Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bidor Half Marathon 2008...

Event: Bidor Half Marathon 2008
Venue: Dewan Muhibbah Bidor, Perak
Date: 27 April 2008
Time: 7.00am
Distance: 21KM (20.38KM by Polar RS800sd S3 footpod)
Shoe: adidas adizero Tempo
By Frank

Bidor is a small town approximately 140KM from Kuala Lumpur. The town is famous for it's herbal duck noodle, guavas and also chinese biscuits. But that's not the main reason I visited the town for over the weekend. In fact, I went there to run the Bidor Half Marathon! A half marathon in an unknown race route. How will I do? Read on...
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The race kit collection centre, a tailor shop...

And so I left KL yesterday morning with a total of 15 (11 ladies) of us including myself, Andy and Kee Fong. I do not know the remaining 12, as it was my first time joining them and honestly speaking, I only knew Ben Swee, Yee Hua (Ben's wife), Yen Erl and Fook. And even these 4 person, I only knew them through their blogs. But it's one of the wonders of running that I managed to meet up with these people and in the process to be friends with them. The journey from KL to Bidor took us less than 2 hours and upon arriving, we went to collect our race kits. It was a simple process at a tailor shop. It was done in a brisk and after that, we went to have the famous herbal duck noodle for lunch. And it was also here that I introduce myself to Ben and Yee Hua. I was suprised that Ben actually know my name and he reads this blog. I felt honoured. Lunch was good. It was my second time trying out this herbal duck noodle. The first time was many years ago and I wasn't too impressed with the dry version back then. This time, I ordered the soup version and it was better. And so after filling out stomach, we left for Kampar, where our hotel is located.
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Streets of Bidor...

Bidor's famous herbal duck noodle...

Kampar is around 30KM away for Bidor. Why book a hotel so far from the starting point? Well.. I guess there isn't any hotel at Bidor and besides, this is actually the official hotel for this event. The hotel is called Grand Kampar and it is very nice considering the location of it in the small town of Kampar. 3 rooms were booked, 2 for the ladies and 1 for the guys. I bunked in with Andy, Ben and Fook and our room was just simply amazing. Everything was so well placed except the (air con) and it was spanking clean and huge! For RM160 a night, I could stay for another night longer. Hehe...
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View of the room the guys room/suite...
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Kampar and it's surroundings...

After settling down, we explored the rest of the hotel visiting the swimming pool at the roof top before we proceeded on to the town of Kampar and also to some lake just beside Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman. With most of the places explored, we returned to the hotel to clean ourselves up before heading back to Kampar town for dinner. We tried the famous curry chicken bun here, and it was certainly tasty. But I didn't want to risk it as I know I be running the next day, so I just tried some potatoes in it. And it was during dinner time, that I actually chatted with Ben about both our running stories and also our job. He is also a free lance personal trainer like me. I was simply blown away upon hearing his running career. Not only into runs, he also cycles and swim. He is after all, an Ironman! We continued chatting even after dinner as we made ourselves into the night market where I eventually lost contact of my driver Kee Fong. Haha... But soon afer locating her, we all went back to the hotel to call it a day.

Kampar's curry chicken bun...

27 April 2008. Race day... I woke up at 3.45am freezing as the air con temperature was set to 23 celcius and both the vents are blowing directly to me! As everyone was still asleep, I slowly clean myself up and had my breakfast. Soon, it was 5am and everyone was up getting ready to race. At 5.40am, we left for the race venue. The starting point was filled with runners and music was playing softly into the silent morning. I reported in and was given a nifty Nike wrist band. I warm myself up and did some stretching while waiting for Ronnie and the other Pacemaker's arrival as I was holding their bibs. After passing them their bibs, it came down to race time. The half marathon was scheduled to be flagged off first at 7am.

And so, after a short speech by the organisers, the race started. A few days before the race, I read Ben's blog and he mentioned that he would like clock 01:40:00. I was tempted to pace with him to achieve that time or somewhere near. But in the end, I was glad that I didn't choose to pace him as I thought about it seriously. "I am not at that stage yet", I told myself. I need to be realistic. And so it happen. Just 200M after the race started towards the second corner, Ben called me as he overtook and just disappear towards the front. He's fast! And so it all came down to my race strategy, to run negative splits. I remember Jamie mentioned before that a second makes a big difference while running a marathon. Although this is a half marathon, I decided to give it a try. I started off at a comfortable average pace of 6:10/KM, with every kilometer increasing my speed by 1 second . The first 10KM was pretty flat except for a mild climb on the bridge. The scenery was beautiful as runners was treated with the scenic views of the mountains. I ran all the way to the end without any problems which was the 5KM mark. Just before the U-turn, I saw Ben making his way back. He is running at a very relax pace and still manage to smile back at me, while all I can do is just to give him a thumbs up. I just can't smile like he do while racing and all I can offer is just what I call a "pancit" look. Hehe... Soon, I was greeted by the first refreshment station there and I took my first PowerBar Gel as I made my u-turn. Bumped into Andy after a while and just like Ben earlier, I gave him a thumbs up.

