My target for this year’s Army Half Marathon is to sustain an average 4:20″/km pace. If all went well, I hope to finish below 1hr 32 min for the 21.1km.
The race started at 5am in the morning. Elite runners and army guys shot off right from the start. Saw Renuka, Rachel and her husband, Zili started at a fast pace and soon disappeared into the dark too. Trevor followed not far behind them. Adrenaline running high, I was surprised to find myself starting the run at 4:17″/km pace for my first km. Managed to see Jackie with Ying Rong and a few runners running together. I tried to follow them, but when my 2nd km reads 4:15″/km, I decided it would be best to run my own race. Slowed down a bit and my average pace came down to 4:20″/km as planned all the way to 7km.
First third of the race done, I was still feeling not-too-bad. I took it as a good sign and pressed on. Shortly after, Baoying caught up with me and we chatted a bit. She was strong! I could only watch as she sped away up a slope and faded into the distance.
Soon, I was approaching the u-turn and I could see many speedy runners like Renuka, Andy Neo, Rachel, Poon Zili, Trevor Chua, Boon Wee, Randall on the other side. Jackie seems to be pacing well, could still smile when he saw me. At the hair pin u-turn, Chia from Jurong Safra caught up with me. He was still running strong, and soon pulled away from me after the u-turn.
Fatigue sets in and I realised my pace has dropped to about 4:25″/km. I was no longer pushing as hard or maybe I was afraid to push hard. Close to 12km, I noticed my shoelaces on my right foot has came undone. I hastily re-do my laces and continued running again, trying to catch up with the guys ahead.
There was a guy clad in a NUS singlet who was running with a friend. I overtook him and he followed closely behind to catch up with me. We ran alongside for a couple of km, until at about 16km, my shoelaces dropped (again!). Frustrated with myself for not tying properly the first time it loosen, I re-tied my shoelaces after the u-turn, and quickly picked up my pace to catch up with the guys in front again.
With only 5km to go, I knew I have to keep pushing and try to finish as close to 1hr 32 min as possible. Spotted Randall who has slowed down and encouraged him to follow me. He seems to be in pain and asked me to go ahead. I got more excited as I approached Esplanade and ran as fast as my legs could carry me. Spotted Sky at the foot of the bridge.
It was a painful climb up the bridge. But once up, I kept my cadence high and gave my all when I saw the finishing line and clock ticking away ahead. Finished the race in 1:33:29. Far from my pb, 1:31:17 clocked in Hong Kong last year, and missed out on the podium finish but I was satisfied as it was one of the best time I achieved locally for an accurate 21.1km course. Overall, finished 4th in the Family Women’s category. Vanja, Rachel and Baoying were 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively. Renuka raced under Women’s Open so she was 5th among the strong field of competitors consisting of African runners, with an impressive time of 1:29:11.
I still got much to learn about pacing myself and racing a good half marathon. Realised I tend to get very distracted in the middle of my race and I find it hard to sustain my pace for the second-third. Gotta work harder if I really want to break the 1:30 barrier someday!