Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Category:Full Marathon 42km
Position:473 (348) I think the 473th is 42km Men overall, 348th is Malaysian runners only?
More detail result from Runpix.com. The position is in conflict with the above.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Starting from the race pack collection, the volunteers were doing their best to ensure the runners would have good experience. Except from the chaos that was out of their control during Day 1 of race pack collection, I thought they did a good job handling so many runners' race packs. The responsibility for the chaos on Day 1 rack pack collection should be on the organiser.
I found the volunteers mostly very helpful and they were always busy directing runners or serving drinks. This time I saw many young volunteers, which was a good sign.
I believe the contribution of the volunteers was very much appreciated by all the runners.
The (bad then good, then bad) weather
The weather on race day started badly with rain pouring down 30 minutes before the starting time. To be fair, the organiser did allow the runners to take cover under the VIP tent. Although the runners stayed dry during that time, they were eventually got wet by the rain anyway as the rain poured moments before the start.
Luckily rain subsided and stopped a few minutes after start. I had a hunch on the rain coming, but there wasn't much I could do. I just prepared to face it mentally. I remembered the temperature at start was around 25 degrees Celsius.
The weather stayed cool and cloudy for most of my running time. The sun only start to find its way around the cloud at around 9:00am. By 10:00am, the heat from the sun was getting hotter. For those runners finished after 10:30am, the heat could be an issue.
The (good) route
The route was generally a flat one, except for steep hill at 30km mark (Jalan Hang Jebat) and an steep ramp turning into Jalan Istana at 33km.
The (not-so-good) finisher goodies
The Finisher T-shirt is not dry-fit type. The design was not worth mentioning. The medal is not made of the high quality pewter. I feel it is thin and light.
The (bad) water stations
From 33km onwards, most water stations were out of water by the time the full marathon runners were there. This is a serious matter. Some runners were so dehydrated until they suffered from cramps. I expressed my concern on shortage of water to the race director, Hemant Dua during the second runners clinic before the race, He assured me that there would be enough water. Unfortunately, I didn't raise that concern in the open, but instead privately.
By 11:30am, I was quite sure that there was NO more water at the all water stations. While BP & I were waiting for our friend to arrive, the organiser started giving bottled mineral water to the finishers. One lady runner got angry and complained no water at the water stations before this and only provide water after finish.
The (bad) distance marker
I saw an African runner running like a bullet at about 19km mark. He didn't wear a bib on his back. I was wondering why a fast runner like him only overtook me at this stage. 3km later I got the answer, I saw this runner walking dejectedly in the reverse direction. He was wearing a blue colour bib in front. He was a half marathon participant who ran accidentally on the full marathon route. (Note that the half-marathon race started 1 hour 15 minutes later than the full marathon race). The half marathon runner should have turn into another road at around 13km mark. By the time he realised it, his chance of podium finish was gone.
There were also confusion later for the half marathon and perhaps 10km runners as well when the routes overlapped at 33km of full marathon route. The distance marker only indicated the distance for the full marathon runners.
The (bad) after-run fruit station
By the time I finished the race at about 9:40am, besides looking for the medal collection booth, I was looking for the drink and fruit stations. Drink station was still serving isotonic drink. But I found the fruit station full of banana skins with no more bananas. There were no other fruits like watermelon or apple. Then I have to pay RM9 for a PowerBar because I really needed some carb and protein down my system.
The (bad) toilets
Because of the rain and coldness (or too much water-loading) in the morning, some (male) runners were seen answering nature's call during the first 10 km of the race. Normally these runners would go under a tree or side of the road to do what they need to do. These runners I counted more than 10.
The organiser had promised toilets along the route. But the temporary toilets only appeared later at 10km onwards
Another point worth mentioning, there were two temporary toilets at around 35km mark. The runners were running on the reserved rightmost lane. The toilets were at the left side of the road. In the middle were the fast moving cars of KL.
