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.
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!