IJM Land Half Marathon – Race Review

When choosing a half marathon to race, it’s important to consider a few things before signing up:

  1. Where is it? It is easy to get to? Will there be transport ? Can you park easily? Who are the organisers?
  2. What is the course profile like? Flat, hilly or out and back laps?
  3. How many people have signed up? Will the course be crowded?

I am always looking for races that I can bring the family along and find something for everyone to enjoy – The IJM Land Half Marathon!

On race day, hometown- what a treat! I still woke up ridiciously early to start fueling and stretching, but without travel and parking to worry about. I was way more relaxed race morning than usual. My two girls, Anjali and Amisha ran the 10 km and Hubby and I signed up for the 21 km half marathon. We couldn’t have asked for better weather conditions for the race. It was incredibly a gorgeous day!

I just love the energy of races, it is so special and I love to see running brought so many people together to share such a positive common goal. “Run together, Bond stronger” This world needs a lot more of that!

Ohhhhh…the crowd for 21 km today was fit and fast! We were entertained by Chan Wah School for their drum performance and then few minutes later, the trainers from S2 Club led the crowd with their energetic warm up session. After a few more announcements, the organisers surprised the participants with 21 shots of awesome fireworks display (probably woke the whole S2 Neighbourhood up) and the countdown started…..3, 2, 1 and the 21 km half marathon runners were flagged off on time!

The course took us through Mydin, then we made a left turn towards Macdonald’s which had a straight and flat route and the wind seemed to be in my face the entire time. The rest of the course was paved and nice wide road. The roads were well condoned off apart from some “impatient” drivers which were honking to pass through the runners.

Then, we headed into IJM Land sales office, the first check point. After that, there was a gradual uphill grade that led us into S2 Heights.The first few KM of this race were pretty chill as they featured a lot of flat and downhill. This was a huge tease for ALL.THE.HILLS that you have to run to get back to the finish line. No matter how you slice and dice it, you are going uphill to get back. 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.

Most of the course took us through S2 township and 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 and the air was crisp.

At the 16 km, OMG! It was like stairways to hell…and the hills are alive!! Like a lot of things in running, it is mental, your legs will run up that hill if you tell them too! Seriously, it was lots of hills and stairs! “Learn to love hills”- sounds crazy eh, but if you say you hate hills, they will be mean and evil to you…..So, I embraced the hill, said I loved it, talked myself up and over it. All the way up that hill, I said things like ‘nearly at the top’, ‘Good girl’, ‘it is not so bad’….I may be running or walking slowly, but at least I am still moving- This part was like “The Tortoise and the Hare” mentality. I passed so many runners on my slow crawls up the City Park Hills leading into the Dinasaur park because they were walking and then off they went down the other side like the hare passed me like a gust of wind…It was all about mental strength!

Having the home-court advantage gave me the extra push I needed to finally get to the finish. I’ve run up and down that route hundreds of times and I feel like I know every crack in the sidewalk, every bump in the road, every tree, bush along that final stretch. The familiarity was somehow comforting and I managed to cross the finish and saw my daughter with a big smile on her face, snapped my photo crossing the finished line. After crossing the finish line, I realized that the climax wasn’t the finish line, it was the journey itself!

OVERALL VIEW:

I have nothing but amazing things to say about IJM Land Half Marathon 2017. The course was execellent! A mixture of flat roads and yes! The amazing hills..they were alive! LOL! The support from friends and spectators was amazing. The staff and volunteers were beyond amazing and awesome. Water and isotonic and yes bananas! were well organised and plenty. The corrals seemed well managed and spacious with lots of porta-potties. Markers and signages were well placed. The organisers did a tremendous awesome job with traffic control and marshaling. Runners safety were their priority and that was good! There were plenty and ample of parking and the safety of our cars were well guarded and well organised. The only down side, I might be acting a little picky with this one but I thought that the 21 km route should not have been on the same 10 km fun run route. At this particular route, many fast and elite runners were blocked and they were trying to zig-zag their way to keep pace and speed. However, the atmosphere was absolutely superb- free cotton candy, free pop corn, lots of freebies, drinks, booth and activities! WOW! What a medal! And what a storm! I love the bling and this year, I also bagged an awesome 21 km half marathon finisher -tee! Woot…woot……I will absolutely be back to run the IJM Land Half Marathon again!

