Monday, 30 May 2011

A blog I've been waiting for more than a year - back across the finish line...

And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. Team Taylor is just back from Wine Connection, where we had a great evening with Money to the Penny and Big D (just back from Phuket). I am fat and happy, with plenty of venison down the gullet (so guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuud...peppy cheekies).
Tonight is an important blog for me, as it's one that I've been wanting to type for more than a year (in in truth just shy of 2). I write you all tonight happy to confirm that, after more than 2 years away from running, the Bull got back into the half marathon finisher's column on Saturday night (and YES, Sarah - I know that we're YET AGAIN in matching outfits). I posted 2:05:59 (Dinger - you can check the website - that's the official time), which is just north of my goal but still all good given the heat (and Dad, before you ask it - yes, I left it all out there. I might have been able to shave 30 seconds - 2 minutes off that, but I would still have been north of 2 hours). I finished in the top 8% overall and in the top 9% in my age division (68th out of 729), and on the whole I am really pleased with how it all went.
It should be noted that Muffin Puffin did some great work in the 10K as well, passing 18% of the field in the last 5K (seriously - she passed 1218 PEOPLE!!!!). She ran with Sarah, and they turned in a 1:15:40, which was AWESOME considering how narrow the course was and the fact that there were over 8K people in the 10K.
However, despite the thrill of finishing, it should be noted that this race was arguably THE SINGLE MOST DISAPPOINTING RUNNING EXPERIENCE OF MY ENTIRE LIFE. So just to paint the scene, let me give you the details as a comparison to, say, oh, I don't know....the VIRGINIA BEACH HALF MARATHON (Benny and Kay - you're gonna love this).
VB Race Start: You have a hotel at the beach, so you walk the half mile to the starting line.
SG Race Start: You walk 15 minutes (at LEAST) to the MRT in 90 degree heat, ride for 35 minutes to the Expo, and then catch a 35 minute bus to the race start AT THE ASS END OF THE UNIVERSE. It might be shorter, but THERE IS NO BUS LANE AND THE BUS HAS TO YIELD OT ALL CARS, so you are pinned in until some driver let's you through.
VB Commentator: Host of the "World Marathons Big 5" - very knowledgeable in the sport, with some great commentary
SG Commentator: Some Singapore dude who was trying simply to read off names of the finishers, but all he could say was, "Wow, you are all so fast! I try to read these names, but you move so fast, lah! I need to be a news man, is it? I can't see these names! But I love you all! You all do so good, lah!" (Rinse repeat this for 30 minutes)
VB clothing: Everyone dressed in crazy clothing and university gear
SG clothing: EVERYONE is wearing the race t-shirt. Seriously - I was the ONLY PERSON for miles around in anything else...and that anything else happened to be a NEON YELLOW SHIRT. Yep, let's play "Someone spot the Ang Mo banana that's 3 feet taller than the rest of the field."
VB course: About a million spectators across 13 miles, complete with 10 bands, 2 full lanes of traffic
SG course: TINY ASS course that is about 8 feet wide (meaning you are running over the slower folks CONSTANTLY), PITCH BLACK FIRST MILE, followed by a 6 mile straight line of running down a dimly lit street with NO FANS and some race volunteers asleep. The highlight was when some dude's i-Phone went off and played some music. Other than that it was just AWFUL.
VB Hydration: Gel twice on the course, Powerade stations every 2 miles, and water every 2 miles
SG Hydration: No goo or gel, tiny ass tables that couldn't serve a family of 4 with water (POURED FROM 1 LITER BOTTLES), and then CARBONATED DRINKS AS THE ELECTROLYTE REPLENISHER
VB Corrals: Organized by finishing time with bibs marked and required for entry; pacers wearing big signs to mark the time
SG Corrals: NO ORGANIZATION WHATSOEVER. I had people in front of me who were walking at the THREE MINUTE MARK.
VB Pace group: Every 15 minutes, beginning with 1 hour and 30 minutes, clearly marked
VB Race finish: Butter playing on the ocean, free beer, and they put the medal around your neck
SG Race finish: you get a bottle of water, a banana, and some dude hands you your medal. You then go to sit down and cockroaches run toward you because you now smell like them
VB transport home: Walk 1/2 mile - shower awaits.
SG transport home: Sit in a FREEZING bus for 70 minutes, be dropped off a a metro THAT IS NO LONGER RUNNING, take the subway the only direction it's still going (which is BACK TO THE AIRPORT YOU JUST LEFT), get in a cab and pay the airport fee to depart, show up back at home angry and ready to fire bomb the course
I will complement the fact that there was water every mile and the results report, as it was an amazing analysis of the race data. However, this race was simply pathetic for a city this size, especially given that it's the 4th installment. Seriously, once they tried to stop me whilst running so that they could let cars through (they wanted a 1 minute break for traffic) - WHO LET'S THAT HAPPEN DURING A ROAD RACE?!?!?!? SERENITY NOW!!!!!!
My biggest complaint - Singapore is an AMAZING place. The city has SO MANY wonderful sites, interesting neighborhoods, and cool aspects. To spend 13 miles running in pitch black darkness at the tale end of the island is a disgrace, and I would tell ANYONE considering running a race here to skip this one. I have, obviously, signed up for others, but their courses are MUCH better. Come on, Hi-velocity - you can do better than this.
All the same, 1/2 marathon #17 is in the books, and it's a good feeling. Now it's back to pound the pavement tomorrow and get geared up for the next installment!
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
Sam and Jenny

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