Running Log

Here's my running log that I'll update weekly. To view details of workouts, please visit this Google Docs page and highlight the workout. Additionally, you may choose to view my Strava profile. Last but not least, I've also started writing some race reviews on JustRunLah!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Straits Times Run at the Hub 2014

Towards the stadium. Credit to Pixelated (Yeo Kim Song).

As I made the turn towards the stadium, I picked up my pace. Passing two other runners, possibly from the 21km category, I continued into the stadium. Summoning my remaining energy, I kicked hard.

As I glanced at the finish straight ahead, two clocks were ticking. One was counting seconds past 40; the other was ticking at 39, though on its left was a "1". I kicked harder, ensuring that no runner behind could overtake me, and crossed the line.

I stopped my watch in 40:40.

It took about half a year, but I'm finally in the sight of 40.


I awoke at 4.40am and had cereal for breakfast. I've always had cereal for my pre-race breakfast. Though the exact type of cereal has differed, a meal of cereal has never failed me (tummy upsets etc). Had trouble putting on my contacts, hence by the time we left the house, it was about 5.30am. We proceeded to pick up Uncle Kim Kah before heading towards the Sports Hub.

As we exited CTE, it was awfully crowded. I was concerned. Flag off was in about 45 minutes and I feared negotiating this traffic would affect my ability to reach not just the entry pen, but near the start line in order to ensure minimal congestion - at least for the distance prior to the merging of categories.

At about 6.00pm, Uncle Kim Kah suggested I leave the car - in the middle of the road (due to the jam). Made arrangements with Dad to meet him after the race and I proceeded to jog over to the start. This was to serve as my warm up.

I realised I forgot to take my bottle out of the car to hydrate while waiting. Furthermore, I missed the chance to use the toilets before entering the pen. However, considering the considerable crowd for this heavily-publicised race, I decided to bear with these unfavourable conditions. Promptly around 6.30pm, we were flagged off.

I started about 3m from the front - one of the closest that I had ever managed. However, as I was positioned behind a group of leisure runners, the initial 10-15 seconds were messy, with some jostling as the faster runners overtook them. I was glad to have maintained my balance and then proceeded to execute a relaxed first km. We passed the 1km marker in 4:04, slightly faster than I expected hence I decided to slow minimally. Missed the first water point as it was located to my far right during a left turn (and I run the tangents).

7:19 at the 2km marker. Certainly a misplaced marker. I disregarded this indication but continued at a relaxed but steady effort. The 21km route had merged with us at this point, but running along the F1 track was absolutely sufficient for both categories. I then passed the 3km marker in about 11:50. Once again, as I was certain the markers were inaccurate at this point, I disregarded the feedback.

The 10km route diverged from the 21km route shortly after, taking us along the pavement up Bayfront Bridge. Though the incline and height pales in comparison to Sheares Bridge that runs parallel, it still required substantial exertion. As I shortened my strides and quickened my cadence, a runner overtook me - the first and only time in this race. He would eventually finish right before me.

At the bottom of the bridge, we took a hairpin Uturn before running along Gardens by the Bay. All too familiar was this route as I had run here 2 weeks ago during the POSB PAssion Run for Kids 2014. As I cruised along, I was feeling strong. The 5km and 6km markers flew by. This time, the 6km marker was placed where I had expected it to be (according to an online plot of the route). It was passed in 23+. If all was accurate, I was on track for a sub-40. However, I suspected some additional distance in the remaining 4km would make up for a slightly shorter first 6km.

Continuing along the Eastern side of GBTB, I then entered the Tanjong Rhu district, where the infamous bottlenecks were to occur. Thankfully, with a tiny field of 10km runners and not too large a field of 21km runners, I was able to negotiate the traffic on the grass. Despite the risks associated with running along the grass (such as uneven ground), I decided that it was less disastrous than running into people along the pavement. Just before the 8km mark, I caught up with another 10km runner and encouraged him to stick with me, which he gladly attempted.

Realising that he was slowing, I pulled away, with the Sports Hub now in sight on my left. The 10km route then diverged from the 21km runners, taking me up the Tanjong Rhu Suspension Footbridge.

On Tanjong Rhu Suspension Footbridge. Credit to Running Shots.

The Dutch who previously overtook me was in sight as I descended the bridge. Here, I was greeted by other 21km runners as the route converged. I did not know where to go as the route was not demarcated and marshallers were rather unresponsive. I hoped for the best and persevered at the pace. 

Negotiating the bends. Credit to Running Shiok.

Still around the stadium. Credit to Running Shots.
There were a variety of twists and turns without sufficiently comfortable warnings for me in my fatigued state. I proceeded to catch some of the 21km runners (approx 1:30-1:35 HM runners) and eventually I entered the stadium and kicked hard - even though there was no one within closing distance.

After the finish. Exhausted but satisfied. Credit to Running Shots. 

What went well for me was my pacing by effort. I knew I wanted to focus in the second half finish strongly - and I believe I did. This was possible only because of conservative pacing at the start allowing me not to drop off race pace in the middle miles. 

What went poorly however, on my part, was time management. Not during the race, but before. The new brand of contacts took me more time to wear; the crowded event meant more time should have been factored in to warm up and get to the start (while leaving me relaxed enough to remember to grab my bottle). On the organiser's side, I believe one disappointing aspect was the marking of the route outside the Sports Hub. Orange cones were left to do an ineffective job because they did not differentiate the 21km and 10km categories. In fact, though I was not overtaken in the second half of the race, an individual (15th) finished ahead of me (17th) despite photos at the Tanjong Rhu Suspension Footbridge capturing me passing well ahead of him.  

Though my time management was poor, it was not disastrous. Perhaps most unfortunate was the case of this Kenyan's run (take a look at his Nett time versus the that of the race winners).

He would have triumphed by a huge margin, had he made it in time for the first wave.

This race aside, I now look ahead towards SCMS 2014. The race being IAAF Gold-labelled (though I believe it's for the full marathon, not the 10km), I am more confident of its accuracy in distance. That is where I attempt to dip beneath the 40 minute mark based in not just Nett, but Gun timing as well.

On another note, the renown Haile Gebrselassie will be participating in the 10km race as well - his first race in South-East Asia!

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