My first half-marathon: Standard Chartered 2007

I’ve been thinking about how I came to being a bit more conscious about fitness and nutrition, and I found an old blog post I wrote about my first ever half-marathon.

It was originally written back in December 2007 as a distance by distance recollection of the run. I don’t think I faired very well, I came in something like 2hr 45mins after the starting gun. And my excuse (a valid one), was that I had just recovered from a bout of flu. Apart from that, I realise now that while I did train progressively for the run, I don’t think I put in enough focus. Rather, I thought I was ready but really, I wasn’t.

In any case, this was my Standard Charted Half-Marathon experience from some 6 years plus ago.

My ex-colleagues from Paprika who signed up for the run. (L-R: Yours truly, Labbit, Kang Kang and Pao)

The alarm clocks (yes, plural) ring – I stir from slumber, it’s too early yo. Several SMSes later to check everyones’ awake, a cup of Berocca, a bowl of oats and more water. 

450am – 615am
I leave for Suntec to meet the guys; Labbit, Kang Kang and Commando. Commando lives up to the ‘For Honour & Glory’ motto – he looks the runner’s part, shades, Asics singlet and all. Gladly declaring, ‘Cannot run, must look good mah!’ He recces for a toilet because the porta-loo lines are way too long. We stretch and eventually loose him BEFORE the start line. I foretell him finishing the run, getting back to my car, breaking-in to get his stuff and heading home BEFORE the rest of us even see the finish line.

Music is blaring… Elite runners from the ‘full’ start to pass us, BEFORE we actually start (that’s about 10km already, with a 45min headstart) the announcer counts down from 10mins, 5mins… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … Only about 3 minutes later do we actually clear the start line.

+- 50m (Esplanade Drive)
Jumping about and high-fiving runspirators along the start line.

+- 800m (Esplanade Drive)
The smell of coffee whiffs across from Lau Pa Sat… Nabeh!

+- 1.2 km (Before Singapore Concert Hall & that KTV place)
Turned off into the bushes for a pee. Only time of the year where it’s legal to pee in public.

+- 1.5km
The guys loose sight of their ‘runspirator’ – a really cute looking lass. I get blamed for it eventually, because of my pre-mature pee break.

+- 2km
Link up with the guys. ‘All your fault la! We lost our runspirator!’

3km (Marina Bay)
Skip the water stop, everyone’s crowding along the line. I also notice people slapping on deep heat already – Wow so fast, what am I missing here?

+- 3.05km
Ok crap, my left ankle is acting up, I do the penguin wobble to stretch it back in place, just for a short while. So… deep heat neh…

+- 4.5km
Sun’s coming up. So beautiful. Damn does this mean the sun’s gonna bite later? Forgot about the sunscreen advise. Tell the guys we can slow down, we’re pacing a little fast. Eventually they ignore it, because I’m slowing them down.

+- 5km (Marina Mall – Chong Pang seafood? Here?!)
Crowd eases up a bit. Had enough of the cutting into my line and periodic rhythm breakers.

+- 5.2km
Labbit cat calls guys peeing in the bushes. Wooo-weeet!

6 km
Grab a 100+. Half of it meets the pavement…The crowd is back. I switch over to the pavement and lose the guys. Again.

+- 6.8km
Wonders why some runners stop dead in their tracks along a running line, to do whatever they need to do. Why don’t you step off to the side? This is after I nearly knock over a female runner who decides to stop dead in her tracks and bend over in front of me w/o warning.

+- 7.4km
Catch sight of the guys just before the first u-turn

+- 7.5km (Marina Ferry Terminal)
First u-turn. Realise I’m only 1/3 there.

+- 8.2km
Decide that 10k is where I’ll start a walk to ease the aching left ankle and right knee. Tell the guys my intent shortly.

+- 9.5km
The guys are ahead of me. Where the fuck is that 10km mark?

Drink station. I slow to a walk and grab a drink. Walk off… I lose the guys for the last time.

+- 10.1km (Shenton Way)
Find a bus stop and sit my ass on the bench. Realising my right sock is causing a blister on a toe – fix that.

