10 steps to 10k (when you’re not a real runner)
1K 10.30pm, Singapore Flyer, 32C, clear skies – off we go! No warm-ups for me, no need. I’m relaxed, in shape, feel good. Whoo, look at me lift my heels! Careful not to set off too fast but feeling fine. I take my first jellybaby from the little bag Mr PC gave me – one per K for energy levels, apparently. You got it, Mister! That’s one marathon technique I’m happy to follow. Salute as he waves, departing for marathon start, maybe I’ll do that next? Sip from water bottle, lid a bit stiff but prise it open with teeth, no probs. Stay hydrated, keep cool. Yeah!
2K This is so easy: all that training paid off. There’s a breeze, the stars are out, we have perfect running conditions. Look at the view! Look at all the cars stopping for all the runners! Look at all of us! I love this town. Ankles are fine, knees holding up, all good. Jellybabies are working nicely. Trot past first hydration station, don’t feel the need yet, am still getting stiff water bottle open and closed with teeth just fine, all good. Really pleasant so far.
3K Trotting along, lovely, jogging past the walkers at a nice pace, getting a little warm, sure, but nothing I can’t handle. Jellybabies are an inspired choice, I can really feel the power-surge kick in as they melt in my mouth. Water bottle cap still locking a little but look, I can yank it with teeth, no probs.
4K Out of my way slow-coaches, I’m a lean, mean running machine and I’m coming up on your right! Just kidding, I’m a sensitive co-runner, nipping and gliding in-between all the poor little walkers. Feeling the heat, pause at 2nd water stop for an ice-cold 100+ – the most well-equipped runners still listen to their body when it says: it aint half hot, mum. I’m a natural! Why don’t I do this more often?
5K Bit bored, if I’m honest. Pass the time by spotting people with same shoes as me. Also spotted several cramp victims, poor things, so glad I trained at night, it’s got me so prepared. Breeze drops suddenly, very sweaty now: sweaty hair and sweaty calves, bizarre. Need drink: water bottle now very stiff, wrestle open with one hand, shower the darn jellybabies clutched in the other; bit wet now. Hang on, hill…
6K …still on the bloody hill. Very hot indeed. Only 6K? Tap phone, check it’s working. Absolutely no breeze at all and a million sweaty porkers herded round the paper cups at the 3rd water stop. On your right, all of you, only joggers and runners should get the 100+ before the walkers. Need a wee. Shoe game a bit boring. Jellybabies very moist.
7K Eyebrows sweaty. Christ it’s hot. OUT OF THE WAY. Whose idea was it to run us through all these dark patches? Stick up a simple arc lamp, why don’t you. Trip over twig, paper cup, walker. Jellybabies now sticking together in one big clump. Can’t sit down, onlookers hogging picnic benches, polite clappers in the dark. Very sweet but I could make more noise opening a crisp packet. Probably snakes in hedges so can’t stop for wee.
8K Hill, slight but long, can’t breathe, very hot. Stupid jelly babies, stupid water bottle. Peel off single head, chuck the whole lot in hedge. Sweat now coming out of eyes, dripping off nose. Sweatband smells of a farm. Whole air smells of a farm. Last water stop, sip half warm cup, throw rest over head, shower man behind me. Arc lamps in sight, sound of band at finish line. Oh God, the finish line…
9K …the finish line? Not the finish line, just a long bit of track that goes right by the real sodding finish line only to have us limp all the way down to some godforsaken dark spot at the far corner (where there are no toilets, incidentally) and back up again to the real end. Note to organisers: PUT THE END AT THE BLOODY END. Sweating buckets. Will I run out of sweat? Will I start to sweat wee-wee? Might help.
10K Final few yards, clappers in earnest. Too late, can no longer hear, ears full of sweat. Sweatville, Singapore. Is it the finish line? It is the finish line. Underwhelming limp under arc-lit banner. Trip over bib line. Snatch medal. Ignore banana. Find cab. Sweat. Divert to Daily Scoop. Wipe sweat patch with $2 bill. Limp down road licking ice cream. Limp up stairs, into shower, put medal in bin, have wee, bed.
Woken at 5am by post-mazzer husband ruefully binning bagful of sticky jellybabies.