The Putrajaya 50K, organized by the PACAT Adventure Team is a very small, niche event that's not a race but mainly an LSD around Putrajaya. Only a limited number of participants were allowed for control and safety reason. It was more of a fun gathering of people who enjoy running long distances.
The run was to be flagged off at 7am, something that I was grateful for cos that meant I didn't have to wake up at an ungodly hour. The run location was just a half hour drive away from my place. I had my gear and fueling all sorted out only the night before. Reached the run gathering point around 6.30am and the crowd slowly started coming in.
|The staging point|
The run was flagged off by Arman sharp on the dot and off we went. Seeing as how this was my first 50k attempt, I didn't really have a plan or strategy. We all need to start a benchmark somewhere, right? The start required us to head up a long flight of stairs and I knew this was going to be a problem during the finish. Started off at a reasonable pace. The first part of the run was on familiar ground so nothing much untoward to report.
|Before the flag off.|
Pic courtesy of Marlina
It was around the 13k point when I decided to stop and whip out my arm sleeves, shades and 'kamikaze' cap to get ready for the onslaught of the sun. It was just after this when I hit the motorcycle lane part of the run, one which was simply grueling (for me anyway) and one that almost had me calling it quits! This part was boring, shadeless, hot and absolutely mental.
|Just before the first water station.|
Pic courtesy of Marlina
This was when I really missed the company I always have during my runs. With Jamie still recovering from illness and Kew opting out, I was basically all on my own and it really made a difference, in a bad way. The only company I had urging me on was the wife's constant text messages telling me to keep going and that she had faith I could pull this off. If it wasn't for her, I would really have just DNF'ed the run, especially around the 25k mark when the cramps hit me like a sledgehammer on my right leg.
|The only fans I had cheering me on ...|
As I said, the cramps hit me bad. I was reduced to a crawl after the 25k water station. It was so bad that I asked Zul who was manning the 25k station to give me a lift back to the start. He told me to hang on as he had to head back to the 20k, (now 30k after the u-turn) water station and would be back to pick me up but not before spraying my leg with a healthy dose of Salonpas spray. The spray helped heaps cos by the time he came back I was up and running, albeit slowly, again. Told him I'm going to carry on with the run.
|The long and devoid of shade motorcycle lane stretch.|
My mind was weighing heavily to just call it quits, after all, there wasn't any shame in quitting, right? I think the wife could sense my desperation cos just then, I received a text from her telling me in no uncertain terms was I to take the easy way out. She was rooting for me. That got me going again at a snails pace. The sun and loneliness was getting to me and I was talking to myself to keep me going.
|The harsh shadow cast by the unrelenting sun ...|
At this point, every single muscle in my legs were twitching like crazy and the possibilities of totally cramping on both legs were very real. I was walking at 9 minute pace at this point but had to switch to a 12-13 minutes walk pace to nurse the legs back to the finish. Now, those stairs that we had to negotiate at the start was going to be a killer to walk down with legs like these. I reached the stairs, looked at the skies, prayed and crab walked down those stairs one at a time. It took ages and then it was just a 200m to the finish and the end of this misery.
|My 'finisher tee' ...|
Before I end, a big congrats goes out to the PACAT Adventure Team for setting up this very well organized no frills event. Everyone was simply supportive and the camaraderie is something that cannot be put into words. Good job guys and I'm already looking forward to your 12 hour challenge next year. Yes Kew, I'm unremorseful ... LOL!
Footnote: I wore the Skechers GOrun 3 as my choice of shoe and it came away just fine handling the distance with no blisters nor hotspots. A highly recommended shoe for long distance running.