IJM Land Half Marathon Race Review

If I had a Ringgit for every time someone told me I was crazy for running as much as I do (which, to be honest, isn’t that much compared to some), I’d probably have enough Ringgit  to buy a new pair of running shoes.

I’m certainly not new to running, not a stranger to half marathons, but this event, the IJM Land Half Marathon featured some of my favourite things about each of those and had everything a road runner could want. It was a perfect day-sunny and gorgeous with 9000 runners! I truly love the energy of races, such a positive common goal “Run together, Bond Stronger”. The world needs a lot more of that!

On race day, my hometown run-Seremban what a treat! I still woke up ridiculously early to start fuelling and stretching but without travel and parking to worry about. I was way more relaxed on race morning than usual. My two daughters Amisha and Anjali ran the 12KM and hubby a.k.a “sole” mate, ran the 21 KM Half marathon.

At the starting line I felt like a lion waiting to be let out of my cage. I was rip roaring and ready to go. Ready to race? Indeed! I was ready to rumble.

What made this race different was…..

Working with an expert: I ran races on my own and train by myself, but when I started working with my trainer everything changed. Learning from someone who has gone through ups and downs of training and has solutions for everything, is a gift. My running coach, Adli from the S2 Club was at the top of his game as an endurance athlete and trainer. He ran ultramarathons and knew not only the physical side of training but also the mental side. Working with an expert allows you to grow in places you never knew existed! Thank you, coach Adli.

Back to my race report:

The 21 KM flag off was really cool, with 21 shots of fire works and sharp 6.15am we were off! (However, I do hope that the organisers would consider an earlier start at 5.30am for the 21 Km in the near future) The 1st Km led us into a row of shop lots at Uptown Avenue and then into the main road towards Mcdonalds.  I was really impressed with the route, it was well planned and executed.

Along the way, there were sufficient water stations filled with awesome volunteers who helpfully spilled water and 100 Plus on your expensive running gear. NOOOOOo, seriously, Thank you, dear volunteers! Be sure to thank them for this, dear runners because I don’t know what would possess somebody to get up at an ungodly hour, travel across  town and stand around for hours handling cups to thousands of sweat covered smelly runners! Thank you! Terima Kasih!  You guys rock!

I could hear the birds chirping and darkness soon gave way to light as the sun’s first rays crept in; basking in the beauty of the surroundings, I soon felt into a trance little realizing that it was a nice flat route.

At 6KM was the first check point and the U-turn point was located at the IJM Land Sales Office. Then I saw my hubby, running the opposite side ( ahead of me by 5 KM) anyway by seeing him gave me an extra push to keep my pace on track. Waved at him and blew flying kisses and he was gone with the wind.

Most of the course took us through Seremban 2 residential areas. Hometown races are also fun because you see so many people you know out on the course, either spectating or running. I loved the serenity in the early miles. The light was beautiful, all was quiet except the pounding of runner’s feet.

At 9 KM, we once again passed Macdonald’s and were headed into Garden Avenue. The markers, traffic control and marshalling was tremendously well organised. Even though, the roads were partially closed and vehicles were zooming along the roads, but cones and volunteers were stationed along the route.

At 12 KM, there was a banana station and volunteers actually peeled the skin for us! KUDOS And a BIG Thank you for that! After that, there was a gradual uphill that led us into S2 Heights. The hill steepened. It was definitely a pace killer. A series of other small hills after that made the thought of that finish line even sweeter.

At 16 KM, having the home- court advantage gave me the extra push I needed to get to the finish line. I’ve run up and down that route hundreds of times and I feel I know every crack in the sidewalk, every bump in the road, every tree, bush along the final stretch.

At 18KM, I started hurting…or maybe getting tired is the better way to put it. But I went through a check list, in my mind: are my shins ok? Yeah….Side cramps? Nope…. So I kept going, my goal was to finish a sub-3.  I was really tired, mentally and physically. I was beat.

I might be acting a little picky with this one but I thought the 21 KM route should not have been on the same 12 KM fun run route. At 18 KM, many 21 KM runners including me, were blocked by the ‘fun runners’ and we were zig- zagging for pace and speed.

Once I hit 19 KM, I tried to remind myself I only had 2 KM left to do.  I was already super exhausted and my feet hurt, not forgetting the blazing hot sun. The heat really started to settle in around this point, and whenever there was no shade the sun felt really hot. But I still kept at it. At about 20 KM, I gave in and walked some more, I walked about 300 meters or maybe more, I wanted to be able to run to the finish so I was trying to preserve some energy.

And then I saw it, in the distance…….the end. It looked SO.FAR.AWAY. I can do this! Just go! Finish!

And finish I did! I missed Sub-3 by 5 minutes! But it was my PB! Got a little emotional. Heard someone called, “mummy”,”mummy” and I saw my daughter, Anjali waiting for me at the finish line. I crossed the finish, I cried a little. I got my hard earned medal and my awesome finisher T-shirt. Then I was grinning like an idiot and just loving every second of it and yet letting every second go by in a blur. Now excuse me, while I go do the happy dance.

