Sunday, February 19, 2006

Accomplished & Satisfied

12MN - Went to bed. Occurs to me again tt something untoward might happen during the race. I pray for protection and good weather. Woke up in middle of night to numb arm - was sleeping on it. Oh, go to sleep, Ed, at least you didn't wet your bed. HMPH.

6.50am - Alarm went off, laid in bed for 1min psyching myself. Gotta get up. Gotta get up. Ok now, get up. Now. Er, now! Dad's already up, asks me if I want boiled egg. I groggily wave no as I shuffle towards the toilet.

7.20am - Breakfast of half an apple (leftover), 2 small banana's, 2 slices of bread and 1 cup of milk tea. Tummy still feels slightly off. Mom nagging dad about something.

7.52am - Hitching lift from parents who are rushing to church. Dad chiding mom for taking too long to change.

8.30am - Reach HarbourFront MRT, notice other guys who are obviously heading for the same race.

9.05am - Alighting, we realize earlier race waves have already started when I see people running out of Tanjong Beach with the trademark athlete number drawn on arm.

9.10am - I'm here! Where's the blasted registration booth?? Wander around booths till I'm greeted by (18yo?) girl with sweet voice who helps me put on my security number tag and directs me to do my body-marking where 2 girls pull out huge permanent markers. Barely 10seconds in, girl-on-left giggles as she realizes she's written the wrong number - again, she says. I blurt, "Er, make tt into a dragon and just write the correct number below."

9.40am - Changed & stretched. Now sitting on beach amidst other participants, all waiting for respective waves. Horn blares loudly. I observe the participants dashing into the water. Hear people talking about a delay, a quick check with the timers sitting under an umbrella reveals a 20min delay. HMPH. Sun's too hot, shucks, forgot sunblock. Notice others cheering friends on. Nope, not feeling lonely, just alone. Horn practically farts briefly to start next women-only wave - either organizers are cost-cutting or the guy sounding horn is sexist.

10.05am Preceding wave's off, time for warm-up! Enter cold, murky water to put on yellow swimcap and did a short lap, confirming tt one can't see beyond 1m. An old fellow with white hair briefs us at the starting line, "If you see someone next to you in trouble, please don't hesitate to help him." Standing in 3rd row, I'm anxious to start. Looking around me, I spot swimming trunks of different brands, the occasional tattoo, and an ang moh in a swimsuit.

10.10am - Horn sounds weakly again but we're no less eager, racing into the water. Spend first 30m avoiding adjacent swimmers, next 100m finding my rhythm.

Reaching the turning point, I'm surprised I find strength to dash up the beach. I quickly glance to see literally a sea of bobbing yellow heads. Back into the water. Swimmers more spread out now. Realize I have trouble swimming straight. Last 200m feels like forever.

Back on solid ground, zip into transition area to change. 1min later, am pounding asphalt at a hard pace. They didn't call it the Sprint category for nothing and I find myself overtaking others before me, though slowing down occasionally before spurting faster again. 1km in and I'm already wishing for the end-point. Man, where is it??

Finally, I spy the finishing line ahead and begin speeding up to it. Crossing it, I read a timing of 1h51m - can't be mine though. Peeling off the champion chip off my ankle, I struggle to catch my breath. But alive, I feel.

After cooling down, I do a time check: 11.10am. Send off an sms of assurance to dad: "Safe and sound, a race well-run." His reply: "Ok thanks, praise God."

Glad I finally did it. Up next, Singapore Biathlon! Woohoo!


Chee Chiu said...

congrats :)

Lemming said...

I think the guy sounding horn was just horny!