Venue: Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur
Date: 28 June 2009
Distance: 42.195KM (42.41KM by Choi's Garmin Forerunner 205)
Shoe: Nike LunaRacer+
I made my decision to run my seventh marathon a week before despite knowing that I won't do well and also risking further damage to what already I think is a damaged left knee. The damage from running the 84KM Sundown Marathon was here to stay for now and 3 weekend runs before this day didn't reveal any good results. However, the decision to run it isn't because of stubbornness but rather due to an emotional stress that I am going through. I haven't been myself and I needed to unwind. To endure through the pain of running the legendary distance, I will be able to shift my attention to something else, well at least during the run duration. Therefore, you can say that I'm going out there to torture myself, to destroy myself.
It's 4am when I arrived at my usual parking spot at Bukit Aman and quickly enough, hooked up with Choi, Lawrence and Loke who was already there. Shortly later, Keat Seong, Jennifer, Pui San and Shih Ming too arrived. However, attention was on Loke as he will be running his maiden marathon. It was an easy 1KM walk to the race venue at Dataran Merdeka where I'm scheduled to meet up with Chee Kong. And so I did, and also met up for a short while with Chin Chin and Lynn too. Soon, rain started to fall but it quickly reduced to a drizzle 10 minutes from the start of the race.
Checked into the starting area joined together with Chin, Kevin, Marvinct, Raymond and Victor. At 5am, runners were set loose. I immediately set myself into a half marathon pace as my strategy will be to run as fast as possible and as long as possible before my legs snap. And even if it does, I told myself that I will complete it.
The first 5KM took runners through the KL Railway Station into Brickfields passed KL Sentral. The road was wet and slippery, not to mention water puddles along the way. At about the 4KM mark, Luc passed me and I managed to get his attention before asking him to go on as even my half marathon pace isn't any match for his marathon pace. Towards Jalan Maharajalela and into Jalan Loke Yew, the road conditions improved. Much wider now with newly laid tarmac, unlike the 2 previous years when it was still under construction. It's here that I felt my left Achilles heel being irritated by my shoe's collar. Tried to avoid getting my skin tear off, I move my ankle around till I finally met up with 3 really helpful members from the Saint John Ambulance. Asked for a plaster to tape up the irritated area, and not only I was given 3 of them, they were actually really kind to ask me about my situation.
With the irritation gone, I ran into Cheras and at 10KM, Marvin caught up with me. I manage to run along side him before getting left behind from a water stop I had to make. Into Jalan Tun Razak, the first sign of my left leg letting go soon appeared near the 15KM mark. My left patella started to vibrate and with every stride, it felt like popping out. Pui San and Shih Ming who ran side by side passed me and had a quick check on me. All I can reply is "Pain pain". I began to slow down though still manage to run and at the 17KM mark near the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Keat Seong and Siok Bee ran pass me. This will be the start where my friends will one by one slowly pass me as next up will be Choi, Kevin and Lawrence.
Entering Jalan Ipoh at 19KM, I began to mix running and walking. Seow Ping caught up and seeing my posture all gone, she asked if I was all right. Told her that my legs were letting go before asking her to proceed on. I didn't want to slow her down, in fact no one should follow my pace.
At 22KM, at the Malaysia Tourism Centre, my left leg finally gave way. In fact, everything from waist down was gone as my right Piriformis muscle was pulling too. As the whole structure failed, I was reduced to walking here and was soon passed by Yee Hua and Loke. And shortly later, Lynn stopped beside me to have a check on me. Though painful, I tried to put up a smile telling her I'm a goner. It feels weird as I normally am the one who checks on her. This time, it's the other way around. Anyway, Michelle who was running with her offered me some energy gels but I politely decline as I was not tired at all. I was just in pain, real pain! Assured them that I will complete the race, before I shooed them off as it's just not right for them to wait for me. I tried here to restart my run to follow them, but my left leg didn't agree. A quick check on it, revealed a slightly swollen part on my rear left knee before Chee Kong who is running with fever too passed me. Continuing into Jalan Kia Peng, Foo and Jennifer passed me.
