Sunday, December 09, 2007

My Singapore Marathon Report - by Larry Lai, Pm38

Running a marathon had been my ultimate dream since I started running in March 2006, a runner can only be called A TRUE RUNNER after he has completed at least one marathon in a lifetime. In my opinion, it is really an achievement for those who have the guts to run and complete a marathon regardless of total time spent.

After running for more than 1 ½ years, I believed it is the right time for making my debut appearance in marathon. Without the slightest hesitation, I signed up for Singapore International Marathon in July 2007 and targeting a sub 4 hours finishing time. In order for me to fulfill the objective, I planned to have 5 long distance practice run of 30km with at least 2 attempts of 35km. However, I could only commence the first session on 14th October 2007. From the period of 24th June 2007 until 25th November 2007, I have participated 26 events without a proper rest. I went for races almost every weekend, thus I found it difficult to have time for long run.

Due to the time constraint, I have applied half-day leave every Tuesday in November to start my intensive 30km-training program at 4pm. I was satisfied with the result in view of the tough and hilly route which covering 5 loops of Carcosa – Planetarium. In fact I planned to run 42km on 11th November but leg cramp at 35km mark, left calf was so painful until cannot walk properly and got to go back by taxi.

Date - Distance - Timing
14.10.07 - 34.90km (Customised Bt Aman – Sri Hartamas) 3h26m58s
30.10.07 - 31.10km (5 Loops Carcosa – Planetarium Route) 2h56m01s
06.11.07 - 31.10km (5 Loops Carcosa – Planetarium Route) 2h53m25s
11.11.07 - 35.00km (Customised Bt Aman – Sri Hartamas) 3h22m38s
20.11.07 - 31.10km (5 Loops Carcosa – Planetarium) 2h48m43s

My running friends from pacemakers asking me what will be my targeted time in forthcoming Singapore Marathon? I just answered them as “I wish to complete the race with injury free and less suffering, no specific target for the timing.” I won’t have any pressure and disappointment by answering this way in the event I cannot perform well. However, my “inner voice” still has a strong desire to a sub 4 hours or even subs 3h45m-finishing time. I believe I can do it!

I could not sleep the whole night on 1st December, too excited for my maiden showdown on marathon! Reached the Padang at 4:50am, check in my baggage, did some warm up and stretching, met Ferdinand and greet him good luck, then I proceeded to starting line at Esplanade Drive. I squeezed to Sub 4 hrs zone because that would be my ultimate target. It was extremely crowded but I still managed to meet Kenny Tan, Yip Kit Weng and Victor Chua. We chit chatted for a while before the horn blew. Kenny asked whether we will pace together and I answered yes.

The organiser flagged off at 5:30am sharp, I started at a very comfortable pace. Approximately after 1km of slow jog, I have to go for a pee stop. (Drink too much water!) I asked Kenny to go ahead and I will catch up with him later. I kept reminding myself DO NOT run fast at the beginning stage, I must conserve energy for the later part. I got to stay on the road for nearly 4 hours, still long way for me to go. Finally I caught up with Kenny again at 10k mark, my stopwatch showed 55m31s. I thought we would be pacing together from there on. Surprisingly, he did not follow my pace; I have to run on my own again. Never mind, there were still a huge crowd of runners running side by side with me, I can treat them as my pacer too, and I won’t feel boring throughout the journey. I decided to eat my 1st power gel after reaching 15k mark; suddenly Keven Bong overtook me from behind and says hi to me. I told myself, let him overtakes, don’t follow his pace now, still too early to push, later sure I can catch him back. I still maintained comfortable but steady pace, breathing smooth, and enjoy the scenic routes. Just before entering the East Coast Park, I heard familiar noisy footstep approached from behind. Those runners in front turned back and curious to know whose footstep is it? Without turning my head, I knew for sure it was the well-known dinosaurs man, Mr. TPC. His pace was getting faster and faster, it was very noisy and uncomfortable to run together with, so I slowed down a bit to let him go in front. I found it enjoyable running along East Coast Park without the dinosaurs man, so many cheering teams, tourists and local folks motivated us to continue running. Moreover, we could see those elite and fast runners on their way back from opposite direction. At 22km mark I bump into Keven Bong and TPC again! I have increased my pace to 5’00 – 5’10 per km; they slowed down a bit due to speeding at the earlier stage. But very soon, TPC get near to me again, whenever I sayur him, he will push harder to chase me back then slow down in front of me. (FARTLEK) He might needs a pacer (only myself close to him at that moment), but that is not the proper way to pace with! He repeated few time, caused me in great discomfort, it was damn pressure when I heard his noisy footstep. I knew that it would definitely jeopardize my run; I must either stay behind or pull away from him, I have chosen the later. I speed up to chase runners in front, pull them away until it was safe, only then I switch back to my normal pace. Yeah, finally I managed to pull him (TPC) away! The person behind me would be the unlucky one. I still maintained 5’10 pace until exit from East Coast Park (32km). I had my 2nd power gel at 27km mark, met few familiar faces along the way like Mohd Azali, Eric Teo, Singapore Uncle, CB Leow, Ngae etc.

