Event: Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2013
Venue: Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur
Date: 29 September 2013
Distance: 42.195KM (42.4KM by Suunto Ambit 2 Sapphire)
Shoe: Saucony Virrata
Goodbye H. Hello G! Sounds happy indeed eh, and hence there will be a happy ending to this report. After all, starting a blog entry positively is just as good as waking up great in the morning.
Despite having a long day at work the day before, slightly more than 2 hours of sleep and waking up to a sore gum due to heatiness, I actually felt good. Did the usual pre-race ritual and by 1.30am, I was already out of the house. And by 2am, I arrived at Dataran Merdeka already. I thought I was early, but I still can't a proper car parking nearby the starting area. Most roads were already blocked off, earlier than what was mentioned by the organisers on their event guide book. EH HELLO! What's the use of mentioning if you are not going to follow? I made a couple of rounds and finally found a spot just opposite HSBC. Not a bad parking spot and the attendant was kind enough to share with me his "hidden secret" toilet when I had to hit the potty loo.
By 3am, I was all geared up and made my way to the race site to hang out with some others. Bump into some "eye sore" but later met some close mates like Jason, Yim, Uncle Oliver, Fook Seong and CP. Had a bottle of water as I gulp it down to help with my heatiness. And with a couple of Kopiko candies to keep me awake. Fast forward to the start time, I managed to squeeze to at least one quarter from the front together with Yik Yee and Wai Hong. However, I spotted Fook Seong and decided to start with him.
The black and white with happy go lucky Yim.
At 4.30am, we are off! As I started well from the front of the pack, I was already running freely from the crowd after a few seconds. Settled into my own pace and started singing a little as I ran pass the railway station, KL Sentral, Brickfields and into the Federal Highway. Quickly enough, it was already 5KM and into the Seputeh climb I ran as I spotted Yim. I was tailgating him behind but I know I couldn't hold on to his pace and had no intention to.
What goes up, will goes down. And after the Seputeh climb, it was down along the Sungai Besi air force stretch. My right knee started twitching and slowly it hurt. Started to limp but I was still going till I hit the Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka stretch where I stop by the side to massage it. It helped a lot and soon, the pain subside and I was running normally again, though at a slower pace.
Next was the dreaded long Jalan Loke Yew stretch heading towards Cheras. I was reduced to walking at a certain stretch due side stitches. However, I managed to tackle it by insert my fingers between my ribs. And from there onwards, it was trouble free. At 16KM as I was downing my first GU Roctane gel, a black figure pass me saying "CP9". It was Ben in his Batman suit! Scary moment indeed as I mentioned it was black figure! Hahaha... Nevertheless, he zoomed pass into the darkness and I was soon looking for a place to relieve myself. I found a dark spot but soon notice 3 lady volunteers across the street. Darn... I carried on in search of a new spot.
When day broke, I was at the halfway point and soon spotted the mobile toilet at 22KM along the Jalan Tun Razak stretch. With my bladder cleared, I was in good mood to run again though the legs were getting a bit tired. I am now about 2:20 hours into the run.
The journey continued into the Bukit Bintang area passed Pavilion and soon Karen Siah came from behind and greeted me at the refreshment station in front of Menara Standard Chartered. Next was into Jalan P. Ramleee where I spotted Wind limping a little and ran to him for a short chat. Apparently, his old injury resurface. YS Lee then came and urged us to keep running which I did. Wind continued to limp on but am sure he will managed himself especially when his "wind" comes. I ran with YS passed KLCC and into Jalan Tun Razak again before I dropped off due to leg fatigue. The morning heat, vehicle fumes and honking does not contribute either. I started pouring water over myself at each refreshment station. My pace has dropped significantly but found some time to rest as the traffic police stopped runners at the Pekeliling roundabout to allow vehicles to pass. It was a rest worth it as next was Jalan Ipoh.
