Monday, November 19, 2012

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2012 - Running the "old" bridge for the last time

Crossing the finishing line (photo courtesy of PBIM 2012)

As I was running down the nicely-laid blue-carpet finishing straight, I guessed I was in Top 15 position for Men's Veteran. As for how well did I do, I wasn't sure untill I crossed the finishing line.

I came in to this PBIM 2012 with the nostalgia of my previous Full Marathon here in 2009. It was a run of my life then. The first time I broke sub-4 timing and I did it quite unexpectedly. It was only my second FM then after finished my first in a time of 4:40.

Having missed this event last year due to family commitment, I was not going to miss this again as this would be the last time PBIM would be ran on this bridge. My wife also took part in only her fourth half marathon.

Having arrived early on Thursday, the race pack collection was a breeze for me. The event this year saw around 34,500 registered participants. Actual number of runners on race day could be lower, but still this would make this event the biggest turnout marathon event in Malaysia.

I arrived just before midnight. The event venue was already full of people. Outdoor carpark already 60% full and some people already parked at road side. Arrive early at the race venue was very important to avoid the stress of finding parking or traffic jam.

With some fellow barefoot runners before the race. Kahwai, me, Sarah,Jason, Michael.(photo courtesy Kahwai & Jason)

As there was still time before the race start, I managed to meet up with some runner friends, some of them are barefoot runners doing their maiden full marathon. There were quite a number of other barefoot runners in various categories this year. I estimated around 16. It seemed trivial and negligible number if compared to normal shod runners, but it was quite a crowd with the barefoot runners get together to meet up and take group photo session. I was happy to meet so many barefoot runners, some for the first time here.

More barefoot runners before the race.(photo courtesy Kahwai & Jason)

The race started on time for the full marathon at 2:00am. The weather condition was clear, warm and humid. It had not rained since I arrived in Penang. Before the race started, I could see the shining stars in the clear sky, signalling a hot race ahead.

I was following the 3:30 pacer from the start. Having trained for the 3:30 target, I decided to give it a go. Although that was my target, I approached the race with "expect nothing, prepare for everything" kind of mentality. Race preparation on the training part, I had already done and nothing much I could do to change that. So I just need to prepare for potential conditions during the race. If I fell short of my target, I won't feel bad as long as I had prepared and run the best that I can.

The first 2 kms was at around 4:30/km pace, so I decided to slow down and not follow the pacer closely. I knew that pace would not last me for long. The split at the 4km U-turn was 18:53. It was a bit fast pace than I have expected. From there, the runners were heading towards the bridge.

I stayed on the white lines most of the time in this race as some parts of the course was really roughly or with pebbles. However, the white line bridge was not all smooth. There were some small little "humps" at every 10m interval.

On the bridge, there wasn't much breeze. The race was getting warmer from then on. The split time for me at 10km was 49:04.

At the next water stop, the volunteers were giving out water in their original plastic bottle. Although in normal circumstances, I would not like it, but it was a good thing to have. I grabbed the bottle and poured the water on my head and body to cool down. I was still carrying the bottle along the section of the bridge until the next water station where a new bottle is available. For the remainder of the race, I was cooling myself by doing the same,

The U-turn near the mainland toll booth was about 19km mark. After the U-turn, I moved ahead of the 3:30 pacer. He was slowing down and showing sign of trouble. So I left with no one to pace with and had to rely on myself for the rest of the race.

Coming back to the island on the bridge was a surprise as I started to overtake many fast runners who started strongly. It looked like the warm weather could have affected them. Having trained with a plastic water bottle in my hand while running was a good thing. I have learnt to hold it lightly without spilling the water and putting too much strain on my arms.

Then came the dreaded section of going towards Georgetown after the bridge section. This part of the course was mentally-draining. It was uninteresting section with 3 flyovers to tackle (6 in total for the return). This section also was the roughest for the barefoot runners. However, I was able to keep my pace until 33km U-turn point.

