31st May 2008, 84km Ultra Marathon.... madness but i was very excited to run my longest marathon. not that i have done so many 42km marathon that i felt so confident that i can finish this marathon but i was more excited to push myself beyond my limit. i have thus far ran 3 full marathons. My first marathon was last year @ Salisbury, London but even that was not a real marathon. The Salisbury marathon was a trail marathon. It was a run across 5 rivers, 4 hills, 3 large countryside estates, 2 castle and 1 cathedral. Stupendous scenery and view... I ran together with Abu Lais and Nawal Aini but we got lost in the hills and enjoyed the beautiful scenery that it took us 10 hours to complete the run.. Yes recorded as DNF and everybody, even the marshals were gone by the time we reached the finishing line. The second 42km marathon was the Standard Chartered Marathon in Singapore... somehow my buddy Abu decide to run everywhere in the world beside Malaysia. I completed the Singapore 42km standard chartered Marathon in a gruelling 7 hour and 36 mins. somehow, no matter how much i plan my training, i will end up not train for any competition. it was never really a competition against anybody except for my own timing.
Having run in London and Singapore last year, this year i decided to run the Ambank Kuala Lumpur International Marathon that was held on 30 March and again, i lacked the training. Meetings and work schedule always hinder my training programme but since i have made my commitment, i ran the marathon and forced myself all the way to complete it in 5 hours and 46 mins. that was my best time so far.
on 31 May, i attempted the Adidas Sundown 84km ultra marathon. As usual, meetings after meetings and the endless work at office held me back from early travel to Singapore. i had my Singaporean friend Jackson Liew to collect my race number earlier and so that i can leave later on the 31 May morning. the run starts at 830pm and i should have ample time to travel.
I packed my travelling items and slept at midnight to start my journey to Singapore and woke up early at 5am. We left KL at 7am, after a few stops to eat along the PLUS highway and getting stucked at the causeway, we finally reached my friend's office in Singapore at 1pm to collect my race number and the race kit. There were 8 of us in my group but only me and my personal trainer Suhaimi that is crazy enough to attempt the 84km run. Abu Lais and Nawal Aini did the 42km and my sister Rose along with her 3 friends did the 10.5km relay. All of us were in FASFIK red runners vest.
After a good carbo lunch, i waited impatiently for the race to start. When the gun went off sharp at 830pm, enthusiastically i start running. everybody ran pass me but i was keeping cool and trying hard not to panic. my target was only to complete the race irrespective of the time taken. On the first 5km my polar watch happily display my heart rate at 155 or 83% max HR with a speed of 8.2. I remember reading in most running magazine that i should keep my heart rate below 60% if i am on a long distance run. if i want to run at 60% max HR, i will have to run at the speed of 6. so i decided to run at a HR of 150bpm. Yes, i am not as fit as most athlete. A good athlete would be pacing at speed 10-12 with a 65% max HR.
this is my first night run. i did not know what to expect. it was very dark and be it not for the volunteers from the local school girls that kept the direction and mood by cheering us up at every 5km, i would have been lost. i looked forward to running without the heat of the sun but never anticipated the exhaustion of not sleeping. I only had less than 5 hours sleep the night before the race and yes.. this run provides me a new insight into the real definition of 'sleepy'. i was yawning all the way after the 30th km.
when i complete the first loop of 42km, at the 'special needs' camp, i ate 2 bananas, a pack of power gel, and almost a bottle of mineral water... (runners beware..) i should have packed some sandwich and perhaps a hot coffee but i did not. After taking in all 'carbo' in less than 5 minutes, i continue to immediately run to avoid any time wastage. a few hundred meter later, i vormited everything i ate and drink. goodness. my stomach rejected everything i ate. i did think of turning back but i since i promise myself i will not give up easily, i quickly put myself together and began to slowly walk and back to running.
i ran feeling my head so heavy and my body was so stiff. i thought i was about to faint or drop dead when i could not see nor remember where i was running to and almost run into a lamp post.... then i realize i was falling asleep. i cannot described in word how it felt but the feeling is a mixture of half fainting and abit like stroke when i cannot open both eye.. or it felt like only one eye is open. but when i stopped and look around and felt my body feeling numb.. i realize i was really falling asleep and did not have any stroke or heart attack. falling asleep while running.. never knew it was possible.
I kept myself awake and keep running slowly again maintaining my pace at 150% max HR until i met Wei Kee on the 46km who was limping and walking slowly. we both decided to walk instead of running. we met Ailing a few metres in front who cannot stop expressing her disappointment in her timing for the first 42km loop. she expect to complete the whole 84km in less than 10 hours.. oh god! i was merely wanting to be a finisher even if it takes 20 hours.
10 hours since we started our run at 830pm, we reached the water station 4. it was at the 54km of the route. The wind was heavy signalling it was about to rain and at the speed we were walking, if we continue to the finishing line, our expected time to complete will be at 2pm!!! and everybody would have left the base. all our belongings are still at the special needs counter and will be kept at the organiser's office after 11 am. We can only collect it the day after. i have to leave back to KL the same day, Ailing had to work tomorrow and Wei Kee had all his wallet, bus pass and house keys in the bag... or at least these were the reason to abandon the race. After much deliberation and when we are pleased with all the justification, we approached the volunteers at the drink station and ask how to abandon the race. the girl said, we can wait with them for their pick up bus anytime now. It rain heavily and one of the volunteers gave us a black garbage bag as a shelter from the rain. we were too cold and decided to get into the garbage bag instead of just covering our head with the bag. the garbage bag was big enough to cover from head to knee. we poke a small hole for us to see and breath. Ailing happily said the garbage bag worked wonders to also shelter her from the shame of abandoning the race. but to think of it now, we were too exhausted and mega-sleepy that there is no way for us to even walk an extra metre.
We took the bus and reached the starting/finishing point at 730am almost 11 hours from the start time. i was soaking wet from the rain and half awake but have to FASFIK myself to travel back to KL. I have an important meeting on Monday and will have to leave back to KL today. in short, we drive to Singapore on Saturday at 7am, reached Singapore at 1pm. went to the race start/finishing to view the place visited the special needs camp. Carbo load and got ready for the race. start race at 830pm. abandon at 6am on Sunday. reached finishing line at 730am. Shower and freshen up. drove back to KL and reached KL at 7pm. Extreme crazy, extreme experience and extreme fun..... i love it.