Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Most Expensive Race

In teams of 3s, the race consists of 8 different disciplines, running/walking, navigation, cycling, ascend, abseil, tyrolean traverse, rock climbing and swimming. Sounds simple enough. We had some 5 hours to do it. But the fact was that we had to run/walk in between shuttling between the places when we had no bike. The terrain could be as bad as having to walk/jog up Mt Faber.

In between, we had to make a balloon sword, trace some words, play SUDOKO, memorise pictures. Stupid SUDOKO, we wasted so much time there and gave up in the end. Guess what, I tried the same puzzle at home and solved it in 10 minutes. Feeling quite irritated with myself at the thought of it.

My handicap has to be running. I knew it and couldn't train for it when I hadn't been sick for the last 1 month with this silly tension headache, which left me unable to decide if I had toothache or headache and all I could do was to sleep.

I slept AT 130am last night, trying to figure out, which bag was better. I finally decided on the one that weighed only 700g. Whether I should bring my harness along, when my group didn't have one. I was busy getting the items ready when I suddenly realised I have finished my gauze pads. At 130am, I couldn't sleep, the activity level is too high for sleep. Morning came and I felt like I barely slept deep enough. It was 6am. I had my bowl of cereal with banana and milk.

Registration started at 7am @ Padang. We witness the teams in the different categories raced by before our turn came. The women's novice team had very nice fitting pink bibs. The open category went, karabines and figure of eights clink-klanking away. Sounds quite nice actually.

We started half an hour late. 930am, we started running, the sun was blazing. It was hot. My handicap is running right? I made it and was really elated to see the bikes. It means I don't have to run any more 2 or 3 clicks. Good riddance! We went to Harbour Front by bike and had to push the bikes across the traffic lights. The slope that met us, damn bl00dy steep lor. There was zero chance anyone could have gone up by cycling, without prior momentum. Bike pushing time.

Just when you thought the worse was over, there was another slope! More bike pushing! It was the kind of pathway you find in some nature trails, but narrow and on a slope. We dropped the bikes and made our way (supposedly to navigate, but in urban Singapore parks/hills, you don't really need a compass, do you? There were signboards everywhere, or we could just follow where the people went) to Faber Point. Another damn bl00dy steep slope lor. I could almost feel the stitch and cramp come together. Thankfully, I made it there before it came. Throughout the race, the stitch came on and off, usually when I try to run (See? I told you I'm allergic.)

We had to look for letters to trace here. Its not too bad, though I think we took a little too long. It was a good time to rest and catch your breathe, rest your muscles though.

Went back down, we had to make our way to Sentosa where we played the STUPID SUDOKO. Really wasted so much time here. It was 12pm. We eventually gave up since we were all under "stress" and proceeded to the ropes section.

Alas, queues were everywhere. To get your harnesses, to attempt the ropes ascend, abseil and traverse. We waited for over an hour. This was IMO, pretty badly handled. It was time for toilet break, picnic time and even siesta time. WL eventually decided to take a nap. I ended up attempting the STUPID SUDOKO againeven though we had supposedly given up. 133, wake up!! We finally got the harnesses and were by then almost the last few remaining groups. Its not such a bad thing as the rest of the stations needed no waiting.

Seeing the enthusiam of familar faces was in fact quite comforting. Only 2 members were required to ascend. Ascending is tiring work. So the gals did the honour leaving poor WL to anchor and he had to avoid all our powerful swings or "kicks". Well, didn't want to, but you can't always control your swings when you're dangling on the rope.? My stomach growled all the way up even though I had already eaten. Abseil was breeze.

When it came to the traverse (you zip yourself on pulleys horizontally from one side to the other), the rope had slacked quite a bit, and was set up in the morning when it was LOW tide. We got wet (= extra weight) within seconds. I didn't manage to pull myself up and didn't try to, anyway. I didn't want to overpull any muscles and risk an injury. Bee wasn't that lucky. They were trying to get her in when they told her to let go, she did and I saw her literally bending over backwards! It was very very shockingly scary because you can really break your back! I felt so much pain seeing it happen. No joke. She donated her watch and compass to Sentosa.

We went back to where we left our bikes and left Sentosa for Prince Edward (I never thought it was so hard to keep a wet butt on the bike), ran, jogged, walked, crawled to the Merlion where we had to swim. I jumped in without hesitation after WL. The cool water was certainly very inviting and very salty. I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the race. We took a look at 2 pictures (in the water) and answered 2 questions at the end of the swim before getting back to the Padang for the rock wall. It was really the easiest wall I had climbed in my entire life, considering I was soaked through with wet and slippery shoes. I nearly climbed over the top, when I heard my belayer shout, 133, 133, come back down. Opps..

AT LAST, I got a T-shirt in the size I want. I kept eating and eating. It was carbs time, literally. I couldn't stop eating even though the amount wasn't really a lot still. Plain water never tasted that good after sucking on diluted salty 100+ for the last 5 hours.


I was pleasantly shocked I could still run towards the end. I had thought I would be walking much more. Aftermath, very high. The happy kind of high. Yes, exercise does make you high. Not even alcohol succeeds. All it does is to give me a good night's sleep. After completing the race, I was in fact bouncing around instead of lying flat or stoning away. It just goes to show how I could have put in more effort and finished with a better timing right? Anyway, to race is not to win. :P The experience would be pretty memorable and would I try again? Perhaps. When the fun and the mood and the kakis strike.

It is very important never to tell yourself you'll never make it. Think it, and you will be it. Yes, we have to learn how to listen to our body, but constantly reminding yourself of your pain and weaknesses and problems is not going to help at all. Focus. Focus on what is going to help you reach where you want to be.

I never felt the muscle ache during the race. But after the race and after eating, you slowly gain your senses and realise that pain is actually there. You realised that you are aching slightly. Your muscles are FATIGUE. I guess, apart from looking like a zebra from the slight sun burn, I'll have a "good time" tomorrow loosening the kinks in my muscles. But you know, humans are strangely sadistic, we love pain. Good pain is always good.

I will still hold on strongly to my belief, that strength training is very important. The whole world can think I'm talking nonsense for all I care. No one believes me when I say your legs can bear 7 times your body weight.

Posted by LiTTle-FooT at 10:13 PM with 1 comments