Sunday, December 31, 2006

Highlights of 2006

2006 was the year where I skipped many 10km races, and focused on the longer races instead. Joined in many new runs just as aniMILES, adiRUN, Nike Runaholics, Running Lab and CBD Runs.

According to my Cool Running Log, I ran a total year mileage of 3200km, and retired 3 pairs of running shoes. I have lost 1kg to a stablized weight of 64kg...haha.

I joined a new running club, the Pacesetters in KL...adding to my current running club memberships with MR25, SAFRA, SgRunners.

I did more MR25 Progressive runs in the year 2006, missing only the 15km and the 35km and organized a few runs for SgRunners; namely Heng Heng Run during Chinese New Year in February, Muddy Grass Run in the November period. Of course I participated in many SgRunner's runs, topping off with The Wedding Run.

I was more focused on a few key races this year, and completed the following key events, mostly improving on my timings in 2005:

March: Did my second full marathon in KL, and did my first sub-4hr marathon in 3hr51min. Very memorable overnight train ride with the SgRunners, and back in a luxury coach I so enjoyed.

Had the honour to be involved in the first World Harmony Run organized in Singapore. Visited many significant places of worship to pray for peace and harmony, ran for 7hours and had loads of fun.

Did my first vertical marathon (NTU National VM) at the 43 storey Suntec City. Recorded a time of 7m38s, but was disappointed that there were no sights to behold when I reached the top.

May: Went up to KL for the second time this year for the NB Pacesetters 15km race. Completed the hilly race in 1hr9min, a respectable time for that course. It was my first treat to the good organization and hospitality of Pacesetters, as well the nice carnival atmosphere. Had a good time with my running friends at SgRunners, as we swore we sould be back next year for more PaceSetters races.

June: Went with the family and SAFRA TP gang to Phuket, and did my third full marathon. Scored a new PB in a hilly and hot course, with a time of 3hr48min.

July: Went to Mt. Kinabalu for the first time in a recce trip for the World' Toughest Mountain Race. The air was cool and crisp, and I experienced lots of stairs climbing and the beauty of the sights from atop.

Sep: Did my first half marathon for the year, and third ever 21.1km. Scored a PB on a new AHM course with a time of 1hr41min. Didn't quite enjoy the run with lots of traffic stops.

Completed my second 10km Public Service Run at the Bedok Reservoir area. Time taken was 46:45min, very similar to what I did in 2005. Just like the previous year, we adjourned to a nice poolside BBQ dinner at the Clearwater condominium.

Oct: Went to Mt. Kinabalu for a second time to participate in the Climbathon. Managed to summit to the top, and completed the run down in a total of 6hr45min, 15min off the qualifying mark of 6hr30min. Nevertheless, it was a nice experience and good to be able to say I completed the 'Toucghest Mountain Race In The World'.

Dec 3: Did my 4th full marathon and second SCSM. Was a treat with cool weather, and finally did sub-4hr on home ground with 3hr54min. Met up with a few overseas SgRunners who came specifically for this race.

Dec 31: Completed my 2nd Ultra Marathon. Did only 5 laps this year, as opposed to 6 last year. Was seized with cramps after 3 laps, so struggled to finsh the last 2 laps. I felt hungry throughout the run.

Looking ahead in 2007

Jan: Pacesetters 30km in KL. Will be meeting SgRunners and SAFRA Runners in KL for this challenging, yet fun 30km hilly run. Looking forward to the good organization, nice goodies, and after race food.

March: Going to Hong Kong to participate for the first time in the SCHK Marathon. Heard that the air might not be too good, and the weather could be chilly at the start of the race. Looking forward to the nice shopping and food, and the company of SAFRA Runners.

Dec: Planning to go for the Angkor Wat run with the family, after seeing the nice scenic photos of the SgRunners group that went in 2006.

