The Performance Series (TPS) Race Review

 

I love to run & I want to share that love with my kids. The first time my son and daughters asked to run with me, I was ecstatic! I’m not alone in wanting my kids to catch the running fever. Go to almost any local race and you’re sure to find a kids’ fun run or a family run. Or you’ll find a kid from any age group lined up next to you at the starting line.

As my daughters get older, their friends are becoming more important. She has more homework, tuition classes, basketball practice, piano classes etc…craving out a few family run has become our time together.

The Performance Series (TPS) was a great opportunity for me as a parent to bond with my children, for friends to catch up with each other and for couples to spend quality time with one another. TPS had three categories, 21KM Half marathon, 10KM and the 5KM Fun Run.

This time, Hubby and I decided to run with the kiddos the 5KM Fun Run, so as this was a non-competitive run, there was no stress in squeezing all the way to front of the start pen like I always do for other races. My children and I decided to ride on this no-stress approach by just enjoying the route.

The race was really easy to get to and there’s a huge and secure/safe parking lot (The mall’s parking lot) right across from the start line which made it easy to pick up our race packs, get all ready, then put everything back in the car. Syabas to the organisers for hiring extra security/RELAS to keep our cars and belonging safe!

There are usually two ways it goes down after the gun goes off-my children will either proceed to put all their effort and energy into sprinting the first 1KM before they slow down to a walk or they’ll blow past me and I’ll never see them again….after they have crossed the finished line. Either way, it’s always fun to see!

But once we started running, there was no looking back. My son and daughter set the pace, ran the entire thing, and only stopped to walk at the water stations. And running through an early dawn, lit-by-sunrise at this beautiful route in Setia Alam indeed provided the necessary motivation to keep them going.

For the 5KM Fun Run, the water stations were situated perfectly and in accordance to what was stated on the route map, with volunteers working tireless to make sure everyone was hydrated.

For parents who take their children for runs together should keep a few things in perspective, just like me, I set a few rules:-

  1. Know your own child’s limitations
  2. When you sign up for a run, ensure you have read thoroughly the terms and conditions
  3. Encourage them,don’t push them
  4. Let them set and maintain their own pace
  5. Walk when they want to walk and don’t make them feel guilty for walking
  6. Let them run their own race; don’t point out other kids who are faster, farther ahead etc.
  7. Shower them with praise at the finish line

If your kids aren’t overly athletic or haven’t run anything before, these shorter distances are perfect. We weren’t looking to break any land- speed records. We were just looking to have fun and finish. Amazingly my 10 year old son finished the race with the time of  30 minutes and my 12 year old daughter clocked 33 minutes. If you keep that as your goal, FUN AND FINISH, then I believe almost any kid can get out there and run a 5KM (Any adult, too, for that matter)

After the race, there was tons of great snacks for finishers. In addition to the race, one of the best parts of being part of TPS is getting to meet up with people and runners and best of all bonding with my children. If you are looking for a fun and flat 5KM experience in or around Setia Alam, Shah Alam, I would highly recommend this one and yes, I will be back again next year! Kudos to the organisers and sponsors! You guys rock!

Whether you’re an avid runner or desperately clinging to a New Year’s Resolution (weight lost/ 100km milage a month etc), don’t leave the little ones at home.Strap some sneakers on your kids and get them out there, too!

 

Advertisements

ATM Half Marathon Race Review

ATM = A-wesome  T-terrific M-arvellous 

Always have your end goal in mind and keep focused on it! I won’t lie, during many moments at different races, I’ve asked myself why I put myself through this? What gets me through is the finish line and the feeling you get when you know you’ve done something that most people won’t even want to try……..

I woke up too excited that morning, the day of the ATM HAlf Marathon was finally upon me. We arrived in the nick of time. Parking slowed us down because there were buses loads of runners/ soldiers/trainees  everywhere! So, my hubby told me to start jogging to get to the starting line first while he finds a safe parking spot. Adrenaline was flowing, nervous butterflies were dancing around in my belly.

Standing there at the starting line was an overwhelming experience. There were 11, 000 runners ready to run! It was still dark. The only lights were those at the flag off area and the ones lit up for the course. Hubby was not in sight…Kept my fingers crossed that he will be able to make it on time..My heart was beating. The music was playing, energy was soaring. Some were crying, others were laughing, some were seriously talking out loud a.k.a pasar tani/ pasar pagi and still others were just mentally preparing themselves as well…..10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1………………….AND WE WERE OFF! Oh crap! I turned left and right and there I spotted my hubby zig-zag-ing overtaking runners……..relieved, I moved slowly towards the starting line, like pushing a stalled car, praying it will start.

It was a perfect day, light breeze, just after a heavy down pour but all my thoughts were positive and geared towards moving this machine of a body forward. It was a smooth flag off with plenty of room to manoeuvre.

