Category Archives: #running

Race Report: East Coast Park of Sundown Marathon 2013

When they published the route map, I know that the true test will come during the East Coast Park’s section of the run, between km 11 -34. Marathon is half endurance, half mental battle. The first 11 km goes through the city street, light and building that keeps your mind off the run and distance, and help to pass time. Into the east coast park, the light and building was replaced by trees and the sound of nature. It is easy for the mind to fall into the thought of many kilometres to go, or the pain that start to creep up on my feet.

One sign of the mind playing tricks on you is the feeling that water station become more spaced apart. The water station is supposed to stay between 2-2.5 km apart. It feels closer during the city part of the run. Well into the East Coast Park, the water station feels further apart.

The route through East Coast Park is also the kind of out-and-back route, where they turn at 24km mark back and run the same route back to the finish line. Near the 13km mark, the handcyclyst group passed me from the other direction. They did start few minutes ahead us, and did go fast with their handcycle. The lead runners passed me from the other direction when I’m reaching 15-16km mark.

The further out through the East Coast Park, the Marathon become more and more disheartening. More runners pass me fromt he other direction, and no city light or noise from cars to keep my mind busy. The beeping sound from my Polar Heart Rate Monitor is beeping every now and then, signalling me to slow down and keep my heart rate under control. The compression calf guard on my left foot was bruising my skin. I stopped every few kilometers to fix it, but decided to ignore it and run through the pain.

At one point in time, I started looking inside my soul. With nothing to keep my mind busy, I started thinking of life, about when thing get tough and hopeless. There are times in life that, when thing get tough, I was thinking of quitting, of giving up. It might be easier to quit a project, or work, when it seems to become unbearable. But to quit on your family is impossible. It is impossible to quit from fatherhood, from your wife, or from your parents. Sometimes, in such hopeless situation, there are only 1 choice: to preserve. It means to think harder about the problem, do harder to change what you can change, brace yourself with what you can’t change, and importantly, believe that things will be better at the end of the day, that the sun will rise.

With this in mind, I got my first Second Wind that brings me to the 21km mark. I have completed the first half of Sundown Marathon.

Race Report: First Half of Sundown Marathon 2013

I started with a jog, and bid farewell to my friend. He is an experienced marathon, and this is his fourth. We come together to the starting line well early before the race to avoid the queue, and stayed together to take pictures and pass time while waiting for the start. I would like to start very conservative, so I decided not to keep up with him and wish him good luck for the rest of 42k.

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Posing with 6:00 pacers before the race. In the end, I lost them

My time goal to finish the Sundown Marathon is under 6 hour, by keeping up with 6 hour pacers. They are behind me now, so I should rely on my Polar Watch to pace. Since I started conservatively, I use my heart rate as guidance, putting my pace well over 6 hour pacers. When they catch up, I will try to keep up with them. Meanwhile, I enjoy the night scenery of Singapore Downtown. Light shower from the overhead street light as well buildings. When passing an overhead road, the view was even more amazing.

The 6 hours pacers finally catch up with me at 8km mark. I stayed with them for few hundred meters, but it turns out that the pace is too fast to maintain for the rest of 38k. They skipped the next water station, where I stopped to grab some drink. I tried to keep up with them for some time, before finally drop off the group. From a distance, I saw their balloon marker disappear in a right turn, together with my goal of finishing under 6 hours.

I’m again on my own, immersing myself into the night of Singapore, with its light. We even pass Singapore Flyer in the distance. Singapore Flyer is a landmark, so huge that it is easily visible from the distance. It was where we are started, and also the finish line. A sharp left turn around km 11 mark leave Singapore Flyer behind us. We are heading into the East Coast Park and I bid farewell to Singapore Flyer. See you again in a couple of hour.

Race Report: Sundown Marathon 2013

Most of the time when I told people for the first time that I’m training for Marathon, the first question that get asked is: Why? It is a gruelling distance, one that require dedication through months of training. Training that require strong will to get out of the comfortable bed at 4am in the morning, pushing banana through your mouth, don your shorts and hit the road when the sky was barely lit, when most people will still be asleep. Some of the sceptics even go one step further, saying that I will ruin my knee.

I have never come out with a definite answer myself. I know that I need to run the marathon, but to say it why, I never have the right words for it. The best answer that I can give is that: personal achievement. I feel that I need to achieve something, that money alone can’t buy. Something that take courage, determination, preserverance, and a lot of luck to achieve. The fact is that, Marathon is only of of the big things in my bucket list that fit my description of achievement.

I started to put real action on my goal to finish a marathon in January 2013. Six months before the race, I dare myself to register to Sundown Marathon 2013. It was a daring thing to run your first Marathon at midnight. Having a date set for a goal is a real motivation to find a time to prepare for it. When work interfere with very late night assignment, I replaced the bike to train station with morning run, and took shower at the office. One morning I forgot to secure my iPhone, and lost it to pickpocket.

At another time, I did my first and longest run prior to the Marathon, 25k morning run. Long run is necessary not only to improve the endurance, but also to test out the fuelling and hydration strategy. I almost collapse few hours later, at a shopping mall, probably due to low blood sugar. My wife come to the rescue with a cup of Starbucks with a lot of sugar, and some cookies. I changed my fuelling strategy after that to ensure such thing won’t happen on the real Marathon race.

Eventually, I have never really fully prepared for the race. Life did interfere with my training schedule, with work, family and a 1 year old son who is my top priority. “To finish and enjoy a marathon, one should do a long run of at least 30-33k during training”, said my friend, a marathon finisher. That 25k where I almost collapse is my longest run. Even with delicate balancing of time, my weekly milleage was still below 40k, 10k short of my target weekly mileage.

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When the time come, I know that it will be courage, determination, perseverance and a lot of luck that will fill the gap in my training. I come to the starting line of Sundown Marathon 2013, physically half prepared, but mentally fully ready.