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.
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.
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.