Well, now you’re boned! You’ve actually got to run this thing or die trying anyway. If you’ve got this far…I’m sorry! Really! I’ve failed to convince you to do otherwise and now you are running some ungodly distance, possibly for some vaguely undefined reason to do with charity or health or running with ATM- woot woot Angkatan Tentera Malaysia…ehemmmmmm….

I was really impressed with the route, eventhough, with the sudden and last minute changes, this route seemed to be a hidden gem in this lovely place called Port Dickson. It was well planned and executed and the scenery was great! The crowds (a.k.a) army/soldiers/trainees, the course, the atmosphere-it is the full package! I would defininetly recommend to all my fellow city runners- This is a “MUST RUN RACE”, you should not miss it! It is also an awesome route to do your PB. It’s flat, fast and furious and there are no stairways to hell…..phewww….

From 1KM to the 5KM, the route led us into a scenic village, I could hear roosters, the sound of the ‘azan’ prayers and my thoughts led me back to my school days, where we had to run a race called ‘merentas desa’ during our sports.

When I started the race, I was ecstatic. (Thoughts included: “This is awesome, I feel great!” and “Why don’t I do marathons all the time?”) But let me assure you, by 14KM or 15KM, those thoughts were long gone…..(Replacement thoughts: “Wow–my freaking body freaking hurts”, and “I would really like to stop, like 5KM ago”.) The best I could do was focus on thinking about how gorgeous it was outside….

Along the way, there were sufficient water stations filled with awesome volunteers who helpfully spilled water and 100Plus on your brand new overpriced 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 handing cups to thousands of sweat covered smelly runners! Thank you, Terima Kasih, Nandri, Xie Xie! You guys rock!

Then at 6KM, we ran on a nice flat and fast route, on the Seremban-Port Dickson highway. My original plan was to take a laid back approach to this race and run just for fun. Sometimes, race day is a funny thing. Most runners aren’t competing for first place. They are competing against themselves, either for a better personal time or simply to finish. Life is similar, while it may look like a race against others, the only real competition is yourself!

The route had something for everyone with some crowd lined closed roads, an idyllic rural village section through Port Dicksn. Seriously! Just do it! Ditch the elastic, hair bands, pretty clips and let your hair wild as you run ATM Half Marathon.

After the 9KM, the route brought us to a path just along the seaside, it was a beautiful sight, however we were faced with a slight congestion. Thankfully, the narrow path involved a short stretch. Some runners took the opportunity to stopped for a selfie along this path which featured the sea. It was a nice day, ocean breeze with melodic sound of waves, and yes it brought great feelings from the body to the soul. Then, we reached the 10KM-where all the 21KM runners had to cross the starting line to get to the 2nd loop. While I crossed the 10KM marker, runners for the 10KM category were in positions and were all in their corals on stand by to be flagged off.

Ohhh don’t forget to unplug your headphone and listen to the waves crashing, the birds chirping and the people/villagers playing. How refreshing to run with true awareness of your surroundings. Allowing my body fall into the rhythm of the natural soundtrack.

Then suddenly I heard, happy feet, happy singing, happy chanting sounds….The 10KM runners, along with the army, soldiers and trainees were running in groups..Oh what a marvellous sight! They were tough, they were singing, they were motivating one another. Then my thoughts diverted to Leftenan Adnan.Hmmmmmm…..He was a teacher but he chose to join the army and fight and defend our country Malaysia. He left his home, his parents, wife and kids to sacrifice, to fight, to defend our country- our beloved nation- Malaysia! He was strong and brave and faught until the end as the saying goes ‘ Biar putih tulang, jangan putih hati’. A sense of pride crept inside of me to be able to run side by side with the army, soldiers and trainees. I felt proud and honored to be part of ATM Half Marathon, to be running in honor of  ‘Angkatan Tentera Malaysia.’

A few minutes later, they were out of sight. I was ‘only the lonely’. Then I cruised along the flat ground, keeping my breathing in check and noting who was around me. I didn’t want to run alone and there were a few times I surged ahead simply to stay with a pack of runners.

Then, I reached the main road-the round- about for the second time. Traffic control was tremendously execellent! Arrows and signages let us know we were always on the right track and marshals guided runners in the right direction while directing traffic and a few key intersections.

By the way, I have to say pacers are incredible! I am still feeling good…like surprisingly good. The route was still wet and foggy. It’s still cool, already feel drenched in sweat, but I’m immersed in the atmosphere and just generally happy. Around the 17KM there was a hydration station, volunteers handing them out for the runners to grab…I grabbed one cup of water and one cup of 100Plus, somehow that taste helped me get through..There were times throughout the race when I wanted to cry just because I was so happy! I’m not saying that the whole 21KM was such a breeze that I was on cloud 9 the whole time. What I am saying is that there I was- doing it-really doing it! Running 21KM- A Half Marathon.

