29 June 2010

Full Marathon : Checked!

I was very ambitious enough to aim a sub-5 finish as i learned most newbies finish more than 5 hours on their 1st full marathon attempt. Despite that, instead of following the 5 hours pacer, i followed the 4 hours pacer so if i fall behind, it would be still within sub 5 hours time. It's more like a safety net mechanism for me to materialise my goal. But if it is more than  5 hours i would still be more than contented completing it. After all, it's my maiden full marathon, finishing it alone, regardless of time clocked,  would still make me feel like a million buck..

It rained for the 1st 10km. Quite hard but not torrential. Something that i have always wondered how does it feel like running in the rain on a race day. I found it very relaxing and chilling. At the initial phase of the course, i feel like i have run an indefinite eternity only to discover that i have only covered 5km! dang! It meant that i had to cover 8 more eternities to complete the whole course. Double dang!

1st half of the course was ran good. My limbs were doing great and energy level was still good (thanx to 5 bananas that i walloped before the race) and there were no signs of cramps as yet. I ran the normal pace that i used to run during LSDs. Not too pushing and not too laid back. 

The 21km marker was at Jalan Bukit Bintang where it came with a digital timer. It indicated 2hours and 8minutes the moment i passed the marker. I quickly made a mental calculation that if i could maintain current (at that time) stride and pace, i could clock a sub 4.30 hours timing. i restrategized. i made it a point that i must run between 4 hours pacers and 4.30 hours pacers in order to finish below 4.30 hours. Taking into accounts potential cramps, lethargy and time taken at every water station breaks, i had a leeway of 2 hours of 22 minutes to achieve my new target time.

It was at kilometer 27  that i felt presence of cramps on my both legs. It was mild ones on right limb and hard ones on my left achille's heel, calf and thigh. I never experienced cramps before, not even during LSDs, probably because my LSD never passed the 25km wall. The cramps were kinda throbbing and at the same time jolting and stretching the muscle hard. Thank god, they were not acute that i have to completely stop running and nurse them.

From there onwards, i ran cautiously. I couldnt stretch my legs for bigger stride to reduce the frequency of cramps. I made it mandatory to stop at every water station to replenish the lost electrolyte with 100 plus drinks and at medical aid team to apply ointments on my cramped limbs. It was indeed a run driven by mental strength the moment the cramps reared its ugly heads.

As my mental strength was at its lowest along the tijani stretch, the sight of julie wong, kash and rais at KM36 really gave me a mental boost. These people are  angels  in disguise. They cheered, they came out with motivational placards, they even distributed drinks and foods to runner friends. All in the name of love and passion for running. God bless them!

KM 35 till KM 40 is the playground of RBUs where we used to happily frolicking and gallivanting while exchanging anecdotes and jokes in our LSD session. But this time around, the stretch was passed by rather strugglingly with mental mantra i.e, u can do it, bring it on, sikit je lagi, relentless forward motion etc. By this time the sun has risen, the heat has depleted the energy level tremendously and occurrence of cramps has become more often. All i wanted at that time was to see the finishing arch.

But not so fast, it is not over until it is really over, the finishing arch would have to wait . At KM 40, runners were made to run uphill into Kementerian Kerja Raya only to do a u-turn at the mid-climb. It was totally a mental torture, why oh why must the organizer do this to us? why? jerit hati kecilku.LOL! i plodded on. i dared not to take walk-breaks as i was afraid that i would surpass 4.30hrs time. 

The turning to Jalan TAR was somehow a breath of fresh air. the  physical lethargy, the mental exhaustion and the cramps strangely disappeared. The turning converged all runner from all categories. Suddenly there was merriment in the air. An atmosphere so festive that triggered me to run with head held up high towards the finishing line as if my limbs were as good as new.

i lost my full marathon cherry the moment i crossed the finish line. I did it!. It was an epic run for me. Epic enough for a john doe like  me. It was indeed an episode to remember in my life. An achievement that i would never thought of earning before.

I thank Allah for giving me good health that has enabled me to complete this epic race injury free. I would like to attribute this personal achievement of mine to the  support systems (RBUs, FMVs, Kaki Lariks, AdiNation Runners) that has strengthened my belief that full marathon is doable. You guys are the coolest! I am also thankful to myself for having the bravado to take this marathon challenge as i badly need something to be proud of myself. Here's to many FM races to come, insyaAllah!

verdict : 42.195km - 4 hours and 27 mins (PB @ PW)
ranking : 344

23 June 2010

Apakah Perasaan Ini?