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The Final Race Of 2006

The weather this time at MR was immaculate, unlike last year when I did my maiden MR25 Ultra-Marathon. I completed 6 laps of the 10.5km route in 8hr+ then. This year saw a turnout of more than 150 runners, certainly a record for this race. Many runners and supporters from SgRunners, SAFRA, Thailand, TriFam, MR25 turned up.

The race was flagged off promptly at 7am. I took the first lap real easy, unsure of the detour because of the landslide which added a good 300-500m to the route. It was a more unpleasant route as we had to skirt around Sime Trail, going up onto parts of Rifle Range, and then taking the wooden stairs near Tree Top, before joining back to the final portion of Sime Trail towards Jeluting Tower. I took the opportunity to practise my new running posture, with higher leg lifts, and using more of my large muscle groups. Finished the fist lap in 1hr10min.

Went on to average 1hr8min laps for the second and third laps. I did the second lap with aichai, stazla and fennel, and I was trying to show them the way to their first lap. I finished the first 3 laps in 3hr45min, and decided to change my shoes. Alsa, I was seized with crmaps and spasms in my calves and rib area....Ouch Ouch....painful. I was feeling strong still, but decided to take a rest at the SgRunners support station. Good news from Sotong as he said he would be getting lunch for us, and I would be getting my KFC Fride Chicken....hehe. I started off with DO and Fennel for the 4th lap, but because of the spasms in my calves, I had to continue to jog to warm the muscles up. I went ahead, and by the time I reached Lornie Trail, I had to walk as other parts of my body was threatening to cramp up, what's happening? stazla caught up and I asked her to go ahead as I was feeling ok. I finished the run along Lornie Road, and elapsed time was 5hr45min.

The food arrived just as I was about to start the 5th lap. When I heard DO mention that the finisher's T was that Nike Runaholics top, I was a tad disappointed. I just decided then and there that I would just complete the 5 laps. DO and I went for a walk to cool-down, and we enjoyed the 5th lap as we had so many runners lap us, especially the strong lady runners. HohoRunner, SealBoon and Fennel soon left us as they could not walk for too much. We discussed lots about the running scene in 2006, and talking about what we would be doing for 2007. The walk was excruciatingly tiring for me, as it involved more work on the legs to push off, and not being aided with any running momentum. It took nearly 2hrs to reach Jelutong Tower, and we decided to run most of the way back. We took something like 2.5hours for the last lap....haha....we were so tired and hungry when we finished.

I was rewarded with the Kentucky Fried Chicken, thanks to Sotong, Cyberkinetic and the great SgRunners supporters. The MR25 volunteers did such a great job too, and the food provided by them this year was a lot better than last year....kudos to them for staying throughout the 12 hours. I was tempted with home-made Red Rice Wine Chicken Mee Sua, reminding me of my dinner appointment. I bade farewell to all the runners, supporters and well-wishers as I left MR feeling very contented to have celebrated New Year's Eve in a meaningful manner, with great company to boot.

Distance: 52.5km__Time: 8hr30min

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Tis the season to be jolly...

Woke up to fine weather on Christmas Eve, and headed down to SAFRA MF for the first LSD in the training program after SCSM. My plan was just to do about 24km, skipping the mf hill portion, and taking this as a post-massage run. A smallish turnout of about 15 runners...most of them must be in a festive mood, and some were already at Ricci's house to prepare for Christmas Lunch :)

My legs felt a lot 'loose' after that massage on Friday evening. I took it easy for the first stretch along Depot Road, Queenstown and railway track. I ran mainly with Lai Chee and Fennel, as they were not too familiar with the route. We picked up speed as we went along Dover Road, passing Wong and Phei Sunn on the way. I chatted with Lai Chee as we took the Ulu Pandan Canal stretch, as she recalled how she used to train with SAFRA along that area many moons ago. Many people were out along the canal, prepping themselves for some big feasts in the days ahead :).

