Monday, June 25, 2012

Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2012...

Event: Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2012
Venue: Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur
Date: 24 June 2012
Time: 4.30am
Distance: 42.195KM
Shoe: Asics Skysensor Neo
By Frank

Woke up or shall I rather say flip up from the bed with zero hours of sleep at midnight and sat there thinking on whether shall I run this race. Recovering from cough and also migraine, I was feeling moody. Laid back on bed only to officially step out of it half an hour later telling myself that "Yeah, I will go for it to just try to finish it".

With mum not around, the kitchen wasn't stock up on food hence I only managed to find a single pack of instant noodles for my breakfast with a cup of warm water. Didn't go with my usual coffee or hot chocolate due to migraine.

And after all the necessary preparation which I initially thought so, forgetting my sunglasses, I arrived at Dataran Merdeka at 2am only to find major roads closed to traffic. And I though I was early, the place was already almost fully packed with car parking lots taken up. After 30 minutes of rounding around, I finally found a parking lot just behind the court house which charges a ridiculous RM5 per hour! I thought so that will be the rate on working days since they person taking care of that place weren't there yet. I started calculating though as I only RM60 with me at that time which should be more than enough. (I was charged RM15 later).

With the race still a couple of hours away at 4.30am, I loitered around meeting up with some friends. Fast forwarding to it, I started together with Eugene at the rear. The start was just all right with the start signal no where to be heard. Started ok but the pain on my left knee starts creeping in at one kilometre later. Yeap, the damage from the Comrades Marathon can still be felt, and it got even more painful with every stride taken. All I can do is just to bear with it as much and as long as I could.

And it was quite a busy start for me acknowledging wishes, shaking hands of runners, friends, customers and those who recognised me from the recent newspaper article that was related to The Ultimate Race for Cancer Research on my Comrades Marathon accomplishment. This really came as a shock to me as there were just so many of you. Was really embarrassed but really THANK YOU all for it!

The pain got really bad and I was slowing down just past Sungai Besi highway entering back into KL City. Eugene and Roy came along but I just couldn't hang on to them. And halfway into Jalan Loke Yew, I had to stop to stretch. But came along a motivator, Mohan. He told me this. "Frank, you just did the Comrades. Think of that and don't run this race like the usual Frank. Just run and enjoy it. Remember, you just did the Comrades". This was a wake up call for me and certainly something that spurred me on.

I continued on limping, walking and running with more people coming alongside to congratulate me on Comrades. My hands are just as busy as my legs. Hahaha... Alvin was kind enough to walk together with me and I had a good quality short chat with him as we both chatted about beautiful South Africa. Michelle also later came by to offer me some muscle spray. However, it was my joint that was hurting and I don't use this kinds of spray. Nevertheless, thank you Michelle for your kind thoughts.

Running pass Jalan Tun Razak, the Golden Triangle district, KL Tower, Jalan P Ramlee and fast forwarding back into Jalan Tun Razak, I soon spotted Sky from Singapore helping out a runner laying on the floor stretching his leg. I too stopped to help him out, at least to fan both of them using Sky's very traditional Chinese fan! And then, we continued together.

Into Jalan Ipoh, I suddenly miss Chee Kong's company. 2 years back, we were both limping around here when he was still a novice marathon runner. Look at how much he improved now! My right legs too wasn't in good condition now. With both legs screaming, came along another ultra marathon buddy, Yip. He was on his bike cruising along. He disembark and we both walked and chatted together. Again, a company that I greatly treasured. I needed that walk!

I needed to run a little for I needed to complete this run within the 6 hours cut off time. The buffer is slowly disappearing and the alarm rang when I spotted the 6 hours pacer balloons of Uncle Sonny, Irwan, Alexis and Yen Erl. They are coming in real fast and with both my legs now hurting together with both my adductor muscles screaming along, I ran trying to widen my gap with them as I believe in their pacing skills. And while doing so, I tried to encourage and drag along some other runners who were struggling. "I told them, we need to run. They are coming. Its time to start to believe in yourself that you can do this"! Trust me, the word "BELIEVE" is a very strong word!

No matter how I ran, walked or limped, the balloons got closer and eventually got to me. This is where I tried to hang on to them dearly. Whenever one of them came beside me, I started running to create a gap  before slowing down again.

Into Bukit Tungku and then Kenny Hills, Uncle Sonny and Irwan started to pick up pace. And my legs wasn't feeling really good here as it was a downhill, I lost them. However, both Alexis and Yen Erl was still behind and I knew the chances was still there. 

Run run run. Almost there...
Photo courtesy of Khoo Yit Kiat

While entering KL City with just 1.5KM to go, Alexis came beside me for some encouragement. I told her my legs were really painful but the show must go on. Time was on our side we have enough of it to walk till the finish. But we didn't and we ran. Faster and faster I ran and soon arrived at the finish funnel to the finish. I stop and all eyes were on me. I told those line up by the side, I owed my success to the pacers and I will finish it with them. The squad of balloons soon formed into a single line as they slowly near me. And when they did, I resume my run again and soon, we all did it together and cross the finish line with a time of 5:51:52!

It was one heck of a painful run and I'm just glad to have actually completed it. Though I did thought of not showing up at all, but once I started the run, all it takes is just an effort to finish it, and that is the main task. Thanks to everyone in the 6  hour pacer group for a job well done and off I went to collect my finisher's medal. Not very well organised, the organisers actually ran short or misplace the full marathon finisher's medal. And when I got mine, there were actually 2 of them in my bag. I returned one quickly to them hoping that there will be one less argument there.

Overall, the event was managed pretty well among Malaysian standard. It's still a long way to go when I now  only have the Comrades Marathon as a benchmark as the best ever event among all I've participated. The lonely and lifeless streets of KL City and the lack of motivational support which also includes from the volunteers themselves is something Malaysian event organisers need to look at to brighten our local events. But one thing I'm really happy to see was the implementation of the stack system for hydration at the water stations. I believe Wan Yew Leong  from Runners Malaysia was the brainchild of this and I'm really happy to say that his idea has finally been accepted and it worked so well!

The finisher's medal...

And so, with the completion of this run, I guess my legs deserve a well deserved rest. Comrades Marathon certainly showed how much it can "damage" the legs and how long does it take to recover. With the Comrades Marathon 2013 training starting in no time, my first stage is to love my legs now! Absolutely no running for now till 3 weeks time. Till then, see you...


Nick Arthur said...

Damn good job Frank! You're an inspiration for me to do better :D

juewong said...

well done! please get your well deserved rest and look forward to more inspiration running story from you soon.