When the boyf and I first heard about Nike’s Human Race 10K, it was a no-brainer for both of us to join. Good music, a 10km race that goes through the city’s watering holes, a chance to be part of something global – right up our alleys.
But as I laced up my Air Zoom Victory this afternoon, I was feeling conflicted. Should I rest my knee (I’m on my third course of anti-inflammatories) or just go for an easy jog? Injuries don’t sit kindly with my impatient nature – I have a tendency to cast a wistful eye at runners when I can’t run. Plus, I badly wanted to do this with the boyf; afterall, we had signed up for this together.
Before I knew it, the champion chip had been laced into my shoes, wee StarPod was blasting The Killers in my earphones and he was kissing me good luck on the Esplanade Bridge. The impatient monkey in me had won.
It started out easy enough since I was jogging at a turtle’s pace. In contrast, hundreds of youngsters poured onto the road and zipped past me. I resisted the urge to run, reminding myself that I was in it to complete, not race.
Disaster struck when we were into our third kilometer. The twinge in my knee became unbearable and the wisest thing, I thought, would be to stop. I battled with the idea of walking back to the starting point and give in to a DNF but the competitive warrior in me just could not stomach the thought. I’d cross the finish line even if I had to hobble like a grandmother. He, on the other hand, had developed a huge blister on his arch, which made running a pain. Ah, it must be true love indeed, to suffer together.
We ended up walking the remaining 7km under the sweltering heat. We took our time, enjoyed the sights and chatted about everything and anything. We laughed a lot, we hobbled a little. Strangely enough, the distance didn’t seem so long and suddenly, we were rounding the bend at Robertson Quay.
“Let’s run the last kilometre,” I, the clever pants, suggested. He agreed and we started running. The knee wasn’t liking it much and gave me grief but I told myself I could never allow myself to cross the line walking like a wuss and pushed on. His face told me that his foot was kicking his ass (not literally, of course) but he, too, was determined to run the last lap.
When we crossed the finishing line together almost two hours after we started, hand in hand, I had the biggest smile on my face. Forget about the shooting pains in my knee – what mattered most was that he was by my side, all the way.
And then it struck me: this is just like marriage. We are in it together, we walk the same path together. There will be the occasional downs, we’ll laugh and cry and sometimes be in pain. But as long as we have each other, as long as we hold each other’s hand, as long as we remain madly in love, we will reach our destination.
All in good time.