As I run my way back, I overtook this lady runner at around the 9KM mark. However, as each time I overtook her, she increase her pace and overtake me back and this happened for like 5 times or so. But it all ended as we arrived at the 10KM mark which was the start of the hill climb, as I increased my average pace here by 2 seconds faster for each kilometer. And although it's a long hill climb, I find it pretty comfortable. I wasn't struggling. I guess all the hill training paid off. Shortly in front, I bumped in RunWitMe as he is making his way back from the 10KM run. He took a photo of mine. Thank you! I also bumped into Kee Fong. Actually, she called me as I didn't notice her as I was in race mode. This second part of the half marathon route is all hills and although it's isn't very steep, it's a long climb as we run deeper into the so called oil palm forest heading towards a waterfall. Bumped into Ben again as he makes his way back. At least this time besides a thumbs up, I managed to inform him on his position. But still at the cost of a "pancit" look. All the way to the end, was some rocky dead end and I did not see any waterfall. The refreshment offered at this u-turn was H-Two-O by Yeo's. Took a sip and it taste weird. And so, I saw the last 5KM distance marker and this time, it's downhill. I increased my pace again, this time 5 seconds faster. I bump into most of them as I made my way back. Yee Hua and Yen Erl looks tired although still running strong. Fook still looking good. But the big joke was Andy as he was cursing all the way up the hill. Haha...

Caught in action by RunWitMe...

I took my second and final PowerBar Gel at the second last refreshment station at around the 17KM mark as I got ready to unleash my everything. And at the last 3KM, it's all out from me. Not thinking of how many seconds to shave off my average pace, I just went. I overtook a malay runner but he managed to stay behind me as I can hear his breathing and footsteps. Out of a sudden, he overtook me back with 200M left to the finish line. And with that, I suddenly remembered the torturing speedworks training I had with Ronnie and the rest. "I must put that to good use now", I told myself, as I let all that is left in me out. With just around 30M to go, I managed to overtake him and managed to complete the half marathon in position 25 clocking 01:55:10, a first sub-2 hours for my half marathon, a new personal best! And I dedicate this victory to a friend of mine, Andrew, who is currently (at time of entering this entry) warded at Sunway Medical Centre for pneumonia.

video

How I overtook Yaziz...
(video courtesy of Ronnie)

As I warmed down and did my stretching, I caught up with Ben. He clocked a time of 01:37:36 at position 9 and was awarded a trophy. NICE! Ronnie joined in too later and he informed me that the malay runner that I was racing with earlier was Yaziz, the same guy at my KLIM08 finishing video. Haha... I met up with him too shortly later. Took a few photos together while I waited for the rest to return. Half an hour after I completed my run, came Andy. He "drifted" into the scene at the last corner and ran like Speedy Gonzalez towards the finish line. The way he ran was so funny that I would really like to see it on video as Ben did manage to capture it. Hehe... And so with everyone back safely, we return to the hotel to have a good shower before checking out from the hotel to have our lunch before bidding farewell to Bidor and Kampar.
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The 15 of us from KL came and conquered Bidor...

Front view of the huge beautiful finisher's medal...

Rear view of the finisher's medal...

Certificate of achievement...

And so, Bidor Half Marathon 2008 came to a successful end. It was a great event organised properly with minimal complains from me. They even had a commentator at the finish line commentating on almost every runner running towards the finish line. And not forgetting the nicely designed finisher's medal. It was the biggest medal I received so far and it was heavy. They even sealed the certificate. Smart of them as they know that our palms will be sweaty after a long run. Anyway, overall kudos to Bidor Runners for successfully organising this great event. I shall be back for more!

6 comments:

Carboman said...

fuyoh! so nice lah der room!

and great run!

smallbug said...

Nice medal..

Did you tapau any biscuits?

Runnerz said...

carboman: Thanks! What you mentioned helped me here. But, I will be even happier if my footpod records 21KM. I'm not really sure on the actual distance.

smallbug: Nope. I went there purely to race. You can look for Andy though as he bought some biscuits. Hehe...

haza said...

Congrats! Nice medal.

CompTIA said...

hello bro...
congratulation...
hope u will come again at Bidor Half Marathon 2009 this 26 April...
i'm juz a beginner in this running sport....and this event will be my 1st to join...i bet to finished 10km run in 1hour

Runnerz said...

Hi there. As much as I wish to run in the Bidor Half Marathon 2009, I'm afraid that it clashes with my Mount Kinabalu trip. Have to give it a miss. 2010 perhaps.