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.