Sunday, December 9, 2012

3rd Putrajaya International 12 Hour Walk : Race Review

Before I start this review of the 12 hour Putrajaya walk proper, if anyone tells me that walking is an easy sport, please give me your address so I can come there and smack you silly on the head! Walking in a shopping mall is easy. Walking with a thousand (at least I think it was) other people at speeds that are nowhere near your regular shopping mall pace is outright painful!

I got wind of this walk months ago and wanted to give it a go. How challenging can walking be or so I thought back then la. But always willing to give everything a try at least once, I gamely signed up for the walk.

No medal picture cos my dog was trying to eat the medal this time round!
I didn't really give much thought about the event until a few days prior to race day. I decided to poke around Jamie and Frank's previous postings about their foray into their previous years participation in the event which in hindsight was a good move. What I read had me worried about the walk. All my previous thoughts of how easy a walk event was going to be was a myth! Well, at least I wasn't going in blind anymore.

Armed with their insights of the race, it was time for me to try this walking thing out. The wife and me drove to the location around 6pm and got a nice choice parking spot just facing the walk route. It would make things easy if I needed to grab anything from the car. I was armed with an extra pair of tee, socks and even another pair of shoes in the car, just in case it rained and my socks and shoes got soaked. I wasn't going to walk in soaking wet shoes if it did rain.

The compulsory cam-whoring sessions!
After picking up the race kit and bib, we headed to the car and had our packed McDonalds dinner. I had no qualms about the McD's dinner cos it was going to be completely burnt off anyway. Made our way to the start/finish to await the gun or whatever they were going to use as the start cue. Did a couple of short run warm up sessions, yes squeezing in a run even though as a warm up in a walk event is a must ... LOL!

The wife happily flaunting her Skechers GOrun 2 and legs ... LOL!
The gun went off without warning (as usual) and we were off. I took heed of Jamie's advice and started off with a shopping mall pace. Just about 300 metres or so into the start, loud cheers were given to the elites who were already on the other side of the road. To say they were fast is an understatement! The shopping mall pace was kept for about 3 loops before I started to up the pace a little.

My plan for the night was to push through without stopping and get in the 34km mileage under my belt, which was the qualifying mark to earn a medal, and then get a nice long rest and see if I was up for the entire 12 hour duration. But it wasn't easy going. Walking tends to have a lot more contact with the road than running and my calves and thighs were beginning to feel the strains of the the increased pace I was doing which was in the ranges of 9.00 - 10.00 minutes.

I managed to complete 5k in 50 minutes, 10 minutes faster than my expected time and did it again for the next 5k. It wasn't really a very smart move cos by the 10k, I was already feeling the strains of the increased pace. Instead of slowing down, I decided to be an idiot and try to follow the pace of two elites who lapped me and increased my pace to 7.00 minutes and kept with them for about 200 meters ... hahaha ...

That was when my legs started protesting and reminding me what an idiot I am. Not to be dissuaded, I kept that pace for at least 2 more kilometers and simply had to slow down considerably after that cos my calves were screaming for mercy!

4am and most of the participants walking around in their zombie impersonations ...
By the twentieth kilometer or so, my feet and hands were swelling up from the pooling of blood. Nothing much I could do about the feet but I kept shaking and swinging my arms to clear up the swelling which helped a little. The feet though were getting too snug in the shoes from the swelling and I started worrying about blistering.

The race itself was pretty boring, going round in endless loops with hardly any entertainment expect for Ray who was there to support the walkers and kept on cheering me on every time I passed him. Thanks Ray, your cheering did wonders cos every time I passed you I picked up my pace cos malu la to be seen crawling in front of an ultra-marathoner ... LOL!

5am and even more zombies ...
Along the way, met up with the likes of both Jason Tan and Jason Thai, Redzuan, Manson and Yum Kin Kok who were looking as fresh as ever unlike me. The likes of Yim and Uncle Oliver were lapping me left, right and centre! Made me look like a turtle on walking sticks, especially Uncle Oliver who was blazing the roads like a speed demon. If there was an AES camera there, he'd probably have tons of tickets by now ... hahaha ... ok, lame joke, I know but heck, it's a Sunday and my body is still in pain, so give me a break!

At the 36km, I caught up with the wife who wanted to head to the car to change her shoe from the GOrun 2 to the Skechers Shape-ups cos her feet were swelled up as well and her other pair of shoe was slightly bigger. We decided to take a half hour break at this point and headed to the car to freshen up and rest for a bit. I took this opportunity to get out of my shoes, lie down and prop up my feet which felt so damn good.