Three kms after the U-turn (~36km mark), my pace began to drop. There was no more water bottle available for me and the water stations seems to be too far apart. My body was heated up and my arms were getting numb. This was a sign of running out of fuel or an inflection point for me normally toward the end of the FM.

At around 37km mark, I met up with the half marathoners who were blocking the full marathoners path. It was not easy to thread my way through these runners. This time, I did it more patiently but it didn't help me to get back on target pace.

I could guess I was off the 3:30 target finish time since I started slowing down. With the sea of half marathoners in front of me, the job was not getting easier. I just did the best that I could and was really happy to see the last 1km sign.

Boy, the last 1km still lasted forever for me. I knew the course quite well, but still, the last 1 km seemed to last a lifetime. As I was running down the nicely-laid blue-carpet finishing straight, I guessed I was in Top 15 position for Men's Veteran. Then, upon finishing the race with a time of 3:34:24, I was given a winners' tag of 7th placing, enough to get a trophy and my first cash prize, for my best ever finish in a road race event.

I was really exhausted at the finish and almost fainted. Still amazed at myself for able to stay on my feet. I immediately asked for water. However, the volunteers directed me to the full marathoners' tent to collect my medal and goodies. I immediately took the water bottle from them and gulped it down. I knew I was a spent force and decided to take a free massage provided by the organiser to rest.

I met up with my wife late who finished her half marathon in 2:45. She suffered from knee pain and cramps on both legs. I did some stretching for her to relieve her cramps and gave her isotonic drinks.

I purposely wore and showed off the Bare With Me T-shirt in the prize-giving ceremony. (photo courtesy of my wife)

We just rested near the runners tent to wait for prize ceremony. It happened around 7:20am and I collected my trophy and cash, took some photos and went back. Had to miss the group photo session with the barefoot runners. Congratulations and well-done to fellow barefoot runners who completed their run regardless of finishing time. Some were doing their maiden full marathon here.

Fellow barefoot runners in PBIM 2012 post-race. (not all were present in this shot, photo courtesy Rich Chai)

It was a good event this year. Quite well-organised. Thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors. I still dislike the part where half and full marathon runners merge around 37km mark. Maybe one more water station at Jelutong highway would be better as well.

See you all on the new Penang bridge next year! Teaser here of what should be coming for next PBIM in 2013!

Photo of new Penang bridge in the making at ~75% completion (photo courtesy of Leong Kwan Weng)

Total distance of second bridge is ~24km one-way, compared to existing bridge at 14km.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Terry Fox Run KL 2012 - Route Map

Please click the image above for details.

Terry Fox Run KL 2012 - Calling for volunteers

Please click on image above for better view.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Terry Fox Run KL 2012 - T-shirt sale locations

Please click on the image above to see the details.

T-shirt sale also available on event day, but availability of sizes may vary. Don't wait! Get yours quick!

Thank you for supporting.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ipoh KRI Annual Road Race 2012 - Race Report

My first trophy received on stage in KRI 21km. (Photo by Chung Meing Ling)

This is the first time I got a trophy for my effort in a road race after running for 4 years. It was also my first time running an road race event in Ipoh. It was an enjoyable outing for me because I got to spend some good time with fellow barefoot runners, Master Tan Wah Sing, Rich Chai and sons, Lee Chung Wah and KF Chong.

I went to Ipoh with Rich Chai and sons. We met up with Master Tan, Lee Chung Wah and KF Chong in Ipoh. We spent the night before in a famous hawker centre near Ipoh Garden, having simple meal for dinner while chit-chatting.

The morning of the race was rainy. Luckily the rain drizzled out as the race began. I joined the 21km which started earlier. This was the first time the half marathon was held by KRI (Kelab Roadrunner Ipoh) and also the first time timing chip was used.

Having chalked up good time in PJ Half Marathon a week ago, I was also feeling quite good in this race and ran at a reasonable fast pace at the beginning. at about 4km mark, Master Tan overtook me. He starts slow normally in race but can get to fast pace after a few kms. I see him as my role model both in running and as a person.

The route was a flat one, but it was rough in a few sections. Being a barefooter, the disadvantage is that I cannot really speed at these sections. In some sections along Jalan Kuala Kangsar, it was quite dangerous as no traffic cones nor marshal.

