Monday, September 21, 2015

Race Report: Oren Sport Half Marathon

This is the 2nd half marathon I registered in 2015. The hazy weather lingering I was once decided DNS this race, but the thirst of adrenaline flipped my decision. Unlike the most of the race which usually held on weekend, this one is special as it tagged to the Malaysia Day, which is a Wednesday this year. Over the weekend, the API reading peaked at 180, then it dropping towards 100. Hence I decided I will run this race, if the API reading below 100 at 3am on the race morning. Came race day morning, I woke up at 3am, check the reading. 90! Straight a way I pack my running gear and drove to Klang town.

This was my 2nd time running a race in Klang, the first one was 2 years ago Run For It 7, which on the Klang Botanic Garden and Pandamaran side. This one is located in the center of Klang town. We ran past all the famous landmarks in Klang, via the Federal Highway of course. The race flagged off on time, 5:30am from the Stadium Padang. We ran past the Istana, then heading to Port Klang via Federal Highway. For the long battle of 7km of highway run, I kept a manageable pace at 5:15min/km. But I felt the needs to slow down after the U-turn. Nothing really bothers me at this point, only problem was the haze. It’s reduced my engine efficiency. My heart rate pushed up to 165-170BPM. I knew I will be able to sustain the pace until 21km, but the body will probably need lots of time to recover after that. Running in hazy weather is tough. I slowed down a bit to around 6min/km pace.

Finally we back in the town area 6km after the U-turn. The 10km runners joined us. The traffic control is ok, most of the major junctions was blocked by traffic police. We were directed to Taman Eng Ann, then back on the Federal Highway towards Bekerly roundabout to make the final U-turn. I decided to push again. My pace now back up to 5.5min/km and I was cruising back to the finish line. The route is over distance by 800m, hence I finished this race @ 2:02’44”. Still sub2 HM with an average pace of 5:35min/km. For all the HM finisher completed within 125min, we got the special souvenir of 125 years anniversary of the start of Local Authority for Klang Town back in 1890.
Overall, the race was well organized. The route is flat mostly, and it does bring you around the Klang town center. Good traffic control plus sufficient water station. Anyway, the air quality is the problem in Klang town. Not only the haze from the forest clearing activities in Sumantra Island, but the port itself with the sea traffic will generate lots of pollution. That’s why you always have Port Klang API reading higher than the rest of the Klang Valley. 

With the rain lately, the hazy situation seems to be under control now. Really hope it will subside in the next 2 weeks because I need to condition my body back in shape for SCKLM. There were hazy too last year SCKLM (around 60-70 API reading if I recall correctly). Hopefully we have a clear sky this year.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Race Report: River Jungle Marathon 2015

Signing up this race was an accident. I was looking for another marathon as replacement to SCKLM, as I cancelled my registration when it first planned to shift to 10 Oct. The cancellation was mainly due to unhappy with the last minutes of change for a major event like SCKLM. RJM was in the list because it had a new reversed route compared to 2011/2012 edition, and I missed the 2014 edition when this route was first in use. It will be good too, to return to this full marathon event, where I started my first full marathon 5 years ago.

Lately my marathon training hitting the wall, hence I didn’t have much plan for the race. Just ran at easy pace, enjoy the tough route and finish it before 5 hours. I got a 526 in 2013 RJM, so 5 hours will still be a nice personal improvement. Instead of pushing hard, maybe I just spent the time to reflect my current relationship with running.
I reached the race site around 4am, it was packed with cars and running. We had around 800 participants in this event. I didn’t expect to see so many people and car in RJM, lucky the starting line moved from the Chinese School to the Water Front Restaurant (same place as TITI100), else the parking itself will be a disaster. We were flagged off on time at 4:30am, we ran towards the city before turned towards the Batu18. We had some rain on Saturday hence the weather was perfect for a run. I just let the pace carry me along and it settled around 5.7min/km where I trained the most for the sub4 target. Can I hold to this pace until finish? Of course not. As we getting closer to the climb, the fog around the area was getting thicker. I was running alone around 17km (6:10am) and there was a light flashing from my back but I didn’t hear the running sound. I was too into my thoughts and also it overtook me quickly (I just took note of it for about 5minutes), it was kind of spooky when I recall the incident now. The light turned out to be from a lady riding a bicycle to support the race (maybe).

Hit the first big climb at 20km and I slowed down to 8min/km. The climb is actually quite short and I slowly regain the pace back to 6.5min/km range. I reached the u-turn point at 23km and durian was waiting. Still not dare to take the durian and I just continued the race. I still not very good in handling the descending, lost some speed and only keeping a slower pace for now. Very soon, I arrived at the 2nd big climb at Bukit Hantu. The memory from 2013 Titi50 still haunting me. It took me 1:36 from this point and not much improvement in this round; it still took 1:15 to clear this session. I am still very weak in descending. Finally, I completed my 17th full marathon with a time of 4:34’49”, with this under distance route of 40.9km.
Overall, this is still the best full marathon in Malaysia. Scenic route with challenging climbs with long cut off time (sweeper at 8 hours pace if I remembered correctly), there will be something for runners from all difference level. The finisher medal is very nicely designed too. Anyway, the only area to improve will be the under distance route. Please move the 23km u turn point to 23.7km, then the course will be measureable to 42.195km. It’s kind of ironic when the finisher medal and t-shirt are highlighting the 42.195km but the actual course itself is short in distance.