Tuesday, March 30, 2010

World without strangers

Wow! This is a delayed entry. After ENR, I spent my Sunday on a wedding road trip down south - even worse, it was a day trip. Two nights of body-aching bustles demanded for a double somersault on to the bed. So, I ended myself into zombie land for another day. It's either Zombie by The Cranberries or Zombie Kampung Pisang - your choice. I'd pick the latter considering I need all the humor in the world to rationalise my thoughts :)

My marathon story was non-the-less fiction but I took it as another social obligation achievement. I clocked 5:21, nothing to be pleased of which I overshot half an hour from my first. It was nothing skeptical when I knew I couldn't give more that I can at the last 7km. However, the friends and all other passionate runners that made the event livelier took my heart out. It was not just familiar faces but people that I see almost everyday from blogs and not forgetting a long lost buddy - bro Chot manning the Powerbar booth. The power of words works wonders.

Nizam and me arrived early so as to venture ourselves into the venue. Nobody we knew were there except for fellow CAR and I came across Crushio for a quick handshake and exchanging wishes. In fact we met a few more times on the race route and at the end of the event. All quick one. Thumbs-up bro. You never fail calling my name :)

Only at the starting line that everything went extra ordinary. Crowd was not that huge but it was full enough with passionate and friendly people. I almost felt like it was a fun run. It seemed everybody took it easy, no tense faces, no race faces just laughter and photo-post. There we were chit chatting - Shuk, Nizam, Nik, Ian, Kash, Syah, Haza, Doc Julin & Hubby, Azmar, Syeikh Jamil, Mo Bahir, Hailmi and lots more CARs. Perhaps it was the evening and bright day that made the start cheerful compare to a typical morning marathon flag-off.

We were flagged-off and the first 5km was easy going. I saw matured runners taking easy pace with more chit chats and jokes flying around. Either we laugh now or never. We were within sight of each other and shouts were thrown as we embraced the miles. Once in awhile the question appear "Eh? Mana Nik and Ian?". The four of us managed to stay intact until Maghrib. Shuk, Syah, Nizam and me had our prayer at the tent. The sunset view of the lake behind it was magnificent.

The 6km towards u-turn was manageable except that we lost Syah along the way. Finally we saw Nik and Ian pursuing their goals. As we crossed the timing mat at KM21, we were in doubt the distance was true. It seemed that we've been running longer. Nizam and Shuk ran ahead while I don't recall me slowing down or what but just enough to stay in-sight. The 30k mark will determine everything. At KM25, I glanced at the pacenote. Ayoyo! We were 15 minutes behind la dude! This can't be. Well, it happened. The steep incline back towards Sekolah Seri Putri took it's toll. I was drained. My buddies were long gone. At KM30 I saw a commotion by the road side. It was Hailmi whom suffered cramps. It seemed under control with other CAR buddies around. Nizam decided to tag along with them.

No more familiar faces from this side of the road, so I kept my head turning to the right hoping to see fellow friends in the half category. There were Crushio, Det, Akmal and Daud scattered throughout. The Stretch of Loneliness played mind game as I was struggling up the very long climb from Lim Kok Wing. I was relieved to see Mo Bahir enjoying a stroll as it was a tempting invitation. We walked and chatted about his IM story - 12 hours workout per week is not in my list for now :) The sound of emcee and drum beating seemed so close but not until a bystander gave a horrific statement of 7km to go. Choit! Let alone the absence of consistent markers.

I had to continue pounding for the remaining 5km all by myself when Mo decided to have a rest. He sat by the road shoulder. The ups and down and warm Gatorade added to the agony. Then I saw Dorris and Nik Raiha overtook me - there goes my machoism. Lol! Lady runners are getting consistent by the day. Thumbs up. Luckily I saw Yimster somewhere at a junction when I yelled out his name but the respond was vague. I knew the finish line is within reach. Suddenly I got the urge to push more pulak - talking about adrenalines. Slowly crossed the uneventful finish line. Nobody there except an uncle manning me to keep to the right lane. Inching my way to collect the goodie bag and rested myself with others, chit chatting while waiting for regrouping. Ziff joined us for late supper at the Street Mall - nice meeting you bro Ziff. The story went on and on until we finally called it a day at 2.00am and departed our own ways.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Level 42