My goal was to just finish the race. I was able to keep running, only stopping at aid stations/water breaks. I need to give a shout out and thank the stranger in the army uniform. He doesn’t know he did anything but I was trying my damnest to keep up with him. And I did, for a long time. So, Mr Soldier, thank you keeping me going, for motivating me and helping me not to stop or quit. Even though you have no clue and will probably never see this, you helped me immensely.

After the hydration station, I tried to remind myself I only had 4KM left to do. I do 5KM everyday, no sweat…that didn’t really work. I was already super tired and my feet hurt. But I still kept at it. At about the 18KM, I gave in and walked some more. I walked about 1KM. Maybe a bit more…I wanted to 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 look SO.FAR.AWAY. I can do this…I turned my head to the right, and there I saw my hubby, standing next to my bro-Bufford and his wife Mary (who ran the 10KM race), cheering me on.

JUST GO…FINISH….and finish, I did..I threw my hands up in the air, like I just don’t care, as I crossed the finish…I got my awesome medal and my finisher Tee-Shirt and my legs felt like dead. But I just ran a half marathon…For someone who running does not come easy for, I was (am) unbelievably proud of myself.

After race ended, parts of my body I didn’t know I had started hurting. I felt like I got body slammed by the Hulk and then hit by a truck a.k.a Optimus Prime. When I got home, I showered, drove the kids to Sunday School, had lunch with mum, dad, hubby and kids and napped like my life depended on it. I walked like a penguin for a few days after the race.

I can’t wait to do it again. My favourite part of the race- EVERYTHING!  Overall, the hype, the people, the Army-soldiers-trainees, the crowds and the emotions…”Remember when you thought you couldn’t do this?” I do……..But I just did it and now I feel unstoppable. It was truly a once in a lifetime destination race and eventhough I wasn’t able to “RACE” it, just running it was such a gift!

 

ATM Half Marathon 2017

20171106_123358.png

There’s always the first time for everything! This coming weekend, I will be going for another running adventure with my better half! The ATM Half Marathon 2017 which will be in held in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan on the 12th November 2017.

It will be an honour and pride to be part of this awesome event. The Malaysia Military Services have a long, proud and ilustrious history in securing the peace, both against threat at home or internationally under the auspices of the United Nations. The Angkatan Tentera Malaysia Half Marathon (ATM Half Marathon) is a brand-new running event in Malaysia aim at bringing the military forces closer to the people it serves- the citizens of Malaysia. Through the ATM Half Marathon, participants can get up close and personal with the different branches of the military services namely Army,Navy and Airforce.

I am truly honored to be given the opportunity to be one the official blogger and to be able to run a 21 KM Half Marathon and share my journey and adventure with my fellow runners. Just imagine, I will have the opportunity to take pictures with members of the elite GGK Commandos, pose a selfie with their rifles and who knows……a PB!

See you there this Sunday 12th November, 2017! For more information, www.atmhalfmarathon.com

The Veggie Cafe @ The Muffin House

Ahhh..vegan food. Some people eat it as a lifestyle, some people eat it to stay healthy, some people just lowkey enjoy it! A vegetarian food restaurant with a twist of adventure The Veggie Cafe @ The Muffin House.

When I say vegetarian and healthy food…what comes to mind?  Bland, tasteless and only green? Well, if that is your answer, you need to redifine your definition of healthy vegetarian food. Located in the heart of Seremban, Seremban Gateaway, on the second floor, their menu typically consists of raw food, western dishes, smoothies and fashionable desserts and Japanese too!

Veggie Cafe @ The Muffin House is a restaurant that will steal your heart for many different reasons whether you are a vegetarian or not!

sr7_6508.jpg

If there’s one thing I know about humans, it’s that we love pizza. And just because someone decides to do away with dairy and meat in their diet, doesn’t mean they should have to miss out on one of the tastiest creations known to man! Luckily there are tons of amazing recipes available to vegan pizza lovers the world over-that will satisfy their cravings for what some call the perfect food…….eat up!

In some circles, sushi is synonymous with ‘raw fish’…and clearly not on the menu for vegan or vegetarian diners. Thankfully, Cafe Veggie @ The Muffin House offers a variety of- course veggie spread sure to satisfy anyone’s sushi cravings and delicious California rolls, Volcano rolls, Tempura rolls any many more…..

AVOCADO SALAD

From simple to sumptuous, avocados add flair to any salad recipe. Veggie Cafe @ The Muffin House has avocado salad to suit any taste or occasion. A collection of richer, side dish with avocado and creamy dressing and stimulate your taste buds with the flavorful avocado salad.

SEAWEED FRIED RICE

Served with shredded carrots for added texture, this fried rice is earthly, crunchy & savory. With a few simple yet delicious ingredients this dish comes together very easily. It has a unique flavour profile for a fried rice. The flavors in this dish are a traditional Japanese combination and really play off one another well.

