Sunday, December 20, 2009

Malakoff 12KM, Kuala Lumpur 2009...

Event: Malakoff 12KM, Kuala Lumpur 2009
Venue: Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort, Kuala Lumpur
Date: 20 December 2009
Time: 7.00am
Distance: 12KM (11.38KM by Lynn's Garmin Forerunner 405)
Shoe: ASICS GEL-Kayano 15
By Frank

The second edition of the Malakoff 12KM, Kuala Lumpur run saw runners tackling the hills of Bukit Damansara. A tough run but yet one that is certainly very memorable to me.

I arrived at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort as early as 5am as I wanted to get a good parking spot at the Security Commissions. Although it was pitch black, some runners have already arrived with more slowly coming in. With 2 hours to the race, I took my time gearing up before bumping into Amelia, Kevin and Pueh Tian. Together we made our way to the race site before settling down chatting.

Soon, my friends from Lynn, Jennifer, Chin Ann, Choi, Keat Seong and more arrived. Choi as with last year isn't running again but yet he is taking photographs, minus his cute foldable bicycle. Probably his gearless bicycle can't handle the hills of Bukit Damansara. Hahaha...

Lynn who is still nursing her injury took part in this race taking over a race bib from one of her friends. Kind of worried as her injury has been almost a year and it has been an on and off thing. And myself with an ultra trail marathon next week, I decided to take this as a training run while guiding Lynn and making sure she is fine along the way. I also did some study on her running gait. Therefore along the way, I have set my Nike+ SportBand to display the pace, instead of the distance as with this, I can estimate the heart rate I'm going at hence helping my friends too.

I lined up with Lynn and Keat Seong at the back of the pack from the starting line. And at 7am, the race was started and it took us probably a minute plus or even two minutes to actually cross the start gantry. And even after doing so, there were still problems navigating through the number of runners as the road were a little on the narrow side, plus it was an incline out of the resort.

Out from the resort, we only had a short while on the flat roads before we were greeted with the long steep climb along the National Science Centre. Keat Seong has already taken off but my plans to guide Lynn remains. Tey was seen taking videos here in the middle of the runners path. Luckily no one knocked into him.

Arriving at the junction, we then hit Jalan Beringin. And this is where starts the rolling hills part. And as the hills rolled, I got hit my side stitch and it's still way too early into the race.

Running in the neighbourhood of Bukit Damansara with proper traffic control is certainly great. Quickly enough, the first water station appeared but I skipped it and continued on till I pass HP Tower and also the Manulife building. Both happened to be my previous work place and also company headquarter. From here, another climb. Though not as steep, it was still tough and only got a short break as we arrive Bukit Damansara school. This is also where we finally catch up with Keat Seong and this is where the 3 of us began guiding each other.

The third climb here was tough, pretty much as the first but it's here that I finally managed to shake off my side stitch. Reaching the top of it indicates the completion of the first loop which is 6KM. Continuing on, Keat Seong suddenly swayed to the left. I first though he needed to use the loo, but then I noticed a fat Beagle. That explains it. However, the Beagle did not react to him. Hahaha... But it was here that our run got a little more fun with Keat Seong cheekily cheering for other runners especially those who are walking.

Just before the third (first earlier) water station, my vision got irritated by my sweat. I was really sweating a lot and I can barely open my eyes. Quickly took a cup of water and tried cleaning my eyes but it did not help. Had to slowly wipe off the sweat that's flowing down while waiting for the "burn" in my eyes to subside which it did later.

Soon, we noticed Michelle who was at the side lacing up as it came loose. But then, she zoomed pass all of us as she was a rolling boulder. However, we did caught up with her shortly.

Another dog appeared shortly and as expected Keat Seong swayed towards it only to make a u-turn this time as he found out that the dog was a Rottweiler, and a pretty active one too. Hahaha... But that didn't stop him from "barking" as he ran pass it. I'm sure runners around were amused.

Finally, the last climb before heading back to the resort. Lynn was slowing down as I saw her struggling. I signalled to Keat Seong to carry on while I waited. And back down along Persiaran Bukit Kiara, I can hear her panting loudly. I tried to slow her down by reducing my pace which I think helped. And besides, she wanted to let Michelle pass as she did not want to end up among the top finishers as it wasn't her race bib.

Together we run, down approaching the resort...

And so into the resort we ran and Keat Seong was slowing down for us. And as we approach the finish line, we held each others hand and crossed the finish line together with a time of 01:01:17. Well done everyone!

Crossing the finish line together...

We all rested, refueled and collected our race goodies before heading back home respectively soon. No post meal celebrations as everyone had their own plans. And so, I made my way home too.

Front view of the finisher's medal...

Rear view of the finisher's medal...

To sum it all up, I had an absolutely great run. It wasn't a race to me, but instead it was a friendship and training run. The pace was good and I managed to guide Lynn safely back. I did not use the word "pace" as I don't think we were pacing each other. It's more like making our way to the finish line without sustaining any more injuries or further injuring herself. And how often can one finish a race with a friend hand in hand, especially 3 at one go. This event will go down as one of the best runs I ever had with my friends and this memory will certainly stay with me. And by far means, I have to admit that it feels really good to be running side by side with Lynn again.

And finally, my thanks to all my friends from Andrew, Choi, Henry, Lionel, Tey, Wai Lam and many more who came to support and went trigger happy snapping photos away.

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