Hmm, I don’t really know where or how to begin with. Many other fellow runner-bloggers have done with their deals, and lately I realized I tend to clock the most delayed entry posting after every event. Cerita orang lain dah basi, kita baru terhegeh-hegeh nak update.
I had to take a day off with medical certificate on Monday (yesterday). Well, it had nothing to do with any of my lower body parts after the night marathon aftermath (Alhamdulillah). But it was because I had a stiff neck after helping a guy pushing off his 4WD that went inside the longkang on Sunday evening. So, I took that opportunity to have another day spending in KL, resting and running some errands.
So, let’s begin with the tales of my second marathon, shall we?
I did not get a satisfactory deep sleep the night before the race when I reached KL from JB. Even though my body was tired, but the mind failed to shut down, not until 3am I guess. It was not due to the jitters of the race though. The Saturday morning went through as normal and by after lunch time I went to pick up my race kits at Putrajaya. Then I tried to grab another nap at around 4pm, before forcing my self to wake up and prepare everything needed for the marathon. A mountainous full plate of rice with roasted chicken at 6pm was my final meal of the day.
Just before 7pm, I arrived at the car park besides Istana Kehakiman where I met Shuk and the rest of some other friends. Prepped up with my gear (camera included), did some shooting and quickly rushed my way to the prayer room for Maghrib. I did not manage to spot many other friends before the run start though, masa tak cukup time lah.
Managed to get a small group photo. The rest haven’t arrived and there was not enough time to mingle around much this time.
L-R: EnAikAY, MissJewelz, Shuk, Shakhir, Nizam and my apology for not capturing the other guy’s name.
I get back to the starting gantry with barely 10 minutes left before the gun went off. Not enough time to warm up, I just did a little bit of casual stretching. Seeing the very little number of marathon participants (I don’t think it was more than 400, my guess), it killed the excitement inside me. At least, it did not feel like my first marathon experience where there were at least more than a thousand marathon runners (if I’m not mistaken).
The start of the run was pretty good as there were still so many runners around. After a few minutes, I noticed I was running alone without any sight of friends I know. Perhaps it was the darkness that blurred my scanning ability. Well, alone or not, the journey of another marathon has begun! I just ran with the crowd.
Kudos should highly be given to the organizers, especially in the distance marker department. They really did well that some runners even found it annoying to be seeing distance markers at every other kilometers, starting from the first one. I kid you not! As you may be seeing similar photos as below appearing many times in this entry.
I don’t want to comment much, as I know the organizer has done their best to minimize the traffic during the race. Scenes like these were sometimes seen where vehicles were passing by very closely to the runners. Both parties have to be extra careful at every time.
I never spend lots of time at Putrajaya, even on four wheels. I even got lost here sometimes. So, I can barely recognize any buildings or landmarks during the run than I can use to refer to. The first few km of the run were accomplished pretty neatly, without any signs of fatigue or pain. Although some were saying that it was hot and humid, to me it was nothing major as yet. At one point, I bumped into Ian who was doing his first walk break somewhere before the 10km distance marker.
From then on, we ran together for another 10km or 15km before Ian had to take another walk break to correct his running posture. Thanks for running with me Ian, and thanks for the encouragement to push me further. It was fun to be running together with someone that you know.
Arriving at 15km distance, I took my second shot of Powerbar gel. The first one was downed minutes before the start of the run. Ian was shocked that I can just swallow the gel without water. Well, maybe because I like the Tangerine flavor very much.
It was good to have a running partner during a marathon, or an LSD because it kills the boredom of running solo. Ian and I chatted about many things along the way, but I failed to store anything in my memory box. That perhaps, shows how much mentally draining a marathon can do to you.
At one time, there was even one guy pacing with us and we welcomed him in our pack. He followed us religiously but sped off his way when we stopped at water stations for refill. He did his first marathon in Penang last year, and was targeting to clock a sub-5hrs this time around. I failed (yet again) to memorize his name or bib number, so I don’t know what he accomplished that night.
If I am not mistaken, the route for marathon and 21km run detoured at about 15km point, where we had to turn left into the never ending full of dull long stretch of highway. There were no more landmarks (beautiful buildings) distinguishable, and the long stretch of highway was manned by a great team of roller bladers in orange tees. They can be seen here and there, helping to grab driver’s attention to slow them down and while performing their tasks, they cheered on us.
Having the tiniest memory of the map route, I know the stretch was going to be a very long one. I was praying that Ian would not leave me alone that I promised myself to give him a chase however I could possibly afford if it happened Ian get a second boost. I didn’t want to run alone, but Ian had his own plan for another walk break at about 20km. So he asked me to venture the remaining mileage on my own after the water station where we took ORS, to which partially unwillingly, I complied to the solo run.