Took a short rest at the exit of Jalan P. Ramlee near the 26KM mark before Mohan came into the picture at Jalan Sultan Ismail in front of Pavilion. Had a good chat with him, and I'm really thankful to him by asking everybody around to cheer me on. Though feeling embarrassed, it did help to spur me on. He left me when I asked him to go on at the Standard Chartered Tower and into Jalan Raja Chulan I went. The start of bad traffic begins here as I'm just so surprised to see the number of vehicles on a Sunday morning. The fumes were just horrible and being at walking pace, it made me suffocate even more.
30KM mark is where China Town is, and this is where I first saw the water station here running out of fluid. My throat was dry here but with no water, what I can do is just to carry on passed Stadium Merdeka and into Jalan Hang Tuah. As there were ongoing construction works, road conditions were really bad. As I walk below the monorail track, the fear of the wheel dropping on my head was a worry as it did happen once many years ago when a test was being conducted.
Just after Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka, Alex caught up and helped me for a few good meters before proceeding on himself. He was in his cheerful self supporting everyone in need. Thanks Alex!
Into Jalan Damansara at the 34KM mark, vehicles were crawling behind each other contributing fumes to runners running or walking on the fast lane. I was suffocating here and just wanted to end this nightmare quickly. Eugene called me from behind and we walked and chatted together before hitting precious supply of water. I took 5 cups here and it felt really good. And I think the water did him good as he continued on.
Finally entering Jalan Sultan Salahudin at the 38KM mark, I know the end is coming. However, due to an uphill climb and also my walking pace, I will need a good 50 minutes to be on the safe side in allow myself to complete the race within 6 hours. And I only have 40 minutes here to do so as the earlier cushion I built from running is now gone. I forced myself to run here, and every time I started, the pain came and I can barely run 20 meters. So, I had to fast walk bearing the pain, grinding my teeth. And somehow for some reasons, I trip a few times here.
Arriving at Bank Negara, I can see the finish line though it's another 3KM to go where runners were taken to Jalan Raja Laut before making a u-turn into Jalan Tungku Abdul Rahman for the final stretch. I hasten up still walking after my watch reveals that I might not be able to meet the sub 6 hours time. And with 500M to go, I pleaded with my legs as I started to move them into running strides. Though I can move my right leg pretty normally, I had to drag my left sideways as I can't bend it. From a certain angle, it can be seen that I'm running diagonally but I didn't care.
Trying to run myself to the finish...
About 200M from the finish, I can hear voices from my friends calling my name. Though I did not look around fearing that I might trip on the uneven surface, I can recognised some of them from Lynn, Yee Hua, Choi, Lawrence, John and many others. Thanks my friends for the support as I finally crossed the finish line with a time of 05:59:02, a new personal worst for me! Haha...
Though if it wasn't enough, I had to endure another couple of hundred meters to collect my finisher's medal and shirt before joining up with my friends. I was glad to see all of them. I forced a smile out of myself even though everything waist down was in pain. I just didn't want to spoil the mood as completing a marathon regardless of time, is already an achievement.
Thanks Ben for his concern and CONGRATZ on a marvelous 3:13 marathon...
And so, somehow, someway against all odds, I manged to complete my seventh marathon or should I say half marathon, half walkathon. Slower and yet more painful compared to my first marathon, I felt wasted at the end. However, I do feel satisfied completing it. It's a sense of achievement. And at the moment of blogging this, I can't bend my left knee. The rear part is still swollen and I do hope it isn't an ACL damage. This is the price I'm paying for now despite knowing it. Dumb or dumber? You all can call me anything you all wish, as for most of you now witness the "other" side of me running, a painful one.
Front view of the finisher's medal...
Rear view of the finisher's medal...