We were joined by small chau and Fennel at Buona Buona Vista MRT, and together with Wong and PS, we headed all the way along Commonwealth, turning into Alexandra Road, and then towards Harbourfront. Fennel, LC, Chua took a break at the petrol kiosk near Morse Road, while I ran all the way back along Kampong Bahru way. I decided not to do the hills today, so as to give my 'legs' less stress. As instructed by the 'therapist', I made a conscious effort to use my large muscles (read butt...haha) to lift my felt good. I finished the 23km in immaculate weather taking about 2hr5min. At the ClubHouse, I had a discussion with trainer Ong about the my 'massage' experience and the merits of stretching and developing core muscles.

I was impressed by Jimmy Chow's account of how he developed knee injury, and how he was cured by having needles inserted into his knees to draw of bad fluids or 'lactic acid built up over the years'....hmm, I had that same treatment done by a TCM sinseh when I got ITBS a year, theory is similar, treatment too. JC now takes care to stretch religiously...I think I will have to start doing more stretching before and after runs, to clear fact, I proposed to trainer Ong to invite Chairman to be the stretching specialist, and offer his stretching sessions for all the runners after runs...hehe. We were greeted by the cheery smiles of Divey, xsuanjing and SAFRA Tampines runners who had finished their wash-up after a run in the MF area...hmm, good news from Divey that the S.H.E. gals (Divey, xsuanjing, Bee) will be at MacRitchie next week to give some support to the MR25 Ultra-marathoners...looking forward to that run, as many SgRunners and some SAFRA MF runners will be joining in the fun to usher in the New Year..

Distance: 23km__Time: 2hr5min__Pace: 5:26min/km

Here's wishing all runners:

A Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2007

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

My maiden sports massage

With all these 'tight-ness' in my legs and body, I finally made time to go for my first sports massage to hopefully release the tightness. Went down to Ponggol area and was pleasantly surprised to see nice huge parking lots in the area. After spending a little bit of time locating the unit amongst the myriad of 'private apratment' looking blocks, finally found the 'therapist'.

As it was my first, I just conveyed that I have tight hamstrings, which were pulling on my knees and butt. After I laid on the massage table, she went to work. First on the whole of the left leg, the hamstrings, the ITB, the calves, the archilles areas. She mentioned there were lots of knots, and that my left hamstring was tighter because of the weakness in the leg. It was 'painful' but when the 'knots' were released, it was shiokz. Then the right leg got the same treatment. She mentioned the right leg was stronger, and the hamstrings not too tight. However, the quads were weaker on the right leg vis-a-vis the hamstrings, and it was just the opposite for the left leg. It was pretty painful when the calves were kneaded, but it was for a good cause. I didn't mind it at all :).

Then it was up the shoulders and upper body. This part felt quite good as I was having shoulder strains due to my poor posture. She mentioned that my shoulders were spreading out, and that causes weakness...and that I should pull them together consciously. Then the neck, head and in about 3hhours, it was, I didn't realized it took that long...haha. Probably it was the first time, and there were much too do. As I was in a rush, I didn't have time to learn the butt and hamstring stretches that she was supposed to show me. I was advised to strengthen my butt, and use more of the 'big' muscle groups when running....also something about firing up the 'small muscle groups' first, before activating the larger muscle groups. Wow, lots of things to learn, lots of stuff to put into practise....very educational, very good.

I have had many traditional massages of different kinds in different countries, but this is the first time ever I have done a sports massage. I would say I actually liked it...hmm, maybe I am masochistic...hehe. I like the 'hard' presses and the releases of the 'knots' that come with it...can actually feel the blood flow better once the knots are kneaded off.... I will monitor over the following few weeks to see if the legs get loose, and if the 'pulls' are still there. There are some tender-ness in the massaged areas, especially the calves the following day. The legs are a lot loose, and I don't feel the 'numbing' sensation in my butt and thigh area so got much better....hmm, hope this will really work for me, though I will have to do some homework in stretching, building up core muscles, and returning for maintenance massages.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Raindrops Keep Falling...

