My last race was at Singapore Bay Run (SBR) in Sep 2009 for the 21km run and since then, there was this running curse that plagued me since then. Getting to the starting line of Sundown 2011 proved to be an obstacle itself with the insane traffic jam leading up to Changi Exhibition Centre (CEC).
From my observations, the only people who got to the starting line in time were those who planned to arrive insanely early and those who travelled via motorcycles that can weave through the snail-paced vehicular jam.
The awesome KuKuNehNeh drove me to Expo where we parked and we took a cab down to CEC. A drive from Expo to CEC on any other day that will take 20mins, took almost 1hr that day. And that was only to the junction leading to Aviation Park Road. We got off the cab and away from the clearly pissed cab driver who most likely regretted picking us up even when I gave him 4 extra dollars as compensation. We then walked at a fast pace towards the starting line which took us another 25-30mins. Scores of runners and supporters lined the streets on route to the starting line as well.
My personal best (PB) was 2:43:32 at the SBR in 2009 and I aimed to do a 1:59:00 and set off at a good average pace of 5:36/km for the 1st 10km. The pace was tough to maintain not because of the speed but for the waves and waves of human traffic that I had to weave through because I started 30mins past the official starting time. Walkers hogged both the left and right extremes and sometimes even the centre. There are also groups of runners that probably know each other and thus formed various formations that I had to circumnavigate.
Most of the time I had to silently find opportunities to overtake as I didn’t want to say “To your right!” for the whole of 21km and ended up bumping into a few elbows and arms while overtaking. I did say my “Sorries” though.
The water/100plus stations were overcrowded and I only managed to grab a cup of 100plus at the 4km mark and another 2 cups of water along the way to the 17km mark. My mind and body broke down at that point and I walked to the 100plus station and took a cup and walked. It was tasty life going down my throat and I actually walked back after 5 metres just to grab another cup and walked for another 300 metres.
Upon checking my watch and remembering what I set out to do, my mind rebooted and I ran my way to finish in 2:02:13 with an average pace of 5:30/km for the last 3.65km. I was really spent, pushing myself through the last 500m and my right calf cramped up. The photographers at the last stretch probably have all pictures of my face in various states of agony.
I didn’t achieve what I set out to do but I am still extremely pleased at breaking my race curse and shaving off 40+mins off to set a new PB.
This is only my 2nd race since starting long-distance running in 2009 and there’s a wealth of lessons learnt. I can’t wait to start training for my next race!
A poor location to organise a running event of such scale but kudos to the Sundown 2011 volunteers that lined the route and the water stations who were extremely cheerful while saying/shouting words of encouragement as I ran my heart out. I can’t imagine the amount of work involved in cleaning up the event site and route which was littered with cups and other rubbish as well.
A big THANK YOU to you volunteers! (and also to KKNN for driving and accompanying me there. Though she said it will be the last time she is gonna do that due to the horrible traffic. LOL)
Update: The official results are out at Runpix! http://www.runpix.info/wrace2/00/sun11/ge.php?ln=
Here’s my comparison between Sundown 2011 & SBR 2009