Sunday, February 24, 2013

HK Stanchart Marathon (24 Feb 2013)

Our annual weekend pilgrimage to HK for the Stanchart Marathon. We had a big group of kakis travelling together to shop and dine, with a little diversion for the run.

I did a couple of things differently this year:
(1) I wore my normal running gear - vest + short, as opposed to longs
(2) I decided to run without my water bottle in hand, given the consistently well-organised race experiences in previous runs

The weather was nice and comfortable for me. Stepping out of our hotel, it was not chilly at all. Thank goodness I was not in a long-sleeved shirt or long compression tights.

We were flagged off at 6:40am. I took my time, under no urgency or target-pressure to perform. I was even chatting with Amelia for a while, and then veered off at 7km to use the port-a-loo. Saw Gary run past and we waved to each other. 4min down.

Put in a little more speed after that. At the 10km point I was 1:06h. I did a quick mental calculation, race timing could be 4:30h thereabouts. Continued running, but did not see Alber on the other side at all. He must have gone off pretty fast. Saw the sharks again, they were permanent features at every HKSCM, protesting against consumption of sharks' fins. One of the guys behind that shark-head costume looked quite cute (which Amelia would subsequently attest to as well!).

Went to the port-a-loo a second time. I blame it on the cool weather. Drinking all that water and less sweat meant that excess must somehow be expelled in order to regulate my core temperature. Ok, in layman's lingo, I might have drank too much.

Reached the 21km mark at 2:10h, was an ok average time. I had a sudden flashback to my sub-2h half-marathon a few years back and wondered how I did that. Decided that there should be no more toilet breaks for the rest of the race, and that I should buck up and run properly.

So I kept to a 6min pace. My legs were still fresh, no signs of cramping like in previous years. Perhaps my dressing was ok and not over-heating. Or perhaps I had been clocking a lot more weekend long runs and better conditioned.

Realised that I was still able to go slightly faster and non-lactic inducing. Cleared the 30km at 3:00h. Cool, made up for lost time and on track towards a 4:12h finishing (based on a 6min pace).

In previous years, I would typically cramp, or feel the signs of cramps, at around 37 - 38km. This year, I merrily ran through the crowds. Quite irritating actually to have to zig-zag through them, a huge waste of time and energy. Surprisingly, I was even able to pick up speed and gain more time, faster than a 6min pace. I wondered if I could go below the 4:12h timing.

2-3km more to go, ie. about 15min more. I thought back to my regular runs at home and how I was able to sort of sprint or keep up a good speed when in a rush for time. I gained speed and pressed on. 40km and I was under 4h. And that "killer slope" at 41km was a non-event this year, I ran up the slope! Yeah!

Closing in on the last km, I spotted Alber ahead waving and playing hi-fives with the supporters along the road. I caught up with him and we both made a dash for the last 400-500m, with him leading the way. We crossed the finishing line just a couple of seconds apart. My official net time was 4:05:58h, a personal best! :)

71th position of 284 runners in my category, an exact 25th percentile.
Not bad for a race that I had started with zero expectations. 

Race no. English Name Chinese Name Country Official Time Net Time 10km Time Turning Point 30km Time
2326 166 71 MFM1 33091 SIM PHEI SUNN
Singapore 04:07:26 04:05:58 01:10:51 02:08:18 03:02:44

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