So it was, on a random night out with friends, one of them casually mentioned about a railway race, and I thought it would be interesting to give it a try. The following day, a group of 4 runners were formed, whatsapp group created, we submitted our particulars. Viola, the race is on!
Winding the clock back almost 4 years to the year 2012, when I ran my last race before I gave up due to a knee injury. I was 38 then and had a dream to complete a Full Marathon before 40. I have done 3 Half Marathon races, a couple more 10km runs, so I thought I was on track to fulfill the dream. Never a person to run for personal glory (aka best timing), but if I can just finish a 42km run, the achievement will be something.
However, age caught up faster than I expected. My knees, especially the left knee has been giving me problems and pains for a while. To cut the long story short, after a MRI and several physio sessions, my doctor advised me to stop running totally. I can still play certain sports but running will bad for my knees, and in the worst case scenario, surgery is needed. So end of running, end of dream. So I thought.
Coming back to just last Sunday. I overcame the hurdle of my knee injury and completed my first 10km race in the last 4 years. Thanks to Benjamin, Yong Siang and John, we bashed through the Compressport Rail Corridor Run 2016.
To be honest, I was enticed by the idea of running along the Rail Corridor route. I have been to the stations at Bukit Timah and Tanjong Pagar for photo shoots, but never travel on foot along the former railway tracks. It could bring back memories of the past when we were still kids, taking the train from Singapore to Malaysia.
Among the 4 runners in the group, I am probably the only one who has not been running as much, but the irony started right from the race pack collection day. All 3 of them totally forgot to collect their race pack. Only me who is the most excited (like a child), did the collection.
The race pack is a simple one, with the usual drawstring bag and some pamphlets inside. The new thing was a pair of Compressport socks. This will be my first pair of running socks, so pro.
Since the day we signed up for the race, I have been running pretty regularly, 2-3 times per week, each run is about 4-6km. During these runs, my stamina is still okay (thanks to the gym workouts and spinning classes), but the worrying thing were the knees. Every time I ran, the pain will slowly surface when I reach the 5km mark. But amazingly, the last 2 runs 2 weeks ago, I was able to complete 5km without any pain, and break in between each run was only 1 day. I think I have cleared the psychological barrier.
Final week before the race. I was planning to keep my routine runs simple and light. Then on Tuesday, I was down with fever, flu and cough. It dragged on till Saturday night. I was even contemplating to skip the race. How can I complete the race with fever and a cough?
Well, the fact was, I recovered from the fever and flu in time for the race. But the cough is still my biggest challenge.
Super charged up just to see the thousands of runners getting ready. From the host, we knew that there were a few Kenya runners and Singapore’s own best Marathon runner, Mok Ying Ren were all present. So what he was trying to tell us was to give up on the podium places. Of course right? What a joke?
The weather was great, in fact too hot for a run. Starting at 9am was not a good plan. Organizers, please take note.
Starting point was at Bukit Timah Railway Station and the ending point was at Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. So all who brought along bags will have to deposit at the “truck” stations, where it will be transported to the ending for us.
The before flag off photo. We looked fresh and ready to go.
Starting Point. Can you see the muddy roads? That was what we are going to run on for the entire 10km race. I pity myself and my shoes, becos I will be washing it after the run.
The first 3km was the toughest. I seriously thought of quitting when I reach the half way point. The heat was merciless and adding on my constant cough, I was running with heavy breathing right from the start. But the word “discipline” popped up in my mind and I knew immediately that was the purpose of this run.
Taken nearing the 4km mark.
Slowly the hot sun relented a bit and we had some wind. Just when I thought everything will be fine now, the course started to show us its true self. Little did we know because of rain 2 days before the race date, the road will be so muddy and ponded. Needless to say, my feet were soaked with mud water for the last 3km.
Along the way, we passed by some shelters like under the bridge or roads, and this particular under bridge shelter had a very nice wall graffiti. Pardon the tired face.
After 1 hour 33 mins 11 secs, I completed my 10km run. According to my Runkeeper app, the total distance covered was 10.99km. So that means I reached my target of running 10km within 90mins!
Oh, did I mention that my knee started to give me problem on the 6km mark? Guess, I have to do more strengthening in future. On to the next run!