Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Laguna Phuket Marathon - 10th June 2012


Disclaimer: Yes....it's a wee bit late....but better late than never, I'd say!!!!!


Definitely my come back marathon...
Roughly did my mental calculations while waiting for the photos to upload onto blogger, this should be (more or less) my 21st full (and beyond) marathon.

Nothing to shout about....but should at least keep a tally from now onwards.
Perhaps once I reach the proverbial "100th marathon", I'd chuck in the towel and call it a day towards my running retirement.
.....in after thoughts, perhaps I should start the slow down right about now considering there are many many MANY more races ahead, I'm sure.
That, or chuck marathons for triathlons and start calculating ultras are a whole separate entity (it does deserve that much, come to think of it).

Anyway....back to task at hand...

Arrived in Phuket right about lunch time on Saturday, just before race day.
News of continuous rain, thunderstorms and occasional (but increasing in its frequency) flooding around Patong region.
Well....I'm definitely taking it as good news.
Despite the heat acclimatization of Bikram Yoga (which by the way, I've decided I'm not meant for heat, period...but sticking on with it due to sheer hard-necked determination)....I'd rather a cool-weathered race over a sunny one any day!!!!

Arrived at Laguna, and it was all sunny and nice.
Race kit collection was a breeze....and as expected, goodie bag's content was sparse and Ms. Thailand was on a roll!

Free lunch (especially since mom and dad did a brilliant job at raising a thick-skinned child) at the so-called expo then back to the hotel.

Found out later at the carbo-loading dinner that this year, only 4000-ish runners registered to participate in the 2012 event.
Considering it also had a half-marathon, a 10km and a fun run in its line up...4000-ish is....kinda disappointing if I were on the organizing committee...

Anyway.....


Pre-race:

Woke up at local time of 3.15am....
Race scheduled to start at 4.30am.
4 people getting ready with the availability of ONE bathroom.....
By 4:10am, ALL of us were ready and got out the door....
By 4:20am, we were at race site.
A little close shave of a start.....but no point lingering in the humidity, I'd say.


0km-5km:

I don't know about you....but this stretch of a race....I hate.
Why?
Internally I'm still asleep.
My coffee hasn't kicked in yet.
Its too dark and it is difficult to perve on the cute guy running in front of you.
Warm ups are always annoying.
Yeah...that sorta thing.
The sky was littered with stars.....and I had some inkling that it was gonna be a clear blue sky with the sun shining down our backs relentlessly at the last 15km.
Dannie and Carrie said to run with.
They were aiming for 6 hours.
But honestly, the first 5km....Dannie set a rather fast pace.
He said we needed to outrun the sun.
I think he also said the same thing to us same race last year.


* Khoo running...

* Mike running....

* Dannie and Carrie at water stop...

* Vivienne running with injury....


5km-10km:

Almost hit the plantation roads.
Undulating terrain but it was less humid with trees everywhere on your left and right.
Occasional smell of something dead...but, kinda expected it.
Coffee finally kicked in.
Found my running rhythm.
Still thought Dannie was setting a rather fast pace for a 6-ish marathon.
But of course, we don't complain.
Always good to follow the pacer.
Ran in a group of 4.....Dannie pacing Carrie, yours truly and Vivienne.
The sky slowly turned a slightly shade of blue.
Any minute now, the sun would rise.
God....bring on the rain clouds!!!!

* Lai running....

* Roy running....


10km-15km:

Out of the woods....well, sort of.
Finally there was light and we could see where we were going.
Somewhere before 13km, we lost Dannie and Carrie.
So it was just me and Vivienne.

I remembered the roads.
It seemed familiar....
I guess the route didn't change from the year before.
We're heading towards the beach.

Had my first GU-gel....
Kinda needed it as I felt a tad hungry.
Roads were kinda cambered.....dammit!






15km-20km:

I know I can physically last 20km.
I'm hoping to physically make it to 32km, to be honest....and let everything else be a mental challenge.
Legs still feel alright.
...which is good.....considering once they do NOT feel alright, things would subsequently go downhill quickly after.

We did quite a bit of stops here and there prior to 20km.
Well...what can I say...the Sirinath National Park is damn interesting compared to the rest of the route scenery.
I'd love to report that it was damn interesting BECAUSE of some half naked, buffed up, young Brad Pitt look-alike....(or many topless bikini babes if that's your thing...) but unfortunately it was onlyinteresting because of the view...
Y'know.....the old fashion take-picture-of-lovely-view sorta thing.

* Sirinath National Park, y'all!!!

* Smell the sea!!!

* We did similar pose same place last year....





20km-25km:

Ok....now I'm tired.
Started popping GU chomps.
Well...it didn't exactly give me the oomph to continue slogging it out as I would have hoped.
But it did take away the monotony of having nothing to chew on in my mouth.