Approximately 45 hours to go before the much awaited Energizer Night Race 2010. And I am standing in between hope and dream. My runs were never near to the same preparation as SCKLM. I started having weird dreams last night. Aiyah! Perhaps I didn't wash my feet before bed la kot. As of this morning, right now, massive spread of thunderstorm clouds i.e. Nimbostratus (Ns) and Cumulonimbus (Cb) hovering over most part of Klang Valley especially here in Ampang. I was fortunate to reach the office before chaos strikes. Browsing through Met's website, this is what I got:

Saturday, 27/03/2010
Morning : No rain
Afternoon : Rain
Night : No rain
Minimum : 24 °C
Maximum : 34 °C

Managed to squeeze myself between tight schedule for race kit pickup at Melia Hotel yesterday lunch time. Successfully securing myself with M size vest as opposed by many others who were complaining they are wearing dresses instead of a running vest. Had lunch with Shuk and Det. A quick enquiry with En. Rustam and En. Suhaimi of fellow Pacesetters about solat facilities. Details from the chit chat as follows:

Prayer tent location : KM16 (for full mara). Bottled water for ablution available. Sejadah and sarong also provided. This is so kind. May the gratitude be rewarded.

I have yet to prepare my race attire. My Tempo was snuggly left in a box for three weeks - which reminds me I have to run in it this evening. Rain or shine - chewah! Carboloading is more like "cacar merba" loading. I didn't even keep track of my hydration rate. And the only thing that is holding me together right now are words of wisdom picked by wifey this morning before leaving home "Sesungguhnya Aku adalah apa yang hambaku sangkakan". What I think best, Allah will give me best. Nowadays people call it the Law of Attraction - I think so.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bouncing back...ouch!

There's no other reason for me to skip another run. Weather was perfect - wishing the same climate on ENR evening. Time was abundant. Kids behaving. Ministry of home affairs was in alliance with Ministry of housing & local government. I managed to make an early arrival and as I was swigging down three karipaps and a cup of teh tarik at the dining, a slightest hope that a sudden rainclouds might cross my airspace - talking about the evil in me. This morning I was horrific after tailing my eye to the countdown. Che's latest blog entry was even more spinechilling.

OK, cut the crap & daydreaming. It's now or never. Vacation's over dude! Seized the Wearlink & put it across my chest - I know I need my HRM than ever after my nonexistence from running. Kids decided to tag along on their bikes. Good idea. They will come in handy when boredom strikes. The rythm was a bit retarded for the first few steps. Though I tried to make my steps bounce, the process of dragging each leg in front of another took awhile. I kept an eye on the HR reading, making sure it's in warm up zone. My right stiff leg from morning slowed my motion. However, kids kept me away from thinking of the worse.

A 20 minutes warmup & a welcome back run felt great. I am thankful that breathing and HR were in-sync melodiously to the rythm of the evening breeze. Phew! The run followed with the usual ceremony of 10 x 100m strides. I did this after each recovery or easy run. It helps to recall the optimal running mechanics. I took it easy for the first four reps. Followed by a bit more effort with the next four. I took the liberty to reward myself by having a negative split at the remaining two. Run was over just in time to stretch, bath, dinner and off to Kumon. However, I felt a bit tight and slight pain at the rear of my right knee. The same thing I felt earlier in the morning. What is it eh? I really hope and pray it will fly away soon.

By the way, the karipaps and teh tarik didn't bounce around. Hmmm...

Saturday, March 20, 2010


It was only a week after our flawless ride when today everything turned topsy turvy. So easy kan? One day we were flying high looking at everything at birds eye view and in split second, there tumbling down rolling resulted with fractured collar bone and loads of bruises, plus some other damages. God is so rich with hikmah.

I skipped another Saturday LSD just to indulge myself with the luxury of going fast on tarmac - another group ride. This time we opted to accompany a few Chap Ayam Runners. They wanted to try out the famous Langat cycling route. Nizam, Hanchik, Saiful and me left home near 7.15am to meet up with the rest at Batu 14. Traffic was magnificent & so was the morning sky - thorough overcast with some spots of rainclouds. All together, we have four of us plus Ron, Bahri, Hailmi, Zaki, Zaini, Fairol, Zairol, Det and a guy with a cap. 13 - talking about unlucky number eh? Hehe.

We rode into Pangsoon till the end of the road, turned back & stopped to patch up Zairol's puncture. Headed straight to Tekala R&R for refuelling. So far so good. We continued our back the same way and regrouped at the foot of Peres. The terrain drops rapidly from that point where it was cyclists' favourite launchpad to get momentum to cover the following 10km flat Sg Lui stretch. Some of us were eager for the launch because we have cranked almost 70km and wanted to see the daylight of home.