A huge kudos and congratulations, good job to each and everyone of you for actually being out there running, walking-crawling instead of just sitting on your couch! You all did awesome! RUN TOGETHER, BOND STRONGER!

For your full results, please log in to ijmlandrun.com

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IJM Land Half Marathon – 21km ’cause I’m only 1/2 crazy!

Running a marathon can be viewed as a threefold process. First is the commitment to enter the race. Then-after making this sometimes overwhelming decision-you commit yourself to train for the momentous challenge ahead. Finally,you can enjoy the most rewarding and gratifying phase of the marathon- the event itself! With it comes endless satisfying memories of the course- and crossing the finish line!

We’ve all had that dream, (or should I say..nightmare), right? The one where you’ve overslept before the race, forgotten your running shoes or showed up at the start line in your pyjamas……LOL

Well, I may not be able to eliminate all of my pre-race nerves- or even want to. After all, a bit of nervous energy can provide a competitive boost when the gun (of should I say- fireworks display) goes off! But in interest of keeping nerves check- and sleeping well before race day- Here are a few important steps I can and I will take to calm the butterflies and feel race- READY!

  • Trust the taper : At this point, the best thing I can do is trust the taper. This is a period of time that allows my muscles to recover and get ready for my race day effort. I’ve put in the hard work; the race is my reward- and I will think of that antsy weensy feeling as stored energy.
  • Get inspired: Talk to my other half or running buddies- talking about my jitters can help ease them- and remind me that I am not alone.
  • Lay out my clothes: There is nothing worse than running around on race morning searching for my bib or trying to find that left shoe, safety pin or hairtie. I am gonna set out everything I need, from attire to fuel to gear and check bag before race day. This way, I will feel prepared and I will get out the door more quickly.
  • Set two alarms: Hahahah- I am worried about that early wake up call! Hmmm..even though IJM Land Half Marathon will be held in Seremban, my home town….Still….I am gonna set two alarms to help me sleep easier before rcae day- and may prevent a race-morning scramble! It will also give me time to digest that pre-race meal and ensuring I am ready to go!
  • Arrive early: Always….always….I planned to arrive early on race and the closer to the time I can arrive, the better..I will feel calmer knowing I have plenty of time before the flag off.

Remember,race day is your reward! Follow me, take these few simple steps to ease those nerves and remember, picture the destination and appreciate the journey! See you at IJM Land Half Marathon, 13 August, Sunday at 6am at the Dataran Centrio, Seremban Two (Opposite Mydin). For more information, log in to www.ijmlandrun.com

 

RUN-RUN-derful Bangi Wonderland Nature Run 2017

If you think you are too old, too slow or simply too-out-of shape to run further than a few miles, then prepare to be convinced otherwise. With the Bangi Wonderland Nature Run (it takes place on September 17, in case it is not in your diary) I urge you to lace up and surprise yourself! For the 10 km route it covers is, they say, the perfect distance to challenge both body and mind. The 10 km gobbles up less of your time for preparation, yet will reap endless benefits.

We will be running through pristine forests and up rugged slopes and roads. This run offers a fun challenge and a refreshing way to get outdoors and explore nature. Get ready to kick up your heels for nature at Bangi Wonderland Nature Run 2017.

In conjunction with it’s 1-year anniversary, an inaugural running event which will be held on the 17 September at 6am with the start and finish being at the Bangi Wonderland Theme Park. It will also be the first nature run to be held inside the UKM nature forest reserve for the 10 km (20% flat road and 80% off road inside UKM forest reserve and also the 3 km fun run.

So lace up and get your trail and nature shoes ready….

For more info click http://goo.gl/MQzsmh

YOLO Run KL : Race Review

The runner’s appetite in me often seeks to run on new routes and different terrains. YOLO run KL was held last Sunday, 6 August at Oasis Square, Ara Damansara. I immediately embraced this opportunity to run for YOLO run KL 2017.

fb_img_1501824051190.jpgI always believe that not all runs/events are meant to be raced. While you select a few that you want to race, others are meant purely for the enjoyment factor. I decided to relax, have fun and take this one easy.

Hubby and I were in good time to collect the bibs, meet the organisers and chat with some runner buddies. I learnt that this event was one of  its kind because YOLO RUN series will also be held in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore. The start area was amazing as I could feel so many different emotions. Before the 10 km flagged off, there was a warm up Zumba session led by two incredible and energetic ladies- which I enjoyed very much! At 7am, the announcer told us to proceed to the start line and at 7.15am, we were flagged off. It was a smooth flag off with plenty of room for manoeuvre.

