Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Run: Hari Sukan Negara Run [21km], 8 Oct 2016

Challenge Series 1:  80.5km of 125km

I did it! Finished a half-marathon under 3 hours!

I'm elated with my timing. Considering I ran a 21km early this year in 4 hours, my 2 hr 55 m finishing time underscores the fact that if you really put in the work, you will get the results you want (and now I need to apply that lesson to all other aspects of my life, haha).

This run was also a lot less taxing than the last, because I'm more prepared. As Meb Keflezighi says, 'trust in your training'. I put in a lot of consistent training, then tapered in the week before the run. Actually I was somewhat doubtful of reaching the target time, because all my training runs did not hit the required goal pace. (But.. that was with the distraction of hatching Pokemon Go eggs, so...)

I aimed to start 3km with slow speed and pick up the pace a bit after that, when muscles have warmed up better. Maintain medium speed until km 12 or 15, wherever I get tired and run out of steam, and from there just slog it till the end.

But race day was great! All the training really does show up in race time. Managed to maintain a good pace from the beginning, and with great energy. Running along with many other runners is motivating. Also its easy to latch on to a runner doing a similar pace, and running mindlessly this way does make the distance go by faster.

I knew that by passing km15 at the 2 hour mark that yay! I've made it! I could fast walk the last 6 km and still manage to finish under 3 hours by a hair. But of course I want to try for a better time, and of course those last few kms get longer and harder. I'm happy that I was able to run more that walk those last few kms. I felt stronger physically and (more importantly) mentally that the last few km of the previous run.

Now I can't wait to further reduce my half-marathon personal best timing, but my next big run is the first attempt Full Marathon. This will be a goal for next year.

Race summary:


  • Race started right on time, 6am sharp
  • Good race management overall, especially considering it's a first race for the organizer (and government somemore, teehee)
  • Water stations were awesome. So many stations, and with ready water (not rushing about pouring while runners wait). Lucozade provided at every second water station, also in abundance.
  • Great route, physically. Not so hilly, easy to run. But only the physical route is great, see below in cons.
  • Finisher t-shirts. The race vest is nice, too.
  • The running crowd was good. Many strong runners to follow and run along. I do think it affects you to be stuck between walkers, then you will tend to walk too. Usually a problem for races with a bug number of participants. This race was great, there are many serious runners, and less crowd to maneuver through.

Oh.. the cons...

Traffic control was horrible. Running route was a closed lane with cones. Traffic was heavy as the race was on a Saturday. Since roads are only partially closed, we were running beside angry vehicles stuck in traffic, honking, revving engines. And those vehicles stuck on an inside road was suitably pissed - they can't move forward as the road is closed, and they can't turn back cos they're stuck at a junction.  

We had to run through traffic smog and so much of curses and negativity. Some runners said they were shouted at, curse words and all. One guy got knocked down by a biker disregarding the traffic cones (thankfully just a slow minor knock). 

Not a great route, traffic wise. We had to cross many big intersections. That means having to wait for some runners, and having to look out for vehicles (so tiring!). And cue more pissed off road users.

The slower runner in my running gang said she was constantly pressured (by polis, paramedics) to abandon the race, and give up. They offered her a ride back. 'Are you sure you can finish? You're taking so long.' This is really horrible. Later on found out that many other slower runners were harassed so, and many opted to take a ride back. So demotivating to not even be allowed to try. (For the record, my runner has completed many half-marathons, just not a fast runner.) She later took the 10km route at the split, although a race marshal did offer to follow her all the way on his bike if she wanted to do the 21km route.

Also they reopened a section of the route way before cutoff time, and redirected the runners to a shortcut that ended up with them doing 17km only, and DNF for the race. Terrible.

And I saw the traffic police removing the cones on the last stretch of the route before the finish line, and allowing vehicles to come in the lane. And there were STILL runners on it! The runners were squeezed onto the white line of the road side, faces so demotivated and defeated.   

So very dangerous!

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