Heard from news reports it was the heaviest rain we have had in 70+ Missed a run on Monday when it started to rain. Then it rained on Tuesday evening, and I skipped MF training. As I was fiddling on my laptop, I found that my wireless connection was somehow disconnected, and when the rain stopped at about 9pm, I immediately went for a quickie run. It was cool and shiokz as I was contemplating doing a 12km loop around the estate. Midway through, after covering about 7km, it started to pour. I was drenched, and decided to cut the run short....10km in 48min. Still I had my endorphine fix, although a pretty wet one...Ah Chooh!

It continued to rain the whole Tue night, and the rains finally came to a stop on Wednesday morning. Planned to go down for Adirun, but due to some unexpected event, had to head home and settled for another short run. I felt weak during the run, especially in the breathing department....hope I did not catch the flu. Finished the run in a slow 53min, and was breathing heavily. My left hamstrings were super tight...cannot wait for my maiden sports massage this Friday :)

Went down to SAFRA MF on Thursday evening, and found out that we were supposed to do the intervals that were missed on Tuesday...haiz, I wasn't mentally prepared and my legs were still very tight. I waited for Cokiee as he was late, whilst the rest went ahead to Queenstown Stadium. When Cokiee arrived at about 7pm, we did a slow 4km jog to QST. I joined in for the first 2 800m loops, and did them around 3m20s...slow, but I was taking it easy. Bug was burning the trackings with sub 3min 800m laps average, doing even 2m30s laps. The rains came again in the 3rd lap, and I sat it out. I completed the 4th lap, and decided to call it a night. On the 4km run back to ClubHouse, I felt very weak. It was probably glycogen depletion, as I didn't really eat anything before the run.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

More MF runs

After the SCSM, my upcoming running events will be the MR25 Ultra-Marathon at the end of 2006, the PaceSetters 30km run in January, and the HK Marathon in April 2007. As the year-end draws to a close, I will be taking more time out during runs to smell the roses and do some thinking and planning for the new year ahead. Although HK Marathon training has started at SAFRA MF, I will be contented to do more slow-paced runs, clocking up more mileage if possible to burn off the holiday excesses which I will be up for :).

Was down at the ClubHouse on Thursday evening for a run up to MF hill, via the steeper side of Kampong Bahru. Chatted with Karen Yong for a bit.....hmm, didn;t see her for a while...apparently she did very well for the 32km at SCSM, and was preparing to join in the Pacesetters 30km run too. Kops21 and HohoRunner joined SAFRA MF for the first time, and was given a warm welcome....and was treated to the very 'shiok' 15km route that night...hehe. I did an ok run, getting a hard workout up the hill slopes as usual, and I even did the additional 1.6km Mt. Faber loop at the top. I decided to skip the 5km extra loop around the ClubHouse, ending with just a 11.5km run....just nice for me. DO had his short run too, in preparation for the Angkor Wat 21km this weekend.

Ran into Sentosa on Sunday with the SAFRA MF group in cool, immaculate weather. Had a new runner from HK, Bill join us for the first time. I was enjoying the slower-paced run into Sentosa, and it was still early for gate collections. Teck Hou and Lai Chee were really taking their time to relax as they formed part of the backpackers. The NBRR route is always a nice challenge for me, and since I was familiar with the route, I led a group of them through the route, running along the beaches, and through the Jungle Trail. When we came out from Sentosa, Fennel and Cokiee felt good enough to attemp the ascend up MF from Kampong Bahru. I ran just behind them as we made our slow, but steady way up. It was the second time in the week I went up the hill from that steeper end...Fennel jokingly asked if one can get addicted to running hills...haha. We can be addicted to the 'High' we get wehn we finally reach the top tough :). Once all the newcomers reached the top, we made our way back to ClubHouse along Henderson Road. It was real good weather, and I was glad I got the run in. Hww Shen, Fennel, Cokiee all enjoyed the hard workout. Trainer Ong told Fennel she had good potential, and gave her some tips on how to conquer hills and slopes...I see another sub-4hr runner emerging :).

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tight Hamstrings??

