Ok....erm.....perhaps I should correct my above statement.
I've been really looking forward to my trip to Penang....which the core reason for the trip was the run!
I've been looking forward to hanging out with my Subang running buddies....over-eating (I don't want to think about the over-eating!)....the beach (although didn't quite get to dip feet into seawater this time around).....the getting out of the weekend norm.
I drove up straight after work on Friday (curse you, rainy weather!!!) and I kid you not, the over-eating starts right from the get-go!!!
* CY ran the full (gasp!) marathon.......and she did it in less than 6 hours!!! Good job girl!!!! So proud of you!!!
* US at the race kit collection site.....and we're trying to RUN for FUN!! (shit, am I the only one laughing at my own lame jokes? No...don't answer that!)
* Us toying around after collecting race kit.
The race (we're all running the half marathon) starts 3.30am (yes...you read the time right!) for the boys and 3.45am for the girls.....like 15 minutes of staggered start is gonna stop us girls from overtaking the boys.....(mind the feministic undertone of the statement....I just finished watching 'The Vagina Monologues' and am pretty fired up!)
Everyone bunked in at Sany's place at Ferringhi and we were all up by 12.30am to prep for the race.
I doubt anyone actually slept the night before......I mean if you were needed to be up at such an ungodly hour when the rest of Penang is still at some pub getting wasted and progressively killing off their liver, why bother really sleeping anyway?
The pre-race atmosphere at the apartment was like a scene out of some zombie flick where zombie-fied runners walking aimlessly with a perpetual dazed and confused look on their faces, trying to grab safety pins to pin on their bibs and trying to locate their timing chips.
This is what happens when the group collectively decides to give up taking nappy time in the afternoon the day before to cramp in more eating-time in town!
* Zombie-fied and still have to pin your race bibs.
* Lube up!!!!
We got to Queensbay area (where the race was held) at around 2-ish in the morning.
The full marathoners were already in the holding pen waiting for flag-off.
We halfies have an hour and half to kill.
I'm literally feeding off the energy that the other runners are emitting!!
I swear...if I turned up at that race ALONE, I'd really opt out of running due to lack of sleep!
But knowing how hyped up runners can be pre-race......it's bloody contagious and it kept me up (almost) until the finish line!!!!
The porta-potty situation greatly improved from last year's race.
However, no matter how vastly great the male to female runner ratio is....the queue for the female porta-potties are always predictably longer than the male's.
It's probably one of those unfair facts of life.....
Who cares if you have a shorter urethra because you're female. Your toilet queue will still be longer than someone with a penis!
(But if you guys remember the Klang Half Marathon earlier this year.....the female queue was almost non-existent!!! That was because the female participants were also almost non-existent! So non-existent that I manage to come in at No. 9 for the 21km!)
The boys took off at 3.30am......and gave us girls another 15 minutes to get in line.
Lining up before a race always gets my heart rate up.
I'm anxious (have not done a long run in quite a while).....and freakin excited!!!
I can literally feel the adrenaline pumping through my blood vessels....exciting the leg muscles, and readying them for the 2 over hours of running that they are about to endure!
I LOVE this feeling!!!
(I know I'll be asking myself the rationale of running 21km when other "sane" people are sleeping soundly, especially when I hit the 10km mark and am starting to get tired....but the euphoric feeling of just being at the starting line is addictive enough to get me to repeatedly sign up for races!!)
The gun goes off (honestly, I was a little "off" to actually remember if it was a gun or a horn that flagged us off) and off we went!!!
I could see Pearlie in front of me and decided to tail her for the first bit....until I get out of the crowded situation right in front of me.
Pearlie is aiming for a sub-2....I'm aiming to NOT get injured before Singapore Marathon.
No way I'm gonna hold her pace for long......(frankly I'm not prep enough to hold her pace!)
And Pearlie wasn't kidding about the sub-2.
She was going fast!!!
I managed to tail her for the first few kilometers and once the amount of runners in front of me thinned out.....I decided to slow down and watch Pearlie sped off like Speedy Gonzales.
I felt I was still running faster than I should be running.
I knew that this was one pace that would be difficult to sustain once the initial adrenaline rush wears off.......but at that point in time, it felt good!!!
It didn't feel like I was doing a training run....
It actually felt like I was racing....and I LOVE that feeling of competition.
Right in front of me, I could see a few half-marathon guys slowing down......and each time I pass one of them, I think to myself, "Yeah....I'm 15 minutes ahead of you!!!"
It became a game in my head.....overtake a guy...and you're 15 minutes ahead of their timing!
(I know....totally lame but do understand I was a sleep deprived person......and, erm....I work in a mental asylum....FINE, not a good excuse....but still....)
The slope up on the Penang Bridge was a lot more difficult than I remembered it to be last year (but then again I was doing it VERY slowly last year) but right next to me, I saw Anne running past and I just went into lazy-mental mode and followed her pace all the way up!