Met Tang Chee Choon at km34, we both chatted and pace together for 1km. He told me he got to slow down to conserve energy for the final push, as the last 5km will be the toughest. He doesn’t want to end up walking for the last few km. Temperature is getting hot at this moment, my breathing still ok but both of my legs very tired. My split time at 35km was 3h06m, I assumed even I run at 6 minutes pace for the remaining 7.2km, I still on course for sub 4hrs or even sub 3h50m finishing. All I need to do now is continue running and no leg cramp! I started to do count down, 7 more km to go! 6,5,4,3 more to go. Every km I pass by, I really motivated and very high spirit. Reached Suntec City at 40km mark, my stopwatch showing 3h33m38s. By now I could foresee a quality finishing time of approximately 3m46s, It is almost there, just need to suffer for another 12 minutes, need not to push, just to maintain only. Lai, you can do it, my inner voice convinced me every second! My mind convinced my legs to run.

Finally, I saw a sign board saying 150m to finishing line, Justin Lee & Khoo Yit Kiat were there to cheer me for the final hurdle. I push toward finishing line and recorded the timing of 3h45m33s, official gun time 3h46m09s. I felt great to be able to cross the finishing line, completed a marathon without walking. It was the happiest moment in my running life since I started in March 2006, and also the best present for my coming birthday on 4th December. All my earlier effort really paid off,

Larry Lai, Pm38


Tey said...

Mr Pia:

Congrate u kau-kau lat.really inspire for ppls in dreaming sub 4 !!

Keep it up u pia spirit and run injury free !!

John said...

Congrats! Really happy for you! Impress with your dedication & determination. Keep up the spirit and the race strategy.

Carboman said...

Loco, great run and great report. Tactics paid off and bye bye TPC!
Hahahahaha! Now to plan for sub 3:30 sibo? Cinya!

chongwah said...

ya... very inspiring. I actually saw him at 22-25km mark, but i did know he was conserving energy. Right tactic for right training.

congrats. now i thk i have found a good training schedule from u.

yipwt said...

extremely good job for a first...congrats.

Lai Fong Sang said...

Dear all,
Thanks for the compliment, I will keep up the pia spirirt and running next marathon with more confidence after having maiden attempt! With proper planning and adequate preparation, hopefully I will be able to improve further.

Sub 3:30 finishing cinya not easy to achieve! Nevertheless, I will still try my utmost best to achieve it in the near future.

In order to perform well in marathon, I think one should at least practise 4 long run between 30 to 35k to enable our legs and body get use to it. Hope you will achieve sub 4 soon.

Your 147km ultra run to Kelawang is also very inspiring! Not many people got the guts to run such a long distance alone during night time at the isolated place, my greatest salute to you.

tanshawtian said...

You are the Pacemaker idol ! Should ask NTV 7 to come interview you ! Spread this spirit of fighting for greater achievement to more people whom are now not yet runners, so that more people become more health conscious.