Monday, December 3, 2012

Reflections on the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2012

While it is still fresh in mind, I summarise my key personal leadership lessons from yesterday’s run. My post-race conversation with runners yielded the salient fact that most did not improve on previous times, and most ‘hit the wall’ at about the 30-34km mark.
Photo-credit: Sasha Farina
1)    Having my bladder fill up 30 minutes before the flag-off was uncomfortable. I ‘made my mark’ at Speaker’s Corner about 2km into then race. Although I lost about 90 minutes (which I recovered later into the race), I felt so much better.
2)    I thought my body was more efficient in metabolizing fat, however I may have under-estimated the amount of energy-gels I used. Instead of one sticky pack per 45-minutes intervals, I should have adhered to one packet every 30 minutes [I need to refine this nutritional plan].
3)    I could have benefitted from longer, race-pace sessions. I had longer weekly mileage (60-70km) however a noticeable absence of interval- and hill-training. As per doctor’s orders, I did not indulge in such speed-generating insanity before the race.
4)    Above all, my foot feels healed. My running gait is, generally, more mid-sole contact. I do go on forefoot style when I get fatigued, and a heel-roll-forward style when I stride. Two blood blisters on my smallest toes means my shoe was a little snug. Time to review my shoe fit.
5)    This year, I stuck closely to runners with similar pace. I believe that this strategy worked well as I was able to hold my race-pace until the 30-32km mark. I was grateful for the company of better runner-friends, who provided the extra mental stimulus for doing a better race this year.
Photo-credit: Richard Leong/Tri-suit: Swim Bike Run SG
6)    I fast-walked up the bridge, although I chided myself for it. I reckoned that I would save my legs for the faster descent. It may have been a smart decision, for I had to resort to damage control for the last 4km. Once I realized my BQ timing was compromised (3:24 to qualify), I had to focus on a PB and improved Singapore Marathon timing. In the end, I merely improved on last year’s time by two minutes (with a healthier attitude).
7)    There is not much I/we could do when the other runners merged with us (10km/21km) at the last 3km-mark. All I could do was choose to enjoy the company, slower pace (recovery), and look for pockets of space to squeeze into.
8)    I did not do a PB-enhanced sprint to the end, and this jog through allowed me to immerse in the joy of finishing. I can still live with a 3:38 finish for an intensely humid morning. [Check me out on Sasha Farina’s photograph].

9)    Changing into clean clothes is an under-rated personal and social pleasure. Bringing these along (and wearing the finisher’s tee-shirt) was a smart choice. My mistake was not to bring slippers along as wet-feet and wet shoes do not great bedfellows make.
10) I loaded up on nutrients and food (isotonic drinks, water, muesli-bar and a healthy-burger meal) immediately after the race, so I am not as crippled today, as I ought to be. A 3-hour nap, thereafter, helped heaps. Thanks to Mom’s home-cooked meal yesterday (rice with curry chicken and stir-fried vegetables), I feel much better. I almost feel the need for speed!


K3vski said...

Enrico, 3:38 is a respectable time. Even more to be respected given that you have just recovered from your injury. It can only get better from here.

Enrico Varella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Enrico Varella said...

Thank YOU, Bro for your encouraging words. I wish you all the best in Busso!

Anonymous said...

Great race report, well done!