What I have learned today:

  1. The starting line is incredibly anti climactic (uhhh, shouldn’t we be running and not ambling forward like cows out to pasture)
  2. There are a lot more psychopaths who wants to run 21 KM than you’d think!
  3. Every sign makes you laugh or cry
  4. Drinking from a cup while running is way harder than it looks.
  5. But crushing an empty cup in your fist and tossing it on the ground makes you feel like a BOSS!
  6. Seeing how many non-runners come out to watch the race humbles the heck out of you
  7. The runner’s high is a completely real thing
  8. But unfortunately, so is “hitting the wall”
  9. As tired as you feel after 21 KM, the last 100 meters will give you new life
  10. Wearing a medal and the finisher T-shirt sounds cheesy, but it’s actually the coolest feeling in the world.

 

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Kids Survival Camp organised by Columbia Asia Hospital, Seremban

“I would surely trade my life to save my child”.

And with this idea in mind we think we offer our children the best protection. Of course: THIS IS A MISTAKE!

Disaster may strike at any time and any place. Though you will no doubt do all you can to protect your children or grandchildren from harm, you may not always be around to look out for them. Even though they’re still young, they should know some basic survival skills so that in the event you aren’t around, they’ll know what to do. It is never too early to learn.

Last Saturday, 27 July 2018, Columbia Asia Hospital, Seremban organised a ‘Survival Camp’ for children aged 7 to 12 years old which was held at Klana Resort Seremban. About 50 children gathered excitedly and eagerly at 8.00 a.m. together with their parents.

To me, it is a parent’s responsibility to teach their children the skills that they will need throughout their lives. In our modern world of pre packaged food and general convenience, survival skills sometimes do not enter our minds, as many of us rarely use them. However, the thing about survival skills is that you never know when you may need them.

The programme began with the facilitator briefing the children about the Do’s and Don’ts  and the ‘ice-breaking’ session. A session to get to know one another better and then they were divided into smaller groups to perform activities as a team.

The first activity was ‘How to use a compass’

Your kids are growing up in the world that is accustomed to GPS and Google Maps. These technologies and others like them are making forgotten arts of compass and map reading. However, if your children are lost in the woods or on a mountain, these “old School” skills could save their lives.

In addition, the crew also taught them to be observant of the terrain as they move about outdoors. They taught the children to take notes of the angle of the sun, landmarks, winds and weather changes. The crew also taught the children to keep track of how long it took to walk from point A to point B, taught them about directions such as North, South, East and West.

A compass is still the most reliable navigation tool and knowing how to use one is an invaluable skill. Reading a compass teaches kids basic directions and lets them learn how to find their way.

Building shelter- Pitching a tent

Putting up a tent is part of every camping trip, so the crew taught the kids how to assemble one. Pitch a tent is a basic camping pre requisite which everybody needs to be good at. The crew briefed and demonstrated how to build/pitch a tent. Then, later the children had the opportunity to fix and pitch the tents by themselves. They had a tremendous and thrilling time once the tent were pitched, all the children went inside the tent to hang out. It was an amazing moment.

Basic Self- Defence

This is a skill your child needs to know to stay safe. You don’t need to teach them any fancy skills-they need to know basic skills. The crew taught them how to get away it someone grabbed them. They demonstrated techniques and ways how to handle basic self-defence.

First Aid talk and Demonstration 

Kids are prone to bumps and scratches…. It’s never too early to teach and show your kids how to clean and bandage a wound or how to make a simple splint. Staff and employees from Columbia Asia Hospital, Seremban gave a simple demonstration with basic items which included bandages, gauze, cotton balls, safety pins, hand sanitizers and other small personal items. The staff taught them and showed how to treat minor injuries. The children also learnt how to distinguish minor injuries from ones that require a doctor.

My final thoughts

Adults often underestimated kids. Most of us equate their youth for helplessness, when the truth is, kids are capable of looking after themselves. Think of their brains as sponges. They can absorb information like crazy. When you teach them survival skills in a fun and engaging way, they’ll be able to retain these skills well into their adult life. Some of these tips may seem to be things your child will need to know, but realistically , none of us know what tomorrow will bring!

Thank you, Columbia Asia Hospital, Seremban for organising this successful event.

 

Score Run Conquer the city Race Review

Everything is awesome! I finished. That was the goal. I did it! I feel so awesome about this accomplishment. It wasn’t easy and the race was a lot harder than I thought but I persevered!

It was nuts. At the Score Run Series races there are sooo many people. I think the estimate was 13,000 people. I know. That is a ridiculous amount of people. Not surprisingly it was super organized and run like a well oiled machine! You can expect that with SCORE RUN. The half marathon started at 5:30am. We had to be there at 4:30am so we left the house at around 3:30am and got up at 2:30am. I couldn’t sleep that night anyways so it didn’t really matter because I was soooo nervous. The race was going to be different from my training, I mean all of those people and the adrenaline of the race was going to change my run. I didn’t realize how awesome it was going to be.

