Last night, the wedding dinner started and ended really late. By the time we left, it was almost 11pm. To make matters worse, we faced a tire puncture somewhere at Dengkil on the Elite expressway. I was thankful that while changing the tire, the highway patrol suddenly appeared and completed the task for me.
By the time we reached home it was 12.30am and I only managed to get into bed by 1am feeling absolutely exhausted. Could not sleep well and woke up before both alarms rang at 3.40am and turned them off. Had a quick shower, ate some butter, jam and honey sandwiches that my wife had prepared the night before, had an overripe banana and washed it down with some 100plus.
I was at Lim’s house before 4.20am and he was ready as well. The drive to the Bukit Aman car park took us less than 40 minutes. We met Ms. Leong at the carpark. She had parked just a few cars away. I quickly started the normal routine of taping the nipples and a couple of toes. Applied some petroleum jelly on the inner thighs for the first time, hoping to spare myself from some painful post run days.
After registering and collecting my Powerbar, I spotted Jamie and said hello to him. He would be running the 30k route today. Lim and I were going to run 20k. After warming up and a short briefing from the president, we were allowed to start. In the first few minutes there wasn’t much space to run freely as the pack was still running together. Once we reached the turning into the Bank Negara road, I had moved up to the middle of the group and started holding a comfortable pace.
Running this route for the first time, I was unprepared for the undulating terrain we were going to cover. Even as we reached the first water station, I was already totally flabbergasted by the number of steep hills we had covered. At the water stations, Powerbar endurance drinks were made available. Drinking it for the first time, I decided that I preferred the taste of 100plus, but I suppose enjoying any sports drink is an acquired taste.
After running along the rolling steep terrain of Hartamas, I finally reached the halfway mark at the Petronas station. My watch showed approximately 66mins at that point. I was not feeling any real tiredness yet and was hoping to maintain the same pace for the return journey. As I approached the final water station (also the 1st water station), my right knee was starting to feel the effects of the downhill pounding. I was glad to be able to stop for a breather, and took in as much fluids as I could.
As I continued running, someone shouted out to me and that’s when I saw Lim coming down the opposite side of the road. He was running out from a junction which appeared to be part of the loop the 30k runners were supposed to take. This really surprised me for a second, but he signaled saying that he had decided to run the 30k instead. I was happy and concerned at the same time, since he was doing the Singapore marathon but had not been putting in enough weekly mileage to be running the 30k today.
I suddenly realized there wasn’t any runner within sight in front of me. This is where I panicked as I was not familiar with the roads there, even though we had taken the same route earlier in the morning. I told myself that I would not get lost so easily as the route seemed pretty straightforward, and with that I just continued at my even pace. After awhile, some runners started approaching from behind and overtook me, I hung on to them for a short distance before I saw other runners in front again.
When I started approaching Bank Negara, I realized that I still had plenty of energy left, and my legs while tired, were still capable of a little push. Along the way I had seen some runners already starting to walk and I was happy to have kept to the strategy of even pacing and maintaining effort (not maintaining pace) on the hills. With this I picked up the pace a little and pushed home. I slowed to a jog when approaching the carpark and stopped my watch for a timing of 2h15m11s.
I was unsure where the breakfast area was, and finally located it after some searching. Not many people were there yet as many were probably running the 30k today. This is when I suddenly realized that Lim had my car keys and I was not going to be able to change until he got back. I hoped he would not take the 4hours he said he would if he ran the 30k.
Not knowing anyone there, I lingered at the breakfast area drinking Milo and feasting on the watermelon and bananas. My stomach was not ready for any of the solids laid out on the table, thought I must admit it was a good spread. Many people seemed to be enjoying the porridge, but that is one food item I have yet to fall in love with.
Later I saw Jamie again at the car park. He had run his 30k in 3h2m and was taking a quick drink before heading towards Lake Gardens to try and achieve his target of a 35k run. After much patience and more food, I finally saw Lim approaching the stairs of the breakfast area. He had completed with a time of 3h40m and was still feeling good. I really admire his determination and wish him well for the Singapore marathon.
We had a quick shower and change of clothing before heading back to Klang. The sun was blazing hot by then and I was starting to feel the effects of the long run and lack of sleep. By the time I dropped off Lim and reached home, it was almost 11.30am. I washed my clothes, had my shower, took my car to the nearby tire shop to get the puncture fixed and finally ‘tapau’ some lunch for both my wife and me. I only managed to hit the sack after my son slept at 2pm.
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