The (missing) pace makers
I asked Hemant on the pace makers before. The same information also appeared in the runner's guide book. The pace makers would have a coloured balloon tied to them. I didn't see them at the start, I didn't see them along the route, and I didn't see them after the finish.
The (missing) "Over 50,000 enthusiastic supporters along the route and at Dataran Merdeka" (page 17, runner's guide book). There were good supporters, but not 50,000 of them.
I didn't count properly or maybe I lost count. But I didn't think there were 50,000 enthusiastic supporters for SCKLM 2009.
But there were some supporters cheering for the runners from 33 km onwards. I appreciate these supporters. They were cheering for everyone they saw. At Dataran, there were more cheerleaders urging the runners on. Thanks!
While waiting for Ravin, BP & I were cheering for anyone that running towards the finishing line. I guess we understood how important that was.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
"The running I can do, even if I have to crawl every last mile." - Terry Fox (28 July 1958 – 28 June 1981).
I draw my inspiration to complete my first marathon from Terry Fox, an amputee who became famous for the Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada run to raise money for cancer research, which Fox ran with one prosthetic leg. His cause is what I believe in and contributed for the past few years.
From a non-runner 9 months ago, now I can call myself a marathon runner. On this day of Fox's passing away 28 years ago, I paid tribute to him by displaying a T-shirt bearing the quote above at the finish line.
I felt really happy having completed my 42.195km in 4 hours and 39 minutes. It was tiring run but when I stood on the starting line today, I felt confident that I could do it. It was a great feeling after all the hard work in trainings has finally paid off.
I couldn't sleep last night although I went to bed early. But I was not sleepy. I was eager to start running and my energy level was high. Time passed quickly and it was 3:00am. I got up and went through my checklist before I departed for the run.
I parked my car in Padang Merbuk at 3:50am and BP arrived 2 minutes later. We walked to Dataran Merdeka less than 1 km away. We met Ravin there half an hour later. Lam pulled out last minute. So it was just three of us to start.
At 4:30am it started raining. The runners were forced to take cover under the VIP tent that was just next to the Start/Finish line. It rained for 10 minutes but it was not too heavy. Then at 4:50 am the runners were called to the starting line. But just 5 minutes before the start, the rain came down again. Luckily, just as we were starting, the rain slowly became a drizzle and stopped a few minutes later.
Before I started running, I told BP to do the run-walk strategy and not overdo it. He wore his knee guard and it proved later to be a good decision. I also told him that if I finished first, I would wait for him at the finish line.
Because of the rain, the roads were slippery and some puddles around. So I started slowly and cautiously. Since there were too many runners around me, I couldn't speed anyway.
At 2.5km mark (Jalan Travers), I saw Janice and James standing at the road divider. They had promised to come to support BP and I. I was happy to see them. Janice took a photo of me but she forgot the flash.
Then I passed KL Sentral on my left going to Jalan Tun Sambathan. My old office was just around the area. So it was like "home ground" to me.
At around 5km mark (approaching the first water station), I saw Tey in front of me. This was his 39th marathon! When I saw him, I thought to myself, I must be running too fast. An experienced runner like him would run slow initially. The fact that I didn't see him at start and I saw him now, so I must be running too fast. I slowed my pace a little and continue with that pace until the 9th km when we turned to Jalan Cheras.
At 12km we turned right to Jalan Tun Razak. At 14km, there was an electronic check point followed by a water station with bananas. In this marathon, the water stations were located roughly at approximately every 2.5km along the route. At every station, I was mindful to drink a cup or two. Although I have a bottle of Gatorade with me, I was saving this for later stage of the race.
I was maintaining my pace until 17km mark when I upped my pace from 6'20" to 5'30". At 19 km mark, we turned into Jalan Ipoh, heading towards the city centre. I took a PowerGel there and drank two cups of water and isotonic drinks at 20km. After that I dropped my pace back to 6'20".
