I ran the half marathon at the KL StanChart Marathon on 27th June. Bested my previous PB by a significant 25 minutes by coming home in 2:12:45 which was more than what i could have hoped for, initially just praying to break 2:20.
I traveled to KL the previous day, with a big and awesome gang from SGRunners (organized by JJ and Kayano) and reached around 2.30pm or thereabouts. Rest of the day was spent going to the race expo, chitchatting with a kenyan elite runner and going out in the evening for makaan.
Race day: I got up around 4.30am, took care of pre-race prep and was at the start line at around 6am where a thin drizzle made the weather quite cool. It was a very pleasant atmosphere and i was looking forward to a good race. The race flagged off and I was running by myself hoping to run the first couple of kms at a 9kph pace as warm up and then increase it to around the 9.8 to 10kph pace and hold that for about as long as I could. Early into the race, i was beset by a feeling of tiredness and lethargy which was inexplicable and i had some doubts about to whether I would even break 2:30. My cough which had subsided but hadnt gone away completely, reared its head every once in a while during the run, as did my cold.
The route had several uphill and downhill segments, and to my credit, i ran all of them without stopping on a single patch. At about the 8km mark or so, i broke on to a flat road and thats when something clicked inside me and i started to run better, in a more fluent stride and kept the pace up. Interestingly enough, while my first 10kms took me 64 mins, i ran the next 10 kms in 61 mins which was definitely not what i had planned for (i thought that i would be slowing down after the 15k mark but actually picked up speed in that part of the race). And although i was carrying 2 powergels with me for use during the run, i found that just drinking gatorade i was carrying in my fuel belt was serving me fine and throughout the race i didnt have to touch the powergel at all.
Throughout the run, i tried to consciously not think about what speed i was doing or what time i was on, and just wanted to make sure that my body did what it felt best doing .. so along the race, i was doing plenty of sightseeing while making sure i missed the puddles on the road that had formed due to the rain (it had stopped drizzling about a few minutes into the race).
My splits were 0:32 at 5km, 1:04 at 10km, 1:35 at 15km and 2:05 at 20km. In retrospect the slow start helped to set up a speedy finish, with the 21st km being run in 5:47. As i crossed the finish line, i was filled with a sense of relief (for managing a sub 2:20) as well as a sense of immense satisfaction for having done what i consider to be a good time. Its a confidence-boosting experience when you have races like this that help you go farther than what you trusted yourself to go to. I am gonna soak in this post-race euphoria for sometime before i start training again, and this time i going to slowly work in some speedwork into my training. I definitely want to try and break 2:10 at the Army half marathon on 12th September and with a extremely gigantic slice of luck and good fortune, break 2:00 hours.