Sundown 2013

I think the course this year was tougher than in 2012, although that may have been because I was more familiar with Singapore this time round. Last year, running through the anonymous and mysterious building site that would become the Gardens By The Bay, I had little idea of where I was and how far I had to run. This time around, with whole year of running around the Marina Bay, I had a pretty good idea of where I was and where I should be going next, so when the route didn’t conform to my expectations that made things a bit harder to deal with.

I started out much too fast; right up in the front group, I was putting in sub-4:30 kilometers and my heart rate was over 170 bpm. Having not run at that speed or intensity for months, I knew it was an unsustainable pace and after the sixth or seventh kilometre, my speed started dropping and I never really recovered. The margin from those early fast laps wasn’t enough to compensate for later sluggishness, and despite sprinting the last 200 yards to beat the guy who’d overtaken me coming into the home stretch, I still had a time that was slower than last year’s. But that is what happens if you don’t train properly.

One thing I had learned from last year was to keep quiet. Last year as I approached the end I was almost roaring with rage and pain, and that tipped off the people in front of,me to speed up. I was having none of that this year, and in stealth mode I found my prey and then chased them down.

I also had much lighter shoes, the Nike Flyknit1s that I’ve been preserving for race duty. After all the puddles of the latter half of the race, they were soaking wet and it felt like my feet were blistering, but I survived basically intact, all the way to the finish line tent where I got a bonus banana and my medal.

The prize giving was extra generous this year. Everyone got not only a piece of fruit and a can of 100 Plus, but an enormous medal and a free iTunes gift card (which I inadvertently dropped somewhere in the race village).

There was an ice bath available (actually just a wheelie bin full of ice water that runners were persuaded to clamber into. I gave that a go – I was surprised that it wasn’t as cold,as I’d expected – and the massage I received after wasn’t half as painful as 2012’s, but again, that may have been because I’ve been more diligent at stretching and self massage, or because my masseur was gentler this time around.

I stuck around to watch the end of Pitch Perfect, one of the guilty pleasure films of last year, then walked home. I made it back at 3am, which felt stupidly late, given I’d finished my race at 1:15, but perhaps I’d accidentally fallen through a time tunnel to the wrong dimension.

I showered and almost woke my wife up by screaming. A bad choice of running vest meant my nipples were so sore that even running water over them was agony. I gave up trying to clean them, put on my magical compression tights and passed out cold.

As a result, my legs haven’t been too stiff or aore today, but getting up again at 9 for a film shoot has meant I’ve been knackered all day, wishing for and failing to get a nap at any point. We went out for dinner when all I wanted was to go to bed, and then made the elementary mistake of watching The Godfather at 10:30 at night, because that’s really a recipe for an early night, isn’t it?

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