Hanchik was the unfortunate one. He lost balance and threw himself off bike, crashing hard on the pavement at downhill speed. In slow-mo and in sequence, it started with him dashing off after Bahri, Ron & Det. He moved straight to drop bar position and attempted to engage the pedal at the same time. Losing force for the legs to clip-in, he had to stand whilst the drop bar post & accelerating downhill. The shoving resulted to bad bike handling, drop bar post made it worse. The next thing I knew, he was there in front of me a few metres ahead flying off-bike and unfolded all over the place. Saiful was squeezing his brake lever - hard & I was swerving away from the scene to avoid Saiful & Hanchik. I u-turned and climb back up for a helping hand.

Hanchik can hardly move his right hand, nor pick himself up. He was in shock. He was blur. He didn't respond to any of our grills. Det, Bahri & Ron carried on paddling back to Batu 14 to get the car. We lugged him to the roadside, laid him down and dialled 999. Ambulance from Pusat Kesihatan Batu 14 arrived moments later. Hanchik was sent to Ampang Hospital for further treatment. Det arrived later and took Hanchik's bike home. Silently we pedalled back amid the increasing humidity and traffic at 1.30pm.

I managed to cover a four ride but Hanchik cracked his brand new Met helment, torn his new HTC Columbia jersey, torn saddle, fractured collar bone, bruises all over, traumatised and had to ditch Towerthon & ENR. I believe he will need all the support and motivation from friends soon. I pray for his fast recovery.

Friday, March 19, 2010

120 Hours

Huh?! It's Friday eh? Yawn. Sigh. Now I'm facing the weekend in zombie-mode. Mind's too saturated. Week was too hectic. Crushing my brain like never before. Company got new jobs. Now I have boss breathing down my neck. Domestic errands way beyond my grasps. I had to shove those tiny thoughts about running way inside the cerebral cortex. Perhaps having myself running around the house between the kitchen, wash bay, drying bay and PC could somehow simulate interval training. Yes? The week was ground zero for run.

I got cold sweat running down my forehead when I caught a glimpse of the countdown for ENR. It grew even chiller thinking about it. Skipped Bareno for a trip to LCCT that early morning to send home our domestic helper - for good. That's why la I've been doing intervals indoor. Hahaha! Now I'm the Man-maid of the house. Yeah! Wait till school break's over. Then I wish I am Mrs. Doubtfire.

OK. Let's skip the grievances. Hey! Dude. It's weekend la. The moment we've all been waiting. We - the weekend warriors. It's time to energize. Play it hard cause we only have Saturday and Sunday. Then we have to wait for another 432,000 seconds for the next weekend. Then the big day will come. Wait! One step at a time. We'll take this weekend first. Tomorrow I'll be putting 100km on those cranks. Come Sunday, perhaps a run around the block. Make it two laps of McD. Slow. Zone 3. Ya feel me? Capisce! Now, where's that Prego?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Flawless Spin

At this very moment, running was the last thing that I wish to resort. Having said to survive week 10 in a not so perfect training, now I wish that the Battery Run will be over soon. I did manage to survive the weekdays' run but thinking about another LSD in the weekend was scary. However, life is full of wonders and options. The World is Just Awesome isn't it? If we can't pound them, we roll them. Perhaps it was a wise decision of me to ditch an LSD and substituted it with a group ride. And it went well. Flawless. Complete. Perfetto.

A group of six sahabats - mostly staying around Cheras except for Alwin and Hancik tabled the ride menu for a 90km wearing off legs for 3:30 hours. Route was my home - Batu 14 to meet the group - Peres - Tekala - Bukit Antu - Batu 14 - my place. Weather was on our side, especially those cool breeze, floating mist across the Peres range and the traffic-less road. Refuelling time and recovery were also cut short making the ride more time efficient. I never paused any ride at Peres peak at less than a minute except this one. Surprisingly everyone complied without a smirk of disgruntled.

We topped up our hydration and calories at Tekala for 10 minutes before hitting the road again just in time to feel the pinching pain from the new sun. Adding up to the log, the following chapter was a contrast from the earlier beautiful cast. We have sun, 64km worn out legs and the dreaded 3km Bukit Antu climb. The name defines the moment. Suddenly everyone were in muhasabah diri mode - single filed and 30 metres apart, constantly cranking up the grannies at a mere 20 revolutions per minute. Head bowing, not even dare to test the sight ahead. We stayed faithful throughout the climb towards the peak and hurriedly descent back towards Batu 14 to close the chapter.

