Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon, 27 June 2010

Can't believe the last race i did prior to this event was the same event exactly a year ago. Then again, i have been slacking since.

Arrived in Kuala Lumpur with a tight hamstring on the right leg on Saturday morning with Teelee and Taz. Hamstring was due to a session of badminton with EG aka idiot on Friday. Anyhow, picked up the race pack at Stadium Titiwangsa before making our way to the hotel. Laid out the race essentials and started to put them into their respective places; race tag on my new TNF Arnuva Boa 50 blue, number tag on 2009 SCSM vest, urban survival kit (USK - ID, credit card, travel insurance card and cash), a pack each of powergel and deep heat rub in race belt, Road ID, Polar RS200D and 2XU visor before getting my head on the pillow to rest.

Got up to the sound of Teelee leaving for his 42km at 0430hrs. To be honest, i didn't get much sleep. After shower, applied plaster on nipples and put on race kit. With Taz, left for startpoint at 0530hrs while munching away a pack of Powerbar Triple Threat. Startpoint at Dataran Merdeka was only 3mins away.

Did some stretching and warm up before meeting ST, Ham and Wishbone and friend. I still could not believe i was doing the race. A 21km would have been breakfast for me in 2006 or 2007, but i'm nowhere near being physically fit in 2010. At 0615hrs, start flag was waved signaling the start of the half marathon. I had no choice but to follow the crowd to cross the startline.

I realised that Wishbone and friend was not going fast and rather liked their pace and used them as my pacer. We ran past the old railway station before heading towards the new one at KL Central. It was then a left turn to Jalan Travers and right on Jalan Tun Sambanthan before left again to be on Jalan Syed Putra. At 5km i realised that my pace was a 8.5min/km, which was way slower than the 6min/km i used to do in 2006. Old age perhaps.

The stretch from Jalan Maharajalela to Jalan Cheras was only 5km long but felt like eternity. I felt that Wishbone and friend slowed their pace at 7.5km waterpoint so i headed out on my own. It was 1:30 when i arrived at 10.5km; that must have been the slowest 10km that i have ran, ever. Even the run leg of Bintan Tri in 2008 was completed in 1:18hrs.

I found a new pacer at Jalan Cheras, a girl from Trengganu. She said that this is her first ever race. Brave of her. Another runner tried to follow my pace, though he was brisk walking. I was that slow.

Strangely enough, i did not feel tired or any pain anywhere. I was comfortable with the pace. Even the weather was good, cool. That didn't last though. As soon as i arrived at Jalan Bukit Bintang circa 15km, my hamstring started to tighten and feet started to hurt. I kept my breathing slow to prevent a rising heart rate. My yoga instructor Shan once said that you can fight pain by controlling your breathing, i think.

I passed by McDonalds at Bukit Bintang thinking about hotcakes but it was already 2:00hrs then. My personal worst 21km was the first 21km i ran: SAFRA Half Marathon 2003 at 2:45hrs. However, on the plus side, other than at waterpoints, i have managed to maintain running continuously at 8.5min/km. Can't expect much if you don't put in the training.

The last 5km was painful. Sore feet, tight hamstring and hunger. Jalan Sultan Ismail was downsloping but a left turn into Jalan Raja Chulan was upsloped. The right turn into Jalan P Ramlee was better and i found a new pacer in Doris from Shah Alam. We ran by KLCC before a left turn brought us past Zouk and then a right for the final 3km. I then had to walk for 2mins. Feet was too painful.

Slow jogged and brisk walking, i turned left into Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman. Doris was 100m ahead of me and the brave girl from Trengganu was to my right as i struggled the last km. Tey was snapping photos and Yeehua and IMD called out to me before i crossed the finish line at 3:01hrs.

Verdict: Crazy for me to even attempt this. The last long run i did was a 15km in early May. Short 5km runs doesn't count when you are preparing for a half marathon. The race though, was a marked improvement from 2009. Route was, though flat in Malaysian standards, was convenient and safe. Race pack collection was systematic and customer-oriented though only god and the organisers know why the venue was Stadium Titiwangsa.

Distance: 21km
Time: 3:01hrs