"If you run into a wall, climb it, go through it or work around it"
Michael Jordan

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm"
Winston Churchill

"Life is full of surprises. Just remember that the glass is always half full and not half empty"

Monday, 18 March 2013

Malakoff Run 2013

Malakoff Run 2013.

My first race of 2013. Using it as my training run for Island Ocean Marathon in Langkawi. Time to test whether I can hold my marathon pace for 17km. Not to run overly fast but just to pace myself throughout the race. Eventually some runners will realise that you can't run hard in every race. You don't have to run full marathons in races. Some races are used to gauge your pace so instead of running full marathons, you can actually run half marathons so you can have a better time for the coming marathon. This is one race where I wanted to hold my pace 7 min/km for the whole race. So can I manage to achieve it?

Waking up 5am on a Sunday morning. I have been doing my long runs on Saturday lately. So having to get up early is really not too much of problem. But once I know that I have wake up early the next morning, my body system goes into alert. This means that my sleep for the night will not be very good as I am afraid that I will overslept. A quick snack and then driving to Padang Kota Lama (Esplanade). First thing to do when I reach the venue is going to "pee" first. As I notice that there are limited numbers of toilets and the queue is already starting. Brought a banana along as my food before the start of the race instead of energy gels. But carrying a banana around is an ugly sight !

Start of the Race
End of the Race

There are actually quite a lot of runners for the race. According to the press release of Malakoff Penang Run 2013 there are actually 2,500 runners for all categories. The race started in 2008 with only 450 runners and grown to 1,500 runners in 2012. Running is surely getting more popular for the past few years ! And it is a simple sport. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other. The only "must" cost that you will incurred is a pair of good running shoes. With the current trend of barefoot running, this can also be done away with.  Effectively, it can be a "zero" cost sport. Simple to do and keep you in shape. 

The race starts at 7am for the all categories for Men and I got a "C XXXX" which means I am qualified for the Senior Veteran Category. Time to run with the younger generation again, making me feel young. I was standing far behind at the back as I could not find any of my running friends at the start of the race. Since I took a long time to warm up for the race and it is time by timing chip, it is ok to be at the back where you get more fresh air. At 7am, the sky is starting to brighten up and with so many runners in front, all you have to do is follow the crowd. 

Runners waiting before the start of the race. That is how far back I am standing.

Starting with a pace of 6:52 min/km on the first km and eventually reaching 6:37 min/km at the 5km. The pace is actually faster than I anticipated and I trying to control myself  not to run too fast in case I ran out of energy for the second half of the race. At the 5km, I noticed some runners started to slow down and my pace started to pick up after the 4th km. The advantage of starting at the back of race, you get the kicked of passing people all along the race especially after the 5km. That is when those guys who started too fast and cannot hold the pace. However, the problem with this race is the route. There are actually quite a lot of traffic along the course. If you have to keep overtaking runners, you have to run at the far edge of the road which means you are very near to oncoming traffic. Especially on Kelawai Road there are some cars actually behind your back. 

Stage of Malakoff Run
On reaching the 8km, I notice I have taken 54 mins which means I can finished the race in less than 2 hours if I can hold the pace. Reaching Straits Quay at 9km, time to take an energy gel and I have to lose about a minute just because of it. I just do not want to run out of energy at the last 5km. Reaching the 10km mark, time to cranked up the music for the last 7km since I usually run faster when the music is on. 

Penang Run 2013-2014 promoting at Malakoff Run 2013
Running along Tanjung Tokong to Gurney Drive, I realised that the weather starts to really get warm as the sun is already out. At the water stop at the beginning Gurney Drive, I start to take shower with water from the water station. And I know this will be toughest stretch of the race with the blistering sun.  My pace is still holding steady at a 6:40 km/pace. This stretch a lot of runners actually started to slow down tremendously. My long runs on Saturday under the hot sun really help. 

Blistering sun at Esplanade
Mei Ping and Me at the race. A lady that run with blazing speed as compared to me.

After Gurney Drive, you are already having only about 3km to complete the race but my pace has slightly slowed down to a 6:47 km/min pace. Probably some tiredness has set in. The last km is the fastest I ran for the race at 6:21 km/min pace and I was wondering why do people walk at the last 2 km of the ace. This is last 2 km is where you are on your finishing kick. I actually have a Malay guy who is running with me at the last km where we are trying to compete with each other who reaches the finishing point first. I could not stop even when I reached the finishing line and I have to get my body to slow down after that. Finishing at 1:54:26 based on my Garmin at a 6:47 min/km pace. Objective achieved. I ran faster than my target pace of 7 min/km pace. And I was trying to control myself from running too fast in the beginning of the race since I am using this race to train for my marathon in Langkawi.

Yen Teng and Me at the Run with Penang Run 2013 - 2014 at the background and he find out that he can run 17km. His next challenge will be a half marathon (21km). He is getting addicted to running?
I would say it is a well organised race by Pacesetters Athletic Club.  Enough of water stations and with nasi lemak, ice cream and a bottle of Gatorade after the finishing the race. And the medal really looks nice. There is actually no cutoff time for the race. So as long as you finished the race you get your medal. The only thing I don't like about the race is the traffic along some stretch of the route. They could also do with a earlier starting time to cater for slower runner like me. So I don't have to bear with the blistering heat at  Gurney Drive. Time to continue training for my second marathon, the inaugural marathon in Langkawi, The Island Ocean Marathon, on April 21. 

Nice Medal of Malakoff Run 2013

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