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, March 13, 2016

Men's Health Urbanathlon 2016

I didn't make it into the first wave. But that didn't matter much. 

I started in the third wave. This meant that most of the faster runners would be long gone by the time my wave was flagged off (7.06am). Some of the Gurkhas who were in my wave had managed to negotiate their way to the first wave start. I knew they'd be podium contenders. As for me, though a little disheartened that I couldn't see the Gurkhas in action (and a little worried if there would be bottlenecks forming, as each wave probably consisted of about 80 individuals), I had already decided I was hear to experience an obstacle race, not race one.

Yellow. Credit to

From another angle. Credit to MHU's Race Video.

Promptly at 7.30am the first wave was flagged off; subsequent waves were flagged off in three minute intervals. I was pretty cautious about the lengthy race and the obstacles, therefore I tried to start cautiously and followed others who were leading my wave. It wasn't long before I found myself leading my wave just as I approached the Obstacle 1: Barrier Breakers. Though straightforward, I could foresee this could be more challenging for female participants. There were many participants from the earlier waves navigating this obstacle, though it wasn't a bottleneck yet.

Therefore, I proceeded along steadily, making my way under Benjamin Sheares bridge to arrive at Obstacle 2: Side Walk. This was probably one of the easier obstacles of the race, or at least it was easy considering most runners were still fresh. Thereafter came the three storey climb up to the top of the bridge. Some runners were running up, though I took my time, two steps at a time. I knew that the best way to complete this race was by pacing well - both during the run and during the obstacles (if possible).

The run atop the bridge was pleasant. Though the sun had already risen, it was fairly breezy. I gradually started reeling in runners while continuing at my steady pace. As I passed, I'd just pay some attention to their audible breath sounds - my marker of another's effort. Thereafter I arrived at Obstacle 3: Swinging Fortunes. This was essentially monkey bars - though that wasn't particularly easy as the bars weren't particularly dry and the grip wasn't the most secure. Thankfully for me, it wasn't too long. I noted participants falling off the bars onto the ground early (or intentionally?). Though race rules previously indicated that failure of a station would result in a time penalty of five minutes, I didn't see any of the crew enforcing it. Nonetheless, I had previously decided I wanted to complete the race according to the rules - even if they weren't enforced. Hence, I religiously ensured I completed every obstacle.

The brief Obstacle List. Credit to Men's Health Urbanathlon's Race Guide.

It was a long run to the fourth obstacle. The route took us along Marina Bay Sands, Fullerton and the Esplanade before reaching Nicoll Highway. It was during the long stretch of uninterrupted running that I recorded my fastest splits, in part due to the absence of obstacles but also because it was largely flat and it was simply enjoyable running along while still relatively comfortable. My rhythm was interrupted as I negotiated Obstacle 4: Lateral Move. The first set of parallel bars were not particularly easy due to my narrower shoulder width and the fact that they shuddered as I moved along. Thankfully the second set was considerably easier. 

The run then resumed and before long came Obstacle 5: Lift N' Load. I was previously expecting a 20kg sand bag but it was certainly significantly lighter, possible just past 10kg (if my estimation is to be trusted). No trouble here, though I did it slowly as after all, I knew that pacing was vital. I had previously overtaken a runner in Neon Green (I later found out was Baldwin) and he was doing this station faster than I was. Nonetheless I knew I would make up ground once the running resumed - and that was exactly what happened. 

I was certainly more exhausted (we were about 11km into the race by then) though I believe I was still maintaining a reasonable pace. Soon after was Obstacle 6: Maze Runner. I tried my best to identify a route before I proceeded on all fours, crawling my way under the net and around the barricades. The hydration station right after was well positioned as my hands enjoyed its fair share of water to clean off the debris accumulated from the previous crawl.

Shortly after was Obstacle 7: Network. I was pretty exhausted by then but fortunately this obstacle was pretty straightforward. Just ascending, transversing and descending the network. Thereafter we were in familiar territory again, right around our National Stadium. I caught sight of a Caucasian runner in Red up ahead and it wasn't long before I caught up with him and passed him, arriving at Obstacle 8: Metcon Madness. This was by far one of the toughest obstacles for me. My quads were burning as I performed the Box jumps, alternate lunge jumps. These were arguably more equal as they were bodyweight exercises. Red (bear in mind he's probably 1.8m in height and weighing closer to 80kg) then caught up with me as I proceeded on the other "Fixed weight" exercises such as overhead squats, sandbell overhead swings and wall throws. Bearing in mind that I was possibly dehydrated and weighing just past 50kg at that point of time (gosh I empathise with lighter female runners that diligently adhered to the requirements of those tasks), the tasks were a heavy (literally) burden.

I was very much relieved when I finally passed that obstacle as I knew the race was nearly completed. However, I felt a little twinge in my calves - the distance and obstacles had tested my endurance well. Prior to Obstacle 8 while looking at my watch, I suspected a sub 1:05 finish was possible, though now I knew I could risk cramps or sacrifice that attractive number (it's this thing some of us have about multiples of 5 eg 0:40, 1:00). I chose the former, remembering that this was meant to be an enjoyable experience. 

Thankfully I was spared the misery and pain of a cramp. I proceeded along the final stretches of the route (during which, a volunteer shouted "Number 8!" Though the race results below seem to suggest otherwise) to complete Obstacle 9: Final Obstacle (no better name for it?!). The potential of a cramp was particularly prevalent as I climbed the underside of the netting, with my calves twinging at every step (and I took quite a number of steps). Thereafter came a fun and refreshing zip-line swing down from the 3m platform into an inflated pool of water (thank goodness I was one of the earlier ones taking the plunge - it must have gradually accumulated lots of perspiration and well, other things). 

I should have done this with more style. Credit to MHU's Obstacle Highlights.

Strava data available here :)

That concluded this enjoyable race - an obstacle race for a change! Medal and Finisher's-tee claimed, along with a can of 100-Plus and a banana. Lingering around the Finish were a pretty huge bunch of Gurkhas, along with a few Caucasians and a Singaporean-looking runner (who I later got to know as Feroz). I had a brief chat with Red, sharing how I felt deeply challenged by the Crossfit station (Obstacle 8) and greatly preferred the running. He then remarked how he greatly preferred the couch. I also managed to catch up with Bijay and Dev (I hope I spelt that correctly!) whom I had previously got to know during other local running events. Another Gurkha asked if I was from Raffles as he thought he had seen me with them before... I was like...nahhhhh.

I then proceeded for a refreshing shower (that's one of my favourite things about races held at Kallang Practice Track), some freebies (Adidas water bottle) and thereafter home before heading for Sunday Service as usual ~

Results out 2 days after the race. There does seem to be a little error though,
as quite clearly I started in the third wave...making nett time no more than
 1:05:09~ Doesn't matter though :)

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