Thursday, December 18, 2008


My maiden 12 hour walk was held at the Penang Esplanade in August 2002. It was really a torture cum fun (very sadistic and oxymoron at the same time) affair. I was quite ill, coming down with a bad sore throat and flu. I still went ahead despite somewhere deep in the recesses of my conscious mind telling me to forgo the walk. I was popping lozenges and liquid spirulina throughout the race. I limped and dragged myself (knees hurting, ankles swollen, blisters etc), pacing some slower walkers enabling me to temporarily forget the pain. At one point I was so exhausted and worn out, I rested and slept for approximately an hour. It was one of the biggest mistakes, as I had an extremely difficult time resuming the race. Furthermore, I had totally lost my voice. An experience I would never forget. I managed at 59km distance.

This was my second 12 hour walk and this time held in front of the Palace of Justice at Dataran Putrajaya. Each lap of the route was 1km. This time around, the organizers decided to have only 2 categories for the men and women open, and only the top 30 finishers get cash prizes for each category. I had major butterflies before the race as I lacked training, my 1st training resulted in blisters at the ankles of both feet. Therefore I resorted in training on the treadmill without shoes. However, treadmill training and walking on actual tar road is very different. Altogether I only had 3 race walking training sessions of 1 – 1.5 hours per session. So much for dreaming to be in the top 30 men open finishers.

Met up with Amelia, Runwitme, Yew Ting and Isabel at Sunway Pyramid for an early dinner. It was raining heavily and I was praying hard that the rain would stop once the race begins.
We reached Putrajaya around 6pm to collect our race kits. We met many fellow walkers (both competitive and non-competitive). We chatted took pictures and collected our race kits.

All cheery and happy when collecting race kit around 6 pm. Adrenaline rush on all participants. Checking out the route and all the relevant tents (i.e. medical, baggage, food etc).

Quickly, I surveyed the area of competition (the starting and finishing point, the medical, food and baggage tents, water stations, etc).

Together with Amelia and gang, we went to change into our “costumes” and accessorized ourselves (e.g. mp3 player etc).

I lubed myself from top to bottom. I made sure to generously lubed my toes, soles and sensitive parts of the body. I also made sure I brought adequate Power Gels, liquid spirulina and plasters to last me throughout the night.

I plastered my feet properly to avoid blisters and to cover the recovering ones. We were on adrenaline rush and I was eyeing the top 30 finishers with lots of hope and prayers.

I deposited my bag (extra attire, shoe, stock of power gel, plasters, raincoat etc) at the baggage section. Proceeded to do some warm up of stretching and light running.

Here we go! 8pm right after flag off. Concentration was intense!

The heat of the race was certainly on with the evening sky engulfed Dataran Putrajaya. Participants were ready and so was I. Chatted with friends and fellow walkers at the holding pen (Choi, Frank, Jamie, Kelvin and his family, Cheang, Ping Loong, Julie and Kei Ming). It was great to see so many familiar faces.

Off we started sharp at 8pm. I did not go too fast like in the normal race walking competition as this race was going to last 12 hours. Had to reserve energy for the entire race.

For the first 2 hours, I walked 16km, and I knew it was abit too fast. I may just be whacked before the 8th hour. So, I slowed down to about 6km per hour. At some point , I only managed 4-5km per hour due to the exhaustion and the rain. It drizzled couple of times in the wee hours of the morning. I wore my trusty bright yellow raincoat and I was certainly making a statement there.

1st 2 hours I went out to cover as much distance as possible. 8km per hour.

I saw a lot of my friends resting and having their buffet, but I did not rest because I knew that if I did, I would have an extremely difficult time resuming the speed. I took a lot of isotonic drink provided at the drinking station along the race route. Took some power gels and lots of spirulina to stay awake and stayed energized.

I was fortunate this time around my knees were not giving me problems. I suppose the glucosamine that I have been consuming is effective. Good way to put supplements to the test. Indeed it was stress test. Therefore, I did not waste time by taking off my shoes and fastening the knee guard during the race.

Still going strong through the night. Mental and physical concentration to the max.

To say that I did not eat anything during the race would be a total lie. I made pit stops at the food tents to grab a banana, a papaya and two bowls of hot chicken soup. I did not partake any of the other food.

With due respect to my pair of tortured legs, there were still in the condition to continue to race. The most difficult part of the race was between 3-5am. I actually yawned many times between that period. I did not look at the actual time of the night. It was a psychological obstacle for me. I focused on how much time I have lapsed and how much distance I have covered.

I soldiered on, with compliments of the power gels and spirulina.

And on and on I went...

It rained couple of times in the wee hours of the morning. I soldiered on without stopping to rest.
Finally the last three hours approached. Amelia was giving all out during this time. I quickened my pace and managed a 6-7km per hour. My mind was setting scraping into the top 30 finishers. Even though my legs were screaming for me to stop I had to catch up on lost time in lapses.

Close to the 12th hour walk. I was totally whacked but still managed a smile and a peace sign to the camera.

Finally the sky brightened and I was relieved that the 12th hour was approaching. I did one final push completing the race 13 minutes before 8am.

Final result:

Position: 15th
Distance covered: 73km
Time taken: 11 hour 47 minutes 05 seconds
Prize: RM100 cash + Medal of Achievement.

Note: Thank you toTey Eng Tiong and Runwitme for snapping those snazzy pictures of me walking.


K|E|E|N|Y|E|E said...

Wow, you are great!! 15th....congrats!!



thanks! just pushed myself to the max.

RunWitMe said...

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