Thursday, July 2, 2009


28 June 2009 is the day of reckoning of sorts and also my finals “examination” after months of preparation (and an obstacle along the way...e.g. chicken pox breakout. I had a massive breakout in April 2009 and had to completely stop training for about 3 weeks! Restarting training was incredibly difficult). Preparation included sacrificing bedtime to train at 5:30am-6:00am in the morning at least 3 -4 times a week. And if I was unable to train in the mornings, I made it up in the evenings. And if the weather did not permit, I had to make do with gym’s treadmill. And I had to ensure my weekly mileage was at least 60km. Therefore weekdays were for shorter runs like 10-12kms and longer runs (20-30kms) were allocated during the weekend. Besides that, I had to work on other muscle groups like the quads, hamstrings, core etc. Training for a full marathon is not something one would just hop out of bed one day and decide to do it the very next month. Planning, preparation and diet played such a big part in the whole process.
During trainings, I would log my time for the distance and analyse any weaknesses that impeded performance for the day (i.e. muscle or mental fatigue, injury etc.)

I trained mostly at the Bukit Jalil Park whereby the undulating terrains, safety from traffic and the fact it is only 3km from my house has all the appeal and convenience of a perfect training ground for any run/race. In addition, 1 full circle of the park approximates 4km, therefore 5 big lapses easily takes up 20km for the obligatory long run requirement for the weekend. The only drawback was its a repetitive lapse for 5 times. Running is supposed to be fun, that is what everyone says. However I beg to differ if you are training for a marathon, one should suffer to know the tenacity and perseverance of completing a marathon with a good timing. There must a goal to the entire routine...whether you want a 3 hour finish or 5 hour completion. Of course the organisers would give a long 6-8 hours of completion time to accommodate all runners. Running a marathon is exactly like everyone’s daily job, the boss assigns a task to you and gives you a deadline. As a worker, we ourselves should break that deadline down accordingly to work towards the boss’ objectives and deadline. And our deadlines should be ahead of the boss’ give us buffer time in case of unforeseen circumstances. Just like a marathon, one should have a goal in mind, my goals was to run a sub 4hrs 30mins and my training would veered towards that. Unless of course, the Lucifer of all runs (cramps) permeates into the picture, I do not see why one with an able body (legs especially) is unable is complete the race within his/her goal. I have my “opportunities” of hitting the wall, but I broke through it. Its all psychological! No matter how many SKIN or 2XU one is wearing, it will never counter the negative thoughts that seep into the mind. Therefore one has to be positive at the 35-38km of the race to ensure a good completion.

Very lengthy digression there. Back to the race proper, despite the screw ups and unfortunate shortcomings of the event management, I thoroughly enjoyed the race. This was my 3rd full marathon, and with the change of sponsor, the route was very scenic and with the addition of the showers of blessing 15 minutes before the race (5am), it cooled the entire city and it was excellent to race in that weather. For the first 30km, the route was relatively flat, however after reaching Jalan Sultan, the hills hit all runners including yours truly. Appreciation goes out to PowerGel sponsor who gave us a pack at the 30km for a boost. There were only 2-3 steep slopes while the rest were long and deliberate (e.g. highway ramps).

My goal for the race was 1 hour for each 10km mark. At 30km I clocked in the vicinity of 3 hours. I know I was in time for a sub 4:30 finishing. Subsequently, I slowed down my pace to wait for my friend Julia who was running her first full marathon and she did it with grace and tenacity. We started together at the Merdeka Square and we paced each other for about 10km. After my engine warmed up, I surged forward and at every water station I was actually looking out for her, to no avail. At 30km, I slowed down my pace until I caught sight of her at the 35km mark and as her pace got closer to mine we ran together again around the 37-38km distance. We were very disappointed at the 38km water Jalan Sultan Salahuddin water station whereby not a single drop of water or cooling sponges were left for the full marathoners! I prayed so hard that the 40km water station had adequate water and isotonic drinks. My prayers were answered as we reached the 40km at Jalan Raja Laut opposite the Sime Darby building. I gulped down 3 paper cups of isotonic drinks and pushed Julia psychologically to the finishing line. Both of us completed the race at 4hours 24mins.
After the race and dunking probably a litre of isotonic drinks at the event site, I had my first experience of an ice massage. It was COLD, wet and relaxing at the same time. I felt refreshed after that.

Later on, I met up with Amelia, Mohan, Tey, Kei Ming, Victor and the running posse. We took pictures and had a bit fun before returning home.

Jules and I before the race. Butterflies swarming in our tummies forcing out a smile.

Jules and I celebrating after the race.

Kudos also goes out to Amelia (my godsister) who despite her quads and hamstring cramps managed a sub 5hours 30 minutes finish!

It was good race and congratulations to all who managed to achieve their target timings and those who did not, its not the end the world. Its back to the drawing board and analyse the weaknesses encountered during the race and improve from thereon. For me, I would train harder for a better timing.

Two circumstances emerged from this race, first is the camaraderie of full marathoners who gives encouragement and morale support to whoever during the race whenever a runner starts to wither and secondly I lost approximately 8kg from the training and chicken pox period. On an empty stomach I hover around 58-59kg. Maybe, I should go down to 50kg, then I can clock in a time of 3:30. Kidding.

Thank you to photographers Kho Kwang Leng and KC Wong. The rest of the pictures are taken from


RunWitMe said...

Well done!

Raymond Hee said...

good race Kevin!!!

Julia said...

Thanks Kev for all the "psyching up" u gave me during the final moments of reaching the finish line!