The first issue was training. I hadn't trained much since Ramadhan due to fatigue. Sure, I managed to squeeze in running 3-4 times weekly but my mileage was comparatively, poor.
The 2nd issue was my condition. And relative to that, my fitness.
I had to take 5 of these babies on a daily basis
- Avoid over-heating and dehydration
Okay, number 1 was easy. Number 2, not so much.
It's really hard to convince any one of my doctors about running in my condition ( most of them are old school, I guess) so I resorted to the only Dr I know who would give me an easy yes.
" So you've been running regularly?" he asked.
" And you haven't experienced any pain or discomfort while running?" he drilled again.
" Nope. Only, sometimes I feel that I need extra effort to run at my previous easy pace. Other than that, I feel fine"
" I guess it's okay to go ahead racing. Be sure not to overexert yourself," my husband nodded his approval.
Ye, saya main kotor.
So on Friday, I went to Padang Esplanade to pick up our race bibs. They advertised in the website that racing kits can be collected from 1pm to 7pm. So after picking up my kid at school and lunch, I parked near Dewan MPT just to find a long queue of school kids also waiting to get their bibs.
The organizers haven't even set up the booth yet. And these kids have been waiting there since 12:30pm.
So I was too lazy to wait and decided to come back later to pick it up.
I came back at 3 pm to see that a booth had been set up in the middle of the field. Surprisingly, although there wasn't much of a line, it took me 20 minutes to pick up the bibs because they had some sort of confusion with online registration and stuff.
I had a feeling this race would be in chaos right then and there.
So on Sunday morning we left our kids at my parents' place with a promise to Mom that we'd be back at 8 am. My parents had to go pick up my sister's graduation robe in Penang so they had to leave as early as possible to avoid the holiday traffic ( as if).
When we reached Kamunting, we saw some runners already into their first 30 minutes of racing (I assumed immediately that they were half marathoners). They were racing most of the time in pitch black so I wondered how on earth were they going to see the route markers ( what route markers? I found out later)
WW asked me a few dozen times regarding the starting time of our 10K. I repeatedly told him, according to the website that it was supposed to be 6:30 am. Plenty of time for us to either do our prayers, go potty and do some warm ups.
As there was no make-shift surau ( no surprise), we decided to just pray by the road side. Not long into our 1st rakaat, suddenly I heard the loud familiar whack of the gun off and the pattering feet of people running.
I was praying and panicking at the same time. Were those runners in our category? Did they push ahead the gun off time to 6.00? There goes WW's PB, I thought.
Immediately after our salam, I approached an uncle walking by, with my telekung and all ( must have freaked him out) to ask.
" Excuse me, what category did they let off just now? Was it the 10K?"
" No lah, it's the half marathoners" said Uncle, not even fazed by my attire.
" What? I thought they were to be gunned off at 5:30?"
" No lah, the organizers delayed it to 6. "
Oh, macam itu pun boleh ka?
With a sigh of relief, we went to the port-a-potty to do our respective businesses as there was no line ( no line!)
At about 6:30am, all of us 10K runners, with cable -tied hands (!) aligned ourselves at the starting line.
WW went to stand at the front of the pack to secure a PB. I reminded him, no podiums please as we had to get back early. I who wanted to run the race at an easy pace just stood with the masses in the middle and grinned from ear to ear. I couldn't see anyone familiar but I sengih-ed anyway.
So we were gunned off. Most of the runners went flying past. I got sucked into the excitement and forgot my promise not to overexert myself. For a split second, I even contemplated on targeting a sub 60 with my condition.
Then we got to Bukit Doremon, a steep incline and I thought, okay, screw that.
So from there I got back to my conquest to run happy at an easy pace. I say conquest because for me, seeing all those other runners running fast, it's really an effort to tell myself to calm down and take a breather.
Ye, saya agak kiasu. ( JJ slaps herself around a bit with a large trout)
1 mile into the race, I did a self check.
Breathing : Ok
Dehydration : No. I carried a water bottle
Overheating : possible.
It was kinda hot. But I was glad to see black clouds rolling into the horizon. Yay, rain!
I ran halfway with a guy who paced me till the 5th km. We had a nice conversation about the weather and other stuff. I even offered him some water from my bottle when we saw the first water station was out of water. I lost him sometime after that chasing this lady with a cute purple shirt. I planned to thank him post race but I couldn't remember how he looked like.
The 1st water station lady told us that there would be water and sponges in the next station. But when I got to the next station, they just ran out of sponges and I was really hot. It rained a few drops and we had to battle running against strong winds but at times, it was still hot.
When you're running leisurely, you tend to notice things you hardly ever notice before in previous races.
I started to appreciate the scenery, the early morning coffee shop aroma and newspaper vendors, the flat as pancake roadkill in the middle of the road and I started to notice that runners, when sweaty, they tend to smell like coconut husks. And that people hardly talk to you unless you talked to them first.
When I got into town,. I knew that I was almost done with the race. I still had a smile on my face and although I know I am never photogenic when it comes to race pictures, I smiled at every camera I saw whether they were pointing at me or not.
WW came from around the corner, already minutes after finishing his race to cheer on other runners.
I gestured for him to come and run with me.
Macam jalan-jalan je?
( Thanks Sean Wong for the pic)
We ran side by side with me grinning macam kerang busuk and him encouraging me to hasten my pace as I was so close to the finishing line.
I ignored him and ran like my bapak's race.
Realizing that, he encouraged other runners to pass me instead. I joined him, telling a school girl behind me, " Come on,faster. You can surely beat me" and slowed down for her to have her glory.
So I ran to the finish line, seeing a couple of my staff at the sidelines cheering me on.
It was never a prouder moment.
I felt so happy I could pull this off.
I did not glance even once at my Garmin during the race and ran by feel. I expected my Garmin to display a 70-ish minute finish but it gave me an extra surprise to see this:
A bit over-distanced, but that's okay.
And I was even more elated to calculate that if it wasn't over distanced, I would finish in 63 minutes .
So that's it folks. My *PR.
Although that's almost 10 minutes off my 10K PB, but no biggie.
His and hers
WW achieved his PB of 46:54. Unfortunately ( or fortunately) he missed podium and only secured a 12th placing. So immediately after the race, after collecting our medals and goodie bags ( wasn't much swag), we kept our promise to Mom and got home. Major bummer that we didn't get to meet other familiar faces there but a promise is a promise and we also had a long day ahead what's with shopping and eating and visiting my best uni mate in Kedah and all.
I heard some major complaints about the race today. It was all expected to me. I gave a few heads up in my previous posts but I guess everybody signed in , expecting the organizers to improve.
I went into the race expecting the worst, so I braced myself for bad things to happen along the way.
They ran out of water, they ran out of wet sponges, they had no route markers and hardly any road marshals but I guess I was prepared for that.
At least the medal was nice.
Nevertheless, I had a good time. I never smiled more in any other races than I did yesterday.
This will be my last race for the season as I'm entering my 2nd trimester.
I will still be running regularly, hopefully throughout my pregnancy so I'll still have something to yak about here.
And I will still be at a few small races, to cheer WW on. So maybe I see some of you guys there, okay?
*PR = Pregnancy Record ( atau Poyo jeR)