Monday, March 07, 2005

... and of course, KL International Marathon 2005


5:30am: I woke up still groggy... with only about 3 over hours of sleep. I'm thinking to myself, "Oh god.. how to race la, like that?" and at the same time, "Finally.. race day!!". After two days of back-to-back performance work (along with a whole week's rehearsals, with not enough training!), I was quite skeptical of doing well on this race. But I tried to remain positive, as I was looking forward to this race a lot (despite lack of training). I freshened up, change to my race clothes, and packed up pre-race and post-race.

Pre-race meal: Nice hot Milo with muesli and dried fruit. Dunked a bit of PowerBar Endurance Drink I prepared last night (filled up my bottle full tank, and drank just enough for me to consume during the race). Had some chocolate rice crispies from my friend, Kay Ti.

6:15am: I picked up my friend, Kay Ti, who'll be running his first race and 10K race for the very first time! Drove and talked about about the race and what to expect. As we drove by Jalan Loke Yew, we were already awestruck by the marathon runners who were running on the opposite side of the street, with cones on the far end of the left side of the road to open up that part of the lane for the runners, and traffic on that side of the street was already congested.

As we approached the Bank Negara/Bank Rakyat traffic light, I'd expected that parking was gonna be a problem. I tried my luck at Jalan Tangsi, but ran out of luck. At that point, I didn't have much of a choice but to park at the Bukit Aman/Lake Gardens car park. Even so, the normal parking lots were already full to the brim and more! But we managed to slip in a small little area next to the power station and badminton court (which was next to the toilet/bathrooms)... lucky.. it was almost 6:45am (and check-in time was 7am). We prepped up our running shoes, pinned our bibs, drank some isotonic drinks, caps, HRM, and we finally jogged our way to Dataran Merdeka (in retrospect, it was a great idea to park there BEFORE the race, can already do a warm-up run to the start point).

7:05am: We were trying to find the check-in point and only after several minutes of looking around (and thinking that the check-in point was one of the tents), and asking around, we found out that the check-in point was the entry point in the "kandang kerbau", or the back of the starting point where all the runner's got ready. We only had to put in the check-in portion of our receipt in the plastic bag the check-in officials were holding (how efficient is that?). We both stretched up a bit then, and saw some friends and mingled. All of us were psyched up about the race. We stretched a bit more and just waited for the gun!

7:15am: *BANG!* And we were off. I started off walking to the start line, and started running easily at the start line and clocked my watch. Me and Kay Ti started off easy, and didn't want to get carried away with the rest of the younger runners (read: school kids and "make-the-numbers-runners".. they're usually all wearing the race tees) who started out bursting into speed.

*10K route: Start point at Dataran Merdeka ---> head towards Jalan Istana turn-off ----> Jalan Dewan Bahasa exit ----> Jalan Hang Tuah ----> Jalan Imbi ----> Jalan Bukit Bintang ----> Jalan Sultan Ismail ----> Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman ----> Dataran Merdeka finish line.

Along the way, I definitely saw some familiar faces (of people I know AND don't know), like the triathletes from Coach Chan's team, the foreigner Pacesetters (very good runners), and a few more and of course, Ajeep (who's doing his first 21K) speeding past me after saying hi, right along Jln Sultan Ismail.

Somewhere in Jalan Sultan Ismail, I told my friend Kay Ti (who's obviously a faster runner than me), who paced with me for the past 5-6k to move on if he felt like it. Our pace generally moved up after about 30 minutes of running (that's probably somewhere at or almost 5k). Kay Ti increased his pace all the way after Jln Sultan Ismail and I kept on with my almost 10K-pace (around 7:10min/km). Halfway in Jln Sultan Ismail, I also increased my pace pretty much to my 10K-pace (average 7:06min/km... could be faster also), and tried to keep it there all the way to the end. I sped up a little more during the last km in Jln TAR, with 2-in/2-out breathing (that's an indication of very fast pace for me already.. usually 2-in/3-out wan). But then... there was a small cramp creeping up to my left calf. At that moment, I was like, "oh no... not now...", and was just reminiscing my Desaru 21K. And this was just a few metres from the finish line! I slowed down a tad bit, and tried to stabilise my breathing a little more. I kept running, sprint a little, slowed a little, until I reached the finish line.

My clocked time showed 1:11:25.