Approaching the finishing line (Photo by Shirley Sohg)

But I was about to maintain good pace on average throughput my run and finished in 1:36:35 (official gun time) for 11th place, just 5 seconds from 10th place. It was enough to get a trophy as I managed to get top15 placing.

It was a well-organised event. The comments I can say was the water stations for 21km runners could have at least one more and some sections (Jalan Kuala Kangsar) do need more road marshals.

But what was more memorable was the good time spent with fellow runners at this event. Special thanks to Rich for the carpool and to Lee and wife for their hospitality and bring us around for good food in Ipoh. Maybe next year, I will join this event again.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

PJ Half Marathon 2012 - Race Report

Photo courtesy of Penonton

I never really focused on training for half marathon races. All my training so far is targeted for running a full marathon. My next full marathon will be PBIM 2012 in November. This PJ Half Marathon 2012 was more of a warm-up race for me.

PJ Half Marathon 2012 was a well-organised event. This year the starting time was at 5:30am. This was a good move as last year the event started about 6:30am that caused most runners ran under the hot sun shinning into their eyes for the 2nd half of the race.

I started the race pacing with Tang Chee Choon. He also trains in Bukit Jalil. I was feeling quite strong but restrain myself so not to over commit myself too early in the race.

Then at around 4-6km, I overtook a few runners. At about 8km mark, iron woman Julie Foreman overtook me after pacing couple of kms alongside Tang and I. She also overtook me around the same area last year.

I think I surged a little forward from Tang then. However, Hong Zi-Shen who started just besides me overtook me shortly after. At about maybe 11km, ironman Richard Tang also zoomed past me and I couldn't follow. If there was any bad patches, this was it. My pace slowed at this stretch on the way to the U-turn near Terminal 2. The race become quite a lonely one for me.

After the U-turn, I increased my pace again and able to overtook a couple of runners. At the last 1 km, I catched up with Richard and was within 50m of him. I thought I should wait until near the finish before I tried to make a move. But I left it too late. I finished just a few seconds behind him.

My official result:

Gun Time: 1:34:32 (My Personal Best)
Rank: 8th (Men Jr Veteran), unfortunately no trophy nor cash prize. I'm still waiting for my first trophy or cash prize.

Overall good organisation of the event. The traffic control was a lot better than last year. Runners was diverted to run on the rightmost lane on the way to Terminal 2 on airport road and on the leftmost lane on the way back. Thus avoided cars that needs to turn to the left exit of junctions to Glenmarie, Ara Damansara, Plus highway.

The course is relatively flat and you can set fast time here. As for me, I didn't really think too much about doing well actually before the race. It was a pleasant surprise that I managed to improve my time by about 5 minutes compared to last year.

Maybe, just maybe, next year I can match Julie Foreman or Richard's pace. I will try-lah.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Terry Fox Run Kuala Lumpur 2012 - T-shirt design

Please see the T-shirt design for TFR KL 2012 here.

Courtesy of CARIF

Sizes available: Size 2 (child), Size 4 (child), 3XS, 2XS, XS, S, M , L, XL, 2XL, 3XL.

Price is RM30 each. For each T-shirt with company/school name embroidery TEAM XXXX (left sleeve) is RM35 (minimum quantity is 30pcs). No pictorial logo is allowed.

Kindly note that the final order date for company name embroidery is 15 October 2012. 

Kindly email

I will provide more details later. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Taking the next step - ultramarathon

I have been thinking about this decision for some time. I shouldn't. It is a matter of the heart, not the mind. Ask those already took the plunge to ultramarathon. They would know.

For those who ask what is "ultramarathon", simply put it, an ultramarathon is any run/walk event involving running and walking longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometres.

I started running seriously in Sep 2008. I joined my first 10km road race in Nov 2008. I completed that and for the next one week, I walked like a penguin.

Since then, I have ran 11 Full Marathons, many other shorter races. To many new runners, this seems like a good achievement. However, I have not participated in any event with distance longer than 42.195km.

