Saturday, June 1, 2013

Show Your True Colours: Sundown Marathon 2013

Last night, I raced in the 21km category of the Sundown Marathon 2013. It was a carnival atmosphere, with sponsors-tents lining up the start-pens. The 10km/21km races were held on 12.30am and 11.30pm on Friday. The 42.195km race was held this evening at 11.30pm.

Ross 'Ros Man' Sarpani was one of the two new emcees for the first nocturnal road marathon in the world. He kept the energy even when they were requested to keep the music  level lower than preferred. Instructors from the Health Promotion Board warmed up the runners in the pens with limbering exercises.
Marathon Mohan (extreme right) has completed over-200 marathons! Photo-credit: Ho Chor Yin
I parked myself nearest the start-line, within eye-shot of the 2:00 pacers. I jogged in place 15 minutes before the flag-off, as I wanted my heart-rate to be near the higher aerobic zone when I set off. My target was 1:35, better than last year's 1:38. A 1:32 would have been a PB, although I missed it by more than a minute. Nevertheless, I was pleased for holding an average of 4:30min/km, or 13.3km/h in a very humid evening. It rained heavily five hours before the race, causing worry to runners of the race being cancelled. Author and sports-medicine specialist, Dr Ben Tan is not a fan of night races as he believes the hours between 1.00-5.00am is too humid and hot.
Dancing in the dark and humid course. Photo-credit: Eye-See-Eye-Shoot
The highlight of the race for me included being ahead of some of the top female runners in the country, as well as schools of younger runners. Anne Hui won again (in 1:27), and she reigns as top-runner in the country. A Kenyan runner won in about 1:13.
 I may look like Mr Bean, however I was transiting from a sprinting gait to a celebratory gesture. Photo-credit: Run Society
My final sprint after a hard last kilometre; enough in the tank. Photo-credit: Gis Tay
I experienced a moment that was close to Iron Wars of 1989, where Mark Allen and Dave Scott went side-by-side, step-by-step, throughout the entire marathon. I enjoyed this hard but exciting segment for about 4km with a young runner, Ryan (friend of professional female triathlete, Ling Er). We did, accidentally, mildly knock elbows during some sections but we kept our pace hard without anyone relinquishing our position. I overtook him tactically, and eventually, at some water-points where I grabbed-and-run my cups of water.  

I worked hard from the start, but mindful of keeping to a low anaerobic pace/high aerobic pace. I noticed many runners huff and puff their ways to exhaustion and premature fatigue. I had to remind myself regularly to stick to a sensible pace, or risk fatigue. I did not take any sports-gels with me, except the electrolyte drinks and water. I had to rely solely on my bodyfat and muscle glycogen for sustaining my pace. I did not check my time, but occasionally checked my race-pace.
I missed my PB, but I was glad that I kept to a strong gait with wider strides and stronger arm-swings. The day preceding the race I ran 10km at easy pace, and I rode for an hour on my indoor-trainer yesterday. I am glad my training is paying off, mainly my aerobic conditioning over the past 8-9 months. I look forward to the Gold Coast Airport Marathon on 7 July where I hope to get a good shot and another Boston Qualifying (BQ) time.


K3vski said...

That's a great time Enrico! Congrats! A BQ is definitely on the cards. Good luck!

Enrico Varella said...

Thanks, Kev. It was a good evaluation of my current fitness for GCAM, and for Kona. Most importantly, the months of aerobic sessions are kicking in, and I held my pace patiently. Cheers.