Monday, September 5, 2011

Safra Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon 2011 Review

Joined the men's open, the field as compared to Sundown half marathon runners are much faster & stronger. Sundown half marathon runners are more recreational i guess.

A great day, I had finally acheived the goal of running a half marathon in under 2 hrs. Well 1hr 59 mins! Since 2004 when i did a half marathon, it had been 7 years! A happy day indeed.

the 20th year, 70k runners signed up for the race

The race flag off at 5:15am. My goal was to run within 2 hrs 10mins. I didn't really put in much effort before the race, the most i did in a training run was around 10km, we are supposed to do 2 sets of 5.6km (11.2km total) but it was cancelled on both occasion because of rain. Knowing there was an uphill at Fort Canning Road, the race course is much more challenging than Sundown Marathon. I didn't have much expectation, RELAX, just here to enjoy the run, once the race started i stick with my running mate Hong (he was having slight flu), a better runner than me, my goal was to keep in pace with him. His endurance and stamina drop slightly as he didn't really prepared for this race.

At 6km mark the time was 34mins, within the 6mins pace (what we usually did in training). At 7km it was 40mins. I checked my watch again at 9km, it was 51 mins. At 10km mark the time was 57 mins. After which i didn't check my watch that often, at around 13-14km, i stopped and stretch my right leg for around 20-30 sec. There was slight strain in my right knee again (the usual problem). The weather helps, it was still early in the morning and there was no heat. Looking in front of me, there are really a lot of superb runners in Singapore, only experience runners with certain mileage in training can run under a 6 mins pace, i was trying to keep up with this group of runners.

We carried on running, at 18 km mark it was 1 hr 40 mins. At 19km, i took a cool water sponge and wet my neck & shoulders, it kind of lower down my body temperature. I knew i can make it within 2hrs, today is the day! 20 mins to cover 3km, that's not too difficult. Slight pain in my right knee again, but i just pick up pace and forget about the pain (when you don't think about it, hopefully it will go away). In the last 3.1km, i was running at 4 min 28 sec per km.

Finally 1hr 59 mins! I joined the under 2 hrs group after 8 years and on the 7 attempt!
2004 SCSM at 2 hrs 9 mins, 2006 SCSM at 2 hrs 13 mins, 2008 SCSM at 2 hrs 13 mins,
2009 Safra at 2 hrs 18 mins, 2010 Sundown at 2:06 mins, 2011 recent Sundown at 2:06 mins

Running towards the line at the gun time of 2 hrs, i'm at the most right behind (half covered), this is the only picture. These guys running within 2hrs are all good runners.
Photo by runevent shots

results from runpix, comparing with sundown runpix, the experience & serious runners are mostly here :)

increased my pace in the last 3 km, overtook almost 150 runners (learning from the earlier sundown experience, i need to run faster in the last few kilometers in order to get under 2 hrs)

Overall it was very well orgainized (the army guys always did a good job). Each water point was having sufficent guys (mend by each combat unit). The cheering, local bands, belly dancers gave the much needed motiviation and inspiration. The only thing to note on the aid stations was that they should use deep heat instead of having the spraying stuff (like those used in soccer match, not much use for me).

The last time i ran in the army half was back in 2009, comparing it with the Sunday run, they had made a huge improvement in overall logistic, race route (less uphill) and support, and the best is i got a PB :)

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