It is ironic really as I’m not a runner! The first 10km I ever ran was around Lake Seiko by Mt Fuji 5 years ago, not a bad place to start but encouraged by training 5 days a week in Tokyo, I felt it was time to push the boundaries!

Why the 21km?

If you speak of Siem Reap so many have said what a wonderful half marathon it is and encouraged by friends who were going, suddenly we were signed up!

Training for me is part of life; I go to the Botanical gardens five mornings a week, with groups and one on one. The training involves intensive cardio and boxing so many said if you can survive Nizaar, then you can run a half marathon!

But it’s more than just the cardio, its getting in the distance, ticking of those kilometers and pushing through the mental boundaries too!

I did sprint training, I pulled my trainer up hills whilst being weighed down by back packs, and a large elastic band for resistance around my waist. But still I needed to get in the km’s!

My challenge was to run 15km so with music on board and a destination to go I was better prepared, as so often before I had made the mistake of just running around the botanical gardens which can become demoralising, seemingly taking for ever to tick off another km, in your mind its much easier to give up when you’re going around the lake for a second, third time! So there I was finishing the last km’s along Bukit Tima somehow a buzz beating traffic and music on board!

I knew I had to do one more big run before the great date, so again I set off with the challenge of 18km with 2 weeks to go before the race. But that Friday morning it was not working for me, it was hot, I was tired and didn’t get past 4.5km! I felt I was beaten; the whole thing would be impossible!

There is so much debate around sports nutrition, the carb loading, the availability of sports drinks, gels, bars for before and during the race.

I knew for 21km as long as long I was hydrated I didn’t need to use the gels or sports protein bars during or after the race. Pre race I was more concerned about my Iron levels.

56% of runners are Iron deficient, which severely hampers performance. Runners lose more iron than non runners, why, because as a runner you lose iron through ‘your feet a process called strike hemolysis. Red cells are damaged when the foot hits the ground thus reducing your hemoglobin levels. You lose iron through sweat, which is increased for runners in hot humid conditions like Singapore, and loss through digestion again the added stress placed up the intestines through months of running/training.

The last few weeks leading up to the race I ensured my Iron levels were good by eating liver 2-3 times a week, and grass fed red meats.

The pre carb loading perhaps went a little array as I had one night in Bangkok on the way to Cambodia with old friends. The curfew of midnight changed as we met Owen Wilson in Maggie Choo’s! So perhaps a little more tired and dehydrated than planned, we had a day to rest pre race!

Awaking at 5am, handful of raw, activated almonds, a baby banana and some raw cacao chocolate, nervous but I was ready to go.

It was an absolute privilege to run through those beautiful temples and see the smiling faces of the children line the road side. Somehow the km’s fly by with the cheers of the crowd and the energy from the other runners. The air was cool and it wasn’t so much the cardio that is tough but by 18km my legs felt that I needed a hip replacement! The pain……!

The goal was to complete in 2 hrs and with a time of 1.59 I was delighted, unable to walk but delighted! Will I do another? Burma is planned for later this year….!

Susie Rucker, Rucker Nutrition.

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