Inside the mind of an athlete: a series of gears intertwining, shifting simultaneously and ticking away. The internal countdown timer begins. 4 hours before the start of the competition, I woke up feeling mentally awake but physically still asleep. The sense of challenge works up my adrenaline slowly, perking up my senses up before the race.
The usual race routine begins by arriving 2 hours before the scheduled time of the race. I will place my belongings and get changed for warm up. I would be wearing my track pants or long tights to keep my muscles warm. Trigger balling and foam rolling would be my usual routine before heading out to jog for 2 laps. My mind is actively thinking about all the necessary timings to meet (1st call room, 2nd call room, race time) and planning it backwards, working it forward. It was the first time competing at the Singapore Sports Hub, and it is the first time Singapore Athletics is organizing such a large scale event. Logistics, manpower, resources have doubled or even multipled many folds.
45 minutes and the countdown timer begins: ‘1st call room announcements’ – Men’s 100m heats, this is your first call, subsequently to the final call for the event. Once at the 1st call room, competitors take a seat and show our number tags to get our names ticked to indicate our presence at the event.
35 minutes countdown, we made our way in an orderly fashion, heading from Kallang Practice Track to the Sports Hub, Going underground, coming up, passing through security checks, we are in the stadium vicinity. The 2nd call room awaits us. At the 2nd call room, we are given our lane tags and we have to stick the lane allocation tag at the side of our tights/shorts with 4 pins fastened on each side of the sticker. At this point, all of us can change into our spike shoes and get our legs moving. There is a nice 40m-50m mondo track to do some starts, limbering before the start of the race (this is an international standard call room 2.) Spikes check, number bibs checked again, we are ready to race. The next call would be to head out to the tracks. At this juncture, I feel confident. I feel strong and powerful. I am ready to race!
10 minutes countdown, we are ushered to the track to get changed for the race. This is the most crucial part of the warm up preparation where athletes have to set their starting blocks and to have 1 or 2 try outs. Before you know, it is TIME TO BEGIN! Measuring 2 steps for my front block and 1 1/2 steps to the back from the front, I begin to do my start, positioning the blocks and testing it out for the final time makes the clock pause for a moment. It is time to race.
On your marks. Set….
My mind goes blank!