Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sundown Marathon 2011

This will be my only full marathon for this year, the Sundown Marathon 2011 which I first participated in the 21km event last year. Chua and I have been preparing for this marathon since last year, doing our twice-weekly run from HarbourFront to Keppel Bay Club and for me, I combined the training with cycling and trekking. All these activities did help immensely in our endurance run where it matters most.

On the morning of 28 May, I even arranged to do leisure cycling with two friends covering 40km and after that, went to Paya Lebar Airport for an airshow. By the time I reached home, it was around 4pm and admittedly, I was 'dead' tired. The run was slotted at 10pm and my heart was pounding with excitement at every passing minute.

At about 8pm, Chua arrived at my house to pick me up. At about the same time, Dora messaged me to update that she just clocked 1 hr 1 mins plus in her 10km, which was her first 10km. Wow, not bad a time and possibly, she could finish under 1 hour once the actual result is out in the next few days. CK was a little behind her, understand he suffered cramps which slowed him down considerably.

Chock-a-block traffic along Changi Coast Road leading to Singapore Exhibition Centre, the start/finish point. At slightly over 9pm, we finally arrived which gave us ample time to prepare/warm up - phew!

This year, it was better organised than the previous year, at least most runners can make it on time for the race and also, the ultra-marathon event (100km) will start about a month later which should provide much logistical relief to the organisers.

The 42km event attracted 11,000 runners this year. Excitement filled the air when all the runners lined up at the start line. Before the flag-off, I turned to my run buddy, Chua and wished him luck and he did likewise. Finally, we were flagged off at slightly over 10pm. We had to run more than 3km from the start line to the main road and then, all the way to East Coast Park.

Chua and I were together for the first 5 km and slowly, I surged ahead of him. I was maintaining a steady pace, defintely not faster than my usual pace knowing I will soon run out of energy at some point. Around 10km, I saw this amazing runner with one arm. Before passing him, I went up to him and said, "Go, go, go...!" which he duly acknowledged.

At about 18km mark, I was surprised I ran past the 4-hr pacer. I realised I had clocked under 2 hours in the first 21km. Nearing the 21km u-turn point, Chua finally caught up with me. We had a quick chat, he told me he just vomitted from drinking too much of isotonic drink. I told I too had some pain in my stomach from drinking too much of 100plus but I had no choice, need to replenish my energy. But he was more charged up after the throw up. He opened his pace and started to surge in front of me. I decided I should slow down in the next 21km, our half way mark as I feared I might sustain cramps which may put paid to my run.

After the 25km mark, I stopped to walk for a while though I still can continue running. It was short walk before I resumed the run. It was basically the same routine for me throughout, stopped for a short walk and then started to run again. This was to ensure I don't suffer leg cramps. The last 21km was the hardest part, as energy started to sap away.

At East Coast Park, there were some supporters cheering us on which was certainly a morale-booster to me and the other runners too. I tried to give thumb-up to the supporters at each point, acknowledging their supports. Thanks all the supporters, strangers you may be to me but runners certainly need cheering up to forge ahead.

At the last 10km mark, the 4hrs 30 mins pacer ran past me. At that point, I said to myself that the 5-hr pacer must not past me if I wanted to come under 5 hrs. So I decided to push harder in the remaining 10km but it was tough as my legs were getting weaker and weaker.

At the final turn to the finishing, still more than 3km left and I decided to open up my pace - heck care any cramps now. I was really charged up, knowing the end is near. It was a run of my life in the last 3km, I must say. No one ran past me, in fact I was overtaking many runners in front of me. I was pleasantly surprised that I still packed so much energy in my last 3km, running like a 'pro'.

Nearing the finishing line, I looked up and saw it was around 4hr 30min plus, surprise...surprise. I made a final dash, gave two peace signs to acknowledge the crowd for their cheering on.

After collecting my finisher tee and medal, I saw Chua who finished slightly more than 4 mins ahead of me. Boy, he was in top top form.

After a short rest, we walked back to the car and home is where we wanted to go. A well deserved rest for us.

Thanks to organisers of Sundown for another memorable event. I should be back to lower my mark.

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