Sunday, September 18, 2011

Yellow Ribbon Prison Run

It was my first participation but this Yellow Ribbon Prison run event was the third consecutive year on 18 Sep, Sunday. As I missed the registration last year, I therefore registered early for the 10km competitive run - These offenders should be given second chance in lives.

On last Friday, I had a long evening run with Chua, Dora and CK. Chua and I covered some 18km, slowly building up for the year end Stanchart Marathon. Yesterday (Saturday), one day before the prison run, I decided to skip long cycling and gym activities so that I can get ready, physically & mentally for the run this morning. Though it is a 10km event (my usual practice run is more than 10km each time), I can't help feeling the adrenalin rush inside me.

As expected, I was fighting hard to go to sleep which was quite frustrating. I kept waking up, having intermittent sleep until the alarm sounded off at 5.30am. Before 6am, I was already out of my house. I didn't drive as the starting and finishing were not in the same location. We were to flag off near Changi Village, along Loyang Avenue and ended up at Changi Prison. I planned to take a train to Singapore Expo and then hopped on to the shuttle bus arranged by the organisers. When I arrived at Aljunied station around 6am, it was still early and the first train was scheduled to leave at 6.30am only. I then decided to take bus service no.2 which was to take me all the way to Changi Village instead but it was a long 1-hr ride. I was still early as the flag-off was scheduled at 7.45am.

I was early, arrived at the start line at about 7am. Slowly, I made my way up to the start line. The two comperes, Mark Richmond and Maggie from Gold 90.5FM were ranting away on the mike, keeping us entertained. The vip party arrived around 7.30am, led by Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, MG Chan Chun Sing. At exactly 7.45am, the horn was sounded and off we went. Mark Richmond reported on the air that some 9,000 runners had registered in this run.

I positioned myself not too far back but avoided the front row for obvious reason. The sun had just risen and I can feel the morning heat at that hour already, sigh! I simply hate the morning heat but do I have a choice? I kept to my usual pace, knowing I needed 5km to warm up my engine. I was hoping to come under 50 mins (my last registered 10km was in 2008 Stanchart where I clocked 53.34 mins), better still, under 45 mins a bold target for myself.

Running along the main road of Loyang Avenue and after 2km, we turned into Loyang Way, the site which houses the Selarang barrack. We ran past old historical building, Changi Chapel & Museum and Johore Battery, among others. The morning heat slowly built up and it made breathing heavier and heavier. The route is quite challenging, very undulating in most part but it was a scenic sight I must admit - alot of greenery along the way.

I had wanted to accelerate my pace after 5km mark but my legs felt heavy. It must be the lactic acid from last Friday long run. I then decided to keep to normal pace. In my typical fashion, I downed a cup of isotonic drink and then poured a cup of plain water over my head at every water station. Turning into the prison premises at 8km, I opened my pace a little knowing the end is near. It was a long 2km inside the confine of the high prison wall. I gave high-5 to some student supporters when passing them, an acknowledgement to thank them for their vociferous cheering.

When I saw the time flashing 52 mins plus from about 100 metres, I didn't muster all my energy to zoom home like I used to do. I just kept to usual pace and the clock was flashing 53 mins 15 seconds or something when I ran past the finishing line. By my reckoning, I should have clocked a net time of 53 mins and under. Well, I didn't meet my personal target of 50 mins & under but I am not disappointed either. This run was for the prison cause, that is key.

Walking out of the prison to catch a bus back, I saw Carolyn from our last Mount Kinabalu expedition who called out to me. She was participating in the 6km fun run and she was on her final leg to the finish, we acknowledged each other and then, parted way.

It was a well organised event, I like the goodie bag and the medal. Thanks to the organiser for a superb event and barring any unforseeable, I should be back next year.

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