by mims on April 24, 2012
I was really looking forward to this event, partly excited and partly curious. The excited bit was that I was looking forward to redeem myself after the soul-crushing Mizuno 10K and the almost-PW Brooks 21. Familiar route, not too many hills (or so I thought), running at night and a 15.5K distance, which is my fave distance. (10K is too fast for me, and I get bored/lazy in the last 5K of 21Ks.) So 15-16K has always been my favourite events (KOTR, Dragonback) and I usually do quite well at them (by my measly standards that is).
The curious bit was that I wanted to see if ENR was going to redeem themselves too, after their infamous setup last year. Kept telling myself there’s no way it can be worse than last year, and if anything this would be the year that ENR will try to do it well.
And boy they did. ENR2012 is a great example of the great things one can achieve if one is willing to consider and fix one’s mistakes. And the people will love you for it. All over FB and Twitter I only saw satisfied and happy comments from the participants. I was hard-pressed this time around to find a single fault with the event and its logistics. Nothing (aside from the running) took more than 5 minutes. It seemed to me that the organizer took great pains of going through the long list of complaints from last year, and making sure ALL of it is improved upon. In bullet points:
- parking – FREE and near to the venue
- SO many volunteers at the welcome area, no chance you’d get lost
- headlight collection is the first thing you see, and that took like 1 minute to settle, very little queue, and each runner can only take one
- still have to go through tunnel, but with limited number of participants, traffic is acceptable, and they put big standing fans throughout (nice touch)
- no chaos at starting line, because they segregate the different categories
- MCs did well with the (happy) crowd
- volunteers at EVERY corner of route
- 8 water stations. EIGHT!
- post-run almost no queue to pickup goodie bag
So yeah, I was very much impressed with ENR this year. I think I’d even go as far as saying it’s the best-organized running event I’ve been to.
Now, about the run. This time I tried running without the stopwatch and fuel belt. Instead I relied on the miCoach app on my phone and handheld water bottle. No stopwatch meant I don’t look at the time so much, so I mostly just ran the whole thing by feel (which is very vague, most of the time). And with the water bottle I didn’t need to stop at so many water stations, only the few towards the end.
I think I’ll write the rest in bullet points as well.
- started the race with Acap, Yoes, Jo and Zhariff. Of course 1 minute into the race everyone disappeared.
- decided to stick to my negative split plan – run comfortable first half, go to work 2nd half. have not done this in a while (refer my last two horrible races) so I wasn’t certain if I’d actually be up to it.
- decided either way, I would enjoy my first half of the run. I did, the route was mostly flat and the air was breezy. All my psycho-somatic injuries disappeared. Good music, good vibes.
- skipped the first 4-5 water stations, but it was really comforting to see them around (last year trauma)
- there were some challenging hills on the route! took them on with running small short steps instead of walking (okay not all of them)
- I loved that LED board and mist archway that they built on the service road. lights. nice. I. like. Lights. for some reason it inspired me to run a bit faster
- checked my phone after close to an hour and saw that I’ve ran close to 8km, 2nd half time. took my powergel and started pushing the pace a bit. this took some convincing of the (lazy) self.
- so glad to be done with the hilly and narrow (runner etiquette – please keep to the left if you’re walking) service road and back on the track! aaaaah so much (flat) space!
- I knew I could push the pace a bit more, but didn’t really manage to convince myself to really get out of the comfortable zone. This part needs a bit of work.
- saw finishing line, ran a bit straighter in case there are cameras, haha! Saw the clock nearing two hours, so I did what I can to make sure I finish under two hours.
Official net time was 1:58:34 (gun time 2:00:02) and I ranked 96/613 in my category. My average pace is around 7:30. Really happy with that result, I think it’s the first time I managed a two-digit rank in a major event. I ran pretty comfortably throughout the whole thing, and I enjoyed the run, my only grief is that I could’ve pushed myself a bit more and I didn’t. Maybe I feared crashing and burning like I did at Mizuno, and the mind refused to let go of that. Something to work on, then.
Regrouped with friends post-run. Goodie bag collection a breeze. Managed to bump into some old and new friends at the event (hello Kayla and Millie!). Afni, Ayu and Has have also finished their first running event, so welcome to this (expensive, I warn you) running gig!
Thank you, ENR!