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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Second Marathon

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.

Pelari tegar yang sangat tegar.

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.

Singaporean skeleton runner. Some said she was also the “Catwoman” in the recent Dubai Marathon.

The start and finish gantry with those beautiful modern buildings on the background.

Had the opportunity to freeze a little moment with the Singaporean Blade Runner too.

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 entrance of another torture?

With my training buddy, Kash. We share the same training route, but hers are normally much longer in distance.

“Bang!”, the gun went off at 8pm. I was roughly at the back of the pack during the start.

“No photo please!”

I passed my camera to a buddy from JB and he kindly snapped this shot of me running.

Super endurance female runners yang tegar-tegar belaka.
L-R: Haza, Sarah and Kash.

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.

They have 42 of these distance markers (in yellow) alongside the marathon run route. Some took it as mental torture, but I took it as a challenge.

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.

Water and sponging stations were plenty too. Very very very good indeed! I did not miss any of them as I know in that humid environment, rehydration should not to be taken for granted.

Running on one of the many modern bridges at Putrajaya. How cool was that.

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.

I clocked 1:01:29 at this point.

One uncle even ran barefooted.

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.

This guy had the courage to stand in the middle of an interception, stopping the cars as we runners made a turning somewhere in the dark. Thanks guys, your team did a great job indeed!

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.

If I’m not mistaken, my timing here was 2hr 16minutes. Yeah, I’ve slowed down. Long way to go dude! The mental game has begun.

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.

It felt like forever to get to this point.

The customary u-turn ribbon collection point to indicate that we did not take any short cuts. My time here (according to the timing chip) showed 2hr 59min.

I told you these distance markers will keep on appearing in this entry. More to come.

The only group of civilian supporters seen by the roadside cheering on runners.

Powerbar gel given to runners at 30km. I got the banana raspberry flavor which I consumed almost immediately. Thank you Powerbar!

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.

I clocked 4 hours on the dot when passing this point.

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.

Some of my running buddies from JB cheering upon me. They did the shorter distance run of 21km. At least, they successfully made me smile, for a while.

3km should be a very short distance, right? We were already running towards the finishing line and we could already see the tents not so far ahead. I now smelt something fishy.

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!

As I saw this one, I wanted to sprint my last km to the finish line but just after running for 5 steps beyond this marker, I was forced to doing my walk break again.

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!

33 comments:

Diket said...

Your 4:53 journey is awesome bro. I really like the "interval" part. Perhaps it could be handy someday.

Anyway, congratulations for a new PB. Greatest achievement. Tabik 8000 kali! ENR mau lari sama ke? Kau selalu bagi asap kat aku awal2 =)

..::EnAikAY::.. said...

Shakhir,
Thanks, but no matter what, a HERO (you) is always a HERO. You did very good too. Nevermind for not clocking a PB, let's focus on the next 42km at Cyberjaya.

Energizer Night Run (ENR) nanti, aku akan bawak topeng gas sebagai persediaan menghadapi asap2 korang. Hahaha.

Diket said...

Aku setakat level pasaraya HERO je bro. I'm already focusing on ENR now.

No need topeng lah. I'll run beside you all the way.

Haza said...

Enaikay (cewah),

Congrats on your pb. While most others got pw's, you bley plak pb! Tabik toing toing!

Anyway, thanks for the photos, hope you dun mind if I curi and put in my blog. Mana gambar yg kash, sarah and me sebelum gun off tu ye?

See ya at ENR!

Julin Julai said...

Sub 5.Puh. Anytime anyone asks you what number you got for a marathon from now on, you say sub 5 hokay? nasibla kalau diorang tak paham..kui2

..::EnAikAY::.. said...

Shakhir,
Ok, let's run together then, insyaAllah.
(aduhai, aku kena double up my training la ni, bukan calang2 nak lari dgn keting Avatar nih)

Madam Haza,
Thanks. It was a pleasure to be on the same racing ground as you.
Ala, PB ni apela sgt, it's only my 2nd time doing marathon. Wait until i've done more than 5 marathons, we'll see kat mana i jatuh tertonggeng pulak. Hehehe.

Yup, see u again at ENR!

P/s: The photo should have arrived your mailbox as we speak. Send my regards to Sarah ya. Thanks.

..::EnAikAY::.. said...

Doc Julin,
Hehehehe. So far masih takde yg bertanya about my numbers. Maybe they've got enough 'education' from me kot.. hahaha.

So, what's your next one, doc?

shuklazim said...

congratulations once again and with pb sumore.

semalam aku dah beli topeng...uhuk uhuk...hahaha

i ran with the singapore blade runner right before picc...salute seh

..::EnAikAY::.. said...

Shuk,
Thanks bro. If u (and Shakhir0 were doing marathon that night, confirm aku dah kena batuk berdarah.

P/s: Aisey, u should run with a camera too!

Fong said...

klakor plak marker tu.. mentally torturing.. congrats getting ur PB =) one great improvement from previous =)

..::EnAikAY::.. said...

Fong,
Apesal tak datang pirate the run?
Energizer night race ni, amacam?
Kasi keluar la semua Excel Words Powerpoint punya power tu.. hehehe.
Thanks.

doris 桃利思 said...

i saw you crossing the finishing line. wauuu... u achieved sub-5 and PB in this torturous weather, very well done! congratulations!

