October 22, 2012

Putrajaya Night Marathon 2012


The run has all the makings of a personal worst (PW) timing and there is a reason to it. Not because that the organizers were bad, in fact they did a hell of a job organizing this race. More because I brought it upon myself to get me into this mess in the first place. Do read on to find out...


[Buzzing atmosphere that night in Putrajaya!]


As many would already know, I have been spending a lot of time traveling these past few weeks. A week trip to Europe and another week right after that to Kuching which kinda got me a little tired and very much distracted from my training. In fact, coming in to this run, I hardly even had any time at all to do any practice run, which was mistake number one.

As I was leaving home for Putrajaya, I took my time to leave the house which was big mistake number two. You see, that same night was the Malaysia Cup Final between Kelantan FC and Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (ATM) which meant that the entire roads of Shah Alam that night was completely blocked by football supporters. I arrived in Putrajaya 30 minutes before the starting time, which gave me hardly enough time to even start warming up.

[People queuing for the toilet]

For this time around, there were some changes with the group that I was running with. Usually I would be running with my usual TehTarikRunners but unfortunately Ash was not able to register in time for the race which means that he is out of the Putrajaya race.

[TehTarikRunners all set for the half marathon]

On top of that, the company that I work for (Siemens Malaysia) was the main sponsor for this race which means that I was sponsored by the company to run with the Siemens group. We had participants for each of the category with 4 people running the 10km run, 4 people running the half marathon and 1 participant from the group running the full marathon.

[With my Siemens colleagues and our customized running vests!]

We all had a story to tell with this race. This was going to be my second time running the race which is part of my goal of completing the set of medals from this race. Shafwan was running his anniversary half marathon because the Putrajaya Marathon last year was the first time he ran half marathon. However the man of the hour was Clance, who finally broke his half marathon virginity after so long running the 10km run. Kudos!

[Getting ready to start at the starting line]

With everything in check and very minimal preparation, we got our socks up and waited at the starting line. While waiting for the gun start, I realized the air was a little heavier than normal, but dismissed it. Soon enough, we were on our way!

At kilometer 1, everything was smooth sailing and I took some time to enjoy the night view of Putrajaya which was extremely nice.

At kilometer 3, we were facing a few uphil flyovers already and passing our first water point. Here, we had a lot of people cheering us on, which prompted me with a few high fives to say thanks.

[Military Band cheered us on from the sidelines. Good job guys!]

At kilometer 5, I started to feel a little tingle on my left foot, which was unusual at the stage to happen. I tried not to think too much about it by enjoying the iconic Putrajaya bridge which was lighted with colored lights.

At kilometer7, I saw a group of really familiar faces at the sidelines cheering with drums and drinks and realized it was the rest of my Siemens colleagues from the office who decided to set up a cheering squad for us! I even saw my boss cheering people on so I stopped to take pictures!

[Exhausted but damn glad to see them on the sidelines!]

At the kilometer 9, what I feared the most really did happen. Because of the grueling nature of the run, I was already getting cramps on my calves this early of the race which is a scary thing. This means for more than 10 km left in the run, I was at risk of not being able to move at all. This was bad.

At kilometer 11, I was pretty much reduced to walking and running on intervals because of the extremely painful feeling on both the soles of my foot and there was still more on the trail. Unfortunately every time I go to a pitstop, the medical team ran out of spray or ice which didn't help at all. 

At kilometer 13, for the first time in my running experience I actually had to stop and sit down to tend to my injuries. By this time, both my calves and feet are in so much pain I couldn't even focus on my breathing anymore. This was when I had to come up with something...

[Awesome Chinese drums!]

At kilometer 15, I was trying everything I could to get my pace going again but to no avail. I chomped down my GU Gels immediately but it didn't really help that much. At this point, I got word that the rest of both TehTarikRunners and Siemens Team were facing a lot of problems as well. 

At kilometer 17, I decided to try a new trick. I read somewhere that when times like this happen one should try to power walk which would get a much faster pace than just walking. Remembering some basic techniques I saw on TV I decided to do so. Surprisingly, I was actually slightly slower than my usual ending running pace by doing this!

[Most unlikely thing you would see cheering you on while you are running!]

At kilometer 19, I was still powerwalking my way through and naturally overtaking a lot of people. I cursed myself for not doing this earlier because I realized that it was not fatigue that was slowing me down but rather the pain on my feet. I still had the energy to do this!

[Kudos to these supporters at the nearing end of the race. You guys made a hell of a lot of difference, which is seriously awesome.]

Finally I managed to limp my way like a mad man to the finish line at a extremely disappointing timing of 3:09:12.
I just did my personal worst timing...

Despite all that, I was really glad to finish the race entirely which kinda locks in another achievement in my running books this year. It is quite unfortunate that many of us were stuck with rather bad timing for this race. Honestly Putrajaya was not a easy feat and it really is a much grueling trail in comparison to the 10km last year.

[ Met this friendly chap at about 500 meters to the finish line. Kudos for the motivation talk that got my running to the end!]

[Running proud for Siemens!]

And so, there goes another completed run for the year, despite the terrible timing that I clocked in for this run. I truly learn my lesson the hard way that I should never ever ever ever ever ever underestimate the distance and should have been more prepared following up to the run itself. I have to admit I took the run for granted and now I am paying the price for it...

As for the organization of the run, I thought it was generally good with a lot of support given to the runners in sense of traffic control, water distribution and others. However I do have a slight complaint that the medical staff was completely depleted by the number of people getting injured from this run which is something they should really try to rectify in the future.

Nevertheless, TehTarikRunners still completed the run successfully!

[Putrajaya Night Marathon 2012 COMPLETED!]

Onwards to the Penang Bridge Marathon in November!

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