What running 21.1km felt like.. 

  Despite the low quality of this picture, it accurately depicts my reality while running. I remember clearly the emotions and thoughts I had when I reached this 20km mark – fatigue yet excitement that I had only 1km to go. I told myself, “a cup of water into an ocean does not make that much of a difference” and kept going. 

  I approached this day with much apprehension and dread, paired with the lack of training prior to the run.. I was not even sure if I could complete the race. Having to rush for the first few waves in order to make it on time for our beach volleyball match later in the day, we had to reach the F1 Pit at 330am. I was expecting to be one of the earliest but little did I know, already on the GrabHitch with me were 2 pairs – the first was a pair of experienced runners who were commenting on their new running shoes and compression tights while the second was a couple who quietly sat at the back. 

  As we neared Marina Boulevard, the police had already closed the roads. The Grab driver apologised as we got off and I drowsily followed the crowd. I had no idea where I was going.  

  I soon saw lights illuminating a giant field and a row of portable toilets. First stop, the portable toilets. I then met up with YangYi and we deposited our bags, the queues were surprisingly short. I still thought we were early. Then, I received a text message from Jacq, “I think I’m going to make it for the first wave!!! Wru!!”. Apparently people were already queuing for the start line.. 

  “5..4..3..2..1!”, the emcee counted down to the start of the 2nd wave at 4.40am. I started the Nike Running App, opened Spotify and put on my new favourite playlist – “What a Beautiful Name” and soon enough, I found myself filtering through the crowd chasing a pair of blue running shorts. About 2 minutes in, a huge group of men rushed to the bushes, I guess the portable toilet queues were too long.. I continued filtering through the crowd. 

  2km in, I lost the pair of blue running shorts, I couldn’t find YangYi. So much for running together, haha! On the bright side, 2km felt like a breeze. Somehow running 1km during the marathon felt so much easier than during my trainings, maybe it was the crowd around me that kept me going. I was going at a pace faster than I had expected, I was wondering if I would be able to sustain.

  8km in, I felt slight fatigue but because I started out faster than expected, I told myself I could afford to slow down. Something about the crowd kept me going. I saw Spider-Man. 

  10km in, I’m thankful for people who helped a lady up after she fell on the stairs. I also realised my fatigue when we had to slowly down to descend the flight of stairs. The stretch along East Coast Park is feeling as though it could last forever. I start to appreciate the songs I was listening to. I felt as though I was able to worship Jesus as I ran on a Sunday morning. “That’s my favourite song!!” was the greatest motivation to keep my mind off the fatigue. 

  14km in, heeeeelllaaaa drained from running the looong stretch along East Coast Park. It was a  dark and boring route. I saw a man wearing a jacket that said “Run to make this world a better place” and he shouted “Cheer! GOOD PACE GOOD PACE”. I’m thankful for people like that. It also started drizzling a little, but the lightning was scary. I was pretty sure if we were having Beach training they would have stopped us because of the lightning alert. 

  Somewhere in between 14-18km, I felt this was the hardest stretch to overcome. Though after the East Coast Park route, the scenery started to get better. I was pretty sure I saw a rest point that was supposedly giving out bananas, I looked forward to that, it never came. I also had to pee real bad (woes of a small bladder), I kept telling myself  “1km more, there is bound to be a portable toilet the at the next station”… it never came as well. I wondered if I peed while running, would my perspiration be able to camouflage the streaming pee?! I was physically tired but mentally refreshed by random thoughts and worship songs 😇.

  At about 2 hours in, Feng An texted me, motivation to reach the finish line. I kept going. “1km more!!!!!”, I remember sending FA as I continued jogging along Marina Bay Sands. 

  I started doing math, “1 km takes about 6mins 40secs on average, so I’ll just have to run for another 6 minutes and I’m done! I can rest!!!”. I had to psych myself to go on as I saw countless of people started walking.. I regretted not encouraging them, I wanted to.. but something held me back. It wasn’t fatigue, I feared rejection. Hmmm 

  I saw the floating platform, I blame it on my lack of geographical knowledgeand poor sense of direction. I didn’t know I was nearing the end. I lit up my phone and the Nike Running app showed “20.64km” I had ONE round of the running track to go and that’s it!!!!!! I was beyond myself, I wanted to sprint the 400m but my legs refused. I was happy at the pace I kept. 

  The last 100m, I saw men with looooong legs sprint to the finish line. A few volunteers were cheering. Family members lined the barricades as they awaited. I only saw the finish line. 

  “Finish strong”, I thought to myself as I ran pass the inflated banner. I was then ushered to collect the finisher T-shirt, medal, a cold wet towel, a bottle of Pocari and my long awaited banana. 🍌 I fumbled with the bottle cap as I downed the entire bottle while attempting to text FA and my parents to announce my survival. I’m pretty sure no one thought I’d have survived this with the amount of effort I put into training.  

  “Thank You Jesus!” was what kept me going. It was what I lifted up at every kilometre done. It was what I was reminded of, how amazing God’s creation is as we ran past the skyline of the CBD. I’m sure God pretty much carried me through the race, at least it felt that way. Despite the muscle aches that are still haunting me 2 days later, I had an enjoyable run! 😊 

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