Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Race Report - Sungai Petani Half Marathon 2012

Date: 01 September 2012
Location: Dataran Zero/Jam Besar, Sungai Petani
Distance: 21 km (20.69 km)
Bib No.: (It was not my number, so forget about it)
Registration Fee: RM35
Gears: Brooks Pure Connect, Garmin Forerunner 405
Starting Time: 7.00am
Running Time: 01:59:17
Pace: 5:46 min/km

Wifey and I departed from home around 5:15am by following the direction given by Jincent Yeoh, who lives in Sungai Petani. It was not that difficult to reach the destination but the traffic lights was not tally to what I was being informed. Anyway, we got there around 6:15am. I asked WJ to collect my bib for me because I knew that I was going late.

As soon we saw the signature landmark, the clock tower, I already start looking for parking lot, luckily I was be able to see one, although an illegal one but I just parked my car there. My guess was the police officers were not going to issue 'saman' at this type of event day, which parking lot became scarce if you are a late comer.

Looking for WJ to get my bib. I sent him the printscreen of my confirmation email with the bib number but I did not see him but only other Cari Runners like Kenny, KFC, Chan, etc. It was chaotic at the registration/enquiry counter. I was being told that race day bib collection time was due at 5:30am. Wow.... unbelievable. I finally saw WJ and got the bib, it was not the my original bib number. I was told that the organizer already messed up the whole thing, as long as you have a bib and ribbon, you're entitled for a finisher medal. Another O.o from me.

Later on, saw Dan Low and Dr.Tham, we took a few photos together. Dr.Tham's family was there too. The participants were scattering around the clock tower and there was no one organizing or coordinating the crowd.

By 6:56am, the race started. Talking about the starting time, it was another mind-blowing change. It was announced to the runners a couple days before the race day that the starting time would be changed from 5:30am to 6:45am. Another WOW from me, because even a moderate runner that could finish 21km in 2 hours would means 8:45am. The sun rises around 7am and potentially the heat would make everything more difficult.

Anyhow, I told WJ that I only have 2 targets. First is to finish the race in one piece, had a terrible experience in MPSP Larian Hijau. Second is to finish in front of him. LOL....

I started at the back, took it easy. Tried to control at 5:15 km/min pace. I was doing fine, however, I was going at slight below 5:00 pace, I double confirmed and adjusted a bit. I think it was due to the traffic overtaking runs, overtook Dan Low and Sam Khong in km-2, not showing off but just trying to maintain a good pace according to my fitness and condition.

I could see WJ at 100m in front of me and my spirit to achieve my target fired me up. I was catching up slowly and I think he started a little too quick and his pace was not quite stable. I ran past him between km-3 and km-4. Everything was still fine, heart was not feeling the pressure, keep running in easy pace.

Saw a few runners making U-turn already, wow.... they're fast, but I did not care much, I just want to finish in one piece, because I hardly patched myself in one piece again in the last 6 days. Saw KFC, Dr.Tham, etc... greeted them and applauded them.

The first water station was at km-6.5, I grabbed a cup and continued to run. Pace was consistent around 5:15 +/- 5 seconds. I was expecting another water station at km-10 but there was none. I just kept running, trying to be more positive, because I still carried my Nathan Trek, but I wanted a pure water station so that I could gobble down my gel to power me up.

Luckily the weather was forgiving, sun was hiding behind the clouds, else it would be a live human BBQ already. Time stalled and finally I saw the second water station, around km-14. I started to question the water station arrangement because I was told by Dr.Tham that it was 5, 10 and 15, but it wasn't.

Drank 2-3 cups of isotonic drinks and finished my gel. Maybe the gel came in too late, I only ran for another 2 km before I decided to stop, I could feel the fatigue and the heart was pumping fast. I stopped to walk at km-16. I told myself that I need to finish in one piece, no injuries are allowed because I still have 2 FM's to go back-to-back in the next 2 weeks.

I took my own sweet time, look see look see around, although all just kampung area. I saw one Malay stall was open, so I bought 2 cans of Revive. I finished one can in 200m walk and I was like too heavy to run already. I held another can on my hand, hoping to offer it to runners that I know who was catching up from behind.

After walking for quite some time, finally I saw Hu Diong Young at km-17 or 18, offered him and he took a couple of sips before smoking me.... anyway, I don't care, but what to do with the opened can? I could not run with it, so I mixed it with the salt water that I had in my Nathan.

On the way, there was a runner asking for water, so I just passed my Nathan bottle to him, twice, because I was tracking him. At one point, I just stopped, resumed my walking again.

Until km-19 or so, finally there was another water station. Inside my head.... WTH.... you placed a water station at 1.5km towards the finishing line? What's the problem? I was checking my time, a sub-2 was a reasonable good result for me. I just tried to run towards the finishing line for the remaining distance.

I could see the clock tower and finally I was in the same road that we started. Saw Uncle Alex Ong at the front, taking photos, held my arm high because it was not an easy race for me. Then, I ran past wifey, who was still busy setting up the camera. I slowed down to call her but she was still blur blur, but it was good to have her accompany me in running events.

Put on another pose for Dr.Tham, who finished 10th in his category. Well done.

Crossing the invisible finishing line at 01:59:17, well.... sub-2. Taking a few photos with friends before joining my SP friend for dim sum breakfast. Besides, met my blog follower, I was in hurry and no time for a chit-chat, paiseh nia.... I still don't know your name, please let me know so that I can greet you next time.

Race Summary:
  • Run with good pace until km-15. Satisfied with a sub-2 result because the 21km from previous week was much worse.
  • Finished in front of WJ < 2 minutes, he almost did the sub-2. Maybe he did not realize it at the final few KMs.
Garmin Data:

Race Review:

  • Errr.... let me think. Nice place to run.
  • Chaotic bib collection. Should have a more systematic way to distributing the bib to participants.
  • Late starting time. 5am is the best and 6am is still acceptable. 6:45am is a NO-NO.
  • Bad water station arrangement. km-6, 14 and 19? It could be easily better.
  • Not enough water for slow runners. Come on... basic things, you always need to have sufficient water for all runners.
  • Bad traffic coordinating. Stop runners to let cars move? Err.... I did not experience it but I had to run across the road on my own risk.
  • Lack of coordinator at finishing line. Where to get hamper? I did not know. Where is the finishing line? I did not know. Where to get the medal? I did not know. Should have assign someone there.
  • Lack of water/beverages at the finishing line. Milo was finished very soon, not even enough for 2:30 runners.
Bad, bad, bad.... hopefully the organizer could improve next year. Since the organizer already apologized for the shortcomings, hope for a better event next time.


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