Yimster said...

Well done with a new PB, and more importantly crossing the finish line. I like reading the updates after a marathon, no matter immediately or much later. Somehow, I find certain inspiration (drawing from the read) reading them and finding that extra notch in me to gear up for my first marathon.

It's tempting to just jump into my first marathon but I am cautious in the preparation and hence the year long period given from the time I started running. I'm still not that geared up yet, road is still far ahead. But with runners cum bloggers such as yourself (and the usual suspects), that is the oxygen feeding me to run and continue on and on :)

Kudos all around peeps.

amsyah said...

wallau wey, dah sub-5! tabik ooo .. syabbas inspector sahab!

keep it up, bro!

KOOKY KASH said...

yay Nik, syabas!! Very happy for u with the sub 5. Gamba Haza and Sarah pun tolong email kat I. I think this is the only photos of us together.

I met Blade runner at TNF last year. He was the last guy and he had a marshall to run/hike with him. He always hi-5 runners that passed him. Always in high spirit.

missjewelz said...

tahniah !!!! :)

..::EnAikAY::.. said...

Thanks Yim,
You'll be running your marathon soon, we all can feel it comin' to ya!

Syah,
We all miss your asam boi!!!! Hehehehe. Thanks bro.

Kash,
Terima kasih. I was happy that u finished with another marathon cum LSD too. Nnti kita LSD banyak2 lagi ye.

Julie,
Gracias! N welldone to u too.

..::EnAikAY::.. said...

Doris,
I think i saw u too, after i crossed the finishing line.
Well done.

rusfarizal rusli said...

perghhh...laju tu.!!!...congrats bro..memang mental betul tengok marker tuh...heheheh

..::EnAikAY::.. said...

Mana ada laju bro, aku lari tu dah pace terjelir lidah dah tu.

Che said...

sorry nik, didnt get the chance to meet u before the race as i was running around passing glowies :P next time i'll set up a meeting point and just wait there instead of doing that. tak chi! my pic was no where to be found la.. rugik!

Che said...

oh, allow me to be the last to congratulate u. u did well la. like kak haza said.. everyone doin PW, u did a PB. i think u are one of those night-marathoner guy la..

btw, bile nak buat LSD utk ENR?

..::EnAikAY::.. said...

Thanks Daud,
U should wear a costume la (like a spongebob ke, doraemon ke), baru senang org nak cam. Hehehe, sorry bro, tak sempat nak ambik group photo with u. Next time maybe.

LSD for ENR eh? hmm... harus mula serta merta ni kalau nak pecahkan rekod piring hitam. Ramai keting2 Avatar tegar dah standby dgn kepulan2 asap masing2.. bahaya danger.

ShahM said...

Bro..

Gua duk kat taman beside persiaran selatan tu (highway to PICC)..route mmg boring..thats why i don't run but drive on that road. ngeh2x..Hwver its one of a fav route for joggers and road cyclist in Putrajaya-Dengkil area.

Anyway, kudos to u bro..berdesup2 rupenyer..ngeee

..::EnAikAY::.. said...

Shah Majid,
Aiyaaa.. kalau aku tau kau dok situ, aku dah singgah rumah kau makan meggi. Betul betul Ho Liao! Ho ho ho ho...

Energizer bln Mac ni, masuk acara apa?

K3vski said...

Congrats on your PB Nik, well done! Yes, your body can do what the mind tells it to do. Don't underestimate it!

..::EnAikAY::.. said...

Thanks Kevin,
Yes, but i still want to kidnap your 4.20min/km pace legs. Can or not? Hehe.

All the best for your final prep up for IM Langkawi.

ziff71 said...

Hi Nik

Congrat on your second marathon. ENR nanti lagi sure berdesup.

..::EnAikAY::.. said...

Ziff,
Thanks. Well, cannot say anything yet lah. Many things can happen during a race, we never know.
We can only prepare and do our best.
C u there!

ShahM said...

Bro..

Energizer, gua msuk half jer..blom capai level bunny cam lu.. =D
My maiden half last week pun pancit bro..sedey2.but i did learn soo much...itu yg mahal..

Bareno run join x?

p/s: balik umah pkul 2pg still ada marathon runner yg baru lps u-turn & still tegar to finish the race. salute2
p/s: kalu nk makan maggie boley lg dtg umah gua bro..haha

ian yusof said...

woohoo ... the last commentor again (well u know why lar kan ... thanks to my office again for blocking the blogspot accounts ... shish!!)

You did very well bro, congratulasi. Bro, your pace (the first 30km)was a sub 4:30 pace bro. Maintain it and definitely can get title Mr. MemangBagus.

Cheers,
Mr. MacamBagus
p/s takut nak lari sama-sama .... u dah start berketing avatar (siap pacing ngan sifu diket lagi tuhhhh ...... )

..::EnAikAY::.. said...

Shah Majid,
Bareno run i tak join la. Thinking of wanna do the Towerthon, but looks like i have to give that one a miss too.

Dear Mr. MacamBagus,
Go do a masters degree in IT, then u can hack ur office's firewall.

Congratulations to u too. No one can ever take away that "MemangBagus" title from you.

P/s: Don't worry, sifu diket will surely cannot tahan with my slow pace. Sure dia berdesup punya.

Diket said...

woi! apa mengumpat pagi-pagi ni? =D