The day of the race I woke at 2.30a.m. to get ready and down a cup of coffee before my a.k.a ‘sole mate’- hubby and weekend running partner drove about an hour to Dataran Merdeka, chatting nervously about our kids and pre-race dinners (we broke the golden rule- “do not eat anything new before race day” ( But we had ‘makan besar’, a new seafood restaurant with the family and ordered new yummy-li-cious dishes only to realised that tomorrow was race day!) and arrived at the race site with just enough time to snap and take some awesome pictures and there were we, at the starting line. Then we were off, jogging on the streets of Kuala Lumpur in a crowd of nearly 13,000 participants.

Finally, after a bit of milling around when I thought I was going to be sick with nerves, the countdown began and the air horn goes off. There was some jostling for position at the front, with the pacers and their balloons Thank you pacers, you guys are awesome! however, I was glad I was in the middle with the ‘fun runners’. As I suspected the excitement had me setting off a bit quicker than I would usually and I was glad that my muscles were already warmed up.

The route led us through Masjid Negara, Kuala Lumpur Train Station and into Jalan Cheras. What was simply awesome was, the roads were completely and fully closed and the organisers truly prioritized runners’ safety! Kudos and well done!  For the first 2 KM, the group I was running in stayed more or less together. A few people passed me. I passed a few people. We were finding our own race to run. I even spotted a runner dressed in a ‘Dead Pool outfit- what an amazing sight! LOL

At about 5 KM, my group started to separate with some falling behind and others pulling ahead. There was a water station at this point with most runners gulping down a quick drink. Hydration along the route was plentiful. Runners could grab cups after cups of 100 Plus or water. However, throwing so many of these cups on the floor became a hazard for many. I noticed a lot of people just threw the cups (even bottles) anywhere they like and not be very considerate to throw into the rubbish bags provided. So we had to be careful and not step onto any of the rubbish. Note to runners, have some running etiquettes okie….Terima kasih.

So, I continued trying to conquer the city………ehem…..What perhaps wasn’t so positive but ultimately maybe is in the hands of the organisers-the lack of proper signages/marker course for the 21 KM runners or should I say, there were extremely non-existance, only after the 21 KM and 13 KM route were separated, then only I noticed, there were a few markers for the 21 KM runners.

I was particularly impressed with the amount of manpower/traffic police invested to make sure there was help when needed and to ensure the runners’ safety. It was truly enjoyable to run on the road that we drive on every day. You can’t run freely on KL roads without running the risk of getting run over or arrested for insanity.

At this point, 16 KM we were out running on a pretty main road in KL City. The route led us through Tugu Negara- iconic landmark in Malaysia, which was awesome! Then putting no thoughts into what lay ahead, all I thought about was this was my day. I had done the hard work and deserved to be there and it was absolutely splendid! I see the big hill coming up leading to the KL Bird Park and felt like I could take on anything the world through at me. Another of those realizations I may have made a big mistake is right in the path. The course literally went up that hill so I mean it was right in my path. It wasn’t that steep but it just kept on going. I noticed a lot of people had to stop and walk at this point. I told myself just clear the hill because it’s all downhill from here. And like a lot of others around me, I had to stop and walk. Breaking laws of physics, the top of the hill somehow kept getting farther away………..

After that Mount Kinabalu climb to base camp, we come to a water station. I noticed there were no more portapotties. The number of portaportties dropped at every station and the lines grew longer. I was very happy I had trained to be able to handle this.

Everyone was beginning to look beat down and yet smiling cause they know after having come this far they will finish with a time to be proud of!

As for beat down, the best I can describe is what I went through. My feet began to hurt. It felt like I was barefoot running on hard cement. Not walking, hard pounding steps.  But the wonderful thing was, I did not hit the wall. Humpy dumpy did not have a great fall…LOL!

After that, I saw what I needed to see, the 2 KM marker- yes, just 2 KM to go and I will have finished! The true moment where I realized no matter how bad I may hurt, no matter how tired I am, I will be crossing the finish line. Just run! It’s a personal taste of freedom only a runner knows when you have crossed the hump and will know that you have finished strong. Perhaps it’s called the runner’s high.

Grinning like an idiot and just loving every second of it and yet letting every second go by in a blur. All I knew at that point was just to keep running. Then I saw 1 KM to go, I really wanted to kick up the pace and let Hell break loose. My legs disagreed and we kept a nice even pace. Around the corner and there it was. I was staring at the finish line maybe about 200 meters away and I never had such an urge in my life to just stop and walk. But no way in hell was I going to give up now! At this point, I was just hoping I didn’t trip right there at the end…..

I crossed the line and I felt truly victorious. Sun beating down, fatigue increasing, but I was focused and motivated by the fact that I just crossed the finished line! My race, my pace, my medal, my city- Yes! I have conquered the city!

Overall, SCORE RUN was well organised!A good city road course Safety was truly the main priority of the organisers. Marshaling and water stations were ample in number and well stocked as I went through. The duty marshals were very well-drilled, a great bunch of happy and encouraging people. There were plenty of resting areas available and all medical requirement were well placed even for the medal names engraving was smooth without any hiccups. The full results were available in a very timely manner, yes full results! I think, to my opinion, the Race Director and the organisers and all who have been involved can be very proud of a well-managed, enjoyable and safe event.

