$17. A no frills run indeed. Beyond the affordable cost (it would have been cheaper had I registered earlier), it was a racing experience and a nice gauge of fitness. I had been racing the past 3 weeks, though in varied circumstances. The previous two were stair races, an entirely different realm, though certainly requiring cardiovascular fitness. Nonetheless, this race on 7 June was a return to my focus - the 10km. The race plan was simple - first 5km comfortable, next 5km at tempo effort while ensuring a quick finish - train not strain.
I arrived at Sengkang Riverside Park just before 7.00am and proceeded with the necessary preparations. It started drizzling shortly after and I was concerned if the race would be postponed or delayed. I saw Marcus proceeding with his warm-up under the rain, while the majority of us lingered under shelter. Thankfully, the rain subsided into a drizzle and I proceeded for a short jog and strides. At slightly past 7.30am, we were flagged off.
|Awaiting flag off. Credit to Eugene.|
|Off to a quick start. Credit to Running Kaki.|
As with every race, participants broke into a pacey start. As this was a smaller race, I wasn't blocked by other runners, hence I too managed a smooth acceleration for a good ten seconds before I proceeded to settle into a comfortable effort. We quickly passed the finish line that was situated just beyond the start. We of course, had to run two loops from this point on before we actually did finish. As I settled, a handful of runners overtook me, probably dropping me to 15th place, though I had absolute confidence that I would soon catch most of them.
The first km (3:59) was quicker than I had expected - though it probably didn't do any harm. I was breathing comfortably all this while and it felt easier than tempo effort. The distance marker was positioned exactly where my FR15 beeped, reflecting the sheer meticulousness in the placement of distance markers by the organisers, Running Guild. As I maintained the effort, a surprising split of 4:09 appeared for the second km. All this while, En Yi was trailing me. I was wondering whether to slow and request we work together, or just maintain my minor lead. I decided to simply maintain my effort.
The route was to bring us towards one edge of the park connector, before we made a U-turn and proceeded back to the start. Thereafter, we would repeat another loop for a total of 10km. Before I approached the loop at around 2km, I noticed Marcus already returning, before a handful of runners followed. Together with En Yi, I had probably moved up into 10th place.
As I made the U-turn, I nearly slipped due to the wet ground. As I was doing all the work, I decided that would be a good time to make En Yi work harder. I proceeded with a brief acceleration before I settled once again. Indeed, En Yi was no longer on my shoulder. I was still a considerable distance from the other participants, though I was confident that I'd catch a handful as I was planning to increase the pace towards the second half of the race.
Continuing along the return straight, my FR reflected consistent splits of about 4:00min/km. As I passed the finish point before heading out for the second loop, I noticed the clock tick 20:10. That was when I felt a sub-40 was likely, considering how I had been conservative and had already ram slightly more than 5km.
|Catching runners along the return of the first loop.|
Credit to Running Shots.
|The first... or maybe it was the second loop?|
Credit to Eye See Eye Shoot.
Along the route out, I started to focus on getting uncomfortable. In doing so, I proceeded to overtake a handful of runners, moving into 5th place just before the U-turn. A friendly runner who I overtook informed me that the runner about 100m ahead was in 4th. I knew the 4th runner would receive double the prize money of the 5th. $20 compared to $10 - not significantly greater but still an encouragement.
I soon caught up with the runner. This race was proving to be a conservatively executed workout that inadvertently assured me of a good position as well. This runner wasn't slowing by much, unlike the previous two - though I had sped up mildly. Though he did not attempt to defend his position, he probably tried sticking with me. I never turned back, though I suspected I heard his footsteps for a decent duration. A few hundred metres away from the finish, I tried increasing the gear as according to my plan to finish fast. This was no doubt difficult, particularly when about 500m from the finish there was a moderate uphill and multiple turns. Nonetheless, accelerating while trying my best to hold good form, I approached the finish. From the distance, I noticed the clock ticking at 39:25. I realised that a PB may be within reach and thus sped up. Unfortunately, I crossed the line with a gun time of 39:36, 1 second off. Nonetheless, it was reassuring to have run safely within the 40min, having ran the first 4k very comfortably indeed. It does feel strange when I consider how hitting these paces are tough in training, yet very much comfortable (for example, the first 6km) during a race. Perhaps it's the thrill or perhaps it's the mild tapers I make for races.
|The final upslope. Credit to Running Kaki.|
|From my expression, this definitely was at the finish. Credit to Running Guild.|
|Marcus defended his title for the 4th consecutive time. Strava data here.|
After a brief chat with the other finishers, I proceeded for a short cool down. The prize presentation occurred not long after I returned, followed by a lucky draw sponsored by Key Power International. All this while, fruits and isotonic hydration was available for runners. A simple yet well organised race, with absolutely accurate distance markers and plentiful hydration (not to mention numerous photographers!) - definitely a worthwhile race.
|Credit to Running Guild.|
|Simple yet well organised. Credit to Running Guild.|