I did say when I started running back in 2008 that 42.195km would probably be the furthest distance I would ever run.The Full Marathon was that daunting to me.

I did ran more that 42km in one crazy training run last Christmas. Something that I had planned much earlier to motivate myself to try the ultradistance run.

Recently, I registered for my first ultramarathon. My close friends would say I must be having another round of MLC (Mid-Life Crisis). Some of my runner friends would probably say what took me so long.

I remember when I started running, how much I had improved since then, physically and mentally. How running has helped me to improve my health and increase my confidence. After some time, I find myself stagnating, and in a way, comfortable. In my heart, I know I could probably do more, maybe run a little faster or longer, but I just like the state where I am now. That's nothing wrong with that, mind you. Juggling between family, work, training and other priorities is already a challenge. But something just keep my heart asking for more. I believe I was looking for the new experiences. Travel to new places, getting to know new people while also doing one of the thing I love doing, running. You see, I also want to have more interesting stories about myself to tell my future grandchildren, not just fables and fairy tales.

It is not that I want to prove something or to someone, or that I am as capable as anyone else running the ultramarathon. It is not that I was planing to break any record like running the most marathon/ultramarathon, nor I want to be famous running some ultramarathons barefooted. Not that I want to be called "ultramarathoner". No, it's never about me proving something. It's just as simple as: me, running.

I have registered for Comrades Marathon 2013, dubbed "The Ultimate Human Race", it is one of the oldest ultramarathon event in the world. There, no turning back. I will train for this and complete it.

This, will be a beginning to a new chapter of my stories.

Terry Fox Run Kuala Lumpur 2012

Date: 11 Nov 2012
Venue: Padang Merbok

I will update with more details later. Please block your calendar in support of cancer research. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2012 - My 4th KL Marathon

Photo credit to Boon Yeong at 36km mark.

Some people run a marathon to realise a feat that was accomplished by less than 1% of world population. Some people run it to achieve a personal best. Some people run it for fun. Some people run it to be with the crowd. Some people run it for charity. Some people run it to win. While some people run it just to complete it. Whatever the reason that brought the ~3,100 full marathon runners to the starting line of Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2012 on 24 June, they came with a sense of purpose and belief. For these runners, they were already winners at their own ways. Coming into the race with weeks and months of trainings, they would brace themselves for 42.195km challenge to put their purpose to test.

This was my fourth KL Marathon. This was the event that I ran for my maiden marathon. It's always special to run this again. This year I came into the race without much expectation of myself to do well in terms of timing or ranking. I know that I didn't train enough with the busiest year of my working life. That's life. There are priorities. So I wanted to make this marathon more meaningful, and the way that I thought it would be good was to help others. For example, although I was not registered as the charity runners, but I donated to the cause that I believed it through other charity runners. Other ways I could think of was to support or cheer the runners after my run.

The week leading up to the race was not a good week for me. Dad was sent to hospital on emergency and went for an unscheduled operation one day before his birthday. Luckily all went well and he was discharged one week before the race. Then I got sick as I was lack of sleep, because of running in and out of the hospital. I was on medication until a few days before the race. Also, I tried to squeeze in a run two days before the race and got calf and knee pain. It only got better one day before the race.

I had decided to try out my VFF for this race, to see if there is any difference with real barefoot running for full marathon. I knew pretty well before the race that my landing with VFF is harder than without any minimalist shoes. It was a risk that I would hit into some problem running the full marathon with VFF.

Anyway, fast forward to the race day. I met some friends before the race. I took some photos with them and wished them the best for the race.
 With Kah Wai and Karim. Photo credit to Karim.
 With Lionel Lee at the starting line. I remembered and reminded him of his target and I could sense that he would achieve it. He did it! Congrats. Photo credit to Mrs Moey WS.
With a barefoot runner, Lee Chung Wah. Photo credit to Lee.

The race started on time. My strategy was just to pace easy around 5:12/km evenly for the race. It rained for about 20 minutes when I reached around 8km mark. Ben Swee called me as he passed me around the same place he overtook me last year. I completed the first 10km for the split time of 50:36.

