Tuesday, June 29, 2010

KL Marathon (Half Marathon for me)

(Photo courtesy of Tey)

I set my alarm for 4:30 so that I could get there in plenty of time to do a 4k pre race run/warm-up. So you can imagine my confusion and hollow feeling in my stomach when Shilpa woke me up at 5:37am asking me why I was still there.

Fortunately the start wasn't until 6:15, I only had 25km to drive, navigate a massive detour due to a closed road, 3 police road blocks to talk my way through, plus getting ready, not to mention drinking a litre of water and a pint of coffee.

Somehow I made it with just under 2 minutes to spare (needless to say I didn't get a warm up in).

The plan was to start at the back and let the race unfold while keeping focused on my injured calf and foot. Going slow was never the plan as that creates a different running gait from my norm and almost always results in further injury to my fragile feet. Equally this wasn't meant to be a time trial either.

I bumped into Ian, Bella and Sue and the gun went off and we were away. It was very slow going to start with as there were thousands of people doing the half marathon. I soon was weaving in and out and then hopped onto the footpath - BIG MISTAKE.

Asian footpaths are not meant to be walked on. Everyone drives EVERYWHERE. Hence you often find open sewers and uncovered storm drains. Today I found an uncovered storm drain that I stupidly assumed was covered as I ran over it at full pelt. My leg disappeared but fortunately it was only a couple of feet deep and somehow I managed to bounce back up before my leg literally snapped in two. As it was I tore the front of my ankle on the edge of the drain, went head over heels and landed very heavily on both knees.

Plenty of blood and lots of very concerned people (which was comforting, but I had a race to do so I apologise to anyone that asked me if I was OK if I appeared in a bit of a rush to get away). I knew it was pretty bad but after a couple of K I knew that it was only going to hurt after the race. I was just grateful that I didn't break my leg as I surely would had I done the same thing 19 times out of 20.

After the crowds started thinning out a bit I was in a nice rhythm and felt pretty good albeit a bit heavy (I'm carrying 7kg more than I was at IMMY and believe me the feeling is very different) and clearly my muscles were not race ready but I'm still pretty fit so I thought I'd see what I had in the engine while still keeping a careful eye on my torn calf and inflamed tendon in my foot.

At 10.5k (exactly half way) I was there at 52 minutes on the dot so I had a sub 5min per k pace going and I might squeeze out a sub 1hr40 if I pulled off a negative split. I was digging deep and just trying to deal with 1k at a time (for once there were what appeared to be accurate and regular distance markers).

I started going past some of the slower marathon runners (they started Uber-early). I saw Mohan the Great escorting a group of ladies around (what a gentleman!). I saw a one legged guy running on a "blade" (from Singapore I think). Those guys inspire me so much, I have so many sporting heroes but anyone that puts that kind of adversity behind them then they are top of the list in my book.

With 3.5k to go I thought I'd step it up a notch but soon after with 2k to go I realised that the wheels were soon to fall off - and only on a half marathon uh-oh! I need to get some ks in my legs before ITU - it looks like my calf survived and my foot is no worse at least so I can now focus on my running over the last few weeks.

Back to the race, I dug even deeper and somehow kept the mind and body together to keep the speed up to the finish clocking in at 1hour 39minutes and 33seconds. I was very pleased with that considering my oversleeping, lack of warm up, storm drain saga, injuries and lack of running training. The only problem is that now 2 days later I'm still suffering the effects of DOMS quite badly (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) not to mention badly bruised knees which is causing me difficulty cycling and walking down stairs.

Was it worth it? Damn YES! (it always is)

PS Mike Williams said after the race: - "Wow, that was only a half marathon and you looked like shit". He can always be relied upon to tell you how it is.

And I'm not complaining, I'm never gonna win a beauty contest but the worse I look coming down a finishing chute I know the more I gave it on the race course. I didn't kill myself today but it was a good measured, moderate pace and was just about right for now.

Watch out you Germans, I've got some revenge to wreak on behalf of England at the ITU Champs and then I'm gonna leave ALL MY PRETTINESS on the course.

Postscript: - I heard in the afternoon that a runner in the 10k race had collapsed and died. Sadly this turned out to be true, Lim Wei Ji, collapsed towards the end of the 10K and died on his way to hospital of a heart attack. So sad and tragic. My condolences go out to his family. I did not know you but we're all brothers out there on the road, RIP Lim.


ree_ti_ree said...

What an eventfull race! Congrats for fast time in a difficult race. No mention of the weather? I'm sure it was steamy. Wondering if race started before the heat of the day arrived. To me, temperature is the biggest limiting factor. Good accomplishment!

Johan Stemmet said...

Glad you're OK, could have been one nasty accident.
I know exactly what you're talking about, carrying extra weight on the run. In the same boat now that we have winter season

enjoy the training

plee said...

Nice time in spite of it all! good to know the calf and foot are all good! recover well!

Simon said...

R, Thanks. Actually the weather was perfect, it stopped raining just as the race started and the temp probably didn't get over 31C by the time I finished so that's cool for us here. Nothing to complain about there.

J, yeh should have broken my leg so I consider it a miracle. As for the weight, they reckon each kg represents 3secs every k. So 10kg over race weight = 21mins in a marathon which is huge. Somehow I gotta stop this yoyoing of my weight.

P, thanks dude, a long way to go but at least moving in the right direction now.

jantel said...

Hey Simon,
Good effort , all things taken into account ! 7kgs is A LOT. That can slow you down 20-30s per km over that distance.
I raced AM Bank Marathon in KL 07 , 3 weeks after Langkawi ,kind of reminds me of the km's 15-25 which were dark and unpopulated. Interesting scenario at 6.00 am for a tourist. Damn near broke my ankle on a curb!
Good job finishing and agreed , the worse you look , the more you left out there.



Simon said...

Thanks Terry,

Scapes and bruises starting to heel properly now. Managed a 27k this Sunday so the mileage coming together at last. 32k planned for this Sunday.

Brybrarobry said...

All things considered you did very well. Good luck at the ITU, you'll rock it.