I arrived at 30KM together with Kahwai who was bare-footing. He was cheering all runners cheerfully and tried pulling them to run together. Well done to him. From the refreshment station here, I took my second GU Energy Gel and took some time off to walk and soon Allan came to me and we chatted. Shine came along too but went off soon after. Soon was Jason who thought I was in trouble. I assured him that I was just taking a breather and off he went. After hitting 31KM, I told Allan that I would like to start running again. And so I did.
And this is where my miracle happen. As soon as I started running, I found not only my rhythm again, but my strong (pun intended). Took a quick glance on my Suunto Ambit 2 and found out that I have about 70 minutes to make 11KM. Tough but possible. I decided to try my luck and went for it. After all, I told myself it's just another hour or so in pain and it be all over. I ran and spotted Jason at the 32KM refreshment station and tried to pull him along but to no avail. I was on my own.
Stride after strike, kick after kick, I became stronger. Even my brand new pair of Saucony Virrata is helping a lot. It got better and bouncier as I ran. Maybe it's in my head but heck, I was running fast! Finally into Jalan Kuching, the strong sunny stretch with vehicles zooming pass runners, I wanted to exit this area as fast as possible. And I did just that. Up the ramp to the Jalan Duta roundabout and spotted Nick. Pulled him along and he managed to follow. Next was Cikgu. He was limping pretty badly and could not follow us. Into Bukit Tungku and the 36KM refreshment station was there. I did a grab and go and this is where I left Nick. Apologies to Nick.
Shortly in front, I heard a familiar voice call out to me. It was Hong Lan manning her support station. As I was on a roll and just rehydrated earlier, I hammered on. Halfway through the long stretch, I overtook naught Kian Seng and he tried t pull me back. Was lucky I did not cramp up and off I went. And finally, the last major yet deadly climb at the end of Bukit Tungku. Short yet steep, I told myself this, "I am make up of 5 big hills and countless nameless hills" and off I attack it! It was all over shortly and was rewarded with another refreshment station. Did a grab and go again and soon into Kenny Hills and that was before Kien Boon snap a photo of me.
Fighting the sun's glare as Kien Boon took my photo.
Arriving at the Arab School at the end of Kenny Hills, and with 39KM to go, I had about 25 minutes to make up 3KM. That's a sub 6 minutes pace I ran the last 8KM since founding my strong (again pun intended). By then, I know I was already safe for a sub 4:40 marathon if nothing goes wrong. As I was exiting the Bank Negara and JKR area more and more volunteers appeared to cheer us on. And when I got to the Bank Negara roundabout, I tried to pull Azrul along but he still needed his breather. I went alone.
Jalan Raja Laut was a mess with 10KM runners merging into full marathoners. I had to zig zag my way through and was hoping that I do not cramp during the process. Finally, the u-turn at Pertama Complex. 15 minutes before the 4:40 hour cut off for me. I decided to take short breather here finally after hammering the last 10KM or so. A short one to recharge for a strong finish. And just before completing the turn into Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Azrul caught up and we went for it together. Not a fast pace, but a comfy one where we chatted. And not to slowly, step after step, we soon saw the Sultan Abdul Samad building where the finish line awaits. However, it was a pretty mess here where runners who have already completed their run and also other cheerers poured out on to the road to cheer us. It was a nice gesture but wrong implementation way as it disrupted where I was heading towards. Lost my running line or a moment before founding it back and went side by side with Azrul (after some letting here and there) to complete our run together. I crossed the finish line in 4:33:40 hours and was ecstatic over it for I know I am G seeded for Comrades Marathon 2014!
Spent some quality post race time together with Jason, Susanah, Yip, Shine and Wind cheering other runners coming in. I saw Roy coming and gave him a high-5 for he completed big adventures the past 3 weeks and seriously deserve a pat on his back for this. Then cruelty sets in, as I left the race site not back home but to work in a daze!
I enjoyed this year's KL Marathon a lot not because of its organisation but I had achieved something which I have to "feel" for such a long time already. And with a sub 4:40 hour marathon done, my task at my next marathon at the Penang Bridge later this November will be less of a burden for at least I am now qualified for the G seeding for next year's Comrades Marathon, unless I am gunning for F? *gulps...
* All photos here credited to respective photographers. Thanks a lot to them.