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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2012 Race Review

It's finally over and done with and to be downright honest, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be :D All that worrying was actually quite needless to say the least. Crossing the finish line today is something I'll cherish for quite a long time to come.

The wife and me headed out to the city a day earlier and checked into Swiss Inn for the night. We didn't want to have to wake up really early and hunt for parking and all that so spending the night near the race location was an option for us. Besides, she was doing the half marathon and I didn't want her to have to wait for one and a half hours before her race start, since I flag off at 4.30am.

The hotel was basically populated by runners anyway and after checking in, we took the liberty to head to the race location to 'look-see, look-see' and then checked out central market and Petaling Street, we felt like tourist ... hahaha! Grabbed an early dinner and called it an early night. I couldn't really get to sleep and was more or less tossing and turning and finally dozed off around 12.30am or so, which didn't leave me much sleeping time since I had to be up by 3 am to prepare for the race.

With the wife still in bed since her flag off was much later, I took a brisk walk to the start line. Met Neoh and chatted for a bit and the KF grabbed me and told me to pace with him. He said I look so tensed, which wasn't far off the mark since I actually was tense and on the verge of hyperventilating! Being a noob amongst the many seasoned marathoners who looked so confident didn't help matters much too.

The race flagged off exactly on time and for me, it was showtime. I'd like to especially thank KF Chong for taking me under his wing and pacing with me for close to 10K. It helped calm me down a lot. At the 10K mark, I told him to go ahead and not let me slow him down cos obviously he was much faster than me and I wanted to keep to a really conservative pace being my first marathon and all.

The weather was excellent running weather with some rain along the way and I was pretty much alright with the planned pace I was on, somewhere between a steady 6:15 - 6:45 without much discomfort. I even had time to look around the still dark early morning skyline throughout the route. I was a little worried about the knee injury flaring up but thank god that didn't happen.

I managed to keep that pace and run all the way up to the 30KM mark comfortably and then the horrendous cramps hit me. To be honest, I was actually prepared to be struck by cramps seeing as how I've never run this distance before. I was waiting to see how long I could run before the cramps hit. I had a game plan for such a situation though.

I knew that I wouldn't be able to shake off the cramps completely and decided to nurse it all the way back for the final 12KM. My strategy was try to walk within a 10:00 or less pace for as long as it would take to ease the cramps and then hit a pace of 7:00 or less for as long as possible until the cramps returned.

The plan actually worked and I managed to walk/run all the way back to the finish, over-taking quite a fair bit of runners who were hobbling and also nursing cramps and cross the finish line in a time of 5:20:30, not too bad for someone attempting his first marathon :D I was emotional when I crossed the finish and breathe a huge sigh of relieve that I finally attempted my first marathon in one piece.

I guess a lot more training, especially more runs with a distance of longer than 30KM are to be done to condition the legs for marathon distances and avoid cramping up but I'm up to the challenge and am already looking forward to my next marathon :D It's simply addictive! Though I do have the usual post run aches, it isn't as bad as I thought it would be. I'm actually able to walk around the house normally except for a few creaks here and there ... LOL!

The race was decently organized and the water stations were spot on and more than enough with it being spread every 2KM distance apart. No complains about lack of hydration. A big thank you goes out to all the volunteers who made the run all that much more bearable for the runners with their tireless work at all the stations.

The only complain I have was that crowd control after the finish was pretty horrible with loads of runners crowding the back of the finish, unlike last year when no one was allowed into area. It was kinda chaotic trying hobble through all the people getting to the medal and finisher tee area. Something that should be looked into for next year, maybe? Overall, kudos to the organizers for a job well done.

A little about the Skechers GOrun at marathon distance. The shoe worked out real well for me. I hardly felt it on my feet at all. I was a little worried about whether it would cause any discomfort during the run but it turned out otherwise and will be definitely be my race shoe for future marathons. The only sore point about the shoe was when I was on my walk sessions during the cramping period. That shoe is simply not built for walking in for too long. It was totally uncomfortable during the walks but was fine when I started running again. I suppose that's why it's called the Skechers GOrun :D I even saw a runner who was walking actually take off the pair of Skechers that he had on and walked back barefoot to the finish.

Anyways, the cramping aside, I really had a good time and enjoyed myself thoroughly during the race. I can now look forward with more confidence in tackling future marathons knowing I can only get better from this point on. To all those who ran the event, the wife included, you all did good!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

TM Fan Run 2012

The hazy days are back again but that didn't stop me from attending this morning's 7KM run event, the TM Fan run in support of the Malaysian Olympic team. I wasn't planning to run this race but did it anyway in support of Nithi, a good friend and race director for the event.

Overall, the event turned out pretty well and though I was exhausted to start with from all the printing and production work that I was involved in for the event, especially the nearly 8 hours plus setting up of the start/finish arch the day before, I actually enjoyed the run.

The wife sat this one out and waited for me at the finish. Met a couple of familiar faces there just before the flag off which brought us through the McDonald's run route. Though short, it still was a route to be reckoned with as it was littered with inclines.

Saw a lot of the more seasoned runners doing their last (probably) LSD session along the route getting ready for the SCKLM next week. Even saw Ray and called out to him but that superman was whizzing by so fast, he didn't see me ... LOL!

Like I told Francis in his Facebook post, God is probably a runner cos somewhere around the 5KM mark, the first signs of rain were in the air with the sounds of a huge thunderclap. By the 5.5KM mark, the skies opened up and it was pure bliss running with the rain drops pelting my face all the way to the finish. It poured and I could hardly see properly while running.