It was raining when I got down to Suntec on Wed night for the adiRUN. After the SCSM euphoria, a lot of the prep runs have completed, and lots of runners have gone on to look for the next training vehicle that will prepare them for upcoming events. adiRUN is one of those runs that have continued post SCSM. Because of the downpour, it was a smaller group of 11 that headed off for a 11km Esplanade-Marina South run.

Rare guests Eddie of RL fame and Lai Chee of MF fame joined in this 'shiok' run....cos the rain stopped to a nice cool, albeit humid weather. Beverly, Meteor, joao, SV and I were running mainly as a group throughout. It was a welcomed recovery run for us, as we chatted lots about SCSM and the nice maiden experience some of us had. Finished the run without taking any time....estimated that we ran at about 6min/km pace. Had 100plus and bananas after the run :). Brokie, DO, stazla and gang are planning for a Angkor Wat adventure this weekend, and we will await anxiously for their FRs and photos of the fun trip. I will just be looking forward to Ultra-Marathon on Dec31 and then the Pacesetters 30km on 21Jan.

The hamstrings on my left leg have been very tight these few days...hmm, I should be taking it easy (not that I always do hard runs, but this time I will even be easier on myself...haha), some people suggested yoga/stretching, and maybe go and try that 'deep tissue' massage...:)

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

SAFRA Mt. Faber

Its coming to 2 years since I joined the SAFRA MF Running Club. How time flies...I just finished my second 10km at the SCSM04 when I walked into the newly opened SAFRA MF then. The group was pretty small, and all knew one another very well. From a newbie, I have progressed to run 21km, and then 42km...and have learnt lots of running routes from my running friends at SAFRA.

This evening I was down at SAFRA MF for the start of marathon training for HK Marathon 2007. There was a very large group, and many new faces too. All were pretty excited about trying on the Saucony running top which will be given to SAFRA MF Running members for the good performance we had as a club at SCSM06. The Core Running Team comprising Kumaran, Teck Hou, Ricci, Melvin and Lai Chee was announced....well done to their superb timings at the AHM and SCSM in 2006. The Club has grown from strength to strength, and there are just so many new runners I have yet to get acquainted with. Fennel and Cokiee joined us this evening, and were warmly welcomed by the Club members and MF terrain :)

We did a 10km run for the evening, proceeding along Depot Road, and along Alexandra Road, then into Labrador Park, climbing the slope up to the Olive Restaurant, then doing 2 laps around the Park, before proceeding out, up along the slope again, and all the way back to ClubHouse along Henderson Road. My left hamstring has gotten tight these few weeks, and it always gave me a slight numbing pain during runs. I have to start doing stretching and may make appointment for a good deep-tissue massage to relieve the tight-ness caused by all the running (runners will develop tight muscles as they progress along with increased mileage over the years). Completed the run in about 48min, not before working out pretty hard along that stretch of Henderson Road. Because the Henderson food market is still undergoing renovation, we had our usual dinner get-together at the Brickworks market again....hmm, I really miss my 'Red rice-wine chicken mee sua'....hahaha.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Recovery weekend at MacRitchie

Went down to MacRitchie to meet the SgRunners for a recce run of the 10.5km loop in preparation for the year-end MR25 Ultra-Marathon. I took the opportunity to do the MR25 5km time-trial route before I met up with the guys. It was such a long time since I did the TT route, and I wanted to have a feel what timing I would do. I reached the zig-zag bridge at about 6.50am with a warm-up jog, and with a few stretches, I was away. I did not start too fast, preferring to take it easy, especially when I was still in recovery from last Sunday's SCSM.

The weather was cool, and I reached the exercise area in 11min...hmm, still ok. Went up towards Lornie Road, and did the turn back, and back at exercise area in 13min....not too fast. On the way back, spotted Cokiee running into the trails for his warm-up. I maintained speed throughout, and finished the run in 23:40...hmm, still ok, not very fast though. I felt my stomach churning, probably because of the short, quick run affecting the breakfast...hehe. At the carpark, met Commando, then Fennel, Kayano, Shutehelup. Babymon was there too for her weekend training with her coach. We chatted a bit, and when Cokiee and SV came, we went on our 10.5km Northern Route recce. It was a first time for Fennel and Shut...all were working the slopes hard, but enjoying every bit.