At 22km mark, I was in front of Petronas Twin Towers on Jalan Ampang. From here, I saw some runners were having problem with cramps and had to stop to do stretching. The next few kms were quite flat and easy. We passed through KLCC Convention Centre and were heading for the Golden Triangle. Around this area, I met Jeffery, a master treasure hunter who is also a runner. This was his 5th marathon according him.
At 30th km mark, I reached Jalan Sultan after passing the entrance of Petaling Street. 1 km before that, there was a PowerGel station and each runner was given one. I used that immediately knowing that after 32km was an "unknown" for me. "Unknown" because the longest run in my trainings so far was up to 32km. I wasn't sure what to expect after that. I certainly didn't want to hit the wall or suffer cramp later.
The water station at 30 km was followed by a steep climb on Jalan Hang Jebat. After taking a sip, I quickly took the opportunity to overtake some runners who were walking.
At 33km mark, it was another uphill going to Jalan Istana. This was where the marathon race route overlapped with the half-marathon and 10km run. From hereon I saw some 21km runners walking slowly. At this point, my worst fear came through. The water station there was closed due to no more water. Luckily for me, I still have my Gatorade, still unopened. So I quickly opened the bottle and start drinking almost half a bottle of it. I continued to take some sips from it at later part of the race.
From here I started to overtake many runners. I saw more runners having problems. I was careful not to get too excited. I didn't want to suffer the same fate as them.
There was a water station around 35-36km mark, so I took a cup of water there. This was near Jalan Damansara (Lebuhraya Mahameru). The road here was quite good but dangerous to run on. This was due to only the rightmost lane was reserved for the runners. This is a busy road even on a Sunday. At 37 km mark, I was still running under 4 hours. There could be a chance if I pushed, I could get a sub 4.5 hours finish. But I decided not to. After all I didn't want to risk it.
There was another water station near 38km mark, but with no water. Some runners were complaining there. This was a serious matter. Some people could die because of dehydration. The orgainiser has failed to provide enough water at this part of the route when it mattered most. After the chaos on last Friday race pack collection, I already decided to bring a bottle of Gatorade and save it until later part of the race. I was glad I did that. It really helped me at that stage of the run.
The 38-39 km was an easy downhill where I took chance to up the pace to near 6'10". The last three 3km was near Dataran Merdeka, but we had to turned to opposite direction to Jalan Raja Laut first.
There was a water station at 40km mark just before we turned back to Jalan TAR heading towards the finish line. At 41km mark, I saw Hugo (my ex-Head of Department in 2005), cheering me. I believed he was waiting for Ravin whom he knew well.
With 1km to go, I was really relieved to come so far and going to finish the race. Just 200m from the end, I picked up the Terry Fox T-shirt from my brother. I have asked him to come with my family. My mom was there at the finish line waiting for me too. I couldn't describe my feeling during the final few hundred metres. Happy was an understatement. It was beyond happy.
I stopped at the finish line holding the Terry Fox Run 2006 T-shirt high and savoured the moment. Ashley and Ashton came hugging me. I felt happy and speechless for a few seconds. My wife was there too with my mom. My brother took photos of us at the finish line.
The finishing moment was unforgettable. I finished my first marathon with my family, mom and brothers witnessing the historic moment. It took a while for it to sunk in. I thanked them all for coming and the support they showed.
Then I went to collect my finisher medal and T-shirt and snapped more photos with my family. As I'd promised to wait for BP, I asked my family, mom and brothers to return home first.
I waited for BP at the finish line, not knowing how he was doing, or if his knee would hold. I was really glad to see him crossing the finish line without pain in his knee. Although he finished an hour after me, but it was still under 6 hours (his target). I quickly took a photo with him and showed him where to get his goodies.
After that we waited for Ravin at the finish line. Ravin's wife also waited for him. He came in finally with the time of 7 hours 5 minutes. We ran with him for the last 100m. This was his maiden marathon too.