The route took us back to the same ones that had lead us to the national park.
The temperature already felt warmer.....
And did I mention I was already tired?
Ok so it served me right to only have trained until 20km prior to my arrival to Phuket.

Oh..did I mentioned that the roads (at least the majority of the route) were cambered.
Not just cambered but severely cambered!!!
That kinda made my knees hurt.
Then my ankles hurt....

* Onn running...

* Camwhoring with Sandy...

* More GU chomps, please!

* Remnants from the heavy rain the night before...


25km-30km:

We are now in......well, I'm sure we were very much still in Phuket....but the turn off into the rubber estates and then roads that have trees and other green stuff lined it on both sides.

At this point, I was very keen to walk the entire way back.
I mean....its only like another 10-15km more anyway.
Walking is doable.

But I'm not a big fan of being sunburnt during a race.....

Vivienne started to have pain down her right leg....and we walked....
I was tired.....and we walked....
We walked....a lot!

* Winnie and friend, running...


30km-35km:

Found Dannie and Carrie again.....
Dannie says to take a break and have some Pepsi.
Well...I'm all for taking a break.

All four of us (Dannie, Carrie, Vivienne and yours truly...) went into the shop and sat down with 4 cups of ice cold Pepsi in front of us.

The longer I sit...the more I don't want to continue running....but it's less than 10km more to go.
And the weather is now cool and cloudy.
However deep down, I'm drained.
Shit drained.....so drained that I might seriously consider hopping onto the sweeper bus if there actually was one right behind me now!

Reluctantly, I hauled myself up to get going once the Pepsi was safely in the vicinity of my GI system.
Dannie was not gonna let me get on the freakin bus......if there was one.

So run/walk we did.
As we run/walk....the sky became gloomier and darker....the wind slightly stronger...

Before 35km mark....a gust of wind blew at us....almost taking with it my cap!!!
We were all trying to run faster to beat the rain clouds...but of course that would never work.
That only works in the cartoon-world....or perhaps Hollywood....

Then it poured.
Not light-rain-falling-on-my-head sorta thing...but real pouring of huge rain drops!!!!

Well..the good thing was....it was exactly what I had prayed for.
(if only I'd had prayed for the winning lottery number...)
And it was cooling...and windy.....
Perfect sorta weather when you're worn out, tired and ready to give up.


* Carrie and Kim Lai.....in front of the shop that we had our sit down Pepsi session...


* Post Pepsi....found Uncle Chew running....

* Jen, EeWey and some dude running....

* Elaine running....

* Yes it is getting dark.....very very dark and worrying!!!!!


* Running faster.....gotta beat the rain!!!!

* EeWey running....it has already begin raining...

* Hold on to your hats...the wind is gonna blow it off!!!!

* The heavy rain stopped after about 20 minutes.....
You can literally see the heavy clouds part and the sun slowly seeping through...

* Camwhoring with Jen when the rain stopped...


35km-42km:

Final stretch.
I'm tired.
Kinda wet.
Shoes already soaked.
And we weren't back yet.
Sigh.

Vivienne was having intermittent cramps and pain down her affected leg.

I was having cramps and pain....well, everywhere!!!

But it's the final stretch....a little bit more and we're done.
Bloody non-existent sweeper bus.....

The sun is now out.
It's suddenly warm and sunny again.
Weather was kinda bipolar that way.
I see patches of rain clouds and dark skies ahead..but right above us...clear blue sky.
Sigh.

Somewhere along the way....it started to drizzle again.
Then about 5 minutes later...it stopped and the sun blazing down on us.....repeat that a couple of times until we reached Laguna resort.

I did mention that the weather was going all bipolar on us....
Might as well....I feel kinda like that......

The last 2km were horrendous.
So close...yet so far...
I can no longer feel my lower half of my body.
I'm in pain...I'm hungry.....I am tired......get me outta here!!!!!

1km more to go......
Anytime soon.....keep running...
Everyone was running now....
Almost there.....just a little bit more....
Why does my quads hurt so much!?!?!?!
Ignore the pain....
Almost there....

And we reached....in 6:10.....
Oh well.....I did say it was my comeback right!?!?!?!?


* Elaine with her new friend.
The dude is pretty popular, according to him.
His name card has a website and post race, we kinda checked him out...and he's like EVERYWHERE!!!!!
Check it out.

* Long, sunny, boring and painful stretch....

* I've never been so happy to see this sign...ever!!!!!

* Back in Laguna....with only 1km more to go......
I just want it to be done right about NOW!!!!

* Almost there...almost there.....bloody hell, where is the freakin finishing line!?!?!?!

* ....and we're done!!!!

* Oohhhh....I love a post-race massage!!!

