Over the past weekend, I raced the 2016 Sundown Marathon. The race would be my 10th road marathon and 6th time taking part in Sundown series within the last 8 years that I started running. Ever since that successful first marathon finish, I made it a point to run it every year. This was really to honor the race for not just being my first marathon, but for being the catalyst for my ‘running transformation’. The only exception would be the 2015 race where I did not start as it was held during Fasting Month. Thankfully though, the organizers decided that the race will take place a full 2 weeks before this years fasting month.
A quick look back in time at all my Sundown Finishing Line Photos.
Sundown Marathon 2016 Race Expo
Nothing much to report here. The usual steals and deals for runners looking for last-minute gear and nutrition for the race. I personally didn’t buy anything despite going on both weekends, but it was great catching up with my team mates at Nuke Optics; Wei Chong and Kerstin.
This would be the first time I wore the WAA Ultra Carrier Shirt for a road marathon since joining the brand as one of their global athlete ambassadors (or WAA Experts for short) earlier this year. Up till this year, I would just wear a compression top or even a singlet for races.
Nutrition wise, I had settled on Pro Bar Bolts as my main source of fuel for races, replacing gels for both road and trail. I supplemented them with Tailwind Nutrition, making it the first time I used a powdered-based nutrition system for fueling, as opposed to just drinking 100 Plus from the aid stations in the past. I would later find out that 100 Plus and Tailwind DO NOT work together.
Although not included in this photo, I also carried small zip-lock bags with two servings of Tailwind each as it made pouring into bottle much quicker and easier at the water stations.
I didn’t have much time to rest or nap before the race as I was helping out with a family event at home, which ended close to 10 pm. Once that was done, I got changed and left my house at about 1030 pm. I was a bit confused when I arrived at the race venue. I could see the baggage deposit areas, but I wondered why there was a long queue parallel to it.
It turns out that those people were queuing to enter the start pen, one side for the half-marathon and the other for the full-marathon. No matter I thought, as I was still early. Or so I thought. I made my way to queue for the portaloo since it was already long, after which I headed off to queue to get into the start pen. That’s where things started to get interesting. The queue was moving, but I was no closer to getting into the start pen and it was getting very close to the flag-off time. I eventually made my way in only to realize I was starting way back, behind the 6 hour pacer group. That was, frustrating to say the least, waiting for some time to get in, not sure where I’m suppose to be to queuing and to start almost 30 minutes after the first wave.
My goal was at least to try to get close to a Sub-4 hour finish. I was on pace up till 15 km before I decided to drop back on my pace. I started feeling sleepy and mentally fatigued coming into 21 km before I finally called it quits on trying to race at about 28 km. I was so drained that I sat down by the side and power napped for about 2 minutes on a bench.
Nutrition wise, I stuck with Tailwind for the entire duration of the race. Finishing a packet of Pro Bar Bolts early while topping up Tailwind every 2 aid stations. After some time though, I thought I’d drink a bit of 100 Plus as it was colder and to mix up the taste. It was definitely a bad idea as the gassy nature of 100 Plus made me want to throw up.
But despite that calamity, I felt fine physically with nothing in the way of pain or cramps, which made the entire race frustrating. I did somewhat ‘enjoy’ the climbs such as the one going up Marina Barrage and the last 500 m to the finish line. The elation was bitter-sweet to cross that finishing line in such a state, in a decent time of 04:53:56. By chance, I bumped into Erwan , another WAA Expert at the finish area, who was also based in Singapore.
After some time, I slowly waltzed my way to the baggage deposit area, only to find out that my baggage tag had went ‘missing’. It presumably was destroyed by the constant movement between my Ultra Carrier Shirt and the bib holder itself. But I somehow foresaw this and took a photo my baggage tag before the race started. Quite lucky here!
Musings and Reflections
Could have, should have, would have.
I’m somewhat disappointed that I didn’t match my 2014 timing and wasn’t even close to a sub-4 hour finish. But having said that, I finished the race in one piece with no cramps or injuries, which may be a first given my injury track record. I suppose that’s more important given that my goal race for the year, the UTMB CCC draws closer and closer. I also bumped into friends, familiar runners and met new ones along the way during the last and daunting stretch of the race. So it’s all good. Can’t wait to be back again next year to try to chase down a PR.
And here’s some Strava Data for you geeks.