Sunday, August 24, 2008

SAFRA Singapore Bay Run 2008

SgRunners @ Bay Run 2008 Collage, Courtesy Rachstar

I wasn't in the least bit prepared for this year's Singapore Bay Run (aka Army Half Marathon) as I had planned to take a break after the grueling Sundown Ultra-Marathon training runs and race. Up till Saturday, I still didn't know what the actual route would be like, other than there will be muddy spots along the gravel road to the Marina Barrage...whatever that was...haha. With the heavy rains falling on Saturday, I decided to wear my soon to be End-Of-Life Nike Katana IV for this mission (to avoid dirtying my shwe Nike Lunar).

Late on Saturday, the FatBird ladies, including Bev received news from SAFRA of their seeding and were told to report to the front of the startline earlier. Wow, special treatment for their good performance last year, so they get a better start to avoid being blocked by slower runners and walkers. I had to start quite a distance behind, and while waiting, chatted with David Tay about the Marathon Pacers training. I also acknowledged SAFRA MF chairman. FatBirds Niwas and Keng Siak were also nearby with me at the start.

FatBirds amongst SgRunners, Courtesy Amaranthine

The weather threatened to rain, and I brought along my cap just in case. The race was flagged off at 6.35am, and the initial 2km was quite packed in for me. As I moved into open spaces, I managed to spot FatBirds Jancy, Helen and Charmane. By the 3km, I realized I was behind at 15min...gotta move a little faster. Managed to get it to 39min at 8km at ECP area....still slow, but at least I could take a breather if I wanted to finish sub 1hr45min...hehe. Saw the very fast Indian and Thai armies returning from the other side, followed by some Singapore local elite runners...whoosh!

This stretch of ECP and U-turning at C4 towards Fort Road is always quite 'mental', with the hard grounds. Spotted FeetOfFury and a few others in front. As I moved along, saw SC5 in his very shwe aniMILES running top, and also Jimmy Chow from SAFRA. The other side was just so crowded with runners moving towards C4. The stretch from Fort Road along the gravel trail was new. The entrance to the route was greeted by a '14km' Engineers' banner. Time check for me was 1hr5min....wah, how come I have gained so much time? It was later confirmed further up that that sign should have read 13km instead....haiz.

The gravel portion of the route was soft, undulating and muddy at certain spots. A lot of runners slowed down as the soft gravel grounds sucked up the 'power' from the runners. I lost some momentum in there, and after encouraging Anna and Walfisch, I moved along towards the 15km mark. I found that I was pretty drained by then, as I embarked onto the Barrage...there wasn't much scenery to speak off; the nice part of that route being that it was away from traffic. After the barrage, we moved along Marina South before I saw the 17km mark.

A few runners slowed down at that point, and I almost wanted to join them too...hehe. I took a final sip of my PowerGel mix, and pushed towards the finish. It was bad at the final 2km mark with the heavy traffic, smog, and construction workers trying to race us tired runners. Sensing that I was not going to make PB by then, I decided to put on my running cap for a different finishing photo....haha. I grappled with it for a good 300m, aiya, I was really not used to putting on a cap.....finally managed to velcro it right, and moved that time, a few runners have passed me liao.

I saw the 1.5km mark, and before I knew it, I was at Shenton Way and moving towards the final 1km. Time then was 1hr38min. I picked up speed a little, overtook a few slowing runners, moved towards the 500m mark, heard the cheers of the DJs and applause of the crowd, and perked myself up for a good finishing pose. The clock showed 1hr43min10sec as I crossed the finish, which meant that I should have registered a 1hr42min nett chip time....similar time as last year, no improvement, boo! However, I will take that timing as positive, as I have not really put in much effort for this race.

Good Run: SgRunners, Courtesy Raven

Team FatBird runners did very well indeed. David at 1hr40min, Bev with a PB of 2hr01min, Niwas 1hr44min, Helen at 1hr51min, Charmane 1hr51min, Jancy 1hr56min, acleong sub-2hr, with the rest doing very good timings too.....must have been the fartleks and tempos they have been doing with the I-Runners at River Promenade every Tuesday and Thursday....haha.

SgRunners @ Bay Run 2008, Courtesy Amaranthine

In traditional spirit, the group gathered at the Cenotaph with SgRunners for some very nice photo and VR shots to serve as memories for all in the years to come. I enjoyed the whole run, although I found the going pretty tough at the final 5km....but that is pretty normal for a half-marathon at race pace. With the Singapore Bay Run behind me, I look forward now to begin the SCSM Marathon Pacers/Pacees Training Program starting next weekend. Join me for this annual full marathon journey in December.

Distance: 21.1km__Time: 1hr42min
Pace: 4:51min/km__Shoes: Nike Katana IV

Official Results: Men's Veteran
Official Results: ALL

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