Both cokiee and me were taking turns to explain parts of the route. We took a break at the Ranger Station where the runners were treated to Sports Beans from Kayano :). We proceeded on along Sime Trail, and was welcomed with a 10min morning shower. It made the run cooler as we went along the wooden bridge, the Golf Course, the tree-roots area, the exercise area, and all the way back along Lornie Trail. When we hit the zig-zag bridge, we saw Brokie, Vincent and the kids coming in for their TreeTop walk. Brokie drew out her camera like a 'Quickdraw McGraw' and snapped some nice ones of us running back. We gathered back at the carpark and chatted away after the run, taking more group photos. We were introduced to babymon's running coach and team-mate, and more photos were taken. All had enjoyed the cool morning trail run, and some were already looking forward to their next training run at the MacRitchie trails and beyond.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

SCSM 2006 Marathon Photos

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Post SCSM Recovery

Rested for 2 days, and started to run on Tuesday evening with Beverly. We did a easy 10km recovery run around the estate, and completed in 1hr03min. My hamstrings and calves were still sore for the first 3km, especially the portions where I suffered cramps. After the warm-up, it was a lot looser, and we enjoyed the nice cool weather of the evening.

adiRUN restarted on Wed evening with a short 8km run to Kallang Sea Sports area and back. A smaller turnout as most were still resting, or were busy with work. I ran mostly at the rear with DO, Fahmy, Michiko and dasher. My legs were looser this evening, but was still feeling tired. I took it easy, preferring to run alongside Michiko at the rear and chatting along the way. Finished the estimated 8km in 41min. Spoke with Fahmy about the Pacesetters 30km and HK marathon in 2007. He was quite interested to go for HK Marathon, and was keen to see if we could have a team represent adiRUNners for Pacesetters 30km :)

Found time to go down for The Running Lab run on Wed evening. I have not been to the RL run for a few months now, and it was great that I could join them again (since this is still recovery and fun time for me). After missing adiRUN, Beverly was eager to join RL run too....hehe. We bought a couple of Wright socks to try (very similar to Ultimax Ironman, but a slightly softer feel). Met MightyJoe, LKY and a couple of familiar faces. The super-ON runners like doraemon, tktan, leggie, fennel, DO were all present...Eddie (who did extremely well at SCSM with 3hr40min) led the run in high spirits. We took a nice Fort Canning loop, and it was fun running along the Clarke Quay and Riverside Point area....ran past Brewerkz, where we had the post-SCSM get-together with the HK Runners just last Sunday. Finished off the approximately 9km distamce in 53min...very nice easy run. On the way back, chatted with SV, who did very well with a sub 5hr SCSM. All those RL, adiRUN and Animiles practise runs must have helped him improve a lot...well done. As usual, Eddie led with a very thorough stretch-down, and all went away with happy grins on their faces. I went back to RL shop and bought a few 'Life Is Great' items....hmm, with all these fun runs, life is certainly great! Cheers!

Recovery will continue through the weekend, with me doing the MacRitchie Ultra-Marathon recce tour with the SgRunners on Saturday. With the flat road SCSM race out of the way, it is time to hit the trails and x-country again...yay!

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2006

I did my maiden marathon last year 2005, and registered a 4hr8min timing. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, though it was one heluva tough run. I vowed to be back to tackle the 4hr barrier for 2006, and went about training for it.

