26th May 2012 – 28,000 people gathered at the field next to Nicoll Highway at about 2200H, all full of energy and smiles on their faces. No, this is not another one of the Worker’s Party rally speeches but instead, they were all gathering for Asia’s only night marathon event – The Sundown Marathon 2012.
Sundown Marathon 2012 would be my FIRST Full Marathon event and like anything that you’re gonna do for the first time, its kind of gives you a nervous feeling. Thoughts of “What ifs” were constantly playing in my mind. What if I don’t complete it? What if my legs give way? What if i stress myself too much and collapse? OMG.
Thankfully, i managed to complete the race at a time of 5 hours 52 min. Which was below my target of running it within 6 hours, 🙂 No doubt it was a grueling run due to the heavy rain and cold winds at my 22km mark, but with the help of my pacer friend, the supporters who braved the rain together with us, as well as the volunteers (who frantically poured 100 Plus and mineral water which tastes like lipstick), i managed to conquer the 42km route!
The Sundown Marathon 2012 experience in 30 seconds
Well here’s 6 “cheats” you could use for next year’s night marathon :
1) Sleep and Eat. Have lots of sleep and meals before the race.
I’m not trying to be a badass here, but i was dozing off along the Marina Barrage route. Despite sleeping TWICE during the day, Perhaps it was the construction route which made me feel sleepy. Perhaps it was because it was about 1-2am. Perhaps i did not consume enough coffee beans. Perhaps perhaps perhaps….
Running a marathon burns calories. Lots of them in fact. According to LiveStrong.com, a person could burn 2000-3500 calories in a single 42km race, depending on multiple factors like age, sex and weight. Carbo loading also helps to keep your stomach full so that you wont keep feeling hungry during the run, which could affect your performance.
2) Hydrate yourself weeks in advance and after the race.
There’s no water like plain mineral water. And if you would like to add some taste, you could consume 100 Plus too. Try and avoid alcoholic drinks and gassy-sugary drinks (like Coca-Cola etc). Proper hydration is essential not only hours before the race but also days in advance. You know you’re well-hydrated if you void large volumes of pale urine at least six times a day.
3) Run light.
Running a 42km is different as compared to running a 10km (obviously). Small hand-held equipment (like cameras) or even water bags should be kept away. Not only does it restrict your movements as you run (i.e clutching the camera) but also in the case of bad weather or if you take a tumble. It’s something you would have wished that you had not carried in the first place. Take it from me. And those water bags… leave it to the serious runners who do not want to waste time queuing up to grab a drink.
4) Cushion, Stability & Speed.
I had always been a ‘minimalist’ and ‘racers’ kind of guy. Thus, most of my shoes aren’t the chunky types. However, as this would be my first full marathon, I opted to run in a pair of shoes which would provide me with 3 crucial aspects – Cushioning, Stability and Speed. New Balance 890v2 was my choice of running shoes.
I loved the way the shoe provides a decent amount of cushioning and stability but still remain light due to the REVLITE MIDSOLE FOAM material. Despite the heavy downpour causing the shoes to get soaked, my feet were pretty much intact and still alive. It only ached a little.
5) Be prepared, be mentally prepared.
42km is no joke. Thats 42,000m for you. Almost the length of one end of Singapore to another. Initially when people were warning me that 42km requires mental toughness, I was quite skeptical. But after going through the route, braving the inclement weather, feeling like Bear Grylls….YES. You’ll need some form of mental toughness to push you through the 42km journey.
What I did was to break down the run into smaller segments as well as plugging in my Sennheiser Adidas PMX 680 sports headphones. Great stuff. It’s waterproof by the way. But sadly, I cannot say the same thing about my handphone. 😦
6) Grab a running buddy.
Although running is all about yourself, your race, your experience, it is always good to have a buddy or pacer who would run WITH you and go through the run together. Personally, nothing beats having someone by your side as you run and both of us cheering and motivating each other on. Thank you, buddies. You know who you are.
All in all, the Sundown Marathon 2012 had a been a great run. It was one helluva experience. Never knew i could do 21km TIMES TWO after completing last year’s half-marathon race. I thought people were mad to do a 42km. But hey, i guess I’ve joined that group now. Proud of my accomplishment and the finisher’s tee is certainly really really nice! Hey, Sleep can wait. 😉