At the starting line
This is the first time I am running in the 3rd instalment of this circuit in Shah Alam. Adidas King Of The Road (AKOTR) first introduced the half marathon instalment in 2007 whereby runners ran on the NPE highway starting in front of Sunway Pyramid. Last year it was held in Shah Alam but I did not entered. From the feedback of last year’s race (very hilly, seriously inadequate water station etc.), I just toyed on the idea of joining this year’s race for the fun and see it with my own eyes. I registered at the Adidas outlet in Gardens Midvalley at the end of May 2009, a month before the Standard Chartered KL Marathon. This year the run was held at the Shah Alam Stadium.
Training of the run went on as scheduled without obstacles. I was satisfied. How I wished the training and race was like it was for Standard Chartered KL Marathon. It was unfortunately otherwise. A week or so before the race, I felt a discomfort in my right knee. That put a real damper on the spirits and training. The discomfort grew more distinct as the race drew nearer. At times, I could felt lower leg were not in sync with my upper leg. There was also a slight pain during one of the 10km training runs. At first I thought it was just psychological but it was not. It was real.
It was a situation of whether to run or not to run; or do or die situation. The medals allocation was also questionable. The half marathoners paid much more, however the allocation were not justifiable.
Appreciation to Amelia whom I put up a night stay at her house as we carpooled with Agatha, Julie and Pueh Tian to the Shah Alam Stadium.
On the day of the race, my mind was too occupied of completing the run in one piece and a qualifier medal (with high hopes). I had adequate lubrication, power gels, water and knee guard.
I must give thumbs up to the Menteri Besar of Selangor Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim who was so punctual for the flagging off for the 22km race. Here is one MB and VIP that other so-called VIPs should emulate when it comes to punctuality (even its an event on a Sunday morning). Shame on those who take their own sweet time and who do not give a *beep* on the welfare of the runners. Kudos to you Tan Sri!
The run started well. The terrain was undulating but I could handle the slopes. Thanks to the training at the Bukit Jalil park. I ran well, surprisingly and was quite confident of a good finish.
There was no discomfort or pain from my right knee until the 1hr 20mins mark. At this point my right knee felt dislodged and all hell broke loose. I could not run more than 1km without feeling pain. It was a walk and run till the completion. The knee guard did not help much. There goes my qualifier medal or even the qualifier timing for a certificate of achievement.
I walked and run for most of the way, after the 1 hour 20 minutes distance. I had no idea what distance marker I was at. There was no marker at all for the whole of 22km route. Very unprofessional. Even a short run event like Siemens Run had distance markers at every km.
A dear friend of mine Jules went to check out the route a day before the race. Her feedback was that at the finishing, there would be a very long uphill slope (i.e. Sri Hartamas) around 1km or so in distance. And after that, its downhill all the way back to the Stadium.
At the final stretch of the race, running practically with one good knee supporting the other, I sprinted. I sprinted up the slope with a do or die attitude (at that point all the 8km and 11km runners had merged and it was a sea of people to avoid and manoeuvre). In my heart, I knew what goes up must come down. Therefore psychologically I distance my mind from the pain and just went all out, trying my luck to grab the last elusive medal.
Once reaching the tunnel leading to the finish line, I was elated. Partly due to the fact that I had completed the race within the qualifying time and will be getting a certificate of achievement mailed to me. To my surprise and it was ultimately pleasant, I received a qualifying medal (an added incentive). More feeling of elation. And I noticed I was not the last to complete the qualifying medal time.
After that I met Kelvin Ng, Kei Ming, Pueh Tian, Ryan, Kenny Tan, Choi etc.
I must thank Ram Bo for giving me an ice pack to ice my sore knee. I appreciate it.
Contrary to some reports from some disgruntled runners, the water stations for the race were adequate with water aplenty, isotonic drinks and sponges for the 22km runners. If runners did not pit stop at the designated water stations, of course they would feel inadequately hydrated. Therefore it was unfair to put blame on the organizers for this. I ran the 22km and was satisfied with the water stations provided.
I ran in my Nike LunarGlide+. It gave me power and agility at the begining of the race but somehow did not perform as expected later. I seriously think this shoe is best for 10km races.
Note: This writeup is dedicated to the late runner Gary Leon Robert, 22. He collapsed and passed away after completing the 22km maiden run. May his soul rest in peace.