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, November 29, 2015

Singapore Duathlon 2015

I find it terribly difficult to resist sponsored race slots (I'm Singaporean after all(. Furthermore, multisport race entries don't come cheap in Singapore (approx $90ish for my category if I had registered by myself).

Yet, the past 2 months certainly weren't the way I expected them to be. Ever since the onset of my left IT Band syndrome, I severely limited running (not by choice), yet it seemed to be of no avail for awhile. Gradually, I decided rest alone may not be sufficient and specific rehabilitation may have been required. Thus far, I have had 3 months long of injuries this year that have deprived me of routine running. 1 month in the first half of this year, and 2 months (and counting) during this episode. 

Perhaps the sole advantage of my injury was that since I couldn't run, I dedicated much more time to bike and swim. As a duathlon was a run-bike-run, whereby the bike was going to take up a significant portion of my time, I supposed it increased my aptitude in that leg. Though of course, that was limited by my bike. Considering I wasn't willing to fork out a hefty $70 to rent a road bike, the next alternative was a $35 mountain bike (still not cheap...but acceptable considering I didn't pay for the race slot).

Well race day arrived and I was excited, yet a little nervous. Over the past 2 months, I had never ran the distance I was about to run today (supposed 5km + 2.5km). The intended purpose for participation was simply to complete and enjoy the experience of a multisport event, particularly since this would be my first bike race ever.

My wave (Sprint M20-39) was to start at 9.50am, therefore I arrived just before 9 since I wasn't able to collect my race pack during REPC. Bim from Metasport had previously informed me that if needed, I could conveniently collect the race pack on race day itself. However, it turned out that my bib number was no longer available. Though I did have to wait for Metasport to make some amendments, the volunteers were able to hand me another bib instead. 

Thereafter, I grabbed my mountain bike ($35 + $10 deposit). The lowest gear possible didn't seem as low as I would have liked (since I wanted to achieve a 90RPM cadence). In addition, the seat was a little lower than I wanted (in order to achieve a near-complete knee extension while paddling). Nonetheless, since flag-off time was approaching, I didn't bother much about it, though I guess the seat adjustment would later haunt me during the bike.

This would see me through the 18km and see me overtaken by countless road bikes.

Thereafter, I hurriedly entered the transition zone to mount my bike on the rack (there must have been hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bikes in my vicinity). Occasionally I would spot a mountain bike - some source of comfort. Subsequently, I entered the race pen.

There seemed to be barely 40 individuals in my wave. I lingered around the middle as I had planned to run at just under 5min/km for the first run leg. Promptly at 9.50am, we were flagged off. I made sure to start comfortably, but just increased the pace mildly after the crowd dispersed. I gradually started overtaking a good number of participants and understandably so as I realised the first km was covered in 4:17, way faster than intended. Yet hating to be an example of poor pacing, running a positive split wasn't much of an option for me so I persisted in the effort, consistently running splits of about 4:10-4:15 for the rest of the run leg. The leg was actually quite significantly shorter than the supposed 5km. Garmin suggests about 4.1km - inexcusably deficient.

Round 1 perhaps? Credit to FinisherPix.

Round 2? Credit to FinisherPix.

The bike was what I was looking forward to as it would be an entirely new experience. I hurried over to my bike, wore my helmet and started wheeling the bike over (on grass - not that easy) to the mounting area, or at least where I thought it was. Apparently I was headed in the wrong direction for awhile, thankfully a volunteer redirected and I extended my gratitude. I did see an individual mount his bike in the transition zone - an indication for disqualification (according to the rules) but volunteers were kind enough to just remind him about it. 

It felt great to begin cycling. I made the funny attempt to try to achieve as aerodynamic a position as I could on my wonderful mountain bike. Understandably that was going to look funny. Furthermore, as earlier mentioned, my seat wasn't particularly high, which just made the position more awkward. Yet I tried nonetheless in the belief that the position would marginally make cycling easier. It probably did, though it did have its set of repercussions.

I was quickly overtaken by bikes. Some zoomed past, some were more forgiving. The single thing in common about them was that all were in road bikes. Many bikers shouted "right" though I was quite certainly already along the double yellow lines (of the road). It was pretty fun cycling and pretty comfortable as well with the wind in my face and my Sworke shades (that prize came in useful!) from NVM 2015 protecting me from the wind and the sun (gosh it was a blazing hot day, thankfully much of the route was sheltered).

Credit to Running Shots.

Evoking a stare from a curious cyclist. Credit to Running Shots.

I was cycling splits of between 2:10-2:30 on the first lap (6km long), depending on elevation. After a while, it got rather funny being overtaken as it was just happening continuously. As much as it was against the rules of this duathlon, I tried my best to draft wherever possible (which happened only for seconds on a few occasions, since most people on their road bikes were considerably faster). I suppose what I did well was that I was pretty consistent with my aerobic effort, though along the second lap, I experienced tinges of a potential calf cramp. That was worrying, considering that the race wasn't in any way going to be over. To mitigate the risks of cramping, I marginally reduced my effort, consequently my splits started slowing by a few seconds per km. The bike leg started to feel long and I realised my back was starting to ache (must have been the attempts at an aero position). My consolation was that I started overtaking some mountain bikes a few road bikes. The third lap was uneventful but I did start to get rather thirsty - I didn't realise that hydration wasn't going to be available on the bike course.

Upon dismounting, I tried to rack my bike. Oops, wrong way around. I was utterly inexperienced yet that made me laugh. After all, I just wanted to experience the aspects of a multi-sport race. Subsequently, I began the run - which was torturous at first, as I was really concerned about getting a calf cramp. As a hydration station was available pretty early in the run (like 200m in), I grabbed a couple of drinks and stretched for a brief moment before resuming the run. Thankfully, it was just a 2.5km (nah - as I knew from the first run leg, it was gonna be barely past 2km) run. With the sensation of an imminent cramp dissipating, I was more able to realise the overwhelming heaviness in my steps. My cadence was pretty acceptable (I think), yet my legs just felt heavy. I was expecting that the run would be rather slow, yet it turns out the splits were pretty acceptable, though the first km (considering the brief break at the hydration point) came in at 4:36 (the next km was 4:14 - not too bad).

Gosh my legs. Credit to Running Shots.

Eventually, it was down the home stretch before a sharp left turn to the finish. A tape was waiting today (I suspect it ends up waiting for everyone) and my name was announced - pleasantly surprising. Unlike the Singapore Aquathlon 2015 where I felt I was within the top-10, I knew that I was nowhere near today. I guess Metasport offers the tape for many many individuals - which is definitely a nice gesture considering Finisherpix provides finish-line shots.

Tape. Credit to FinisherPix.

Thereafter, the timing chip was collected and a finisher medal handed out. Live results were available right after the event. Racing today was undeniably enjoyable considering it was my first bike race. I know I was severely handicapped on a mountain bike, yet participation was more than just merely a timing or position :)

Official results available that evening! Sub 1:15 :) 

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