When I ran my first race in Dec 2014 at SCMS, I did not imagine myself taking part in any distance race beyond 10km. Running a half marathon was last thing on my mind even just six months ago. The decision came about 3 months ago when I signed up for ST Run. I thought to mysef; if I could run 18.45km, then 21km would be doable. How I got to the HM from 2014 would be left for another blog post.
The night before the race, I went to bed at 9.30pm, hoping to get up at 3am to get to the start point early. I made it to the floating platform at about 4am; with a slightly sleepy head. The caffeine did not quite wake me up totally. Did some warm-up, felt less sleepy and I was ready to go. When the horn blared exactly at 5am, the elite runners were off and I was just about 10 metres behind the starting arch. Seeing the pacer balloons cheered me somewhat. I made a mental note to follow the 2:30 pacers. After all, it’s my first HM, I should play it safe.
The familiar Marina Bay loomed into view at around the 2km mark. Suddenly, I felt an urge to visit the loo but held it off till I reached the Gardens. Made a quickie and resumed my pace; thankfully it did not break my pace. Kept to my pace through the darkness of the early morning and a gentle breeze caressing my face. To my pleasant surprise, I soon passed the 2:20 pacers. I felt good and enjoyed the route until I reached the 8km mark when we hit the dirt road. It broke my pace and I had to make a concerted effort to maintain my pace till I reached Tanjong Rhu. The beautitful reflection of the new stadium over the waters welcomed the runners as they entered into the second half of the race. A few has slowed to a jog or even resigned to walking but I pressed on, stopping briefly to refuel at the hydration points with the isotonic drinks. Oh yeah, I brought my energy gel as well. In fact, the mango/passion fruit gel tasted surprisingly yummy. While I enjoyed the gel, I also noticed the skies ushering in the first light.
As I left the stadium area and headed towards the Merdeka Bridge, I knew that I was entering the final phase of the race. And I felt my body starting to protest, especially my legs. Refueled again at the 16km mark; this time it was banana/berry flavoured gel. With the new energy boost, I psyched myself up for the last 5km as the route took me into the heart of the city and doubled back to the floating platform again.
Picking up my pace, I heard the chatter and talk of the 2:20 pacers fading away behind me. The thought of me finishing my first half marathon within my target time brought a smile of my face. Nevertheless, I still needed to stay focus and ignored the slight fatigue that started to spread from my legs to the rest of the body. When I finally saw the viewing gallery of the Float, I knew I was on the home stretch. Opened up and tried to look strong, in case I was caught by one of the photographers.
I eventually crossed the line at 2:16:09. Perhaps I could have done better than 2:15 if not for the toilet break and stops at the hydration points. But then again, I might not have achieved this timing if I were not properly hydrated or refuelled. Guess I would never know.