On Saturday, for the first time ever, I ran 10 kilometres.
For runners, this, I know, is just a warm-up. It’s a big deal for me because I don’t consider myself a serious runner at all. This is because:
a) Prior to this, I used to run on the treadmill for a maximum of 30 minutes per workout,
b) Only recently, I’d been hitting 7 kilometres, tops, and
c) As this was a new hobby, I’ve justified recent purchases of Stella McCartney for Adidas dri-fit tops, Sauçony shoes (these were a gift), Yankz shoe laces, and a Nike+. (Not to mention proper running socks, an iPod armband, and I’m looking at the belt which holds two bottles.) Oops, I digress. This is what happens when a shopaholic starts running.
Five insights (gosh, I hope I make it five):
1. If you can, run with a friend.
Given crazy work schedules, this can be difficult. So if you can pool a small group of people, it is a big, big bonus. Sometimes, 10 of us will turn up, and we automatically create a buzz just before we start off. There have been days when all of us in the group have felt fat and lazy, or tired and just not in the mood to run at all. But we showed up anyway.
This is the thing. At the gym I would ran alone, with Rachel Ray on the built-in TV teaching me how to cook pumpkin pie at the same time. Now, what gets me going is the thought of who I’d be hanging out with Wednesday evenings.
2. Having a pacer is heaven-sent. A pacer is patient, and kind, and positive. This is what gets you to the finish line in the race and in the Race. Someone who remains optimistic when you want to give up because your knees hurt, your feet are numb, and you haven’t hit your stride and you think you can’t go on any more.
3. If you run slowly, you’d be surprised how far you can go. Also, when you get carried away in (breathless) dialogue with your friend running alongside, it’s amazing how much nearer the end point seems.
4. Eat well after each run. Reward yourself with hearty hawker food. Yes, this is probably the one thing about living in Singapore that has been, is, and will always be, fabulous. First, the agony, then the ecstasy. We suffer the agony of de feet before we partake of the pleasures of lard-drizzled, wok-fried omelettes and prawn noodles and fish soup doused in XO.
5. STRETCH! (Don’t forget to stretch!) Or you’ll regret it the morning after.
Actually, I was alone for the most part when I ran the 10km route. [Thank you, W, for waiting at crucial junctions on the trail or I’d have run longer!] But I kept seeing my running partners in my mind, hearing the optimism in their voices egging me on, and I felt I hit my stride probably an hour into the run. At that glorious moment, I felt I could go on forever.