Did I not tell you this particular stretch was boringly long? It was so long and boring that I did not take any photo at all. I was already running alone and all I wanted to see was the u-turn point. Now that I can slightly recall the route, the u-turn point was just after the 26th km but that 6km journey from the 20km distance marker was the longest I’ve ever felt that night. It felt much longer, really. I stopped at every water station for replenishments, and at this long stretch that I started to include more and more walk breaks on my own. At this point I was not sure whether the humidity had brought me down to the fatigue, or was it due to my lack of LSD training.
At this point I could still run, albeit slowly than the previous steps. Some mental calculations were saying that I could go for sub 4:30 marathon if I can finish the remaining 12km in less than 1 hour 15 minutes. But that was way too optimistic that even with a pair of fresh legs, I need to do my ‘sprint’ pace to clock that timing for 12km.
Fatigue crept in faster than I thought. I was lucky not to be attacked by cramp or muscle tightness or knee joint pain up to this point. I started to pamper my self a bit more by doing more intervals.
What? Nik did an interval run after 30km running?
Wait, wait. I haven’t finished my story yet.
Well folks, because it was so boring and my legs were already feeling tired I did some intervals by making use the street lamp posts on the highway as distance trackers. My intervals that night consisted of slow run (I tried to do this for every three or more street lamp posts), and then walk (for one street lamp post distance), and then repeat that with another slow run.
Interval lah sangat konon! This was not like the real interval training where sprinting was part of the game, mind you.
Many other runners were also seen to be walking now and then, so I just joined the crowd. To kill the boredom, I tried scouting for any runners that I know on the other side of the road, only to find not many were still left.
At this point of time and with 7 more km to go, I thought why not I try to break my own PB? My first marathon was completed in 5hrs 16mins and I was tempted to see if I can do a sub-5 hours marathon this time around.
I know I can run and finish the remaining 7km as I haven’t hit the wall yet, but to do that in less than 1 hour was another kind of stories. It was a tough one. And having to run alone did not help at all. Determined to push myself, I gulped my final Powerbar gel, hoping to get a final boost of energy.
I totally cannot recall the route going forward from this point. I just wanted to keep on moving from one street lamp to another. Running if I can, walking if I have to. I did not want to get any cramps as I know if I get one, I have to say goodbye to a sub-5 target. I kept on checking my stopwatch as I pass each distance markers to see whether I will be within reach of the target if I slow my run down with more walk breaks.
The only thing that forced me to run where my body has many times instructed me to keep on walking (or stopping), was the desire to feel the sweetness of achieving a better timing for my second marathon. The second boost of energy I’ve been waiting for never ever came to reality, so I just bow my head down looking at the tarmac, and continued moving forward.
True enough. With two more km to go, we had to turn left and make a detour behind the building. This reminds me a lot of the NB 30km run where we also had to do the “mentally-killing” detour before getting to the finish line. I felt like kicking this distance marker and the detour sign boards. Saya geram betul lah!
The finishing gantry was already in sight now and I assumed it was only about 600m ahead. Not so many people around cheering and I know the cramp on my calves will appear if I sprinted. With the thought of finishing the marathon strong, I opted to sprint and sure enough the cramps immediately attacked my calves and with whatever energy left in my legs I crossed the finishing line trying my best to look like a strong runner.
The only thing was that, I failed to smile. My calves were in so much pain that I was lucky I didn’t collapse.
As for me, finishing this marathon with some more minutes to spare before reaching 5 hours time was truly an eye opening learning experience. First of all, with appropriate and sufficient training, I believe everybody can finish a marathon distance. Secondly, with some extra training as compared to my previous marathon that I’ve done for this time, I managed to minimize any kind of pains in the legs or knees after the run. Well, fatigue is unavoidable I guess in this endurance game. And thirdly, now I know that I need and have to level up my training from now onwards if I really want to smile when crossing the next finishing line. I want to continue having fresh pair of legs during the run, even after running for 30km or 35km.
I went home with a finisher medal and tee, and with a bunch of new experience being able to cross another finishing line of a marathon. Also, I now have a new PB for a marathon which I would love to break it soon, 4:53:02.
Till we meet again at the next upcoming Energizer Night Marathon race in Cyberjaya on March 27th, which is going to be my third. Register yourself if you haven’t ya!
And to all my friends and blog readers out there who have accomplished another great achievement in your running endeavors, well done and congratulations!
Now, let’s get back to training!