Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Story of a comeback kid
Pictures courtesy from Tey ET
The recent Penang Bridge Marathon 2006 was the race for my comeback. I didnt put any pressure on myself to achieve certain timing except that I will be happy if I can clock a sub-5 and complete the race without suffering. And to make the long story short but interesting, I wont be very Cheong Hei (long winded) about it.
Started my journey with Lifemou where he picked me up at KL Sentral before hitting on the highway towards the north. Stop by in Ipoh for our Hor Fun dinner and continue our journey towards Penang. Reached Penang at about 11pm where we checked into CitiTel along Penang Road. Went down to the mamak store and have our dinner. Had mamak rojak and teh halia for supper, while my buddy go for Sup Ekor - the power soup of the mamak. I was asking Lifemou why dont he try the Sup Torpedo!!!!, if he wants to run like a torpedo in the race.
Next morning, went to Sports Complex at Batu Uban to collect our running bib. While we were there, I bumped into a long lost (20 years) running friend of mine - Mah Chai Meng whom we used to run together in Ipoh. He is now a committe member of the Kelab Roadrunners Ipoh. We exchanged our contact number, and hopefully we can get in touch again. After that we got a message from Eugene saying that he had already reached Penang and will meet us at CitiTel at 1pm for lunch.
Thats was the beginning of our food feast in Penang. Hop from lane to lane for those delicious food, and the finale or encore was we ended ourselves in Teluk Bahang for a durian feast. That was when we decided enuf is enuf for the day. No more heavy meals before the race tomorrow and we call off our dinner. Dinner was just some porridge and Tong Sui (Chinese desert) for me at New Lane nearby Sunway Hotel. We also accidentally manage to catch the tok-tok chiang show along the streets which was held in conjunction with the one month celebration of the Ghost Festival.
Went to bed at about 11pm and gotta wake up at 2am and leave the hotel by 2.30pm and to reach the race starting point at about 3pm for registration. Once we reached the race area, got a space to park the car just opposite of Gelugor School where the registration for all 42k runners are at. Do our business, changed and got ourselves all ready. Went over to the school for registration and we were kept within the school compound before starting the race. At almost 4am, all runners were called out onto the road where the marathon will be started by one of the YB designated to blow the horn. After some standard message from the organiser, there was a 20 secounds countdown, and off we go.
All the runners have to run a loop and back to the starting point (the 6km mark) before heading onto the bridge. I skipped the 1st water station and ran at a very easy pace at this stage of the race, just keeping myself comfortable and get myself warm up. As all the runners turned back onto road leading to the bridge, there are lots of students and other runners (for the 1/2 and1/4 marathon) cheering us up. Headed onto the flyover where it leads to the bridge and this is the point where most runners are running ahead or falling away.
Reached the 10k water station and pour in a few cups of cooling refreshing chill water and isotonic drinks and continued on. At the mid-span of the bridge, my timing shows 1:16, and I am still doing fine with the pace I am running. On the opposite side of the bridge, the leading pack of the race were on their way back. At this point, I am almost running on my own excpet for a few runners that overtook me. The nite scene along the bridge was quite and beautiful, and I can even hear the sound of the waves. The wind was pretty strong and chilly, and that is where I feared most. Running against the wind and the cold winds are cooling my body down. No good for me.
Reached the Prai side of the bridge and needed to do a loop back before the toll booth and got back onto the opposite side towards the island to complete the first half of the race. As I emerged from the loop back onto the bridge, the winds are a lot more stronger and colder. At this stage I was practically running alone. I didnt really bother about my timing, just continued running at a very comfortable pace and enjoy the early morning scene along the bridge. My timing was around 2:10 when I reached the end of the bridge and getting onto the highway that leads to the FTZ area (towards Seagate)
This stretch was almost a never ending one. Pushing on and on. Reaches the 25k mark, then 27.5k and 30k mark. My watch shows 3:15. Intel and Seagate plant had the best view of the sea overlooking Pulau Jerejak. Am still very comfortable with my pace and no pressure on timing. Just out to enjoy and complete the race, and if I can do it within sub-5, the better. A few of the strong lady runners had overtaken me by then. Good luck to all these ladies. I believe they will be fighting each other out for a better position at the finish.
Reaches the 35k mark in 30mins time and my watch showed 3:45, and 7k more to go. At this moment, my energy level is going down and down. Both legs have started to feel the strain and muscle are getting tight and have the muscle pull effect. Started to apply Flanin to get that buring sensation and hopefully able to control cramps from happening. This was the time when my body was totally out, I am struggling now. The pace is a lot slow, and am pushing hard step after step. Lots of runners have started the walk-run strategy and hoping to pull thru.
Steps after steps, kilometre after kilometre, I push on and then I hit the 37.5k mark. At this juncture, my energy level is totally gone. My steps are smaller and slower and I continued to hit the tarmac. I am getting my mind to take over from the body of not giving up. After all the struggle, I hit the 40k mark, and 2k to go. This is the most demoralising stretch bcos I have to get onto a uphill stretch of the highway before taking on the loop that leads me to the finishing line at USM ground. This is where I adpoted the walk-run strategy, because I am walking faster than I run. After the uphill stretch I try to pick myself up, started to jog slowly (not run) , reaches the USM gorund and crossed the finishing line. I took almost 1:15 to complete the last 7k, and that was a real struggle. Anyway I crossed the line, knowing that I am totally satisfy and truely enjoy the race. My comeback after 15 years.
My timing - 4:57:36 (a sub-5 finishing) and Penang - I will come back again next year.
And a picture paints a thousand words........