Arriving back home half an hour earlier than estimated was satisfying. Having to survive the rest of the day without fatigue legs and a single thought for a nap was even better.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I'm a freak. An endorphin and a movie freak. I started to feel the chill from an upcoming explosion come summer. My heart pounds by simply walking the movie corridor turning my head left and right glancing at those coming soon movie posters. There's Russle Crow, Leonardo Decaprio and Robert Downey Jr to name a few. As I lay my butt on the red cozy seat, all hell broke loose. Trailers from sci-fi fantasies ages ago blasted TGVs and GSCs with the remaking of 1981 Clash of the Titans and in fact Disney will be releasing Prince of Persia. Lovely computer game way back 20 years ago. Wow! That long eh? Now my son is playing the PS2 version and he's good at it too.

And so I noticed that heroes of my era are appearing again, one by one as we approach the first quarter of the year. There was quite a silent last month without any good release, but not until now. I took the privilege of indulging myself with a mini vacation. Yep, it's a vacation for me alright. A two hour vacation. What else can I do to cosset myself besides sweat, humid, fatigue legs and ends with a milk shake?

Last week John Travolta blast the screen with his latest From Paris with Love. I only saw five seconds of the snippet on Ebuzz few weeks ago but didn't catch the title, which later got stucked with him for the rest of the 116 minutes. This guy is turning old and evil at the same time. Ever since he appeared in Pelham 123, this one really brought him centre stage. It's Cloak & Dagger stuff but with stylo gun fights slipped with controversial love plot. End of the day, it was always the terrorists and suicide bomber whose the bad guys la.

My most recent dilemma was when I got myself stuck between Danzel Washington, Matt Damon and Mel Gibson. I had to chose the youngest from the list, so I picked Damon with Green Zone. From stylo gunfights of Travolta, this one brought me to US-led occupation of Baghdad. Damon played Borne stuff only with more soldier in uniform scripts and got entangled between intelligence and hidden political agendas in a middle of war zone. Bullets flying around, teeth gritting chases, tension arises. Something almost familiar to Blackhawk Down suspense and Clear and Present Danger's tense. Check out those Oakley M-Frame and camo Camelbak. Cool. Now, I wonder where did they manage to squeeze in so many Arabs into a two hour plot?

Remember Sam Worthington from Avatar and Terminator Salvation? Awesome act eh? Yes, brace yourselves cause he's coming with Clash of the Titans. Remember most yelled about Kraken in Pirates of Carribean? Prepare to see the ugliest part of it. And hey! Tough and macho Top Gun guy Mr Cruise is coming back with super secret agent stuff. Nope, not Mission Impossible - that will be 2011, but in a sort of a comedy action with Cameron Diaz in Knight and Day. Now this could be something to laugh about.

The list goes on and on. With Ironman 2, Robin Hood (Russel Crowe?), The A-team and lots more. I had to push aside George Clooney (Up in the Air) and Tobey Maguire (Brothers) for the moment cause I need all the heart pumping stuff for another 14 days. Yikes! Talking about countdown. Sigh.

My retreat will continue with The Book of Eli and Edge of Darkness very soon. And suddenly all these guys come into sight almost at the same time. Aiya! I might save one of it prior to ENR for anti-race jitters.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

le Tour de Langkawi - Final Stage

The yellow jersey Jose Rojano - my best shot from Nokia XpressMusic

On my way back home from not so successful LSD, I came across le tour de Langkawi's peloton. Swerved my car to the road side, hopped out and waited anxiously while they passed by in a mere 20 seconds. They were on their way up Genting. Awesome sight. That micro window was enough to raise my anxiety again to survive the remaining precious weekend.

No spinning on Sunday morning but I opted for a few father-ly errands. I woke up early despite the declaration of No-Workout day. Went to grab newspaper for mommy, queuing for nasi lemak, fixed the leaking faucet and exam week drilling for the kids - kes beli jiwa la ni XD

By 12.00pm I was ready to hit Dataran to witness the final stage of le tour de Langkawi. Despite the government's tight budget, the event was considered another successful one. As any other sports worldwide, Malaysia will never fall short of it's own challenge - hot and humid. Be it the F1, Ironman or le tour de Langkawi. I came prepared - short, dri-fit shirt, cap, shades & my adizero. A nice spot was picked - after the corner from Dataran towards Agro Bank. Most of us were there, the usual enthusiastic weekend champion cyclists.

