The long wait for the Putrajaya Night Marathon has finally come and gone and I think I'm beginning to dislike night races. I'll list my reasons later.
The wife and me checked into the Pullman Putrajaya around noon. We decided that we would spend the night in Putrajaya after the race cos I was too lazy to drive home and besides, it would be good to spend some 'just the two of us' time together once in a while, though we were both too bummed out to do anything much about the 'just the two of us' time that we had ... LOL!
Aside from the initial screw up about our room reservations that had us waiting close to 45 minutes to get checked, everything else ended up fine. We both took a short nap before heading to the event location.
As usual, I wanted to get there a little early to get the best parking spot. The place was already starting to fill by the time I got there. Coincidentally, I parked next to one of my blog readers, Tony, who recognized me. It was nice to finally meet you Tony, at least now you're no longer a faceless blog reader :D And speaking of meeting fellow runners, I finally got the chance to catch up with Kah Yen too. We both headed over to wish Neoh the best of luck for his marathon and then I headed back to wait for the start of the half marathon.
The race started in time and I was fired up for it. The legs were fine and I was nicely pushing through with my planned pace targets. Managed to even do a personal best at the 5K mark with a 23.29 timing. The route was pretty challenging with loads and loads of inclines littered after the 13K mark. Decided to slow down the pace a little more since I had a ways to go. Up to that point, things were going well. At the 12K water station, I removed my 2XU calf compression guards cos they were feeling uncomfortable. In hindsight, that was really a bad decision.
Not long later, disaster struck. I started feeling twitches of muscle tightness and by the 15K mark, I was almost immobilized with a painful cramp along the right leg that had me cringing in pain and stopping for a few minutes to stretch and ease the cramp away. From that moment, I knew my race was screwed big time.
Decided to carry on, with a much reduced pace hoping the cramps would not recur but it just wasn't my day and the route at that point decided to get hilly which didn't help alleviate the pain one bit. I was hobbling along and had to stop every kilometer of so to ease the pain. At this point, I must give my utmost thanks to this runner bearing the bib number F2140 cos he came along with some much appreciated encouragement and even ran along with me to keep me from stopping. Bless your soul, sir.
At that point, the theme of the run, 'Define your inner strength' sure rang true as I had to look deep into me and find whatever inner strength that I had left to hobble all the way back to he finish line. I must say that I am happy that despite all the agonizing pain I went through for the final 6K, I still managed to squeeze in a sub-2 hour run, thanks to the faster paced times I put in at the start of the race.
Somewhere down the last 3K, I must have left that unnamed F2140 runner behind, cos while waiting for the wife to come in, I saw him again crossing the finish line and he was so happy to see me there, that he came up to me, congratulated me and even hugged me! Once again, my utmost thanks to you F2140 for the part you played in getting me through the run. Runners are really the best people in the world cos they never put you down and will always have a word or two of encouragement when they see someone in need of help or a little push.
Ok, now let me stress on why I think I'm beginning to not like night races. In all the night races I've run, which includes the dreaded Energizer Night Run, The Shape Night Run and this current race, I've always developed cramps and not done too well in the runs, timing wise. My conclusion is because I believe the body is not as well rested as in the early mornings. True, I may have to warm up a little longer for morning races but heck, I'm much fresher in the mornings than I am in the evenings. I'm going to be looking into future night runs and decide if I want to run one again or not.
With that said and done, kudos goes out to the organizers, Twenty First Century Sports for a race well organized. Good job Nithi (director of Twenty First Century Sports and a personal friend of mine) and team for a job well done, enjoy your well deserved off day tomorrow. I wish I had the liberty of taking the day off tomorrow too ... LOL!
With that out of the way, I'm eager for my next 21K, The PJ Half, which has a much tamer route compared to the PNM. It's a route I'm well familiar with as I drive through it everyday for work and will make it easy for me to plan my race strategy. I'm a technical runner and like to plan how I tackle every single kilometer, when to speed up, when to slow down, when to conserve energy, when to crawl, etc, etc, etc. Knowing this particular route is going to be a big plus for me :D