Date: 8 April 2018
Venue: F1 Pit Building
Flag off time: 04:30AM
I woke up at 2:30AM to prepare and slow jogged to the shuttle bus pick up point. Did some calf stretching before that as my right calf usually give me unbearable burning sensation when running for the first 3 – 4KM. It normally force me to stop and massage it before continuing. I didn’t want this to happen so I did massaging and stretching and slow jog to warm up the muscle, hoping that the problem will not surface. Thank goodness, I did not experience this issue during the race. I rested for the past 3 days without running so that I could run with fresh legs for this long run. Rest is a serious business.
At the race village, the F1 runners were having their warm up jog around the area as usual. Without wasting time, I proceeded to the start pen and positioned myself somewhere near the front, so that I could be flagged off at wave 1 and finished early. Race flagged off at 4:30am and I was running at a constant pace together with 2:20 pacers for a good 8km before they left me behind. I was wondering: “did they just pick up pace or I am slowing down?” The answer was obvious, I was slowing down. Goodbye pacers, thanks for having me. I never see them again, and I also didn’t want to see 2:30 pacers passing me, so I kept running. I knew that if they pass me, my finish time would be a disappointing one. With the gentle breeze, I pushed hard.
I made sure I ran with correct form. Run tall, relaxed, swinging my arms for power and land on the ball of my foot. Having Plantar Fasciitis injury is no joke. It is so persistent and takes a long time to recover and keep coming back. So I never want to land on heel again. But even if I land on my forefoot, my heel still hurt after run, just less severe.
The hydration stations were good. Water and Pocari Sweat were cold. There were also plenty of energy gels and bananas on a separate table. Volunteers handling out water to ease the congestion and yes I did not experience congestion at the hydration points. Just like all other races, many runners threw their cups all over the floor and causing others to step onto them which was not good and hazardous. Running route was good except that there were a couple of U-turns.
The distance markers seemed to be appearing faster than usual as I kept running non stop and ensured I did not slow down too much. I was able to power up the Jubilee bridge at a good speed passing many people. Although I was tired, I kept telling myself to maintain my pace and run with shorter strides with quick cadence. At 18KM mark, I told myself that I was going to finish very soon and pushed on… reminding myself that after I crossed that finish line, I can stop and drink to my heart’s content. 19KM… 20KM… and I was finally making my final turn to the beautiful arched finish. The clock was showing 2 hour 25 minutes. And then I’ve done it. I’ve finally stopped.
I rested for a while before walking around the race village to explore. It was just slightly over 7AM and I noticed those large 2XU displays and other photo booths for runners to take photos were still empty! Nobody was queuing to take photos yet! Most people were still running. So I went to have some photos taken freely and happily before returning home. In my past experiences, I had to join the long queues and sometimes I just gave up and went home.
My half marathon journey started with a timing of 3 hour 2 minutes in 2015, reducing to 2 hour 41 minutes in 2017 and then to 2 hour 25 minutes today. In between these period, the timing was like roller coaster, went up and down. Progress is slow but I am improving. I will continue to work hard and hope to make another breakthrough in the near future.
2XU Compression Run is always a well-organised race. Kudos to the organiser.