Men’s Health/Shape 2012 run

So last night I somehow ended up running in the Men’s Health/Shape 2012 Run. It was a rather interesting experience, considering that I did not really train for this, and that it was my first time running with my new sports shoes (not the first time I used then, just the first time they were going to be used in a run) and vest.

I picked up the Wind Goddess a bit later than expected because I had a prior appointment with [Joicy] and it took a bit longer than expected. My brother then decided to drive us there, so I just needed to focus on getting myself ready for the run. Well, we reached there with plenty of time to spare, and unlike the Standard Chartered KL Marathon (I was there as support), we didn’t have any trouble locating the parking areas and meeting up with runners. Neon yellow-green vests are very visible!

Flag-off time was 8pm, and Wind Goddess and I were there at 7.10pm plus, so we decided to wander around. I didn’t take too many photos because I wanted to conserve my phone’s battery for the run, so we took just a few shots.

Including this lovely sunset!

Sunset over Putrajaya
Alt text reads: Sunset over Putrajaya

And then night fell quickly. Wind Goddess and I had decided to be kiasu and line up close to the front. According to her, “It’s a strategy, so that no matter where you are, you won’t come in last.” And this was how close we were to the front:

Close to the front
Alt text reads: Close to the front

Here’s the lopsided view of what it looked from the back:

To the back~ To the back~
Alt text reads: To the back~ To the back~

There were a few performances, including some by the Star’s Cheer National Champions, but they had a quiet reception because not many people could see them. Then they called the VIP who was the President of Perbandaran Putrajaya (I’d explain what that is, but the official site is down, hmmm). He was supposed to send us off, and I thought he’d give us a speech first before running off, but the next thing I knew we were off and running and I was fumbling with my phone.

But then we were running, and I remember telling myself to pace my steps. Didn’t really work as I was still moving quite fast, but as we left the bright lights of Putrajaya and hit the bridge, I began to slow down and start walking fast. Which was still not quite enough to beat Wind Goddess; I overtook her twice and then she did the same and I didn’t see her again after. :p

As I ran, I began to feel out of breath. My chest felt like it was on fire and I thought I would be done before I had barely begun. However, I persevered. There was no way I was going to let this beat me at the first kilometre. I caught myself wondering at times why in the world did I sign up for this, and then being very glad that I decided to dump extra songs in Mort; he played quite a few songs that pumped the blood and helped me pace myself.

I hit the first water station about 23 minutes after leaving the finish line. That one small cup of water rejuvenated me. Had to slow down a bit to drink the water, then I started jogging quickly looking for a trash can. There was no way I was going to be like the other runners who simply threw the cups on the ground. Littering is bad, people!

That said, I kept on running till I began to get a bit distracted, like Secret did when she did the SCKLM 10km run. I took my time looking around, feeling the cooling wind on my body, before I kept jogging up and down. It was also one of the few times I took a photo while running. Here, have a pic of what it looked like:

Runners everywhere! All walking lol
Alt text reads: Runners everywhere! All walking lol

Whoever told me that the route was mainly flat was definitely off their assessment. There were apparently 4 hills according to Zorocaster, and so I tackled them as best as I could. My strategy was simple; climb/crawl up the hill, then jog down.

If you follow my pace in Endomondo, they didn’t quite always work. However, I realise that the water stations actually help a lot. The temptation is to resist taking more than one, or I should just grab the bottle. The water wasn’t just used in my body; I poured some of them on my head, face, and even my shoulders. It helped cool me down.

Also did I mention that my running top was pretty awesome? I was using the Nike Women’s Dri-FIT Swift Y-Back Long Shirt, and it actually kept me pretty cool. In fact, I was aware of sweat only on my arms and back, where it was exposed. My tummy and other areas didn’t feel wet at all, which is pretty unusual considering that usually when I run in a t-shirt, these areas would be sweating like anything.

After that first water station, I discovered that breathing and lung burning weren’t there any more. In fact, I was almost comfortable with running… except that it was time to discover that various parts of my body were now screaming. First it was my left thigh, then my right foot, then my right thigh, then my lower left foot… roughly in that order. Yes, they were all polite enough to take turns to scream at me. At one point I think even my lower right abdomen side was screaming. :D

As long as I kept moving though, the pain was fairly muted. When I looked around to see where I was, I realised I was on the opposite side of the lake. The first thought that ran through my mind was “Wow, I ran that far? I can do this!”

So I kept running. And jogging. Then walking. But always I was moving. I did not dare stop, because I knew then that I would be done for. So I just kept putting one feet in front of the other. Till I saw this sign after the last water station and went yay!

LAST THREE KM!
Alt text reads: LAST THREE KM!

My very first thought was: OMG YAY LAST THREE KM! This was then followed by “KANASAI WHY IS IT UPHILL?” (that’s a Chinese swear word, in case you were wondering). My colleague describes it as killer, and I agree. It was no joke climbing it, and through it all my body was saying, “You’ve got to be kidding me, right? We’re running uphill on this?”

We did it though, and then it was a bit of fun as we ran traffic lights, through a relatively flat road, and the next thing I knew I saw the lights of the bright Putrajaya centre. This made me jog and walk a bit faster, and it was enough for me to come in at 1 hour 55 minutes for a 12.42km run (officially the run was 11.8km, but Endomondo tracked me a bit longer). Towards the last I saw plenty of camera people taking photos, so I did the next best thing…

I made faces at them. I’m still waiting for the photos to appear, but when I crossed the finish line, my first thought was “OMG. I MADE IT. I DID… WAIT IS THAT AN APPLE GIMMIE THAT OMNOMNOMNOM” because they were giving out apples at the end. Then I let out a whoop cause damnit, I RAN 11.8KM! Then I checked my time. Discovered it was under two hours.

Was on a high the rest of the night. :D