Then I saw Annie Yee in front of me. She was slowing down then and I moved along side her near 12km mark. I just said hi to her and paced her on. I thought I could help her a bit since she was slowing down. Then she started to pick her pace up and we paced together until just after the 20.5km check point. She had to pit-stop at a gas station. Little did I know then, she was having some stomach-ache problem. I continued my race and reach the 20.5km check point at around 1:45:07.

The second half of my race didn't turn out well as I felt the calf and knee pain slowly creeping back. So I had to slow down a bit and hopefully not to aggravate it. The split time at 30km mark was about 2:36:55.

Upon reaching 36km mark, I got an ice-cold water from June. I really appreciate her support for the runners. She set up a kedai runcit with water, isotonic drinks, and other snacks. Also there were cheering team there. Not forgetting Choi who was also at 36km mark to support the runners with Coke, Malta, and many other stuffs. Some people would not understand it, but they were providing support to the runners with their own time, money and effort (with some support from sponsors). My sincere appreciation to them.

I had to take off my VFF near 37km mark and ran the remaining race barefooted. There were more pain on my right ankle for reason that I was not sure. But it subsided when I ran with the VFF off.

At the last 1km, Annie passed me and I was not surprised at all. I urged her on and I was few seconds behind her until finish. I completed the race around 3:44:52 gun time.

After the race, I tried running back to support the FM runners, but was stopped by the crew/officials at the finish line. I only managed to congratulate Annie for her 6th placing.

Then I settled down and refueled myself. I was then looking for my running buddy Chuah BP. We started running FM back in 2009 in this event. But I couldn't locate him. So I decided to put my goodies bag back into my car and ran back to Bank Negara just after the 40km mark to see if I could catch him. It was at this point I spent my next 1.5-2 hours cheering for the FM runners.

Photo credit to Khoo Yit Kiat..

Photo credit to Leong Kwan Weng.

I met Cheryl and Steven Ng at this point and they were also joined me to cheer the runners. It was a different experience for me seeing the many faces of the FM runners just about 2km from the finish line. I had taken many photos before for FM runners. This was my first time, seeing the faces of these runners not through the lens. This was the first time I was focusing on cheering and encouraging the runners that I mostly didn't know. Some were really enjoying, while some were really suffering. Some were smiling, some weren't. Some said thanks, some hi-five to you, some just carried on. You could see the determination, you could see the excitement, you could sense the pain. But all of them, ran for a reason and they were less than 2km away from the finish. I knew deep in my heart, all the runners that went past me at Bank Negara made it through to the finish line. They may choose to run the FM again or they may not. It doesn't matter, I am sure they had one of the best experiences of their lives when they completed the 42.195km in SCKLM 2012.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Energizer Night Race 2012

Another late post. I am going through a very busy period, so not much time to do more race report or other posts.

Date: 21 Apr 2012
Venue: Sepang F1 Circuit
Time: 8:20pm
Category: 15.5km (GPS logged 15.7km)
Time: 1:15:57
Position: 6th
Prize for 6th placing: Yes if you consider the yellow tag above a prize ("Real Prizes" for Top 5 only)

I didn't registered for Full Marathon as I didn't have time to train enough. Fitness level also not very good. So I only entered in 15.5km. After the nightmare run last year, I did say before I would not come join again this year. But I thought ENR deserves a second chance. So I joined this year anyway.

I met many friends at Sepang F1 circuit. Good to see them at any event. I thought if not because of Bali Marathon on 22 Apr, the turnout should be more, especially for the regulars. A hot and humid night with a some breeze in the beginning of the race.

Finished the race in 1:15:57. Got a tag for 6th placing but then I didn't know what to do, as I never been to such situation. I asked around then a crew member asked me to go up to the "holding room" upstairs. So I went then only to be told, "Sorry, you are not supposed to be here. Only Top 5 got prizes. No prize for 6th position."

