Saturday, November 26, 2011

Salam Maal Hijrah

1433H.. semoga ia tahun yang membawa berkat & rahmat yang berterusan.

Lord have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bless us with your love & guidance, amin.

Selamat Menyambut Maal Hijrah 1433H.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Closure.. and onwards we go!

A lil outdated perhaps but i just needed to put it up for closure ;)

My 1st half mara certificate, PJ half marathon 30th October 2011.  maybe a trivial matter for some but a BIG deal for me.

Okey, moving on now.

To better things ahead, insyallah :D

Thursday, November 3, 2011

PJ Half Marathon - my first 21km

I keep telling myself i need to write this, if not for anything else, for my own reference bcos my brains turn to mush so easily these days lol.

So before i completely forget all the details (sadly there are blanks already huhu) heres sharing my first half marathon experience. but a word of caution though, this report is based mostly on my feelings rather than technical info which till now, i barely understand nor quite make much sense of lol.

A race actually starts way before the flag off, even before the race day itself and for me, 3 days earlier.  why the non runner might ask? bcos the body needs to be prepped for the beating it was going to be put through, especially a well-used (luckily-not-abused) old body like mine lol. once you make the decision to run a race you have to accept the responsibility of minimising the damage... otherwise be ready to suffer the consequences.

So there i was hydrating myself with fluids and downing the necessary ORS till i got pretty pissed off with having to piss so often hahaha.  and 3 days of such an activity seem like a looong time until i remind myself suffering cramps on race day would be even worse! oh and then there was also carbo-loading time. i tell ya, having to eat bcos u hafta kinda takes away the joy from eating. but i slogged on regardless.. bcos truth be told, i was pretty damn scared of running that first 21km.

Yes i've been putting in the miles and i've been consistent in pounding that tarmac but, my limit was plus minus 15km.  and during all this time, my weekly lsd has been, eerrrr dont laugh now, 8km which was 2 laps round the tasik.  only this year have i upgraded myself to doing 3 laps, which equals 12km. so i'm sure you can understand my concern and in as much as i respect the distance, i also need to respect the age. i'm no spring chicken y'all lol.

I made sure i had a good nites sleep 2 days before the race bcos i knew for a fact i'd be a restless, hyper mess eve of it.  but would you believe i dozed off around 3am and didnt wake up until 5.15am bcos my alarm didnt go off as it should, which was an hour earlier!!! hah, turns out i didnt turn it on properly, careless me.  we had to rush and i was so thankful that golfman, the dear dear man, had actually agreed to be with me.  for the first time ever, he'd be there from start to finish. yeah it was a day of firsts lol.

Surprisingly the road to stadium PJ wasnt all that jammed and he dropped me off with plenty of time to spare.  there was a sea of runners everywhere i turned but i couldnt recognise a single familiar face, and feeling panicky bcos my D-tag was still inside its plastic and i sure as hell didnt know how to put it on (by this time the explanation didnt make any sense at all lol).  the moment my eyes hit a friendly face, i quickly approached the guy (who was innocently doing his stretches by the way) to help me out.  mr.  kar tat, thank you for being such a gentleman.

Thank god by gun time i was already with friends, my anr kids jey & zyra and my buddy azza. yup, i was ready, as ready as i ever will be lol.  and with the shot ringing clearly in the morning air, we were off.

In a sea of people way at the back

Just before starting, i had downed one packet of power gel, strawberry/banana flavour 1x caffein strength and although my comrade-in-arms, juney the anakmami, had earlier reminded me (again & again - thx babe) to set my watch i still forgot to and only remembered about 10mins into the run. so there goes the actual timing hua2 but 10 was an easy enough figure to add on so i wasnt too worried lol. anyway i was also using the allocated water & sponge stations to gauge my run.

It was an interesting feeling to be running along the federal highway.  we were deviated to the motorcyclist lane and there was this underground tunnel that was rather dark, i feared tripping over stones & potholes bcos of my weak ankles.  my knees have not let me down yet but my ankles, thats another story.  the first 15mins is always the toughest for me bcos thats the time i take to warm up but by then i was starting to feel pretty good about everything.  it was a beautiful sunday morning and there i was sharing it with others of the same passion.

I gave the first water station @ km 4 a skip. they were serving 100plus and it was only about 30mins into the run.. i didnt need water bouncing about in my tummy as yet.  at some point we had to merge into the highway itself and once we hit the flyover, some runners were beginning to slow down.  thankfully, my coach taught me not to fear hills and my hillwork certainly paid off.  at this point i kept reminding myself not to push it bcos this was going to be a much longer run than usual. i had to pace myself.

I looked forward to the 2nd water station @ km 8 and thankfully they had mineral water.  i didnt quite need the 100plus bcos i was planning on taking more power gels.  after the 1st hour, i downed my second, this time tangerine, 2x caffein strength.  once we hit the old subang airport road (dunno what they call it now), i was just cruising along, sometimes passing other runners while other runners passed me lol.  i saw friends along the way.. there was aini, ruby, lily & others and seeing their familiar faces somehow made the run more real & meaningful.

The sponge stations were a godsend bcos by then the day was heating up.  the sun was shining oh so brightly and it was also sapping away at my strength.  nothing hits me worse than heat and we sure had a whole lot of that during the pj half mara.  i dont drink all that much when i'm running but this time i made it a point to stop at each water station even if for a sip or two.

