I haven’t been running any races for the past 2 years except the Army Half Marathon. So i stayed loyal to Army half marathon this year by registering it early. This probably will be the only race for me in the year 2014. Unfortunately, I missed out on the Mens Veteran category due to my birthday month.
The Bay run race in 2013 still fresh in my mind. I still remembered how i ran that day. But this year, my preparation load was even lesser than last year. My weekly mileage was around 40 – 50 km for the past 2 months. Luckily with the Safra MF LSD run, i could at least stick with the consistent running. Or else, my weekly mileage could be less than 30 km. Put aside the mileage thing, the strategy to prepare for the race is the key. I experienced it last year, to maximize your full potential with minimal preparation. Again this year, i adopted similar strategy as compared to the traditional mileage program.
I did a time trial 10 days before the race. I could run 3:50 min/km for 7 km and it surprised me. I did a few tempo runs days before the race and that’s all. My estimated pace was around 4:06 min/km and i expected myself to come in around 1 hr 26 min plus. That would be 3 sec per km faster as compared to last year.
I was wondering how to travel to esplanade in the middle of the night. The only option was to take a cab. Ridiculously, my club fare was even more expensive than my race fee. This part, our local races transportation was inferior than the oversea ones.
I reached City Hall around 3.30 am. The feeling was quite unfamilar to me as i had been out of race for so long. But my usual ritual was to warm up at the Esplanade toilet where the Team Fatbird used to gather. I saw Anthony there again and their usual huge TF group. At around 4.30 am, i lined up at the starting line area. And i saw familiar faces, Raymond, Alan, Eugene and Harry. Wished everyone a good race. Another drawback point for the race, the pacers (above 2 hrs) and the army boys were in front of the Kenyan runners. I think it was very dangerous unless the pacers and the army boys were going to start faster than the Kenyans. I popped in some gels early to get rid of any early race miscomfort such as dry mouth or dry throat. I experienced it last year.
The race started promtly at 5 am. As i expected, the start off was not as smooth. I had to squeeze through to the front. As we turned into Marina Bay, i realized the wind was quite strong. I tried to hide behind the bigger sized runners from using excess energy to run against the wind. My first km was sub-4 min (3.59) and the distance marker was accurate this time. My second km was even faster (sub-3:40), i knew i have to slow down. I saw Thow Wee surged upfront but i tried to stay calm. My first 5 km was sub-20 min which was a sub-4 min pace. I tried to stay with some consistent runners to get a proper pace. From 6 km to 9 km, my pace slowed down to 4:08 to 4:10. It was more comfortable by then. I clocked the first 10 km in 40 min 25 sec according to my watch which was equivalent to 4:03 min/km pace. This time was 1 min 25 sec faster than last year. What on earth am i doing! I tried to stay calm as i was still feeling alright. It was only at 12 km mark that i felt my hamstring tighten and my calves started to feel stiff. It was probably due to my lack of mileage and race conditions. There was also a number of turns around the new Sports hub. I tried to remain consistent pace at around 4.08 pace. The plan was to raise gear after the Crawford St tunnel.
At Nicol Highway, Ronnie throttled past me and a lot of runners started to speed up at Nicol Highway. I reminded myself to stick to the plan. It was at this stretch of 2 km to 3 km, my pace dropped to 4:20 min/km. The tunnel still haunted me as i suffered badly at this part in 2011. I was still waiting patiently for the tunnel to come. After the tunnel, it was my turn to turn on my turbo. With 3 km left, i raised my tempo all the way to 4:03 min/km. I was a bit disappointed that i can’t run below 4 min/km, keep trying and trying all the way until i have nothing left. At the Esplanade bridge, i beat my last year’s timing at the similar distance. I finished the race in 1 hr 27 min 55 sec, a pace of 4:08 min/km. Slightly faster than last year but missed out my planned time with just a min.
I was feeling great without any cramps despite my lack of mileage. Collected my finisher tee early and proceed to the massage area. It was a perfect execution of my race plan. Despite my fast start, i did not crash out. I was thinking if i could start my tempo earlier before the tunnel. What will the race outcome turn out to be?
At the massage area, I happened to chat with the Open cat 9th position winner. He came in 1 hr 16 min. He was quite open and willing to share with me about his training. He told me that he was just clocking 120 km per week which i did before in 2011. I was wondering why i can’t run like he did, back in 2011. I checked out his training details and was glad that he was willing to share.