Oh...Anne is from my running club back in Ipoh and she's a running-mummy.
And she ALWAYS outruns me during weekly long runs!!!!!
Yes....although it pains my ego, I am WOMAN enough to admit that I always get out-run by a running mummy!!!
I have to comment that the water situation this year was a whole lot better.
I didn't quite like the fact that they handed out water bottled instead of cups and they didn't have that many isotonic hydration stations......BUT at least they HAD water stations WITH water.....unlike last year!!
At the slope down with about 3km before the turn-around (10km mark) I looked at the other side where some runners were returning to the island, I spotted Deon and as always, he was making EVERYONE of the Subang running gang look BLOODY SLOW!!!!
(however he got his timing chip switched with someone Sany's and ended up being the slowest! Apparently sleep deprivation makes you switch timing chips as well)
At the turn-around point, I glanced at my watch and it was 1:00:32.
Good job, Puisan.....you ran this 10km faster than you did back in Nike Human Race!!!
I started to think that perhaps I could actually pull in a sub 2:10.....a good and respectable timing for me, in my opinion.
And then I hit the second slop on the bridge on the way back to island.
First time I had to walk.
Suddenly the tiredness hit me out of no where!
I took that walking time to down a packet of GU and water.
Glad that I bumped into Terrence again...someone to talk to.
I'm starting to think each time I "stumble" (mentally and physically) during a race, I will somehow bump into Terrence. Cue KRI's Bukit Kinding trail run!!!!
Will try NOT to bump into him in Singapore during the race....shit I'm getting superstitious!!
Then tried to pick up to the pace before the wave of fatigue hit.
It was a bit difficult to sustain it at that point......so slowed down to maintain running.
Just before the got back onto island, I bumped into Sarah!!
(Sarah is an ex-colleague and is Shanaz's sister)
Sarah's doing her very first half marathon and I must say....she's looking and running pretty well for a first ever half!
It is always nice to see familiar faces during races. Always makes me happy!
At around 5-6km remaining.....my pace was generally slower than it was at the first half, and I really REALLY felt tired.
I'd do almost anything to stop running and go sleep at that point!
And THEN......I felt like I really need to go do a number-2.
OMG....it's like I was back in Kota Kinabalu running the BIM and the tummy upset launched itself and there's nothing I could do to stop it....besides.....going to the loo, which honestly at that point of the race course, I could see no toilets!
Run....the tummy ache gets worse.....forced to walk......pain subsides......repeat in such order until reach the finish line!
Yeah yeah yeah....I know I shouldn't overeat.....but too late to cry over spilt milk!!
In other words, I walked almost the entire last 5km.
I didn't have a choice.....I just couldn't imagine myself taking a dump at the side of the road, behind some random bush!
I was so HAPPY to see the finishing line.....and sprint to the finish and then to the porta-potty queue!!!!
I did this 21km in 2:25!!!
(Upsetting.....but I can live with it....it's still faster than the Safra Army Half Marathon timing!)
I think the most shiteous part of the whole entire race was actually walking back to the car which was actually quite a distance from race site. By that time, I was THIS close to closing my eyes and dozing off right there and then.....
The BEST bits of the race:
1. The company!!! (I LOVE my Subang running peeps!!)
2. It wasn't hot.....well, it CAN'T be....it was a 3.30am start and the race was finish before the sky got bright!
3. My first 10km was faster than my last official 10km race! (who cares if the second 11km took me forever to complete! I like to compartmentalize my achievements!!!)
4. There were enough hydration stations!!!
5. The free race photo downloads....(but I've still yet to find mine as the internet connection SUCKS big time at the moment!)
6. Compression tights ROCKS!!!!
The SHIT bits of the race:
1. While the official race vest was orange.....I was stuck with a black vest!!! (odd one out as always)
2. Stomach ache last 5-6km.....I attributed this to over-eating in Penang!
3. Lack of sleep......it's a week since the race and I'm still feeling the deprivation.....(I'm NOT being overly dramatic!!!)
4. I should have gotten another pair of compression tights for post-race recovery.....(yeah...not exactly race related but it's my blog!)
5. .....I'm STILL not prepared for my next 42km in Singapore......(what?! I thought the half marathon would be a good prep for the full....but I'm just NOT feeling the preparedness yet!)
Overall.....I enjoyed the trip.
To a certain extent....I enjoyed the race as well.
Next year.....I'd like to book a room at the newly built Eastin Hotel (right next to Queensbay) to avoid the 12 midnight getting up time for the race!!!
And now......to prepare for Singapore (full!!!) Marathon.
(shit shit SHIT I'm NOT prepared!!!!)
I am looking forward to the Singapore trip though......
Oh alright......taper now until Singapore!!!!
p/s: I'm sorry for the lack of photos! Like I've said...connection has been sucky and I've postponed this race report long enough. I'll put up more pics once fast internet connection gets going again!