By the time we were nearing the u-turn, i was seeing a lot of other runners on the other side and catching sight of jey bounding away like a wildhorse really gave me a boost.. my feet felt that much lighter lol. he later told me he actually went thru bouts of walking bcos of cramps but thankfully i didnt catch him that way lol. it would've somehow brought me down bcos jey was a strong runner and i looked up to him for inspiration.  i was also focussing a lot on what my body was telling me since i didnt know how it would take on the extra pounding but so far so good, the knees were holding up and the muscles were fine.

Sometime after making the u-turn i caught sight of jaja, a friend who was also doing her first half and we had our little game of 'potong memotong' until she went along her way and left me with a rather beautiful view of her, eerrr, derriere  (jangan marah ja) lol.  oh and another friend azza, who was on turbo boost that day, zoomed merrily along passing us never to be seen again, until after the race (way to go babe).

The sun was merciless.  when we hit the last flyover i was dragging my feet, my energy draining away slowly but surely. earlier, i wasnt sure about a third gel but i'm thankful i brought a spare anyway and downed it without hesitation, still another tangerine.  i'm thinking that its probably what gave me the strength to finish the run strong.

When we turned the corner and hit the last stretch, i was feeling much better and when the stadium started coming into view my feet was beginning to have a life of its own lol. surprisingly i picked up the pace and the fatigue was just a memory.  catching sight of golfman when i neared the stadium made my day and the shout out by ray added to the boost.

Once inside the stadium, i felt like i was tearing down the track but of course i'm just a macik struggling to finish the race lol.  by then my running family was there to run along with me and it was a wonderful feeling indeed, thanks guys for being there and being part of it.

My ANR 'boys' at the home stretch

My PJ HM results

The medal

PJ Half Marathon - 21km 
Timing - 2:20:00.54 chip time, 2:20:38.40 guntime.

And that was my first half marathon. i feel that it was a race well run bcos i felt strong at the finish and i didnt suffer any pain or injury, no cramps, not even chaffing or blistering and just muscle ache & soreness post run.  of course there is much room for improvement but thankfully it was a race i enjoyed.

Now on to the next half lol ;)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The road to my 1st half mara (1)

I finally popped my hm cherry. i really really did. at long last its over and done with.

I completed my 21k woohoo!!

Yup, fi-nal-ly.

I love to run, we've long established that. but i'm also very very wary of hurting or injuring myself . yeah maybe i'm a pansy but i also didnt need an "i told you so" to break my almost non-existent self-confidence.  so by the usual standards, i have really taken my own sweet time to be where i am right now.

My 1st 10k run in 2005... and my 1st half marathon in 2011. thats quite a big gap considering the fact that i have been running consistently between all that time.  why didnt i try it sooner you might ask? since i loved running so much, wasnt i interested in ever running a marathon?

Larian Shah Alam 10k - 2005

Larian Shah Alam 10k - 2006

Larian Shah Alam 10k - 2007

Larian Rakyat ICity - 2009

KOTR Shah Alam - 2009

Of course i am.. i dream of becoming a marathoner. i want to become a marathoner.  but its a pretty big endeavor and to someone who has been pounding the miles mostly on her own, slogging away blindly with only her passion for motion pushing her on, its almost monumental.

I started late. although we like to say better late than never, it does have its drawbacks.  my body worked against me most of the time and finding like minded people my age wasnt easy, in fact i didnt find anyone in my neck of the woods.  and back then i was just too embarrassed to join in with the younger crowd. i felt out of place, pretty much a sore thumb. i felt i had no business being with them & dragging everyone down to my level of 'un-fitness'.

So i went about it on my own. since my family & friends werent into running, i turned to the net for the latest dos & donts. oh what would i do without mr google lol and i also did a whole lot of stalking -  runner's blogs, forums, the likes. and slowly i got to know some pretty awesome people who later became my friends, my mentors. peeps, you know who you are, thank you.

And earlier this year i finally summoned enough courage to join a running group, one which of course consisted mainly of young 'uns but it didnt really matter anymore bcos the time had come for me to improve & be serious about my running.  if i really wanted to be a marathoner, i had to do something about it.

My first outing with ANR Shah Alam

Running tips by coach Edan Shah

Hill work



.. and more drills.

I now know that i had made the right decision. adination of runners shah alam.. they took this macik in and made her feel welcomed.  it didnt matter that i was probably the oldest member and in the likes of their moms, they accepted me as part of the team and with the support of my running family, i have indeed improved in leaps & bounds.

Seremban HM 10k - my 1st ever cash prize

KLIUC run - my 2nd cash prize

Running is still a spiritual experience for me, i feel closest to my maker when i'm out there pounding the tarmac mile after mile.. but it has also become a time spent with friends, rejoicing the very tenacity & resilience of the human spirit, of conquering the fears & inadequacy within ourselves, and of setting our spirits free.

Yes, with my 1st half marathon done, i hope it marks the beginning of better things ahead. like they say, its not just about the destination, its also about the journey.  and i'm pretty sure it will be a journey of great discovery.. about myself, others & life itself.

Lets hit the road

Race report coming up next ;)