Click here for the latest on RunEatGossip »

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sundown Marathon 2011

After 3 years playing a passive role in this night race, decided to get involved more directly and signed up for the race itself. Not the Ultra distance or even the full. Just the half to add one more piece to the race jigsaw.

The half starts at 8pm so after a light dinner, we drove there about 6.30pm. There was heavy traffic build up along Changi Aviation Park Road and it took more than 20 minutes just to clear that 2km stretch to reach the race's carpark. So we still had a little bit of time till flag off or so I thought. Had arranged to meet a friend to pass him some stuff but unfortunately, he too became a victim of the jam. After waiting and waiting, finally gave up when I heard the flag off. The sidekick had already gone to the start line earlier and should have started. Ran back to the car to keep the item and ran back to the start. Wasted 5 minutes and started right at the tail end.  

With that inauspicious start, my whole race was blown. While I do not have high expectation for myself, I have hoped to be able to maintain a sub 2 finish and with the flat route and cooler night temperature, maybe even a PB. With this in mind, I have a mental plan to run at certain pace and to do it with as little stress as possible. However, the late start means that I was caught behind all the walkers and stragglers and try as I could, I could not clear the massive crowd in front of me. To do a sub 2, I need to do constant minimum 5.35 pace but the first km was done in 6.37 minutes. The next 2 km were no better. I took 31 minutes + to do 5km. Way too slow. And since I am not a fast or strong runner, there was no way I could do a negative split to make up for the lost time. And the route was so boring. Just one long pitch black road with nothing to see except the back of all the sweaty runners.
After 5km, I managed to clear the main bulk of the stragglers and was able to run at a slightly faster pace. Even then, it was 1 hour on the dot when I hit the 10km mark. I knew the sub-2 was now a pipe dream. There was no way I could do 11km in under 60 minutes. Nevertheless, I wasn't going to do a stroll. Took a gel and after a short breather, started to run with a little bit more urgency. Managed to do the next 5km in an average pace of 5:50 minutes. At 15km, I was staring at the watch and it shows 1:29:34. So I had managed to move into sub-6 minutes region. Even then, 6km in 30 minutes? Was contemplating what should be my strategy when I saw the sidekick just 50 metres in front. There and then, I decided to run with her but not wanting to stress her, I stayed behind her all the way keeping a distance of about 20 metres. Even at the drink point when I caught up with her, immediately fall behind when we resume running. Don't want her to chew my head off for giving her stress:). Consequently, the pace dropped to an average of 6.30 minutes.

Back at Changi Aviation Park Road at the 19km mark, finally went to her side and told her we will finish together. So we ran side by side along what seems to be a never ending last 2km before we finally crossed the finishing line together. 

Overall, I gave this race the thumb down for the poor traffic management and the boring route. However, the race site activities was first rate. There was an open shower area for a quick wash down, changing room, adequate toilets. The width of the route was adequate despite only a partial road closure. Water point was at 2km interval with isotonic drink 4km apart. Lightning along the route could have been better as certain part was fairly dark.

Myself? The slower timing means that I finished the race still fresh and not fatigued although a tad sleepy causing me to do a wrong turn on a very familiar road while driving back. Maybe I should not stress myself so much and just forget about the timing issues.

Before the race, I was contemplating which pair of shoes to wear. In the end I settled for what a friend of mine described as "fashion" shoe - the Terra Plana Evo. Prior to this race, I had only worn it 8 times with a total mileage of 83km and the longest run was 12km. I didn't really know whether my feet could take the shock of 21km of minimalist running. In the past runs, I had some discomfort on the left sole with a blister forming on the ball of the foot. The slightly smaller size of the shoe also wasn't very encouraging but the lighter weight was the decisive factor in my decision. To overcome the problems, I replace the original thinner insole with a slightly more cushioned insole from my retired Saucony Fastwitch. That's seems to take care of the blister problem and I had no problem running in it. At the end of the race, the whole shoe was soaking wet from my sweat but strangely enough, during the run, I did not feel the water at all. The lighter shoe also helps to reduce the "dead weight" feeling that used to come from prolonged running. Overall, I am glad that I choose the Terra Plana Evo over the other shoes. At least I know now I can do up to 21km in a pair of minimalist shoe.


  1. whats yr timing for the 21km?
    ~mark sgrunnersforum

  2. Hi Mark, timing? it sucks so better not to know:)

  3. Isn't it good To finish the run together w sidekick and have a finishing shot together? :)

  4. Hi Anonymous. Sometime it is good sometime it is no good. It all depends..........