Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Singapore Marathon

Sorry this is, exactly, 10 days late. I have been doing a little globe trekking with the family, and my free time is spent doing house chores, yumchaing with my friends (all the many groups), and stealing cuddles from the boy. =) Oh and training my one and only client, Kenneth. heh.

But i'll try my best to bring the hype back!

So the much anticipated blindfolded run came! To be very honest, the 2 weeks I had in Malaysia before the race, I only did probably 2 runs and neither of them hit 10 km. To say that was me tapering would be a joke because I don't even train enough to taper off. Ask my brothers, they'll scoff.
But I wasn't aiming to nail a 4 hour marathon again. I was aiming to run 42.195 km without seeing anything and not get bored. To help me do this, I had Isaiah and Ralph, who I prayed were entertaining enough to keep me driven throughout the race.

I pulled the blindfold over my eyes exactly underneath the Start archway. Just like last year, it took us probably 5 minutes or more after the gun went off before we could cross the start line. There were some 70,000 runners that day. And in the first 10km or so I think I kicked, elbowed and literally ran into some few hundred runners. Yeah, even with Ralph and Isaiah on either side, it was quite a task trying to steer through that crowd.

I'm not gonna launch into a whole race report because all I saw was pitch black. I didn't cheat, I swear. Except for a short moment I took my blindfold off for a toilet stop.

I reckon running blindfolded isn't quite the same as a blind person running. Because someone who is blind, assuming he/she has been blind for some time, would've developed their other senses quite well. Their sense of smell, hearing, balance and just intuition would've been more profound due to their lost of vision. And that was something I haven't developed. So, running blindfolded, I reckon, felt a whole lot harder. And the first thing I had to learn was to just trust my running guides wholly. That, surprisingly, took me not too long. Perhaps because I've already decided that I was gonna have to lay all my trust onto the guys if i were going to have a comfortable race. And having said that, I just ran assuming nothing was in front of me unless otherwise stated.

And I guess the same went to Isaiah and Ralph, who are both not trained to guide the blind. So to be completely and utterly aware of every single detail of the environment was quite impossible, and what they managed to let me know was pretty amazing. When you can't see, it isn't just what's in front of you that you need to know. You need to know if the ground is even or uneven, if there's an uphill or a downhill coming right up, if we're about to do a u-turn, or just a zig-zag. And to keep your head in the game, you'd want to know what's going on around you, whether the sun's coming up, whether there are heaps of supporters around you, whether the traffic is heavy next to you, whether the atmosphere is that of hyped up runners or people slowing down to a walk, whether the immediate person in front of you is from your category or another, whether the next km marker was 100m away or 10m away. I stumbled and twisted my ankles a few times but I had already decided from the beginning that I was going to finish that race by hook or by crook. So I kept going.

For the first half I was in a pretty good set of mind. It wasn't until I realised that I will never be making the 4:30 time, and no where near the 5 hour time as well, that I started to get really frustrated. By kilometer 30 my patience was wearing thin. I was admittedly rather frustrated with the littlest things and the aches and pains in my toes and legs started to become more and more defined. I was irritable and it became a lot harder to stay smiling and remain cheerful, for my own sake.

But Isaiah kept me calm by diverting my attention to a lot of other things. And when another runner hopped onto our train and started to guide me as well, things become a little more lighthearted and less strained.

Crossing the line was the single most liberating moment of that day. I felt like I have gone through quite a journey. A whole 5 hours n 26 minutes journey.

I think that it was pretty amazing what I had experienced. I don't think I want to do it ever again, truth be told. But I urge anyone who wants to achieve something pretty awesome to try running blindfolded. Definitely not as easy as it looks. =)

1 comment:

valeriechuan said...

good work! =) haiyer first time running blindfolded ma..most importantly u finsihed the race!! and didn give up halfwayyy =)