ALL DAY BREAKFAST

We are a nation that loves breakfast food. Yet plently of us still skip our morning meal. Why? Because we are too busy! But that excuse will no longer be acceptable -once you order ‘The Friendly Breakfast’ whether you prefer sweet or savory, this dish- from fluffy pancakes to scrambled eggs- for some, it’s sunny-side-up eggs..

sr7_6507.jpg

SALTED EGG CHICKEN

This salted egg chicken uses aromatic curry leaves to complement the salted egg yolk. One bite is enough to make you hanker for more. A dish that would satisfy even the most discerning salted egg fun. Juicy ‘chicken’ fried to golden perfection and coated with velvety of golden salted egg cream. The latest trendy dish loved by all veggie lovers!

sr7_6496.jpg

EGG MAYO CROISSANT

Greet the morning with a warm croissant sandwich. Delicious egg mayo on a buttery croissant makes a tasty start to your day. It’s only better in a croissant because….a croissant is bigger and it holds more egg mayo! Don’t you think so?

WAFFLE BANANA

Start your morning with a ‘yummy-licious’ waffle with banana topped with warm maple syrup or a dollop of whipped cream/ice cream. Great waffles!

LAKSA NOODLE

If you like spicy and pungent flavors, this vegetarian laksa has your name on it! This vegetarian laksa noodle is amazing. This is the kind of noodle soup I could eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner because it contains so many of my favourite ingredients, coconut milk, red curry paste, curry powder and noodles. There’s nothing more appealing than a bowl of bright orange broth and noodles topped with loads of veggies to make me want to dive and devour. MUST. EAT. NOW.

LATTE, MOCHA AND CHOCOLATE

It’s no secret that chocolate and coffee make a fabulous pair. Combined with rich, full bodied espresso with bittersweet mocha sauce and steamed milk, then top it off with sweetened whipped cream….just classic!

Situated in the heart of Seremban, Seremban Gateway. The Veggie Cafe @ The Muffin House serves the food of modern day vegan by proving that vegetarian food can be flavoursome, creative and satisfying with a menu that is varied and imaginative.

 

 

The beginning of an amazing adventure…It only gets better from here at Thistle Port Dickson

Family holidays are about the sun, sand and spending time together- but at Thistle Port Dickson- they do even better than that!

Thistle is an absolute gem. The family suite is divine.It never ceases to amaze me when I checked into a higher-end hotel room, I was totally amazed, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to share the details found in their newly refurbished family room.

fb_img_1508990644089.jpg

Spacious, bright and outward facing rooms and totally refurbished. The room comes with one king size bed and one children’s double-decker bed, a modern, fully equipped bathroom finished in top quality bronze colored ceramics and a stunning view from the balcony.

It provides views over landscaped gardens and the pool. It has a seating area, ample storage, digital safe, minibar and even bath time toys such as the “rubber duckies”. Allow you and your family to indulge and experience, fall asleep in a wonderfully comfortable bed, listening to your own lullaby.

When you stay at Thistle Port Dickson, you’ll enjoy the excellent service and premium amenities of a hotel- for example free wi-fi throughout the resort. But more important, you’ll enjoy the warm hospitality of a friend. That’s what sets Thistle Port Dickson apart! And it starts with the friendly smile they welcome you with.

What are you waiting for? Plan your holidays now at Thistle Port Dickson. For more information please log in to www.thistle.com/portdickson

PROTON HSN21KM Race Review

In conjuction of Hari Sukan Negara celebration, Proton HSN21KM is an initiative by renowned event organiser Muse Group Asia, supported by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Malaysia. The run, in line with the mission of Hari Sukan Negara, is aimed at further igniting and strenghtening the desire to keep fit and be healthy among Malaysians and to create a sporting nation. Held in the heart of Kuala Lumpur with over 10,000 runners this year!

Days before the race, I was totally scared, nervous and excited all at the same time! And honestly, I had every right to be..Don’t get me wrong, I trained, but it was tough sticking to a strict plan that I made out months ago. (Life happens)

My mantra was to do what you can do-no matter what-just keep going. It’s time to nut up or shut up! And off I go…….

And all the traffic was headed the same place we are. What does that say about me and other runners? Up to run a grueling test of personal endurance at 8.30pm just for a finisher T-shirt, a medal and bragging rights.

I am trying to stay calm and pace myself, but let me be honest here, I had adrenaline pumping like mad. The atmosphere was just awesome. The set up was really fantastic! We were entertained by the Buskers as well as a super hyper warm up zumba session and then at 8.25pm all the 21km runners elite and ‘not so’ elite runners like me were called to enter the pen and head to the start line. We sang our national anthem “Negaraku” and few minutes later we were flagged off. The highlight of my day was, I had the opportunity to high five the Minister of Youth and Sports, Khairy Jamaluddin woot woot! One of the best feeling ever is standing at the start line, next to my hubby, who decided to stay and run with me-Thank you for your love and support, without you, I don’t think I would have been able to make it through Bukit Tunku.

