5:06. A long-awaited PB. An even longer road back to fitness.
It was expected that I would smash by existing PB of 5:15 from my schoolgirl days. The only question was by how much.
I had a running bet with Nicole Low that if I went faster than her PB of 5:09, she’d have to revisit the 1500m so her dreams of outkicking me can be a little more real. (That ain’t ever happening 😉)
I set my watch for 20s/100m to get as close to 5mins as possible. It was probably out of reach at this point in training – I’d only started a structured program in January – but why not? Although I probably should have set my watch to vibrate as well because the white noise of the Sports Hub crowd meant I couldn’t hear the beeping. I had to glance down once in a while to make sure I was on pace.
I was half afraid that there would be a massive delay like the previous day because of several technical errors (water pit being filled when the race was supposed to start, steeples were slanted/not at the correct height, cones not laid out just as the race was about to start), but thankfully all went relatively smoothly. Though I spent at least 10 mins figuring out how to get back to the spectator stands after picking up my bags because the only entrance is upstairs??
As we were ushered from the tunnel to the track, the B Girls 1500m race was into the final lap. The roar of the crowd was unbelievable. I’m blaming this on sensory overload: my heart rate suddenly shot up, I was upset to the point that I was tearing, my hands went numb. So this is the power of home crowd support. Ironically, I wished that they wouldn’t be that loud during my race so I could focus on my own thing. (They weren’t, thankfully.)
Pro tip: smile, deep breaths and dance a little jig to chill out.
On my way to the start line, I saw a familiar face in Guo Pei. The jitters disappeared.
To my joy, there were minimal weather elements at play in the Sports Hub. I was battling a strong breeze and squinting away from the sun as I warmed up on KPT. Showtime.
Gun goes off. Everyone dashes for the front. I was sitting dead last. Not what I was expecting, but:
- I wasn’t gunning for top 3.
- I had died way too many times starting too fast, and I wasn’t about to continue that trend.
18s through 100m. I was good.
Then the inevitable happened. I have a nasty habit of falling asleep in the second lap. I crossed 800m in…2:46?! “Shit, time to go,” was a phrase I was hoping to avoid this time.
Speeding up with 2 laps to go wasn’t on the original plan, but since I was already behind, I was hoping to at least minimise the damage. I heard the announcer getting excited about the champion as I approached 300m. I managed to not get lapped!
As I rounded the bend, I reveled in the non-squishiness of the Mondo, well-maintained track with each step I took. No longer did I have to swing wide to avoid water bubbles beneath the rubber track caused by overflowing water from the steeple pit/rain that did not filter away properly.
The lactic finally hit me after I crossed the line (does this mean I could’ve sprinted earlier? 😛) but no matter. I’d already peeped the clock as I finished – 5:06. May have fallen asleep, but still a PB.
“Good. Inter club we crack 5 minutes,” texts coach after the race. That’s 6 months.
Hey boss, my tired days are far from over 😅