Venue: Orchard Road, Singapore
Date: 5 December 2010
Distance: 42.195KM (42.5KM by Keat Seong's Garmin 405)
Shoe: K-Swiss K-Ruuz
Just glad No. 14 is all but over...
No. 14 was officially the first training for my century distance at the Sundown Ultra Marathon 2011. Approaching it was the same, in terms of dieting compared to my No.9, at least looking at it in 2 weeks before the race. Just wanted to take it easy and to complete without too much of a suffering without wearing any compression wear. Did not want to rely too much about it.
Pre race day was a little tiring if you ask me. It's all about travelling. 8am was the the start of my journey on board First Coach from Bandar Utama, together with Poh Seng, Keat Seong, Jennifer, Yann Kai, Che-Ryl, Yen Erl and her friends. Journey itself was very cold as it was raining outside plus the air condition was working at full power.
Upon arrival at Singapore at about 2pm, I met up with Matthew from BV Sport to pick up some stuff for my premises before adjourning for a quick lunch at Novena's food court. Met up with Siok Bee and Siok Leng, and evne Paul too! Next, to the Float at Marina to collect our race packs. Though it was properly managed, I do feel a Malaysia feel with it as the race packs wasn't standardized. I'm missing key information about the race in mine. The small little expo which showcase just only ASICS and a supplement company was a tad disappointment.
Not that we have the time to shop, we left for our hotel via train. Checked into our room at Peninsula Excelsior Hotel which was Room 811. First thing that caught Poh Seng's nostril was the smell of cigarette! Don't think we can have our room change as the hotel is fully booked by other marathoners. Lived with it and hopefully with our shampoo smell, it will go away. While Poh Seng took a quick nap, I prepared my race gear before we adjourned for dinner at 6pm at Funan's food court. A really simple dinner which couldn't fill me, I bought a Subway sandwich back. Also met up with Eugene to pass him he BV Sport Anatomical Tights for he is running his maiden marathon.
Back at the hotel, it's shower and some minor preparations before I went into dream land at 9pm. I quickly fell asleep as I was tired plus the bed was actually pretty comfortable.
Had a little trouble waking up. Only had 90 minutes to prepare but it was sufficient. By 4am, we were ready and together with Keat Seong and Jennifer, myself and Poh Seng hop into a Bentley taxi! Made ourselves to Orchard Road, hung around there till race time at 5am while meeting some friends. Keat Seong stared with the sub 4 hour group while myself with Poh Seng and Jennifer somewhere in the sub 5 hour. I was originally put at the above 6 hours group as I did not notice an e-mail sent out to request our expected finishing time However, as Chee Kong did reply his e-mail, I used his bib to check into his group before taking off his bib, putting on mine. This of course is done via his permission as he is away at South Africa.
The race start was pretty unique. Music blasting and emcee talking away before it suddenly went all quiet. Sharp at 5am, the music came back with the horn blowing to indicate the start. Talk about suspense! Took us a while to cross the star gantry so we just slumber around to enjoy the Christmas lighting. And even after crossing it, I still had problems navigating through the amount of runners. There were estimated 19,000 marathoners this morning.
I was getting a bit impatient after 2KM cause my body has already warm up but I couldn't get into my comfy pace. My pace was too slow. Then it was the first refreshment station at 2.5KM and there was a mad scramble for it. Let the other runners get their refreshment and the road ahead was slightly clear for me.
It was some where at Fullerton Hotel where the road began to clear for me, and I managed to clock in some decent but yet comfy pace of my own. Next was Nicoll Highway and memories of 2008's race came back to me. This was the stretch that my friend began to slow down back then. The ghost of my past came back haunting me in the darkness. But the show has to go own. "let me get out of this stretch", I told myself and soon enough I hit 10KM at 00:55:19. Too fast! I wanted to run a 6 mins/KM pace and this was too fast! I slowed down to readjust as I enter Mountbatten Road.
