Mukhang Guilty’s BLOG

2008 Singapore Marathon
December 15, 2008, 4:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized



To be honest, I did have serious doubts about doing well in this event.  A month and a half before the race, I read in Bald Runner’s blog that the recommended training mileage for a beginner marathoner should be around 64-80 kilometers per week.  I was only running between 49 to 55 kilometers per week, that’s way below the recommended running volume.  As I increased my long run mileage to 32km, I started feeling pain near my inner ankle.  The pain seemed to get worse as I increased my long run mileage to 35km, and would not go away.  To add to my worries, I took a week off my training early November to go to Palau for a diving trip (I wished I could have cancelled this trip, but this trip was already paid for, way before I decided to run the Singapore Marathon).  The five days worth of multiple dives left me with the flu, putting me out of commission for another three days.  It also didn’t help that I wasn’t able to complete my last 35Km run.

Feeling anxious as ever, Hubert, Happy and I flew to Singapore on Saturday.  We arrived at lunch time, checked into our hotel, had a quick lunch, and took a quick nap. 


When I woke up, I wrote down a list of what I wanted for breakfast and headed to the grocery.   I got myself some corn flakes, yoghurt, a banana, and a can of 100plus.  We had dinner at 6, prepared my running shoes, gu, singlet, short shorts, bib, fuel belt, and running computer ready. I went to bed at 10pm. 

SATURDAY 22:00 to SUNDAY 1:45 am

Being in bed and being able to fall asleep are two different things.  I was so nervous that I kept on tossing and turning in bed.  The more I checked the time, the more I panicked.  I think I might have fallen asleep at 1:45….

3:30 am

I don’t really have breakfast before any race, but because this a long distance race, I had to eat something.  I decided to have breakfast at 3:30am so as to give me ample time to take a dump before the race start.

4:02 am

I did my business… SUCCESS!

4:45 to 5:30 am

I went down to the lobby to meet Hubert, and we both started heading toward the start line.  But right before we got to the start line, I felt the need to poop again so I excused myself and ran to the nearest portalet to do my thing again.


5:30 am [RACE START]

There were so many people at the start line, it took me around 5 minutes before I was able to cross the start line, It was surreal, with the number of runners running the race, I kept telling myself… this is it.. this is what you’ve been training for, all the long runs, easy runs, and tempo runs you did were for this… NOW BETTER FINISH THIS RACE…



HEART RATE vs PACE graph as a function of distance




As I crossed the start line, I hit the <start> button on my polar watch.  My polar was giving me weird pace readings as the GPS sensor was going crazy… too many tall buildings.  While I was busy trying to negotiate myself amongst the thousands of runners, I saw the elite pack running  past the KM 2 mark already… it was an amazing sight seeing them zoom by, you could hear the whole crowd cheering for them.  Somewhere before the first turn around, I passed Bards, I remembered asking her how her Garmin was and she told me that it was acting crazy as well.  I said goodbye, and I carried on…

6-15km [Steady Lang]

I suddenly felt the urge to pee again…  I saw a couple of portalets beside the third drinking station, but the line was just too long… so I kinda did a quickie behind the trees along the road.  At this point, my GPS sensor started working properly, I was maintaining my target pace of 6:00 per km, but as I hit km 7, a quick time check revealed that I was behind by 2 minutes, had to pick up my pace to 5:45 per km  

16-28km [Pain]

As I passed the 15km mark, the inner ankle pain that I felt during my training runs started to rear its ugly head.  Usually, I’d experience this pain somewhere around the 29 to 35 km mark but pain this early? I started worrying that it’s going to slow me down. 

Well, it did slow me down, and I also started feeling tightness on right thigh muscles.  The pain that I felt were early telltale signs that I was about to hit the wall.  I had to slow down significantly hoping that my ankle pain would not worsen and that my thigh muscles would not cramp up.

Around kilometer 22, Mesh passed me and was running slightly ahead of me, I picked up my pace, caught up to her and asked her what her target pace was.  She told me that was running at 6:30 per km, she could see that I was struggling so she offered me words of encouragement and asked me to run alongside her.  As much I wanted to keep up with her, I really couldn’t… slowly my gap to her started to widen, and soon enough, she disappeared.