I felt so embarrassed then. Slowly, I made my way out of the room after congratulating some of the Top 5 winners (including Mark Williams, 2nd in Jr Veteran and Shun, a surprised 3rd placing in Senior Veteran category for him) there.

I was very tired then so I made my way back to my car and went home. Earlier before the race, I thought of staying after the race.

Overall, a well-organised event, much better than last year. Good work to the organiser and volunteers who cheered on the runners on the outer service road.

Some feedback for improvements:

1. Some runners from 15.5km after completing the outer service road loop, had to run half the service road again. Here, I bumped into many runners who just starting their first outer loop. It was very difficult to run on the smaller, narrower outer service road when so many runners were blocking my way. I thought the route should be designed to avoid such situation.

2. There should be a notice near the parking area to say that runners were only to allowed to exit from car park after 11pm. This was in the runners' guide but it should be repeated on signs and announcement during the event. Many runners were stucked before the exit and some impatient drivers sounded their car-horn.

3. Most areas on the outer service road are not properly lit up. For me running without shoes, I had to be extra careful.

4. Please make clear to the 6th placing runner if they are on stand-by or entitled to any prize if you hand them a placing tag at the finish line. :)

Sunday, April 08, 2012

My First Trail Run in Penang

This is a very late posting on my first experience on trail running in Penang.

The map of our trail run.

Elevation chart of the run.

On second day of Chinese New Year 2012, I had an absolutely fabulous first trail run with runner friends from Penang. We ran from Air Hitam Market to Kek Lok Si to 1200 steps Temple to Iron Cross, to Westen Hill then to Penang Hill. Finally we took the vernacular train down from Penang Hill back to Air Hitam.

Group photo before start of run near Air Hitam Asia Cafe. From left: Eric, Eu Jin, Chun How, Shannon, me, Jones Chua, Seow Kong, Andrew, Chee Kong. (Photo credit: Alex)

Running towards Kek Lok Si from Asia Cafe.

Nice shot by Alex.

Pit stop at the 1200 steps Temple. We had to asked nicely to gain access to the temple (before its official opening time of 7:00am) which was the entry to a trail. (photo credit: Andrew)

Alex had to carry his bike on most part of the route, including these steps after the temple (we took turn to help). Notice behind him was Chua who did the run barefooted. (photo credit: Alex)

A photo in the jungle trail. Seow Kong was in his new innov-8 (silicon shoes), while I was in Merrell Sonic Gloves. (photo credit: Andrew)

Everyone was checking for.... (photo credit: Andrew)

...the blood sucker. (photo credit: Andrew)

I think this was taken at Iron Cross. (photo credit: Chee Kong)

About 5km from Penang Hill. (photo credit: Andrew)

A trail passing some farmland. (photo credit: Chee Kong)

Out of the trail and on tar road for the last km running towards the Penang Hill tourist centre. (photo credit: Chee Kong)

View of the top. (photo credit: Chee Kong)

No finisher medal or T-shirt, no ranking or position, but just a good "ais kacang" and "100 Plus"...

... with a cool gang of runners. (photo credit: Chee Kong)

About 21km but almost 2500ft elevation gain! Thanks Andrew (you know for what). Special thanks to Aung Moe (Alex) for the lead/support on mountain bike. I was flying in one of trail section. Absolutely love that feeling.

Thanks also to Chee Kong, Seow Kong, Chun How, Eu Jin, Chua (who did it BF all the way), Shannon & Eric. Superb company, excellent view, most enjoyable run!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2012 - My race report

SCHKM 2012 Finisher Medal.

I came in this race with a time target in mind. Well, I didn't achieve that. The way I finished the race was not really what I had imagined it to be.

I had been training for this event for some time and I thought I would stand a chance to have a crack at 3:30. I thought of wearing VFF because I thought it would be cold if I go barefoot. After some considerations, I finally decided on going barefoot. Mainly it was due to how I trained for the past few weeks and I had not fully "broken" my new pair of Bikila yet.

Happy that I got my wife accompanied me on this trip. She was running in only her third Half Marathon. Not easy for us to travel, we were missing our children back home.