At first, they’ll ask you why you are doing it? Later, they’ll ask you how you did it? See you next year at the SCORE RUN 2019 in April!

Seremban Half Marathon 2018 Race Review

Recently, I ran a race- The Seremban Half Marathon 2018 and I was hoping to finish in a specific time. I trained pretty hard and I was confident it was going to happen. Before the race, I even said, “ I’ve got this, It’s in the bag”.

However, very early on in the race, I knew there was no way it was going to happen so I changed my agenda from trying to run my fastest race ever to enjoying a leisurely, fun run. And even then, I was huffing and puffing and never wanted too see a finish line so badly in my life. Sometimes you have it, and sometimes you don’t.

When we got there we saw all the runners, in many shapes, sizes and ages which was pretty cool! There were ample of parking spaces.

There was a fantastic atmosphere at the Seremban Half Marathon, probably due to the fact that this was the first time it was held in a new different venue and route and it’s so inclusive, with runners ranging from elites through to joggers and walkers. I even bumped into Sunny Wong..

Unsurprisingly the first mile or so was spent trying to get past quite a lot of people. People say this course is quite good for achieving a PB, which it probably is if you’re an elite runner, but back in the main pack lots of people seem to stand closer to the start line than they should. Why? We all get our own individual chip time, so you have nothing to gain by getting in the way of faster people! Not that I’m fast, but I’m far from the slowest at this type of mass event, and it is a bit annoying when you see people who started near the front begin to walk after about half a mile. You can waste a lot of energy trying to get round them, as well as groups of friends who want to jog along five abreast. Note to self – get up and in the pen earlier next year!

The route of the race was lovely, taking runners past some of Sri Sendayan’s finest sights such as the Army Base Camp and the residential areas, then along the International Matrix Global School. The sun also managed to break through after a while, which I knew it would as I’d decided not to wear my shades! The event was very well organised, with two water points.

My only grumble would be that the people giving out the water couldn’t keep up with demand, so anyone wanting it had to stop and wait to get it. There were some tables with bottles laid out on them was useful. As it wasn’t too hot and I’d hydrated well beforehand I didn’t bother, not wanting to waste valuable seconds.

I always like to have an aim on race day to keep me going and have a dream of completing a 10K in under 50 minutes, just to get a time with a 4 at the beginning! As I get older I realise that’s less and less likely to happen, but it’s still a good motivator. My first few mile splits were pretty good at around 8:15, but I find it hard to keep that up over six miles, so did fade a bit towards the end. But I still managed to grab my finisher medal. Woot Woot….

Overall review:

I have nothing but amazing things to say about the Seremban Half Marathon this year! The course was excellent! Fresh air, new route. A mixture of flat roads and yes, a few hills. The support from staff and volunteers were awesome. Water station/isotonic were well organised and plenty. Markers and signages were well placed. This year, the organisers did a tremendous awesome job with traffic control and marshalling. Runners’ safety were their top priority, thank you! A huge kudos and congratulations to each and everyone of you for actually being out there running, walking or crawling instead of just sitting on your couch….YOU ALL DID AWESOME! A special ‘Terima Kasih” to uncle Robert Tio from Malproc- it was an honour to run the Seremban Half Marathon 2018.

Running is an individual sport. We each have our individual speed, stride, goal. It depends on us only to get to the finish line, to put in the miles. no one can do it for us. But, at the same time, the running community is one of the most supportive, most encouraging communities you will ever find. Where else will you find people of different ages and backgrounds supporting each other? We all meet at the parks, at the trails, at the start line and yes-at the finish line. When running a marathon, you often see runners helping and pushing each other to move on (even if it will affect their time). Because no matter how strong or fast one is, we all go through tough times, and we all need a helping hand, that encouraging voice that reminds us how strong and capable we are. This you find at the marathon course and yes, again, if you are lucky, in life.

Hari Raya Hi-Tea at Royale Chulan, Seremban

Hari Raya Puasa, or the festival of Eid, marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, and the start of a new month on the Islamic calendar, Syawal. Hari Raya Puasa is a celebration of victory in completing the fast and the overcoming of personal struggles during the Ramadan, as well as a time of forgiveness and strengthening of bonds amongst family members and relatives.

Feasting is a “must-do” during this festive period, and much effort and time are put into preparing and cooking mouth-watering dishes, such as lontong, ketupat, rendang, curry ayam, sambal goreng, etc. The pestles and mortars, charcoal stoves, pots and pans will all be out in full force—most of the time till the wee hours of the morning! –

So, this year my family and I decided to go to the Royale Chulan, Seremban’s Hari Raya Hi-Tea.

5 Traditional Hari Raya Food you must eat this festive season!

No.1 – Rendang

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It’s everybody’s favourite Raya dish! Rendang is a thick, savoury gravy usually cooked with beef or chicken. It is served either wet or dry.

