This is in fact a joint collaboration of blog by me and Francis and the reason will become obvious as you read through. Two Saturdays ago, I had queued for 40 minutes in a very long queue running from outside of Novena Square snaking down the stairs into the mall to collect the race pack. So I was looking forward to the Pocari Sweat run in some ways…
And that Sunday, Francis and I had completed our aquathlon at OCC. I wrote about the small mishap with the bird shit falling into the plate of curry I had. In the blog, I happened to say if it was an omen of something to come. Actually, that day, when we were walking back to the car park, I suddenly found I was hindered in my steps somehow when I walked. Then I realized my slipper strap had broke. I still didn’t think too much. I went back and when I was trying to pour myself a glass of water, I fumbled uncharacteristically and broke the glass. I thought I was just too clumsy somehow. (It was only later days when I reflected and wondered why all coincidental incidents were so ‘coincidental’…)
After taking a short nap, I went about my usual stuff on weekend. So I gave my mum a call just to check if she had taken her dinner at around 5.30 pm. She didn’t answer her call. I thought she might have gone out with my other brothers. A few minutes later, a stranger called me and said that my mum had had a fall and she was bleeding profusely. Any thought it would be a scam was broken when I heard my mum’s voice. The kind stranger had called an ambulance. I said I would go down immediately, but it was still a distance, basically, from North to near Central. Anyway, to cut that long story short, my mum was admitted to SGH for observation after being in the emergency ward for close to 7 hours. I stood mostly for the 7 hours at the emergency ward waiting for her examination to complete.
With God’s blessings, there were no internal bleeding but she had fractured her facial bones near the eyes in a few places so she had very swollen eye and possible long term effect of sunken left eye. It was about 2 am before I reached home. The next morning, I drove to fetch her back home and made some arrangements, staying with her most of the day and the following day. I went for a 3.5 km run on Tuesday evening but found I was very low in energy somehow. That night, the fever started and the coughing got worse. I ignored both, thinking it was just the usual flu. I took some of my son’s medicine, after observing that his and my mum’s coughing mixture just issued were the same. Anyway, by Friday, I found that my fever was not subsiding – usually it went away when I finished a day of panadol. Temperature reached a peak of 38.8, but was usually at 38.5 degrees celcius. I decided to see the doctor on Friday.
Earlier that week, my running friend Chia had suggested I DNS for Pocari Sweat Run. I had said I didn’t know how to DNS. At the back of my mind, I was thinking that if I consumed the medicine by the doctor, I would be fine. The doc agreed that I must have picked up a virus while at the hospital. At the same time I did mention to the doc that I was planning to run a 10 km race. She was a young doc and she was wearing a mask when she replied that ‘don’t play play, the virus can attack the heart, and you can die, so don’t run’. I knew she was smiling behind her mask as she said this. I smiled back, but I was thinking if my fever is gone, I would still try. How can I DNS ? She also said if my fever didn’t subside by Monday then she would have to test my blood for dengue. Nighttime, I took temperature and it was 37.1, so I was very optimistic. (Incidentally, the cough mixture was also the same – Singapore clinics had the same supplier.)
Unfortunately or fortunately I don’t really know. I woke up on Saturday morning feeling in the worst state possible, still feeling feverish and weak. Temperature above 38 degrees. I didn’t want to let my bib go to waste. My friend Chia already proposed Francis to run on my behalf on FB. He was willing. I called him and asked if he felt ready to run because I knew he didn’t train recently for any race other than last week’s. He said he would come down and take over the bib. If there was a proper process for him to take over, I would have followed but this was last minute. I was a universal blood donor type so anyone taking mine would still be quite safe. Just as precaution, I told him to change the NOK information on the bib. My last words to him that day was ‘enjoy the race’. And so the following is Francis’ review of the race itself.
