5 Tips to Survive the Sundown Marathon
I did my second 10km run recently. If you recall, one of my goals this year is to complete 4 such runs as I celebrate turning 40! I’ve done a Charity run in March, and now this is a formal run. I am a pure novice, to me, a formal run is one that’s competitive, with race times and officials supporting the run. Like I mentioned, I’m a novice, and breaking records is not my goal. Rather, I wanted the experience of running alongside serious runners and having the adrenaline of a competition. So I took part in the 2015 Sundown Marathon! woohooo!!
How was it like? Was it any different from a normal 10K run in the early morning? Well, it was fun because I went with 3 other girls who joined the race to support my turning 40 dreams. And yes, it was very different from the usual morning runs. Here are 5 tips to survive the Sundown Marathon!
Tip 1: Watch your Diet through the day
With morning runs, our last meals are usually our dinners. We are conscious to avoid any late suppers. Then we try to clock in at least 6 hours sleep to ensure our bodies are rested. Before we leave for the run, we take a very light breakfast.
However, the Sundown Marathon is in an entire different ‘time zone’. For the 10K run, we flagged off at 10 p.m. The 21K was at 12 midnight, and 42K at 1 a.m. Suddenly, dinner seems rather filling now if you’ve to start running at 10 p.m.! And some of us thought, perhaps we can have tea? How about Dim sum? It’s Saturday!! How can we not eat?!?!
We did some math, and this was what we did: We had regular breakfast and lunch but tried our best to avoid anything oily or starchy. And told ourselves no food after 2 p.m. (of course some of us broke that rule! But definitely nothing after 3 p.m.) Then about an hour before flag off, we had half a muesli bar each. And that’s it! No other food in between.
This was important discipline as we didn’t want to poo in the middle of the race, or have any stomach discomfort.
Tip 2: Watch your Activities through the day
As with morning runs, you run at the start of the day, fresh after a night’s sleep. We proceed leisurely to the run venue–some drive, some cab in, others take the public transport. All in good time, if we don’t oversleep! And we don’t have to contend with traffic delays.
For Sundown, we don’t have that luxury. Life goes on, there’s still family and friends, some have work and school. So we learnt, to ensure the day is not packed with many activities. The good night rest actually starts the previous night–in this case, Friday night. When you awake on Saturday morning, do what you need to do. Get to work, bring the kids out, meet the parents etc. But try to keep the pace slow, don’t rush to zip from north to south.
If you can, get a short afternoon nap! That’s really a luxury, but looking back now, I took a 30 min nap, and I think it helped a LOT!
Give yourself sufficient time to travel to the start point. It’s considered peak hour on a Saturday night. You’ve to look for parking, or contend with traffic jams.
Tip 3: During the race, Keep Your Eyes open at hydration stops
For our race, we were served 100 Plus and Water at all the hydration stops. It was a surprise, because the race guidelines mentioned 100 Plus was available only at the last stop.
So when I reached my first stop, I was eager to take that refreshing cool sip of water. Alas, eyes not really opened, I grabbed the first paper cup… Ohh it was cool, it was refreshing, but it was 100 Plus, not water! Now, some people do not mind that, but I minded. Cos it made me really thirsty thereafter. The sweet after taste hit me immediately. Thank God I was still at the last table of the hydration stop. I quickly grabbed another cup, ensured it was water, gulped it down and moved on.
The key thing to note was: 100 Plus was served in 100 Plus paper cups. The Water was served in the paper cups with the Brand labelled on it. (sorry, I can’t recall what it was!)
So for the next two stops, I was consciously looking out at which paper cup to grab. Imagine if it were a very hot run, and you poured 100 Plus over yourself in an attempt to cool down!
Tip 4: During the race, Look at everything around you
For morning races, there’s lots of scenery to enjoy. Dependent on the run route, there’s the Singapore River, Gardens By the Bay, East Coast Park etc.
For Sundown, you can only see stuff that’s lighted up! This means, the Flyer, the lighted buildings, the cars etc. Now, for most parts of the race, we don’t get to see these lights. We were running along Gardens by the Bay, and for the longer routes, along East Coast Park. When you cast your eyes far, it’s all dark. There’s no scenery to behold.
I learnt that if I focused on what I can see. So I looked at the people standing around watching the races. (We don’t have that in the morning… most are still asleep then!) While they are not exactly supporters, more just gawking at all these sweaty bodies panting their way through, I would like to think, they are silently cheering us on. I mean, which regular minded person would wish for runners to trip over their shoe lace, or fall due to cramps or worse still, drop dead?
So I enjoyed the somewhat people support: the shoppers and diners along our route, the parents who were pointing us out to their kids, the drivers and passengers whose cars zipped past us and who can forget the dating couples who had their romantic night interrupted by 26,000 runners! It kind of spurred me on to keep running… cos people are watching!! hahaah!
Tip 5: Just Enjoy the Race!
Unless you are in for winning the top 3 prizes, or wanting to clock personal bests, do enjoy the race. (actually, I may be wrong, even if you are in to win the prizes and wanting to clock those PBs, you should enjoy the race too!) Set your pace, enjoy the crowd, there’s an energy in the air that’s quite infectious.
We had a good run, and I’m happy with how I ran. It was certainly different from the regular early morning runs, it smells different, the temperature is different. And now I’m looking forward to my next run! (can you believe that?!?!)
So here’s our team of 4, the 3 girlfriends who are supporting me in my turn 40 dream! It’s a dream team to go through a training and running journey together!
Join me in my journey as I turn 40!
A sundown marathon sounds really cool! Thanks for all of these great tips for surviving it.
You ladies looked like you had so much fun. These are awesome tips.
A sundown marathon sounds fun. I haven’t participated in any, but I think I am going to like this.
One of these days, I would like to run a marathon…at least, a 5 K or something. Congrats on running your second 10K.
Hello, I would like to know how the team of 4 works. Do you guys run together or like each person runs 2.5km?
Hi Charlene: the team of 4 is just 4 of us running 10k each. We don’t have to run together, the only ‘together’ part is at registration for the discounted rate! 🙂