2012 is the fifth consecutive year I joined Nike Run. Nike Run holds a special place in my heart because this was the first 10 km race which I completed in under 50 min (after struggling with 52 mins for a very long time). And ever since I clinched my very first “potential winner” tag in 2010 Nike run, my aim is to better my personal best and hopefully received a “potential winner” tag at the end of each race.
So, yes! I’m there at the starting line this year with Jackie, Huiwen and close to 20,000 runners again. Anticipated that it would be quite packed and chaotic, we reached the starting point (near Esplanade) really early and saw Brian hanging outside the pen waiting for his friend. Jackie, Huiwen and I entered the race pen as soon as it opened at 6.30am. Then, it was a restless and long wait for the race to start. Spotted Charles, Richard and Yong Qiang in the crowd. Said “Hi” to Michele Tan, one of M’sia top woman runner who was just standing in front of us. Jasmine Goh was not too far away too. Few minutes before the flag off, Nike sponsored athletes and elite runners, Soh Rui Yong, Anne Qi Hui, Suzy Walsham, Vivian Tang, Sumiko, Renuka etc entered the race pen from the front after warming up.
At exactly 7.15am, the race started. I felt some shoving right at the start as the runners behind me surged forward to cross the mat. I told myself not to be “pulled” by the faster runners and tried to control my pace. As I did not wear a Garmin, (silly me did not charge my Garmin properly and the battery died on me) I could only rely on my feel, my watch and distance marker to determine my pace. I was wondering if I was going too slow because all the runners seemed to disappeared in a flash after a few hundreds metres. I was getting worried as I was already breathing harder than usual – not a good sign. Passed the first water station, and knowing that this station is at 1.1km mark, I checked my pace – about 4:30min. Did not managed to see any distance marker after that and I basically go with the flow, overtaking runners ahead one-by-one. I was gradually getting into the momentum and breathing got easier, which was a relief to me. As I ran along Nicoll Highway, I saw the faster runners running past at the other side of the road. Soh Rui Yong was right ahead by a fair bit, followed by some guys. Spotted Jackie and a few familiar faces and clapped for them before I did my own u-turn.
And it was my turn to receive cheers and encouragements from running mates like Brian, Charles, Chris when I ran past them on the other side. It was so crowded that I could only hear rather than see them. I have no idea how fast I was running then so I was glad to finally see a 4km distance marker. Time check about 16mins 38sec. This was slightly faster than my targeted pace (assuming that the distance marker is accurate) and surprisingly, I was feeling good.
There was another u-turn after the underpass and once again I saw the speedy runners at the other side of the route. Rui Yong was still leading. Suzy Walsham was the first female runner. Her strides strong and powerful! Spotted Anne Qihui, Vivian, Richard, Jackie and a few other male runners after her. Then among the male runners, I spotted Yvonne! She’s leading in her category (female < 25yrs old) . Clapped for her and cheered for Elston who was not too far behind.
I continued running and the next distance marker I saw was 8km. Glanced at my watch to check my time. (abt 33mins plus.) Entered the floating platform and I grabbed some water and 100plus at the last drink station. As I approached the bridge, I was excited to see Michele Tan ahead of me. I pushed myself up the slope, hoping to close the gap between us. However, she seemed to be picking up speed too. She continued to stay ahead of me as we ran towards MBS.
As I did a sharp right turn after the down slope, I spotted Jasmine Goh closing in from behind. I tried to increase my speed to pull further away from her. Right outside MBS building, I got a scare when my foot landed rather awkwardly on uneven ground. Luckily, it was nothing serious and I continued to give chase. Soon, I saw a sign indicating that the finishing line is just 200m ahead. There was an abrupt turn and the next thing I saw was the finishing line. I sprinted.
Completed the run in about 41mins 15 sec (net time). Alas, I did not manage to catch up with Michele Tan. She finished about 6 seconds ahead of me. Jasmine Goh came in not too long after me and gave me a hug. It’s amazing that she could still do a hard 10 km run despite doing a 50km trail run the week before. All three of us got a potential winner tag and jotted our names on the clipboard. Shortly after, Chris and Roger also completed the race and we chatted briefly.
Heard that the distance was only about 9.7 – 9.8 km, which explained why I managed to complete under 42mins. Though disappointed that the distance is not quite accurate, I am quite happy because I still did a personal best for 10km (faster than my 42:30min previously clocked at CSC run).
I’m ranked 7th for my category (female >25 yrs old) and 71th position overall. Am very happy that Jackie achieved his personal best for this run and ranked 11th in his category!
Overall, a good racing experience! And it’s not because I earned a finisher tee and received a good massage after the run. I really enjoyed the run. I gave my all towards the end and finished strong. I was pretty much breathless at some stretches, yet it wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. It’s nice to know I probably still got some fuel left in my tank. The question is how much more do I dare to push myself. 41 minutes next year.. would that be possible?