Back With a Vengeance…

December 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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Last year, Itchyfingers did my worse Half Marathon, or rather, Half “Walkathon” with a disastrous, super no-standard timing of four hours cos of a bad flu. So I was hoping to “redeem” myself in this year’s edition of the Standard Chartered Marathon and be “back with a vengeance” for a more decent timing. Did the Army Half Marathon in September and had a slight improvement from my first Half Marathon at 2011’s Sundown Marathon, so naturally I would have hoped for better result with an extra three months of training. But was kept busy with home affairs and work commitment that I couldn’t even train longer than 10km; and some of the training sessions were devoted to climbing stairs for the Vertical Marathon in November. Thus I was a bit worried if I can even finish the whole course without walking…

The day finally came….couldn’t really sleep well the night before…Like last year, the starting point for the Half Marathon was at the gateway into Sentosa Island. We parked our car at Chinatown and took the train to Harbour Front. Nice to see a sea of blue once again in the train and the station!

An unprepared Tisu Girl…always talks a lot when feeling nervous and anxious…
wahahah….Dunu can finish or not hor? :p

We were flagged off at the second wave…A cool weather for a morning run!

Although this year’s route is almost the same as last year, the organiser did few minor tweaks on some of the turns to make running in such a big group much smoother. Last year, barely two kilometers into the run and we were stuck at the Palawan Beach area. But this year, we were allowed to run on the road instead of running on the narrow footpath. In fact, I didn’t really encounter any bottlenecks during the whole course of the race, certainly a vast improvement! I guess having two separate waves at the starting line did help too!

Some of the narrower turns were removed and that certainly helped a lot!

We had special cheering team from these giant Playmobil characters! Just 
read on the papers that there is an ongoing event with these giant plastic
toy figurine at Sentosa’s Merlion Plaza and Palawan Beach till 30 Dec!
Must make some time to go visit! 😀

Was keeping good pace even with the initial slopes at the Sentosa Island, 
but somehow when we reached this first water point at about 4 km, I found
myself slowing down as I scaled the slope, even when I didn’t stop to pick 
up a drink as I had my own bottle. Seeing so many people stopping and slowing
down could have played a psychological effect on the mind and body… 😦

For a moment I thought the organiser has finally do away with this part
of the route, but was quick to realise that we would still be running through
the bus terminal! We had to first make a turn here to the right before 
following the steps of those faster ones on the extreme left into the underground
tunnel…. 😦

Passing through the other side towards Universal Studio…I kinda like it when
we have runners running in opposite directions cos it motivates you to run
faster so as to catch up with them…hahah…

Finally reached the gate of Far Far Away Land….

This time I didn’t want to stop to take photos as I had already taken quite a
number last year…

But then I saw this one and remembered that this was something new –
the Sesame Street Characters!

Oh my! These are some of my favourite characters! I love Oscar and Cookie

But why were Grover, Ernie, Elmo Oscar and Bert walking away? Were they 
going for a loo break?? I wanna take photo with Oscar and his sexy green
furry legs!!!

Abby Cadabby
Only this cute girl was left behind…I have seen her but never knew her name
was Abby Cadabby…Had to stop and queue to take a quick photo cos I know
I will never pay to come into the theme park…Okay, time to move on!

Finally reached the most dreaded part of the run – the underground bus terminal!
Seriously, it was so stuffy inside with diesel and smoke from buses! I’m not
too sure how long it was as I was struggling to get out of the place as quick
as possible! By the way, I saw one guy in full gorilla costume running the
opposite direction when I was on my way towards this tunnel…He was too close
by the time I saw him and couldn’t snap a photo in time unless I were to backtrack…
Wonder if he did run the full distance with that thing on….even in the bus terminal?!
Salute lah! 😀 

After an eternity, finally out! Is this the only way to get out of Sentosa gate?

This year I managed to get an energy gel at the 11 km mark. Not sure if it was because I was much faster than last year or was it due to a most adequate supply from the sponsor/organiser. It was a bonus cos I consumed my own pack at around 9 km plus, shortly after coming out of the underground tunnel. Certainly hope no one would take extra and left others with nothing later, just like last year.

After this turn near Vivo City, we were “welcomed” with many upslopes….

But along the way, we were also encouraged by many cheerful volunteers!

One of the landmarks of the route along the expressway….Although it
was exactly the same route as last year, I didn’t realise that there were so
many slopes since I was walking and jogging very slowly last year due to
my flu…

It was at another of those tiring upslopes that I finally caught him in action…

The One Arm Runner! It was the first time I saw him at the same run. He 
started walking up the slope and I thought I could keep up with him, but
lost sight of him when he started running again. His time was not bad – 4:28 hr
for full marathon!

Then I heard the volunteers cheering for Batman and before I could turn 
back to look, the super hero had already zoomed past me! Hahaha….

I thought I was keeping good progress and could beat my own timing cos at 15 or 16 km mark, I still had about half an hour to spare. But unfortunately things took a bad turn. I could feel my calves gradually cramping up and by the time I passed the 18 km mark, it was so bad I could feel my right foot turning inwards involuntarily…

Had to really slow down and then stopped to stretch those tight muscles 
every now and then…I knew that even if I were to slow down to a 8 min/km
pace, I might still be able to do better than my previous runs. But to have to
stop totally for stretching and picking up pace again would be a major disruption
to the momentum. I vividly remembered this stretch of the road. It was here
that I started coughing badly and then felt nauseous on the same run last 
year…To many runners, the stretch along the expressway was dubbed the
“Heartbreak Bridge” due to the many upslopes on the long and seemingly
endless road. But to me, this was the part which was the most heartbreaking,
cos I was so close to doing better…

My calves were still hurting but I didn’t want to stop or start walking. Instead my pace turned into a painfully slow jog. Cheering teams along the Esplanade clapped and beat the drums as we soldered on. Last two kilometers…. Then, last one. I tried to distract myself from the pain by watching the kids doing the Kids’ Dash at the other side of the bridge. Then finally, I saw the big banner leading runners to their respective lane towards the finishing line. I picked up speed slightly, 500 more metres….then… Yes! I crossed the finishing line once again, with a big smile on my face!

After resting and lazing around at the Padang, Itchyfingers happened to 
catch the prize giving ceremony for the Women Open Category Half Marathon.
As usual, top prizes went mostly to the Kenyans but our very own Singaporean
Ms Mok Ying Rong made us proud with her second place with a time of 1:30:46hr,
winning the Australian lady by close to six minutes!

We also saw the winners for the Full Marathon Masters Men category.
Oh they each got a Gold, Silver and Bronze-coloured medal! So nice!

I like this year’s running tee design and material. The medal is also not too
bad but round is a bit too common. Last year’s rectangular is more unique

The race category wordings were so small at the back…

It was the toughest Half Marathon I have ever done so far, with so many upslopes and worse calves cramps. Though I was a bit disappointed with my timing, but at least I managed to keep it the same as the Army Half Marathon and didn’t do a walkathon in a running race….So, I didn’t manage to come back with a vengeance? Hahah…I guess I will have to redo again…I will be back! Hahah… 😀

Also see related:
> A Cool Morning Run – Safra Bay Run and Army Half Marathon 2012
No-Standard Chartered Singapore Walkathon 2011
Sleep Can Wait. Beat the Sunrise


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