Sunday, February 11, 2007

HK Marathon Prep: LSD in HOT weather

It was to be the final long, endurance run in preparation for the HK Marathon in March. The route was to be similar to last week's, just less the Labrador Park portion...which meant that it was going to be a series of rolling hills, climaxing in the run up to Mt. Faber and doing 2 MF loops up there -> (Route: Clubhouse -> Depot Rd -> Pasir Panjang -> South Bouna Vista Rd -> NUH -> Lower Kent Ridge Rd -> Clementi Rd -> Lower Kent Ridge Rd -> NUH -> Kent Ridge Park (2 rds) -> Pasir Panjang -> Telok Blangah Way -> Harbourfront -> Kampung Bahru -> MF hill (2 rds) -> Morse Rd -> Harbourfront -> Telok Blangah Rise -> Clubhouse).

It looked like it was going to be a sunny morning...finally the sunblock would come into effect :). There was quite a good turnout of about 20 runners...not bad for a weekend run. All must be looking forward to burning off excesses in preparation for CNY celebrations...haha. We started off along Depot Road, and I decided to maintain a slightly faster pace to test myself. With the front pack already gone, I moved up to trail behind the mid-pack of TLH, Derrick, DO, Lai Chee, Fennel. We ran as a group along Alexandra Road, Pasir Panjang Rd, 99-winding road, and all the way into NUS.

The sun was starting to rear itself as we manouvred the NUS rolling hills. I could feel a bit of heat in my Nike Vomero runners. The shoes's cushion gave me the confidence to tackle the 2 MF loops at the end, as I could depend on it to absorb the shocks from the downslopes. Wong and Small Chua came up and took the lead, as we ran up the steeper slopes within NUS. As we ran out of NUS, I followed Chua towards Science Park. I took some sports beans to ingest enough power to ascend the upcoming 2.5 loops of Kent Ridge Hill. I felt ready when I ran into Kent Ridge Park...took the first slope conservatively. On the second upslope, spotted Desmond who seemed to be quite tired from his trainings the previous day. Finished the final upslope, still conservatively, and had a water break at the top of the Park.

The Nike Vomero really made going down the bukit Chandu slopes so much more pleasurable. Out along pasir Panjang Road towards MF, I saw Ong taking a isotonic drink break, and he told me to go ahead. As I was feeling ok, and with the sun peering directly in our running direction, I proceeded head-on hoping to get out of the sun's rays as fast as I could. I ran 'in the zone' for some time, and finally reached kampong Bahru for the 'toughest' ascent of this route. I slowed down to a 'throttle', as I chugged slowly upwards. I was glad when I reached the top, and since I had planned to do the 2 MF loops today, I turned right to tackle the steeper downslope. Teck Hou, who had just finished his 2 loops of MF, ran past and called out as we acknowledged one another's presence.

I finished the first MF loop feeling quite pooped...went to have a good drink in the Restaurant toilet, refilled my bottles. The sun was beating down, and really 'sucked' some energy out of me. It was fortunate that I had another great carbo-loading dinner last evening, and 2 bananas in the morning. I dipped into reserves to complete the second MF loop, and it was a long, easy downslope. Once out of Morse Road, the sun was still beating down. There were however intermittent cool breezes to provide some relief. With just 4km or so to go, I made sure my strides were kept up and not minimized.

At Kampong Bahru, I spotted Small Chua again, and I just tailed him from about 200m all tghe way to ClubHouse. I knew I could do the whole 33km below 3hrs by then. I decided not to push too hard, and just take the final part to cool myself off. Reached ClubHouse in 3hr2min, not too bad, considering a few min taken for breaks in between. My legs felt good all the way, with no threats of cramps nor fatigue. I hope I can maintain this sort of pace in HK, and I should be good enough for a sub-4hr race. With the final LSD done, I now look forward to the tapering phase, although intensity will not be lessened with less distance (in the plan of Trainer Ong)...:)

Distance: 33km__Time: 3hr2min__Pace: 5:30min/km

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