Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2011
It is a week since the daunting SCKLM 2011. The blisters are dying up, and I pulled the entire big left toenail last night. As of now, 3 of them toes are nail-less. The soreness were all long gone, but I am limping from the torturous traditional massage I got from Hj. Ismail of Dato' Keramat. He literally caused me multiple cramps during the massage itself as I was howling. Cruel old man...
SCKLM 2011 - the hardest I have worked for a medal. Period.
With the chain of events scattered along the training weeks leading towards the race, I knew I was not ready. I let the fear eat me up, as I casually slipped into my other priorities. The approach was not optimal, and deep inside, I knew that. But the stakes were high, I wanted a PR.
Progress is natural. We all want progress. I looked at the uncles and aunties zooming past me every week and cursing myself.
I was cursing myself because, I was merely humbled by them apart from the expensive shoes I put on, and the ridiculous dailymile entries to boast my runs for the week. No, wait... humbled was an overstatement... I am ashamed of myself.
So when the morning of the dreadful day, I had thunders in my heart. Half of me didn't want to be there, another half was not sure why I was there in the first place. And standing in the holding area, 15 minutes before gun-off, alone - was daunting. I felt like I was back to SCKLM 2009. No watch, no pacenotes. So when the gun went off, I just put my music, and ran. Lupe Fiasco was grinding me in the right tune, and I was caught in the moment. I only saw Azmar briefly before he went on to chase the first 4:00 balloon. I think I saw Azhar fleeting by before Brickfields.
The run felt really good and I maintained a hard pace. The route was familiar, and I ran through all water stations. I simply did not want to lose the pace. Somewhere after the 14km marker, Richard Tang said hello, and I straddled behind him. The pace was great, and I felt great. The initial fear was gone, and I felt good drafting him. The pace was not fleeting, and manageable. But after the 18th km, the left quad sent a huge protest. I was sidelined, and watching the green balloon disappeared in seconds. Damn!
The next few kms were shuffling and stopping to stretch as I was afraid the yellow balloon will come soon. I was hell - the quads sent strikes after another within minutes, and I would have dribbled the foam from the Nuuns I was sucking, but it was too late. I did not hydrate properly, and it was payback.
The yellow balloon passed me at the 24th, and I was shattered. I was back in town, and the RM20 would be enough to get a cab back to Dataran. I was seriously considering that option, as it was not at all enjoyable. My mental health was crippling. And coming into Jalan Ipoh did not help, when I was forced to walk more than I'd like to run. When I felt better, I would run, whenever the cramp came back, I'd stop, stretch and walk.
When you are only halfway done, it is not pretty. Sure, a cab would be an easy solution, but I told myself this would not be the day. Not today, not now.
I finally arrived at Kak June's waterhole - I felt like crying! Carol and Lawrence arrived at the same time, and we spent some time to drink and take a breather. Tried to gulp on a bread to no avail. And Nik was very kind to give me the push through Tijani. This familiar course was the toughest that day. I kept on stopping and walking - and embarrassing enough to be doing that with my sparring partner. We blitzed the route many weeks ago. Along this stretch we saw Henry having a field day on his lazy chair, and Yip cycling around (thanks for the Snickers!) offering help.
The sweet meandering descent down Bukit Tunku hills were punishing, but I did get some wind there. But as soon as the 5:00 balloon coasted by, I picked up pace. No! Not above 5!
After the Bank Negara, the adrenalin started to kick in, and I ignored the tightness in the left quads, and the right ankles, and charged Jalan Raja Laut towards Sogo, sometimes reduced to walks. I made sure I was running in front of the pink balloon, and crossed the line at 4:50. A huge relief! After getting the medal, I was not in the mood to hang around. I was spent! I had huge blisters on both feet, and already I was crabbing to the car. Besides, a 2 hour drive to Kuantan awaits.
So yeah - it sucks when you do not progress. And it sucks to know it all boils down to the amount of trainings I had put up with. And I think I am entitled to kick myself in the butts one in a while.
But it is done and over with. I think my mistakes are;
a) Running too fast too early
b) Not hydrating enough in the first 10k
c) Not listening to the body - if I was unfit, I should not have run at all
d) No breakfast that morning - ooops!
e) No enough sleep the days before - major!
f) Nuun tablets/ORS a little too late
g) I showered at water stations. Must remember NOT to shower as the cold water slides down, steams off the warm feet, and causing the shoes to wet - big mistake!
h) Not enough training
i) doubting myself - mental disfunction
j) Bad running form to
What I'll keep for the next marathon;
a) this collection of music, and Sony Walkman was awesome!
Yeah - the hardest one yet. I'll remember this as the defeat, and we'll see how I could unlearn my mistakes this year.
But I am glad it is over - I could go back to short runs and trails, and eating normally again. Seriously, I cannot comprehend how others could train and run Ultra, but my hats off to them! For now, I'd be happy with my swims and halfs.