Army Half Marathon 2012

9 Sept 2012

This year, I had the privilege to be one of the seeded runners and was allowed to use a different lane to enter the race pen. Stella (being 1st runner-up of last year’s AHM in the Master’s category) joined me in the pen shortly after. While warming up, we checked out the top local runners inside the pen. Singapore’s fastest woman, Anne was back in Singapore to race. Not far away, spotted Sumiko at a corner with Vivian Tang, who was racing in the Master’s category this time instead of Closed. Itsuko Tanaka, champ for last year’s Masters category was there too. At the other side of the tent were the talented Moks: Mok Ying Ren and his sister, Mok Ying Rong. Spotted Asics athletes,  Alex Ong and Ashley Liew too. Strangely, there were no other female competitors in Women’s Closed category.

A few minutes before race start, the organisers released the tape and allowed the rest of the runners to move forward to the start line. I was in the second row and could see a row of army guys holding hands in front of everyone, acting as the “tape” to block us from stepping onto the mat. Before I could figure out what they were going to do, the horn sounded. The army guys let go of their hands and sprinted ahead, as fast as their legs could carry them. The race has started.

I got carried away and found myself following the speedy runners ahead. Stella reminded me to hold my pace. I told myself to slow down after throwing away my bottle of water at the side of the road. Within the first km, Jackie, Chris, Richard and Trevor ran past us. Shortly after, Yvonne also dashed past me and Stella. I shouted to Yvonne to remind her not to go too fast at the beginning. At the 2nd km, my pace increased from 4:24″km to 4:14″km. Forced myself to slow down and eventually pace settled at 4:19″km after 3km which was just about slightly above my targeted pace.

Almost missed a water point at the 4km mark which was located further on my left-hand side. I ran towards it without a second thought and Sumiko who was right behind me got a shock as I have accidentally stepped into her running path. Apologised to her and she was a good sport about it. At the next water point, I almost tripped when I stumbled over the slightly uneven ground. Continued my run and reminded myself to be careful especially when it’s still dark. Chia and Freddy from Jurong Safra overtook us and were going strong after MBS.

We entered Gardens By the Bay and I realised my pace has dropped significantly (more than 4:30″km). Fearing that I would not have the strength and energy for my 2nd half of the race, I hold on to my pace while Stella and Trevor got further and further away from me. Somewhere along at Tanjong Rhu, Kenneth caught up with me. As I ran up the curb, Kenneth who was just right behind me, missed the step and fell. Luckily, there was no serious injury and he picked himself up immediately. He was running faster than before and was soon catching up with Stella. I wanted to chase after them, but my mind was weak and my legs couldn’t seem to keep up. They got further and further away after a right turn just before the 10km mark and I could no longer see them.

Disappointed that I am unable to sustain my pace, I decided to take my packet of Maxifuel gel earlier to give myself a little boost at this point. Held this packet of gel and took little mouthfuls of it till the 13km mark before I finished all and threw it away.

At some point, Boon Wee caught up with me and overtook me. I could not see him anymore after a while. At about 16km, I caught sight of Trevor who was slowing down. Clapped for him to press on before overtaking him. It was encouraging indeed when he also cheered for me. From a distance, I could also see Boon Wee running up the slope. I tried to increase my pace a little to close up the gap. Finally, as we entered into the Kallang Park Connector, I caught up with him and clapped for him to press on. (Too breathless to say anything.)

At the floating platform, Weisian in striking yellow Newton top suddenly appeared from nowhere and zoomed past me. Shouted “jiayou” to him and was contemplating of chasing him. But, he was all gone in a flash before I could even made up my mind.

With about 2 km more to go, I told myself to hang in there. I was excited to ran past Esplanade as it means the finishing point was very near. Shortly after turning left, I spotted Darren from Tampines Safra and cheered for him as I ran past.

At the final bend, I saw Melvin from MF Safra at the side taking photos. It was motivating to know that was the final stretch. And so it was home run for me all the way to the finishing line. A quick glance at the clock before I crossed the line told me that I completed slightly more than 1hr 36min. It was 3 mins off from the target I have set for myself.

I wondered if I was too ambitious to hope to complete the half marathon under 1hr 33 min. (My pb obtained earlier this April at Run 350 was 1hr 34m 31s, though admittedly distance was abt 200m short for that race). But I was feeling good and very much wanted to see how much I have progressed over the past few months, especially when I have been training consistently and putting extra effort in my runs. Sad to say, the race proves that I’m still not ready to do a sub 1hr 33min. Perhaps 1hr 34min would be a more realistic target.

Still, I was very lucky to still came in 4th in the Women’s Closed Category. An improvement from 8th position last year, partly because many past year’s winners like Elaine Lim, Rachel and Lim Baoying etc did not participate this year.

A bit disappointed as I did not meet my target, but a very good learning experience nonetheless.

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