Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Great Eastern Women's Run - a race report

No matter what you think about women's-only races, the Great Eastern Women's Run is the best-organised road run in Singapore.

This year they really hit out of the ballpark. First of all, because the organiser Great Eastern Life is an insurance company...all the runners are covered during the race. There are massages and loads of food at the finish, and even a little clean-up station with wet wipes and deodorant and a mirror to check your hair (AFTER the race, when it totally makes sense, not before.)

And I love the way Great Eastern focuses on family/ friends/ fun rather than the kind of shape one is in. No tone-deaf fitspo here.

No, they aren't paying me to say this. I don't even have any insurance plans with them.

Thanks to some work trips, some crazy workweeks, and some decline of motivation (ahem) after hitting my marathon PR goal for the year, I was definitely undertrained going into this half marathon. Tempo runs? What tempo runs?

I had a half-hearted notion of PRing, as last year's time was about 2:11 while trying to ward off cramps. My plan was to go 6 minutes per km for the first 16km and, if I felt so inclined, to push harder for the last 5.

Long story short - I did not feel so inclined.

The loop-the-loop route involved running up and over Nicoll Highway...twice. And here is my biggest complaint about this race: when I tried doing lap splits on my watch at every kilometre marker, the first 8 'kilometres' took me 6 minutes, 6 minutes, 8 minutes (?), 3:40 (??), 7 minutes (???), 4 minutes(?!?!?), 6 minutes (phew, finally, a real kilometre), and 8 minutes (sorry, WTF? I know this works out to 6 min/km, but those markers are ridiculous.) And then I pulled the plug on the splits; they were getting too confusing. Dear Santa, can I have a GPS watch this year?

At about 13km the wheels fell off my 6min/km effort and I slowed down quite a bit (but sped up for the Holly-cheering point), staggering into the finish with a 2:14:34 gun time. Seriously, my legs didn't feel like moving that day. And I was h u n g r y. STARVING. I felt like I could have eaten an entire pizza on the run. I spent 5 km thinking about food. Hey, it was a nice distraction. Truly. One of my running mottoes is "There's chwee kuay at the end."

Oddly, despite all the food at the end, I didn't feel like actually putting any in my mouth, so I squirrelled an apple away for later.

I'm not terribly disappointed because the weather was terrific and I was having so much fun. My friend C completed her first half marathon (!!!!! this girl is going on to great things and I'm pretty sure she's addicted to running now) and S and A ran all the way without stopping to walk, and I'm incredibly proud of them.

And I even found my race pix. Not too unglam or shapeless for these photographers! Here you go.


Too long, didn't read? 

The good:
Pretty good organisation
Race started on time
Great amenities
Focus on family/ friends/ health
Clearly marked route

The bad:
WTF, distance markers?
Nicoll Highway slopes...TWICE. (not as bad as the City to Surf hills, but I was not expecting inclines!)
Too many loops in the route (again, not as bad as the City to Surf hairpin turns)

In other news...
Last Friday was my birthday. On Friday morning I had a terrific run. On Friday night I somehow got out of work at 8pm and made it to a nice (not break-the-bank nice; just cosy) restaurant by 9pm...where they miraculously had a table free up right as we got there, without a reservation, at peak hour on a Friday night. Birthdays really are magic.

Oh, and thanks to my fantastic husband there's now ice cream cake in the freezer. (Every year he asks me what I want for my birthday; every year I say ice cream cake; every year I get an ice cream cake. Isn't life grand?)

On Saturday morning I had a nice run, too. Despite eating ice cream cake for breakfast.

A mystery
I've been running for AEONS, so when will my easy run pace get faster? Such a mystery. Ok, I admit, this week at track I dropped out two *hard* 400 reps short of a full set. (Yes Coach Shem, I'm more disappointed in me than you are. It's a good thing you already know how I feel about 400s, because I was too out of breath to complain.)

I've still got to figure out what my goals are for next year. Do I want to try for another marathon PR and the family marathon record? Or be a running buddy for a physically challenged runner? Or run half-marathons until I get to the elusive 1:58? Or volunteer at a race? Or do my first ultra? Or help Ken Jin grow the Singapore Glove Project? Or pace a friend? Who knows? Focus, crazy woman, focus.

But honestly? 
If I wasn't training for anything I would probably run between 5 and 10k maybe 5 times a week, and however far and fast I want to on weekends (10? 15?), just because it's quiet and peaceful and I love watching the sun rise while I run. And keep going to Tuesday track; I like those people. I reckon that sounds like a good plan for a while, what do you think?

Does anyone else have a drop in motivation after hitting a nice fat goal - like a marathon PR? I feel like I'd  focused so long on sub-5 that I don't feel like focusing all that hard for a while. Mentally, anyway. My legs are fine. 


  1. Happy Belated Birthday! November babies, represent!

  2. Happy Birthday. Sounds like it was a nice one.

    I'm pretty sure most people have a drop -off in motivation after a big race. I certainly do. I think it's a combination of fatigue from the race and fatigue from maintaining such a high level of training for so long. And then having reached your goal - what next? Sometimes it takes a while till you know what that is.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I think I'll just run on my own for a while. There doesn't always have to be a next race. Sooner or later I'll figure out what it is I want to focus on then just go for it.

  3. I think you have a good plan that will keep you in shape and will let you move into more distance easily if you decide to.

    I've had a couple of runs like that where I was just starving at the end and it's all you can focus on. Definitely means you didn't get enough pre-race fuel. I would love to do a race in Singapore someday...maybe.

    1. Michael, you should come and visit! Plan your great Southeast Asia trip around a race calendar. ;) How are the Great Birthday Resolutions going?

      I definitely think I didn't have enough food beforehand. I woke up pretty early and had my usual pb on toast, but forgot I had nearly 2 hours before race start instead of rolling right out the door for my usual Sunday run.