Exuberant SgRunners before the start of SCSM 2006

The day of reckoning arrived today. I was part of 9,000 full marathoners doing the 42.195km distance, a record turnout. A total of 30,000 runners registered for SCSM06, making it one of the key running events in the region. I started my carbo-loading on Friday, topped with a steamboat dinner with the SAFRA MF group, and continued on to Saturday with ramen, sweet potato soup, crab-meat fried rice and lots of salty snacks :). Woke up with just 2hrs sleep at 3am, and got ready with Beverly (who did her maiden 21km in a very good time of 2hr12min). Picked DO and LTH up, and we reached the Tan Kim Seng Fountain at 4.30am. Met up with many SgRunners, and we had a group photo prior to the race. I proceeded to The Esplanade and found the SAFRA MF group assembled there. Trainer Ong, Kumaran, all looking set to do very well.

The Race
When I got out from the toilet, it was 10min to flag-off time, and I found myself stuck behind a long queue. I was trying to move up nearer to the 4hr Trifam pace team, but there was no way I could get past the dense crowd. Finallly settled next to lcpSimon, and we wished each other good luck. Minister Khaw flagged off the race, and it took me a few minutes to get to the front...phew. This is one race that took me so long to reach the starting chipmat. As I crossed the mat, I found myself stuck behind runners doing 6min/km pace. It took me at least 4km to get out of that, all the way turning into Marina South. IMD was nice to take a photo of me, with words of encouragement. He was out to enjoy the race.

The First 21km
I met Sok Hwa, Wong and Phei Sunn along the way, and as I pass them, I gave the thumbs up. As I ran into Marina South, met Sandy and then Shirlyn. I passed the 11km in 1hr2min...wah, very slow man. I was able to pick up speed as the crowd had thinned. As I exited from Marina South and along Shenton Way and Nicholl Highway, the weather was still very sun at all. I remembered clearly this stretch was hot last year. The zipper of the pouch in my fuel belt gave way...yikes, what a time...I spent a good 5min fiddling with the zipper to no avail...shucks, this thing is new leh. I then transferred my car keys to my back pouch, and continued on. Gotta catch up for lost time yet again :(.

22km-34km (East Coast Parkway)
I entered East Coast Parkway, and crossed the 22km mark in 2hr2min...still off, but have made up for a bit of lost time. Saw the SgRunners support station and Fd took a shot...thanks Fd. Then saw kkchin who depsite injury was doing a 4hr pacer job. He mentioned that we were slightly behind schedule, and that the 4hr pace group was in front. I couldn't see them, but based on timing, I know they cannot be too far in front. The ECP were lined with casual supporters, holding out bananas and drinks...a nice gesture which I didn't see last year. I took a banana from a family who handed out, and munched happily as I soaked in the cheers. As I moved to the 25km mark, I could see many familiar faces from SAFRA zooming lah... Benson, Ong, Sam, Tech Hou, Derrick, Eddie, Melvin, Jimmy were some of those I can recall. Shouted to them words of encouragement and gave the thumbs up. I was trying to take it easy and slowly catch up, but was a bit concerned that I was so far away....hmm.

Getting into the Reservoir area, I could see Ultra coming back...wah, he was easily 2km ahead...*impressed*. I still don't see the Trifam 4hr pace group leh...they surely must be running below 4hr pace. I took another portion of my PowerGel mix, and continued to move on. I could feel a little tightness, but was able to maintain pace. At the Food Centre, I saw OP and touched his back...he was nice to take a photo shot of me....thanks OP. I continued back along the Cable-Ski area, and on the way back saw Brokie...shouted at her, but she was so focused...she was just about 2km behind me....wah, got chance for good timing. At the 28km, a slight cramp hit me and I slowed down. Took lots of deep heat from the support station, and continued time to lose.

30km Support Station
I passed the SgRunners 30km support station, and was cheered by a large group of supporters...Roonz, James, Fd as I remembered their faces....I think James passed me a, that was heavenly...great to have that kind of support at that critical stage. I reached the 30km in 1hr45min...a quick calculation told me I had 75min to do 12km, which roughly translates to a 6min+ pace. I quickened the pace to bank in more buffer, in case I get heat with severe cramps in the final stages. I spotted Colleen at the 32km mark, and she was moving so strong and steady. Told her to keep up the good pace, before proceeding to pace this tall ang moh who was walking/sprinting....somehow they like to adopt this kind of running tactics.