Pre-race – When Chia suggested over facebook that I take over the slot from CL aka KenJoe as he was having a nasty fever, I was pretty ready despite the fact that I’ve only been running only 5km for last few weeks. – So when CL text me on Sat morning that he is not able to run, I am more than happy to run on his behalf. Since he wasn’t feeling very well, I decided to pick it up from him at his place so that he can have ample rest. – I went for a swim on Sat morning and did some body workout in the gym that morning in anticipation of the 10km run.
Actual Race – 5.30pm: I arrived at the floating platform at 5.30pm and noticed that the 5km participants only just started to gather at the starting point. So I decided to walk around the vicinity and waited along the starting route for the 5km race to start. Took my energy gel half an hour before the race as a routine (advice by CL in fact and I think it did help). 6.00pm: As I know that Chia will be running the 5km, I was also hoping to get a snap of him starting off the block, which I did and sent it to him right after that! 6.05pm: I started to walk towards the starting area and there was a bottleneck at the entrance area where the checks are happening to ensure that only runners with tags are allowed to enter. It took me 10mins just to get into the starting lane (refer to photo on FB). 6.15pm: Fitness First Instructors lead a warm up session, however it was so squeezy that no one hardly participated other than those in front I guess. The MC also introduced the pacers and I was hoping to follow at least the 60mins pacers (orange balloons) and stay in front of the 65min pacers (Pink balloons).
6:30pm onwards: Finally the race started and as expected, the path is pretty narrow at the beginning, so the start was a bit slow but I did my best to try to run my usual pace by overtaking on the right side and sometimes running on the grass. As a side note: I didn’t run well during my Sundown 10km in May as I stopped and walked for about 1km. This is partly due to the lack of training (due to an injury) and I wasn’t feeling well that evening too! Furthermore, I did not take any energy gel for that race, thinking that the energy patch that I’ve bought will do the trick, but unfortunately it doesn’t work for me. 2km Mark: So this time, I am determined not to stop and to run my usual pace. I started well because I started about 100m from the starting block, I was really motivated when I saw the pink ballons (65mins pacer) and I managed to run past them around the 2km mark! 5km Mark: The next target was to catch the 60mins pacers and at around the 5km mark, I managed to catch a glimpse of them. However, I wasn’t able to catch with them as they were too fast for me no matter how hard I tried! So my next thought will be in trying to avoid the pink balloons(65mins pacer) and oh boy, that really motivated me to open up my legs to run harder (may not be faster though!).
It was also interesting to see a gentleman running in full business suit and he was much faster than me by miles ahead at the opposite end of the returning route! Along the way, I was really happy to enjoy the Pocari energy drink at least 4 times just along the 10km distance. In fact from all my 10km races so far, this race had the best drink frequency and I think it really helps! 7km: By the time I hit the 7km mark, I took another energy gel (as my usual routine) and that provided the boost for me to complete the rest of the distance I believe. I also saw a pair of runners (both male) running together with their hands looping together with a sting. They called themselves the bonding runners so as their shirt said, and are running for a good cause. My immediate reflection is “You will never run alone!” 9km: I was pretty tired at this time but somehow I pressed on since I’ve come this far. Furthermore, I kept telling myself that I have to be ahead of the 65mins pacers, so I should’t stop. The last lap was a tough one, esp running up the bridge before making the U turn back into the floating platform. Finish Line: I made it and yes, the pink balloons are still behind me! I made it in 1 hour and 1 min. Not my personal best, but considered the lack of training, I am pretty happy with the result. My thoughts at that time went to CL, So I decided to dedicate this run to him and posted the timing on the Facebook. I hope his will be back to his usual best and start running again! – end of review by Francis.
And I’ll end this with a final thought for this week. Running is a journey. In this journey, running can also bring you connection, to friends and to people whom you will get to know better. Francis had earned the nice medal and thank him for stepping in to help when needed. I get to know both Francis and Chia better through running. I also got re-connected to another ex-colleague when she participated in another running event that weekend. Running is also about living. Today I may need to rest… But I live to run another day, will you join the journey too ?