Next was East Coast Park and upon entering, a fruit station was there handling out bananas. I skip it for fears of my gut sensitiveness to it. Just kept running passing certain areas that reminded me again of 2008's edition. Then into the main park where memories of this year's Sundown Ultra Marathon 2010 came back. At about 15KM, Poh Seng came along side me. He asked if I'm OK as I have slowed down. Told him I was as my earlier pace was too fast. Was just readjusting.
We ran together and about 17KM or so, I grab my first isotonic drink from the station. Totally disgusted with it and I felt like throwing up later. Kept spitting to get rid of the taste in my mouth. As we approach the half way point u-turn at 02:03:47, we saw Keat Seong running strong at the opposite side. We are at least a kilometer behind him. When I got to the turning point, I saw no energy gel station which was promised to be there. I was disgusted by the empty promise. Further down, Poh Seng had to stop for toilet break and I continued on my own.
The energy gel station appeared at close to 23KM and I took 3 sachets from it. I had to stop to insert the 3 sachets into my back pocket. Hahaha... Then Poh Seng caught up. At 25KM, I felt a burn on my right feet. I told Poh Seng that I desperately wants to get out of this park for I thought the concrete surface was contributing to the burning feeling. But little did I know, it wasn't. At 27KM, I felt wetness on my right feet's big toe and saw a reddish patch on my shoe. Immediately I knew it due to the swelling I suffered a couple of days back and that the toe has failed me. I slowed down tremendously here onwards and let Poh Seng go.
I began stopping to adjust myself. The more stops I made, the more problems began to surface. Legs started to lock up and the same old spot on my left calf that gave way during The North Face 100 Singapore 2010 and Powerman Malaysia 2010 came back. I swear that whenever a runner who wore the BV Sport Booster came passing me, I felt like stripping it off him to wear it on myself. Hahaha...
Entering the 30KM mark at 03:09:39, I was taken into some construction site along a golf course. Further ahead, I was treated to a magnificent view of the Sand Marina area which oversea the central business district. This is probably the best view I get from this entire race. And though the sun was shining at full here, I was greeted by a gentle breeze which I really welcomed! Walk run walk run and this is what I am left to do. Used markers along the way to help me accomplish this. Exited this area via marina Mall and into the streets along Sands Marina.
A TOTAL MESS is how I describe the next area. The quarter and half marathon runners clash into the full marathoners and the running space is just about 2 lanes. Hardly any space to run in a straight line, I really gave up on running here. I just walk and walk till I got to Republic Avenue before resuming my run again. Close to an hour wasted here I guess.
Into Raffles Avenue and I know the finish was close. Then the Singapore Flyer came into sight and I told myself "It's almost over". Pick up my pace a little, enduring the pain on my toe and soreness on both legs and just though of finishing it. The final minor climb up the Esplanade Bridge and turning into Fullerton Road was the sight to behold. The finishing line is ahead!
I remember Tey mentioning in his Facebook to call out to him if we spotted him. And so he was at about 100M to the finish line with his "advertisement" hung behind his neck. With all my breath, I inhaled and screamed out to him! It was pretty loud and he noticed and managed to snap a photo of me. Hahaha... And so, I just ran and ran, crossing the finish line in 04:54:36. No.14, you're in my bag.
Rear view of the finisher's medal...
Walk around, picked up my finishers medal and tee and regroup with Keat Seong and Poh Seng. Soon, Yee Hua, Jennifer and Siok Bee came in too with the latter being the most wasted of all. A slow walk back to the hotel, freshen up and treated ourselves to a Japanese lunch before I'm off to Novena with Poh Seng, Keat Seong and Jennifer to catch out bus back at 3pm. The bus itself was filled with almost the same passengers we came with. However, a horrible experience at the Malaysian custom as we spent more than an hour there just to show our passport to them. Yes, the word is "show". This is due to the large number of tourist from China. But still, that wasn't the excuse...
All in all, I didn't really enjoy No. 14. But I'm glad it's all over for now. 5 marathons this year and none came close to my average performance. This is what I get with the lack of training. But most importantly, I made it back in 1 piece though my poor toe now is again swollen with a little "reddish" souvenir on my new K-Swiss K-Ruuz. But anyhow, it's over and I shall look forward to the next.