* Yay....survived....got back in 6:10, stupid...foolish...and undertrained self....big pat on the back for being such an idiot!!!!!


Now...where is my ice bath!?!?!


Later!!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon (SCKLM) 2012 - 24th June 2012


Its about 6am in the morning.....
I'm somewhere along Jalan Loke Yew....
And I'm dying on the inside.

No joke.....this was a damn fast pace and I didn't quite expect to be running that fast at that point of the race.
In fact...I wasn't expecting to be running fast at all!!!!!

It's around 14km in and I've just passed the water station and grabbed a sponge off the volunteer.
Drats...it's not cold.
I want it cold!!!!!
Alright...so I'm tired...sleepy...exhausted....and highly irritable.

My legs were already fatigued and I was constantly asking myself what the fuck am I doing here in the middle of KL this early on a Sunday morning, trying my darnest to keep up with this nimble "matured" lady who was trying to cross the finish line in 4:30.
What the hell was I thinking?!?!?!?!

Rewind 1.5 hours back....we were at the starting corral waiting for the race to start.
I turned to Carol and told her......take me to 20km.
I will follow whatever pace you set.....just take me 20km and drop me then.
Puzzlement was etched on her face....don't be silly....we'll try and finish this together.

......thank goodness I was a tad more realistic.

From the get go.....the pace was fast.
I didn't need to glance at my Garmin to confirm what I already knew....we were running fast.
So fast that by 10km....Garmin said I was 1:05 in.....
So fast that after we passed the 10km mark, the 4:30 pacer was pacing us.

Shit....this ain't good.
I wasn't gonna be able to keep up for long.
But I did mention 20km.....and Carol would not let me take my words back.
Damn....I was gonna hang on for 20km.....do or die.

And hang on I did!!!!

By the time we hit Jalan Tun Razak...no amount of 2nd Surge was gonna help these quads keep up with Carol.
But it was not 20km yet.
I was still gonna keep her in sight.

* Everyone a happy camper before the start of the race.

* With Jeff, the 4:30 pacer.....I did say Carol was fast!

* Lawrence Leong...YOU created a running monster!!!!!

* When Seow Ping overtakes you and tell you that you're running fast....then yes....believe her...you are!!!!

* Right after our porta-potty pitstop.....freakin impressed that it was fully stoked with toilet paper and didn't smell like the insides of your large bowels!

* Tony on the bike....

* Carol at the 20km mark.....just before she sped off.....I did mention that Lawrence Leong created a running monster, right?!?!


By the time I turned into Jalan Bukit Bintang....Carol was too far in front to try to keep up with.
And thankfully it was past 20km.
Garmin says 2:10.
Wow.
I could sub-5 if I really really wanted to.
Of course, come cooperation from my lower limbs would have made sub-5 much more feasible.
But they weren't having any of it.
In fact they hated me for trying to keep up with Carol.
By the time I was at 22km.....my quads hated me.....my left ankle despise the very fact that I'm alive and running.....my glutes just wanna strangle the life outta me.
This ain't good.

At 23km.....found Syerol manning the Tadonamo stand.....
He handed me a bottle of EFS......and told me to try it and blog about it later.
I took it gladly....I was out of gels....and perhaps this might subdue the crossfire between my lower limbs and I.


* Syerol at the Tadonamo stand.....I didn't get the name of the other guy. I'm quite sure Syerol mentioned....but with my legs screaming so loudly....the brain probably didn't hear it!

* Found Izuan......gosh was I glad to have bumped into you!!!

* Passing the General Hospital of Kuala Lumpur, just before running across the Jalan Pahang roundabout where we were greeted by hordes of honking cars and ignorant drivers. Was freakin tempted to give them the one finger salute.


Somewhere along Jalan Tun Razak....I bumped into Izuan.
He looked tired.
I was ecstatic to have someone to talk to!!!!
Running alone just bored the shit outta me.
(I've been told to shut the hell up before at a City to Surf Perth Marathon 2010 before......yes, apparently I can be that annoying)

So along we ran and tried to motivate each other.

Then Garmin gave up on me at around 27km.
Sigh.
Alright...it was my fault...I should have charged it the night before.

Jalan Ipoh stretch was an absolute blur.
Someone handed me some gel just before 30km mark and it tasted damn good.
The EFS....well, I'll blog about that another day.
It deserves its own blog post.

* Along Jalan Ipoh......

* Khoo and his kids out to support!!!

* .....*......and 13km is a long long way to go!!!!!

* Damn tasty gel!!!!! Almost made me turned back to grab another!!!!!

* Yay.....ONLY 12 more to go....


At about 32km mark....Nik ran past us and said, C'mon...can still sub-5.
I looked at Izuan...and he back at me.....and we both went, nah!