After the rest, we headed back to the race and though the rest was welcomed it didn't do too good for my form. It was so difficult to get to back into a proper walking pace cos the legs were beginning to lock up from the rest. My pace at this point was practically a crawl. That was when I decided I'll just do a full marathon distance and call it quits. After all, why torture myself and get unnecessary injuries and not be able to run. My running plans were more important to me.

So I dragged my tired feet and kept on moving like a zombie for the next 7 kilometers until I hit 42.195km in a time of 7 hours and 18 minutes. That was it for me. I just plopped myself on an empty chair I found and kicked off my shoes and congratulated myself on even coming so far. Waited for the wife who still wanted to do a couple more loops and she stopped just in time for the 5am medal pick up time. We picked up our medals and headed home immediately after that.

My totally beat up feet ...
Even though I've driven home from Putrajaya countless times before, this time it felt like we were driving back from Penang to USJ! It took forever to reach home. I don't remember what I did when I reached home except take my bath and plonk out on bed and dropping into a deep sleep right away. Strangely enough, the body and legs, though with slight usual post race aches seem fine, thank god!

Did I enjoy myself? Not really. I wouldn't call walking in an endless loop enjoyable. But since I already paid good money for the event, I wasn't about to let it go to waste. The food served during the scheduled eating times could have been better in my humble opinion though I still wolfed them down. The wife decided to not touch any of it except for the fruits. I don't know, they could have dished out a little better and healthier menu than what they had. I don't know about the last two food sessions though cos I was already home by then.

Will I do this again next year? Not even if you paid me a million bucks, well, maybe for a million bucks I would la ... hahaha! But seriously, once is enough. I'll stick to running which is something I know I can do and with so much less pain involved even!

17 comments:

  1. Nice pair of legs, wifey's not yours. heh heh

    No rain in Putrajaya last night? I was worried about you guys as it rained quite heavily for a while here at Mines.

    7min walking pace, Nick? That's MY running pace!!!! And 7 hours+ for a FM distance. Gawd, I think I'll do 7hours for my running FM. hahaha

    Anyway, congrats and great job to both you and your wife.

    p.s. Pebbles - Nick was so tired, he forgot to feed you ah? That's why you were pawing at the medal? ;p

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    1. Actually it did rain but not to heavy and it stopped after a while for which I was glad cos I hate running in wet shoes.

      The 7 minutes was only for a while and was a foolish thing to do cos after that pancit terus!

      I think the glittering strap of the medal annoyed her ... LOL!

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  2. LOL! I said no more after the first time but ended up 3 times! Good job regardless - it's a crazy event.

    @Lina - when are you and your hubby trying? *poison mode on*

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    1. Jamie,
      Oh gawd... don't start. Hubby just didn't know about this beforehand, that's all. He's been egging me to join some 12hours stuff that he saw somewhere already, just because he thinks its good for my marathon training! @.@

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    2. @Jamie, actually as silly as it may sound, I'm actually contemplating for more punishment next year ... hahaha! It was a crazy event, that much is true.

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    3. There's always next year to do the insane, Lina ... LOL!

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  3. Agree with you...I am done 50km laps within 12hours...my leg are...(like U said)...

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  4. Walking is easy lar Nick! NOT...he he

    it's not easy unless your name is Uncle Oliver!

    I know right from the beginning, running it's not for me coz i sucks at it ..haha

    Glad that i cheer you up, i was happy to be there as supporter and see you guys suffers for a change :P

    Congrats again, it's not easy eh walking a Marathon distance..see ya at Newton :)

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    1. Hahaha ... it's not easy at all!

      Seriously, thanks for the support. Always good to see a friendly face cheering you on even though you're walking like a kura-kura ... LOL!

      See you at Newton at the of the month!

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  5. Congratulation on another great achievement!
    I decided not to join after I first saw the route... walk countless loops of 1km? Running still ok lah, but walking... I opted out :P

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    1. It was dizzying la ... hahaha!

      But the route was really good for crowd control and keeping an eye on the runners so no complains about that though.

      Trying next year?

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    2. May be walking in barefoot :P

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    3. Barefoot, shoes, slippers, socks, anything but just join :D

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  6. RaYZeef : Salute to Uncle Oliver because he manage to get no.12 in Putrajaya 3rd 12hours walkathon(77km i think).Can not believe he can do it in his age.Feel ashamed myself... :P

    Obly can join this kind of event once in a year.never try the trail run.Had try Broga and Gunung TokWan but only normal hiking and it very tired.

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