It was so exhilirating at that point in time. Kay Ti was already ahead of me, probably by about 4 minutes. We exchanged hi-fives, and I continued to jog a little bit and stretched my left calf. Met up with some of his friends, and my friend Pek Fui who also joined the 10k (didn't see her until after the finish line). Got some 100Plus drinks and Milo and stretched some more. Hung around and chat a bit. Then I went around to look for the Pacemakers and Penguins. Met up with Kenneth (pm20), Andrew (Ketam Batu) and Bernice (Becholi), Rohaizad, Justin (pm19), Mei Jyn, Azwar (pm3), and even Sukaimi aka The Lonely Runner (who came all the way from Singapore to do the race!).

This is the most memorable part of the race:

At this point, there were runners from the 21K and the marathon who were still coming in. There was this old guy who was straggling near the finish line. He looked around 70-something, in a white vest and red shorts. I was so awed with him, I just started clapping a bit for him. He looked at me, and next thing I knew, we were all clapping and cheering for him. I could virtually see his face light up like a christmas tree, and all of a sudden he started SPRINTING towards the finish line! The whole bunch of us just cheered so loudly for him! Talk about awe-inspiring! Absolutely amazing!

Later on, me and my friend Kay Ti had to leave earlier; we had some appointments to keep, so I didn't get to take any photos with anyone, except with Becholi and Ketam Batu's camera. Hope I can get those pictures soon, and I'll post them, too!

Post-race Analysis


My performance of 71 minutes did not beat my Powerman 10K of 68 minutes. In retrospect, running a duathlon race is a slightly different situation than a running race. My last 10k running race was probably Adidas King Of The Road 10K (I did 79 minutes on that one). In the duathlon, there are very little competitors compared to running races (esp 10K ones, where you have to overtake walkers and slower runners). But I also suspect, the Putrajaya 10k route is possibly less than 10k.

Anyhow, because of lack of training, I decided to pace myself really properly, using a combination of my heart-rate monitor, perceived level of effort, and also BodySense (from ChiRunning).. which basically means internally monitoring how my body felt all throughout the race. At the same time, I was also concentrating on NOT stopping at all in the duration of the 10k.

The first 5k was on a fairly comfortable (but not too slow) pace, at around 75 - 85%. The remainder saw a steady increase in pace, up to 86% - 90%, and keeping with that tempo. I monitored my lean so that I can run a little faster but with less muscle effort. I tried to focus on being running comfortably and relaxed but at the same time pushing myself bit by bit. I also monitored my breathing by breathing 2-in/3-out, until the last 2km, where my pace was at about over 90% and my breathing was 2-in/2-out, but still focused on being relaxed.

When the light cramp started creeping down my left calf near the finish line, I suspect it may be due to under-training, and my body is not up to running non-stop.

Race Organization:

Plus points:

- Traffic control was generally well done (at least for the 10K route)
- Started on time
- Adequate water stations (but no isotonic drinks for 10K)
- Water spray section, from Nike, at Jln Sultan Ismail (although I didn't feel any different after passing through it.. as though there was no power to the water)
- nice route in general

Minus points:

- lack of km markers
- 10km stragglers and walkers.. AT THE FIRST 2KM OF THE RACE!!! Most of them kids.
- lack of signs for check-in

Anyway, it's my first KLIM race, so I can only compare if I do it next year. KL has still a lot to learn about race organization. But one thing's for sure, the quality of the KLIM organization is miles better from the local municipal races! Kudos to FTAAA for that.


I'm hyped up to do races again. I was bummed out since Singapore Marathon 21K. This is my first race for the year 2005, and I think it's a great start of the race year.

Post race..

I looked up my sifu Greg Lyons after the race, and we had lunch at San Fran Coffee at KLCC. I had a Hot Chocolate, with a vegetable pie and a grilled vege sandwhich. Nice food to eat after that race. We hung around and talked for over an hour, and met some friends, like Sam Pritchard (a very good triathlete who was doing the KLIM as well). I got hungry again after that, and we drove all the way to Kanna's Curry House in Sect 17 PJ to eat... I had rice! I don't know why I got so hungry so quickly. Later I went back home to have a nice sleep.


I'm going to treat myself by buying the New Balance 766 shoe after this... yaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy!!!!

Happy Running and Training, y'all!

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