Sunday, December 06, 2009

Gonna fly now.

Running is something I talk about a lot, but I never get around to doing as much as I talk about it. Yep, it's one of those things, which people believe I love, but while I've confidently spoken to all my running friends about my intentions, minus the odd short (~5km) runs, I never actually got around to registering for an event till this year. Most often than not, I am plain lazy to register on time, and such events are usually oversubscribed in Singapore.

The other problem has always been that I find running extremely boring, which is not surprising given my extremely short attention span.

This year, I also finally found the gear I so needed to be able to keep at it: an iPod shuffle.
So the night before the Standard Chartered run (SCSM), while other people were busy carb-loading and hydrating, I carefully sat and planned the music I so needed to pace myself, and to help me keep going without realizing what was going on.

Speaking of hydrating, it didn't help that SCSM kept sending me scary messages the whole of yesterday asking me to hydrate. So much so that I woke up with sweaty nightmares a couple of times and found that my throat was parched..

Now comes the best part -
I decided to take a cab in the morning. The plan being, I will go as close to the starting point as possible without tiring myself out even a leettle bit. I got in and before I could say a thing the Sardarji at the wheel asked me in impeccable Singlish, "Why you going to run so late ah? I see people run from 5 o'clock, you know."

I patiently explained the strategy of staggered starts. He further went on to explain the best route to take to get closest to starting point. Trusting him completely, I proceeded to adjust my headphones in place and checking my playlist, taking carefully measured sips of water from my bottle.

Then he decided to talk:

"Where in India are you from?"
I explained my middle-east-origins, which he was expectedly clueless about.
"Close to Calcutta", I said, hoping to help.
"Worst place in the world. So dirty, so ugly. I nevaaaaaar want to go there evaaaaaaar."
I smiled.

Then it hit rockbottom.

"Doctor say, running very good. I say not very good. Three friend die you know"
"One fellow, he went New Zealand, three day he run. Then too cold something he die."
"One more fellow, last week, his heart stopped."
"One girl, she came asked me to find army gear for her. I help her buy. She run for charity. I never hear from her again."

I kept quiet. I was scared, of course. Two seconds later, he asked me if I knew anyone else who was running.

"Man or girl?"
"Girl must not run"

Ultimately, he stopped at one end of Robinson Road, and said "That's it miss, I can't go any further. You have to get down here."

Annoyed at myself for having trusted, because I knew the road was blocked, I paid him, asked him to keep the change as I didn't want coins jingling in my pocket, and landed up walking all the way to the start point, which as people in Singapore would vouch, is quite a bit. On the way, I crossed the 2 km and 3km mark for the full marathon course. Needless to say, when I finally got there, I was sweaty and thirsty, and very scared about my heart.

I also saw the early finishers of the full marathon on Anderson bridge while I was trying to navigate my way up and down the underpasses. A six-foot tall african, followed by a six foot tall chinese, followed by that cute guy from gym. Hell, the cute guy from gym runs? I didn't know that.

The run itself was uneventful. It was crowded. Like the entire world had nothing to do except get up and run on a nice Sunday morning. The point with such slow crowds is that one lands up being better off walking, because even at your fastest, you are slower than the average walker. And given my past experience with aggressive women, and men, and given the warnings meted out by helpful taxi guy, I decided to stick to my lane and run slow. I finished slower than the last time, and thankfully, am still alive.

High, and disoriented, and sweaty, I took the train back home.
Strange, I needed so many words to write about a 10k. The one who finished the full marathon, needed very few.

1 comment:

Kartik said...

Run forest run. (Don't know why, that's all I could think of!)