No.2- Lemang

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Made of glutinous rice, coconut milk, and a sprinkle of salt, lemang usually takes the place of plain rice during the Raya season and it goes hand in hand with Rendang. This special dish is cooked in a hollowed bamboo stick with banana leaves and can take four to five hours of roasting!

No.3- Ketupat

Famously chosen as the symbol of Hari Raya, the ketupat is made of rice boiled in a diamond-shaped pack of handwoven palm lead strips. Once cooked, the ketupat is peeled open cut into slices and served in place of regular steamed rice and with other dishes.

No.4- Serunding

Serunding is essentially a Malaysian version of meat floss! A popular snack for Ramadan and Adilfitri, serunding is made of seasoned meat that’s cooked until dry, a method meant to help keep the meat longer. The meat that are usually used to make serunding are beef and chicken.

No.5- Satay

The yummy-li-cious perfect snack for this occasion. Satay is well-loved all over Southeast Asia. These skewers of grilled meat are usually dipped into crunchy peanut sauce and served with side dishes such as Nasi himpit (rice cakes) and raw cucumbers and sliced shallots. All complement each other.

There were 2 choices of satay, Beef and Chicken. Tasted so good, tender and easy to bite off from the skewer. Grilled to perfection with slight burnt and that added extra ‘kick’ to the already amazing taste of ‘Minangkabau’ spices being used for marinating.

Vegetables

The vegetables tasted good and maintained its freshness and sweetness!

The Salad Bar

-with condiments and dressing! Awesome!

Healthy choices

Kerabu Mangga, Beef Salad, Shrimps, Squid and ulam-ulaman

Ice Kacang

Choose you own favourite fillings, go as you prefer, it’s a buffet concept anyway!

My thoughts:-

I was extremely satisfied with the dishes offered to guests. The price was reasonable and acceptable. Simply put, Worth it! My sis and I agreed that the satay sauce/peanut gravy and the Mee Mamak was the best that we ever had! The gravy tasted so extremely good with the right consistency, not that watery and not too thick. Most importantly, it’s between not spicy and spicy, you get both which is the right combination for all types of customers.

In the midst of all the festivities, the best part about celebrating Hari Raya is the renewing of familial ties and bonds. Spending quality time with loved ones and is  ultimately what truly makes the busyness of the season so meaningful. Selamat Hari Raya to all our Muslims friends! –

Laguna Phuket International Marathon

The beauty of running is its lack of discrimination. Anyone can participate. Young, old, fast, slow: everyone lines up and runs on the same streets at the same time.

No one tells you that if you want to run a marathon, you’re going to have to do a lot more than run.

I felt confident in my training and my abilities as a runner. I run often, and I run strong. As the Laguna Phuket International Marathon crept closer it started to hit me- but the nerves were streaming from everything leading up to getting to the start line. Will I sleep through my alarm? Will I forget my passport? Will the line ups to the porta porties be too long and I will have to run 21KM with a full bladder? LOL, all these were my legitimate thoughts.

Few days before race day, we did a check list such as passports, hotel reservations, flight details and race confirmation only to realized that our names were listed in the full marathon 42.1 KM instead of the 21 KM Half Marathon. Fear, anxiety and panic crept inside of me. We immediately contacted the event/ organiser to informed about the mistakes and they informed us that upon our arrival at the race expo, they will be able to rectify the mistakes.

We took the noon flight and arrived at Phuket International Airport on schedule. We rented a car and drove straight to the race expo only to be told that we were 10 minutes too late! Nothing could be done. They cannot rectify the mistakes. My heart was shattered into pieces. The event organisers tried to justify the situation and informed us that it was alright to just participate in the Half marathon 21 KM, however, we won’t be entitled for the medals, no finisher-tee, no timing chip..hmmmm….

Devastately, we drove to our hotel, showered and had an early dinner in silence. Then hubby made a decision at the eleventh hour to run his first ‘virgin’ full marathon 42.1 KM… I rooted for him! And this is his story:

At the starting line, I felt like everyone else. Nervous, anxious, excited. No months of training, no hundreds of miles run BUT here I was, ready to take on what had always seemed like an impossible challenge.

The gun sounded and I was off. Feeling great. Keeping a steady pace. Enjoying the sights and sounds. This went on for about 10 KM without a hitch. I was on pace to hit my goal and everything felt great. With the rain slowly toning down and my body slowly adapting to the low temperature, I continued my jog and stopped at all the water stations.

People around me were smiling, running, talking, cheering, singing etc. The feeling of running all alone with hundreds of strangers encouraging you and pushing you to keep moving is beyond exhilarating. I couldn’t help but feeling overwhelmed with emotions. I continued to run. I smiled, ran and smiled some more. I ran like it was the only thing that mattered.

I kept putting one foot in front of the other. That is, until around 30 KM. Where I hit the wall. Yes. THAT WALL! The one you always hear about but never understand until it happens. The kind of wall that leaves your body saying, “Hell no”, regardless of how much your mind says, “Yes”.

