The target for the half marathon was once again 1hr 30min. And once again, it was an unsuccessful attempt.
The race started promptly at 5am. The moment the horn sounded, Jackie and I could not help but run fast to keep up with the front pack. We had planned to start at 4:20″/km pace and to step up to 4:15″/km race pace after the first two km. However, adrenaline and excitement got better of us. We found ourselves clocking a 4:03″/km split for the first km.
Despite the fast start, we could still see Trevor, Jenny and many others ahead of us. At the 2nd km, we have slowed down slightly to our intended race pace, though our average pace was still below 4:15″/km. Knowing I would not be able to sustain the pace for long, I told Jackie to run ahead and not wait for me. I continued running, contented with running at 4:15-4:20″/km pace. Soon, Jackie faded into the distance. I caught up with Jenny shortly and then caught sight of Trevor who was ahead.
Boon Wee who was initially behind me caught up with me and we ran alongside each other for a while. I was beginning to feel the effect of the fast start as we turned towards Sports Hub. My running pace dropped to 4:24″/km. Boon Wee ran on to catch up with Trevor who was ahead but also seemed to be slowing down.
Over at Sports Hub, there were a few twists and turns. It was pitch dark at certain stretches so I kept my eyes on the ground most of the time. Shortly after running past the Kallang Wave Mall (I think), there was a commotion ahead. Some runners had ran up the bridge and had to u-turn after realising that was an incorrect route. I kept my eyes on the few runners ahead to stay on the correct route. Soon, I was on the road towards Tanjong Rhu. My running pace had dropped further to about 4:30″/km. I took a packet of gel at around the 10km mark. I could no longer see Trevor and Boon Wee after I turned left into the park connector.
It was pretty dark in the park and I could barely made out the outline of a male runner ahead. He was slowing down so I pressed on to close up the gap. We chatted briefly, encouraged each other as we ran alongside each other for a while. I gradually pull away from him to maintain my pace.
There was no one else in sight and I was feeling the fatigue. At 13km, I got a shock to see that my pace has dropped to 4:37″/km. I tried to put in more effort, but the next split was also a disappointing 4:36″/km. It was then I knew a sub 1:30 time was out of reach. I was feeling tired and having all kind of negative thoughts, “this is so tough”, “why not just slow down and finish the race since you ain’t going to get that PB anyway.”
It was so easy to just slow down and finish the run comfortably. After all, there’s no chance to beat those Kenyans ahead and there’s no chance to do a personal best. Then, veteran runner Ng Ngee Hung came along. I waved for him to run ahead. He encouraged me to “lock the pace” before overtaking me. This was all I need to hear. Surely I could at least maintain 4:30-4:35″/km pace. So I threw away all my negative thoughts and waste no time to catch up with him.
The wonder of having company during a hard run. My legs started kicking again. Though I wasn’t running any faster than before, the effort seemed less taxing now. Ngee Hung and I ran steadily along Gardens By the Bay. As we approached Marina Barrage, I psyched myself up to prep for the slope. It wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be. I cruised down at the other side and eventually caught up with Ngee Hung.
Then it was a long straight road towards Art Science Museum. Ngee Hung overtook me again shortly after the down slope and was chasing after another runner ahead. I tried to keep both of them in sight. Ran past MBS and finally reached NTUC building. 19km done! Only 2km more to go. Motivated, I picked up my pace to close up the gap between myself and Ngee Hung.
I finally caught up with Ngee Hung and another runner at Esplanade bridge and cheered for both of them as I ran past. Ngee Hung, still feeling strong, was hot on my heels. I thought the end was near after getting down the Esplanade Bridge and so I picked up my pace again. There was no marshals around so I was thankful to have Ngee Hung shouting for me from behind to turn right towards the floating platform. The platform was dimly lit. It was then I realised the finishing line was still a few hundred meters away, closer to the Singapore Flyer. I pressed on, and caught sight of the finishing line after a bend. The clock was ticking away. I sprinted, hoping to at least finished under 1:32.00.
Alas, I crossed the finishing line in 1:32:05 (gun time). I was 4th for Women’s Open, behind three Kenyans. I thought prizes were only given to top 3 winners so happily went for breakfast with my friends before heading home after the race. It was only few days later when I checked the website, I realised I won the Local Champion Women’s category! Happy bonus. =)
Though no PB again, I’m satisfied that I managed to overcome the negative thoughts in my head and finished the race in my best effort and possible time. So grateful to have Ngee Hung pacing me for the last third of the race when I really feel like giving up.
Here’s a few photos taken after the race.