Peloton arrived from Kuala Kubu Bahru after 100km on their legs and continued with another six laps around the city. There were no other colourful adrenalines than the peloton itself. It was spectacular as they swerved by. Adding to the excitement was our Mr Policemen themselves - manning the streets and the peloton year after year without fail with their big bikes. Too bad I was only equipped with a tiny Nokia compared to other 3 foot long lenses around me - argh! I missed my ixus after seven loving years, it decided to kaput.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

You can call me Al

35km LSD was never a success eversince I trained for a marathon. Why? Beats me. Nope. Wrong answer. I knew the answer right at my finger tips but not wanting to spell it out my lips. Or perhaps ask my limbs? Don't bother. Attempting a 30k mark in training was never easy and I never succeed. It was my third shot and yet again I had to raise both my hands and yield.

Nearing that particular thirty figure in a training, the end result would be...nobody, as if no buddies. Yep, that's the way it is. Weekend warriors, either battling another race, another kenduri or perhaps burnt out from weeks after weeks of long constant pulsations. My case was never an immunity neither. I came 90% prepared and 10% redha (8% cheat and 2% goal).

A party of three and I was the only soul having a 35k at task. Det and Saiful will only have to head out to Hartamas and back - nothing close to 30. I on the other hand will have to spend the rest of my morning, as before - solo. However, the story took a slight turn. It rained approaching Plaza Damas climb. An unnoticed smirk across my face as I asked Saiful, "What's our next plan dude?" We decided to turn back and took a pit stop across Duta Tropika - a nasi kandar restaurant. A five minutes break for refuel and the rain subsided. Endless gray all the way back to Bukit Aman.

The second running chapter was tuned to the melody of music compilation. Yes, fortunately I came prepared with an anti-boredom weapon. Should be a 3 laps of 4.5km Carcosa loops. An extra lap substituting my Hartamas loop. My first Carcosa lap was brought by Mister Mister which followed by Taman Rusa climb charmed by Paul Simon. Another round of Carcosa with Angel of Harlem by U2 while I ended my agony, sacrificing my goal at 28km with Don't Stop Believing by Journey - poignant? Sheesh...

Perhaps, I should just be thankful that I was given the blessing to run. And recalling my top chart of the day would be Mr. Paul Simon himself.

A man walks down the street
He says why am I soft in the middle now
Why am I soft in the middle
The rest of my life is so hard
I need a photo-opportunity
I want a shot at redemption
Don't want to end up a cartoon
In a cartoon graveyard
Bonedigger Bonedigger
Dogs in the moonlight
Far away my well-lit door
Mr. Beerbelly Beerbelly
Get these mutts away from me
You know I don't find this stuff amusing anymore
If you'll be my bodyguard
I can be your long lost pal
I can call you Betty
And Betty when you call me
You can call me Al

A man walks down the street
He says why am I short of attention
Got a short little span of attention
And wo my nights are so long
Where's my wife and family
What if I die here
Who'll be my role-model
Now that my role-model is
Gone Gone
He ducked back down the alley
With some roly-poly little bat-faced girl
All along along
There were incidents and accidents
There were hints and allegations

If you'll be my bodyguard
I can be your long lost pal
I can call you Betty
And Betty when you call me
You can call me Al
Call me Al

A man walks down the street
It's a street in a strange world
Maybe it's the Third World
Maybe it's his first time around
He doesn't speak the language
He holds no currency
He is a foreign man
He is surrounded by the sound
The sound
Cattle in the marketplace
Scatterlings and orphanages
He looks around, around
He sees angels in the architecture
Spinning in infinity
He says Amen! and Hallelujah!

If you'll be my bodyguard
I can be your long lost pal
I can call you Betty
And Betty when you call me
You can call me Al
Call me Al

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

10 Marathon Tips - Trifuel

Hey! The clock is ticking - fast! Either it's another 24 days or 3 weeks & 3 days, it's still coming. Perhaps it is time to get into the race mood and hype. I am no season marathoner - this is only my second, but I prefer to treat every marathon like it's my first. Just don't want all those months, days, hours, minutes, seconds spent, body hammerings, leg poundings, all those breakfast I missed with wifey and kids, my pay cheque funding my runs, etc go down the drain simply by ignoring simple things.

