Today I have to acknowledge that the human body is indeed amazing. It's no wonder, men and women around the world are constantly setting new records in different challenging feats all the time. To find out more about how I fared in my first (unexpected) 21k run, please read on.
Before I indulge you with the details, I must attribute all my recent progress with my running to my wife’s patience, understanding and sacrifices. Today when I came home and told her about my latest achievement, the happy and proud look on her face meant more to me than what I had achieved.
Now the details…
I arrived at the Klang stadium at exactly 6.30am and saw that Albert was already there. He was speaking to someone who was still sitting in the car. Turned out, it was Ms. Leong from Shah Alam whom I had met once at the Putrajaya race. She was joining us for our long run as part of her prep for the Singapore marathon.
Peter arrived soon after, followed by Kam. The plan was to do a 15k using the Shah Alam route. After a quick warm up of running a couple of loops round the parking area, and some stretching, I was ready to start.
We started at a slow, even pace, and I was hoping to keep it that way for the entire distance. I was running in front with Kam, while Peter and Albert ran with Ms. Leong.
After running across the bridge to the town, I suddenly realized I had not started my stopwatch. Since we were already almost 10minutes into the run, there was no point in starting it then. This would prove to be a psychological benefit for me later in the run.
Once we passed the Hokkien Association and started running past Taman Rashna, Peter caught up and started running alongside me. Kam picked up his pace and moved on ahead.
When we had reached the Puspakom junction (6.5k), Peter asked if I wanted to try a new distance of 18k, instead of the originally planned 15k. I readily agreed since I was feeling good and strong at that point.
We continued running until we reached out first water station, the BP petrol kiosk at the 8.5k mark. If we were to run 18k, the roundabout up ahead would be our halfway turning point.
After drinking as much as I could get from the pipe (something I’ve yet to get used to), we continued running. At this juncture, Peter suggested that we extend the distance once again, this time to cover 21k. I surprised myself by once again readily agreeing instead of laughing off his suggestion. Was my bravery going to get the better of me this time?
Anyway it was too late to change my mind, so instead of making a u-turn up front, we made a left turn heading towards UITM. I had thought we had left the hills behind us by then, but to my dismay, this extended route had another couple of steep hills to tackle. I estimated that by the end of the run, we would have conquered at least 4 to 5k of steep hilly terrain.
We passed Ms. Leong and Albert after making the halfway u-turn at the UITM roundabout. They had seen us taking the extended route and had followed suit.
After covering another 10k, and having stopped at 2 more water stations, we were once again crossing the infamous Klang river. By then my legs were a little stiff, but I felt no pain and my breathing was regular.
As we turned onto the final stretch heading towards the stadium, I even surprised myself by being able to manage a half sprint for the final 100m. Wohoo! I had run and finished my first half marathon! I turned to Peter who gave me the final time… 2h 12m 28s.
Today I have been reassured that all my extra effort is starting to reap its rewards. Total mileage clocked for this week… 54k. I am now looking forward to the coming week’s practice run. This should give me some exposure to KL’s route and the feared double hill. I still plan to take it slow and easy for this 20k, and to enjoy by taking my own sweet time at each water station… something we don’t get to enjoy in races or even training runs.
Post run body check:
1. Muscles are generally fine and not sore. However from past experiences, soreness starts to be felt the day after.
2. Slight pain on the right kneecap (only when putting heavy pressure on it). Not noticeable with normal movement. This should be fine in a couple of days, with some ice treatment
3. The skin on the inner thighs is raw (red) and painful. The modest, non-conventional New Balance running shorts I wear must cause this. I wonder whether they are really meant for running in the first place. I still cannot bring myself to parade in the sexy, revealing, lightweight shorts I see most runners wear… but looks like I may not have a choice!