Sundown Marathon 2014

Sundown marathon was a disastrous race for me.

31 May 2014, Saturday

It was supposed to be a lead-up run to my Gold Coast Airport marathon, which is happening in 5 weeks’ time. And I thought 3hr 30 mins would be a good target. Jackie, who has barely recovered from his sickness decided to run the marathon together with me. We also asked Daniel (from Jurong Safra) to run with us since we were all gunning for the same time.

After a long restless wait at the start line, full marathoners were flagged off at 2330hrs. Adrenaline got better of us at the start and we were surprised when we found ourselves running at 4:38’/km for the first km. We slowed down and settled at 5min/km as planned at the 2nd km. More and more runners ran past us. We said Hi to Lynly, who was all smiling, running easy and fast. Soon, she was running ahead too. By 3km, Jenny, Rachel and Ezann who had sped off with them right at the start, have faded into the distance. Soon, Jasmine Goh also overtook us and ran ahead.  I was getting a bit anxious to see so many female runners running at such a fast pace so early into the race and couldn’t help thinking, “Are we running too slowly?”

Perhaps I was anxious, perhaps I was feeling comfortable. Unconsciously, we picked up pace and were running at 4:50-4:55/km. Daniel dropped back to continue at his own pace based on his heart rate. It was a very humid night and I found myself pouring water over my head at every water station. The first 10km was over in a blink but I was beginning to feel the first hint of fatigue at the long stretch of dark road towards ECP after mere 50mins into the race. Spotted Lynly again ahead. She was still going strong and all chirpy when we ran passed her.

Our pace dropped to average 5″/min when we entered ECP. It was getting harder to maintain the pace now. And every breath I took seemed to be heavier than usual. Jackie seemed fine though.

The early part of the race when Jackie and I were still feeling good.

The early part of the race when Jackie and I were still feeling good.

We were just running past the lagoon and I was most certain I was not able to keep up with 5″min/km pace anymore when Jackie stopped suddenly at the side, bend over and puke. Many runners ran past us. And it was rather heartwarming to receive words of concerns and encouragements from friends and some strangers. A few even stopped to see if we need help. After a few minutes, Jackie was feeling better after vomiting. He urged me to continue to run and complete the race while he slowly make his way back.

Worried, but since there was nothing much I could do, I started my watch again and continue the race. 26km more to reach the finishing line, surely I could do it. I thought to myself. However, by 20km, I could feel myself slipping away from the target pace. It was a struggle to maintain 5min/km and I slowed to around 5:20″/km pace. I knew it would be impossible to catch up with the ladies ahead then, not at the rate I was running now.

Finally, I was on the road towards NSRCC where the U-turn point (25km) was located. Saw the fastest female runner at the other side, a Kenyan lady. Rachel was closely behind, hot on her heels, still running strong. In current third place was Ezann, followed by Jasmine Goh not far behind. There were also a couple more ladies after that. The U-turn point was near but I was feeling terrible by the minute. Felt like there was something stuck to the brim of my throat and felt like vomitting with each step I put forward.

After the u-turn, I was feeling so unwell that I lost the motivation to try to maintain 5:20″/km anymore. I no longer concern of the pace I was running at. I trudged on at about 5:40″/km for the next few km. At about 28 km, I could see Jenny from a distance. She had slowed down a lot too, but she was still running albeit at a slower pace. I had wanted to walk then, but seeing Jenny pressing on despite her discomfort motivated me to pick myself up again. Taking Jenny as my target, I managed to run 5:29 min for the next kilometer. Cheered for Jenny when I was finally running beside her. She complimented that my pink DS racers were pretty. Never know one could still remain so bubbly and cheerful during a race like this. Only Jenny. She’s a strong one.

Thankful to receive kind support from Safra family when the going gets tough.

Thankful to receive kind support from Safra family when the going gets tough.

I ran on, slower than before but determined to continue to run so long my legs could take it. At 30km mark, I walked a little and took my time to drink the water. My next target was to reach the 33km mark, which was also the end point of ECP before going up the Sheares Bridge. Saw Boon Wee at the 33km mark. I told him I was going to walk and jog back as I was not feeling well. Boon Wee went ahead and soon disappeared into the distance. I got a shock when I saw the crowd as I exited ECP. It was the merging point of 21km and 42km runners. Many were walking up. Looking at the crowd and the up slopes , I lost all motivation to run. I succumbed to fatigue and walked up the slopes. At the top, I attempted to jog for a while but felt nauseous as I pounded on the road. So it was walking for me again all the way till 40km, where I started to pick up my legs again to jog to the finish line.

In the end, I completed the marathon at about 4hr 10min (including the stops). My worst performance since 2010. A very disappointing experience which made me swore off running any full marathon past midnight.

I’m not sure what has gone wrong. One reason could be that the food I had taken prior to race was something different and my stomach could not take it. (Had a curry bun at a cafe and it was something I never tried before and taste funny.) Another reason might be because I drank too much water and isotonic drinks (due to humid weather) and end up feeling bloated and full during the race.

Training wise, I must admit my mileage might has fallen short due to higher intensity workouts and hence led to a few unfinished long runs. Looks like I have to train harder and smarter for my Gold Coast Airport Marathon.

Will be back stronger.

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