Friday, 16 November 2012

Great eastern women's run

I raised a lot of questions to myself in the weeks leading up to the race.
Running has never been the same for me in the past 3 years since coming out from the accident with a broken femur. I recover slower and have an awkward running gait whenever I run.
Not doing a run specific race in the past 3 years and starting it off in the women’s professional category, I must have damaged my brains to do so.
I told myself that if things falls into place and works out, this could be the breakthrough I needed 3 weeks before Phuket 70.3. My last race of the season and I am looking to do very well in it.

As the professional flag off time was 0530hrs, I had initially planned to sleep at 2000hrs the night before so as to ensure I have sufficient rest prior to it.
It was a less than ideal preparation for me the day before the race. I got a call from my partner, Alan telling me that he crashed and is being evacuated back to Singapore from Tour de Bintan.
I picked him up from the jetty that he came back from and spent many hours at the hospital A&E doing scans, injection, test and scans again. It breaks me to see him in so much pain and it was a big relief for me to know that there was no need for him to undergo the knife for his fractured ribs, Just 2-3 months of complete rest should do the job.
It was close to midnight before he discharged himself from the hospital after signing the papers. Knowing that things are better in place, I can’t help but to worry that I am left with 3 hours of sleep by the time I get home.

Race day morning, I drove to the Ritz Carlton for the Elite runner’s briefing at 0415hrs and were all guided to the VIP warm-up tent at 0430hrs on the floating platform.
It was the first time I experience the culture of a professional athlete, as there were never-ending camera flash from the photographers. Every action of yours is constantly under a camera lens. Everything was in such a blur to me. Couldn’t have asked for a better start that this. Can it?
0515hrs and I was at the start line. I was amazed by the mount of runners already waiting for the race to start since before 0500hrs! One of the perks of racing as an elite runner is that you do not need to hustle for a starting position and you are flag off 2 mins before the next category.

0530hrs sharp, the horn went off to signal the start of the Elite runners. By the 1km mark, I was close to 200m behind the group of girls. This is going to be such a long day if I blew up now and I need to keep my composure to have any chance of finishing it in a respectable timing. No matter what the outcome is, I will finish the race. I have always respected the race and the other athletes in a race I join and it shall not be the first for me.
In the first 11km, I was running between 85%-90% of my max hear rate.

It was an eye opener for me to be overtaken by the Kenyan runners in the International category going up Nicoll Highway, which was flag off 2mins after me. I perpetually felt stationary when they made the pass!
Going down the ramp along Nicoll Highway, I found an Elite Runner from China in my category amidst the chaos of passing Kenyan runners. I passed her and increase my speed to gain a gap on to her.
Inside me, I gave myself a hypothetical high five! Knowing that if I keep this up, I am no longer the last runner in my category. With the increase in pace, I caught up with another athlete from China at the 7km mark.
I grew in confidence and kept on going with the pace without blowing it past 90%. I passed the 10km marker at 46.30mins. It was a first time for me as I had never experienced and know how it feels.

I have only manage a best of 1hr45mins for a 21km run in the past 3 years so next 5km, I was consolidating all my calculations. How many seconds per km I can give and where can I gain. If I ran under 5mins per kilometer, I should manage a 1hr41mins with my timing at that point of time.
By the 15km marker, I was on 1hr10min and heart rate at 92%. I decided not to let the figures play too much in my head, as I was still feeling good. Might as well go all the way and push for the remaining 6km. I just needed to hold on to the sub 5mins pace I was running to go under 1hr 40mins. Everything from now on is for me to lose. I can’t hold back anymore.

In the final 1km marker, I had 2 fellows Singaporean runner in another category running with me. It ended in a sprint for the line for them in the final 500m while I check my clock to embrace what has just happen. I am coming home with my 21km run below the 1hr 40mins mark.
I was over the moon when I eventually finished in 1:39:16hrs and 10th in my category.

Sports never fail to humble me at every race. I learn something and seen something new, each time I race. Racing on behalf of the beautiful kids of Operation Smile definitely spurred and affirm myself more that this is meant for me. I am really glad to be able to do this everyday.
I now have a greater sense of believe in my running ability and I am very much looking forward to battling it out on much familiar grounds at the Phuket 70.3.

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