Monday, November 21, 2011

PBIM Half Marathon Race Report

When I registered this event back in June, I don’t expect myself doing any Full Marathon in year 2011, I only go for another Half Marathon. But eventually I started my FM journey in September, so the feeling is mixed by relief and jealous when I walking around the starting line before the FM flag off.
Clouded sky, will it rain tonight?
I took FireFly to Penang on Saturday afternoon, reached the hotel about 3pm. The B Hotel (it is a budgeted hotel located opposite the Sg Nibong Bus Terminal, not the B-Suit Hotel) don’t have my booking records, same happened to few runners who booked online as early as June. Waited until 4pm only the issue resolved by downgrading my room to smaller room with shared bathroom. Dumped my bags into the room and I walked to Queensbay Mall for early dinner. The sky looked clouded and tentatively it will rain very soon. After a quick survey on the start area, its carbo-loading time :)
Serious Carbo-loading session
Back to the hotel after dinner. The hotel is renovated from a 3 stories link house, with at least 12 rooms. The hotel condition is so poor and I made a terrible mistake. First, the shared bathroom located on ground floor and my room located on the 1st floor. Second, the “room” was made of single layer gypsum board by boxing up the family area on 1st floor. As it located right next to staircase, I can actually tell what’s happening in the whole hotel. Third, the housekeeping is very poor and spiders’ webs are everyway (the photos on the hotel’s website only true if I came 2 years ago). Fourth, the hotel has no security and the access is free for all. I am on the bed since 7:30pm, but couldn’t sleep at all. Kids are running around, then some people having laugh conversation, and etc. like a drama on for the whole night. Finally, its 12:30am and the hotel start to get quiet down. Too bad, I need to wake up and prepare myself.
It is about 1.5km from the starting line, so I jogged slowly at 9min pace to the starting line for warming up. Hang around the area and say hi to familiar runners on the FM category. I felt relieved as I don’t need to run 42k now with minimum or no sleep, but I felt jealous too as I am only doing 21k. I promised myself I will back next year for a Full one. The FM flagged off on time and then followed by the HM on 3am. I stayed with 6:30 pace for the first 3km and then pushed up to 5:45 pace. May be due to lag of sleep, I found that I had some hard time to hang on with 5:45 pace, so the pace kept dropping from 5:45 to around 6:15. I completed the first 10k in 60 minutes right after the u-turn on the bridge. Tried to psycho myself to push harder when heading back to island, but didn’t work. Decided this is not my day and switched to 7min pace from 15km onwards. Felt some discomfort in the stomach around 20km, so used the run-walk-run strategy from there. Finished the 21km by 2:16’18” and felt great.
Got my finisher medal and headed direct to the baggage counter. Saw the hopeless queues as the 10k race is yet to start, and lots of runners trying to deposit their baggage. Lucky they dedicate a lane for withdrawal. No rain for the entire event, but the strong wind from sea kept us cool. This is the first time I felt my body cooling down so fast after the run, so I changed to a dry t-shirt to avoid caught the cold. Head back to the hotel to catch up some nap.
Overall, this is a good event and the experience of running on the bridge is unique. There are some complaints from FM runners, mainly on the out-of-water at varies water stations, finisher t-shirt giving out to non FM runners, joined & narrow finishing route with 10k and fun run (caused the walking human “wall” towards the finish line from 7:30am onwards, very tough to those exhausted 5:30~7:00 hours FM finishers). I will take note on these complaints and prepare myself for 2012 version (but seriously I hope the organizer do improved from the feedback, especially lots of them are repeated one).

Only one observation from me, the stress of the 1.5~3km on HM route are very dark. Some lamp pole out of service and we can’t see the road condition clearly. Worst still, the organizer assigned some scout to distribute 500ml water bottles here. I saw some runners ran on these poor scouts due to poor illumination. To me, the water station located just nice and no one needed those 500ml water bottles and it’s straightly a waste.

Learning from this race:
1. Don’t try new thing during a race and keep the routine practices. I brought a GU Chomps and use it for the first time. I haven’t used it and perhaps it causes my stomach discomfort (sure the lag of sleep contribute to this too).
2. It is tough to hope to have an improved finish time in HM, during FM training. I am training for a sub-6 FM, naturally my body is tuned to running at ~8min pace especially in long distances. It’s nearly impossible to reverse the tuned body overnight and hope it running on 5:40 pace for a sub-2 hours HM.
3. Touch & Go, or overnight trip for an outstation event is killing me. I already skipped some hassle by taking flight to Penang, but still the exhaustion is tough. So, I am planning to limit my outstation races next year. For PBIM 2012, I will bring along the family next year and stay longer in Penang before and after the event, for more makan & beach fun :)

Another 12 more days to SCMS.


  1. Neoh, last year while doing half, I was literally running while sleeping in the second half of the race. And it was raining too.

    Nevertheless, what you did was still a good timing. I understand about the training mixed up between half and full marathon, but this should prep you well for SCMS.

    and doing touch-n-go trip isn't that bad, you know! :-)

  2. It was a good run, despite your lack of sleep and all the drama, Neoh.

    And good luck with SCMS! :)

  3. I thought you did a great job la, what with all the hassle you had earlier, lack of sleep and all that. Good work my friend. Next year, we'll line up at the start with Kah Yen and do the FM together.

  4. Deo, your touch & go FM + PB are really high achievement! For now, I can only dreaming on that.

    Lina, thanks! Will you join us (Nick & Kah Yen) next year for PBIM FM? ;D

    Nick, no problem. We start together in PBIM 2012.

  5. @Neoh,
    I envy you,Nick & Kah Yen!

    Maybe doing a full marathon next year will be too early for me? xD

    I need to start 1. train hard 2. save money to pay for the family to go vacation there while I run!

    But never say never, right. :)

  6. Lina, regular runner like you will need like 4~6 months only to train up to FM. I done my first in Sept, which is only 1 year from the starting of my running journey (I can't finish a 10k without walking in Sept 2010). :D

  7. Congratulations Neoh, that's good timing. Dont be too hard on yourself lah, not everytime we can PB. There's always the next race..
    And I'm glad that we finally met! Hope to run with you some day...

  8. Hi Zack, nice to meeting you too :D