I met many runner friends on the plane to HK. Surprised to see so many of them. It was always good to see familiar faces, especially in races oversea.

On race day, it rained briefly in the morning. I missed the pre-race Malaysian runners group photo session as I thought it might not happen due to the rain.

I started quite in front of the pack and got off on a good start. The road condition was wet early and I had to be extra careful. The temperature at start was relatively warm I thought at this time of the year, at around 18 degrees Celsius.

First 10km was quite manageable at 49:08. After I came out of the tunnel, when I reached Tsing Ma bridge, the road condition was getting rough. At this stretch, I had to rely on the white line at side of road.

At this stretch I heard a bell-ringing sound approaching. For a moment I thought Santa Claus came early this year. Then a barefoot runner with a vest reading "厦门赤脚 吴善宽“ (Xiamen Barefooter Wu ShanKuan). He was wearing a headgear with a barefoot and a V-sign hand signal. On his ankle was a bell attached to it. When he overtook me, he shouted "赤脚好!“(Barefooted, good!). I replied, "同志!“(Comrade!). Well, what I meant was, we are comrade of barefooters (not in the context of political ideology). He acknowledged me with a thumb-up sign.

Xaimen Barefooter, Wu ShanKuan. Photo by CheungWH.

Then after the first turning point at about 15.3km, there was no white line for me anymore and the wind was blowing strongly from the front, making it quite difficult to pick up speed.

Then I saw Ben Swee, he took a photo of me after my first turn.

On Tsing Ma bridge coming back. Photo by Ben Swee.

You can see that the road condition was not smooth and the safety cone was separating the runners from the white line at the road shoulder. Photo by 高志明.

Then Ben overtook me on the way to Ting Kau bridge. I made it to the half-way check point at 1:43:37.

After the second tunnel, the road condition slowly became worse. It was the one of the worse roads I had even experienced, if not the worst. I was suffering then. I ran this course last year with shoes, and I had no recollection the road was that bad. (When you were in shoes, the road condition wasn't really our concern, right?).

Split time at 30km mark was 2:30:17. Pace starting to drop by that time. I couldn't really maintain that pace with that kind of road condition.

I think this was taken near where I got my injury. You can see the road condition and this was not the worst condition. Worst was before this. Photo by Danny Lun.

I had to slow down at the rough stretches (estimated to be around 6km of it). Near 32km mark, I lost my focus for a split second and didn't lift my left foot high enough on the rough patches. The result, I brushed my left big toe on the rough surface, half of the skin on the toe torn open and I bled.

I stopped for a brief moment, and I thought my race was over, needless to say my target. Then I started to run again. I didn't want my race to end that way. I was just hoping the injury would not be serious and I could still finish the race on my own terms (and not on an ambulance). Of course, if the injury would became worse, I would stop. However, as it turned out, the pain was bearable, and the bleeding was not getting worse.

At the last few kms after the Western Harbour tunnel, the road condition was not smooth all the way. There were still some bad stretches that I had to run with my bleeding toe.

When I reached Causeway Bay, I just enjoyed myself and pumped up the cheering crowd.

Pumping up the crowd. Photo by Nelson Li.

Also "pia" a bit "lah". Photo by Tey Eng Tiong (Special thanks for the support!)

Near finishing at Causeway Bay (still "pia"-ing). Photo by Cheung WH.

Finally I completed the race with the time of 3:39:44. I didn't meet my target of sub-3:30 and I didn't improve on my time from last year. I was a bit disappointed, but at the same time I was glad I finished it despite of the bleeding toe.

At finishing straight. Photo by Andrew Ang.

I asked for medical treatment right after the finish line. The medical staff treated my wound well and I was able to walk slowly to the baggage collection area to get my bag.

I waited for my wife, and she finished her HM in 2:25:30 (net time) for her PB. I was very happy for her.

With my wife at the finishing area.

Although I didn't meet my target, I still find a lot of positives from this race and trip. I can always try again in future events. One important thing was I got to spend some good quality time with my wife.

Until the next race, I just need to focus on recovery and get healthy first. The train hard part, later.