Monday, November 19, 2012

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2012...

Event: Penang Bridge International Marathon 2012
Venue: Queensbay Mall, Penang
Date: 18 November 2012
Time: 2.00am
Distance: 42.195KM (42.8KM by Garmin Forerunner 910XT)
Shoe: Saucony Kinvara 3
By Frank

My 6th and final attempt on the current Penang Bridge. I said it long time ago that I wanted to improve my Comrades Marathon seeding a spot higher to "G" at my only chance at the Penang Bridge International Marathon (PNIM) for it's the only locally certified AIMS marathon race. However, I eventually gave up any hope on it 2 months ago due to my ill preparation and also my body condition. My longest run was only 11KM on the treadmill and that happened a week before the event itself. The rest was only about a 5KM run each on the treadmill too. Besides that, there was a scare of fever 5 days before the event when it struck me due to the fact I was in the rain for 3 hours during the Terry Fox Run setup. Was glad it eventually went away after some medication and lots of sleep.

And so, I travelled up to Penang hitching a ride with Cham on her very big and spacious Toyota Harrier. Roy, Karen and Cynthia (not Gan) was the others. We started our journey at around 8.15am and the journey was a smooth one. Managed to catch some sleep during the journey there but other wise, had fun chatting away during the 4 hours plus drive.

Upon arriving at Penang, we headed straight to the "race expo" site just outside Queenbay Mall for all of them needed to collect their race pack. Managed to meet some friends there and also catching up with my new sponsor, Yurbuds. Then a simple lunch at the food court though I bought my food consisting of a bento set from the Jusco take away food counter. I still had phobia from 2 years back after eating at the food court with Luc where we both suffered stomach discomfort during the run that year. Chee Kong and Mei Ee joined us for a while before we drop off Karen at her hotel and then zooming off to our backpackers hostel, Red Inn Court.

With Karen and Roy at the so call "race expo" site. * Photo credits to Kim Lai...

Upon checking in at Red Inn Court, we were simply blown away by it for it was so cozy and it only cost us RM27 per head! Rested for a while before heading off to dinner at Macalister Road. A simply one with economy noodles before I spotted flaming handburger. Yeap, it's handburger for it is handmade. Had one before calling it a day. It was already 8.30pm.

My secret power and it's flaming...

Woke up with only close to 2 hours of sleep. Had a cup of Old Town Coffee with cane sugar before doing all the pre-race necessity. One final check on my race gear and pinning up my purple cancer awareness ribbon, by 12.15am, everyone was ready and Cham volunteered to drive us there for we do not want to trouble Roy. By the way, Mun Seng and Superman (not sure of his name) joined us in the room while I was asleep.

Accompanying me on the bridge, my purple ribbon for cancer awareness and my very green and handsome Saucony Kinvara 3...

I started chomping on GU Chomps and made sure I had one serving in me before the race started. At the race site which was a major improvement over the last few years for the ambiance was definitely much better, I managed to bump into some friends before checking into the starting pent. Was in the middle pack with Dzul, Regina and Jamie Saw. And at 2am, the air horn was let off and off we went.

3,000 runners is not a lot but due to the very narrow start, I had difficulties breaking away from the crowd. Even upon entering the Jelutong highway, I still had difficulties but eventually broke free at around 2KM or so. But that helped me a lot as I managed to keep my pace at a comfy level of 6 minutes per kilometer. I had 500ml of the new GU Brew Roctane with me and I had very small sips at every 2.5KM. This new product from GU is actually very good and it kept me going.

The forecasted weather of thunderstorm was no where to be seen. In fact, it was so humid that I sweated a bucket with only 1KM into the run. And I quickly notice that I forgotten to gel my hair hence the sweat kept coming down stinging my eyes.

At the 5KM mark back at the Eastin Hotel stretch, there was a scare for me as I felt my chest tightening up. I reduced my pace a little but still running, and switching my bottle to my right hand to release any stress on my left. Eventually it went off, and I carried on comfortably. At 10KM, I clocked 1:00:05 hours and things was looking good. Even I felt great.

Into the bridge I ran, I spotted James Fong holding his head in frustration walking. Ran to him to check  him out and he mentioned that both his legs were tight. Told him to walk it off before I continued on. At about 13KM or so, I spotted another James, this time James Wong. He recently participated in Australia's Great North Walk 100KM and hurt his hips. He was running a bit slower than usual and it can be seen how much his fall affected him. We ran together for about 3KM before he dropped out. I was alone again and surprisingly  I was still doing great. Still had my GU Brew Roctane with me and I continued with my nutrition plan of having small sips. Till this stage, I have not consume any of my GU Roctane Gels yet. I've prepared 3 of them.

