Run 350

Having completed Brooks half-marathon in March this year with no pain and cramps, I decided to adopt the same race strategy to go about racing my 2nd half marathon of year, Run 350. The idea was to start 10 – 15 seconds slower than my race pace in the beginning, gradually pick up my pace to my ideal race pace before I hit the half-way mark, and then to maintain the race pace till finishing line. Probably push a little if I could at the last 1 or 2 km.

22 April 2012. It was one of the mornings which I feel good. A little nervous and excited. I knew if nothing goes wrong, I should be able to achieve a new PB for my 21km. I entered the race pen together with Huiwen after depositing our bags. Though it was still half an hour before the flag off, there were already many participants waiting for the race to start. We had to squeeze our way through the crowd to go closer to the start line. Jackie (the supportive boyfriend) who did his LSD a few hours before has come down to lend his support. He managed to find us in the crowd and shouted for us. So Huiwen and I moved to the right side to look for him. Spotted Gen, Chris, Brian, YQ (friends from MF Safra) and the few of us continued chatting while we waited for the race to start.

At about 6am, the race started. Gen dashed off in lightning speed and disappeared from sight almost immediately. Though I could see Chris ahead, he was quickly fading into the distance. I was quite tempted to chase some of the runners. But I know starting too fast, too early in the race do not work for me and so I resisted the urge to go after them. However, adrenalin pumping, I could feel myself going faster as I ran alongside with Run’er and Brian. Sure enough, my average pace read 4:34″/km after 1km. A few seconds faster than my intended starting pace of 4:40″/km. Since I was feeling comfortable and I did not want to be too far away from the runners ahead, I decided to stick to this pace. (And stick I did, all the way in fact as I later discovered when I checked the 2km auto lap pre-set in my Garmin.)

2km: 9:08 min

First water station. Knowing how much I perspired, I made it a point to hydrate myself at all the water stations.
At Nicoll Highway before the first U-turn, I could see Ashley Liew (who came in 1st for Men Category) leading the rest by a fair bit. Not long after, spotted Gen (who came in 2nd) looking rather relaxed, running together with two other guys.
4km: 18:18 min
6km: 27:22 min
7km, one-third of the race completed and surprisingly, I’m still maintaining an avg pace of 4:34/km. “Two-third more to go!”
8km: 36.26 min
Running along Tanjong Rhu view reminded me of the Marina 21k race which I did last year. Lots of twists and turns. Still, I was enjoying the run, and watching the sky gradually changing its colour from dark blue to pink. A beautiful sight.
10km: 45:49 min
My plan was to gradually increase my avg pace to about 4:30″/km by the 10km mark, but I was feeling just right with the avg pace (betw 4:33″ – 4:34″) and decided not to push for fear of tiring myself out towards the end. Took a packet of energy gel after the 11km mark.
12km: 54:58 min
14km: 1:04:00 min
Caught up with two female runners, who had stopped to hydrate themselves at the water station. Wasting no time, I grabbed a cup and drank some water as I ran, wondering how many more female runners were ahead of me. How nice it would be if I could finish among the top 5.
Not far ahead, I saw another lady runner. She was slowing down as she ran up the slope. And I thought if I could just maintain my pace, I might be able to overtake her. A while later, I managed to close the gap and soon found myself running behind her. Initially I wanted to play safe and just follow her pace. But she was breathing hard and was slowing down even after conquering the slope. I decided not to follow her; after all, I have a target to meet. Managed to pull away from her just before the 15km mark where I saw Edwin who volunteered for this event cheering for the runners. Over at the other side, I saw the speedy Japanese lady (who came in 2nd eventually for Women’s Open) running past. Chris who was slightly behind her was looking good. Seemed like he was right on his target, no doubt a pb in his pocket.
U-turn and spotted the few ladies whom I have overtaken at the other side. Some supporters shouted that I’m the third female runner. My mind raced. I was thinking to myself, “Wow! Third place! But, gosh, I better keep up with my pace before the other ladies catch up with me.” I pressed on.
16km: 1:13:07
Suddenly, a Caucasian runner who was running beside me started talking to me. It seemed like he was trying to pace me. Giving me advice that it was not the time to increase my pace. I checked my pace and briefly look over my shoulder to see how far was the 4th lady was behind. As she still some distance away, I decided to just maintain my pace and see how it goes.
18km: 1:22:19
“Last 3 km, should I push?”
20km: 1:31:19
Almost there! All out till the end.
754m: 1:34:31
Distance short of a couple of hundred metres according to my Garmin. So even though my average pace was 4:33/km, I managed to meet my target of sub 1hr 35min. A new pb for 21km and yet another surprise 3rd placing for the female category! Absolute delight as this was my very first top 3 finish in a local race. =D

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