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Monday, November 20, 2006

Vertical Marathon 2006 - Race Report

the short is :

I completed in 17:38min
All 73 storeys, 1336 steps of it and it was the hardest 17:38min of my life.

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the race report

Had been feeling under the weather the whole week, and worst had a sprained left wrist from Kiddie J playing her newest game of holding hands with me 1 min and the next sec lifting her feet up and twirling herself around, at the expense of my wrist... she looks really cute and it is great that she is so strong and fearless, but OUCH~!

coupled with a bloated tummy from japanese dinner the night before, and little sleep from taking care of the kids through the night, it was no wonder that of all the races that i've entered, this is the first one that i really comtemplated not going to...

i didnt even bother to pack my race kit the night before like i always do.

but the saving grace is the bib collecting is at a late 8:30am, and the race for my group starts at 9:58am. so i went anyway after clearing the tummy troubles in the morning.

One step at a time.
- First get out of the house,
- catch a cab
- then collect bib and secure chip,
- have breakfast,
- warm up,
- line up,
- climbing one step up at a time,
- and then amazingly, TADA! The TOP! thats the plan anyways... :D

i knew Ade was going to be there, i called her hp when i collected my bib, and she looked amazing, passing for a 18 year old. sigh~* we went for breakfast at mos burger to catch up over 2 years of friendship in suspended animation, and while there passed by a group of sgrunners at sub-way, but we had to wait for our breakfast to be served in mos and didnt join them in the end.

after breakfast, i caught up Ade's brother too and we did a slow warm up running a lap around raffles city. we didnt feel out of place at all as there were so many of us, over 1200 participants and pp from 22 countries.

i did talked to T@z and meteor before my wave, and spied meteor and alvo sharing a good luck kiss before alvo's race, so sweet, the newly weds. :)

pretty quickly, it was the start time for women 30-39 group, Ade and I lined up, and we were in wave 82, 6 of us at one minute intervals. i told her to feel free to move ahead, way ahead of me, dont wait. and set myself 2 targets, first to complete, and to complete within 25min if possible (since last year's last persons in both women 20-29 and women 30-39 clocked 26:20+min.)

the official blew his whistle and with a wave of his hand, we were off! a short sprint from outside swissotel lobby to the staircase landing next to starbucks, and the first steps... turning ANTI-CLOCKWISE???!!! bad bad bad, cos i couldnt put any weight on my left wrist to pull myself up, only being able to hold slightly to steady myself as i went up.

oh wait! the steps arent the same as our HDB stairs with equal steps and a short landing between each turn. It was a 5 m run to the next flight of 2 steps, a short landing, 15 steps or so then 5 m run. no chance to build up a good rhythm.

i looked at my chrono and realised that i didnt start my stopwatch.... (quah-quah...)

no time to think, everybody else in my wave sprinted up the steps 2-at-a-time and i decided to conserve energy and went up steadying step by step.

relief at 5th storey, it went back to clockwise turning. and by now i was breathing hard, through both nose and mouth, my heart pounding wildly, and i started thinking, another 60+ storeys???

most of the door way to each level were opened to facilitate air flow and i supposed for pp to drop out. :D but there were volunteers/ ushers/ officials urging the contestants on too. i gave every of them who shouted encouragement or clapped their hands a thumbs-up sign, partly to thank them, partly to let them know i am ok even though i looked like death, and mostly to psycho myself that i am still well enough to continue

i tried not to look at all the storey indicators, and was sometimes pleasantly surprised that i made up a few more flights of steps i thought i had. it was mind-numbing steps after steps after steps. i didnt know how much time had passed in there.

about 40 storeys, it began to turn anticlockwise again, but the landing between each flight was shorter at 2m. and at this time, i was passed by meteor who was in a wave behind mine. i saw her coming and made way for her. soon i was passed by about another 5 or 6 girls, and miracously i passed ONE girl!

fatique really started to set in then, and i refused to slow down, for fear that i will eventually slow down to stopping point.

and then 70th storeys, with the green painted floor, and it was near! i struggled on the last few flights, and i saw skylight! no time to comb my hair, just a few more steps, and i'm through! a volunteer threw a medal over my neck and another thrust a bottle of cold mineral water into my hands, and i move zombiely to look for Ade.

she was already resting and stretching on the floor, and i was still trying to catch my breathe. i walked around some more and a volunteer came asking for me to return my chip. I was still too breatheless to sit down, and Ade helped. i am blessed with great friends.

i asked Ade how did she do, and she grimaced and said probably 16min+, slower than her last year's climb. i had no way of knowing how far ahead she was, but put my timing at 20min+ to be conservative.

only after that did i manage to take in the view from the top, and took some pictures. way cool. i ran into mythos who was there taking pics with his SLR camera and a full-looking backpack, he said he wanted to weight, no doubt as part of his training for ironman on 3-Dec. salute!

when we had rested enough, we made our way down, only to realise that we had to walk down to 70th storey to take the lift... no kidding. while on the way, i saw volunteers carrying boxes of drinks up from 70th storey to the top, i had to thank them.

waited for an hour for the race certificates to be printed out, and i got mine after a short queue. 17:38min.

i cant believe it.

i'm glad i didnt give up even before getting to the starting line.

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