It was a memorable day for me. Having finished my first marathon within 5 hours and seeing my friends completed it as well. I hope to see more friends joining the marathon next time round.
I'm sure this will not be my last marathon. I have completed this run without too much suffering. So it is a good sign that I can do more (marathons) in the future. I'm not sure my next marathon target yet. One thing for sure, this is just a new beginning for me.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
I will run with all the happy thoughts, my family, my parents and brothers and good friends on my mind. All of you have provided me support and encouragement in one form or another. I'm both fortunate and grateful for what I have so far. Without you all, I don't know if I can come this far. I have discovered my sense of purpose in you all, that is, "To live, to love, and to leave a legacy."
Friday, June 26, 2009
I got my SCKLM 2009 race pack today during long lunch break. In it, there is a running vest, a small towel, runner bib with timing device (RFID), runner's guide book, a back pack bag and some promotional items. For full marathon runners, there is one PowerBar that you can claim at PowerBar tent (not in the race pack). The PowerBar entitlement is not communicated to the runners at the race pack collection counters.
Anyway, my first impression of the whole collection process was bad. When I first got there, there were already long queues and the queues weren't moving at all. Then we found out that the power to the tents was down. This caused the temporary computer network to be down as well. Without the online computer network, the volunteers cannot do anything. They were following procedures according to what they were told, i.e. they could not do anything until the system is up again. We waited for about 30 minutes to no avail and decided to go for lunch first near the Masjid Jamek train station some 300m away.
After lunch, we headed back to Dataran Merdeka and saw the queue moving albeit quite slowly. Anyway we decided to queue and waited for about another 30 minutes to collect our packs. BP went off earlier because he got an appointment to catch, so he left behind his details for me to collect on his behalf. I also collected for Lam. Lam told me that most likely he cannot make it to the run due to some personal commitment. I still asked him to try his best to make it to the starting line since he had trained for the run.
Anyway, I felt the whole process can be improved. There were many people collecting for others. Some people collected 20 packs, some 5 to 10. There should have a counter for group collection. Those people who come to collect for their pack only should not be waiting long because of some people collecting 20 packs in front of him.
Another thing is the power down issue. They should have power backup immediately and not leave the runners waiting. Before I arrived at Dataran, it was raining, I could imagine the frustration of the runners who were queuing in the rain and the system went down! Luckily for us, the rain stopped before we arrived.
So for those runners out there who have yet to collect your pack, you can go before 8:00pm today or from 10:00am to 5:00pm on Saturday. Don't collect for your friends from another category. You will end up queuing a few times. Only collect for those who are running in the same category as you, unless you wouldn't mind queuing under the rain or sun for long period as warm-up to your race.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
The weather these few days was really crazy. Firstly is the haze, secondly is the heat, thirdly is the rain. All these factors can affect the runners. It is up to the runners to deal with it as it comes. So I will focus on what can I do to deal with these weather conditions.
Haze - I cannot avoid breathing in the polluted air while running. Running with a mask is not practical. So I think I will run normally until I feel breathing is difficult then I will slow down or even walk. Maybe I will take a small sip of water. Also important to breathe through the nose, not the mouth.
Heat - Must be mindful to keep myself hydrated. Just need to drink 2 small cups of water at every 5 km. To avoid getting no water at water stations at later part of the race, I will bring a bottle of Gatorade. Perhaps I will also apply some sun block as well. As my "ETA" at finish line is around 10:00am, it will quite hot by then if it is a sunny day. I have never tried running with sports hat or cap before, so I will not try on race day.
Rain - Although I have trained in the rain before, but the intensity of rain could be different. I guess the difficulty if it rains heavily, is that I will feel uncomfortable with the wet clothing and shoes. There is also an issue of slippery road. So to counter the rain effect, I guess I have to run at a slower pace, just like I would drive slowly in rain.
I guess the main point here is, don't get too worry about the factors that are out of our hands. Just need to deal with it as it comes and focus on what we can do.
