30 km: Sentosa

It was a gloomy sky early in the morning, but i decided to take a gamble to go to the clubhouse. Trainer Daniel whatsapp me whether to cancel the run. I told him that i would go ahead and the most, i could drop by my mum’s place. Surprisingly, the weather was kind to me, it was cooling without rain. The turnout was poor probably due to the NF race the day before. It was huge contrast to the Team fatbirds, a ratio of 6:1.

I briefly mentioned the route map to the runners and started off at 7.10 am. It was my first 30 km of the year 2013. There was no race for me to look forward to, just wanted to test out my fitness. The road was very quiet, especially with this nice weather, everyone maybe still in their beds.

I was the guide into Sentosa, leading the runners through the gateway, Hard Rock hotel and then into Siloso beach. The weather started to get warm. My first 5 km was very slow, just getting my body to warm up. The time taken was 28:16. I was not really sure about my fitness conditions whether i could finish the 30 km. My last 30 km Sentosa run was at last November which i clocked 2 hr 16 min with avg pace of 4:31 min. I still remembered very clearly in my mind. The pace started to pick up after my toilet break at 7 km mark, Palawan beach. I was lagging behind at Tanjong beach about 500m away from Harry and Alan. We u-turned at Sentosa Cove entrance and then proceed towards the Satelite area. I caught up with the duo at the gateway roundabout and then started to raise my tempo. My next 5 km time was 23:44, a huge contrast to the first 5 km. I was running faster and faster as i was feeling very good even the multiple slopes do not affect me. Looped around the Sentosa Satelite and then ran towards Hard Rock hotel. My third 5 km was 22:58, a total time of 1 hr 14 min for my first 15 km.

The sunshine started to pour in my second loop to the beaches. I started to use the shower facilities along the way to cool down my core temperature. I was all alone by then, just keeping my pace consistent. In fact, i clocked the fastest 5 km in 22:18 for my fourth one. On 20 km to 25 km, i was at Satelite area again. Testing my endurance against the slopes. It was tougher this time, with extreme terrain and the hot weather. Nevertheless, i was still able to maintain a decent 5 km timing of 22:54. My final 5 km would bring me back to the clubhouse. It was time to relax and i dropped my pace to a much easier one for my final 2 km. Astonishingly, i have a huge negative split time of 1 hr 10 min for my second 15 km. I completed the whole 30 km in 2 hr 23 min 57 sec. Although it was a huge gap from my last attempt, i was content about the time. Afterall, it was my first 30 km and i was feeling very good.

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Singapore Bay run 2013 official result

BayRun2013

The above result states that i run the Sunday race in 1 hr 23 min 34 sec. Even the gun time is faster than my watch time. I think something is wrong here. I was only 10 – 15 m away from the start line, 23 seconds difference from net time seemed a bit funny.

My avg pace is 3.58 min/km which makes me laugh. It only makes the report card looks nice but doesn’t reflect my true fitness.

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Singapore Bay run/Army half marathon 2013

I haven’t been posting for almost 9 months. This can only show that i had been laying off for about 6 – 7 months. Not totally off from running but away from structural training. I have my best form in January but never followed it up. After January, i was always out of town almost every month. I didn’t sign up for this year SCM but sign up for the Bay run.

Pre-race Preparation

I would say that i didn’t prepare much for this race. 2 weeks before the race, i was still away. I was thinking how to race this run. I didn’t run as much as compared to last year. I was taking some ideas from Mo Farah & Gelan Rupp training. Mo Farah is basically unbeatable at the moment. Their main attention was basically their running form. So i looked back on my own running form to check the most effective and efficient way to last through the 21 km.

With 2 weeks left, i only ran an average of 60 -70 km weekly. In between, i have a trial to check what kind of pace should i run on the race day. To my surprise, i managed to run 3.57 min/km pace on 8 – 10 km. With some mathematics calculation, my 21 km pace should be 4.07 – 4.11 min/km. I used my heaviest shoes to test on 4.10 min/km (9 km) 5 days before the race and found out that i could manage it without exerting any hard efforts. I was really surprised to have regained some of my speed/pace.

