To me, race day is a funny thing. It can be the source of your greatest triumph or the cause of your deepest sorrows! It can make you love yourself and hate yourself at the same time.
What makes this race unique is that it starts late in the night.
It all begins with race kit collection. Hubby went to collect it at Damen Mall, Subang Jaya. It was a brisk and no hassle at all. Race pack collection was smooth. When hubby returned home with the race kit, I put together my race day outfit. It really helps the pre-race anxiety out and ready to go. Otherwise, I’m inevitably running around the house on race day like a madwoman looking for a rouge sock or my favourite sports pants etc.
This race was different. Why? It was my first 21 km ‘midnight’ half marathon in Shah Alam. To make matters even more exciting, I had a food review at 3.30pm on race day. I broke all the running rules, tried new yummy-li-cious Indian Cuisine, drank a cup of ‘masala tea’ and two and the half glasses of ‘awesomeness’ chocolate and vanilla milkshake………..OMG! CARBO OVERLOADED!
As always, mum and dad had the kids over at their home for the weekend. What would I do without my awesome parents? Probably go bonkers! Thank you, mum and dad for always being there for us.
Before leaving the home, I checked the weather forecast, it said heavy showers and thunderstorm from 12am until 5am. Oh! Oh! So, I set and tune my mind…”It’s gonna be a wet and rainy run”! When the going gets tough, the tough gets going, right?
We reached the race venue an hour before flagged off. A pretty good location and ample of parking space.However, we noticed it wasn’t secured, none the less we took the risk to park by the road side next to some shop lots. Many runner’s feedback informed that, their cars were broken into and they had to lodge police reports due to broken wind shields,stolen laptops, cash and money. We hope that the organisers will consider a safer parking environment with RELA or security, in future.
Now let’s get back to my race review, I had the urge to go for my routine ‘porta portie’. When I got to ‘porta portie’….OMG! The line was so long and when I checked my Garmin watch, it was 20 minutes before flag off. Desperate times requires desperate measures. For some miracle, I managed to reach the starting line five minutes before flag off. The starting line was jam-packed. Hubby and I couldn’t even get into the corral. Gave hubby a quick kiss and wished him good luck and we were off! I think it took me about two minutes to cross the start after the gun. When the official was counting down……..3……2……1…….GO! Flashes of light! Flashes of light! NOOOOO..it was not the flashes of lights from the camera but instead flashes of lighting streaked menacingly in the distance and the skies were as dark as the depths of Arkham. And the rain came…
Thankfully, I was prepared mentally for rainy and wet weather but never imagined in this type of thunder storm. At 2 km, it rained cats and dogs. A few runners decided to take shelter at the bus stops. I just kept going…My mind kept saying…’just keep swimming…..just keep swimming’ from Finding Nemo…LOL
The first mile felt like it passed in an instant. I was feeling emotional…why? One more bucket list- achieved! A half marathon at night in the heavy down pour! Woot woot! I also just think the energy of races are so special and I love to see running bring so many people together to share such a positive common goal! The world needs a lot more of that!
Those of you who have run this Shah Alam Half Marathon would know just how challenging and demanding it is with the rolling terrain and killer incline stretch from 16 km to 19 km. The first few km of this race are pretty chill as they featured a staight route a lot of downhills. This is a huge tease to ALL-THE-HILLS that you have to run to get back at the 16 km to the 19 km at the finish. No matter how you slice it and dice it, you are going uphill to get back.
The number of cars were growing even though it was almost 1am. Traffic slowed down when we, the runners, approached and waited patiently when stopped by the traffic police while waiting for runners to passed by the busy roundabouts and junctions.
On the otherhand, I think runners really need to improve our running etiquette. Most of the time, I observed runners took up the middle of the lane, not sure because of the water and puddles or rain drops that keep hitting our faces. Some crossed the roads without considering his/her own safety. Organisers cannot ensure our safety at all time and it’s up to us to look after ourselves. Running safely is a habit not a privilege.
Then the race moved on to a notorious route..it’s rolling elevation, reached 2 km there was no sign of the water station, I could hear some runners complaining. However, the first water station was at the 4 km.
In the first 5 km, it was still raining. At 7 km onwards, saw my pace dropped a little..I kept going! I even had the chance to say ‘terima kasih’- thank you to the police traffic that was on duty. The ‘cheer’ squads were kinda demotivating. They were kinda pathetic.
At the 16 km, the next water station- yay, I was so thirsty and wanted to refuel but to my disappointment, the volunteers just kept shouting and telling the runners- ‘air habis! air habis’! No more water- keep running…….OMG! Disaster…..
Had to keep going, by this time, my wet shoes and socks gave me blisters, I could feel the the sharp pain …Kept pushing myself…kept going! No pain, No gain….right?
The sleep deprivation started cropping up. I was seriously battling from wanting to just stop and curl up along some quiet conner of the road and just sleep! The mind was completely numb by this point that if you asked me my name, I wouldn’t be able to answer you.
Then, at around 18 km, came the dreaded steep elevation again, I walked the whole 1 km. I have to admit that my heart felt like exploding and reached it’s max! The race took us towards the industrial area, passed Nestle Factory, UITM, Hospital Shah Alam, Cinemax, Tesco roundabout, the route was unfamiliar to me.
Had a twist to the route, where instead of taking the main road to the finish line, we made a turn about 500 meters and headed to the finish line. With a tight lipped smile on my face onwards I crossed the finish line and all the life’s endless possibilities awaited me. The legs were tired, blistered in pain but the mind was sharp…
RAN OUT OF MEDALS? After crossing the finish line, I didn’t spot anyone handling out the medals (keep in mind it’s dark at this point too) The girls manning it told me and some other runners they had run out! Many runners were coming up and asking for their medals and being told the same thing. When I informed them that I am a blogger and blogging about this run, In a flash light, a few packs of medals were distributed to the finishers. Dear organiser, Please look into this matter seriously! Runners sign up and pay for the run, medals, T-shirts, goodies etc, they expect to get what they have earned and achieved!
Not every race is going to be the best race of your running career, not every lift is going to be your strongest and not every class is going to boast your best performance. That’s not suprising, that’s just life! But if you can still seek joy from the moment you are in- if you can laugh at yourself (or at least make a funny face for the camera while in all your pain)- you’re going to come out of it ahead and better for it! It’s not wasted time, it’s am “I’ll get ’em next time!”
Overall position no 49 clocked 3 hours and 22 minutes. But really, what an epic experience.Will I be back next year??? Maybe…….and if I do, I will be singing…..THE HILLS ARE ALIVE….MY RACE, MY PACE, MY MEDAL- The Race for the champions- Shah Alam Half Marathon 2017