I know I will enjoy the race no matter what. It will be an experience of its own running in a marathon.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
1. Wristband & headband
2. Water bottle holder waist pouch (Pacesetters)
3. Gatorade 500ml
4. PowerGel x 2
5. Nike arm pouch
6. iPod shuffle
7. Sunnto Heart Rate Monitor (Belt and watch)
8. Suunto GPS
9. Nike socks (65% cotton)
10. adidas Supernova Glide running shoes
11. Phiten Insoles
12. Running vest with bib all pinned up.
13. IC & drivers license
1. Eat light breakfast/PowerBar
2. Apply Vaseline on skin areas susceptible to chafing or friction
3. Drink two cups of water
4. Run through/visualise the route in my mind
5. Go toilet before depart
6. Apply sun block
Besides that, I eat a bit more as part of the plan to do carbo-loading. My diet is full of rice. If I don't eat rice for lunch or dinner, I will feel hungry within 3 hours. Water is important as well. I am drinking a lot so that my body will learn to store more water, or at least I ensure I am not dehydrated.
BP sent me a link today. It was about "sleep-loading". There is this article saying that sleep is probably one thing most athletes overlooked. It could be part of the "training aid". That is what I did more this week compare to last week anyway. So I felt better reading it.
Talking about BP, he could still start the race on Sunday. Will and I have been asking him to see a specialist about his knee. I think BP knows his body best, so if he decides to start and see how far he can go, I'll just say, "Just don't overdo it."
I enrolled in SCKLM 2009 thinking that running with BP will be easier. It will be a different feeling for me if he cannot make it to the starting line.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Anyway, I managed to run about 15km in the gym of the hotel and I guess it was the best that I could do. I didn't want to risk running on the streets of Delhi in the heat, unknown traffic condition and safety reason.
Last Saturday, I managed to run a relax 20km as my final long run training before SCKLM 2009. Now it is only less than a week to go. I have this mixed feeling in me. Feeling of excitement, anxiety, uncertainty, to name a few. Confidence level I could say, maybe at 75%. Last night I even dreamed about the marathon. In it, I was so late for the flag-off, I was feeling disappointed and didn't even wanted to run knowing I could never complete it within the qualifying time.
I guess now that it is near, I kind of putting some unnecessary pressure on myself (to complete my first marathon in my first attempt). It has been a dream of mine to complete one (marathon) in my life. There could be more. But for now, I will run that dream this Sunday.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
This morning I woke up for my long run at about 5:30am. I was feeling quite tired these few days. I don't really know why, but I force myself to get up and do my training anyway.
I plan to run in Taman Bukit Jalil and I did. I wanted to complete 5 laps for 20km today. After doing about 3 laps, suddenly I remembered there was a running clinic today in Lake Garden. (Sigh...sign of getting old.) I quickly got into my car and drove to Lake Garden.
When I arrived in Tapak A, there were already many people there. I was already 5 minutes late but the clinic has not started yet. The event finally started about 5 minutes later. There were about 80-100 runners already present
This time, the guests included elite runner Mark (Williams), (Reebok) physical trainer Rodney, dietitian Ms. Lim, MSIG insurance representative Mr. Edwin, "Ultraman" Kannan Muragasan, national runners Yuan Yu Fang and Shaharudin Hashim. As usual, race director Hemant Dua was there to kick things off.
Mr Edwin spoke first and introduced the sport insurance product for everyone. It was not a heavy sale pitch. Being "Gold Sponsor" of the event, I guess they deserve some air time to say a few words.
Rodney got the crowd warming up with some warm-up exercise. Everybody got a good stretch.
Then Ms Lim Ai Ling, dietitian from Gleneagles Intan Medical Centre gave a brief talk on race nutrition. She emphasised on carbo-loading and hydration. Runners need to eat more carbohydrate and less fat. Basically fat is harder to digest and stays longer in the stomach. Carbohydrate is instant source of energy and runners can replenish them during training with sport drinks. Hydration is very important. Runners needs to replenish the liquid in the body during and after training. After the run, runners need to drink 1.5 times the body weight lost during the run. E.g. if you lost 1 kg after the race, you must drink 1.5 litres of fluid within12 hours.
