Thursday, June 28, 2012

Race Report: Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2012

This is one of the biggest running event in Malaysia, and also a highly anticipated event by lots KL runners because this is our home ground, as its route will cover part of the weekly BA-Sri Hartamas route along Bukit Tunku. I registered to this event almost immediately after the registration open. I was doing my first half marathon last year and this year got myself upgraded to a Full one :)  I was worried as the hazy condition lingering around West Malaysia on the week before, but lucky it started to rain when we get closer to the event. As per my previous post, my condition and trained mileages doesn’t really grant me to improve my run, but I will still going to try out the sub-5 target here. The game plan is straight forward, but the execution may be a challenge.
Nice Bib number.
Woke up 2am on Sunday morning, gave myself amble of time to prepare myself. Leave home on 3am and arrived at Bukit Aman on 3:20am, the car park lots were full. I parked at the side lane and enjoy my breakfast. Still got some slight blocked nose, but I think it will clear once I started warm up. Get myself ready, and start walking to Dataran around 3:45am. I wished to collect the Run for Bersih bib from Julie, but she is not at the Church as planned, so I run without the special bib :(   Met Nick and had a short chat when I walked around to find a spot for my light warm up, he looked quite comfortable + confident on his first FM (and he did it in 5:20, which is a very good timing for first FM). Met my ex-boss who get me into running, he is doing his first FM too, wished him luck and we are almost ready for flag off.

I am in the middle pack inside the starting pen and it’s crowded. If you used to run FM in Malaysia, you will properly know that usually we have few hundred or one thousand plus runners only. We had 3000+ runners in FM this morning, this one sure is the biggest running event in Malaysia and more people seem to start running in FM now. Flag off on 4:30am, I only crossed the line about 2 minutes after the official gun time. The crowd only starts to ease when we reached the National Museum. The pacers start to working on their pace and moving fast from the back of the pack. Met and had a quick chat with Tan before we turned in to Brickfield. The 5HR pacers are almost out of sight. So I pushed on to chase them, Plan A, stick like a superglue to these 5HR pacers.

Rain started to drizzle on and off when I reached MidValley. Strong wind blew away our heat and created the most comfortable weather to run with. No much comment about the route as we are emerging back to the HM route very soon, and most of the time I didn’t manage to enjoy the scene of early KL city, I am busy chasing these pacers. Both legs and the foot soles were doing fine initially but the right sole start to form hotspot around the toes area after 26km, and I had no choice but to slow down and let the pacers go on the 30km water station.

Met Nick again on the 34km water station, both of us are now taking up plan B which is running from water station to water station. We paced for a while and I pushed on towards the Duta Roundabout, and back to our familiar playground – Bukit Tunku. Passed the water station @ 36km and both Choi & Kak June’s aid stations without taking any supply cause the stomach had just too many water/isotonic. Then we met the worst climb on this route, I walked. Plan B continued until Bank Negara. I brisk-walked from that stretch until the u-turn point, and gave the final push to run until the finish line. Crossed the line on 5:11’31” with a big happy smile on my face.
Post Marathon, the tired feet in VFF accompanied by the finishing medal
Split time, getting slower towards the end
Eventhough I didn’t achieved my sub-5 target, but looking at my condition, I sliced 31 minutes from my previous PB from SCMS. I couldn’t ask for more, at least not in this race. I am surprised that I am running with very comfortable and consistence pace and heart rate, both stayed at 6:40-7:10 pace and 150~158BPM all the way to 29km. Must be the effect from those speed works! But obviously I still need more LSD between 30~40km to let the body (especially those foot inside the VFF) used to the demand.
Good about the event,
1. More than sufficient water stations, distances markers on every km.
2. Challenging route especially on the final 5k.
3. Staging starting time for 10k category.
4. Very nice finisher T-shirt.

Things can be better,
1. Traffic control, especially on the intersection on Jalan Tun Razak and Jalan Ipoh. Obviously not enough polices/officers to handle the traffic, drivers keep jumping out.
2. Road surface, especially on the Jalan Ipoh and Jalan Kuching. Suggest the organizers to survey the road condition and carry out the required patching a week before the race.
3. Final stretch on Jalan TAR. There are lots of runners/walkers from 5k, 10k and HM, joined us at this stretch. No issue on the runners, but we forced to zigzag to avoiding those walkers. Some supporters also obstructing the flow, some of them are standing on the route but not the sidewalk. May be we can use some barricade here to separate 5k & 10k and  HM & FM runners, with barricade on the side to improve the flow.
You can see I am very happy with my result :P
After the race, met with Tan again and congratulated him on achieving his target time. Also met with Melvin to collect 2 books from him, “Chi Marathon” and “Run Less, Run Faster”. Believe both will help to improve my training and marathon time.

No time to relax for now, I will be doing 3 races in July. With back-to-back Men Health’s Night Run and Seremban Half Marathon, plus PaceMakers Anniversary relay, I not only need to focus on Speed, but I will need to improve my Endurance. Men Health’s Night Run is revenge from last year where I finished 18th place before the limited medal, but as they increase the limited medal to 500 for Men-Open, I think I will be entitled one if I go with 6 minutes pace for the whole 11.8km. Tentatively Seremban Half Marathon will be my last change to secure my goal of completing and sub-2 half marathon in this year, sure I will throw in all I had on that race. For the PM Anniversary relay, each of us only needed to complete 3.14km, another speed event that I never experienced before. If all the plan and training when well, I will try to do it with a 5 minutes pace.

Run Happy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Preparation for SCKLM

This will be my first Full Marathon in KL city, also my 5th Marathon. Last year I did my first half marathon in the 2011 SCKLM, the experience running around KL city is definitely something you can’t find from other races. Compare to SCMS, this event is less crowded, and you are really traveled 75% of the KL city on foot by the FM route. I signed up for FM almost immediately when the registration is opened. And I planned to challenge a sub-5 FM in this event. That’s target stayed unchanged so far, but I am not too sure if I manage to handle it now.
Like what I wrote before, I followed the SmartCoach training plan from RunnersWorld. But I can’t follow thru, the plan went out the window right after PJ Dawn. And the training mileages decreased drastically after March. May be due to family commitment, workload or just plain over-trained, I felt tired after pushed over 220km in March. And I slow down when I supposed to push harder in April & May. Further more, I was sick for the pass few weeks and body is yet to recovered fully from it. From the result in ENR2012, tentatively I will not sub-5 in SCKLM. The body is yet to back in condition after the long 2 weeks break from running. Anyway, the tuning of the body these few days went well. There will be another 2 runs for this purpose before I rest for tapering.

So what is the game plan? Plan A is simple. There will be pacers in this race. So I will stick with the 5 hours pacers and stay on the course as long as possible. Is it weird that I need a pacer when I run with GF910XT? Nope, running alongside with some one will definitely give you the push factor to out perform yourself. Even if the pacer run with difference strategy that may ruin your own pace, but you will still benefit by knowing that someone is aiming on the similar finishing time with you, and he/she is still insight :P  I plan to run at consistence 7 minutes pace from start till end. Hopefully one of the 5 hours pacers is using the similar strategy. Plan B? Whenever I ran out of fuel, I will fall back to the 5:30hours pacers.

It may be utterly optimistic for me to hope for a BP in my current condition, but if you are not trying, you will never know. I think I didn’t push enough in my passed marathons, and the dominant factor is all about the mind. My best is yet to happen as I am not really wanted it. This round, all I need to do is totally commit myself to the target, and the rest will follow.

Btw, some runners initiated a side track on Facebook. I will run with this special bib on my back. Click the link to find out more.

See you this Sunday 24 June, in Dataran Merdeka.