I had been a volunteer for this event for the past 3 years. I intend to compete this year, I don't know why.
When Adam heard of my comeback, he volunteered to pace with me without any hesitation. In fact, he ran alongside with me twice in the previous New Balance 15km Race few years ago (both on different routes). I was fit and fabulous then (ahem!)! I wasn't sure about myself that instant but I knew more than anything else, I just wanted to perform well.
The refreshing thing about this NB15k is that the race course gets changed slightly every 2 years (I think)...so, one gets to experience running a new route and not get bored with the same old boring race routes like in most competitions. Aha! This year the race promises to be challenging, period. Anyway, any race organized by Pacesetters has always been tough and never easy.
The minute Adam saw me in the morning, he vowed he would run with me but I guessed he must be in such top form that when the race began, he zoomed off. That mattered little to me. I was destined to run alone and at my own pace. At halfway, my pace was just right and comfortable, I felt confident as my legs were carrying me smoothly. Many runners were already ahead of me but that mattered little to me. What matter was I was moving at ease, breathing well and not struggling. And before I realized it, I had caught up with KK Oon before the double hills...I'd wanted to run with him but when he signaled to me that he was struggling - I moved ahead to tackle the hills.
When approaching the double hills, I anticipated many runners would slow down and I was right. I caught sight of Carmen, Siok Bee and Marianne at a distant and ran with absolute abandon to overtake them all. The challenging part of this race is that you arrived at a hill only to find the start of another hill in front..ha! ha! (Isn't that part of life? You achieved your target this month but there's always the next month's goal waiting there for you to work on and it's like never-ending!) After attacking the hills and passing my fellow runners, I smiled to myself...pleased.
Next, I finally saw Lee Woon Khau and my pal who was supposed to pace with me - Adam close by. I chased and passed them at Wisma Tani water station. Just as I expected it, Adam caught up with me not long after that and this time, he paced and ran alongside with me all the way. We increased our pace and managed to overtake many runners along the way. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to catch up with Ultra-marathoner Ngae who was just about 100 metres ahead of me. Overall, I ran a good race, pleased with my timimg of 1hr 17mins and secured 9th position in the Women's Veteran Category.
When I went to search for John, my instinct told me that he performed well too...he was busy savouring slices of juicy watermelon to even notice his wife!! The rest of the morning was spent in sharing the race experiences. Everyone agreed that it was nothing but tough. As usual, we compared results and performances based on our timing. To me, the rewards of racing can't be measured by a stopwatch alone. My physical efforts should not result in trophies or medals but in lessons learnt, friendships gained and another memorable moment to cherish.