Friday, October 16, 2009

An Unexpected Personal Best Achievement!

Again, i have another great story on running to share with others...

She is my running mate, since im started to run 10km, and subsequent 20km, im always with her and others. Congratulation to her. i wish my 1st ever Standard Chartered Singapore full marathon 42.195km can achieve timing below 5hr 30minutes.

Here are my friend story!

An Unexpected Personal Best Achievement!

Race: Borneo International Marathon
Date: 11th October 2009 Sunday, 4am
Venue: Likas Stadium, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Category: Full Marathon
Distance: 42.195km
Why this race:
1. Very flat, nice and scenic course
2. Ample supply of water and isotonic drinks along the course
3. Friendly and supportive volunteers, including the police!

I indulged into binging again after KL Marthon. The weight gain had scared me away from training, I even skipped Adidas King of the Road in early August because I had no confidence at all to run the 20km+ distance.

Fortunately I pulled myself back to track in September, started to watch the diet again and slowly get back into training. However, there was only about a month to go, even though I had logged the highest mileage in September (217.7km), I only attempted once to run 25K but walked mostly the last 5K. So I had very low expectation in this race: run 20km + walk 20km, and finishing it within the official cut off time of 7 hours, I would be more than happy.

I reached KK on Thursday with a group of running friends. Thanks to a local running friend, we had a wonderful time doing sight-seeings around KK, I must say Sabah is really a gifted place with lots of natural attractions! This was my second visit to Sabah within the same year but there were still plenty of places that I had not visited yet.

The race started at 4am to avoid the hot sun, because the time zone of East Malaysia has been synchronized with the time zone of Peninsula Malaysia. The sky usually turns very bright at 6am in KK, and the 8am sun in KK is like 10am in KL. I had good rest the night before as I went to bed at 7pm :)

The organizer was caring by providing shuttle bus service to the stadium. I saw so many familiar faces around, a lot of runners from KL flew to KK to support this event. Had a piece of PowerBar Performance which is my usual pre-race food for longer distance races. When I rushed to the toilet to release the last drop, suddenly I discovered I was wearing an old pant with holes at the inner thighs. I had no choice anymore and I believed this was one of the reasons I had run faster later with the hope of reducing the opportunity of embarrassment... LOL

I did well by starting slowly and not being influenced by other runners. My pace was controlled and the breath was very comfortable. When I spot the first distance marker at 7km, I was shocked to learn that it was only 46min+, in another words I was doing less than 7min per km! On the other hand, I did not feel huffing puffing too much and still had a lot of energies! I slowed down slightly but still doing quite well with merely 1:06+ at 10km. I guessed this was the first time I could maintain less than 7min per km for 10km without being breathless! I really wanted to thank the running buddies, who accompanied me running numerous times of double hills in early weekday mornings before going to work, we were crazy people!

The Borneo Marathon was a cozy event with small number of runners (about 200+ full marathon participants), it was comfortable and I did not feel the stuffiness like in Singapore Marathon. One side of the road was entirely blocked for the runners, I felt like I was really the king of the road when running alone in the middle of the road! In addition, big kudos to the friendly and supportive volunteers, their face was always hung with sincere smile and they were not stingy in giving inspirational cheers to fellow runners.

I kept running and running, and soon I reached 18km mark and consumed a pack of PowerBar Gel. The elapsed time was 2:22+ when I reached 21km, which was already my personal best for the half marathon distance! I was surprised I was still able to keep running although I had slow down very much. I especially like the scenic sea coast view along 19km to 24km. When returning to Likas Stadium to start exploring the other side of the route, the 10K and half marathon runners were running the opposite direction to return back to the stadium. Here I greeted many friends and of course I must appear strong in front of them and keep running :)

Took a banana at 28km. Yes, I was still "running" at this point. I only started walking at 32km, was very proud of this achievement. But I didn't walk too long each time. Usually I would picked up running again after a few minutes of walking. I believed I walked less than 3km for the entire course, I had run 39km+! What a record!

The weather was getting hotter, I started to pour water to my head whenever possible. At 38km, I was craving for my favorite drink: Ribena. I went to a nearby petrol station, but this station was very small and did not sell Ribena, so I settled to a can of my second favorite drink: Milo. Only 4k to go, I kept running with couple of short walking breaks. At ~40Km, I felt like walking again, but the KL runners who were stuck in the traffic jam on the other side of the road cheered me very loudly... NO, I could not walk now, I must run, run towards the finishing line!

Finally I reached the stadium but still half lap to go (200m?) on the track, this was really a mental torture, so near and yet so far... LOL. My running buddy was waiting to snap my finishing photo, and yes, I did it! My watch recorded 5:15:24, while the official result was 5:15:35. Who cares the 11 seconds difference, I had made a remarkable personal best record! Previosly I did 5:53 in Singapore Marathon and 5:58 in KL Marathon, I had improved by more than 35min!

I love this race so much, I hardly find anything bad to say about this event and organizer. The only things that I could "complain" are: 1. even though the medal is larger than last year, but it is still the smallest compare to other major events, and it is not indicated it is a finisher medal for 42km, every category gets the same medal; 2. no finisher-T for me to boast and show-off :P

(Thanks Tey for the photo)

You see, I really enjoyed the run!

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