Sunday, April 11, 2010

2XU Compression Run 2010

Photo Courtesy of Kia Liang, Ben Swee, CK Chin, Luke Woo, Jackie Ho

This was my first local race of the year. It was also one of the races I have been looking forward to, as it has been some time since I ran along the hilly and undulating terrain of Sentosa. It brought back memories of the New Balance Real Run as well as the many SAFRA MF training sessions we had in the scenic island of Sentosa. When Key Power International (KPI) mooted this race, I felt it was an interesting challenge for runners of all capabilities, and immediately went about jio-ing people for the race, just to get a flavour of rolling hills in the midst of lush greenery and sandy beaches.

I went to the race with a mind to have a good time, although I knew the short distance of 12km would make it a hard run, testing the heart and cardio strength of the runners. Given my age and speed, I personally do not relish short distance runs of 10-15km, preferring to the longer (and slower) half to full marathon distances. Beverly and DO could not join me for this race as they were still resting from the Friday NightHawk 25km run. Having not been to Sentosa for some time, I went down early to get a nice car park spot near to Siloso Beach, the start/finish point.

I was happy to see Prata & wifey, Costner, Sin Guan and Toh at the carpark. It was nice to see many familiar faces and FatBird Runners along our walk to the start. I continued yak-ing till we reached the start point, first with the KPI folks, then with the NightHawks, also the SgRunners, SAFRA Runners, and then more FatBird Runners and i-Runners. I managed to slip away for a quick warm up (I normally do for distances of 15km and below) and bumped into Lai Chee, Charlene, Joe. All along the way, I was meeting familiar faces, right up to the start point, chatting with David Tay, Vivian Tang, Sham, IMD Ben, and many others who were waiting for the delayed start.

The MC finally decided that we should wait no longer for the late-comers, and started the race on the count of 10. It was a quick start for me, as I wanted to get some space quickly. Many of the FatBird Runners were even faster...haha. We were going at 4:20min/km pace at the start, before settling at a more comfortable 4:30min/km pace. Han, Prata, Sin Guan, Thomas, Sam, and many other running friends were in front, and I decided to just tag along and follow. The initial stretch along the beaches was fun as I was looking out for returning familiar faces and cheering for them. Mok was as usual right ahead. Keonz and Chin Huat were running fast too. Wen Long and Melvin from SAFRA was up ahead as well. Team Run Fanatics (TRF) was out in full force helping with organizing and manning all the critical turning points and drinks stations.

The slopes began from 4km or so, and the rolling hills went on for the next 4km. It was during this period that our paces slowed, and things settled down to about 4:40min/km pace. The sun was out by then. I stayed within a smallish group of runners, not wanting to overtake, conserving in anticipation of even more slopes ahead. I could still see Prata, Thomas, Sin Guan about 100m in front. All along the way, there were a number of friends who shouted as we pass one another....I acknowledged many of them, but a few times I could not spot who they were...thanks to all of them for their shouts of encouragement. It was these friendly gestures that kept me going on happily. Ben Swee and CK Chin were 2 of the runners whom I saw the most as they were running with video cams and digital cameras. Ben was like way up front taking videos on the run. Chin was in the mid pack taking pictures, and smiling for the runners...really a boost to our morale whenever we saw them.

As I was not aiming for anything in this race, especially not when I was still recovering from my mild bout of gastric flu, I was happy just to be able to survive the challenge. There were times when I pulled back to ease my heart from working too hard...u can call me kia si ('afraid to die')...haha. After all the slopes, we turned back to Palawan Beach again. A quick look at my watch showed that we were close to 9km. I could see the front runners heading the other way towards Siloso for the finish. The flatter section along the beach was a welcome relief for many. I could sense the slowing of many runners' pace. After all the slopes, we cannot blame them for being more conservative yah? lol. I passed the 9km marker in about 41min. Then it was just 3km to go, and I was sure I would make 60min.

I slowed slightly to catch some breath, and looked around to sight more familiar faces. The sun by then was beating down fiercely, but I was not that affected, given the remaining 2km distance to the finish line. I could still see Prata and group running steadily, and taking it easy. Thinking the end was nigh, I inched forward and closed the gap to about 50m. After running for what seemed like eternity, the end point still looked far...haha. When my watch showed 11km, I decided that I could do with some iced-cold 100plus quick (strangely, there were no 100plus along the drinks stations at all, or did I miss them?). I picked up the pace to move up to Prata and Sin Guan, and they told me to go ahead. I continued on, but could sense that they too picked up speed. Great....all of us were just egging one another on to reach the finish line.

There was a sense of relief when we did not encounter any more slopes after the 9km mark. The 7-10 of us crossed the finish line in about 56min. After collecting the finisher medal, I moved up to congratulate the friends, including Han Low, who did so well. Han showed me the way to the iced-cold 100plus. It was just so 'heavenly' downing those isotonic drinks. I then moved back along the finish line to continue cheering for the finishers, and congratulating friends and kakis. Many of the new runners found the course interesting, but challenging. There was an air of satisfaction that they managed to survive such a hilly run, and a few have vowed to go for more hills training after this....hehe. I enjoyed this race thoroughly, although I must say this route is even more challenging than the New Balance Real Run a few years back. I look forward to coming back to this beautiful Sentosa Island for more runs and races in the near future.

Distance: 12.13km___Time: 56Min24sec___Pace: 4:39min/km


PLACING.....NAME................BIB NUMBER..SPLIT 1 (4.6KM)...SPLIT 2 (5.5KM)...TOTAL TIME
50.............. ANTHONY SUM..........57................20:21:29..............29:30:49...........56:14.82

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