For me the first time in my history of running, I felt angry. And above all, disappointed in myself. I slowed to barely a jog, and finally a walk, my mind wanted me to push through, to fight the pain, but my body simply couldn’t. I was sore, tired, thirsty, hungry and outright uncomfortable in just about every way you can imagine.

Then my thoughts of my wife and children crossed my mind. Bring back the medal…….Bring back the finisher-tee….I got this! Do it for my wife and kids! Bring home this awesome journey and tell them that I did it! I am a 42.1 KM finisher. I am officially a marathoner!

So, I walked. Then I walked some more. And a little more. I jogged a few steps, and quickly went back to a walk. Hands on hips. Sucking wind. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

35 KM. 36 KM. 37 KM. I passed the KM markers. Slowly, but I passed them. Jogged a few steps further.

38 KM…………39 KM………..My walk had slowed to a crawl. I listened to the other marathoners around me, complaining. Gasping for air. Keeling over in the grass to stretch. Sipping coconuts for energy. I started to doubt if I’d ever cross the finish line, or if the ambulance would eventually come pick up with the rest of the stragglers…LOL

At this point, mental strength took over, physical strength is secondary. At this point, the clock ticks around 6 hours. The rain is long gone and the sun is up and shining brightly. Then I saw the magic number 40 KM. You have no idea how excited I was after seeing the sign, Suddenly out of nowhere the energy just hit me hard.

Every 200 meters I ran felt like forever, it was the last stretch of road before reaching the finishing line. Yes! My feet were alive again, they wanted to cross that line so badly that I started sprinting my last few hundred meters towards the finishing line, and I heard the host calling out my name: Segar Rajoo from Malaysia!!

The moment I sprint passed the finishing line, I felt relieve, I felt freedom and there’d be no more running….Just my RUN-CA-TION in Phuket with my wife. It was no easy task, but I did it! There was that sense of pride and excitement. And that feeling was one of a kind, sensational and somewhat magical!

Long story short. I did it! Clocked 6 hours and 30 minutes. MY first full marathon 42.1 KM- Laguna Phuket International Marathon 2018. It was an unforgettable experience, the whole journey was simply incredible and I urge those who are still contemplating to join a 42.1 KM, JUST DO IT!

I’ll work harder. Do better. Run faster. And get stronger. That’s the thing about marathons (Literally or metaphorically) They smack you in the face, kick you in the ass, make you feel like dying but keep you coming back for more…

Because the biggest rewards in life are the one’s that have to be earned.

Running a marathon isn’t about the miles/KM. It’s about the lifestyle. It’s about giving something your everything, then a little more, even when there’s absolutely nothing left to give!

SCORE Night Edition Race Review

Why I Run? Because I can and it makes me happy! It excites me. I have learned to love running. I’ve been thankful for every mile pounded out on the pavement because of what it has taught me about myself and about life.

We reached Putra Jaya at 7.00pm. It was like a big carnival venue that night. All the runners were rushing in towards the start point from every possible direction. A bird’s eye view of that would have looked like gazillion of colourful streams (of runners) flowing and merging into the sea. (The start point) At the starting line, after the countdown, I ducked down to checked the retie my laces the way you tug the seatbelt before the roller coaster jerks in life. And there was a horn blast and the crowd surged. Ten minutes later, I crossed the line under a blare of music and cheering. Then long slow downhill took us gently away and the sound of cheering and music gave way to the steady rhythm of footfalls and breathing.

The race began and with that we were off, no more time to overthink it (though I suspect I was the last person at risk of overthinking this race today) Flocks of runners started moving forward. Many started by walking, some were running to advance in the start itself. As soon as the crowd started moving, I too started running at an easy pace. The group immediately turned to a chaotic stampede of runners and I didn’t even make it to two kilometres before I lost the pacer. Anyway, now I was part of the running crowd which was scattered all over the road. We were on a bridge, overlooking “Putra Jaya”. It was like a moment out of my dreams. It was a feeling of ‘harapan’ (HOPE) and sheer joy as I was crossing the bridge, overlooking the magnificent view of Putra Jaya. Pure bliss running down every nerve of my body giving goose bumps. That feeling will last forever in a corner of my heart. I felt proud as a Malaysian running in the middle of the night in Putra Jaya- the pride of our nation!

I skipped the first water station due to a massive crowd pushing and shoving for water. Some parts of the route was not brightly lit, had to watch my steps in the dark. At times, we were accompanied by the moonlight and stars.

By the 5KM I had found a steady pace that felt good- a little faster that I had planned but not ridiculously so. I didn’t think about what lay ahead, only step in front of me.

Someone once told me she knew running wasn’t fun because you never see smiling runners. Though I was surrounded by a serious-faced mob, I thought I had probably never been in the midst of such uniform happiness. Our faces were serious, our minds focused but our bodies, every one of them, were smiling. If you are wondering just how it is exactly that a body can smile, you will have to run a half- marathon to find out!!

