Early this year I've signed up for a few important races varying from 10km, 21km and adventure races. Every registration is a gamble, not knowing if I will be able to make it or not. First month of 2016, I had to skip one of the 10km race due to call of duty. Words to describe my Navy life - It's complicated. So Twincity Marathon dropped on a long weekend, I was on duty Friday and Saturday I drove back to pick up race kit, then get some good sleep. I did not bother so much about my race pace, I try to keep my expectations low to avoid pre race jitters. I slept really well.
Race starts at 0400H for the full and 0530H for the half. By the time I got there, the Full Marathoners were running already. Since all participants park by the roadside, I joined the Parking Offender's Bandwagon. Took 3 bananas, Energy Gels and set up my Garmin Forerunner 225. It's really awesome to have heart rate data without the chest strap, thanks to the built in optical heart rate. I set the slowest pace to be 5.00mins/km. Skechers GoSpeed3 and 2ndskin vaporskin race vest was my choice of gear. I notice that I wear the same gear very single race=p
After some Zumba dance and Fire performance, 0530H sharp we started. I kicked off the first quarter of the race in sub 4.00mins/km, a tad too fast for my level. 21km is one of my favourite distance, it needs some mental toughness and tactics with speed to win unlike the purely sprinting 10km.
3.48 / 4.18 / 4.13 / 4.14 / 4.26
Ronnie and a green vest Malay guy formed a pack with me. We ran around 4.00 - 4.30 mins/km pace. I try not to sync my cadence with them because I am the shortest among them, so if my rhythm is same as theirs, it is likely that I will be heel striking due to over extension of my leading foot. Breathing wise, I has to skip one inhale to make an odd rhythm so 1 inhale and 2 exhales. Everything felt great. We did not slow down at all the hills, hitting slowest pace 4.30mins/km, nothing less.
6km - 10km
4,13 / 4.28 / 4.20 / 4.22 / 4.31
The hills came one after another, I am still under control with good posture and cadence. Ronnie's arm swing was really wide that he needed a lot of space.=p We pace each other so I try to stay one step ahead of him so that both of us maintain a comfortable space. Having someone around my speed to pace with is really lucky. Undeniably, he made me push myself harder. I saw Ironman Amran within sighting distance, but I am not gonna reel him back. Long way to go, I don't wanna bonk chasing him.
Maintained a very steady pace all the way. (Blue Graph)
11km - 15km
4.23 / 4.26 / 4.30 / 4.29 / 4.28
The hills starting to eat me up a bit, I felt a little tired already. Grab whatever I could at the aid station. Most of the time are plain water mixed with isotonics. Being a triathlete, I was trained to snatch cups and sponges at aid stations without slowing down. I could even squeeze in a gel while running, I feel that this is a strong advantage in this race. Getting a few meters gap at every aid station, the gap slowly grew larger leaving me and Ronnie only. The route were so dark at the 2nd half section of the race, the markers could hardly be seen! At some marker with volunteers standing, I was approaching 100m, no signal given. 50m closer, no signal given. By the time I got closer, I had to shout to them to ask for direction. Too many junctions in the dark, Ronnie and I just ran based on instinct. We were in no man's land. Behind us nobody, in front also nobody.
16km - 21km
4.21 / 4.33 / 4.40 / 4.32 / 4.48 / 4.14
This race is extremely humid. Well, what humidity does to our body? It slows down the evaporation of sweat which is a vital cooling effect in running. What to do about it? I always cool my body at every aid station. If the body can't cool down, the heart rate shoots up. Cooling the body with cold sponge or ice water is something that Ironman does in racing, nothing new. And of course choice of race gear material assists in the cooling effect. For running races, I wear 2ndskin. There are many choices in the market, pick what works for u. My watch beeped an alert to mark 21km, I did not hear any noise from the race site. I doubt that I am near the finishing arch. Anyway, just keep running and dig as deep as I could.
The extra penis looking loop that I went after kilometer 14. Check my Garmin Connect data on the left, and the actual race course on the right.
22km - 24km
4.44 / 4.53 / 4.33
I still didn't see any signs nor hear any loud noise. Ronnie was right behind. I was exhausted, palm felt cold and my hamstring is pulling. Both of us just ran along the road following the other runners, didn't bother to ask if it is the correct way also. It's surely over distance already. Kilometer 24, I saw the finishing arch, took my last corner and sprint my lungs out! I was given a "No8 Potential Winner" tag. After checking with other runners, some ran 21km. That means I did extra 3km. From Ranking No3 dropped to No8 because of the extra 3km we ran. I wasn't that disappointed actually because I knew that I did well. That's the most important thing. My stride length for this race is 1.29m! I couldn't be happier, this shows how important a correct stretching is!
Ronnie called me up to join his protest. Why not? So I tailed him with a few misled runners, complained to the organizers. We got smiles and short chat from them, I knew nothing can be corrected. The race is over. I'd expect a "sorry" from them at least. Not long later, saw Deo came back. Another sub4 full marathon for him, and also top 10. The official pacer Yim and Yew Khuay came back with total distance 39km, under distance. Must be missing one junction. Many others faced the same problem. I see the potential of this race, the venue is good and the course is challenging. Hopefully the organizer improve and illuminate all markers to prevent recurrence of the same issue. RM70 I paid for Half Marathon, Full Marathon RM80. Next year I am gonna do the full.
Fire show before prize giving.
Men Open No8 after the extra 3km. Not too bad lah.
Photo courtesy Deo.