Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My maiden race - 6th April 2013 - 8km at MWM

Lovely cotton candies at the sky after my MWM run
Yay, I did my first race at I-City, Shah Alam, @ Malaysia Women Marathon Event.
This was the first full marathon event dedicated to women in the SouthEastAustralasia Region. Being the newbie that I am, I took the shortest event, which was the 8km.
At the point of registration (sometime in December, me think), my running distance was on avg 3km, and I targetted myself to reach 5km by March, so i thought 8 km though sounded a bit ambitious would still be reasonable target.
However things do happen, I didnt run so much in Jan/Feb, and by end of March I've only run 5km once. So I did have jitters days before the run, not sure if I could make the 8km, but I told myself to make it easy and I can at least walk whatever distance I cant cover while running, so game it is!

Btw, actually my first race was supposed to be the Brooks 5km run in March, part of the HM Brooks Run in Bukit Jalil, but being so blur that I am, I've thought run events happen on Saturday and hence have prep myself early in Sat morning, walked out of the door, n realized I may as well bring the running brochures to read while waiting for the event... then it smacked me there with big fonts on the brochure that the date corresponded to a Sunday! Which was a no-no date to me, as we were leaving after my 'supposedly-run' event to JB for a weekend trip. Hahaha, so much for the drama. I ended up just running in my condo compound, with the brooks orange event t-shirt!

Eniwei.. back to MWM, I picked up my running race kit on Saturday, took kiddo with me, as maid had day off and hubby not in town. Attended Kathrine Switzer speaking on the history of women running. Truly inspirational. How she broke the norm in a US marathon event to officially run as a woman, which later on paved the way for her to be a bigger champion for women in running history, including to have the Women Marathon as an Olympics event. Bought some running goodies in the sponsoring booths, ie. the awesome MWM running t-shirt by G-Sukan (veerry verry comfortable, my fave running T to-date), a running skirt (with tight shorts inside) made by an Oz brand (despite the hype, i find running shorts still more comfy with its airy feel). Met wifey of an ol-school-hostel buddy, who happened to be an awesome runner, gonna run for her 42km FM. She asked me what i was doing there, to which i replied humbly "i'm gonna try run 8k :D".
Closed the day with eating ayam penyet with an old fren who picked me up from the MWM RePC area. Came back there to pick up my car and found out parking so expensive there! They really should give discount for MWM runners next time, esp. on the event day.

Sunday... I had my kiddo covered by asking the assistant to come back sat. late afternoon. Left home by abt 4.30AM me thinks... errrggg the things that runners do voluntarily which baffle me till now... is wake up at weird hours such as this... reached the place in 45mins, parked, and then luckily I could find proper toilet (not the portable one) to do no.2. Then I was ready and sat around to wait till the flag-off time (6.30AM).

Started the run slow. I took Kate's yesterday advise to heart, which was "Enjoy your first run. Forget about the watch, forget about the timing, just enjoy your run, there's only a first run and enjoy it!". So I ditched my earphone - but still turned on my NikeApp to track the distance.
One week before the organizer updated that the 8km route has been upgraded to 8.8km. I was like.. darn even further! So my strategy was to really run slow at least for the first half, so I can be sure I will be able to cover the 2nd half as well, no matter how slow hahaha. I think the first 1 km, I kept looking back for fear I would be the last one in the crowd. I didnt want to be running with the last escorted motorbike and running-sweepers if any! * that would be too much pressure, on top of the pressure being 'bontot' :p *. I think I could see the sweeper motorbike 100-200m behind me, so I was probably in the last 100-200 persons crowd.

But I slowly progressed my pace, and beyond 2km i didnt look back and found myself quite comfortable. I managed to run a full 5.5km without stopping. Then came in the incline around UiTM Mara area, so many people started walking up the incline. I ran my first incline, then first water stop, then on 2nd incline i dedided to walk. Happy I achieved my initial target of running at least full first 5km without stopping. It was really great experience to be running with so many people in an organized event like this. The volunteers manning the drinks stop was awesome with their smiles greeting us. There were marshalls here and there cheering us on, and there were fellow runners to share our pain with *Grin*. After the 4-5km mark, we started to merge with 21 n 42km runners. At that point I remember seeing so many gruelling faces doing the 21km, that it kind of put me on a happy place, happy cause i wasnt suffering like them, haha. i sound a bit evil. But seriously, I really dont know if I can put myself up to a 21km event, but seeing their faces, I stick it to my memory that it's not easy running that distance, so respect to those who can do HM! (I'm not even putting FM in my coverage).

Also, what i loved about this event, is that eventhough it's a running event dedicated to women, they do allow men to join as pacers to the women (must run in pair, and finish together). I've seen few people complaint why they allow it. But to me,it's a good thing and I loved seeing the pairs running together, the man giving motivation to the woman, even without talking much, but just running together, I find it beautiful. And towards my last 2km, i was running at abt the same pace with one of these couples, and loved seeing them finish together, inspiring!

So, finally, after combining 2 more walking sessions with running, i at last finished my 8.8km event at 1hr 22mins or so. I just stopped the app and didnt really bother checking the app details... as needed to go for refreshment! yup, hot and thirsty. Only then i realized someone shouted 'ow man it wasnt 8km, it was near10km'. Ah! no wonder i felt so jelly legged! I checked my app and it was 9.5km! Wow, coolness, I could run near to 10km, so much for the pre-run jitter of having run up to 5km only up to date :D

This event only gives medals to the FM and HM runners. Oh n they decided to give some to the top 50 or 100 of the 8k as well! Me got a certificate, happy enough!

Loved the run. It's addictive i can tell u that ;p
Top left: with Kate Switzer, the Marathon Woman. Bottom Right: with femes runner Yvonne, she has a cool blog, n not to mention awesome runner.

ps: Oh and I almost forgot, after the day of the event, I realized that the fun was not over. People were putting up their snapped photos of the runners on facebook and letting us know their links so we can browse
and look for ours! It was so much after-party fun. Here are some photos I found of myself. Really thankful for these photographers for being so selfless and spending time to snap photos of strangers and sharing them back to us! These are some of them:

me running behind one of the HM-pacee-pacer. Loved their glorious smiles. (photo credit to s1 - sorry didnt write down the name)

running tutu (air asia group I believe)
ps2: I followed up with a full 10km run 2 weeks after, as I was 'penasaran' that if i could run 9.57km, whether I could make it to full 10.0km and without stopping, and 2nd yay, i could do it :) happy!