i couldn't believe i was actually doing it. i was falling in line at the gate to board the plane... to fly out to singapore to join my FIRST ever international marathon. to say i was excited would be an understatement. i kept telling my kuya and narnian (who was the main reason why i was "duped" into joining, hehehe) that i can't believe i'm flying to singapore just to run!!! people often jest that i'm a running addict and i have always been quick to dismiss their teases, but after this, well, i guess i am officially owning the brand!
hi, i'm jamie, and i'm a running NUT!!!
in the plane, i could not help but notice the gazes i keep getting, particularly since i feel like the entire plane was full of runners and people were already sizing each other up as early as now. every passenger wearing running shoes was a suspect. every passenger wearing mizuno waves and a garmin watch was a definite give-away! come immigration with luggage in tow and you see all these serious faces emerge. kuya, narnian and i were definitely not alone. indeed, a lot from our flight were in singapore specifically for the race. i never felt so intimidated.
we were graciously greeted (with matching jumps for joy and tight-cheesy hugs) at changi airport by another running buddy, ian, the rainbow runner, who is now based in singapore. seeing him after all these months and running the marathon were the two main highlights of my entire trip.
the standard chartered singapore marathon is an annual event that has been attracting worldwide runners every year to the lion city. this year, there were around 50,000 registrants with 17,500 running the full marathon and 10,000 for the 21k. at first, i thought this was an exaggerated amount, surely there can't be THAT many people right? there really was THAT MANY PEOPLE. my kuya booked us at a very strategic hotel, just a block away from the esplanade bridge so it would be easy for us to get to the venue, and from our room, you could practically see the ENTIRE country lining up at the starting line. it was insane! i commented later that the most people i saw in a race here in manila was probably the condura run which only had around a few thousand participants. the amount of racers at this race made the condura run look pathetic. kudos for the singaporeans to keep things orderly still despite the immense numbers. runners lined up according to their expected time of finishing so that people dont scramble and push come gun start. leading the pack were the kenyans, as always :) how do i know all this? THE ENTIRE EVENT WAS ALSO BEING BROADCASTED ON LIVE TV!!!
the 21k run started an hour later, after the full marathoners. standing near the starting line, i had the weirdest cocktail of emotions, which i guess was normal. though interspersed with some dread, i was for the most part really happy. the weather was cool, the sky was clear, the energy was high as everyone was just excited to run. narnian and i bid each other good luck and awaited for the gun start. BANG!!! 10,000 runners from 40 different countries began inching forward. no pushing, i noticed, since we were wearing chips so there was no rush to start. THIS IS IT, i told myself. singapore, toured in sub 2 hours ( i hoped!) i began my run with a light jog, as i always do, taking great care not to shock my legs too much of the grueling task ahead. i can't really say i prepared that well for this race since days owing to singapore, i had been feeling rather ill. despite wanting to condition myself, i thought it was wiser to rest than to jeopardize my trip.
the first few kms i use to acclimate myself to the run. gross as it may sound, this is the only time i enjoy being drenched in sweat since the moisture keeps my clothes glued on to me like second skin. i managed to get myself new running tights a few days prior to the race and am now enjoying the full compressive support they offer (no laughing on my squeaky voice because of it!). i was trying to use narnian as my pacer since he tends to run more consistently than i, however, i quickly lost him in the sea of people. i was on my own again. i was running down the tips i had made for myself, a sort of mantra i had learned through the many runs i have joined. it's all about control more that speed. i had to be conscious not to waste my energy overtaking or accelerating. there will be opportunities for that later. a few kilometers later and the runners began to clearly get divided, the more serious runners emerged at the front, the leisure runners trailed behind. i quickly found the open spaces i like to situate myself into and with some overtaking, i managed to find my spot. this would be my space for the remaining third of the race.
the run, compared to the other 21k i have joined was pretty easy with lots of flat ground and gradual inclines. i recall cursing everytime i find myself along mckinley or bayani road when racing at the fort since the terrain there is just so hostile. here, everything was smooth. even the weather was cooperating. humidity however became a source of challenge as the day progressed. somewhere around my 17th km, i found myself practically gulping air because it felt so thick. i so wanted to do explosive breathing but felt embarrassed to do so since NO ONE seemed to be doing it (unlike here at home where ppl have screaming matches, hehehe). i had to content myself with brief coughs instead.
since the terrain was generally flat, i didn't stop as much, only doing so everytime i reach a water station. i would slow down to reach for 2 cups of water, one for me, another for my overheating shoes. i was hoping they would offer more energy drinks but that was only available at the latter parts of the course. no fruits for 21k runners as well. i guess according to international standards, we dont need it, hehehehehe.
my body had been pretty patient with me. no major complaints yet. no shortness of breath. no aching joints (yet) and no struggle to stop. that was, until i reached km 19. humidity reached the peak for the race and it was getting difficult to breath. i was slowing down as well since my feet felt like it was burning. i am now wearing anti-blister socks and though they free my feet from chaffing, they leave so much space in my shoes that my feet slip and slide inside, adding more friction. all the water (and sweat) that found themselves in my shoe helped cool it down but unfortunately added undue weight to them as well. i was also making lots of noise while running since my shoes now made loud squishing sounds with each step. people kept looking at me as if the noises i made were distracting them from their run. nakakahiya!
when i finally saw the marker for the last 2kms, i began to accelerate. by this time, we were joined by the 10km runners as well so i immediately found myself in a denser flock. whatever energy i had left, i was mentally shunting them all to my legs as i inched closer to the esplanade. i'm near the bridge, the finish is RIGHT THERE, i tried to psyche to myself. upon reaching the end of the bridge and seeing the starting point, i was greeted by the worst surprise, the bridge wasnt the finish line!!! we still had about 100 more meters to go. hahahaha, i literally though i got lost and heard my entire body scream in protest! what kind of sick joke is this?!!! where the F**K is that finish line. we made a turn at the Fullerton hotel and dashed towards the old city hall. FINALLY, someone cheered from the crowd "don't give up, one more curb and your there!" that was the on-switch for me. RUN, jamie RUN!!!!!! run like ZARA IS ON SALE!!!!!
my official time, 1hr 52mins. finishing at 283rd place among 10,000, putting me at the upper 3% of the finishers. i feel sooooo proud!!!!! :)
i hope to run again next year! hopefully a 42km. also, masmarami na sana ang contingent from manila!!! what you say narnian, misterhubs, jaybeecc?!!! ian!!!! lets lets next year!!! rainbow runners, unite!!! :)