09
Photo taken after run.

During the race:

00 MINS      The feeling of starting a run is amazing. The feeling of starting an organised run, everyone wearing the same top, having the same mind and purpose, is actually quite awesome. IN LOVE!

01 MIN      FEELS GREAT RUNNING ON AN EMPTY ROAD IN THE EARLY MORNING!

01 MIN      Okay okay don’t get carried away. Slow down, don’t get burnt out.

02 MINS      Die. Feel tired already. See lah, so kan cheong for what. Sloooooooooooow doooooooown. Negative split. Catch up later.

03 MINS      Damn I am so out of shape.

04 MINS      Bladder full, check. Desperately need bowel evacuation, check. Period started today, check. Haven’t run in a month, check.

05 MINS      Stop being negative! Just run your best. You’re not competing. Don’t need to break any records. Just finish the race.

06 MINS      Aaaarrghh people overtaking me. And I am already FREAKING TIRED AND WHEEZING.

07 MINS      Shhh, shhh… don’t care them. You’re not competing. You’re not breaking records. Just finish the race. Try and achieve your average training timing (33 minutes). Okay okay, give you +5 minutes since you’re not feeling well and you haven’t trained in a while.

08 MINS      What did I get myself into again? Why do I always torture myself like that? I hate running. I don’t ever want to join a race again!

09 MINS      I feel like I’ve run 5 km already. But I’m sure if I asked someone now, they’d say it’s only 1 km. I hate running. But I know that after I finish, I will love running again. WHAT THE FFFFFFFFFFFFF IS WRONG WITH ME?

09 MINS      I’m glad I’m only running 5 km. I WILL NEVER EVER RUN MORE THAN 5 km for races!!!!

10 MINS      Mind over matter, com’on. Remember how you’re always so confident that you can endure physical challenges and exceed your limits? Remember you believe how it’s possible to ignore all pain and discomfort and just focus on the objective?

11 MINS      Shuddup. I only believe all that when my body is at rest and my heart is not trying to jump out of my chest.

12 MINS      Remember… after a run, you always regret not pushing yourself harder while you’re at it?

13 MINS      Shuddup. I’m a nincompoop. I wish I’d studied the map more carefully. I don’t even know how far I’ve come and how far more to go. How to negative split like that?

14 MINS      It’s only a 30-minute race, don’t be a ninny. Just burst through it and then you can rest and pee and shit. There is plenty of time to run leisurely at your happy snail’s pace at other times. When it’s not a race.

15 MINS      I’m not even racing lah! I just want to finish at a decent timing. So why get so stressed out? Just run lor.

15 MINS      No no no… cannot slack. It’s an achievement thing. It’s a pride thing. Must at least maintain personal record.

16 MINS      This looks like a halfway mark since we’re making a big U-Turn. TIME TO PICK UP PACE!

16 MINS      WTF? Only halfway? I’m done already! I dowan to run already. People are overtaking me!! *cry*

17 MINS      Pick up the pace pick up the pace, if not you’ll go slower and slower and you will finish at 50 minutes and then you will regret it for the rest of your life! See see, so many people stop and walk. Your turn to overtake!!

18 MINS      Okay visualise a horse galloping. My legs are horse legs.

19 MINS      I think I feel a little stronger. I don’t feel my heart trying to jump out of my skin. I don’t feel my puny human legs crying for mercy. I’m all horse legs! I am a horse galloping with ease!

19 MINS      But I still can’t make myself go faster. Why?

20 MINS      Fuck the horse legs. My lungs are bursting.

21 MINS      WHERE IS THE DAMN FINISHING LINE!

22 MINS      Dammit, I really can’t pick up the pace. It’s all I can do to continue putting one foot in front of another. Negative split my ass.

23 MINS      MIND OVER MATTER!!!! Just suffer a few more minutes and then it’ll be done and you’ll be proud of yourself! COME ON! FASTER QUICK!! GOOOOO!!!!

24 MINS      Shuddup! You’re not the one who feels like you’re going to spontaneously combust. Weakly. Cos there is no more energy left to make a big bang.

25 MINS      I CAN SEE THE STARTING LINE! IS THAT THE FINISHING LINE ALSO?? DAMN WHY DIDN’T I MEMORISE THE ROUTE MAP?!?!??! Faster faster go gogo go legs go faster!