Race Day

Since i had already worked out my race pace, i have nothing to worry about. I have no injury as compared to last year when i fell badly in training before the race. The only thing to take note was not to start too fast. This was always my mistake for the past cases. Dear sent me to Shaw centre at 3.45 am. As usual, i like to have a warm-up run of 2 -3 km. I ran all the way to Esplanade toilet where the Safra runners used to gather. I saw Anthony with their fatbird team there but no Safra runners. I did my stretching there and stayed around the toilet so that i could constantly release the 100 plus that i had drank up. I wished Anthony ‘good luck’ before i proceeded to the start point. 40 mins before the start point, most of them had already gathered right before the line. I was wondering these runners could manage a 3 min/km pace at the front. I refrained myself from going too front as it would lead me to start too fast. Dora kindly invited me to the front but I declined as i knew i would definitely start fast if i stand in front. Last year, my first km was 3.27 min/km, it was a suicide pace for me.

At exactly 5.15 am, the race flagged off. As i expected, the front runners did not push fast. They were basically jogging through. I have no choice but to squeeze through. Along the way, I wished all the Safra runners ‘good luck’. Soon i reached the first marker, my watch was reading 3.57 min/km. But strange thing was that my watch did not indicate the first km mark. Only 10-15 m later, my watch then sounded out. It was telling me 4.11 min/km. I was a bit confused, am i at the right pace? I continued to stay at this pace and check the pace later. I ran through Marina sands and then Garden by the Bay, the usual route like last year. The memory was still fresh in my mind. I was much faster last year. I checked my 5 km timing and it was about 4.10 min/km. I knew i was at the right pace and from now on, just stick with it.

The pace varied from 3.55 min/km to 4.25 min/km. I believed the GPS signal went haywire at times. But the average pace was around 4.08 – 4.10 min/km. The distance was shorter as what my watch was telling me. So i took my watch distance marker as the correct one. Kallang route was very dark, i just focus on the runners in front and make sure that i do not trip. Some supporters who spent the night at the river side, cheered us up. My 10 km point (according to my watch) read 41 min 50 sec. I was slightly slower now. After the 12 km slope, i gradually increased my pace. At times, i was at 4 min/km, overtaking the tired runners. I was tired out last year at 14 km mark. This time round, i made sure i would go through this point strongly. Through the Crawford tunnel, i was still maintaining the target pace. I could see Vivian, Thow Wee and Wen Long just opposite side about 500m in front.

Soon we went through the dark F1 pit. I was still slightly faster than 4.10 min/km. With 1 km left, Andy Neo ran past me. I couldn’t respond but to maintain the pace. Maybe at that point, i was already satisfied with what i had done. Looking at the watch, clicking at 1 hr 21 min. With the minimal training, i could achieve sub-1:25 was really out of my imagination. I finished the 21 km in 1 hr 24 min 8 sec. Actually, it was 800m shortage. My watch was reading 20.3 km.

Post-race

My avg pace was 4.09 min/km. 1 hr 24 min 8 sec is a huge PB for me. Unfortunately, the distance was not actually 21 km. But this was the best so far for my Army Half marathon journey. I couldn’t expect anything better prior to what i had trained. Wen Long & Thow Wee, I believed they were just 1 min plus in front of me. They did around 4.05 min pace. They are both sub-2:55 marathoners.

Last year, I trained so hard, avg distance of 100-110 km weekly. I couldn’t even achieve the expected result of sub-4:10 pace. I think I had achieved something miracle. Come to think about it, i believed that some science have to do with it. I was watching the recent World Championship, observing some runners behaviours during the marathon race and of course, the Oregan project. With the limited time, it was useless to do intervals or speed trainings. I just find out what my half marathon pace will be and then prepare toward it.

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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

It was from this date i started on my build-up mission last year. After coming back from Hakone, I started my training by building a strong base. I was fortunate not to suffer much injuries during the process, probably due to the base training i had built up.

After the marathon, i reduced my weekly mileage to an average of 60 km. At this moment, i was waiting for Dear to get back her fitness. She had become civilised for too long, it’s dangerous for athletes to get civilised. You will no longer get hungry for success. I was focusing on building up my pace. My tempo pace had improved recently, running under 4 min pace (3.56) for 10 km distance. It was at least 15 sec improvement from last year when i had started off. I was hoping to make a new record on my weekly mileage in Jan 2013.

