Transcending Yourself (Photo Credit : Hock Chuan Ang)

Let me continue the ‘adventure’ from when I completed Tri-Factor Series Run/Swim Challenge on 31st July, Sunday.  After I had completed that race, I walked back to the East Coast Car Park D1, intending to drive to the Sports Hub (Library) and collect the race pack for following week’s Performance Series III City Race.

After walking half the distance, I realized that I had forgotten to collect my stuff from the Transit Area.  When I reached the place, there were also a few other folks who had forgotten to collect their stuff and had not returned yet to collect their stuff.  Feeling a bit sheepish still, I retraced my steps back to Car Park D1.  It was probably around 2 km walk.  I took a few pictures and one of them were of fallen leaves.  So I instagrammed, and entitled it ‘Fallen’.  I didn’t think how ominous it turned out to be.   I proceeded to take what I thought was a short cut through the trees.  So far, surprisingly, and probably high on adrenaline I didn’t feel any pain in my calf or feet (last blog, Tri-Factor swim – I had pulled my calf muscles badly).

I walked up a slight slope and then the next few moments were like a slow-motion sequence in a movie.  I saw my left shoe stepped forward, slided through the wet grass, forcing me to do a split with left foot forward (I felt silly like doing a ballerina split), down the slope and then (fastforward) I tried to break the fall, and quickly put my arms out, bending both my knees.  Immediately both knees hit the ground.  I saw an almost immediate swelling near the knee cap, and some bleeding from the abrasions.  Picked myself up.  I had pulled my calf muscles in a wrong way this time, and the pain didn’t leave me as I half limped to the car.  I washed the knees with the water from my water bottle.  I set my GPS and drove to the OCBC Arena Car Park.

And I made my way painfully to the Sports Hub Library.  Saw a familiar face amongst the volunteers and chatted briefly.  And luckily unlike the Pocari Sweat queue that I had joined about 3 weeks before, I didn’t have to queue at all this time.  A few minutes later, some folks started to drift in, but they were efficient in clearing the queue.

And so it was that I had this freak incident and had to rest and nursed my calf back to normal.  The abrasion cuts were superficial and the swelling went down the day after.  Tuesday, I tried to do a slow ‘recovery’ 4 km run at the park near my home. Wednesday, I decided to try out the track at CCK Stadium, as I understood this would be gentler on the legs, and covered 4.64 km.  Thursday, I went back for a 2.4 km run.  On Thursday, the pain had almost gone.  For that week, I also used a roller to massage the calf muscles just before I went to sleep each night.  The theme of this series was to transcend yourself.  I was getting back on the recovery track.

On Sunday morning, again I drove, down to Satay Club car park.  There, a few friendly men advised myself and another runner to drive down closer to Marina Golf Course.  As I got near the venue, I saw a turning into a makeshift car park next to a construction site.  A few runners were coming out of there, so I picked a spot and parked my car.  Then walked a short distance to the race venue. I was early for wave 2 and I saw some folks gathering at the start point.  But there was not much congestion at the baggage point nor the toilet cubicles.  Good planning by the organizers I thought, as I then made my way to the starting point.

I could hear the DJ ‘wahooing’ excitably as she saw the first wave runners coming in from a distance.  We clapped on cue as those at the back couldn’t really see the runners coming in yet.  There was a huge 45 minutes gap between the wave 1 and wave 2 start timing.  I thought this could be shortened but perhaps it was also because of the nature of the running route which resembled a U loop.  I would have loved to be in wave 1 but had been allocated wave 2.

As I ran past the big clock, I noticed it was past 46 minutes already.  I had been targeting to  hit sub 1 hour this year for 10 km race, and thought maybe I could make it this round since I thought I was feeling quite good despite the incidents earlier.  When I saw the slope up the Marina Barrage, I knew my chances were slim.  The last series, I had managed 1:07, improving over the first one.

I tried to maintain a steady pace.  In my mind, I was thinking, I may have to be prepared for the U turn, if this was going to be in the last 2 km of the route.  I shouldered on, and then near 4-5 km, there was another slight slope up, towards Marina Bay Sands, The Shoppes.

Luckily near the 8 km, there was no need to go up the Marina Barrage, but a slight slope at the link bridge.  But just before this, where you could see the waters on your left, I suddenly heard some strange squealing sounds.  I looked to the right and saw two photographers, one man and one woman who looked like tourists.  They were not the ones making the noise.  They were holding cameras but they weren’t shooting their cameras.  They looked like a bit stunned looking in one direction.  I was still running, trying to tell myself to go faster.  But my eyes followed the direction towards the ground back to my far right, a few metres back.

Lo and behold, the famous otter family was there, protesting the running legs that separated them from crossing to the side of the waters.  I wished I had my camera.  But I thought somebody would surely capture the photos.  And then I thought of my photographer friend, who had run 10 km races carrying a camera, whom I got to know from the previous series race.  In fact, I was looking out for him at the start of the wave 2.  But I couldn’t see him.  I only chatted with him through the private chats and on FB so we had not met in person yet.  Another friend whom I got to know as a result of technology and running.  If he was here, he would be taking beautiful pictures of them.   Alas, he wasn’t close by but he was taking beautiful pictures of the scenery and the running action behind as I later learnt.

The beautiful pictures you see immediately below are the results of his efforts and brilliance with the camera.  You can also find more on the Performance Series timeline (thank you, Hock Chuan ANG –

I had once again tapped on his kindness and expertise to share some of his photographs.  I believe great stuff should be shared (of course with his permission)!

And after running a few hundred metres, I was stopped in my run.  A runner had fallen or injured himself.  A few men were carrying him on an inclined stretcher and stopped us runners in our path as they crossed to the other side.  I tried to keep my rhythm but anyway, by the 8th km, I knew that my target has eluded me again, though I wasn’t wearing any watch.  I felt my pace was too slow.  Still, I tried to overtake the runner I saw in front as I reached the finishing point and then collected the Lucozade drinks, finisher-tee and medal.

Another in the performance series done, thanks once again to JustRunLah for providing the free slot, and an opportunity for me to transcend myself in the 10 km races.  And this is perhaps one of the most beautiful scenic run ever.  Also, logistics wise, I thought they were well organized – adequate hydration points, quick race pack collection, shuttle bus service arrangements, no visible jam at baggage points or toilet cubicles.  The medal also had the distance imprinted this time as well as the word SG51 years so it’s rather special this time.

My race nett time was 1:13:15, the slowest 10 km race I had ever done. (Photo Credit too to Running Shots – this time I was so slow that I did appear in the race photos.  Of course, it’s a joke, my fastest pace is that of an old man learning to run.) This was a stark reminder that recovery was not yet complete.   Still, I had been doing races every Sunday since June 26th except for one week when I had fever and DNS.  And perhaps the tri-factor run/swim and freak incident after had weakened me more than I expected.   I’ll be taking a short break from consecutive weekly races – no race next week.

Till the next race or next blog.  And I look forward to completing the Transcend Yourself series and achieve my PB.    In the meantime, I wish everyone a happy National Day weekend, run and live well.

Posted by KenJoe
August 12, 2016 08:38
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