First half marathon!

I ran my first half marathon on Sunday 4th December 2011 in Singapore, the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.

The start point is from the bridge towards Sentosa island, then around the island through Universal Studios, and then back out through the highway, finishing at the Padang near City Hall.

Wanting to be well prepared, I went to the start point arena on Saturday with Helen, to survey the location of baggage deposit and starting point. We found that the baggage deposit is located further away from the MRT station,  So from Harbour Front MRT station, we had to walk away from the start point direction about 10 minutes, and from the baggage deposit it takes about 25-30 minutes walk to the actual start gate. As the gun time is scheduled on 6:30 AM, that means we’ll have to be there by 5:30 the latest, or even earlier if there are long queue at the baggage deposit. I decided not to deposit anything, only bringing the essentials.

Saturday evening, some of the Indonesian runners get together for the last pasta carbo loading at Pasta Fresca at Boat Quay, arranged by the running angel Barbra Oravetz. Back at my Aunt’s home me and my brother-in-law tried out our gears for the half marathon tomorrow; we decided against wearing the given running t-shirt from SCMS, following the advise of a more senior running friend “Never wear anything new on race day”

Sunday early morning. Woke on 3:15 AM. Drank my water mixed with lemon juice, ate my papaya, donned up with my running gears. We’re off towards the MRT station at by 4 AM. The Singapore transportation system runs 24 hours that day to support the race event, which is great. We went out to the main road, hailed a cab, ride the cab to the MRT station. The train arrived as we walked up to the platform, great timing.

Train was quite full with runners – about 70% of them got down at City Hall to go to Orchard, the starting point of the full marathon. The full marathon is scheduled to start at 5:00 AM. Arrived at the Outram Park about 30 minutes later, waited for a while for the train to Harbour Front. When we got down the train, there are so many runners already.

I drank so much the night before I had to pee again; thinking the last decent pee was at the station I queue for the restroom. I suppose many lady runners thought the same as the queue was quite long; I think I waited for at least 20 minutes before I finally finished my business.

It was still dark when we got out of the station and walked towards the starting line. Quite  a lot of people there already; we made our way to the start gate and settled on about 30 meters behind the gate. I wasn’t quite aware of how many people behind us; I thought our position was quite at the back already.

6:30 am and the half marathon started. Turned out the road in Sentosa Island is quite small so we had to run slow. I run slow anyway so wasn’t really bothered by the pace but I imagine the faster runners must be frustrated. At one point there was a u-turn and we were able to see the runners behind, and boy it was so jammed that they practically walked, good thing we weren’t so away at the back on the starting line.

After Sentosa we exited the island and enters the long highway road… was starting to feel tired at this point. I managed to keep on jogging until about km13; there’s a gel station at this point and then we made a sharp turn and was faced to a long incline, and here I had to walked.

From then on I mixed walking and jogging, until km 18 or so the route merged with the full marathoners. Meeting them was inspiring, because we were reminded that these runners had run double distance compared to us. After this we were faced again with a very long incline, named “Heartbreak Bridge” – I think this was the most challenging part of the route, I kept thinking when will this incline ends? And then it ends and there was a downhill, I decided against running there because my right knee felt a little bit uncomfortable and I was afraid I got injured.

Closing in to the finish line, can hear all the sounds from the finish already. Merged again with the 10K route and there were so many people then. The last km was quite a struggle, although it was flat but I was so very tired already.

Finally reaching the finish line, with time 3 hours 1 minutes. I felt mixed emotions – happy that I finished and don’t have to run anymore, also slightly disappointed as I thought I could make better time, a little regret about giving up and walked and not kept on running. Queued again for finisher’s medal, and then went to meeting point to see other IndoRunners.

It felt great, finishing a half marathon. I imagine finishing a full marathon feels even better. My plan now is to improve my half marathon time first, after I can do it under 2:30 then I will consider signing up for full marathon.

PS: I started writing this on 9 December and only finish it today 31st December. *sigh* My bad.