My New Year running resolution will be a PB on my 10 km, half marathon as well as a sub-3 marathon. Hereby, i wish everyone a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

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Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2012

Pre-race

I had spent months in preparation for my sub-3 hr attempt in this year’s SCMS. The built-up started way before the Bay run. 4 week before my race, i tried to run under 4:10 pace for several runs with my fastest 13 km at 4:04 pace. All my 16 km and below runs are below 4:15 pace. Just for my longer runs, i couldn’t hit 4:20 pace for 18 km and above. My last 30 km 2 weeks back was 4:31 pace.

My race plan was to maintain 4:22 pace up to 30 km and then go at 4:10 pace for the last 12 km to squeeze into top 10 places. My only doubt was whether i can maintain 4:22 pace up to 30 km. I knew anything slower than 4:20 pace may kiss the top 10 chance goodbye. So i had to take a gamble on it.

I reached DG MRT at 4.00 am, did my warm-up and toilet break before i had a warm-up run to the start line. Everything was smooth but the start line was crowded and i had to squeeze myself to the front.

Race

The race started promptly at 5.00 am. There was a bit of blockage at the front, not sure why the pacers need to stand in the front as they were not the sub-3 pacers. I dashed out of the crowd to gather momentum. My 1st km was 4:12 pace (my garmin showing 3:55, a bit off). I remained relax and easy, not to do any unneccessary movement before 30 km mark. My 1st 5 km was 21 min plus, on target. I tried to group with some of the runners  to share the pacing load. Our space was quite well spread. I skipped the plain water support stations and went for 100 plus stations. At 10 km, my time was 44 min, on target again. It was easy for the first 10 km.

After 11 km, i started to see some of runners dropped back. I was wondering whether i had went too fast. In fact, i had just remained on 4:22 pace. It was very dark at East Coast park, couldn’t see the front runners. I made a mistake at 19 km mark. I followed the Ekiden runner into the change over point. It was too dark and i can’t see the sign board. At 21 km mark, i checked my Garmin watch and it was showing on target pace. So i just waited patiently for the 30 km. Unfortunately at 23 km, my pace started to drop. This was my greatest nightmare, unable to maintain the pace. My mind started to have doubts. I decided to wait and see. At 25 km, my time was 1 hr 52 min (4:30 pace). My target for the sub-3 hr was gone by then. Next, i would have to see whether i could break my marathon PB. Unfortunately, i couldn’t hold the 4:30 pace at 30 km mark. Disappointment filled into my mind, i just wanted to stop running. I feel no point to carry on, save the energy for the training. My 30 km point time was 2 hr 18 min. I took a stroll through the golf course and a lot of my fellow club mates encouraged me to carry on. I told them to carry on and went for their PBs. Freddy & Trevor caught with me at 34 km mark. The time was still enough for them to finish 3:30. But Freddy was having some troubles. To share his load, i walked and run with him till the end. Along the way, Daniel also joined in to finish with a time of 3 hr 47 min. I was totally alright with no much aches.

After race

There was no doubt that i was disappointed with the outcome. I knew it was a gamble to try the 3 hr target. I had done everything well in training except my long run. If i was to go slower at the front, i had no chance to challenge the top 10 placing. So i had no regrets at all and i went out with what i had planned for.

One thing for sure, I was having problems on longer distance. I was not marathon-fit and not race-fit despite my increase of mileage recently. I had improved my half-marathon but yet to find a break through on my long run. Anyway, i will resume training straightaway as i did not suffer any marathon effects.

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Tapering time

2 weeks away from SCMS2012, i had done everything i could to push my standard of running. Built up all the way before the Bay run till now. I had hit my personal high of 121 km weekly mileage 2 weeks back. Feeling tired after it, i cut off the workload to avoid getting into overtrain condition. After the Bay run, i was constantly running under sub-3 hr pace for 10 – 15 km. Unfortunately, i couldn’t do it for longer distance which leave a negative mark on my training. Other than that, my training was going very well. I had broken my 2 years old MF 30 km record twice. I seemed to be able to threathen all my training records.

Tapering weeks are the most enjoyable period of the 3 months marathon training and can be the most important period as well. It marks the end of the training cycle, but the beginning of our body recovery. It’s the recovery that make you faster. For my tapering, i am going to keep my legs as fresh as possible and not to get injured just like the Bay Run. Keep my weight under control, not to load too much carbo and balloon out of my fittest weight condition.

