Monday, April 26, 2010

Bidor Half Marathon 2010 - Race Report

Wow finally another race report after a long time! I'm not even sure how or where to begin?? Let's see... well this race was definitely not a race I had planned or trained specifically for. A month before the race I started contemplating on the possibility of signing up but wanted to wait until I came back from my Mt. Kinabalu trip in one piece. As it turned out, my concerns were misplaced so I signed up a couple of days before early bird registration closed the first week of April.

Now what about training you might ask? What training I ask back...haha. My longest run in over 8 months was probably an occasional 8km on Wednesdays and my average weekly mileage over that period ranged between 5 to 15 kilometers... and I'm not kidding, there were consecutive weeks where I might not run at all. One thing I had going for me was that I racked up the mileage a little with some hill workouts a month before my KK climb so that must have helped.

With 3 weeks to go I knew that I must try to run at least 2 medium long runs. The first run I managed was a 15km morning run which I found myself almost staggering towards the last 2 kilometers. The last run was 12 days before the race at the KLCC park. I planned it in advanced and geared myself to complete 19km within 2 hours using the Garmin as my pacer. I was thrilled to find myself completing the 19km without much trouble inside 1h58m, this gave me the confidence I needed going into the actual race. Mentally I set a goal of completing the race inside 2h15m.

The day before the race was spent with Boon up in Cameron Highlands just chilling and taking pictures. Boon happens to be an avid photographer and having an interest myself, I wanted to learn a few things. We had a great time up there and made our way down to Kampar where we would stay the night at the Regal Hotel. I didn't realise what a bustling and big town Kampar was. The hotel was quite nice too and decently priced at RM80 per night.

The next morning, we were up by 5am as Kampar is 30km away from Bidor. Once we arrived at Bidor, we waited for Peter at the starting point to collect our numbers. Nervousness started to set in as it had been sometime since I had run a race! Didn't take too long to get the number pinned on. Soon after some light conversation with some runners and a quick briefing by the race officials, we were allowed to start the race.

The first 2km my muscles felt cold but I soon warmed up. Bumped into Cheang who mentioned he was going for the Sundown Ultra in May... go Cheang! By the 3rd kilometer I was sufficiently warmed up. The 405 indicated that I was slightly behind my target pace, so I picked up the pace for the next few kilometers till I was back on track. By the 8th kilometer I was cruising along at a steady pace knowing that the tougher segment of the race had yet to be reached... the hills!

I kept looking for some strong pacers to follow throughout while concentrating on my breathing and running form. One thing that hit me was the fact that my long rest over the last 2 years seemed to have helped me recover from some nagging problems like my neck and back aches which I carried for a few years. I still felt strong over the next 5 kilometers, and despite the hills maintained a steady pace. I started tiring a little at kilometer 16 and was wondering why there were no isotonic drinks being offered to runners. Little did I realise I had just missed the only isotonic drinks that were available at the 15km water station next to the waterfall!

By the 17th kilometer there was a dreaded twitch on my lower right calf. I knew that I had better slow down or risk throwing the whole race. The strategy helped for the next 2km but mild cramps hit soon after. I kept telling myself just 2k to go! Just keep going! When the cramps got worse I took short 20s walk breaks but kept going. Over the last 1km, anyone seeing me would have been wondering what a crippled man was doing running a half marathon! I was doing whatever I could managed to do to keep running, and at that point hobbling was my best bet! Knowing the finish line was just round the corner I picked up the pace a little and crossed clocking a finish time of 2h15m20s. The 405 indicated a total distance of 21.4km.

Once again my gratitude and congratulations to the organisers for an excellent event! This was the second time I ran the Bidor half and enjoyed myself immensely! I'll be back again for Bidor! Oh yes and the medal definitely met and exceeded my expectations... it's a beautiful piece of art and of superior quality! Other organisers there is much to be learnt from this event. So what's next on the running plate for me?? I'll be participating in the Setia Alam Half Marathon on Saturday, June 5th and the KL International Marathon, also the 21km category on Sunday, June 27th. See you there!

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