Many thanks to the race organiser, Karen Loh, for offering a slot and a chance to participate in this rather special annual event!
It was actually a last minute decision on my end, signing up just a week before the big day (Yes, I take forever to make decisions). Usually, I would opt for the shortest possible distance but this time, I settled for the half. I would say that it was on an impulse! Given enough thought, I probably wouldn’t have!
It would have been my 3rd Half Marathon event and I didn’t know how I would fair without training for it. The previous 2 Half Marathons were done during my Full Marathon training. Karen did ask me to go for the Full Marathon but I was NOWHERE near prepared (both physically and mentally). Hats off to those who completed the Full Marathon that day!
Sadly, I was unable to attend the pre-race expo (I wasn’t aware that they changed the dates)! Looking at the pictures, I wished I could have been there to support the girls!
How did I spend my day before race day?
A PARTY with FRESH FRUITS and CUPCAKES!
My beautiful girls planned a very successful be-early surprise party!
It was a party with a theme in my favourite colour, fresh flowers, handmade decorations, my very special and very specific order of popiah and Chatime, an antioxidant blast of frozen strawberries, blueberries, grapes, cherry tomatoes and kiwi, sushi and CUPCAKES! They know me inside out!
I had planned to eat very healthy meals the day before MWM but I guess that went down the drain. I had 4 cupcakes and loads of CNY treats! But hey, it was my party and I would like to think that the extra shot of sugar went to fuelling my legs.
As you can see, I had a lot of fruits before race day. Given the amount of fruits and vegetables that I take on a daily basis, my body is able to handle the fiber load. I can eat a whole papaya without it affecting my bowels.
My advice would be: don’t try/eat anything that your body is not accustomed to (especially a day before a big event!). Don’t go on a fruit binge if you don’t normally eat fiber rich foods. You WILL regret it!
Set my alarm at 3.15am, 3.30am, 3.45am and 3.50am because I’ve had my fair share of oversleeping and arriving fashionably late!
Story of my life!
I didn’t manage to sleep very well and woke up at the sound of the first alarm. I had 2 slices of plain whole wheat toast and a glass of water. I think I need to stock up on nut butter and bananas!
The race venue was at Shah Alam, a good 20-25 minutes’ drive from where I stay. In the wee hours of the morning, traffic was smooth and we were there by 4.25am – just in time to catch the flag off for the Full Marathon! So happy to see so many independent women runners as well as women with their dedicated pacers!
Snacked on Japanese Meiji biscuits while waiting for Michelle. The good thing about arriving early at race sites is that you don’t have to queue for the portaloos!
Did a bit of “warm up”(I wouldn’t consider it a warm up. HAHA!) before heading to the starting pen. Stood together with Michelle and her pacer (Alp). We didn’t squeeze all the way to the front but I guess it was good enough. There were many categories, so I didn’t know who my competitors were.
The flag off (at 5.30am) was a bit weird – there was the countdown but not the sound of the alarm/horn. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…… and then we had a few seconds of “Errrr, should we run?” moment.
As usual, I darted out and made my way to the front. Michelle did the same thing too (I guess I’m not the only one!)! I heard Alp saying that we were at a sub 4 minute pace. This is the typical starting pace – you’re feeling fresh and bursting with energy, you just want to go as hard as possible (because you want to make full use of it) and hope for the best later on. I know many people who can relate to that!
I made my way to 4th place and held that position until the 7-8th KM. Around the same time, I saw Daniel crossing over from the opposite side of the road towards me. I was so glad to see a familiar face! The first thing he said was: “You’re in 5th place!” (3rd place in my category)
He did mention that he wanted to do his LSD that morning but I didn’t think he’d show up. We exchanged a few words and he agreed to run with me.
It was early and still very dark, I don’t really remember what I saw or what I ran pass that morning. When you’re running, your focus is on your pace and the run itself. I was completely blank when it came to my surroundings. Runners are vulnerable in that sense.
Thankfully, Daniel was there to direct the way (when there was no road marshal) and alerted me whenever there was an oncoming vehicle. He didn’t exactly pace me because I was setting the pace. But he was good company and he played the pacer role! He notified me of my pace at regular intervals, how many KMs I had left, made sure I had enough gel and water…… He also kept telling me how close/far my competitors were (200m, 100m, 15m!!!!) Ummmmmm, thanks but I didn’t really want to know (haha!). Ignorance IS BLISS!
After about 50 minutes, I decided to take my gel at the next water station. I was already feeling a bit “light”. At the sight of the water station, I ripped the high5 gel that I had brought along and started sucking on it.
Compared with Powergel, it is actually easier to consume high5 gel. The taste is not as strong (I actually like it!) and the gel is not as thick, making it easier to swallow. However, the calorie content of the high5 gel is lower (a difference of about 20 calories per pack). I took a sip at every station and I didn’t care what drink it was. Drank salt water for the first time! Just curious, which brand of gel do you guys like to take and why?
It was a jolly time when we merged with the Full Marathon runners. I managed to spot a few familiar faces (Pei Feng was one of them. I didn’t know she attempted the Full Marathon!). By the 15-16th KM, I was overtaken by 4 other women. Thankfully, none of them were in my category! They were SO STRONG!
Towards the end of the race, it was just Daniel, another fellow Half Marathon lady runner and yours truly. I saw the blue Sultan Salahuddin Aziz Mosque and I knew that it was almost over!
I was getting impatient and my toe was killing me! Halfway through the race, I felt a sharp pulsating sensation on my left second toe and I knew that it was bad. I remember telling Daniel that my toe was bleeding. You can imagine the horror when I took off my shoes. My left sock was soaked in blood.
Finally, the finishing line was in sight!
I ran closely behind her all the way till the end! Another strong runner! I didn’t catch her name but we managed to shake hands and exchange a few words.
Just when I thought that the race drama was over, the marshal hung the NO.1 tag around my neck. I was like WHAT?! Almost the same reaction I had at the end of the RHB race. I couldn’t decide if I was happy or sad, I was just confused. We were very sure that we didn’t go the wrong way because Daniel double checked with the marshals at every turn.
My Pacer! Appreciate all the help! THANKS!
Thanks to Victor and Elaine for the support!
Apparently, the marshals directed the other runners somewhere else and they made a few extra loops before returning. Anyhow, Karen took charge of the situation and I think the results were based on the first checkpoint (See, this is why you should dart out in the beginning! Ok, I’m kidding). I ended up in 2nd place! It was definitely better than I had expected and I hit a new PB!
I had a good time catching up with a few runners! It was so good to see all of them and hearing their inspiring stories! Dewi accompanied her mom to complete her first 10KM race and she (her mom) finished in 11th place! Also, Susan Henderson finished among the top in the Full Marathon despite her lower back injury last year. Amazing.
The atmosphere was just perfect. I love that they had MANDARIN ORANGES! My brother tagged along and he had my share of maggi noodles, cereal and milo.
Half Marathon – Emerald – 1, 2, 3!
Despite a few hiccups along the way, I had loads of FUN! It was my first time taking part in an all-women event! It was also International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate all the women around the world!
Very inspired by all the women that got up to run that day (new runners, mothers, regular runners, the elites etc). Stop at nothing and keep it coming!
Kudos to the MWM team! See ya’ll next year!
Give thanks to the Lord,
for he is good;
his love endures forever.