Less than 30 seconds after Nik passed us......someone yelled, Doctor...I can't breathe....I need mouth to mouth resuscitation!!!
And I see the 5-hour pacer balloon tied around the waist of Malcolm, with his "entourage" running past us.

Yes the thought did cross my mind.
But...nah!
I was too tired to keep up.

I kept telling myself....4km to Kak June....4km to Kak June.....
It wasn't that far.

My running pace was then pathetic....and the walking intermissions were shamefully aplenty.
The sun was already up and the heat was increasing substantially.

4km to Kak June...4km to Kak June.


* Nik ran past us...she did sub-5 eventually!
See...that's the difference between Ironman-in-training.....and leisure-running-blogger!


At Jalan Kuching.....we were next to the highway.
Cars were everywhere.....and thankfully runners got their own "privileged" lane.
Its good to know that you're back home in KL when you inhale in that ever familiar exhaust fumes.
Oh...not to mention the incessant honking of cars stuck in standstill.
At least there's something to listen to if your iPod ran out of battery....and you don't want to listen to me talk about nonsense.

At 35km.....found James Tee....and his kids handing out food and drinks.

At 36km....back at Bukit Tunku....ever familiar...ever annoying.....

Found Kak June and gang.
Gulp down a cup of ice cold Coke....took lotsa pictures....and we marched on.

6km more to go.
Not that much really....but at this point and at our current state.....that seems like forever.

Ran a bit....walked a bit.....bullshit a lot.....continue trudging along.

* Found Maybel just before 35km....or rather she found me!!!

* James and his cola-flavoured ice cream!

* The Almighty Kak June!

* KD out to support....although I reckon she should be running.....

* Syah handing out ice cold Coke!!!!!


* Almost there!!!!!

* .....yes....almost there!!!!


By the time we got to the turning at Bank Negara....I was ready to walk the entire way back.

3km more to go.

My quads felt empty.
My gastrocnemius was on the verge of cramping.
My left ankle had already went into sulking mode since Carol dropped me.
Things ain't looking rosy but its 3km more.

At Jalan Raja Laut....2km more to go.

I really wanted to run.
I asked Izuan if we could still sub-5.
No go....it was 4:55 and with 2km more and with one of our body parts threatening to cramp at a drop of a hat's notice....we weren't gonna make it.


* The ridiculous turn to the left....

* A bit more.....


Shuffled along we did.....painfully so.....and ever so slowly.
We passed plenty of halfies and 10-ers walking...some shuffling at our pace....some slower.....everyone determined to make it back.

By the time we got to Jalan TAR.....1km to go.

It was already past 5 hours.
I really wanted to run.
My legs were having none of it.
In my head, profanities were thrown around and internally I was caught in crossfire between my legs and my head.

My head told me to run...and run hard....finishing line was just right ahead.
My legs told my head to fuck off.
I don't blame my legs.
But I just wanted this to be over.
And I wanted to at least sub 5:30.
If not.....all that fatigue from chasing Carol for 20km earlier on would be an absolute waste!

Finishing line 500m in front....I could hear the crowd screaming.....I could see my friends cheering.....I could see photogs lined the street....
My head decided that it was in fact in (somewhat) control of my legs and vetoed that it was gonna carry me to the finishing line and in a jiffy!

Miraculously....my legs did not protest.
I guess they sorta knew that the faster we cross the finishing line....the faster they can STOP running.

And we ran.....we ran hard....we ran fast.....
I hear screaming...I hear cheering.....I see cameras flashing....and I feel the adrenaline surging....
....and we cross the finish line....5:13......

I looked at Izuan....we did it!!!
We bloody hell finished what we've started.
And we did it in pretty decent timing!!!!

* Oooh....I see the finishing line!!!

* Oooh...I see it too....but I really needed to camwhore!!!!!

* Yay!!!!!! We're here!!!!!!

* Oooh...big pat on our backs!!!

* Collecting our medals and finisher T-shirts....

* Found brader who just completed his 10-k!

* Yup...she did make it back in 4:30 (PB alert, y'all!!!!).....and it is and always will be Lawrence's fault!!!!



I was elated....
Tired, yes....but extremely elated.
I guess my legs were happy too....they didn't exactly collapse under my weight upon crossing the finishing line.

Anyway...on the drive back, Carol told me that she had run a whole lot faster during the initial 20km coz she thought it was just too slow for me. Apparently I looked too serene during the race.
(Have taken note....will work on the facial expression during race)

This weekend.....we're heading up to Ipoh for the half marathon.

Carol says we're gonna take it easy and run at a gossiping pace.
I've learnt my lesson...and will stock up on the 2nd Surge and hang on to to her heels for dear life!!!!


Later!!!!