The stretch along Fort Road was punishing, and when I stopped to get a drink amidst the cheers of a large Runspirator group, I was hit with, pain pain. I walked for 10m for the calf cramp to subside, before running again. I overtook the ang moh guy, and he 'chionged' some more. We paced one another along Mountbatten Road, and I left him when it was 7km to go. Time was 3hr8min, meaning I had 52min to cover 7km+. I spotted doraemon_red and Sok Hwa in front. Both were running steadily. I used them as 'eyes' for a while, and overtake them along Nicholl Highway. There was still good cloud cover. With 5km to go, Lim Ngee Huat ran up. He was going steady and the group of us were all going for a sub-4hr of course. I just hoped that my cramps do not act up. I was still running very cautiously up to that point.

Final 5km
The final 5km stretch is always a 'mental' run as this part see us going along the kallang area, and traffic was already crawling by the side. Fumes were being emitted by the car exhausts. Fortunately, there was no heat to contend with. I crossed the 38km mark with 36min to spare...hmm, can afford to run at 8min pace...hehe. As I ran along downslope, I spotted TLR in front, and he was having a ball of a I was 'beo-ing' TLR, I heard someone shouted 'Dream'. I looked over and saw it was RealRunner...he was down with a medic...he must have had cramps or something...I put up a hand to acknowledge, as I had already gone past (RR did finish the race in 4hr+, after an hour of waiting for the cramps to subside *salute*). I entered the familiar Marina Promenade area with 3km to go. I had 27min to spare...hmm, ok, if I don't get cramps, I should be home in sub-4hr.

As I was 'dreaming'...hehe, someone shouted at was Teck Heng, who was getting medical attention for cramps. He gave the thumbs up, and said 'well done'. (LTH went on to finish in 4hr10min after his cramps were being treated...well done for the finish). I pushed on, and soon caught up with LNH, and overtook him with 2km to go. I could see the Trifam gal who used to run the Animiles run in front...she was strong. I overtook her with 1km to go. I had 12min to spare.

The Finish
I pushed on and finished round The Padang with my hands raised. I looked up and the Clock read 3:55...As I crossed the finish, my watch read 3:54...will wait for the official net chip timings. It was a satisfying run, but it was hard on me as I had to play catch up all the way. Eng Hwa passed me a drink, and yes...Sok Hwa and tktan was just in front of me...good timings. Took a photo with Sok Hwa, and then went to collect my finisher's medal and T-Shirt. Met Richy who mentioned it was his toughest marathon race yet. Then spotted Divey on the other side of the rail...she did pretty well for her 21km, with no pain whatsoever. I got updates on the who's who that came back from the Marathon from her....haha...thanks Divey!

The SAFRA Team did very well...Kumaran 3:25, Ong 3:30, Melvin 3:38, Derrick 3:44, Freddy 3:45, Jimmy 3:53 among others. Collen did exceptionally well, recording her first sub-4hr marathon at 3:59. She was close to tears of joy. Brokie came back shortly in 4:16, and she too had emotions of joy written on her face. Cokiee, Philip, shortlegs, Igloo, OP, George, dasher, notme, stazla, acleong, Vincent all did very well. The Golden Boys Ultra did 3:50 and DO 3:52. I congratulated David Tay on his very steady 4hr pace, and his team did very well to do 3:53. I was happy enough with my sub-4hr performance, and though it is not my marathon PB, I will take it as a PB for SCSM, one of the toughest marathons I have encountered (because of its very flat terrain and humid conditions). Now for some well deserved rest, and post-race dinner with the HK and Sg Runners at Brewerkz :).

Distance: 42.195km__Time: 3hr54min__Pace: 5:33min/km

A SgRunners SCSM06 Video - Courtesy of tekko

Official Results Out!

Detailed RACE Results!

Marathon-Photos HERE!

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Final Countdown

Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon 2006

The Final Countdown...

Unofficial Time: 3hr54min

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