I am not being dramatic when I say this, but I was so impressed by those running around (and past) me. It was hot, humid and hilly (The 3 Hs’), but even though it was evidence, at 2 KM we were all struggling, everyone pushed on.

I was enjoying the crowds and cruising along happily putting no thought into what lay ahead. All I thought about how this was my day. And the joy was running at Bukit Tunku (ONLY THE BRAVE, right?) I had done all the hard work and deserved to be there and it was absolutely splendid. At 2 km, I see the big hill coming up and felt like I could take on anything the world through me. The route literally went up that hill so I mean it was right in my path. It wasn’t that steep but it just kept going. I noticed a lot of people had to stop and walk at this point. I told myself just clear the hill because what goes up, must come down…. 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.

Make no mistake, running hills is not easy. It leaves your legs aching and burning and you are bound to reach the top hufting and puffing. The route was tougher in the second half of the race, but thankfully the hydration and water stations were plenty and they were very well organised. Volunteers handed out water and Lucozade efficiently.

At the 10KM, our route headed into Jalan Kuching, we were out running on a pretty main road in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Kudos to the organiser for the excellent traffic control and marshaling. It was great to see drivers on the other side of the road with their windows down watching us and grinning, shouting support for people that they didn’t even know!

The route was altered slightly after that- we were back into those glorious hills! The hills, how do I put this, the hills are alive! After winding around through parts of Bukit Tunku, passed the Botanical gardens and more hills- But we soldiered on. There were marshals and police at every major junctions and corners.

Then suddenly I felt something shift in my body…If you’ve ever heard a runner talk about “hitting the wall” or “bonking”, that was exactly what happened. Then I started talking ‘gibberish’ to my hubby, asking him just like how my ten year old son would asked,,,” how far more’? and “Are we there yet”? for a dozen times I kept asking my hubby but all he said was- keep going! Run Chrisy! Run Chrisy! At 18KM, my body just quit on me. Then, I had to switched gears in my brain….it’s now mental! I got this! I am not going to stop! Just keep going….. I can do this! I can! I will! and once again my hubby made me re-focus!

At the route near PWTC- Sunway Putra Mall, I managed to keep going but in a bit of a painful blur. I was just focused on trying to keep up with my hubby and just kept my legs moving. I kept repeating my mantra…Don’t quit! Don’t quit!

I am not quite certain how it works, but it always amazes me how the body can do things on race day that you really don’t think possible! After that Everest Climb to base camp we come to a water station. All I can see are determined faces. Everyone was beginning to look beat down and yet smiling cause they know after having come this far they will finish the race!

Then I saw the sign 20KM, runner’s favourite number..just one more KM to go..with sweat dripping every part of my body, fatigue increasing, I really started to struggle with my breathing, just one more KM to go, sounds like making excuses, it sort of is….LOL..

The final 1Km was quiet and tranquil. Runners wore few and far between. Most runners, including me, alternated between running and walking.

At the finished line, we were given fininsher’s entitlement, which include a medal, water and a 21KM finisher’s T-shirt. At the race village, there were plenty of booths, food trucks and entertainment too….

I have nothing but amazing things to say about PROTON HSN21KM. The course was a real challenge! A mixture of hills and hills and the hills are alive……LOL. The support from friends and spectators was amazing. The Staff and volunteers were beyond amazing and awesome! Water stations, markers and signages were sufficient and well placed and organised. The organiser did a tremendous job with traffic control and marshling. A huge kudos and congratulations to each and everyone of  you for actually being out there running, walking or crawling!

 

Are you ready for HSN21km?

Every race tells a story….

Marathons are for mad people! That’s what I’d always thought and I didn’t fit in the club….until…….HARI SUKAN NEGARA!

In just two days, HSN21km will be held held on 14 October at Dataran Merdeka at 6pm onwards. This half marathon is ‘extra special’ to me…Why? Because, a year ago I did the Impossible, the Inconceivable, the Extraordinary! I completed my first half marathon race at HSN21KM run last year 2016.

Leading up to my first half marathon, there was pain, there was progress and despite some nerves and struggles in the beginning…that being said, none of my training compares to everything I learned on race day and the days leading up to it.

It became clear early on that to be a runner it wasn’t as simple as putting on a pair of shoes and running. Unless you are Kenyan of course.

I became a runner who wasn’t training for any particular race. Running was just something I did. People would ask me what I was training for and I would reply “Life”. My hubby aka my ‘sole’ mate- was the dose of maturity I needed to run long distances. He helped foster myself-belief, resist the urge to surge and above all RUN RUN RUN!