Definitely we've came across million times of these tips from mags and webs, but there's no harm in reminding. Pscyhologists say a person needs to be reminded at least 200 times for him to remember new tasks. A guy as kaput as me, perhaps would take 2000 times la kot - no offense but with loads of things to catch up, kilos of raisins won't add any of my gigabytes memory.

So, thanks to Alwin who emailed me this precious tips - sorry that you have to ditch ENR but we'll make a blast in Sundown. I wish it could facilitate everyone, whether we'll be doing a 5k, 10k, half or a marathon. Whatever the anxiety we're holding right now, tip no. 10 is the basis for every steps that we take. Cheers =)

10 Marathon Tips - TriFuel

Running a marathon is an exciting and big undertaking. Here are some fantastic tips to help you get the most out of yourself on race day!

1. Taper
A well-structured taper is essential to run a good marathon. It gives your legs a chance to fully rest and soak up the many kilometres that have been put into them in training. It is NOT an excuse to do nothing and carbo-load - please!

There are many factors that will determine a good taper: training load, recent race history, recovery from injury, etc. As a rule of thumb, cut down total weekly volume to 75 percent two weeks before the race, and reduce your volume again to 50 percent in the final week leading up to race day. Retain some speed work and intensity to keep the specific neuromuscular impulses firing - this will help maintain a high stride rate on race day.

2. Visualisation
Spend some time in the weeks or days leading up to the marathon thinking about it. Put yourself at different points and in various situations throughout race day. This will help you to be prepared for everything by the time Race Day comes round.

For example:
Pre-race: How am I getting to the start line? What time do I want to be there? How am I going to carry my gels?

During the race: How am I going to pace myself? How am I going to feel at the halfway point? What is my nutrition plan? What happens if/when I hit the wall? How am I going to respond?

Post-race: How am I getting home? Where can I get a post-race snack? How do I recover properly from a huge effort like a marathon?

3. Gear
Plan your outfit. You should use the most comfortable running gear you have. How are you going to carry your gels? IF it is time to treat yourself to a new pair of running shoes, do not leave this until the last minute because you need break in them well in advance of race day.

4. Nutrition
Read the labels. Know what you will be putting in your body as fuel for your big day. Your breakfast should get you through the first hour of the race. Then try to ingest at least 150 calories per hour every hour. You can get this from sports drinks (such as PowerBar Endurance formula) or gels (such as PowerBar gels). This works out to taking about one gel every 40 minutes. Larger athletes will need more than this. Remember that it is important to wash your gels down with water because it helps with the absorption.

5. Nutrition
If you are a heavy sweater (you sweat through your shoes) it is essential to replace the lost electrolytes as the race wears on. An excess loss of sodium through sweat will affect your muscles’ contractility. Replace these with salt tablets, nuun rehydration tablets or extra-sodium gels. Try sucking on a nuun tablet - I find this works well. When you’ve had enough, and you will know when, simply spit it out.

6. Nutrition
Aim to take in moderate amounts of water at regular intervals at the aid stations. In most cases a few mouthfuls is enough. Do not wait until you are very thirsty and gulp down a whole litre! This will disrupt the concentration gradients in your stomach and may lead to bloating - a very uncomfortable situation when running.

7. Pacing
Start EASY! The adrenaline and atmosphere at the start will have your heart rate 10 beats above normal and raring to go. HOLD BACK. No matter how good you feel, do not sprint off at the start. Take a few kilometres to let your body find its natural rhythm – and then back off a little more. Yes! The energy you put aside in the first half of the race will pay big dividends in the closing stages of the run. Try to get the first 10 km out of the way as effortlessly as possible. Remember to start easy.

8. Pacing
If you are following my advice to START EASY, you should be able to reach the halfway mark without problems. This is the time to make an assessment: if you are feeling fantastic, showing no signs of fatigue and are still raring to go then you could increase your effort a little.

If you are feeling OK- no problems, nutrition on track, legs still in good shape, relatively fresh - maintain the current effort because a marathon has a way of biting back after 30km.

9. Pacing
Running a marathon will never be a simple, painless stroll in the park. At some point, you will have to grit your teeth and man up! Whether this happens with 10km to go or 500m before the finishing line, the important thing to know that from here on in the race is run in your head. Stay strong and focused. Nothing else matters, just hold your form and run tall.

10. Enjoy your race
Enjoy putting your body to the test! Relish the fact that you are able to run a marathon - that in itself is special. Remember everyone who has supported you and be thankful for them. Encourage those having a tough time on the day with a smile or a few kind words. Never give up!