My 1st BF Marathon! Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2016 By Jaqa I did it!! My first barefoot marathon! After a very trying week of tapering that felt like an extended wait outside an examination hall, I was a bundle of nerves come Saturday. Just counting down the hours till I went to sleep for a very early wake up at 02h45. I struggled to sleep and woke up so many times. Finally my alarms started ringing and I could get my routine going. Made a cup of bullet proof coffee and got on my pre-run warm ups. Got the coffee down, had a Cliff Bar, 1.5L of water and electrolytes, packed my bum bag with energy bars, cellphone and emergency cash. Luckily for me, the start was 3km from my condo, so I could just walk and slow jog there. The excitement started building as I got nearer. Orchard Road was ablaze with Xmas decorations and more and more runners on the road heading towards the start. I was getting quite a few stares at my barefeet, but being Singapore, no-one says anything. The B52's The Flintstones starts running through my head! Next time I am doing this in a leopard print outfit! This year the full and half marathon runners started together which made for quite a scrum to get into our starting pens. There was a total of 46000 runners over the 10, 21 and 42 km distances so the organization always had the feeling of controlled chaos. I decide to start near the back of my starting pen so I would not get pulled too fast at the start, especially by the half marathon runners. The weather was the usual Singapore- 26C and 85-90% humidity at 4:30. I was hoping for some rain to keep the temperature climbing once the sun came out but knew that the last hour was going to be tough today once the temperature went above 30C and the real feel temperature would be over 40C. Finally, the elite runners set off and we all shuffled closer to the start. And then we were off! I started my watch as I crossed the starting line and slowly made my way through the mass of runners, trying to get some kind of rhythm and not be boxed in. The first 10k was going to be tricky until the half marathon runners peeled off, but by the 5k mark the crowds were thinning and it felt comfortable. Not carrying any water, my strategy was to get 200ml of water at every water station right from the start. Luckily I never had to queue for water so could keep my hydration levels high. I got to 10km in 58 minutes and was rather surprised at my slow time. My pulse rate was sitting at 155 and was feeling that I was working hard, but my breathing was fine and I felt fine. I spent some time have an internal chat saying it was probably race nerves and excitement, as my pulse should have been a max of 145. More worrying was my cadence- it was sitting at 88/minute and would have wanted it to be 90 at least. I shortened my stride by lifting my feet quicker from the ground but in the end this run was feeling it was not going to be the perfect run. After making peace with this, we entered East Coast Park. From now it was going to a very straight and flat 20km. I really don't like ECP but all marathons in Singapore go through it as it gives lots of distance without closing off any roads. At least we get to see the sun rising over the sea. 20km passed in 1:56 and I felt fine. At about 25k, I met up with another barefoot runner, Wei, and we started running together, chatting about barefoot running. It really helped us make the time and distance fly past. Lots of jokes about all the money people spend on running gear. At 30k I needed a walk and told him to go on but later caught up with him, and then asked if we could finish the race together, to which he very kindly agreed. From about 35k, the race had become a walk and run for me. My pulse rate was staying at 160-165 and I felt my blood sugar levels fluctuating quite a bit. I was now in new territory for barefoot running and it was starting to show. Physically I felt OK, but my internal systems were being beaten down and my cadence had dropped to 83-85. If my pulse hit 165 I was feeling faint so walked and ran to keep my pulse at 160. Luckily Wei was on his third barefoot marathon and was very relaxed, so gave me lots of motivation. Every kilometer felt like a landmark and eventually we were about 2km from the end. And then the one part of the race that I really disagreed with- the 10k who had started at 06h45 joined in one the route, and we had hit the walkers at the back of the race. It was pretty annoying to break stride, dodge and weave through hordes of walkers, talking four abreast. A last little push for the finish line to show some form and we crossed the line together in 04:27:16! My first barefoot marathon done! The commentator had some words to say about a crazy barefoot runner from South Africa. My feet had felt fine the whole way, legs felt sore but good, and just the inexperience of running more than 35k left me out of sorts. Post Race Analysis- I had set a target for 4:20 with an outside chance of a 4:00 if everything went very well. So I was pretty happy with my result. My legs felt more sore than I have felt for a very long time but not so sore that I am struggling to walk, just that they have worked hard. Which is good as there is a uniformity in the soreness. No muscles worked harder than the rest. My internal energy delivering system needs some more work for long distance running in these hot and humid climates. Some weight loss is a quick fix and more 30k + runs in the longer term. Being of solid Dutch stock my body is not ideal for these conditions. I also almost fainted four times after the finish and have been feeling light headed even 48 hours after the race. Movescount gives me 3800kCal energy burnt with 120 hours of recovery! I also need to work on my race nerves as my pulse rate was a consistent 10 -15 bpm higer than normal. Once I have factored in the Singapore Premium, which for me is a 30sec/km loss in time on longer runs I am pretty close to 4 hours. And it also works for the elite men, as the race is usually 10 minutes off the world record and it is on a very flat and fast course attended by the best runners in the world. Lastly I would like to thank Habitat 4 Humanity Singapore for allowing me raise money for them (SG$5186.00), the InterNations Serious Running Group for not being too embarrassed running next to a barefooter, all the support from friends and family, and most importantly, Molly, who has been my #1 supporter and has had to endure endless barefoot running discussions and analyses, and sweaty footprints across the house!