Got up at 0215 to start preparing. Had no trouble sleeping as I got back from work at midnight, so I was sleeping like a log for 2 hours. For breakfast, my lovely girlfriend got me pandan cake (yipee) and I made a peanut butter and cheese sandwich; dumped it all down and drank loads of water. Met up with my brother Roy and took a train to the start point. The trains were running at 15min intervals and all the carriages were filled up when we reached Orchard, it was packed with the 17000 marathon runners who signed up for the event. We didn’t take too long to check in our bags, took a piss by the tree as the queue for the toilets were horrendous (as usual); then we took a slow jog to the starting line near the Heeren. This was my 3rd marathon, and I know the crowd at the start is ALWAYS crazy, but we managed to get a nice spot about 15mins before the start. Music was blasting and the atmosphere was really energetic; Roy was really hyped up and excited, he’s never seen such a big crowd going for mass suffering like this in Singapore. There were a lot of people who were still trying to get into the pen, so it paid to be early!
Start – 10km : Start slow they say
We were lucky to get a good spot and we crossed the start line 2.5mins after the gun, I started off a bit slow with a comfortable pace, 140 on the heartrate, taking it easy. Guys were already dashing into the bushes to take a pee after the first km. I started to pick up the pace after 5mins as I didn’t want to miss the pacers, couldn’t find them anywhere and I panicked a little; I forgot to bring along my pacing band to remind me of the timings I have to meet along the way, seems like I had to rely on my good ol Garmin for pacing. I broke the one and only rule I had for myself this race, to start off easy; I blasted off at a 5:00 – 5:05mins/km pace (5:19 target for 3hr45min finish) to catch up with the pacers, HR was about 160-165, way above what I was comfortable with. Found the first set of balloons and realised they were the 5hr 30min pacers…..ARgghhh 7 balloons to catch up.
10km – 20km : Catching up and maintaining pace.
Managed to catch up with most of the pacers and passed the 4hr pacers at about 12km mark, it was taking longer and longer to catch up with them into the run. Popped my first gel at 50mins into the run, learnt that it’s way better to have water to wash the gel down, else it’ll dry up my mouth and throat. So next time, gels only at aid stations. Crossed 10km at 52min and still catching the 3:45 pacers. Caught sight of them at 15km mark at a distance, used a traffic light as a reference and found out they were 2.5 mins in front of me. So I slowed down a little and just kept them within sight. The earlier dash to catch up with them had started to affect me by the 20km mark, no pain so far but I felt fatigued. Crossed the 20km at 1h44m, readied myself for the tougher 2nd half of this race.
20-30km : Focus on happy thoughts
This whole stretch was along ECP and you could see the runners on the opposite side, met Mark who was battling the first half of ECP. I also met AH SIAO, who was dragging a tyre to support the Bone Marrow Donor Programme, real solid fella who has raised more than $10000.
I maintained a 5:20 pace of some sort to keep the suffering at bay, HR was still at about 165 and by now I was already comfortable with this intensity. The last marathon in May, I hit the wall at about 34km and walked to the finish. I tried to keep negative thoughts out but that experience was so bad I could remember how I was hyperventilating and shivering in the rain during sundown. Happy thoughts! happy thoughts! Light steps, run tall, proper arm swing and smile! Keeping the right posture was so important at this stage, I felt like if I had just started slacking off I would just crumble into a walk, and then a crawl.
30km – finish line : The sufferfest and finish
We have reached the ulu part of the run. Sandy construction area and the sun was starting to affect most of the runners, many people were slowly breaking and started walking. I started a conversation with another runner, Calvin, we were taking turns over taking each other since the 15km mark. I thought it would be a good distraction and try to chit chat a little. We spoke for quite a while until the 34km mark where we were both started suffering, but thanks to him I just kept up with the pace and did not stop for a walk. I thanked him for the support and he said likewise; we kept telling each other not to wait up if either is slowing each other down, but I think while we were trying to keep up with each other, it took our mind off the pain and also provided some sort of motivation.
My right knee and ankle started acting up at 35km and by now, the whole body was rejecting me. My HR had spiked to 173 just to keep a 5:20,530 pace and I gave up on catching the 3h45m pacers. On a long upslope at 38km, Calvin said he’ll walk up instead, I stopped to walk as well while making a phone call to Jaime (she was doing the 10km) to see if she had reached the final 2km mark to finish the race together. She was already near the Esplanade and I told her I’ll see her in 10mins. Thank goodness I stopped to walk a little, my HR calmed to a 160 and I felt so much more comfortable to start running again.
I met her at the Esplanade and we continued our final KMs to the finish line. At first she was dashing and the pace was killing me…hahaha. Thank goodness that only lasted for a couple of minutes and then she was walking again. I decided to take my time to finish this up, as long as it was below 4hrs. We crossed the line together and I looked at my garmin, 3:52. Hey that’s 1hr 34mins faster than Sundown in May. Yeh!I kept waving to Garick who was shooting at the event but I was lost in the sea of runners crossing the line. He walked me through the medal and T shirt collection and later went back to work. Thanks for the support man!
The walk to the bag collection was excruciating, and I was hobbling for the rest of the day. Went back to near the finish line to watch Roy complete his first marathon at 5:42; well done bro! After only 4 months of training, he was really a case of a “zero to hero” story. His marathon plan was an interesting 4min run/1min walk, zone 2 heart rate all the way, which worked wonderfully for him. He told me later than evening that his legs were just aching slightly and more importantly no injuries. His family was there to support him and it was great to see him cross the line with a big smile across his face.
It was a good race and I was really happy with the results. Learnt a lot about nutrition and pacing this time round, lessons are important coz my next marathon will be at the Ironman in Zurich. hahahh i’m so dead.
Some pictures to end of this post.
Race Notes :
Guess it’s always good to keep some notes on the race just in case I forgot what I did.
Breakfast – peanut butter & cheese sandwich, pandan cake
Pre Race – 2 mouthful of energy bar, 1/2 bottle of water (too much)
Race – 4 gels at 50min intervals.
Post – Nutri grain bar, 100plus, spaghetti B for lunch.
Start slow, Gels with water, walk when heartrate spikes, don’t daydream, focus on form, adjust laces properly, chaffing at underarms.