The day has come, for my first trail running race. Finding it more exciting to run and shoot, I bring along my digital camera. I know it may slow down seconds or minutes of my time, but I don’t really mind about that. It just feel good to capture some moments of the experience.
This time, I realized that many other runners (as well as the spectators and volunteers) noticed me carrying a camera during the run. I wonder what came across their minds. The weather was ok, cloudy with a very minute drizzle here and there. Nothing that can harm my non-water-proof camera. So, that’s a good start.
I arrived Kiara park at 7am, where Shuk and Daud has already waited for me for their race bibs. I did two laps around the park as a warm up. Then, started off shooting around.
The crowd was building up with so many runners in orange shirts soon after. The whole parking area might have been as crowded as at Jom Heboh. Should we call this kind of event as “Jom Gegar”?
Out of all these people, only participant number A0106 ran up Kiara trail TWICE. The others only ran it once prior to this race. I wonder what happened to A0106 during the run, as he reported that he got lost.
(Ni kes lari laju sangat over speed limit tak tengok signboards la ni)
It was stated in the website that the 10km categories were supposed to start at 8am. However, it didn't happen and by 8.10am we were all being asked to gather at the starting line. No clue that the race was going to be released soon either. Furthermore, everyone thought we were going to run straight into the trail which will be a big disaster since the single track trail is located just 30m away. Just imagine a swarm or bees trying to get into a bottle (I know, no bee will want to fly into a bottle for no reason. Just imagine lah).
Shortly after that, the announcer mentioned that we were all facing the wrong way. Alamak!
Some of the eager runners. So eager that we were facing the wrong direction of the start. In actual fact, we were supposed to run out of the park first, then re-enter the park, through the 'start/finish gantry' and into the trail.
With more than 300 or 400 runners (I guess) in the 10km category chatting along while waiting for the horn to be blown, the poor PA system did not help much either. No one had the crisp idea of what we were supposed to do.
I found this funny. There were three ladies heading a supposed-to-be warm up and stretching session. But, due to the problematic PA system, none of the runners really bothered about what were these ladies doing. I came out of the crowd, and took another shot from this angle.
I still need to learn more to get sharp photos while running. Or, should I ask for a sponsor of a better camera?
This was the start of the 400m clockwise road run. It was a brilliant idea to disperse out the runners before we all get into the single track trail.
Now tell me, how to overtake them all? At the beginning of the trail, it was still cramped that running was becoming a difficult task to do. The only way to overtake those walking people was to run on the outside, i.e. in the bushes, at your own risk!
When I did the Kiara trail run few weeks earlier, I knew the first 20 minutes or so of the start of the trail would be climbing all the way through. Not wanting to lose my breath too early for premature over-push, I carefully paced myself out so that I could run up the inclinations for as long as I could. I’ve been following Bacin’s back for quite a while, almost half of the way. He’s a strong guy I can tell, as when many others had resorted in walking, he was still steadily running up.
If there was one thing that I realized from trail running was, it is very contagious. When the runners in front of you started walking especially when climbing up, 80% of the chance you’ll end up walking with him/her. Then, when he/she started running again, you’ll follow suit.
I would say that the run afterwards was pretty challenging and tactical, with the sharp turns and small ups and downs. Yet, the small climbs were still hard to be run. The thing is, whenever I started walking my legs felt heavier with every step. It made it difficult to attempt into running mode again. But, once I get back into running mode, the plodding gets lighter and better, but I’ll soon lose it to spiking heart rate and breathing.
There was one point where we had to cross a ditch with a less than 1 foot wide plank of wood. The organizer clearly put up appropriate signage to warn the runners. I think they should also to put up “Speed trap zone” signage to slow people down a bit.
45 minutes into the run, I gulped the Powerbar gel I carried, while running. This is one advantage of carrying water, as we can take gel or drink whenever we needed to during the run, without having to wait to arrive at the next water station.
I guess, from then onwards I was already having difficult time with my run. I took less photos too. I was busy focusing my mind on the run and breathing, in my effort to battle with the huge urge to stop and walk. As soon as I started walking, my legs felt heavy. I quickly tried to get back into some form or running, however possible.
With the tired legs and body, keeping a focused mind during the run was not an easy task either. One runner in front of me fell down, for which I assumed he missed his steps. I helped him up, and after confirming that he had no injuries, I left him behind and continued running.
Arriving at another water station, the marshalls told me that it was only 2km left to run. After 1 hour 10 minutes running, I started to feel the cramp onset on my left calf. It came and attacked me once in a while. I risked my luck by continuing the run, and praying hard the cramp won’t emerge its uglier face. I didn’t even stop to stretch the calf. I just wanted to keep moving.
1km to go before the finishing line, we can already hear the blast of songs and the voice of the emcee, indicating that the finishing line was coming near. That just boosted whatever spare energy left in my tank, and I just kept on running and trying to catch up with the runners in front of me. I remember overtaking at least another one or two runners in this last kilometer.
Looking back at above photo, made me realized how we Malaysians are still far behind in the ‘support and sportsmanship’ ratings. Those who have raced outside of Malaysia would certainly have a better feedback about how supportive the spectators are cheering for them. But too bad, not much can be found in Malaysia.
Oh ya. I crossed the finish line with a time of 1 hour and 22 minutes. Not sure about my position though.
Not bad at all, so I thought, and so I felt.
At least, I was happy that I can taste the result of the my last minute hard work training.
I waited at the finishing line to capture some more moments of friends crossing the finishing line. At least, there’s something for them to keep or to show to their family and friends, to further inspire more and more people into living a healthy lifestyle.
I felt fortunate that my cramp onset didn’t grow larger. I treated myself with some fresh cut cool oranges, a Gardenia bread, and some water while wandering around snapping more photos.
All in all, for me, it was a well organized trail run with plenty of signage to keep runners on track, sufficient if not excessive water supply, cool and friendly volunteers manning the booth area and at every trail junctions, as well as some “OK-lah-tu” goodies like t-shirt and pouch. Original or not, not an issue for me, at least. We were also given a blank certificate each.
I went straight home to continue helping my wife with other normal weekend household chores. The post-race lunch and dinner prepared by wifey was great too. We had pasta and a yummy-licious chicken cottage pie. I can't ask for more.
I also managed to squeeze in few minutes of naps here and there at home, before heading to Pudu to take the 11pm express bus back to JB for my duty. Arrived back in JB with a very heavy pair of eyes somewhere around 3.30am, with some little more time to spare shutting the eyes prior to going to the office for work.