Malaysian Women's Marathon (MWM) was the brainchild of Karen Loh.
She wanted a race where women could feel like they bloody well own it and race the way they would like to....wear whatever they would want to....and most of all to feel the empowerment that comes from an all-female running event.
....and men could just putter around as volunteers and pacers.
She even went all out to invite Kathrine Switzer (the legendary!!! Google her if you still have no clue who she is....despite countless features of her in Runner's World magazine) over to our shores just for this race!!!
Honestly I wasn't prepared for this race.
I've not done a proper road race since.....
Ok if I have to think that long...then it must be a bloody long time ago.
Most likely.....since Vibram HK100.
And no....the 10km run after the bike leg in triathlons does not count.
Anyway was still rehabbing a faulty left knee. After the run leg at Penang Tri a week ago, I was back in pain.
But I figured I could surely power-walk a 7 hour "marathon"....although many people will argue that marathons are meant for running.
Then again these people most likely have never done an ultramarathon before where walking is as essential as running in efforts to complete.
The day before....somehow found myself agreeing to go cycling with the uncles.....and they somehow convinced me that I could somehow follow behind the BJCC group.
Of course I couldn't somehow "become" a cyclist that rides an average speed of 35 km/hr.....but in all optimism, I showed up......tried my darnest to follow despite being dropped within the first 10 minutes....and completed 80km ride.....and on the morning of the marathon, still feeling the quad-hammering effect of it all.
I concluded that I was the sort that was easily conned by a bunch of cycling uncles.
Woke up at 2am to prep...and left the house at 3am.....got to race venue with lotsa time to spare.
Race was held at iCity in Shah Alam.
In my mind....this place was in the middle of no where.
I've raced and returned home...and I have yet to change my mind on that notion.
The full marathon was flagged off at 4.30am...right on the dot.
I kinda left the watch at home......
I figured I'll run according to feel. If I feel good...I run. If I don't feel good....I walk.
Good plan, eh?
* Picture with Vivienne Loo.....courtesy of Andrew. Taken on pasta party day. Check out the dude's blog at http://movingonac.blogspot.com!
* Picture again courtesy of Andrew......on race morning with the ladies....Agnes, yours truly....Carol-the-terror, Pat, Lynn and Phuitin. Thanks Phuitin for the lift!
Started the race at the back of the pack....as always.....with Winnie, Joey and Carol. Plus a lot of familiar faces.
I guess I kinda miss these people since I stop racing that much. It was great to catch up and run together again.
And since Winnie brought her camera.....it was an obvious choice to run with her.
(I can't seem to find mine. Yes....it has been THAT long since I last raced!!!!)
The first 10km was a drag. I can't believe how incredibly slow the time passed.....that, or I'm terribly slow but since I refuse to believe that, I firmly stick to my believe that time felt stagnated.
Also....I was feeling really hungry by the 5th kilometer.
Too early to down a gel. But the hunger was terribly annoying.
Finally at 10km, down the gel and the remaining distance until the halfway point was a lot more pleasant.
Then I felt hungry again.
* Rupert cycling around the girls....his dream-come-true moment. Picture with Winnie, taken off Winnie's camera.
Down another gel at 20km.....but this time around, it didn't help alleviate the hunger.
Felt a burning sensation at the epigastric region of my abdomen. I need food...and I need it STAT!!!!
Tried to drown the hunger away with isotonic....but did little to help.
I popped into the nearest 24-hour McDonald's and got myself an Egg McMuffin.
Took 2 bites out of the burger before feeling queasy.
Perhaps it wasn't such a brilliant idea as when I was standing in line at McD's moments ago.
Kept the burger aside and kept on running.
* Me and my burger. I didn't finish it in the end. Sad day.....sigh. Picture from Winnie's camera.
By 28km.....I felt a regurgitation.
I bent over....I wanted to expel whatever that was remaining in my near empty stomach...but nothing would come out.
Decided it was futile to continue trying to evacuate the gastric content...and continued run/walk.
Continued until 32km.....then felt like I needed to throw up again.
Bent over.....some undigested bananas came out....and nothing else.
Again....decided I wasn't gonna be hanging around at one spot trying to vomit....and continued on.
* At the 30km mark.....12km more to go!!!!!
* Putting on a brave face at 35km marker. 7km to go....and I still felt like hurling.
I'm kinda glad in a way that the route was bloody hilly....coz I took every opportunity to walk up hill.....and trot down.
This plan of action never fails to let me down in any race!!!!!
The route heading back to iCity was incredibly boring.
Traffic was increasing. Aside from some key areas such as roundabouts where there were traffic policemen and MWM volunteers guiding traffic and runners, we were mostly left on our own.
At 38km....the bloated feel overwhelmed me and I tried vomiting again....but to no avail. Sigh.
Winnie says to give up trying to vomit as we were almost at the finish line.
Having her and Joey with me the entire way was very reassuring....and just plain lovely!
I really miss that about running races....the camaraderie.
And having Rupert cycling around us throughout the entire 42km.....and especially at the last 3km was great as well.....although I would have appreciated it more if he had brought along some food.
* At 41km mark...one more to go....and I feel like dying!!!!! With Khoo posing with the marker. Traffic after this water station was horrendous. We had to wait in front of UiTM, at the traffic lights for it to turn red before crossing over.
The knee somehow managed to hold up (yeah...prolly was walking too much that it didn't get a chance to hurt)....and somehow......I managed to finish this race.......
* Completing it hand in hand.....wit Rupert in the background....Picture courtesy of Ah Weng.
....and we finished it hand in hand.....!!!!!
Not too shabby in my opinion.
Big thanks to Winnie and Joey for the company...and the lovely photos taken off Winnie's camera.....and to all the volunteers along the way.
I think the volunteers themselves made this race super special.
There has to be something really endearing about a running race organized by passionate runners....supported by runners....and hyper-fueled with passion for the running community.
* Us hugging the race director....Winnie, Karen, Phuitin and Lynn.
* Rupert and Joey getting into the picture as well!
* Me with my dog-tag finisher's "medal". Above three photos taken off Winnie's camera.
* With Carol-the-terror who had a position in her category....she'll be enjoying a year's supple of free magazines. Picture courtesy of Victor.
* With Iron-mama....picture by her. Just wanna show off my pink shirt :)
In a nutshell...I enjoyed this race more than I thought I would.
But before we rave on the stuff that I loved and adored about this event.....let's not forget it was not without fault....
The traffic control was poor at many parts of the route.....certain areas of the route were not well lit and could possibly be dangerous.....route was boring....iCity has terrible (not to mention overpriced) parking system......and I attempted to vomit many times but failed in an epic scale.
The good bits.....small crowd.....FANTASTIC volunteers.....lotsa water and isotonic at hydration stations.....adequate distance markers.....lovely finisher's T....cute dog-tag as finisher's medal....Carol's gonna be buying me lunch coz she won.....Winnie and Joey.....Winnie's camera....lotsa photos of me (I'm being thoroughly honest!)....and met a lot of my running friends.
And now....am gonna go back to rehabbing the knee....until my next race at Bidor Half Marathon!!!!