Stretch a little and see AJ run past me, such focus, such determination, ears in tunes and eyes fixed on the tarmac. Run yo. I also realise this is one of the first times I’ve ran w/o slowing to a walk at this distance. You’re a champ!

+- 10.8km (Robinson Rd, Robinson Point)
Hey I used to work here. I notice 2 of my ex-poly mates taking photos along the side.

11km (Lau Pa Sat)
Damn! That marching band is loud! I can’t hear my tunes!

Somewhere I may have walked again…

– 12 km (Fullerton)
Wah, coming back here again. Ok, better wayang a bit.

+- 12.4km
Find a sign post with some shade and stretch a bit. Some other dude joins me. Starting to feel a little hungry. Wonders where the deep heat is at.

+- 13.5km (Beneath Sheares Bridge)
Hey bananas! Grab one and a cup of water. 

The sun is up, but you seem to forget it. Start walking ALOT. Try to get some deep heat sprayed but the first aid bugger’s run out.

+- 14.5km
I start struggling alot. Aches, cramps and a headache. I manage to get some deep heat at a water station. I’m sure along the way I made another deep heat stop but it escapes me now. Calf, ankles, thighs, left groin and shoulders get some smudged over.

15km (Nicoll Highway)
Hey beyond here, this is the furthest I’ve run.
Walk, run, walk, run…

I hear a familiar voice ‘CHAN!’ and see Labbit going past me from the opposite lane, he’s already made the 2nd U-turn. Luckily I was running, paiseh sia… Feel hungry again… ‘This shit is bananas, B.A.N.A.N.A.S’

16km (PA / Kallang Stadium)
More runspirators. yay….
After this distance marker, I loose track of all time/distance. Well for one I was walking, stopping, stretching and I thought I’d simply missed the markers. But I find out it wasn’t just me. Kang Kang didn’t see no markers too.

+- 17.8km (Nicoll Highway / Beach Rd)
Somewhere along here was when I stopped sat by the road, stretched and watched other runners going past me. And I realised perhaps everything after 16 was what they meant when said ‘Run your own race.’

18km (Sheares Bridge)
Wonders if there are more banana’s and 100+. Walk, run, walk, run.

+- 18.5km (Beneath Sheares Bridge)
Strange, there’s some wierdo bird watching with a bino and an SLR. Yes bird watching! His back was to the runners and peering into the trees. Wow, must be his sunday morning hobby.

+- 19.2km (Along floating platform / Esplanade)
Stop along the side to stretch. As I move off I hear someone yell “COME ON, last stretch last stretch!”
Decide to fight the cramps and start a pace / rhythm but it keeps getting broken by slower runners ahead. Run, slow, swerve, run, slow CRAMP!
Ahhhhhhh…. is that why….? Damn you slow runners! 😛

Where the fuck are the distance markers?!

+- 19.8km (Esplanade turn)
I walk, AGAIN!

I stop on Esplanade Drive, stretch a little more and psyche myself. Can hear the noise from City Hall; music, announcer and crowd.

Final stretch to 21.1km
I begin talking to myself as I overtake the other runners;
‘Come on boy last stretch…. come on can see city hall…. come on boy you can do it…. come on push on… come on… come on can see the finish line…. WHAT THE FUCK 150m!!!…. come on……’ I think the other runners hear me and think I’m insane.

10 metres to the line and I see a cluster fuck of runners at the end, I bash through them and everything is a blur… panting, aching, it’s all a daze… Wow, it’s the end. 2hrs and 45mins didn’t seem so long after all…

The End
Somehow in the chaos of the rest area, Labbit finds me. His words ‘We did it man!’ means alot.

We eventually link up with everyone else, tiredness washes over me. I’m beat. We make it to Suntec for lunch. I have chicken rice, which I will eventually puke away…

What a feeling, it’s over and I’m paying for it. ‘Coming-down’ was horrible, I ended on the bed with my head trobbing and periodically chucking into the porcelain throne and plastic bags stuff I ate or drank.

Here, the lesson – Don’t be stubborn and you’re recovering from a flu, you shouldn’t be pushing so hard. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, BUT suck up some isotonic to fight cramping. Heat exhaustion and dehydration is no fun. Be better prepared, next time.

How I felt when I got home.

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