09 February 2010

Putrajaya Night Marathon 2010 – In Search Of Better Half

My NB20km timing that I clocked 3 weeks ago was promising (according to my amateur standard lah,  of course!) that I set such a high benchmark (again, my amateur standard) for me to surpass this time. NB 20km run was not precisely 20km, in fact it was actually 2 kms short of a half marathon. After much calculation and estimation of what I have done and could have done, I have set a target time ranging between 1 hour and 50 mins and 1 hour 55 mins for me to clock this time around.

Reached the race compounds at 7.30pm with the rest of Kaki Lariks who earlier gathered at my place. We parked our cars behind the what-used-to-be-MECD-building and rushed to Perbadanan Putrajaya to perform maghrib prayers at a surau there. Bumped into Che at surau and he handed me 10 glowies. *che,will pay u today eh.. The atmosphere was great. Sea of enthusiastic runners donned in white vest/shirts flooded the Perdana Boulevard. I caught a glimpse of a marching band troupe in blue in their position ready to perk up the night. Weather was fine. But the much dreaded infamous night humidity had yet to surface.

After depositing our belongings to the luggage tents, we rushed to the runners’ gantry located in front of Palace of Justice where there were already early birds all hyped up to be released. I bumped into Shuk and exchanged hellos and all-the-bests. Did a little warm up and chatted with Babart and Irwan to make me feel more relaxed and less jumpy. We were released when the digital clock indicated 28mins-ish after the full marathon runners were let off. I was at the middle of the pack and it took me 30 seconds navigating through eager runners before I could cross the starting line.

I started off maintaining my pace, striding big but not pushing myself hard that I could tire myself easily. I darted through my way towards PICC and got to ran side by side with the inspirational blade runner from Singapore. I later ran into Yim whom I identified from behind by the glowies he wore. We ran together and parted ways as I made a little detour to join fellow runners emptying bladders just before the climb behind PICC.

The route was a mixture of not so torturous hills and flat surface which was a good thing. And there were not-so-long stretches, gentle slopes, turns and roundabouts. In short the 21 km route was not boring. The rest of the run was smooth. I managed to maintain the same pace and stride until I made a turn into the route leading to Prime Minister’s Department. It was like a long stretch about 4 kms before the finishing line. My feet started to feel numb. The warmth of the tarmac which could be tolerated before has become unbearable. It was as if my running shoes were absorbing the heat from the tarmac like a sponge does to water. The numb feeling and the burning sensation was such a deadly combination that it really drained me. It got worse with every constant pounding on the tarmac. My pace has gone haywired and my stride has turned smaller. The more I tried to stretch my legs for a bigger stride the more drained I become. I was literally running at a snail pace. Quite a number of runners whom I overtook earlier took sweet revenge overtaking me and my effort to keep with their pace was futile. It was like the most excruciating and the longest 4km in my life and to double-whammy that, it came with a cruel detour behind Palace of Justice before the runners could really end the race.

Finally, after what felt like ages I crossed the finishing line. I immediately took off my shoes and limped barefooted on the tarmac, looking around for my friends who were done with their 7.7 km run earlier. Believe me the socks and the shoes were totally drenched. The feeling of having to get off the shoes from my feet was just heavenly.

Overall, mission was not accomplished. :). It was mainly because of the agonizing and punishing last 4km. If I could have maintained the same pace from the start, if i could have known how to handle the burning feet, the targeted time could have been achieved. But it was a feat for me too as I managed to shed 7 minutes off from my personal best done at SCSM2009. I really have to train myself more frequently doing the real distance in order for me to achieve that. Energizer Night Race is the venue for me to achieve that. InsyaAllah.

Verdict : Official time - 01:58:49 , Nett Time :1:57:51

p/s: how does one deal with burning sensation from the tarmac? What kind of socks/shoes one needs to wear? I observe that this burning sensation is only felt during night run. I experienced the same thing during PBIM.