2015 was my first full year of racing, having only started mid-2014 at the tender age of 44. It was a fully loaded year with races encompassing running, cycling, triathlons, obstacles courses and swimming. To say the least, I’ve dipped my toes in all of them, except for vertical racing.
Along the way I managed to fracture an ankle and tear a ligament; take 2nd place in swimming and first in cycling; engage in both small and large races; get up at the crack of dawn and also race at night.
I’ve taxied to Sentosa, the city, Woodlands and Mandai for races; collected multiple packs and finisher medals; and took more racing photographs than necessary.
Reflecting on this year it’s been a compilation of highs and lows, disappointments and surprises and as the year came to an end I can finally say things are looking up.
So here are the highlights:
Best Value for Money
Safari Zoo is just simply at the top. Registered as a family we enjoyed 6km through the Night Safari and Singapore Zoo, followed by a full day in the zoo and complimentary access to the River Safari.
Given that it’s $50 in taxi fares we squeezed everything out of this day. We raced, visited three zoos, played in the waterpark, collected our finisher medals and continue to enjoy and use the race pack tees and towels.
Highly recommended as a family affair.
Whilst not the desired outcome by fracturing my ankle on the last obstacle, it was by far the most entertaining race. With nine obstacles interspersed approximately every 1.5km made the Urbanathlon race experience more like a big kids playground with sufficient challenges to keep us stimulated and amused at the same time.
John and I enjoyed it so much, regardless of injury, that we have already registered for 2016.
Missing out on the Green Corridor and Twilight Ultra due to injury recovery. I’ll more than make up for it by registering in both 2016 Compressport and Green Corridor races.
The Mileage Father’s Day race in Pasir Ris. My daughter whined and complained throughout the entire 3km creating an unpleasant experience for John.
It was a learning curve. Races for Trini need to be stimulating mentally and physically to remain engaged. Hence, her love of obstacle races, night races (late bedtimes of course) and themed races like Tom & Jerry and DC Justice League.
ISCA race for kids sadly was badly organised, with a one way route that parents were not aware of until flag-off time. John had to run with Trini so that he can bring her back to where the bikes were parked. It also negated the timing chip on the bib as they did not cross the start or finish line. Thankfully the kids were completely unaware and just had fun.
As mentioned above, I did not participate in the Twilight Ultra but I sat through 8:45hrs as John’s support and crew, whilst he earned the finisher medal for the both of us.
In his own words: “we ran, we jogged, we walked and finally limped”. Given that he never trained for this, finishing 40km was quite impressive, even though in hindsight maybe a little irresponsible. However, sometimes doing crazy things open up new challenges and push the boundaries to new heights.
Training, training, training. I could stop here because we all know without appropriate training ones best cannot be achieved, but here are a few subtle lessons I’ve attained.
Some races will be shabby
No mater how well I’ve trained, sometimes unforeseen elements are not conducive to a good race day. My first swim race I had leaky goggles, my second swim race the tide was so low I had to hobble in and managed to cut my foot on exposed rocks and my third swim race the sea was so choppy I felt as if I got a beating.
Patience is a virtue
Something I have little of. As days turned into weeks and weeks into months, the healing process for my fractured ankle was excruciatingly long, demoralizing emotionally and completely frustrating.
My mental survival was largely in part to a very logical and patient husband. He indulged me incessantly each time my spirits flailed and enveloped me in compassion and understanding whenever my frustrations reared their ugly head. Ten months on my ankle is still healing but I’m definitely turning the corner.
Determination, perseverance or just sheer stubbornness
With multiple pre-registered races I willed my ankle to heal quickly. Often citing to John, “I ain’t got time for this. I got a race in two weeks / one month / next month” and so on.
So limited was my tolerance for my broken foot that six weeks after the injury, I participated in the Trifactor 500m swim. With my foot strapped, I hobbled down the beach into the water, endured leaky goggles and hobbled back out, taking second place in my category.
With each race, I just got up and did what I could. My running strides were a combination of flat foot with my left and mid-foot with my right making it a strange way of running but I couldn’t see the end in sight and I would rather participate no matter how slow than sit on a couch and turn into a lump.
Running is an art
It takes practice, experience, study and observation to continuously fine tune. It takes coordination and strength to train over long periods of time without suffering injury. It takes mental strength to keep going when the going gets tough.
Gotta love the bright and shinies. My cabinet is bursting at the seams with the collection but as I look at every single one of them, I remember the event, who was there, how I felt. Each medal tells its story and it’s a reminder of a moment in time. Perhaps in 2016, it might be nice to add some international medals to the collection.
I started 2015 with the Marina Brooks 10km run and I finished the year with the 3Ten Golf Course 10km run. I had more troughs than peaks but it has been filled with lessons, new experiences, many “Aha!!” moments and team spirit. Let’s see what 2016 has to offer.