|The Sub-4 hour pen, waiting to start. Photo: Runsociety|
Last weekend was the 2011 running of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM). I’d be lying if I said I rocked up to the start with no expectations, I’m far too competitive for that. Especially not with a 3:24 run last year, bagging me a third placing in the Singapore Women’s Close category, and a win in the Women’s Veteran category. This year they moved the Veteran age cut-off up to 40 .. just as well!
I wasn’t nervous, just not particularly keen as the start loomed simply because I hadn’t been training properly since UTMB in September, much less specific conditioning for the marathon. Last year, GNW was my main focus, and the 2010 SCSM three weeks later was more of a recovery run. This year, I’ve had closer to three months off before the marathon .. not the recommended dosage, but I figured I’d be ok.
This year 65,000 participants took part in the SCSM in its various incarnations, the 5km, 10km, half-marathon and full marathon. I’d planned to run with a friend (Ford), so we got to the start about 4am, a good hour before the flag-off. There was a pretty relaxed atmosphere, with different sections for the various expected finish times. Runners began filling the pens and pacers with balloons tied to their vests took their places and everyone slowly got into their own pre-race routine. The elite athletes had a pen of their own in front of everyone else, and the group was dominated by Kenyan runners.
I’ve also got new shoes! The Road-X 233, review coming up next … 🙂
Trail specialists Inov8 have just launched their Road-X range this year, and they’re looking good. Since I have one long suffering pair of road shoes (as opposed to 15 pairs for trail!), I thought I’d treat myself to a new pair. I needed them for the marathon, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
I figured I’d aim for a 3:30 marathon pace and see how things panned out. Just in case, I’d also had Hammer Anti-Fatigue Caps on me .. every little helps! I also had Endurolytes (naturally!) and a spare Hammer gel. Worst case scenario, I’d be happy with a sub-4 finish.
|My Inov8 Road-X 233|
The start was revved up by the emcee, and then slightly mis-cued as the guests-of-honour set off their air horns a couple of seconds before the countdown. Those quick off the mark would have gotten entangled in the barrier chains, but otherwise it was 5am and the marathon was underway! Ford and I started off at a decent clip, and we were comfortably doing sub 4:30 per km for the first 9km. Ford had a little trouble with a hot spot and stopped at 10km to check it out whilst I carried on alone. I got pretty bored in the next 10km, and it didn’t feel as smooth as I’d hoped either.
My splits were getting slower but I thought I’d be able to go the distance. My body thought otherwise. Just under 1:43 at 21km and I start cramping. we’re along the East Coast Parkway stretch and it’s pretty easy running .. but my calves and quads are taking turns wreaking havoc with cramp, not a good sign. I shovel the last of my Endurolytes down (I only carried enough for 4 hours) and hoped that would fix it.
The trouble with a longer distance is that there’s no where to hide. The last 10km was painful and filled with cramp. I was stopping to stretch every 5 minutes or so, and I wasn’t alone. Coming up to the Sheares Bridge, we merge with the half-marathon runners, and suddenly there’s runners everywhere. I’m toying with the idea of stopping, or the option of slowing right down and running with someone I know … for the enjoyment. I’m thinking of Kilian’s philosophy: The results don’t matter, but the experience does. But I’m just too competitive to kick back. I think I can at least I make a sub-4 .. but it’ll be painful.
|The half-marathon route runs through Sentosa and the new Transformers Ride at Universal Studios. Photo: Runsociety|
With 2km to go and I see Kay, an old friend, who’s also besieged with cramp. We run together to the finish, dodging runners everywhere as the route is now congested with finishing participants from both the half and the full marathon. Getting to the finish line was definitely an effort .. Kay and I cross at nearly the same time .. and find we can hardly walk after finishing! Officials at the finish check that we’re okay .. surely we don’t look that bad?? We just couldn’t move very quickly. 3:51 something .. I’ll have to be content with that.
We’re herded into the finishing area for medals and finishers tees .. and asked if we need medical assistance everytime we stop for a rest! At least the staff are friendly and on the ball. Kay and I make our way across the muddy Padang towards the massage tent. My legs feel like lead and all I want to do is sit down.
Post-massage, I’m feeling much better and I’ve also managed to down some Recoverite. That really was a lot harder than I’d expected, but it definitely kept me honest! I think this was the fastest run session I’d had all year … a lesson learned, even with my advanced years! 😉 I was aching like I’d just run an ultra, and the next day walking down stairs was a joke.
Well done to everyone who attempted it, congratulations to those who finished. What matters is not the finish line, but that you gave it your all every step of the way.