Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Race Report - Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon

Event: Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2012
Date: 24 June 2012
Location: Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur
Distance: 42.195km (41.96km)
Registration Fee: RM63 (Men Open)
Gears: Adizero Aegis, Garmin Forerunner 405
Starting Time: 4.30am
Running Time: 04:04:59
Pace: 5:50 min/km

It was a packed weekend, I waited for Woei Jye for him to be eliminated from the quarter final of Seagate Futsal Tournament 2012. I spent a few hours there watching futsal, yelling, supporting and even instructing some of the players, I wonder who did entertain me? I did not play futsal for quite some time already, could not find enough players, what a LAME excuse but I also have to attend CQE for the many many Saturdays to come. Kicked the ball carefully with my Asics DS-Trainer, because it is not made for this purpose, don't want to risk losing it too soon. It is damn expensive shoes.

We took off from Auto City around 3 something in the afternoon, had to have the McD lunch in the car, then all the way to Kuala Lumpur. The haze actually improved from northern Malaysia to Ipoh, Tapah, Rawang, then Kuala Lumpur. It was the best blue sky that I had ever seen in weeks.

Switched on the Waze (iPhone Apps) to navigate us to Kasturi Walk and it almost drove us crazy with its 'moody' instructions. Luckily, after twist and turn, we got to the Kasturi Walk @ Jalan Hang Kasturi. We saw GEO Hotel but there was no sign of our pre-booked Palmmers Guest House. It must be somewhere. Not a good idea to search while driving so we bought a sleep spot (parking bay) for my car under GEO Hotel that cost me RM15 per entry. Wow.... my bed in the dorm only cost me RM20 only. What the hell...

WJ called the guest house and we were able to find it as soon as we saw the CIMB Bank. Put everything in order and it was already quarter past 7:30pm. We got out to makan or in fancy phrase 'carbo-loading'. Since my stomach was not in good condition, I just took a few drinks and one wantan mee. Taken much less food compared to Hatyai Marathon.  Then, we walked around Petaling Street and balik tidur.

At 3:00am, my alarm rang and WJ was awakened as well. I tried not to make as much noise as I could because I know there was on Japanese guy sleeping below me, on the double-decker. Some how, the strange annoying noise from the aging double-decker just could not stop. I could not do much thing about it as well. WJ and I had breakfast at the pantry area, he had a pretty handsome breakie, just chocolate laa.... a few bananas and Milo (how he could shovel everything into his stomach?!!! he was just doing 21k) but I was too worry about my stomach, so just a few chocolate cookies and one 3-in-1 Nescafe + Milo. Of course, we spent some time applying Sloan and Counterpain as well. Not forget to mention, I cleared my bowel twice after the breakfast.

Watched Spain vs France for a few minutes while putting on my socks and we were set to go at 4.00am. We were not familiar with the road to Dataran Merdeka and we just follow what the Palmmers caretaker told us. Luckily we bumped into other participants and we just tailed them. It was really not far away, I would say like a few hundred meters from the guest house. hmm... can KIV for future races.

As we were walking from one end to the other end, to make it to the starting line, I meet Dan who was already inside the barricaded area, did not see other familiar faces, or I was too nervous because I was still worrying that my stomach would give me problems during the race.

WJ helped Dan and I took a few photos (LLC gang) and also with Dan's friends, Dr.Tham. Did not get chance to know him well but I', sure we will meet again. Dan was talking about strategy and target for this race, he suggested that negative split is what he wanted. I echoed. He asked about my target time, actually I hesitated to answer but I told him "4:15". Dr.Tham asked me the same question, of course I gave the same answer. By that time, I've programmed my mind on the 4:15. Dr.Tham was planning to do 5:20 until km-30, wow.... I could not afford that since the incident I had in Hatyai.

The race started at 4:32 (my Garmin time) and we wish each other good luck. It was like a carnival, many full marathon participants, of course it made everything harder to overtake or maintain the pace. I tried to follow my race plan to do 6:00 to 6:15 pace for the first few km. I guess the traumatic nightmare really taught me a lesson.


Without any sign, I found myself doing sub-6 in km-2 and 3 already and I had to consciously slow myself down so that I can reserve some energy for km-25 to km-35, the route that I think I could put myself in faster pace and make up the buffer for the killer elevations at km-36 onwards.

Dan came from behind and told me that it is very seldom to see my so discipline in this pace at this time, I think that was only km-5 or so. Actually I had the urge to go faster but I just want to execute the race plan. We paced for a while before he left to fill up his bottle and I went off at km-8. Crossed the 10km mark at 57min50sec, not bad, not too fast, not too slow.

I thought I should conserve more energy for km-25 to km-34 but since the route seems easy, I let myself went to higher but comfortable pace and crossed the 20km mark in 1:54. The first single negative split, I took the positives and moved on. Luckily there was no alarm from my stomach.

I was looking for banana but I did not see it, I thought it should be around km-20 or 21, but I was told later that it was at km-16. (I'm confused but whatever... I survived) I took one power gel to ensure that I have the power to move on in km-25 onwards. Although I want to tie every km with the road/street name but I just don't familiar with KL routes.