Running is an adventure that has produced beautiful lessons, truths involving friendships an incredible amount of dedication and courage.

And at 21km, take off! Give it EVERYTHING you’ve got! And out that smile on your face because cameras are ready! Don’t just blow through the finish line. Throw your arms wide, jump, do something awesome because that is the moment you are going to want to remember for the REST of your life. You just ran a HALF MARATHON! A HALF MARATHON! YOU! AMAZING! You are incredible! Wear your medal with pride, grab your goodies, eat your banana, take pictures with your friends. Do that happy dance!

I might have crossed the finished line of my first half marathon after 3 hours and 24 minutes, but I have accomplished so much more! I pushed my limits and got to know myself! I shattered expectations and started my journey and enjoy running. I became fitter and healthier. I became a better version of myself.See you at Hari Sukan Negara @ HSN21KM at Dataran Merdeka at 6pm onwards.

MAKNA Founder’s Night Run Race Review

mfnr2017_cover_.jpg

Behind each participant is a story of love, hope and courage that inspires them to run…and run to the finish line. While reflecting on the many lessons I have learned on this journey, one of the most important lesson is to ‘ Always do what you are afraid to do’, but remember, whatever you do, means so much more, when you do it for someone else. Last Saturday, I was given the privileged to run 21 km half marathon for MAKNA Founder’s Night Run at Putrajaya.

MAKNA Founder’s Night Run is a race to save lives, aiming to raise funds for cancer treatment subsidies, awareness, welfare assistance and more- No one should fight cancer alone- this event invites people of all walks of life to join in the fight and run alongside those who are impacted by cancer.

This run is special and it’s close to my heart. Why? Because this time I ran with my heart and not with my legs, this 21 km half marathon is not achieving a certain time or individual goal, this race is about making a difference!

We arrived at Putrajaya at 6.00pm. Headed to the starting point. The set-up was pretty fantastic. It was like a carnival atmosphere. Music, balloons, parents and children were seen all around with happy faces. At 7.50pm, the announcers called all the 21 km half marathon runners into the pen, to the starting line….instead of a flagged off, we were led by three gorgeous ladies for about 20 minutes for a warm up Zumba Session. Don’t get me wrong- I love Zumba and I was enjoying every minute of it, until I turned around and realised that I was the only one dancing and moving to the beat- all the other 21 km runners (probably elite and PRO) were getting annoyed and some even were venting out their frustrations by protesting and yelling and shouting for the race to start!

Then at 8.10pm, a chap says go and blows the whistle/horn and the 400 runners for the 21 km half marathon shuffle into life! A stunning diversity of masses bouncing around for position.

metd_na_1307_pg12_prmakna_niklasalbakri_1.jpg

This is a funny time where you are not really sure who is in front of you and who is behind of you. The next 5 km, I actually got a decent pace going, I overtook a few runners. The organisers did a good job, roads and routes were well condone, marshals were on standby and traffic police were placed at every traffic lights and junctions.

Then, after the 5 km, we were running in darkness, I was solely depending on the moonlight-however, it was a very dim moonlight on that particular night, there were no street lights for about 1 km, the first check point came at last, then we had to make a U-turn and run once more about 1 km in the darkness.

6 km to 10km : This is the best…..such beautiful night, the weather was great and this pace feels so easy….Life is so amazing, enjoyed the views in Putrajaya and this breeze feels so good! These downhills make me happy. I was extremely glad that there were sufficient hydration points with 100 plus and mineral water.

At about 15 km, my lower legs felt fatigued. My legs became heavy. Cramps! Glorious! Cramps! It was then I understood the mental aspect of endurance running. I would have to dig deep within myself to reach the finish line! I kept pushing myself! Then the opposite side I saw my brother, Bufford and he kept saying – GO GO GO! See you at the finish line!

Then came the 17 km, my calves threatened to cramp, my hips tightened. My shoulders tensed. I had become hyper-aware of each and everybody part, those parts that hurt as well as those parts that didn’t! I shrank into my head, slowed to walk and started thinking of my mum, a breast cancer survivor, my aunt Doris, my iron lady aunt, my cousin, Annalee- a strong woman, and fighter and never gave up her battle against Cancer and my sister’s BFF- Jen who never ever quits and Sibendina, my childhood friend- a tough cookie…Then I told myself, this pain that I am going through is nothing compared to theirs! And in that moment, tears just flowed down my cheeks as I thought of these awesome warriors and this is the reason I am here, this is the reason I am running a half marathon and I am gonna cross that finishing line. THEY ARE MY REASON!

With those thoughts on my mind, suddenly I realised that I have reached the last hydration station and only 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- and more awesome! I ran in honour of my mum, my aunt, my cousin, my friend and the Cancer warriors!

