domenica 26 agosto 2012

Talent and Effort

Prologue: I have never run a 10k race under 40 minutes (i.e. 4 min per k). Though, I ran 21k under 4 min per k (best so far is 3m54s per k, 1h22m10s). The reason is that I'm never trained enough for 10k races. They are usually at the beginning of the running season in Milan: between September and October. Than, there are only half marathons, 30k and marathons. I wanted to run a 10k under 40 minutes in Singapore. I cannot train well for half marathons and marathons here, it's too hot for me. And there are a lot of 10k.
Today, Sunday 26 August, there was a 10k race. As I wrote in "Need for Speed" I lowered my expectations. The benchmark wasn't 40 minutes but 45 minutes (the time of last year's Deejay Ten). Well, here's the parable.

Talent and Effort
There was a young man in Singapore. Someone may object he was not young. He felt so, despite his appearance.
(in the picture: the young man, the flag of his running bunch, and Marina Bay Sands)
He had everything a runner may want: strong legs, dry physique, and aerodynamic head.

In the past he had proved himself that he "could run like the wind blows" (cit. F.G.). He had also proved himself that "shit happens" (cit. F.G.): i.e., when he didn't train as supposed to, he couldn't run as he wanted.

The day came when he put in practice this last valuable lesson. Again, this time in Singapore. It was a 10k race. He started very fast. His strong legs put him easily in a pace of 3m45s per k. After the 3rd k he lowered to 4m per k. 6th and 7th k came at 4m03s. Then it came the 8th k: 4m25s (translated from runner to human language: he started fast and then slowed down, too much).

What went wrong?

After the 4th k the young man was feeling a lot of pressure. The three beers he had the night before were drying out his mouth and his body. The heat made him hard to breathe. But most of all, his legs were becoming stiffer and stiffer. He didn't train enough. Human bodies may bear any condition on earth, even Singaporean unfriendly weather. Human bodies just need time to get adapted.

Adapting a European body to Singaporean weather is not an easy task. The young man knew he hadn't done the minimum required. He started slowing down. Down, down, down. He was finishing the 9th k in 4m20s. Out of the games. No 10k under 40 minutes.

Somehow he felt that was good. There was a lesson to learn: No money, no honey. [wrong lesson]: No pain, no gain [right lesson].

His motto is "dream it, plan it, be it". This time he just dreamed it.

Then something happened. Something unexpected. The sign of the 9th k arrived too soon. The organizers of the race counted the 9th k wrong. It was just 950m. Thanks organizers!!

He was back on track to finish the race under 40 minutes. He pushed and pushed. Then he started thinking. "What if I really need to learn a lesson?" "What's beyond this race?" "Why the average Singaporean runner is so slow?" "For what f***ing reason did I wake up at 4:50 this morning?" "What kind of drug took the guy who imagined Marina Bay Sands?"

While he was having all such thoughts, he suddenly realized he had slowed down again. He checked the time. It was too late. He smiled. He took out of his pants the flag, and started his usual final retro running.

Wiser and sleepier than ever, he arrived. In 40 minutes and 12 seconds.
(in the picture: 40 minutes and something later)
Lesson learned, fun had, let's go to eat.
(in the picture: the young man's breakfast, eggs with fried mushrooms; bread, butter and
jam; porridge; yoghurt with papaya; coffee and milk. No bacon: parva sed apta)
Epilogue: funny happy ending. The average Singaporean runner is unbelievably slow. I finished the race as 8th. I was in line to take a free picture when they mentioned my number as one of the top ten. Free picture and $50 check. It could be my profession in Singapore.
(click to enlarge)
Now I remember there was also a cup. After I got the check anything else was of few interest to me.

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