As the haze sneaked back in to Singapore last week I found it difficult to get outside training. The boys both got a cough but the adults in the house managed to escape any real effects.
Saturday morning we had an easy session with Ben, a bit of open water swimming and a lot of gossiping. The air still fel quite bad, but then it rained on Saturday afternoon for the first time in 2 months. It cleared the air – so it was very tempting to go out and do my 2 hour long run on Saturday evening. Husband suggested that may not be the best preparation for the duathlon the next day so I got on the turbo trainer and cycled at easy effort for just over an hour while watching a film with him. After pumping up my tires and getting my bike, and his bike ready for the next day, I packed my race bag and went to bed early.
At about midnight son #1 coughed so much that he woke himself up and was very upset. He stayed awake for half an hour or so, had a cuddle, a drink, a wee and eventually went back to sleep. I looked at the alarm clock… 4h12m until it was set to go off…
When the alarm did go off at 4:40am, I checked the air quality readings and the MetaSport facebook page to make sure the race was still on. Then I got dressed in my SLS3 tri suit with my Mio ALPHA, double checked my bag had my race belt and my new 3-Sums inside, ate a banana and off I went!
It’s about 6-7km to the race start from my house. There was hardly any traffic – most people were still asleep, so it didn’t take too long to get there on my bike. Kathryn (remember the super-turbo charged Iron Mummy who won the Aquathlon?) was setting up her transition when I arrived. It was well lit with the F1 floodlights and as we were on the end row, we had plenty of room. I clipped my bike shoes onto my pedals and attached them to the frame with elastic bands so they stayed the right way up, made sure my bottle of electrolyte drink was full and in the right position on the bars, my helmet was up the right way balanced on my aerobars then went for a jog and some strides along the pit lanes for a warm up. I set a wide heart rate zone on my watch so it didn’t beep at me during the race – it’s a sprint race, so I planned to go as I felt, not maintaining a particular zone. After I had checked where the mount and dismount lines were, I made my way back to near the start and hung around there chatting until we went into the start pen.
The start - making sure I'd started my Mio ALPHA!
The starting horn went and we all rushed round the corner and down a hill into a completely pitch black tunnel… by the time we had run up the hill and back out of the tunnel the field had spread out quite a lot already. At the end of the first dog leg I heard my lovely French friend, Marie (the race director), shouting “Allez Rowena!!” I couldn’t see her, but I did an awkward backwards wave to acknowledge her encouragement!
The air still felt heavy as we ran along the water’s edge of the Kallang Basin. Coming back into transition I think I heard the MC say that I was the fourth woman. I think I must have overtaken one of the women in transition because I had the fastest time for T1 (shoes off at the same time as helmet on – Ben would have been proud!). I only noticed overtaking one woman during the cycle leg, and I didn’t overtake anyone during the second run.
Running out of T1 with my bike
The cycle route was great - apart from one tight corner that would have been fine if it weren’t for a carpet of leaves to slip on... although my Maxxis Campiones gripped superbly well on it as well as being awesome on the straights! Cycling along the Formula One track was fantastic; a good surface, long, wide straight stretches to push my bike and my legs and most of it was well lit. There were a couple of crashes where people were a little bit too aggressive on the corners and u-turns but overall it was a nice course. The second transition was not quite so fast. Parts of the transition area were gravelly and dusty; I got quite a big stone stuck in between my toes so I had to get it out before I put my 3-sums back on for the run. It took just a few seconds but despite the guy watching from the edge of transition shouting “FASTER! FASTER! RACK IT! QUICK! GO FASTER!”, it meant I didn’t “win” T2.
Just before I went into the dark tunnel for the last time
Back into the pitch black tunnel (yes, it was still dark in there) and out onto the water’s edge again. I could see Winona – an great young local athlete – about 200 metres behind me. The whole of the rest of the run was spent trying not to let her catch me! The last hill up out of the dark tunnel was really tough – I felt like I was taking the tiniest steps and not really moving forwards. Eventually I was out of the darkness and I could see the floodlights at the finish line. As I ran into the funnel the MC said that I was the second woman!
Finishing as 2nd overall woman!
After a quick chat to Cielo from Sing Phil, I went to get my bike ready to cycle home and look after the boys so that my husband could come to the race in time for the start of his wave. I was home by about 7:30am, made some iced coffee, had a shower, gave the boys breakfast, got them dressed, waxed my legs (!), packed a bag with spare clothes for everyone and called a cab. I wished I had one of those Chariot bike trailers for kids that converts into a pushchair. The running pushchair I have is great, but it would be even better if I could hook them up to the back of my bike instead of having to put the pushchair in a taxi to do longer distances.
My husband had already finished his race by the time we got back. We watched the 7-8 year old girls and boys categories start their run – my eldest son was very enthusiastic. “When I am big like those boys, Mummy, I am going to run fast like them and ride my bike really, really fast too, aren’t I Mummy?” My youngest son said, “Wunnin! Wunnin! Brabo! Brabo!”
We saw Allan – one of our Journey Fitness team mates – hobbling around. He’d had a really bad crash on his bike, mangling it and his leg. He could barely walk and didn’t finish the race.
While we were waiting for the prize presentation, we saw a few people we knew, had some food, watched a bit more of the cycling and then moved back to the stage area. One of the ladies representing a school started chatting to me and asked me if we were there to cheer on ‘Daddy’. I was going to explain, but then just ended up agreeing with her. Maybe I shouldn’t have… ?Maybe it doesn’t matter…
It started to rain really heavily a few minutes before the prize presentation. When I went up for the Women’s 30-39 category presentation, the boys would not let go of me. Even though it was raining they came up to the podium with me, the younger one clinging to my neck and the eldest holding on to the back of my shorts.
Women’s 30-39 podium in the rain
I waited under an umbrella for the overall awards and sent Daddy and the boys off to shelter in a restaurant nearby. Kathryn and I both went up again a few minutes later to stand in the same spots, but with Winona in third instead of Melanie. I was super pleased with a voucher for the KHCycle shop and a pair of new Feetures! socks.
Women’s Overall podium… still in the rain
After an early lunch, I took all of the bags, the kids and the pushchair and went to find a taxi (easier said than done in Singapore when it’s raining) while Daddy cycled home in the pouring rain.
As usual, the race was well organised, MetaSport managed the large number of participants really well, and even though we spent a good hour in the dark after the start of the first wave and then it rained heavily, there was still a great atmosphere! Good job. Thank you!