I finished it! I crossed the finishing line…with tears in my eyes, grinning like an idiot, limping like a clown…but loving every second of it! Now excuse me while I go get myself some first aid help at the medical station.

OVERALL:

Entry and information: Regular updates of information regarding all aspects of the venue.

Race registration/pack: Collection was well organised,quick and easy.

Venue: Plenty of space at the venue,porta-porties were plentiful.There were plenty of volunteers around if anyone needed assistance.

Parking: There were several large parking areas near the start point.

Organisation:The event was organised to the highest level.

Course: A good city road course,rarely what you could call interesting,especially at       night,no steep climbs but some long tough inclines to test legs,lungs and will power.Overall, a not too tough course that most runners throughly enjoyed.If anyone set a PB on this course,I would be suprised and they should be very proud! (Congrats! My dear brother, Bufford for doing your PB)

Marshaling and water stations: The course was for the most part, run on unclosed roads, being a night run the roads were generally not too busy but due to the excellent and abundant marshals,it would not have caused a problem.Very impressive.

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.

Post race: The post-race was smooth and efficient and although when I reached the finishing line,most of the booths were closed… Plenty of resting area available and all the medical requirement were well in place.The full result were available in a very high timely manner,yes,full results!

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

   *People say there are many reasons that we run,

I run because I can…!* 

AXA Hearts in Action Run 2017 Race Review

People take part in charity runs for a variety of reasons. Some do it to raise money, others to challenge themselves and beat their personal best while for many it’s an opportunity for them to get fit. I personally do it for all the three reasons! But no matter what your motivation may be, everyone agrees that charity runs are extremely fun!

In order to prepare for the fun, I needed to enlist some help so I cornered my family and I managed to convince hubby and kids to run with me! If you really are determined to have fun,trust me, that’s the way to do it! (oh, and it’s healthy fun too, bonus!)

We arrived at MAEPS, Serdang-Mardi by 6am, got a safe and nice parking spot. As soon as we got near the stage we could hear the music and feel the excitement. We instantly joined the crowd of 5000 runners and even participated in the warm up session. The morning of the race excitement buzzed in the air.

At the starting line, my children felt like lions waiting to be let out of their cages. They were rip roaring and ready to go…Ready to race? Indeed…..My children and I were ready to rumble! Then at 7.20am, the 6 km were flagged off!

The lakeside running was beautiful and rather undulating.Lots of ups and downs, at some points the path narrows but never enough to stop you passing people if needed. It was a really sunny day and by 7.45am, the sun was shining brightly but parts of the route was in the shade, which was nice.

The race had lots of rolling hills which my quads did not love! But I loved how different it was, running with my “sole” mate- hubby and my children….My hubby and son finished the race strong! This race was strictly a “fun” race, so no clocks, chips or stop watches were involved. As always, it’s nice to run by feel and solely for FUN!

We walked, we ran, we jumped, we skipped, we danced….I loved every minute of it and I had no idea how what my time was!

It was great to see so many
families come together with their children take part in the run, and running with a smile!

As we approached the finish line there was a nice crowd cheering everyone on with lots of children wanting to hi-fives and runners who had finished staying to cheer people on.

It was a fun event. The route was nice, even tough, the roads were not fully closed but the organisers ensured all safety measures for the participants, there were lots of marshalls and volunteers on duty, water stations were well organised, the runner T-shirt was cool ( we had our names printed on it), the medal was awesome, great little course, fun volunteers and nice running community.

The only thing I would do differently is change the start time, make it earlier or possible route the course a bit differenly. At MAEPS the beginning portion of the race is in an open area and by 7.30am it was already heating up. Thankfully the second half was mostly under trees and in shady area.

It was so nice to care about our quality time, family bonding time instead of keeping pace throughout the race. We made so many awesome memories, laughed until our sides ached and got some really awesome pictures.

A great race doesn’t come from a PR or a new attained distance, but more from the memories and lessons you take away from them. As always, I was reminded of how much I love this sport and how special it is to share it with my favourite people ever- Hubby and Kids!

Would I do it again? You bet!!! What was the best part? ALL OF IT!!

Seremban Half Marathon 2017 Race Review

I have been wrestling all week with my approach to writing this review. The day has come and gone, the most eagerly anticipated race in Seremban, boasting almost 10K, 7722 runners from the school category and the 1865 runners for 21km and 10km category A to J. This was the 30th Year, claimed to be the “oldest” Half marathon in Malaysia.

So, with us, this race is personal. It is my hometown. It’s a commitment to always going the distance, no matter what! To high fiving/thumbs upping friends and strangers, to pushing ourselves beyond our purposed mortal limits and the generally have a great time. I am truly honored that this year, Hubby and I were under the armour of Malproc Sdn Bhd- Mr Robert Tio. Thank you very much, sir!