But just as I was feeling snappy at the top of the hill one, a steady, relentless series of hills in all shapes and sizes followed. I stopped trying to keep track of them. I didn’t acknowledge them. When they came, I looked away and kept repeating my mantra….keeeeeeepppp go…….goooo…going…..!

Unfortunately, the course was very overcrowded, and there were multiple occasions, particularly during the last 5 KM and during the twisty parts of the roads that it became quite hard to find space to just run. Even at the several water/aid stations, volunteers ran out of cups, so we runners had to share bottles of water.

In truth this section was a bit of a trudge, long straight roads a midst tall apartment blocks and cars parked on the roadside….

Well, the half marathon continues to be my nemesis and I do not know why..Each time when I run a half-marathon, half way through the route, I keep asking myself, “Why am I doing this?, Why am I running a 21km?, This will be my last 21KM……I will just stick to a 10KM run..” All these thoughts runs through my head..But trust me, after you crossed that finish line, you would want to do this again, to run a 21KM half-marathon..LOL

Alright, on to my race. The plan was……hmmmmm, I had no big plans, just to finish the race…with this SCORE NIGHT EDITION RUN being a nice flat course…..NOT!!! Turns out, a positive attitude goes a long way. I just kept reminding myself to relax my shoulders, I smiled and had fun with the ups and downs..the hills, not emotions! Markers were placed along the route, however traffic control was a little messy. As far as logistics go, it was probably chaotic! In my opinion, there were too many runners and the space was congested.

The last 3KM was a struggle. On a positive note, I was so touched by all the cheers from passing runners. It made me feel awesome even though I was struggling! I appreciate each and everyone of them and I apologized I did not cheer back, I did in spirit! But I was very focused on keeping one foot in front of the other. This is a huge tease to ALL-THE-HILLS that you have to run to get back at the 18KM to 20KM and to the finish. No matter how you slice and dice it, you are going uphill to get back. (quite lumpy, but not in a torturous way) I hit 19KM, from here I played a run walk game. Run at a fastest pace, walk a bit, run a little, walk a bit. My legs throbbing a little, ankles hurting a little and head aching a little. Though my immediate concern was hunger..LOL

One thing that I have learned through racing in the past is that counting down to the finish is bad way to race, especially in a long race…with that in my mind, I set my body cruise control and settled in for a long flight…

Uh Ohhh…., we’ve got a long uphill stretch and I feel my legs started to cramp, I’m worried because I can already hear the emcee and I don’t want to be the girl with noodle legs at the end that can’t make it to the finish line. It’s time to hedge, I started to walk, I decided that finishing with style is much more important than 5 extra minutes….LOL

I could hear the finish. It was a cruel sensation. My mind was buzzing with the sights of Putra Jaya at night, the experience, pain and what I have achieved.

In summary, I enjoyed the race, not only am I proud of the accomplishment but during the race itself I was actually having fun…The course took us through some beautiful parts of Putra Jaya and I had literally zero expectations for myself so I focused more on the environment than my own performance. The finish chute seemed a bit hidden and to the side so not much glory to run to the end. The recovery zone seemed good with lots of medics giving out massages to sore runners. The medal collection was painless, no lines. The medal was nice and chunky too, I was a bit saddened in regards of the ‘special medal personalized with your name- for free’. Organisers were overwhelmed with the high demand therefore could not provide sufficient assistance and therefore the queue was very very long. However, the organisers apologized for this error and will rectify their mistakes.

We all had them. They are inevitable. A part of life. Sometimes for no reason at all. Nothing to point to or everything to point to. A BAD RUN. We hate it but it’s bound to happen from time to time. The bad runs build our true strength. As in life, when you have tough days, tough experiences, learn how to see the big picture. Bottom line? Learn from the run (Organisers as well as runners)

Stay healthy and there will be future races and for every bad race, there will surely be some great ones!

Race Review KL Possible Run 2018

Life is not just meant to be lived-it’s meant to be experienced. Sure, anyone can go jogging, but the experience in a fun run lies in running together towards a common goal of reaching the finish line.

My favourite part of racing is shockingly, not the running part but the habits form before and after the races that makes me feel like I am part of a tribe of sorts. A tribe of crazy people who wake up at 3.00am to run as fast as I can for a certain distance, all to receive a medal. There’s also the really cool part of donating to charity too!

On, Sunday the 13th May 2018, we woke up early at 3.30am, pinned on a bib, laced up and made our way to Padang Merbok, KL for the KL Possible Run 2018. We reached at 6.00am, parked our car and headed to the start line with hubby and my 3 children. It rained the whole journey from Seremban to KL. We could hear the birds chirping and the darkness soon gave way to light as the sun’s first rays crept in. Flag off for the 10KM was on time, followed by the 5KM Fun Run. It was still drizzling but the rain was not an obstacle! The show must go on! However, I was hoping for some fun and excitement before the 5KM flag off, maybe a warm up Zumba session..hmmmmm..but the organisers went straight ahead with the flag off.

There was a good amount of people of all ages. I love seeing families running together! What a great atmosphere! It was a lovely day, a nice route, the race started with no issues, heading into a very slight incline.