I remembered correctly that power gel would be distributed in km-30 so I hang on. I tried to execute the race plan to buy myself time for the last 7km but it seemed to be lack of something, maybe the bananas. Besides, the hilly route was killing me softly and repeatedly, I thought the km-25 to km-34 should be flat? but it turned out to be not exactly flat. Maybe it was flat but I was the one that was drained out, I'm not sure.

By km-30, power gel was the life savior. The volunteer told the participants that all packaged was opened and I sucked on one end and there was nothing. I looked at it and pressed it, it leaked from the bottom, why there is no one telling me that it was opened at the bottom? or the orientation that it was passed to me was incorrect? Wasted a little gel, I quickly sucked on it like I had not been eating for weeks. Mentally, I sucked it but I did not feel the energy physically how sad.

However, I was telling myself and congratulating myself for completing the km-30 without cramps. After that, it was like walking on thin ice, I could feel something in happening or building up slowly on my tights. I had to run carefully, not to trigger that monster. I was hesitant whether I should go thru the water shower which I did eventually, luckily nothing happen.

At km-35, I knew I had hills to climb, I still remember how I suffered badly during my SCKLM 2011. I gobbled down the second and final power gel that in my Nathan Trek. Still... I felt nothing, maybe the tiredness had kicked in and the gel was too late to help. I checked my Garmin 405, 3:20 at km-35. Automatic calculation done inside my head telling me that it was possible to do 7km x < 6 min pace.

It was like an adrenaline injection, I started to climb the hilly route with small strides and higher cadence, because the monster was still inside my tight. I managed to hold on until km-37, the monster had been awaken, the brutal cramp kicked in again. I had to stopped before it turned worse and did some stretching to relieve the tightness. Time flies and I just managed to walk for a few hundred meters again before I started to run again, you can see that my pace dropped to 7min+ in the Garmin data, sigh.... At that time, my eyesight was like a flash gun, everything in front of me was like flashing (not a good sign but nothing serious as well.) I know the sub-4 was no loner exist once I stopped to walk, but I still can do the best that I could.

Once I saw the medical tent, I just called them even I ran in walking pace past them "medic medic" and I pointed at my tight and asked them to spray on it. Good news, there was medic team. Bad news, sprays does not help cramps. At km-40, the slope U-turn, I made it and on the way down, I asked for spray again, I just hope that it will work the magic.

At that point of time, I was taking 1 km at a time. The full marathoners joined all the runners from other categories. I had to run zig-zag to avoid collision with slower runners. I hate that, I hope that they can make way for full marathoners... but they pay for it as well... what can I say? I had to run zig-zag some times to maintain the pace because I'm not sure what would happen if I slow down.

I could hear the crowd cheering, I heard people yelling Batu Kawan runners... I took down my eyewears, held my arms high for the photographers by Kwang Leng, LLC yellow captain. Then, I increase my pace ran towards the finishing line and crossed it at 4:04:59 (my Garmin time). I was delighted although I did not make a sub-4. It is another PB for me, in this difficult route with many killer slopes. WJ took a few photos for me and I walked to collect my finisher-T and finisher medal.

Then, it was all about taking photographs  :P

My Race Summary:
  • Starting slow help me to complete the race in strong mode, but not entirely strong because still suffering from mild cramps on the hills.
  • Full marathon stretched target of sub-4:15 is achieved in SCKLM 2012 in 4:05.
  • Stretched myself a little bit over or very much over, because my tights are killing me now. My ankles are painful too. My body was not trained for this hilly route + target time. (Will talk about this in a post later on)
  • Ran the last 12km with my mind rather than using the body.
  • Worn the HRM for the first time in full marathon as precaution but never look at it because I think my heart was doing well during the race.
You can review my Garmin Connect data here or http://connect.garmin.com/activity/192158804.

Race Review:

  • Nice crowd control by separating the participant in different starting point and time.
  • Plenty of water stations and a lot of isotonic water, bananas (although I did not see it) and power gel.
  • Dedicated finishing lane for full marathoners. Smooth finisher T and medal distribution.
  • Many helpful St.John members, running towards runners just to spray.
  • Good race information provided in booklet. Great baggage deposit as well.
  • No ice-cold sponge at the sponge station, could have done it without much hassle. 
  • No gold medal for full marathon finishers. I think all the full marathon event organizers shall consider this because it is not easy to do a FM. (Maybe I'm barking at the wrong door, but a GOLD medal is good to have :P)
  • Slow paramedic. I saw one uncle falling down and people were shouting for medic but it took 8-10 minutes (rough estimation) for the paramedic to help. (I think should send them to train for at least HM as well)
  • Late announcement of the shuttle service. If the announcement or decision could be reached earlier during the race registration (not until days to race day), many runners could have arrange for better transportation method. Greener environment.
I was talking to WJ about how long is 42km?! 21km is good, I could go faster and finish faster, but sometimes we just want to take things to the higher level. Let's see what I will do next year at SCKLM 2013.

Until then, bye.

++Well Done++


Deo said...

Congrats for the PB! Just enjoy your marathons, keep on with trainings and soon you'll be doing sub 4hrs. :)

ChoonShih said...

Thank you, Deo.