Hi folks (:
Did my second half marathon on Saturday Night (more of Sunday morning actually) and I loved every bit of it this time. I did my first half marathon last year which turned out disastrous because it was right smack in the middle of my final exams and I was running a fever. Didn’t train sufficiently but my stubbornness prevented me from staying out from the race. Heck, I remember doing a synchro swim competition while running a fever. I’ve made plenty of stupid decisions, but I was lucky to have the fountain of youth to back me up.
On the same note, please don’t ever do a Standard Chartered marathon. I did it last year and it was the first and only Standard Chartered marathon I did but I’ve heard negative comments about it from others as well. Very first issue – they didn’t hand out bananas during the race. I know it sounds childish, but bananas are very important energy foods during long runs. Energy gels just don’t cut it. The lack of bananas is just the tip of bad organization. Next issue: They picked sentosa as their run route. That’s absolutely ridiculous because Standard Chartered Marathons (SCM) has one of the largest turn outs and sentosa’s running routes/ pavements are very very narrow. Not to mention the terrible terrain within Sentosa itself which tires you out even before you hit the 10km mark. Slopes are certainly expected during marathons; Sundown had two within the half marathon route. But if you’ve seen the slops in sentosa especially the ones leading to USS, you’ll know what I mean. They’re steep and horrible. I’m fine with terrain, I’ve ran both in Sentosa and Macritche, but these terrains shouldn’t be extensively included in a marathon route.
Bottom Line: There are plenty of Marathons to choose from, choose wisely.
Sundown was an amazing run, admittedly because I had much more time to train for this one. Was a little worried because I only had a week after returning from Thailand to train, and I was running a fever on and off. But I managed to train a stable 15km run while I only managed to do a stable 11 km during the previous year. It does make a huge difference. The route was great as well, except for the poor lighting in certain areas. I didn’t have any so called “mental blocks” even though I ended up running the last 6-7km on my own. I might actually consider going for another half marathon just to get a new personal best (: Timing wasn’t great for this one, under 2:45 but I was really hoping for a timing under 2:30. Knees were dying on the downslopes though so I had to walk the whole down slope stretch.
I don’t exactly have some deep profound insights of running half marathons but I was reminded of one thing – training always pays off. That extra few kilometres you put into your runs allow you to enjoy your marathon so much more because you can actually enjoy the process without feeling like you’re going to die.
Overtake and allow yourself to be overtaken. It isn’t a race against others after all – this is also one of the most important things running has taught me. Overtake because you don’t wish to be complacent when you know you can go so much faster. Allow yourself to be overtaken because there always will be people faster than you. Don’t get angsty when certain stretches get a little congested; make use of the situation to go at a slower pace so that you can rest a little.
Making the best out of your situations would also mean stopping at every other water point station or as required. Don’t see it as a waste of time, because when you take care of your body it’ll take care of you. I know that very well because my knees are both in a very bad shape. It took me a long while to get them back and they’re a lot stronger now as compared to the past. It wasn’t easy though – it took a lot of gymming (of the legs to strengthen the muscles), foam rolling (which isn’t a very pleasant experience), extensive stretching of certain muscles as well as tape-ing when necessary.
And yes, train.
The point is not always to finish it. I’m sure everyone can finish a half marathon if they walked through it. But finishing well and strong is another thing. I finished my half marathon last year but it was so bad and I didn’t enjoy it at all. I trained this year and I did.
Very tempted to do full marathon but I’m doing to force myself to wait till my knees are much stronger.
Here are some pre-shots before we got really gross and sweaty. Oh yes, stock up on vaseline too. I had pretty bad abrasions even though I’ve never had them before when I ran up to 15km.