20170910_062035.jpg

As usual, we arrived early and managed to get a safe and nice parking spot. The minute we stepped out of the car, it started to rain cats and dogs. But that did nothing to us:- at sharp 6.30am we walked to the starting line, in the heavy rain, it was chaotic with more than 10K runners walking around without any sense of directions. The sound system was unclear and no one could hear the announcements. Then at 6.45am…bang! the gun went off and the 21km runners were flagged off, 10 minutes late and some confused 10km runners also ran along with the 21km and at a check point, these 10km runners were disqualified.

Unsurprisingly the first KM or so was spent trying to get past quite a lot of runners. People say this route 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 am fast, but I’m far from the slowest at this type of mass event and it is a bit annoying when you see runners who started near the front begin to walk about half a mile. You can waste a lot of energy trying to get round them. Note to self-get up and in the pen earlier next time!

The flagged off for 10Km was delayed too about 10 minutes, eventually, after the gun went off, I got into a steady pace and managed to keep going, right along the road in front of my old school- KGV, runners had to risked their lives running side by side with some “wannabe” fast and the furious car racers, the roads were not fully closed just a few cones were placed in between. Never mind there hadn’t been any major incidents with traffic before but I wish organiser would still place safety of runners as their priority! Just because no one got run over (YET) doesn’t mean it will stay that way.

The route we did for the 10KM and 21Km was exactly the same as the previous years but blamed it on age or soemthing, it had long gradual climb littered along the route at Forest Heights, nothing steep but a long climb. ‘Seremban-rians’ also have their own ‘Bukit Tunku”- stair way to hell route….hahahahahahahah

My energy was high.I was gleefully floating along the miles..running into puddles of water. The legs talked and I listened. Then came a main junction, a crossroad between Ampangan, Paroi and Sikamat, there was no sign or marker at this point, so all the runners just kept running, it was a scene from the three blind mice- where the blind was leading the blind. There was a traffic police trying his level best to control the traffic at this main junction.After crossing the main road, I saw a sign 21km and 10km…Ohhhhh nooooo! I panicked and was alarmed. If the 10km-school category and half marathoners joined this route now, I’d be swept up in the stampede. I’d die like Mufasa in the ‘Lion King’ movie. Anxiety welled up in me. So I had to do more bobbing and weaving, between flooded roads, narrow spaces and moving vehicles.

I needed to finish- I saw a sign 4Km to go..In desperation, I was on the go again, and I was completely over other runners, what they were doing and what they thought of me. By the time the marathoners started overtaking me I was totally lost in my own experience, just me and my legs and my lungs and the road and wet weather and grey skies.

Then I spotted the sharp corner, near A&W and made the final turn and saw the finish line ahead, just a few hundred meters down a muddy paved field. A weight had left me- I’d done it, I’d proven that I could do it, Then the official wrote down my number- No 26….oh wow! I clutched my medal with happiness and pride.

Overall review:

The bad:-

  1. Late start: Flag off for 21km was supposed to be at 6.30am, it was delayed about 10 minutes and the rain started to fall again. For a half marathon, don’t you think 6.30am for the flag off is a bit late?
  2. Short distance:- by that I mean the distance fell short by 1KM. Falling short means that avid and ‘elite’ runners do not get a new PR on their GPS devices.
  3. Water stations: runners need water to hydrate. For the 10km, only two water stations were located at the 5km and 8km. As for the 21km, there were only four water stations?
  4. Route: The same route again. Roads were not fully closed. Lacked of marshalls. Lack of signages.
  5. Safety: Once again, organisers put runners at risk. Roads were not properly secured with cones. (Being the 30th year, don’t the organisers try to get better and improved year by year?)
  6. The medal: By far the greatest pet peeve or shall I say the ‘bling’ of the race has to be the medal. Seremban half Marathon have made us grown accustomed to their innovative medal designs over the past years, this year however, the medal was disappointing. It was a size of a 50 cent coin! The reason behind this is beyond me. Medal serves as a reminder of the ‘glorious run’ and day in the future, I nominate this medal, as the smallest medal in my collection.
  7. T-shirt: This year’s running T-shirt was like a bad haircut or ill-fitting jeans. Sizes were not accurate- it was enormous. The thing about T-shirt is they are a fashion statement. From a racer’s point of view, the shirt is a symbol of accomplishment, a great way to connect with fellow runners and walkers. From sponsor’s point of view, T-shirt provide exposure.

The Good:

  1. Lots of parking available
  2. 21km finishers’ T-shirt was awesome
  3. Medal collection was smooth

I always like to have an aim on race day to keep me going and have a dream of completing a 10km in under 60 minutes, just to get a time with a 5 at the beginning! As I get older I realise that’s less and less likely to happen, but it’s still a good motivator. Will I be back next year??? Hmmmmm…….It all depends….