You have been chasing that girl but she has been blowing you off; the writing’s on the wall but you have a curtain draped over it.

After five good races in the months of August and September, my body and mind are getting weary from racing. Add to the mix the extra mileage I have had to put in training for December’s Singapore Marathon, I probably am not in the freshest of conditions to race at this weekend’s National Under-23 and Open Track and Field Championships.

But you can never know for sure, can you? You think you might have read the girl wrongly. Just the same, I thought my body might be more prepared than I think it is letting me know.

Not quite liking the idea of not following through with what I have committed to, I found myself making my way to the start line of the 5000m at Bishan Stadium yesterday.

Having run a 16 minutes 37.40 seconds personal best for the distance at the Singapore Open in late August, which was an hour after I had also raced the 3000m steeplechase, I was looking to lower my personal best to the low 16s since I would have no physical exertion prior to this race.

Starting out with splits of 40sec (200m), 81sec, 79sec, 78sec, 79sec, 80sec, 79sec, 79sec for the first 3000m, I was still on good pace to notch a new PB. I had set out, mentally, to clock 78sec laps for a 16:15 target finish time.

However, as I circled the track and clicked off the splits, I felt I would have trouble sticking to the pace for the full 12.5 laps. I could still hold out for a PB by not obstinately sticking to the 78sec/lap pace and, so, I worked to keep the pace not slower than 80sec/lap.

All this time, Melvin Wong had been running close behind me. (We had run almost 18km of the Army Half Marathon together earlier in September.) As I started to labour after 3000m, Melvin made a good decision to overtake me.

I tried to hang on to him but just didn’t have the juice in my legs on the day. Subsequent laps of 81sec, 84sec, 89sec then saw Mark Callon of MacRitchie Runners 25 also overtake me.

The last two laps were a struggle but I managed to hold it together to put in laps of 84sec and 81sec respectively.

The finish time of 16 minutes 58.96 seconds served to confirm suspicions of my weariness. But I guess I’d rather get out the door and have it proven than surrender to that figurative writing on the wall without even seeking to prove it wrong. As Theodore Roosevelt puts it: “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” Or, for those who like it better conveyed in a song, here is one (a Jayesslee cover just because I like their version better).

Who knows who’s behind the writing on the wall anyway, right?

So, here I go, again, later today, in the 10,000m.

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