My Safra MF running mates were training very hard for the race. It was becoming increasingly difficult to select our core runners. At least 10 of them can fulfill the Safra time requirement to qualify the team. They have the ‘steel’ mindset to train harder and run longer. Hereby, i will like to wish them a huge PB on the race day. Rewards always come to those who work hard.

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32 km: Sentosa

We have the Real Run and Nike Run last weekend. The 2 runs robbed some of our runners from attending our regular long runs. I was not expecting the turnout to be good and true enough, we have only 10 runners turned up for the run. Dear and myself arrived at the clubhouse around 6.45 am. It was very kind of our chairman, Wen Long, to help me out to brief the runners on the route. We still have some strong runners, Zi Li and Thow Wee, were running with us. Without delay, i deposited our bags to the club room and then did my warm-up. We would cover 2 big rounds in Sentosa island including the mini loop from the Gateway roundabout to the Satelite area.

The main group started off at around 6.50 am. I spent around 10 min to warm up before i started off. I briefed Dear how to run into the Sentosa Cove area and told her to tackle the distance slowly. She hasn’t been training regularly recently, so it would be a good achievement for her to complete at least 18 km. I started off a bit faster than last weekend’s MF attempt. At 3 km mark, near to Gateway, i was still running at 4.35 min/km pace and was feeling very frustrated with my recent long run pace. A lot of questions filled my mind, what’s wrong with me? I was running 4.20 – 4.25 min/km regularly on this route 2 months ago. How come i can’t do it now? My weekday runs were faster than before, managing under 4.15 min/km pace. But when come to morning long run, i felt my leg so tight and could not move any faster. Is there a difference between morning run and evening run? As i was thinking, passing by Hotel Rock Hotel, I saw Freddy, Dora, Ronald and Derrick on the slope, turning into Siloso Rd. I passed them and then met up with Boon Wee and Kenneth at Palawan beach. My avg pace pace was still 4.38 min/km.

As i was half way into Tanjong beach, Wen Long, Thow Wee and Zi Li were running in pack running out of Tanjong beach. I was about 1 km away from them. It would be fun to join in the pack. Sentosa route was full of undulating slopes, very difficult to control the pace. I went through the Gateway roundabout and then proceeded to Satelite. The front pack was still a distance from me, but i could see that i was closing up the gap. At the Satelite area, my Garmin sounded out 12.5 km. The time was 57 min. I used to clock 52 – 54 min at this point. I told myself to forget about the timing, just enjoy this nice and cooling run. I hit the Hard Rock slope again and the distance marker was exactly 15 km. I knew the distance was short if i just complete 2 loops. I carried on the second loop, going through Silosa beach, Palawan beach and then Tanjong beach again. Over there, i saw myself with 500m separated from the front group. Zi Li, dropped back slightly from the 2 leading men. Wen Long signalled to me to do an extra loop around the Gateway roundabout to Satelite. I acknowledged and proceeded to close up the gap.With the mini loop, it will fretch us a total of 33 km, ending at the clubhouse. I managed to close up as we were clocking the extra distance. Zi Li decided to skip the extra loop and ran back to the clubhouse. By then, Thow Wee was in front and Wen Long followed closely. Thow Wee was able to shift an extra gear. I had run with him once when he could throw me behind with his breezing marathon pace at the second half of the long run. It would be great to stay with him. My watch was showing under 4.30 min/km. Wen Long told me that i could take a break at the Allanbrooke canteen. I needed the drink to proceed further. Thow Wee was drinking there and he kindly passed a cup of ice water. I was thinking ‘Do we have to pay for the drink?’ Thow Wee was enjoying his ice lemon tea as i proceeded on. The final stretch to the clubhouse was just about hanging on to the distance. I finally took a break at Henderson Rd traffic junction, my watch was showing 32.2 km with a time of 2 hr 29 min, avg pace of 4.39 min/km. I slowly walked back to the clubhouse to relax my tired legs. It was a truly enjoyable run.

I have a total of 96 km mileage for the week. 3 consecutive of over 90 km weekly mileage. I caught a flu at night which signalled to me to take a step back week before i target the all time high of 110 km weekly. For the long run, i will continue to find out what’s went wrong.

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