The thunder woke me up at 4am. After that, I couldn’t sleep, waking up intermittantly to check the time. 4.30am…still raining. 5am…still raining. When we left the house at 6.30am, we resigned ourselves to running in the rain.
At the Expo where we parked our car, people with matching yellow running gears were streaming in. The queue for the bus to take us to the start point was orderly. Changi Villlage, where the bus dropped us, was still a distance to walk to the start point. We were drenched in the rain within minutes and decided to wait at the bus stop for the 10km runners to go first. Andreas left us to join the 10km runners at the start. Mr K Shanmugam would be flagging us off this morning. (Ivan had judo competition and missed the run.)
It was cold and I was worried I’d catch a fever before my minor op on Wednesday. I wanted to just give up but Mike pointed out that we still had to go to the end point to catch the bus back to Expo. We saw many people in ponchos and wondered if they had bought them at the shop at Changi Village. Nearing our start time, we decided to move closer to the start line. Foreign workers were giving up ponchos and we gratefully grabbed one each.
The runners were a sight, draped in transparent ponchos and trying to warm up to the music that crackled in the rain. K Shanmugam cheerfully waved from the stand as he blew the horn. We started slow. Aaron complained that the poncho was hindering his movement. I lifted the bottom and tied a knot. Still, he complained and decided to remove the poncho and ran without it. He was among the handful of kids running that morning and attracted a few back pats and claps.
I don’t know if it’s because of the special energy cream sample I applied to my calves and knees that morning, or the cool weather, or perhaps the distraction from Aaron, or the scenic route – signs along the way pointed out various tourist spots like Johore Battery, Changi Prison Chapel – my run was relatively a breeze. When I asked a road marshall how long more to go, I was delighted when he replied, just one more km. I didn’t believe him. It had felt shorter, but true enough, we saw a big 5km banner and soon, the gate to Changi Prison.
Aaron had ran ahead after the drink station but I had kept him in sight, pacing steadily and marvelling how well he was running. I congratulated him on his run at the end, since this was the first time he had completed 6km without stopping and walking.
See, I told you I was the first boy in my class’ 1.6km, you didn’t believe me, he said to me, pleased at his acheivement, about 35 mins run for 6km.
Now, I do believe you, Aaron. Next, try to conquer the 10km with your brothers, OK? Remember the banner we read along the way? (I love these motivational banners!)
Theodore Roosevelt : Believe you can and you’re halfway there.