Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Most Magical 20 km

Another post about running :)

After my terrible marathon experience at the 2011 edition of the Singapore Marathon, I was determined not to repeat my mistake so I put in more effort for the 2012 race.  I even managed to complete two 30k runs during my training.

One of the key decisions of a marathon race is deciding which pace you want to run at.  Aim too low and you feel demotivated that you might not get a PB.  Aim too high and you set yourself up for a crash and burn second half.

According to all those running calculators online, I should be able to do a 6:20/km pace.  So I was really tempted to go for a 6:15 pace.  In the end I decided to play safe and went for 6:30.

So, on the morning of the race, I looked out the for the 6:30 pacers, and moved to the front of the crowd so that I can tail the pacers as early as possible.  The pacers have colour coded balloons tied to them so that they are easy to spot.  This time around, things really went to plan and I was following the pacers within 1 km after the start.

And thus began the most magical 20 km of my running life so far.

You see, there were about another 20 to 30 runners who also decided to follow the 6:30 pacers, and it was evident most of them have trained well for the race.  So, after 1 km or so from the start, all of us settled into a rhythm.

We didn't say much to each other, everyone was just concentrating on maintaining their pace, although the pacers were joking with each other (the pace is obviously too easy for them).

And for the next 20 km, there we were, just gliding along in unison, the only sound the rhythmic soft landing of our shoes on the asphalt.  And I was keeping up comfortably with them.  I was elated and just wanted it to go on forever.

Alas, after 22 km, I started having IT band pain and had to drop off from the group.  The remaining 20 km was an exercise in perseverance.

But that first 20 km remained in my memory long after the race was over.

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