Venue: Taman Perbandaran Penang, Penang
Date: 7 June 2009
Shoe: Nike LunaRacer+
A 26KM run a week after my 84KM Sundown Ultra Marathon 2009? Possible? Yes it is, but a rather suffering one though.
6 June 2009. The "Makanoff" starts.
The word "Makanoff" is a self-created word which means "Off to eat", which is rather suitable for a trip up to Penang with food all around. Therefore, the following first part of this entry will somehow resemble a food blog instead of a running one.
The journey up north to the island of Penang started as early as 5am when I met up with Victor at the Petronas Station at Damansara Jaya. The drive up was a comfortable one with smooth traffic flow and in 4 hours later, we found ourselves at Penang. Met up with Chin Chin and Lynn, our tour guides immediately upon arrival at Taman Perbandaran Penang (Youth Park), the race venue. And with this, we started our food trip.
"Ban Chang Kueh"...
First stop was at Pulau Tikus for "Ban Chang Kueh" (Chinese Peanut pancake) and a taste of their rather different "Wan Tan" noodles. The "Bang Cheng Kueh" was good as the fragrance of the brown sugar was unique to the taste bud. Next, it was back to Taman Perbandaran Penang as the girls needed to collect their race kits which somehow surprised me. I didn't know that both of them were running. I do not know how many times have I done this, but here goes again. SIGH... My race kits along with Victor's were already collected back in Kuala Lumpur thanks to our friendly Pacesetters friend, Angie. Thanks a lot! Hung around meeting some of their friends and running mates from the Waterfall Weekend Warrior group. I even met up with Chin Leong whom both of us had e-mailed each other before but yet to meet up. And also not forgetting a trial session on Newton shoes. I did not try them on though, so off I went snapping photos.
Trialing the Newtons...
Newtons and sexy strong legs...
Next stop was at the popular Swatow Lane food court, famous for their fruit "ice kacang". It is a must have for me ever since Choi introduced it to me last November. It was heaven sent for the hot weather we are experiencing in Malaysia now. Loaded with plenty of fruits from apple, jackfruit and papaya to toppings like red beans, corn and much more, it kept the heat at bay. Well, at least for a moment. And it was here that I found my favourite yam cake which was really good. Creamy and fragrant, I wish I had it back in Kuala Lumpur. However, I only ordered 2 piece which somehow didn't really satisfy me. But it was fine, as you will find out why on race day. Read on...
Absolutely delicious Swatow Lane yam cake...
Next stop was along Hindu Street at the Chowrasta market area for a unique drink call "Ais Tingkap" which meant Window Sherbet. Before arriving, we had to cross the busy Penang Street and it was here, both the girls taught me the art of crossing it, the Penang way! One must be daring! Haha... Back to the drink, it was some syrup based drink with coconut flesh and "frog egg" sagos in it. Unique yet no funny taste is how I describe it. Refreshing indeed and and most importantly, it was ice cold as the 4 of us were screaming under the hot weather.
As the weather was still blazing hot and seeing the tired faces on both our tour guides, I didn't have the heart to allow them to bring us around any more longer. Therefore, it's back to Taman Perbandaran Penang once again as they needed to collect Lesley's race kit before we parted ways.
At mid noon, I checked into Sunway Hotel in the heart of Georgetown and immediately checked out the small and under equipped gym. Decided to give my arms, shoulders and core a little workout here as was feeling kind of "itchy" from work break the last few days. As sweat started to drench me, I decided to head back for a good shower before a short rest and it's off for dinner at 6pm.
Took me an hour just to get to Evergreen Hotel at Gurney Drive thanks to the horrible traffic. Met up with Luc and we had our dinner at the over-hyped Gurney hawker centre. As the place was crowded with people and I was lazy to queue for food, I just had yam cake and "muah chee" (glutinous rice ball in peanut). However, I had a good time catching up with Luc as 2 weeks of not meeting up seems like a long time for us.
With dinner done, it's back to the hotel for rest.
7 June 2009. After "Makanoff", it's Malakoff racing time.
Typical me woke up as early as 2am. While Victor is still sound asleep, I did all my usual pre-race preparations from having breakfast to showering. By 4am, both of us were ready and we left to secure a good parking spot in front of Waterfall Hotel. No waterfall was seen though.
Made our way to the race venue and eventually met up with Lesley. Making our ways into the very dark park, we soon found ourselves with Chin Chin and Lynn at the field. Did a few warm ups and light stretches before checking into the starting area where I met up With Raymond Ng whom suppose to meet up for dinner yesterday.
This race wasn't on my hit list, and therefore I decided to take it easy However, since Lynn was running, I just have to make sure she runs it the smart way, not injuring herself any further. And so, I quietly sneak somewhere behind Lynn and decided to tailgate her. And at 5.30am sharp, runners were let loose from Taman Perbandaran Penang. Lynn was already on race pace and navigated through the crowd of runners brilliantly. As I was never good with navigating through the crowd, I just have to keep up the pace and maintain my sight on her. She was running real fast and I have to admit I had a little trouble trying to keep up as my "engine" wasn't really up to temperature yet.
