Yes, I know it’s supposed to be a family holiday but what can you do when someone offers you a place at one of the biggest running festivals in the Far East?
The Sundown Marathon event includes a 10k, a Half Marathon, a full Marathon and an Ultra (100k!). I had tried to book a place before coming out here but everything had already gone so I resigned myself to cheering a friend on from the sidelines.
Upon arrival I’m told that as long as I’m prepared to run under the name ‘Delphine!’ then I have a place. That changed the focus of the trip as I’ve only run a max of 10k in the last 12 weeks so this certainly wasn’t going to be by fastest half.
I came back down to reality with a bump after my first training run at 7am one morning. I’ve read about the effects of heat on performance but with the humidity above 80% and temperatures already approaching 30 degrees my performance was practically zero and I was walking after only 4k. Suddenly 21k in these conditions is looking far more of a challenge. I’ve managed another 2 runs with a 5-10% improvement in my performance each time but it’s amazing just how much the heat has impacted my heart rate when running.
During a long run my HR will tick along between 140-150 and at that rate I know I can continue all day (6.5 hours at the London Ultra and 11.5 hours in the Great Lakeland Challenge). After a 5.5k run this week my HR was already at 180! This means I’ve had to seriously re-think my race plan if I want to actually complete the distance, if I kept on at 180 I’d run out of gas well before the finish line.
After some research I can see that I haven’t the time to fully acclimatise and so I will need to try and get by HR back down during the run so that I don’t end up with heat stroke (a real possibility in these conditions and over this distance).
So, the plan will be to push on for the first 5-7k enjoying the running crowd, keeping the pace slow and keeping the fluids going down. After that I expect I’ll be starting to struggle with heat and so I’ll walk the aid stations from that point on. I’d expect that to be 30 seconds rest each 2k from that point. The rest will be in the lap of the gods but hopefully I’ll fill in the rest on my next posting.
So, if you’re in Singapore tonight at 8pm and you see a guy in a yellow Jedi Joggers top with ‘Vader’ on the back (and ‘Delphine’ on the race number) then give me a cheer!
Rob (aka Delphine Vader)