The alarm went off at 4.00am and as I was sleepily reaching to shut it off, I kept asking myself just why do I torture myself on Sunday mornings to drive at least 10KM away from home with the wife just to run for 21KM? I must be insane!
But then, the moment your feet starts to hot the pavement, all that is forgotten and I'm wondering instead how could anyone sleep in on a beautiful Sunday morning and not be out on the roads running. Well, that's how I felt anyway this early morning during the Brooks Half Marathon Familiarization run.
We reached the meet location, which was the Bukit Jalil National Stadium around 5.10am, a 10 minute drive along the nearly deserted Kesas highway. When we arrived there, the place was already filled with a sizeable amount of enthusiastic runners chit chatting among themselves.
Got ourselves ready and the marshals reminded everyone to take it easy seeing as how it's not a race. I immediately set up mind to keep to a slower than normal pace as I've never run this route before and don't really know what to expect. Looking back, it was a blessing in disguise seeing as how the darned route was littered with inclines that could have given the notorious Ammah hills a fight.
I was panting up the inclines like some pervert on steroids! At least now I know what to expect come race day and adjust my pace accordingly. The route is pretty tough and it's really going to be a challenge come race day. Oh well, what's a race without a little challenge, right :D
The run was basically not too bad. It took me a while, at least 3-4K to really get warmed up and clear the kinks and tightness out of my legs. That was a cue for the legs to automatically speed up. But the thought of running an unfamiliar route brought the pace down considerably to conserve energy for the entire route, afterall this was not a race and better to save the speed for the actual race day.
The only drawback during the run came at the 16K or was that 17K mark when I had a horrible stomach ache to the point I couldn't run. But some kind running gods up there must have had pity on poor souls like me cos there just a few hundred meters away, Restauran Al-Madinah stood out like a shining star! You should have seen me running gleefully to the toilet. I think that was my best pace the entire race ... hahaha!
Overall I can't really say I'm liking the route all that much, somehow, I just don't 'connect' with the route. I liked the Newton Challenge route, though it humbled me considerably, so much better. But that's not saying this route is easy, it's equally crazy, if you ask me. The route was a little messy though at some parts with rubbish and construction debris that is going to make it a little painful for barefoot runners to negotiate.
At the end of the day, was it worth getting out of bed at 4am to torture myself? You can bet your bottom dollar it was! By the way, everyone there today was some super duper runner and had pace that left me smelling their rubber soles! Good god, what do you guys eat, la?
Before I log off, I'd like to offer a big thank you to the organizers for the effort they took in putting this familiarization run together. The water stations throughout the run and the refreshments consisting of sandwiches and 'kueh-kueh' at the end of the race was greatly appreciated! Last but not least, thanks also goes out to those RELA boys who did a good job with traffic control.
A Sunday morning well spent if you ask me :D