Inspiring I am after reading all gratitudes, thankfulness and colourful entries from fellow friends. Took me two days to read evertyhing. But I'm still stuck with major issues that require top notch attention...like doing laundry :D
I should start now before the hard disc corrupts to other form of hazardous activities, like upcoming trail run and brick trainings. OK. Overview of the race - done. Those IRRs chapters - over. Ironboard - checked. Great part about post marathon - I got a brand new washing machine! Yeay! Here's the story...
Had a stupid nightmare three nights prior. Got myself lost in the race. The whole marathon left me for whatever reason I can't think of. I was running all over KL looking for them. Best part was, I get to go back home, think it over and wifey told me to go and look for them again. Lol! Crazy dream but it sure give me the chill when I woke at 3.00 a.m. shaking my head in disbelief.
Despite my own reminder to start with all those preps, I only started taking in electrolytes on Friday. Liar. I came across Camelbak hydration tablets at the expo. Yes, I revisited the expo on Friday to get those. Looks workable and I got bigger tablets at a descend price. Another top notch priority to keep cramps at bay especially beyond third hour.
Two pasta dinners. Nice promotion from Delifrance. Kids were enjoying every moment accompanying dad for super carboloading.
Not quite a rest day and upon receiving Nik's text wishing for a nice rest, it was the opposite. Ran a five miler on Saturday morning with the Orang Kampung after zero weekday runs. Twitching, they call it but I took it as anti-jitters. Only to find later after the run that our trusted 10 year old washing machine busted big time. Aiyo! We went to Pasar Tani for groceries while still thinking of how to get rid of those three loads laundries. Eventually, wifey took charge of the lunch while I hit the scrubbing part. It was totally wrecking. Trust me. My last manual wash was ages ago back in campus. I had to stop for lunch, nap and continued for the third load. My back was screaming in misery but all was good. At least I kept my mind free from possible threats due race day.
I hit the sack only at 10.00 p.m. despite the norms of having early bed race day eve. Busy downloading MP3, a final strategy for odd moments. As planned, an hour of calmness and checklist before leaving home at 3.30 a.m. A sudden gush of wind through the window stung my nerve. Texted Nizam for early departure. It was a cold ride to Dataran on top of the real chill I've been gasping for the last few days. Arrived just in time for a trip to the loo before Haza yelled my name. The FMVs were busy getting even more busier. June even thought of dipping in the fountain when her bib flew in. Hah! Talking about the jitters. One could burst the Richter scale if they have one right there.
The more we blend into the running community, the lesser the jitters we felt. The friendly crowd was simply awesome. Familiar faces at almost every corner of the venue, nothing like running in Sundown recently. Though temperature shot a sudden decline, the camaraderie of the affair was very warm. Smiles, jokes, chats and handshakes flew around. Photo sessions were countless.
Nik and Ian gone for their warm ups. Shuk and Syah can't be located. Ijam, Ziff and Nizam stood by the lamp post with more chats in the middle of the drizzle. Azmar and Dicky joined in the get together with a few others. Azmar suggested me a warm up is as important as the run itself though my initial thought otherwise. It's a long run, the first half an hour can be the warm up? Wrong. With this kind of weather, warming up those muscles is crucial for the hours beyond. I obliged and ran with him for a few minutes before flag-off.
We were singing in the rain. Singing to the beat of the tapping raindrops and pounding of our soaking shoes. The weather was too generous this year. And so was the full marathon crowd - felt bigger.
Nik, Shuk and me tagged along nicely aiming for the white balloon. Syah was left with his own pace before hitting him with a "lambung" in the middle of the rain. Sorry dude, your gigantic Gato bottles were too obvious :D. I was monitoring the pace note closely. Plan to do so at every 5KM. We hit Seputeh at a slight negative split. Nik suggested we give a chase with the balloon and get us a nice 10 minutes upfront for our solat. That would be at KM17, a DBKL Madrasah. We caught the balloon somewhere before entering Sungai Besi and had our headstart. Nik and Shuk paved on but I decided to chill with the pace, just enough to have visuals of them. Swigged in the first gel. Overshot 5KM instead of the earlier plan to take it at every 10KM. A race day test that I wagered.
Solat went smooth and we were still on track but Nik decided to hold up a bit more for an additional agenda. Shuk left and followed by me. A quick leak at the mobile loo before Shell and minutes later caught up with Ian. He was targetting anything below five and his last words for me to pursue the 4:30 gave me a boost. That was where all the encouragement, though from total strangers aided me. Caught up with Syah pulak and he asked to catch up with Shuk. Slightly before Jalan Tun Razak, these champion runners doing their half marathon smoked me like I was running backwards. Obviously they were racing and unlike me, I was running against myself. I tried to loose those unfruitful moments by responding to a she-male who was waving and cheering at us XD
From Jalan Tun Razak to Jalan Bukit Bintang, I was mostly alone but the distance shouting and beating drums got my attention. I was running TO the beat and almost forgot that it was a climb that used to zap my juice from previous marathons. The power of music. My rising heart rate was disregarded and the need to enjoy this spectacular entertainment was enticing. These were cool people.