Just before the u-turn point at the end of the bridge, I ran together with Guan Choon and he shared with me something about chest discomfort. It was always good to hear from a heart specialist and I really appreciate his kind gesture of helping me to check on my problem.

I arrived at the 20KM mark at 2:00:03! OOooh... Still doing great I told myself! I continued on, now on the return span to the island. I was running alone for a moment before I spotted Azrul. We ran together though we did not exchange any conversation. Guess that's our style. Then came the crowd from the half marathoners when we clash into them near the bridge's mid span. I did not had any problems navigating through and had my last sip of my GU Roctane Brew here. I believe it was like 25KM here.

Exiting the bridge was a sad affair as it will mark my final time running on the current bridge. As I exited, I took my first GU Roctane Gel and "accidentally" passed Poh Chye. True to his style, he hasten up and cut into my front before slowing down. And knowing this will happen a few times if I continue to pass him, I let him go. I also began to slow down here.

I arrived at the 30KM mark at 3:10:14 hours and this was where I made my first walk. Still ok and I thought that there is chance now for a "G" seeding at Comrades next year. At about 32KM, I spotted Chee Kong making his return trip. He was slowing down perhaps due to his knee discomfort and also a very long hiatus from running in the Malaysian weather. Nevertheless, he was still running great.

Arriving in 3:39:51 hours at the 33KM at Gat Macalister which was the final u-turn point for full marathoners, I took my second GU Roctane Gel but things started to change due to my poor judgement. The buffer I built started fading away as I spent too much time walking from here onwards. I even cam whore with Kim Lai and Boon Yeong near the 35KM mark, but that was something I truly enjoy for its the memories that count.

The final 5KM, I tried to push a little and down my third and final GU Roctane Gel. I managed to find some strength back but still failed to catch Soon Chung as he rocketed away from me with about 4KM more to go. I felt proud of him.

2.5KM to go, I ran together with Kelvin telling him to finish this together. He was in pain for a while and was reduced to walking. I accompanied him before he rocketed off himself with 1.5KM to go. I maintained my composure making sure to complete the run safely and just my own pace into the final stretch. Some familiar faces like Tatt King, Yi Mei, Vivien, Kah Wai, Kwang Leng, Sunny and more was there to cheer. I was really thankful for their kind gesture as I just ran and ran and finally into the finish gantry completing my 6th Penang Bridge International Marathon in a time of 4:52:24 hours!

Completing my 6th PBIM. *Photo credits to Chew Shu Yang...

Yeap. Although I did not improve my Comrades seeding to "G", I was still very happy and satisfied with my result. It was still better than last year and I got to know myself that my preparation was very very very far from ideal. In fact, how can 11KM LSD with 5KM runs be a preparation for a full marathon?  To me, this result I achieved is in fact a very surprise package for me already.

Front view of the finisher's medal...

Rear view of the finisher's medal...

Post run was to catch up with other fellow runners in the full marathoner runners privilege rest area, a nice gesture for us from the organisers. Some photos taken for memories and I even met some fellow runners who attended the 5 running clinics I conducted in conjunction with his event. They managed to complete their run and thanked me for the tips and advice given. But to me, their achievement is down to themselves and I felt happy for them.

I made my way to the car to await for the rest before adjourning back to the hostel to clean ourselves up before taking a short nap. With only myself, Cham and Roy, we went to indulge in some local specialities at Lorong Selamat before departing Penang at about 2.30pm. Was lucky the traffic was smooth as I arrived safely home within 5 hours. And with his, comes to a close a chapter of running on the current Penang Bridge. Next year onwards, we runners will be trying to conquer the new and longer Penang 2nd Link Bridge.

Over rated RM7.50 Lorong Selamat char kuey teow that made me wait half an hour. At least the prawns were big...

My many thanks to Cham for allowing the use of her super comfy Toyota Harrier for our journey to and from Penang and also to Roy for being there. And also to my friends and runners I met along the run course, after the run itself and even those from the running clinic, I thank you all for another amazing journey in my running career.

And before closing my chapter to this year's local running event, here's a toast to one my close friend Soon Chung who managed to complete his maiden marathon with a very impressive time. My next adventure for this year and one final one before 2012 comes to an end, will be at South Africa!


LG said...

Well done...hope you're fully recovered now. Rest well and all the best in your South Africa run...

LG said...

Well done! For me everyone who complete their run is already a champ. Hope ur fully recovered now. Rest well and all the best in your south africa run