Small neighborhood runs are interesting. The distance is usually short, minimal frills and very nonchalant about proceedings. Always refreshing to include these into the training regime, more so if it’s not far from home.
The CXP Run put together by the Taylor’s College in SS15 was one such event. Nick had alerted me on this and with a RM35 entry fee, it was a go for me since it nicely replaces the usual track work. By 6am we were already warming up around SS15. The start venue was quiet as if nothing was going on on a lazy Sunday morning. Only when we were back to the campus at 6:30am did I see people slowly ambling in. It was clear then that the race won’t start on time. These college kids really need some discipline in keeping to the clock!
It was about then when I noticed that my pinned race bib had disintegrated at the corners. The material used wasn’t water-resistant and as a living person, I do sweat. The paper had simply melted away and I thought I’d better inform the folks at the Secretariat. The conversation went something like this:
JP: Ummm… I’d just like to point out to you that your paper bib melts. Just so that you’re aware if runners come back without them.
Girl-Student (whom I later found out was the Race Director): Oh! Do you want a new one?
JP: But that’s not the point, the new one’s gonna end up the same way. It melted just with me doing my warm-up. (At that point I also realized that there are no names tagged to the bib numbers, so winners can basically be anyone).Lady bystander: But, you’re an elite. We, the slower ones, won’t sweat as much. (Misguided and unsolicited statement at every level).
JP: Right. I just want you to know. (Before walking off, sweating even more profusely).
6:45am and there were still no indications of the race starting. We hung around the gates trying to predict which one will be the designated start when the Race Director and her crew turned up. Things got quite funny when she climbed on top of a stool and proclaimed that “she was quite unstable”. Quite concerned, I asked if she meant mentally or physically being in a precarious position. Next, she asked us to stay behind the line. All of us runners looked quizzically at one another wondering, “Which line?” because there was none. There was no banner nor any arch put up, so we, like what Barney the Purple Dinosaur always said, “used our imagination”. She must have realized that we should be starting from the main road and thus we were ushered to the new spot right beside Asia Cafe. The stress must’ve got to her because she started answering her phone calls while still holding on to the hailer. She was such a hoot and you’ve got to credit her for doing this on top of her coursework. Setting up an event isn’t easy on any account. Once again, we toed the imaginary line before we were let off. There were no age categories and runners were simply grouped into the 10 or 5K distances.
3 young ones immediately broke into a full on sprint which shocked the lead cyclist who started pedaling like crazy to stay in front. Fortunately for the cyclist, one of the younglings fizzled out at the end of the road but 3 other took his pace in the lead. I broke free of the masses before even before McD’s but Nick was already ahead. Subang is full of long and short inclines and racing here as never been easy. I saw that I was in the 7th position with the leading guy about 300 meters ahead. One vet was in pursuit alongside his younger friend. Nick was making good progress and basically everyone held on to the same position most of the way. If you’re familiar with Subang, the roads around the township see heavy traffic nearly every day of the week. There were no road closures, not even a lane. We were therefore running in our own little imaginary (again, thanks Barney!) paths, trying to keep safe and literally survive the race.
The damn stomach issues cropped up again – it’s definitely a pace thing, now that I’ve observed it – and first it knocked the wind off me and later dropped me like a sad story 3 times. Any intentions of catching up with the 2 runners ahead fizzled. This was turning into a fight of not dropping anymore position rather than timing (which was already a goner in my case). Like a case of separated twins, Nick was also off-pace from his ITB issues. My bib had already come off the pins and I was left clutching at it like a baton for much of the way. I was passed by another and with 1K to go, Nick caught me and we finished together in 50 minutes and change – reckon we were in 8th and 9th, judging from the race progress.
Other than some vouchers and a yogurt bar, there was nothing else in the finish pack, so we left for a light breakfast around the corner. I’m glad there’s no more 10K races leading up to GCAM and can move on to longer distances done at a more race specific pace. Thanks to Nick for ferrying me to and from the race site.