Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Putrajaya Half Marathon Sept 11, 2005

This is the first half marathon that I have decided to run ever since I laid off from long distance running since 7 to 8 years ago. The nite before the race, I was having butterfly in the stomach. I tried to calm myself down and get down to watch the EPL match between Tottenham-Liverpool although nothing excites me because the match ended up in a 0-0 draw. When the match ended, it is already past midnite and I went to bed hoping to catch a couple of hours of sleep. Strange enough, I just couldn't doze off (which never happen to me on a pre-race day). Maybe I have not be running competitively, and that is why I have this funny feeling. Also deep in my heart, I know I am not fully prepared for this race having only ran 11-12km maximum in my training for the race.

On race day, I woke up at 4am in the morning to prep myself up, do the usual morning stuff and eat a few bananas to increase my carbo intake. Being paranoid, I start my journey early to Putrajaya hoping to get a good place to park my car. I reached the race site at 5.45am and get myself a place to park my car. While doing my warmup at the carpark, I also get to make some new friends like Mr Choong, Kumar and Sam Matsunaga (a Japanese working in Sharp Malaysia for 5 years). After chatting with my new friends I decided to make my way to the registration site together with Sam. As we walk, both of us continue our conversation until Sam bumped into a Japanese friend of his, and I decided to go ahead on my own to get myself register.

Once registered all 21km participants are group into a designated area with the PA system making announcement after announcement "All 21km runners please go ahead and get yourself registered, you can never missed the location because it is right at the Start/Finish arch". This goes on for a while until the designated area are filled up with all the runners ready to speed of for the race. The start of the race was not very upbeat and was done by one Datuk (which I never heard off) replacing Pak Lah who is in London.

The race got started and I just got off to a slow pace knowing that I cannot afford to go too fast and "hit the wall" towards the end of the race. We got to run a long straight stretch from Dataran Putra all the way to the Putrajaya Convention Centre where we are required to do a U-turn and then into the housing areas of Putrajaya running through Precinct 3,4,5,7 ,8 and 10. Kilometre after Kilometre and running very cautiously and not pushing myself too hard (because I was not fully prepared for this race). There was ample water stations and sponging stations along the way to provide refreshments for the runners.

I tried pacing a few ladies runner along the way and after a while they actually left me behind (and that was the time when I found out that there are many strong ladies runner out there). At the 11km mark, the sun actually came out shinning and the heat coming from the tarmac is actually affecting me. I was running slower now but still able to push on with a little more effort from my tire legs. As we move into the housing area of Putrajaya, I found out that there isn't much trees around the area, and the only shade that I got and more refreshing are under the bridge of the highways.

At the 15km mark, I was feeling the strain of muscle pulling on my right leg. There goes my leg and at this moment I am actually struggling. Out of no where this petite lady just run past me, I tried catching up but I know I don't have the energy now to do it. So I thought to myself, let it be and just run your own race. I continue to struggle all the way and more ladies runner are overtaking me. At this moment I told myself "Choi, serve you right, you should be more ready for the race".

When I reached the 18km mark (where there was a sign that shows 3km to go) the muscle pull is affecting both my legs. I have to stop for a while to ease the cramp and was pulling very, very slowly (almost walking pace) all the way to the finishing point. Once entered the last stretch towards the finishing line, I saw Sam Matsunaga walking back towards the carpark (where we met in the morning) with his baggage. He wish me good luck and we parted our ways, I continued to run towards the finishing line and he is going home.

As I crossed the finishing line, I look up to the Official Race Clock and it shows 2:15:15, and to my surprise I managed to collect a Finisher medal. I told myself "Well done and be more prepare in your next race". Just after collecting my medal, I saw this guy which is very familiar handing out a form to me and say "See you in the next race". I paused for a while after collecting the form from him and hear him say "Choi, you are back in running after laying off for so long". It was Munning Jamaludin - President of Pacesetters.

After collecting my breakfast pack and drank a few cups of isotonic drinks, I decided to make my way back to the carpark. Along the way, I bumped into some old friends which finished the race earlier and also cheering those late runners that are coming into the last stretch. At the carpark I met this slim and fit looking guy coming back from the race and we started a conversation (very strangely, all runners are friendly people and can start a conversation with fellow runners pretty easily).

His name is KC Leong and a Pacesetters member and also part of the Penguin Runners Club. We strike a good converstaion and he offer to take a picture of me and post it in his web blog. It was back to the good old days where I met lots of running buddies from different club. After a couple more minutes of chatting we decided to make our way home. I was dead tire by then, and wish the bed is just near me and catch up with some sleep. Well, I would said that I am totally satisfied with my performance given the number of hours of training I have put in, and sweared I will come back stronger for the next race.

I won't be running the Petaling Jaya Half Marathon next week. Good luck to those who are running the back-back Double Jaya (PutraJaya and Petaling Jaya) Half Marathon, also to those who are doing the Desaru IronMan. ALL THE BEST.

Note: Pictures are courtesy from KC - Penguin Runners Web Blog http://www.penguin-r2.blogspot.com/


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