Yipee, completed my first marathon ever on the 7th December. I was targeting a sub-four hour marathon and almost pulled it off with my minimum training plan. Almost. I guess not enough mileage. So for me, the bare minimum training is not good enough for the sub 4 marathon. I guess it needs refinement and maybe add in a bit more mileage earlier on for my next plan. Probably, need two 32 k for distance run.
Anyway, JT (my friend) came over the night before the marathon to stay because it was easier to go together. I know it was a rather sleepless night for me because I was nervous about the marathon and couldn't really sleep. Anyway, I managed about 2-3 hours of actual sleep although I went to bed at 10pm and set the alarm for 3am. JT came at around 11pm and I was still turning around on my bed.
I woke up at 3am to have a few pieces of bread with peanut butter because I knew it would be a while before I get to eat. I put on my gear that I prepared the night before. I brought 3 packs of energy gel with me and a pack of candies so I would not run out of energy during the run.
My friends and I arrived at the starting place around 4:45 am. Some of those in my church decided to gather for a short prayer and communion before the run because we were likely to miss church with our expected timing. But with the huge crowd and some miscommunication we only started communion at 5:10 am. We finished 15 minutes before the flag off time. After that, a bunch of us quickly went into our respective pens. There were the sub 4, sub 5, sub 6 pens and we went to our respective target groups. I inched my way up to the back of the sub 4 group because my aim was to finish just below 4, if possible.
The run was very nice and the weather superb. The organisation was good. There was some major congestion from 38km to 42km but I was already walking by then so it did not bother me that much. For those whose legs were still fresh, the crowd (mainly consisting of slower 21 k runners) would probably have irritated them a lot more. The cheering crowd on the side was excellent considering Singaporeans are generally not very expressive. There were those that went out of their way to cheer the runners and this encouraged me. Even up to the last few km, I still had enough energy to acknowledge a smile towards the cheering crowd.
My strategy was to run an even pace throughout, assuming that my legs though untested should be able to pull through. However, that was not the case and slowed down drastically at the last 10k. I got some problems with my shoe rubbing agaisnt my ankle around 8k and had to stop to paste some plaster on my right ankle. Fortunately, I brought some. The stop cost me about a minute from my pace time earlier and I had to make up for it the next 4-5 kms. However, by 28k I felt my both my quads cramping up and had to walk for a while. Whenever I could after that, I ran when I felt like I could and walked when I could not. Finished the marathon in 4:11 minutes. I am quite happy with finishing the race and thought the time was not a bad start for a first. It was definitely a great experience and might even try another one next year.