Monday, December 08, 2008

Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2008

This year Standard Chartered run is my second, did my first last year. I clocked 1 hour 1 min plus in my first 10 km, which to me, was already a pleasant surprise. I did not expect to clock just slightly over 1 hour in that run because I did not do much serious outdoor running prior, mostly on the treadmills and at most 15 mins each time.

My dainty CEO was game enough to attempt 21 km for this year after completing her 10 km last year, asked me to partake with her in that category but I felt I should work to better my own time clocked in 2007 run instead. A goal I had set for myself this year. Still, she earned my admiration for upping her distance while rest of my colleagues who did last year's 10km run incuding me chose to maintain status quo for 2008 run.

The large part of 2008 was mainly indoor training at the gym for me, 15 mins on treadmills (no more, no less) followed by free weight to tone up muscles and the sequence was repeated over 2 or 3 times in a week. Quite frankly, I knew my physical fitness was still not up scratch despite fairly regular training at the gym coz 15 mins on treadmills is not enough to burn calories, let alone building up stamina.

I started to do outdoor running only in September this year when I found someone to run with me - a common interest for the two of us. I did a 6.6 km competitive race sometime in October to gauge how far have I gone as far as my training has taken me. Started first 4 km on good pace, however the last stretch was a struggle for me and finished I did, just barely. I then realised I still have to work hard on my stamina and decided, more outdoor running is a must in my training schedule now.

From September to November, my running partner and I enrolled in some running and walking events and in the process, we stepped up serious training of sorts prior to each event. I did improve on my endurance, so too for my running partner and gradually increased our distance. If not for my running partner, I think I will still stay indoor doing 15 mins running on treadmills (mundance stuff, admittedly).

There is another person I have to thank. He is my colleague, Chua (a seasoned marathoner himself) for pushing me over a longer distance nearer to the race day. His finishing is still a tad lethal than me and for a person competing in the punishing 42 km marathon(not his first), he certainly packs much reserve to last a long long distance. I wonder why running 42 km marathon is just a stroll for him, he is a super human.

Took 2 days leave to ready for this Standard Chartered run on 7 Dec, nothing much to prepare...just relaxing and meeting up some friends, to give myself a piece of mind from work. And I was all ready for the big event of the year.

On the race day, I got up at 5.30 am. Jani came over my place and picked me up at 6 am. Yes, some 50,000 runners expected, the biggest turnout ever. Jani and I tried to move as front as possible (kiasu abit) and finally, after a slight delay, we were flagged off @ about 7.45 am. It was an easy 3km run but the biggest challenge was going the long upslope when we hit the expressway. I had to push my body forward and opened my strides, the slope up was some 1 km long and had already taken a toll on some. At halfway mark (just 5km), I began to feel some strains despite all the training I had and I was thinking, boy...what about those competing in 21km and 42km, they had much longer distance to complete. Pressed on I did, forget about the pain and focussed my attention on one person. I kept reminding myself that I am running this race for her (she couldn't run this year) and this run was meant for her and her only. I maintained steady pace and decided to open up abit towards the last 2km and yes, I was the Padang, the finishing point. About 100 metre to the finishing, I saw the clock showing 53 mins plus, a good time for me and I then decided to garner all the remaining energy in my body, ran as far as I could. In my 100 metre dash, I sped past more runners and took a last look up, it was 53 mins 34 secs. I reckon I should have finished 54 mins and in the process, slicing some 8 mins from the previous best.

My goal of 55 mins has been achieved for this year and I am looking forward to 42 km marathon, come 2009 joining Chua and hopefully some of our colleagues too. Daunting indeed but I am inspired to finish the 42 km.

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