Between KMs 23 to 29, my pace was hovering around 6:45 to 7:50 per km, the pain was getting worse, I decided to avail myself of some sports cream the medics were offering.  I stopped, rubbed half a handful of cream on my thighs, and I put some on my inner ankle as well.  I briefly massaged my inner ankle and it felt painfully good.

29-40km [Hitting the Wall]

The sports cream did provide temporary relief.  I was able to run for another 4 to 5 kilometers.  But as the effect of the cream went away, the pain returned, and it became worse, my thighs started to cramp.  I really couldn’t run anymore, so as I passed the 29th kilometer, I stopped, and walked.  In all road races that I’ve ever participated in, I have never ever walked a single race, the fact that I did in the most important race of my life (to date) just broke my spirit, I had to come to grips with reality that I wasn’t going to finish within 4 hrs and 30, I had to change my race strategy, instead of a race to a strong finish, the strategy became a race for self preservation, I needed to make sure that I my thighs would cooperate so they could carry me to the finish line… crawling would be the least preferred option.

41-42km [HULING HIRIT]

As I went past the 41st km mark, I gathered all my remaining strength for the final push, I started running but it felt really awkward, but then again… who cares about form?  What’s important is that I finish… at this time, my brain was able to block out all the pain that I was experiencing from the waist down.  The run along St Andrews Road felt really LONG, I could see the finish line, and I could see the 100 and 50 meter markers, but getting to it seemed like forever.  I crossed the finish line at 5:07, it was way over 4:30, but I finished. 



I finished 3445th out of 12,335 full marathon runners.

The 2008 Singapore Marathon has left me quite disappointed… I was unable to finish within my target time of 4:30.  I however, refuse to accept defeat… there will be other marathons next year, and there’s plenty of time to redeem myself. 

Lastly, prior to ending this post, I’d like to say THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU to Happy for being my number 1 fan, and my official personal photographer for the race, thank you for understanding, and putting up with my kakulitan especially on days leading up to the marathon. 



10 Comments so far
Leave a comment

hey harry… been dreading a full marathon
for some time now, siguro thats why i
havent gotten around to doing one yet, i
guess mga feb na lang, pasig marathon.

ur post reads like the same apprehensions
i have about my (future) 1st 42k. keep up
the training, ur 4:30 goal is within reach.


hi butch, run your first to establish your base time, then work on getting better results.

Comment by backpacker

Thanks for sharing your marathon experience. Very useful for us just dreaming about it. Yours was a valiant run. You appear to be a strong runner. Now that you have fathomed the depths of your inner strength, you will only get better, even great.

Comment by ricov

Ey Man. It’s really hard to plan a marathon ’til you’ve got one under your belt…at least you do.

I’ll wait til I’m confident I can finish one 🙂

Anyone can finish a Marathon, it’s more a question of what the finish time is 🙂

Comment by Javy

harry’s alive!!! haha welcome back bro. at least natapos mo and you lived to tell the tale. 🙂

o ano pasig marathon na tayo? tara!

clark nalang

Comment by marga

Congratulations on the marathon. Despite all the issues, you were able to finish. No one can take that away from you. Hopefully, the next one will be a lot easier. Please take care.

Thanks sfrunner… I do hope that the next one will be a lot easier 🙂

Comment by sfrunner

congrats for finishing. it was also a tough one for me because it was my first and i had only 2 long runs.

Dingdong… di na tayo ‘virgins’ sa marathon… tara when’s the next one?

Comment by dingdong

hi harry,
you may be disappointed in your first marathon. still, i tip my cap to you and all those who finished. 42K is no joke, congratulations are still in order. btw, please extend my thanks to hubert for helping bring the ironman series to our country.

Will let Hubert know, see you soon Virgie 🙂

Comment by levyang

Congratulations for finishing your first marathon! Running with injuries is tough, even tougher when it’s a full marathon. The fact that you didn’t quit is reason enough to be proud of yourself. You’ll do better next time. Congrats to hubert too and say hi to happy!

HELLO Jaymie, twas nice to bump in to you last weekend. So when will be your first Marathon? 😉

Comment by thebullrunner

I knew you were in trouble when I overtook you momentarily in KM 17, first time that ever happened!

…sige na enjoy the moment lil’ brother.. coz that would be the first and last time it’ll happen wehehe >:)

Comment by Hubert

Congrats on your finish, what’s important is we finished the race,bragging rights di ba?

Comment by sundaywarrior

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