I can still remember the feeling of nausea as I looked up the steps on the terraces of the old National Stadium in Kallang.
The voice of my coach bellowing from the top of the stadium still rings quite clearly in my mind.
“Hurry up, you still have 17 more to go, young man. The skies are turning dark,” he would shout in Mandarin, even though it was early in the morning.
This was off-season training, back in the days when I was an aspiring young sprinter trying to make the national 4 x 100m relay team for the 1993 South-east Asia (SEA) Games, which Singapore was hosting.
The workout: Sprint up the stadium steps, jog back down. Do 20 times.
I hated it but my mainland Chinese coach, Mr Qi Zutan, seemed to love it. A lot.
What made it bearable was the view from the top of the terraces just above the old Gate 1 entrance.
The stadium, though empty at the time, was a canvas on which I painted what I hoped would be my glorious future as a track star.
I would visualise myself crossing the finish line in record time - in front of a packed stadium no less.
It was the same dream that carried my tired legs up those steps again and again, week in and week out.
I never made the SEA Games squad.
Fate, I guess, had other plans for me but I will never forget the days I stood atop those steps.
When I worked at Raffles Place, I used to drive by the stadium on my way to the office - and I would glance at the Old Lady of Kallang, and reminiscing about the days I spent in her belly, racing down the track, and running up and down those dreadful steps.
If I was stuck in a traffic jam, I would peer directly at a particular spot - just left of the old west entrance where I used to stand after I conquered those steps.
Those were the good old days, I would think to myself.
I've not been by Kallang as often since I joined The Straits Times but I was in the area last Sunday for the Singapore Grand Prix held at the nearby Marina Bay.
Seeing an unsightly construction site where the glorious old stadium used to stand brought on a sense of sadness.
I also could not find my spot up over Gate 1 anymore.
Oddly, news broke on Monday about how Singaporeans will get to see the steel structure that would eventually form the dome roof of the new National Stadium.
Funding issues as a result of the global downturn in 2008 had led to several delays to the project.
The 55,000-seat arena – poised to be the crown jewel of the upcoming Sports Hub in Kallang - should be completed by 2014 and in time for the 2015 SEA Games, which Singapore is bidding to host.
The old venue has hosted no less than three SEA Games, 18 National Day Parades, countless football matches, concerts and other major events.
What we know now is that the new $1.3 billion Sports Hub will also comprise a multi-purpose indoor arena, a water sports centre and an indoor aquatic centre.
The main stadium, which will stand some 80m above ground, and the other facilities at the Sports Hub, will undoubtedly play host to many high-profile events as Singapore pushes toward becoming a world class sporting and entertainment venue.
Personally, I can't wait for the entire development to be up and running as well as for Singapore to be hosting the SEA Games once again.
But what the Sports Hub must also be is a place where young Singaporeans can look to for inspiration and perhaps make it their stage to showcase their talents.