Being still pitch dark, it was gratifying to see volunteers on bicycles and walking and assisting participants and runners. 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.

Volunteers and photographers stood on the side- lines cheering and clicking our strides away, I gave hi fives to some of my runner friends, quite enjoying every moment of the run.

The water stations were well-managed. Eager volunteers were always ready with cups in their hands, waiting for runners to grab the drinks from them. There were two water stations at the 3 km and 8 km that looked well supplied; although runners became a bit pushy around them which is never nice. I got a few unwanted elbows in my sides but nothing serious,thankfully.

For the 10 km runners, the first U-turn point was located after the 5km mark. After the U-turn, there was a ‘check-point'(some runners without “runner’s etiquette”, opted to take a short cut and not go through the U-turn and went straight  for the ‘check point’. Anyway, after the ‘check point’, we were running in the direction facing the sun, but thankfully it didn’t get too hot. It was a breezy morning;the temperature remained low.

The final 2 km was quiet and tranquil. Runners were few and far between. Most runners, imcluding me, alternated between running and walking. At the finish line, we were given finisher’s entitlements, which included a medal ( loved the bling-unique and cool design) and mineral water etc. At the race village, there were plenty of booths, food trucks, restaurants and lots of activities such as fit challenges, Yoga and many more.

RACE OVERVIEW:

  1. The race was well-organised. Despite a crowd of 3000 runners, there wasn’t any bottleneck or congestion.
  2. Road marshals and volunteers did a great job supporting runners along the race.
  3. Distance markers, direction signs and traffic cones were clear and well-placed.
  4. Hydration stations were well-managed by volunteers
  5. Toilets- lots of porta-potties around the start area and race village with no lines.
  6. Route- A very flat course, however, roads were partially closed, runners were running with traffic along the route- which was quite unsafe.
  7. Baggage drop- They had a good system for storage and there were no queues for pick up and drop off.
  8. The other thing I want to mention is that I really enjoyed the roving MC- Linora Low from MixFM

I will break it down in words of R-E-S-P-E-C-T for YOLO RUN KL 2017:-

R: Relax, it it race day!

E: Expect anything! (Plan properly- Have plan A, B and even C)

S: Slow and steady all the way

P: Persevere ( Persevere and keep moving)

E: Enjoy (remember, YOLO- YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE)

C: Commitment ( Stay committed to your race plan)To finish as you are “ULTRAORDINARY!”

T:  “Terima Kasih”- YOLO run KL 2017 rocks! Thank you for an awesome run!

OVERALL: This was such a great race and event and one that will stand out in my memory forever. YOLO Run KL has earned a place in my heart for sure.

 

 

 

Ready, steady…YOLO

It is something of a cliche’ “among runners”, how the activity never fails to clear your head. Does some creative block have you feeling stuck? Go for a run!

Are you between one of two potential life-altering decisions? Go for a run! Are you feeling mildly mad, sad or even just vaguely ‘meh’? Go for a run! Go for a run! Go for a run……

A good run can sometimes make you feel like a brand-new person. And, in a way, that feeling may be literally true. We are all much stronger than we think! We need to take that leap of faith and trust our own abilities! If you are preparing for your first 5 Km run or a 10 km run or your first ever 21 km half marathon or maybe your first ever 42 km full marathon……YOU CAN DO IT!

It is not easy to make these choices and changes, or even know what these changes that you want to make. All we can do is try and be the best version of ourselves!

When Prakash, my running ‘partner in crime’ gave me the opportunity to run and write for YOLO Run 2017, I was thrilled, excited and overjoyed! I love the theme! And what makes it special and close to my heart is YOLO- You Only Live Once- Running gave me the belief that I was stronger than I was! It gave me the courage and strength that I could do anything!

We all have challenges in life and we need to be brave enough to ask for help. When we do, we can be surprised by the reaction and the nurturing that follows. It takes guts to stand out! To stand up and join in! Just go for a run……

Life throws us opportunities, some big and some small, and it is how we react to these opportunities and whether we decide to take action or not, that governs the outcome of our destiny. Remember, YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE- YOLO!