As I made my way out of the park and into Jalan Mount Eskine, I was greeted by hills and more hills. Not an easy start but "If that how things are, it's how things are", I told myself. The route took runners past some spooky cemetery with dogs howling in the dark and it was here that I met up with Lee, who is part of the Waterfall Weekend Warriors too. Chatted for a while before Luc gave me a stare from the side as he started from the back. The stare he gave me was actually pretty frightening though. Haha... I followed his pace, still maintaining my sight on Lynn. At about the 5KM mark at Tanjong Bungah, I noticed she was slowing down and her running style was not her usual self. I passed her to have a check on her and she assured me that she was all right. Although I have doubts on it, I just carried on though I don't deny that I did slow down paying attention to her shadow on the road. The further we ran, the louder each of her strikes became and I know she was already dragging her feet.
Arriving at Jalan Tanjong Bungah which is along the coastal road, I started to think back of the previous trips I made to Penang with my college friends a few years back. The place has changed a lot and even the hotel we stayed at the last time, Hotel Tanjong Bungah has been renovated. It was certainly a good recap of the good old days. However, my mind was still on my friend. But soon, I spotted Luc walking on the pavement. I ran to him only to find out that his hamstring was acting up on him and he decided to call it day. Though I was saddened by it, I was glad he made the decision to quit. I was hoping the same for both Chin Chin and Lynn too. Shortly later, side stitch got me on my right abdomen. Slowed down and I just jog until it went away. Then my left hamstrings felt weird. I ran along with it, performing some "back kicks" to help cope with it.
Shortly later at approximately the 13KM mark, I arrived at Gurney Drive. Enjoyed the scenery here but all out of a sudden, the smell of rubbish invaded my nostrils! It wasn't a good moment but soon, I was rewarded by the smell of "Bak Kut Teh" (herbal pork ribs). What a place to run at! Lynn was still pushing on here despite pain written all over her. Was getting a little worried but knowing her, I know she won't stop running. And so, we made our way into the city via Jalan Sultan Ahamd Shah after hydrating ourselves at the 15KM refreshement station.
The stretch here was another nice place to run as it took me past some heritage sites and the ferry terminal. And it was here that Tsen, another runner from the Waterfall Weekend Warriors past me. Not forgetting that I saw Raymond Ng and Lesley making their return on the opposite side. There were really fast! I finally arrive at the roundabout to make my return trip at the 18KM mark. Saw Victor at the opposite side and not forgetting Siew Swan and Guan Choon too. I miscalculated the next refreshment station's distance and took my PowerBar Gel here which left me with a sticky mouth.
I arrived at the 20KM mark in less than 2 hours but it was here that things went awfully wrong. It was the final 6KM at my 84KM Sundown Marathon 2009 that I found my groove, but it was here, the final 6KM of the Malakoff 26KM, Penang Run 2009 that I lost it. Though my legs didn't give way, it got really stiff and heavy and my left hamstrings was on the verge of giving up. Lynn was too slowing down a lot.
I dragged my legs as I ran and somewhere around the 22KM mark, Victor passed me. I asked him about Lynn's location before he took off. I thought of following him, but I just couldn't engage another gear. Then it was somewhere around Jalan Macalister that I had problem crossing the busy street. Though I tried the Penang way of crossing it, I was just too slow as the cars came zooming past me. I eventually crossed it before hitting the junction and made my way into Taman Perbandaran Penang, although this time from the back way. It was a climb into the park with bends along the way. A couple of hundred meters to the finish line, Kenny and Raymond was at the side cheering. Raymond was going "Go Ultraman!" and all I can reply him was that "Ultraman's chest is blinking red light already". Haha... And just before the finish line, Sam was there cheering the same way as Raymond did. I finally crossed the finish line at 02:33:25 just ahead of Lynn who arrived shortly later.
Did a quick check on Lynn as it was no suprise that her ankle ball was a little swollen. Waited for all our friends to return while "patching up" the pain incurred along the race. Chin Chin soon returned and was glad that she did, though things didn't really look too good for her either. Fortunately, the first aid tent was just around the corner and this gave her space for her to rest at.
When everyone is back and much better again, we then walk around the park taking some photos along the way before settling down at the amphitheatre for the prize giving ceremony. Lesley was crowned champion in the 26KM Women Open Category while Lynn was placed fifth. Congratulations to the both of them. And when all is done, we made our way back and it was back to the hotel for me and Victor for a quick shower before checking out.
Front view of the finisher's medal...
Rear view of the finisher's medal...
As it was still early, I visited Swatow Lane food court again with Victor where we had our lunch. Remember I mentioned earlier that I didn't have enough of the yam cake here. Well, I ordered another 2 pieces this time. Haha... Filing up our stomachs, we made our way to Queensbay Mall. Just made ourselves busy at the mall while waiting for Lynn and about 4pm, she was ready and I picked her up shortly on the mainland just after the Penang Bridge for a 5 hours long drive back to Kuala Lumpur thanks to the heavy volume of traffic along the highway.
Back to the run, though I did enjoyed scenic route, I did not enjoy my run as my legs just weren't into in, despite having the energy to do it. Even an easy run wasn't easy as the final 6KM somehow felt that I have just done an ultra-marathon. From the start, all I wanted was to make sure the safety of my friends and to get over with the run quickly, which I'm really glad now.
And before signing off this entry, I wish to thank both Chin Chin and Lynn for being such wonderful tour guides bringing myself and Victor around Penang. Despite being a bit rush, I really enjoyed the trip as most important is the company of friends. I am already looking forward to my next Penang trip!