Things got better by the minute. The clapping Indian taxi drivers at Jalan Sultan Ismail and the cheering gals at Raja Chulan. After leaving the last performers at Jalan P.Ramlee, I was almost out of breath from excitement. Shuk joined me a few moments with the fiesta before I decided to give him the go once he stucked the Jawbone onto that race face. Out of loneliness along Yap Kwan Seng and re-entering Tun Razak, I was again amazed by another beautiful gesture from a Malay lady waving and showing thumbs up from her second floor Kampung Baru flat. He made me happy though for mere minutes but it was enough to crack my first tears. I was smiling to myself and responded to her the same way. She kept on with her support to all other runners. She made me forgot that I have stepped into KM25 which was the beginning of agony for most of my runs.
The support didn't end. The plodding through fuming Tun Razak towards Bulatan Pahang was starting to give me the boredom. Fortunately a trio foreigner dressed in bright attire and wigs standing on the road median cheered me on. High 5 guys. You guys were awesome. That also came from another cheerleading group at Bulatan Pahang.
Jalan Ipoh. The stretch of eternity. Though only measured 4KM, the constant pounding for almost 3 hours now started to play games in my mind. Marathoners appeared scattered in their loneliness. I struggled to turn those motivational pages in my subconscious mind. This should be the second 10 miler where I should be running with my legs - head cannot use anymore. I felt a tight calf creeping on the right leg. Pain means disaster. Disaster means repeatative pain. Pain oppose to Nuun. Strategy works. I sipped half Nuun and the pain faded away. Thank You.
Free gels were handed out at KM30 as promised and no choc flavour this time. Phew! Thanks Total Field. Straight away swigged in hoping for a second wind. No luck but the soldiering continued till the end of "eternity". A bunch of five runners suddenly overtook me, like they have seen a daylight or something. Upon entering Jalan Kuching, I had to quaff another gel for the push. That would be KM32.
Look out guys, this DJ and singer will be blasting his lungs out. Another plan perfectly laid out for this moment. 10KM to go in an hour window, which means I'll be running like there's no tomorrow. It was another gamble actually. The late fatigue stage workouts was nothing close to this distance. The last one was five. Rocked on!
I was running to the tune of well laid songs and it gave me an advantage to survive the chaotic Jalan Kuching and the mild incline towards Jalan Duta. I was huffing away regardless of my pounding heart rate. Then, there was the familiar territory - the Tijani Drive. I was hyped by now and another gel was scoffed at Hockey Stadium. The volunteers were never tired of handing out drinks and sponges for the last 35KM. My utmost thumbs up to them. I repaid with a kind gesture and smile at every one of them. Thank you.
Rais and Kash Sundry Shop appeared at KM36 as promised. The rarest. We have Julie Wong and Uncle as well with their placards. It was so exciting. Rais handed me Coke but I had only one gulp and can't take anymore than that for the final push. Thanks a zillion guys. As I mentioned before, you are the rarest.
Tijani stretch passed by like any other LSD only alone without the Kaki Lambung. I have only Paul Simon for company. I picked target. An Indian chap with the same Adination vest as victim. Overtaking this fella will be my Tijani glory. Hahaha. He bailed out at the Tijani climb. I doublechecked once I headed towards the crest and pounded on to Bukit Tunku. What goes up, must come down. The advantage of having a strong push up inclines is to push on after the peak. Two lovely marshalls exchanged smile with me before I headed out for that downhill blast. It was Train - Soul Sister.
That was before I came to a halt when a familiar mirage against the sunlight caught my attention. Macam wayang kulit. Dude, I haven't seen you for ages, man! Shuk suffered cramp. Nuun! The other half that I spared for rainy days. Gave it to him and upon confirmation from big brother that he'll be OK, I whacked away. The finish seemed so near but yet so far. The dumb U-turn made it worse. That's where I caught the white balloon again but it was already making it's way down towards Bank Negara while I still have to make that unintelligent climb. There was only a handful of marathoners pacing with it.
My strides doubled up towards Raja Laut and met Det. The sight of him pulled me through faster. The power of familiar face. Hehe. He offered 100 Plus but thanks bro, I need to finish this. Within 100 steps after I left Det, suddenly I was zapped to the last juice. What was that bro? You can't turn in right now. 1.5KM to go and this is the push you really need. That conversation lasted until the 41KM mark and I saw three marathoners passed by. I'm sinking here! I stretched my neck to make sure there's no bluff with the turning ahead. Lucky the route decided to turn earlier and not at Chow Kit.
Once entered Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, I decided to pick my final victim. The lady that overtook me moments ago during my distress call. SOGO was the mile that I shifted into higher revolutions but it seemed like a slow-mo. Steve Austin from Six Million Dollar Man coming through! It was until Kamdar that I managed to caught her and blazed to glory whilst eyeing my time. I overshot by a minute and 22 seconds and that one minute was so thorny to grab a hold of.
All in all, I was amazed with the achievement which actually came with slightly lack of trainings but with loads of plans and strategies. I can't stop thanking for all the greatness. The weather, the race management, the beautiful people and friends. Thank you all.
"We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon."
- Emil Zatopek