A well organised small scale race. I thought that it was a smooth race with well placed distance markers at each KM, adequate water points for such a short distance race, and enough volunteers stationed at different parts of the race to guide runners along. Once completed, finishers were given a nice, well detailed sturdy medal that say ‘Everyone Can Run’- love the tag line! It was so nice to care more our quality time, family bonding time instead of keeping pace throughout the race.

It was a fun little event, too bad that more people and families didn’t show up but I am hoping that KL Possible Run do it again, the word will get out!

Overall, this is a must do on the calendar. Well organised, lots of great fun for the family. The event was fantastic! Everything about this was great and these sentiments were shared by many running friends, families and people I met on the day.

Overall, I think the Race Director and all who have been involved can be very proud of a well managed, enjoyable and safe event!

 

Race Review Bukit Tembok Cross Country Run 2018

Firstly, I would like to thank Marathon Malaysia, Mr Prakash for giving me the opportunity to run Bukit Tembok Cross Country Run 2018 which was held in Pasir Panjang, Port Dickson on the 15 April 2018.

If you’ve never raced a trail race, you might be missing out. It’s so entirely unpretentious. There runners weren’t out here for bragging rights, and they certainly weren’t out here for a new saucy Facebook picture. No, they were out here for the love of it! I didn’t need to rely on my stubbornness to carry me through to the finish line, the sheer joy of it all was more than I needed.

My hubby a.ka. ‘sole mate’ decided that he wanted to take photographs instead of running this race…….Oh well, I thought….I was gonna be alone in this run……But to my surprised..along the way, I met and I ran along with a bunch of awesome runners- Aisah, Rosdi,Fahmi, Izaja….They became my pacers and I ran with them all the way to the finish line.

Packet pick-up was very easy, since it took place at Pasir Panjang, Port Dickson. The staff there is always friendly and very helpful. They had a list out that had last name and bib number readily available

Race day started pretty easy enough. Parking consisted of us driving over to a nearby field and leaving our vehicle by the road side area, which just about everyone did. There was a registration table and a same-day packet pickup station near the start line. A DJ played motivating music up until the race started. Flag off was delayed- we had a 30 minute Zumba session, which I enjoyed very much. But as for the “hard core” runners, they were already at the starting line ready to start the race.

The race started at 8.20 AM after the national anthem was played. With the start of the race, over 500 participants crossed the line..

Once we hit the actual Trail, the crowd thinned out. But it didn’t feel crowded or even lonely on the course at all. The trail is paved all the way through except for maybe a 10 foot section at the beginning of the course, and bridges of various types are sprinkled the wooded forest sections. It was quite scenic and I could enjoy several moments of running alongside rubber trees and oil palm plantations and over metal or red muddy roads.

There was a water station at around the 2.5 mark and it was well stocked, especially with at least four volunteers working the station. The course was also well marked with red arrows on the path, couple with cones to help make sure no one took a wrong turn. The course also had volunteers interspersed throughout the route to ensure participants didn’t veer off the path or get hurt.

I was mesmerized by the splendour of the place that I didn’t even realized I was coming up on the 7KM – nearly done..My heart was elated, my body was strong, and view was dazzling. I just wanted to keep running. I felt as though I could run forever. I was overcome with a strange sense of melancholy. Everything about this trail run was more than I could have imagined. The spirit of the volunteers was infectious, the authenticity of my fellow runners was disarming. When I reached the finish line, I was given a number….Ohhhhh my goodness! I won number 8! I just ran 8KM Cross Country Run!!

My heart was boiling with joy!

The award ceremony consisted of presenting the overall male and female winners. There were medals and cash for the 1st to 3rd place finishers for each age and gender category. The medals themselves were something special.

All in all, this is a great event, and one that should get a lot more people to run, I look forward to coming back.

SCORE NIGHT RUN 2018

Do you think the Cowardly Lion could have run a marathon? After all, he overcame all kinds of fears and obstacles throughout The Wizard of Oz. And at the end, he was awarded a medal for his bravery! Kind of similar to training and running a marathon. In two weeks time, 5 May 2018, I will once again embark my 21 KM journey at The Night Score Run at PutraJaya.

Am I brave? Brave enough to tackle 21KM Half marathon once again? Strong enough not to bail at the starting line? It takes courage to line up to run a race.

Most runners aren’t competing for first place. They’re competing against themselves, either for a better personal time or simply to finish. Life is similar. While it may look like a race against each other, the only real competition is yourself. Rather than looking over your shoulder to see how everybody else is doing, focus inward to see how you can evolve.

Sometimes many of life’s regrets come when we look back and realized we were so focused on reaching a destination that we forget to appreciate the journey.

We are so busy trying to get to the next stage or reach the next goal that we miss out on the journey. Don’t get me wrong, at every stage in life, we should be growing and moving towards a goal, but unless you stop to appreciate where you are, you will wind up missing the whole experience.

So my dear fellow friends and runners, Lace up and log off! See you at the SCORE NIGHT RUN on the 5 May 2018 at PutraJaya.