While I should be peaking in gathering mileages 2 weeks back, I was bogged down with injury which resulted myself not being able to run for two weeks. That’s TWO FREAKING WEEKS! Considering myself a 4-days-a-week-with-minimum-10km-per-session runner, that was a massive blow to me! I knew that I was gonna miss the adrenaline rush, my endorphine dose, and the highs that I got from sweats trickling down my face. During the first few days of resting, I twitched madly to run, and did run once only to find that the injury would have to stay at the back of my right knee joint for quite a while. So a running hiatus I took instead of going full swing with the mileage.

I am now 90% recovered and have done two 11km runs and 2 LSDs since I first resumed running after recovering. The pain is still there though its presence is faint. During the runs, I discovered that my body could not accustom to my usual running tempo, stride and speed. I’ve to be cautious with my running gait in fear of further worsening the pain. Apart from that, i easily pant and grasp for air. While breathing is laborious and sluggishness is evident, the ever irritating side twitch is felt too. In short, I am not the runner I used to be.

Somehow or rather, this has only waned the pre-race jitters that I normally experience in other big races for I know I am not gonna fare well and as I don’t prepare well.

Unlike Kak June, Yim, FMVs, RBU, GBS, Kaki Lariks who are now being taunted by pre-race jitter bugs or the thumping of Kompang that Diket keeps hearing as SCKLM is inching nearer, I don’t feel the same gung-ho-ness when I am about to embark into an epic chapter in my running book. Ironically, i feel emotionless when I should feel giddy and zesty. IT'S MY FIRST FULL MARATHON, FOR GOD SAKE! I know I am gonna get the zest back, but not before the big day. :(

Whatever it is, I am gonna run and finish the race nevertheless, but not as my normal runner-self.

p/s: Good Luck, folks! Run within safe limits. More importantly have fun running. Lets blaze the streets of KL!

03 June 2010

The Knee Injuries Club

What’s with knee injuries that have been plaguing fellow runner friends? It started with Nadia and Shaqi. Shaqi busted his knees during NB 30km if am not mistaken and Nadya suffered it long before I discovered her blog. Just recently, Yim also succumbed to one, crushing his attempt to do his first full marathon at SCKLM. And today I read about KakJune’s plight on the same injury and about Ziff’s kissing goodbye to his participation in SCKLM for the very same reason.

Truth is, I am also nursing one. I contracted this injury during an LSD run last Monday night. I did 2 loops of the Masjid Putra-PICC-Masjid Putra route. It was on the 2nd loop that I noticed there was some nagging pain at the back of my right knee joint. I couldn’t seem to stretch my stride bigger. Every time I did, my joint felt strained. And I found that I couldnt run the normal gait that I used to. My cadence were smaller and as a result it took longer time for me to complete the usual 2 loops that I normally did.

Till to date, the pain is still there even when I walk i.e at office, at home. Though it’s not something like major, sharp, stinging pain, I am worried that if I continue exerting my self with strenuous training, it will further deteriorate that I can kiss my FMV attempt bye-bye. Hence, I haven’t been running since then to rest them knees so that they can be back to their normal, natural form. Unlike the rest, I have yet to visit any sport injury specialist. The most that I did to nurse them were icing them and spraying them Salonpas spray (goodies from NB15km race). Alhamdulillah, they are doing okay though the pain is still dangling.

I googled the net and discovered the closest description of my knee injury. Most probably, the situation that I am experiencing now is called Poplietus Injury which may have been caused by overusage of poplietus muscle. It may also have been caused by poor biomechanics or movement patterns. Thank god the remedial measures do not involve operation or long rest from running. The website stated that all that one need to do is to rest from aggravating acticities that involves the affected areas and stretch the hamstrings several times a day.

The Popliteus is a small muscle located at the back of the knee joint. It is responsible for internal (medial) rotation of the Tibia (shin bone) as well as for 'unlocking' the knee joint when bending the knee from a fully extended (straightened) position. Essentially it initiates knee flexion (bending).

So it has been 3 days of non-running which has gotten me restless. The runner inside me badly twitches to sweat myself out and to get the usual dose of endorphine and runner’s high but I guess I will be deprived of those for these few days :( I guess I will only try doing a light run next Monday, hoping by then, my knees are gonna be better like brand new. InsyaAllah.

Akhir kata, Love thy body. Your body is a shrine. Worship it. Take care of it!