Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Race Report - Hatyai International Marathon

Event: Hatyai International Marathon
Date: 27 May 2012
Location: Jiranakorn Stadium, Hatyai
Distance: 42.195km (40.05km)
Registration Fee: RM50 (Full Marathon)
Gears: Adizero Aegis, Garmin Forerunner 405
Starting Time: 3.30am
Running Time: 04:29:49
Pace: 6:25 min/km

First, I would like to say this is my 4th full marathon, the first in 2012 after PBIM 2011, I was so excited and eager to produce a good result after putting in so many mileage that was not seen in 2011. From the mileage, I know how much I wanted to nail the FM. Anyhow, there is no excuse for failure, just lack of preparation or just being stubborn, ego and stupid.

At 2.40am, WJ and I gathered at the guest house lobby, thinking to hop on any tuk tuk to Jiranakorn Stadium where the starting line is. Soon, I saw Dan Low, Ewe Cheong, Steven Heng and Miow Chin were waiting at the lobby, they said want to drive there, so I went to take my car keys but seems like 2 cars were too many, so I asked the Miow Chin's permission to carpool with my super thick face skin. Luckily, she agreed.

In 15 minutes, we reached the stadium and we were set to go, but everyone gone missing and the participants were asked to gather in the track before being paraded to the starting line with a philharmonic orchestra. Never experience something like this before.

I wished everyone good luck and the race was started after counting down 'sam.... neng.... song...' then everyone just sped off. I thought I had pushed the START button on my Garmin 405 but luckily I checked on it after running 100 meters, so I quickly pushed the button and check on the running digit, it is always good to double check.

Initially, my race plan was to do a 3:59 or sub 4:15. I had the plan in my head in 10k splits like 55, 60, 60, 55 and whatever it takes in the final 2.195km.

I was running quite fast at the beginning, in 5:3X to 5:5X pace. I though that was acceptable because the target was 55 minutes for the first 10k split. I was breathing well, I could not feel any tightness in my muscles, I felt energetic and confident. We ran around the city, the quiet city for about 5km before heading to suburb.

In the beginning, there were still lamps at the road side that brightened up the race route but as soon as getting into the highway, the route was closed, no cars were seen except the official's vehicles, but I can only used on word to describe the route - DARK!!!!! My vision became poorer without any lighting, because I was running with my Adidas sunglasses, I had to take it off and it helped a little because I did not wear my specs.

I was running anxiously, I was so afraid that I could fall down or knocked something else on the way because my visible vision was only 3 meters in front of me. It was like the LSD training that we had at Batu Kawan, minus the head lamp. I was praying that we would enter the city again, which never happened.

There was a climb between km-18 and 19, I slowed down because I did not want to waste extra energy doing the climb is normal pace and suffer later. I thought I did well.

Then there was part of the route which  is slanted, it put extra pressure on my left leg and ankle, so I slowed down a little bit to ensure that I was not hurting myself badly. I still hold the breathing and everything else pretty well. I thought I'm on the way to hit my goal at the km-20.

At km-21, I took one power gel to refuel early so that I would not running out of fuel soon, after that I bumped into Deo, he was doing very well, coming from behind, I guess the negative splits must be working well for him. I just continued to run without having much problem.

If I remembered correctly, the U-turn point which is the check point was at km-25. Then, I was running facing the participants coming from behind, I could still running like normal, greeted Dan, Ewe Cheong, etc. I stopped to have some watermelon because there were no isotonic drinks served, so I took some fruits to fill in my tummy and probably get some electrolyte. Some good things don't last long, at km-30, the nightmare kicked in.

Both of my tights and calves, left and right cramped at the same time. The pain was unbearable, I could not run properly, I could feel the muscles contracted so much that made it impossible for me to run. I slowed down and stopped for a while, then I began to stride again. Unfortunately, the cramps did not go away. I knew the race to hit my goal was over. I checked on my 405 and I had to come up with Plan B.

Kenny, Dan and Ewe Cheong went past me and I just asked them to go all the way because I really could not make it already. Then, at the same time, the sun came out from nowhere and shining brutally on all the runners. I was like roasted but I cannot run. My plan was to run/walk for the next 12km, but the cramps keep coming back, it was really miserable and dreadful. I was so angry with myself, I knew I could do much better and not in this state. I told myself to remember the PAIN and every TORTURING minutes and seconds of the final 12k.

There was once I sat down on the ground doing stretching and one officer did came to ask me whether I could continue, I said it was just a cramp and I could still do it. I was thinking even I could not hit my target time, I must finish the race. I guess he knew I was hanging on, and he waited for me a few hundred meters away and gave me a big smile while chatting with his friend. At that time, he was like a waiting vulture that want to drag me on the vehicle and officially DNF me. (Sorry, no chance~!)

Although it was like hell, with my muscles totally gave up on me, with the sun keep roasting and baking me mercilessly. I took water, I used ice sponge, I drank in every water stations and I tried to run and failed, tried to walk and failed. That continued until km-40 and there was the turn back to the city or town area. My muscles improved a lil bit and I forced myself to run/walk again, luckily the cramps chose to rest at that moment.

I was fighting with the clock at the moment, I was doing the math whether I could still achieve sub-4:30. That drove me to push harder and I could sub 6 to 6 min pace to the finishing line, although I literally running beside the lorries, bikes and inhaled in all the carbon monoxide from the exhaust. I held my arm high while crossing the line, hearing the DJ announcing my name and where I came from. The official timing is 4:29:49.

This is really a bittersweet experience for me, suffered for 12km but still managed to finished in 4:30 and got no.10 in my age category. A huge encouragement for me. Unfortunately, organizer gave my trophy to someone else and I had to take him. It is just a switch.

My race summary:
  • Starting too fast undermined my race. I shall be more discipline and take more control of my own pace in future races.
  • I shall put in more LSD training with target pace.
  • I shall be more prepared, with power gels, hydration and salts.
  • PB my FM by 13 minutes and lucky to get no.10 in my 16-29 age group. (Luckily I join this year)

You could view your result here - http://results.championchip-thailand.com/hym2012/show.asp

Race Review:

  • Allow on the spot registration one day before the event.
  • Free food for all runners and non-runners. It was seemed like everyone invited to have a feast there.
  • Many water stations, plenty of water.
  • Nice gold finisher medal.
  • Many age groups and trophies encourage more runners to participate.
  • Poor route, especially those without lighting, could cause injuries to runners. Luckily the road quality in Thailand is better than Malaysia.
  • Not much of isotonic drinks served or I could not identify it.
  • No crowd due to poor route design.
For the rest of the number game and chart, please check below:


Close up view of the finisher medal and trophy.

-well done-


deo said...

Hey bro,
Did we run together for a while, in the dark? It must be you lah. You had a good pace early on, I was following you from behind for quite some time but somehow dropped a bit before the u-turn. But, it was still a good finish especially knowing your last FM was last year and the problems you had during the race. Well done bro! There'll be many more times to do sub-4!

ChoonShih said...

Hi, Deo. Yes, we did ran side by side for a while in the dark. Thank you for the encouragement, there shall be another reality check in SCKLM.