Next up is "Ultraman" Mr Kannan, who basically speak a bit on his experience of preparing for the race. Usually, runners get anxiety on the eve of the race. He said this can be overcome by during mental visualisation to prepare yourself, e.g. imagine every details of the morning before the race, thinking about how you want to finish the race etc. He also mentioned, 2 weeks from the race, runners should taper off and not do long runs until it causes muscle soreness. He said runners should focus on doing more stretching exercise (Yoga included). Kannan also gave a good tip on how to manage the race. He said runners should think about the full marathon as several 10 kms or even 5 kms distance. Then the runners can tackle the shorter distance one by one with a slower pace.
Mark spoke briefly about this time of tapering as well. Yu Fang reminded everyone to be happy and enjoy the run as last preparation for the race. A very important point there. Shaharudin said doing more stretching and have enough rest are some of his ways of tapering.
Then it was another running time. Yu Fang and Shaharudin were supposed to lead everyone for a 20-30 minutes running around the Lake Garden. For some of the runners, they had already completed their morining runs like me. So some stayed around the area and chatted with Ms Lim, Mark, and "Ultraman" Kannan. I also took the chance to have a chat with Milo Ais, Satu!. She is running for her half-marathon in SCKLM 2009. All the best to you, Yin!
Like in the second clinic, runners were provided bananas, apples, water and isotonic drinks after the run.
Then, the Q&A time. Not many questions from the crowd, so one of the members from the organiser posted a question to Shaharudin, after questions earlier were answered by Kannan and Mark. Shaharudin is aiming to better his personal best of 2:34 for the full marathon. Before closing off, Yu Fang also added that massage is a good way to recover from long run.
Race director Hemant reminded everyone to take public transport on race day. There will be buses from Rapid KL shuffling runners from 8 locations around KL to Dataran Merdeka. Please see this link for more information.
I asked Hemant whether there will be pacesetters employed by the organiser. He said there will be pacers for 3, 4 and 5 hours. Just look for the runners with balloon tie to them!
I took a family vacation in Krabi Thailand and returned at mid-week. It was a relaxing break. The main idea was to spend quality time with my family away from the work and other things.
It was a good holiday as Ashley and Ashton were enjoying their time at the beach. We went to island hopping day tour and spent a good whole day on several sandy beaches with crystal-clear water. They fed colourful fishes, enjoyed their swim and built sand models.
It was also a good break for me to recharge. I always make it a point to be close to my family and spend time together. Work has been generating a lot of pressure and taking a lot of my time. Therefore it is important not to let work 'consumes' me.
As I am still training for my first marathon, I still brought my running shoes. I woke up early in the mornings so that I could also train. In fact, I am mindful not to spend too much time on trainings all this while so that I would not neglect my family. So far, I could achieve that balance.
I ran in the long Nopparatthara beach. With the help of GPS, it measured about 3km long. Running on a foreign land was a first time for me. This beach was clean and the sand was fine. It was also quite flat. The sound of the waves was music to my ears. Running along this beach was really exhilarating. I could do it everyday if I stay near a beach like that.
Sunday, June 07, 2009
This time I didn't call BP as he is still having knee problem. Hope he can recover soon.
I was with Lam this time. He was taking it easy. I managed to complete the 30 km in slightly less than 3.5 hours.
Photo above was taken near Kompleks Kerajaan. Beautiful sky when breaking dawn, taken during brief pit-stop for water.
This time the 30 km was not as difficult as my previous ones. My average heart rate was below 80% for almost the entire run. This was a good sign.
Today, I will take a break and go on a vacation with my family. This is a long-awaited break. I will take this chance to recharge. I am still packing my running shoes. :-)