Penang Bridge International (Half) Marathon 2008

We traveled to Penang on Saturday, spending 3 hours driving with my one hand massaging my left knee. It has been getting better, but still hurts every now and then, and haunts me on my runs in the past 2 weeks. Still, the anticipation of running on the bridge defies everything…

After the registration at Queensbay Mall, we went for an early carbo-loading. The night was spent in the room, as looking from afar, the Komtar looked really far. I know for a fact that from our place in Bkt. Jambul, Georgetown is not that far as 15mins driving is all it takes. But the thought of waking up at 2.30 am is really daunting. So we stayed, and went out for supper at 9 pm, went back and tried to sleep. I ended up watching The Amazing Race instead, and didn’t sleep until 1.30 am.

Peach.

I woke up from the troubled sleep at 2.45 am, double-checked all gear, kissed my wife and daughter, and walked to Queensbay Mall. A good warm-up walk, and met with few new friends from Genting Trailblazer running for the Fun Run category (ok guys, I’ll try my level best to Multiply…).

The overall environment was chaotic. I have only started ruing this year and may not be entitled to harsh comments, but it is a little (or a lot) problematic for me to lose some bearings. First of all, they don’t have a deposit station. I had to hide my bag underneath the Committee’s tent. Then we were ordered to get into the holding area, burstling with people. Still, I elbowed scores of people to get my band and move inside. The few mobile toilets had long queues tagged like a rolled tissue paper, and (hahaha) I found an unattended exit on the other end. Don’t want to fit into the can (they were doing aerobics at that time like a scene from Madagascar), I got out. There were many puzzled runners there like me, and that’s when I met Abu and Saiful (mental note : need to get a bike and join these guys for cycling for next year’s project). I moved to the starting point and met my friend Ian. At 4.25 am, we were flagged off.

I ran strong with Ian under the streetlights. This is my first time running this early, and having a familiar face along is really comforting. The first few km were superb. I told myself to pace well, controlled breathing, so far so good. No sign of my left knee giving way. I honestly thought of seeing the end of the bridge in one breath. I think we hit the mid span in the first half hour, and the feeling was awesome. The still air, the cool black sky, the amber street lights – I was enjoying it all when we start our ascend that my knee threatened to fold. I told Ian to move on as I reduced my pace. The remaining 17km needs a lot of me running…

I was limping, in an effort to save some energy when I met Aznil, that I started to pace him for a good few km. we bitched the fact that the organizer let us the male runners first… when the should have let the female runners to run ahead so we guys could have some bones to follow… hahahah. But as we neared the end of the bridge, my left foot start to cramp a little. So Aznil left me in the dark, running with a full bladder. Abu passed me here, o I wish I could run too, buddy…

Had a pit stop at the U-turn area, with some sights of guys answering nature’s call at the drain. Wish I don’t have to do that, ever! At this point, cramps on my left foot are alternating with my bad knee, and I have been rubbing the analgesic rubs all over, my left foot was on fire. Still, I moved on, walking mostly. Now I began to curse the lack of training over the last 2 weeks prior to this.

Halfway back, my imbalance for the past hour limping took its toll on my right foot. Like a pregnant lady in the delivery room, I was having cramp attacks alternating between left and right foot, sometimes both, every 2 minutes. I walked for most part now and trying to conserve some energy, feeling very frustrated about my run. Not enough of those, both my feet froze completely about 7 km away from the finishing line. I have never had a series of multiple cramps on both feet, and on all my toes. That was seriously bad as I was severely dehydrating (should have taken Ian’s offer on the ORS). I had to sit for a good half an hour, took off my shoes and socks and lather generous amount of the Sloan cream, and my feet were burning of the coals. Many Fun Runners passed me a gave me a look that I am a beaten stick… lantak lah…

After the pain subsided, I collected myself and started running again passing the sea of orange Fun Runners, until I met a friend from Genting. He was superfast the other day, but he was spent in Penang. So we paced each other trying to finish within the qualifying time. We started to run towards the finishing line, stopping few times to stretch, and walked a little to ease the pain.

Finally, after 3 hours and 20 mins I crossed the line with Ian waiting. My time was a disgrace, I know compared to my 2 hours 35 mins in Shah Alam this year, but given the circumstances, I felt very happy to have finished this run nonetheless. Never mind the limping that I have, I completed my second Half Marathon today… like any other events this year, I yearn for more of this and started to calculate of the next event… so I collected my medal (woohoo) and certificate, had a drink with Ian to go through some regimes and catch up on things. Next year, I’ll pace you all the way, bro…

So, all in all, Penang Bridge International (Half) Marathon was ok, the organizer needs a lot of work to buck up and improvise in many ways, and I could have come better prepared. Regardless, I will come again next year. Hopefully with a lighter body and a (much) stronger legs and lungs…

Comments

job well done indeed ..... next year's PBIM is a bit far off ler bro ... let's pace up together for upcoming 30km run in january 2009..... :).. I did very badly the 30km run this year ... leg injuries!!
amsyah said…
30k tak bley laa... too far up too fast... nak enjoy half marathon distance dulu... i'll be happy if i could set a new PB.. hehehhe

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