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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Newton Challenge 25km 2012

So, here comes the first race report for the year 2012. No drum roll is required. Al-maklumlah, cerita dah basi lama dah baru aku terhegeh-hegeh nak post. This race was held on 1st January 2012, which I'm sure some of you might have forgotten it.

First of all, I didn’t pirate this race. Which is a good start in conjunction with one of my new year resolutions. Ngeh ngeh ngeh. Barang yang lepas (pirating races) usah dikenang…

Secondly, and more importantly is the upfront preparation for the race. In the previous edition of this similar race, which was held back in September 2010 (wow, how time flies, kan?), it was held right after the fasting month, where I normally bring down my level of training to the minimum possible, i.e. zero. So, I didn’t fare the race as much as I wanted to do. Obtaining the medal with a time clocked at 3h18m during that race was good enough for me. Totally unsatisfied, but I can live with it.

So, for this time around, I came back with a mission – to beat my own timing. And fortunately, I’ve been training quite sufficiently and structurally (I think) a few months ago and I entered this race with a better confidence as compared to the previous edition.

Once arrived at the race venue, I began with a simple 5 mins warm-up to make sure my sweat factory is up and running. With a gulp of a powergel just a few minutes before the gun-off while chit chatting with some running buddies, I finally made up my mind to attack this race (read: try my best laa, bukan attack main perang-perang tuu).

Shakhir: “Korang nak ambik biskut PowerBar free tu ambiklah. Tapi jangan kacau meja PowerBar ni ok, yang ni aku dah booking sejak semalam. Aku nak convert meja ni jadi podium.”

A strategy I’m planning to follow from this year onwards is to run with my CamelBak. At least I don’t have to worry if the organizer screws up with the water stations (which sometimes happen).

Dari Kapas ke Pantai Kelulut,
Acara swimathon mencabar minda,
Punyalah panjang aku melalut,
Cerita sebenar baru nak mula…

Ok, ok. So, this is how the race went.

Right at 0530hrs, I started at the most back. Then immediately shifted into my comfortable race pace of a mid-range mileage (i.e. 20km distance race, hence 6min/km pace), and cruised my way through the crowd. Syah, Diket, Dett and myself diverted into a flat area at KM4 (or something like that lah) for Subuh. I spent 7mins there. There was a hilarious story at the surau but I missed the picture snapping opportunity to serve as a proof. But I surely will remember the joke forever. A keyword to remember is ‘terong’.

Time ni pernafasan masih tip top. Belum lagi bertukar ke mode nafas kuda.

When I rejoined the race, I was already way back behind. Only one or two other runners scattered around. Maintaining my pace, I slowly overtook one by one. Yes, this race route is famous for their ups and downs. So did my pace. I reduced my speed whenever going uphills while maintaining my breathing pattern, and I took revenge each time we went downhills. I was being extra cautious and careful not to over exert on my heart rate.

The fun part for me is always to see other runners on the other side of the road, upon nearing the u-turn points. Those were the times where you can see your friends, at the same time set a ‘target’ to chase upon, i.e. faster runners. At least, if your body ‘behaves’ well, that ‘targets’ could be used as a motivation to pursue the race strongly. No one can deny that it feels good to be able to overtake another runner, no matter how slow or fast you run.

Trying to remain focused with my ‘race pace’ – a not-so-easy thing to do actually.

If I’m not mistaken, there were two (or maybe three) turnaround points. At each points I tried to scan for possible targets to overtake. Not that I am that “competitive”, but it was more like a mental game to make sure my strides remain on the steady pace, rather than slowing down unintentionally. Not having any distance marker throughout the race route made it much tougher to gauge how far or how much longer should I keep the pace.

I may not remember loads of details anymore about the race (it has been more than 20 days!), but I do remember pushing myself pretty hard with a mission to finish this race as strong (not necessarily fast though) as I could. Getting towards the 20-th kilometer, I started to feel fatigue in my legs. I could also sense that my pace has reduced a little bit. Such a demotivation, to be honest with you.

Wajah struggle sebab tak cukup oksigen dalam maskels kaki yang baru diserang cramp.

I finally had to start pouring cold water onto my legs at the next water stations when my calves started to show signs of cramping. I also did some quick stops for stretching, which worked to prevent immediate recurrence of cramps. With a new ‘target’ locked a few hundreds meter ahead, I tried to remain focused and planted the idea of overtaking him before we get to the finish line.

Knowing that the finish line will be in sight after another hundred meters or so, I gave it all my will to chase my target. I finally managed to cross the finish line ahead of him, and to my surprise I clocked 2hr32mins, averaging the pace at 6:11mins/km.

Overtaking my final ‘target’ just a few meters before the finish line.

I was satisfied with the race indeed. Nevermind that there was no distance markers or the fact that it was one challenging hilly route. I’m restraining myself from complaining about races. On another note, I have always had nasty calf cramps during races whenever I push hard, but not this time fortunately. And it felt good to be able to finish the race strong. I would say it was a good opening race of the year (to be frank, I’m not so sure if I will be racing much this year either… hehe).
We’ll see how it goes.

When I grow taller I want to become a fast and strong runner like this guy.
Maskels betis dia berketul-ketul wa cakap luu…

The J pose!

In previous edition of this race, Ijam pengsan-ed as he crossed the finish line.
This year, he was lucky he survived (most probably sebab dia tak nampak ramai amoi this year maka dia takde tendency untuk pengsan)

Syah tak sempat cover line cara dia menyedut perut sebelum bergambar.

Gaya-gaya pelari lapar tak cukup breakfast..

Masing-masing dengan gaya menyedut perut dan menahan nafas di depan cameraman.


RaYzeef said...

terbaek Nik..teruskan usaha caption kelakar ni :)

June Malik said...

I think my pace now is 60min/km lol .. I am missing so much of this that I might just give up! Nway, here's to more runs to u n the gang!!

K3vski said...

Hey well done Nik! I didn't know you were going to do that run, it was nice to see you there!

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

Nowadays kena careful lebih sikit bila buat captions, ramai org 'sensitip'... takut ada yg terasa hati.. hehe.

Quitters never run. Runners never quit. Ingat tu.. :)

Hi Kevin,
Yeah, it was a surprise to see you at race site. Long time no see... :)

June Malik said...

Not quitting, just stopping lol ..

fatini said...

hey nik, gosh its been ages since we last catchup during our bump-into jogging sessions. that shows how long i have not run seriously. atleast you are consistent regardless the cramping. i have not seen any suffer look upon your face in any of these pictures. steady bro! hope to bump into you some time again in the future. i'm now a lazy fat wife that keep procrastinating when it comes to registering races! keep on writing!

IJAM said...

apa barang pengsan...
syabas inspector saab...25km bukan mudah...but then again...apa barang 25km, apa barang 42km, apa barang 84 km..kan?