I took this as a cue to put the Skechers GOrun into rain running test mode, something which I've never had the opportunity to do prior to this. Though it was a tad bit risky cos the last kilometer was downhill and it was pouring with the road surface being slick and all, I upped the run to a 4:10 pace and sprinted to the finish. Surprisingly (and a good thing too), the GOrun stuck to the road with hardly any slippage even though the road was already beginning to look like a mini river flowing downhill.

Another thing I noticed was though the shoe was soaked, it didn't have that heavy sponge like water logged feel. It was still light on the feet with the only sore point being my socks, which weren't suited for wet running conditions. It was afterall a short distanced race and I didn't expect it to rain, which prompted me to use slightly thicker socks that soaked up water more than the shoe.

At least the rain provided me the opportunity to test it in extremely wet weather and now I'm not so bothered about rain on race day which is one less thing to worry about knowing my shoe will probably hold out. I'll just opt for my other thinner more water resistant socks, just in case. The current pair of GOrun that I have has reached its limit already and will be retired as my race shoe. Good thing I have another pair of GOrun for the SCKLM which I've already been putting quite a bit of mileage on it too.

Next week will be an easy week for me, running wise with only one last, short distanced run scheduled until race day. Let's hope my work schedule will be kind to me as well.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Running With Work

The KL Marathon is seriously just peeking around the corner and the butterflies are starting to pile up in my tummy. The countdown has begun with only 9 days to go and I seriously hope I've done enough to see it through to the finish in one piece.

I've cut back on my mileage since Monday and don't see myself running much save for this Sunday's TM Fan run and maybe a short run on Tuesday with the biggie being saved for the KL Marathon next week. Cutting back on my mileage wasn't really what I was planning to do but work has got in the way (which is a blessing, really) and I simply can't find the time or energy to squeeze in my regular runs this week. At least I'll be bringing fresh legs to the race next week.

I was actually planning a few easy runs this week but work has suddenly piled up since last week with some near impossible deadlines that have upped my stress level by a factor of ten! While I enjoy doing projects that involve running, the deadlines coupled with extremely last minute and labour intensive work involved can be pretty hard on me, especially since I take a hands-on approach to things.

The past two weeks or so has seen me working on four 'running' project simultaneously starting with the PNM launch, the TM Fan run, The Shape Night run promo buntings and now moving on to the NTV7 Feel Good Run project. It's been a nonstop production nightmare for me and the boys in the office making sure everything is delivered as promised. So far, even with the incredibly tight deadlines, we've been delivering our end of the bargain pretty well.

While I'm happy that there is decent business coming in regularly, I'm not at all happy that it's putting a huge dent on my training schedule. Most times I'm pretty beat up by the time I get home and have to force myself to lace up and run, though once I'm out running it's a good stress buster.

Sometimes though, I just wish I was working in an industry that had fixed working hours so I could actually plan and accomplish regular run sessions. But I make the most out of the situation and squeeze in whatever training time I can muster.

While I would have preferred much more training time before the KL Marathon, I'm happy with what I've accomplished so far and am eagerly looking forward to the marathon next week, butterflies and all. I can't believe that it was only last year I was standing by in awe looking at all the marathon runners being flagged off and this year, I'll be joining them down that long 42KM of hell :D

Anyways, wishing all of you, the TM Fan run participants this weekend and the SCKLM runners next week all the best! Looking forward to seeing some familiar faces at both the events.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


It's good to be running again after a 6 day injury recovery break. Although it was only a short 5K run followed by a 2K plus cool down run, I felt liberated again. It's never easy resisting the urge to lace up and run when you have a wife who is equally fanatical about running. Watching her lace up and going for her runs is sometimes even more painful than the injury I was nursing.

I'm glad that I managed to resist the temptation and let the knee heal. I'm just not as young as I was and trying to pretend that I can just run the pain away is an exercise in futility. To be honest, I was kinda worried there for a bit. The pain that I had in the knee was pretty bad. I've never had knee issues before and this one was pretty serious. I could hardly walk without the knee screaming in pain.

I'm a stubborn person and would refuse to see a doctor but I was more than prepared to go see a specialist if this pain persisted more than two days but thank whatever gods that look out for silly and stubborn runners, the pain healed naturally and taking the legs out for a short stint this evening was pure bliss.

Though my fitness was a little suspect from the long break, the legs held out fine without a single twitch throughout the run. It'll take a few runs for my stamina to get back to normal but otherwise I'm pretty happy with the outcome.

Taking Jamie's and also the wife's advice and rotating my shoe selection to the Brooks Launch (which I haven't run in for close to two or three months now) was a good a idea too. The shoe definitely has much more cushioning and is way forgiving on the legs, especially for someone coming back from an injury. I'll be using the shoe for the next few runs before rotating back to either the GS or the GOrun, both of which are shoes that are close to my heart.

With the SCKLM looming just around the corner, I'm going to take things easy with maybe one more long run this weekend before tapering off for the event. I'm scheduled to run the Team Malaysia Fan Run a week before the SCKLM which I'll treat as a fun run, since it's only 7K. No sense screwing myself up for that run with the SCKLM just the following week. I'm only running it in support of Nithi, a personal friend and race director of the event. The fact that I'm also printing all the bibs and marketing paraphernalia is also another reason why I'm running. Sometimes I do love my job :D

Though I'm a lot more confident of attempting the marathon, the nervousness and 'butterflies in the stomach' feeling are still there nonetheless. As it gets nearer, the more butterflies appear. Though I don't have a target for the race except to finish, I do still have a race strategy all drawn up in my mind and hopefully it'll see me through to the finish in one piece. But all said and done, I'm just going out there to enjoy myself and have fun :D