26 MINS      Dammit, legs. Why aren’t you going faster? We are finishing!!! Grrrr!

27 MINS      WHY IS THE FINISHING LINE NOT AT THE STARTING LINE?!?! KENA CHEATED WAH LAU!!! ARRRGGGGH. COM’ON IT MUST BE NEAR. JUST DO A BURST NOW AND IT”LL ALL BE OVER!

27 MINS      NOOOO…! CANNOT BURST! THERE IS NO MORE BURST LEFT IN ME. I HAVE NO MORE BREATH NO MORE STRENGTH NO MORE NOTHING. I AM DYING.

28 MINS      OMG IS THAT THE FINISHING LINE? So many people crowding at the sides here, taking photos. OMG OMG QUICK go faster don’t malu.

28 MINS      NO MORE STRENGTH LAH CANNOT. Can lah can can can go go go! CANNOT LAH. Can! Just one last burst! Only 50 metres DUH!! Come ON!

28 MINS      I see the finishing line! I see the clock! Hooray! OMG I am finishing under 30 minutes? It’s a miracle! Quick! Gogogogo before the clock reaches 30 minutes!

28 MINS      Arrrrrgh dying dying dying dying dying.

29 MINS      YESSSSSSS! I DID IT!!!!! WHEEEOOOOOT! SEE I TOLD YOU YOU WON’T DIE!

29 MINS      SHUDDUP, I FEEL LIKE DYING NOW.

29 MINS      Eh, why they wait 10 seconds to beep my timing chip? Cheat me 10 seconds!

Finisher bracelet:

Shape Run 09 finisher bracelet

Awww… isn’t that sweet and heartwarming?

I love running (again).

I am really pleased with my timing because I broke my record from two months ago.

I pushed past the line at around 29:05 today. I think my best timing two months ago was about 31 minutes. I had totally expected to clock 40 minutes today, due to all the unfortunate circumstances.

I guess this is why people continue with endurance sports, even though they hate it and they hate themselves during the moments when the going gets tough. Because finishing is fun.

And organised races are cool. We get tons of junk to take home.

Shape Run 09 runner's kit

I remember hating myself all the way through the race. I remember the pain and the torment. But I think I will forget again by the time the next race sign-up rolls around.

Like a drunken zombie trying to do a marathon

In the same week that I started my gym training, I also signed up for Shape Run 2009.

To prepare for it, my personal trainer suggested that I go for a run on my own, once a week, in-between my sessions with him.

Sheylara at the gym
Eric Goh, my trainer.

For my first run, Eric said I should do at least 45 minutes. It sounded reasonable to me at that time.

First Run — Saturday, 6:30pm

Sheylara

It had been almost two years since I ran, so I started off with a slow jog. I believed 45 minutes wouldn’t be a problem with that pace.

Five minutes into the jog, I was ready to drop dead.

I felt really fatigued. And hungry. I was at East Coast Park. The fragrance of meat being barbequed by weekend revellers taunted me left and right as I plodded along unsteadily like a drunken zombie trying to do a marathon.

The task I had set out for myself began to feel impossible, but I knew that endurance training is really about mind over matter. If your mind says you can do it, your body will do it. Simple!

Sheylara

So my mind constantly gave my body pep talks.

It said, “You can do it. You can do it. Do it. Do it. Do it.”

It told my legs, “Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right.”

It told my abs, “Sexy abs. Sexy abs. Sexy abs.”

Sheylara

Every so often, my body would plead, “Can we stop?”

The answer would come back screaming, “SEXY ABS!”

Twenty minutes later, while my mind was still going “you can do it you can do it sexy abs” like a broken record, my legs suddenly stopped jogging and started walking.

My mind was, like, “What the…?! I didn’t tell you to stop!!”

My body gave it the proverbial finger and said, “Nyah!”

Sheylara

Over the next 10 minutes, I start-stopped several times as both mind and body sought to wrest control.

Eventually, I gave up and went home. I was starting to break out in cold sweat. By the time I reached home, I was so dizzy and exhausted that I had to lie down on the floor. I couldn’t move for 10 minutes. I just lay there and breathed heavily.

Later, when I recounted my experience to Eric, he laughed and laughed.

Funny meh??

Sheylara

He said it was so funny. And he just wouldn’t stop laughing.

Great. I’ve gotten myself hooked up with a crazy sadist of a trainer.

Sheylara at the gym