Monday, September 27, 2010

Newton 25KM Challenge : Race Report

I've decided to write the race report tonight while waiting for the washing machine to finish washing Ryan's comforter in another hour. Poor boy woken up in the middle of his sleep thinking he was in the toilet and pissed on himself and his comforter and pillow. He obviously did not know that was not the toilet. So, thanks to that, my plan to rest early tonight, failed. Might as well pen in something since all i have to do now is wait for the machine to finish washing.

25km. This will be my longest run since Ironman and Wifey's longest since her debut 21km during SCKLM.

There were a lot of apprehension for this race due to the route, which had everyone (that i know) worried due to the hilly course and roller coaster like route. But i know as with every race, these are just your own mental barrier. Remember how i said that Double Hill was flat? Well, they certainly are looking flatter now that my blood iron is going up and up and up ;-)

The race started with me forgetting to pick up the race kit as i was in Singapore for the adventure race last week. Of course i was worried. This race will be used as a gauge for me and wifey's preparation for the upcoming Kinabalu Run Up The Sky end of October. If Wifey could not take the 25km i would not force her to do the Kinabalu run, but will let her take it easy as she has not been to Sabah in her entire life.

For me, it was again, road to recovery. After running 15-20km twice over the past three weeks (not including the run/walk/cycle/push in Singapore of 45km~50km distance) and me definitely smiling every morning to see my palm not just pink, but red, i know if i were to push this race, i would wrap it up within three hours with moderate effort. Not that i am boasting or talking "big", but i guess i am finding my old self (and fitness) back and as a amateur athlete that constantly strives to better my mental and physical limit, it is very important that we believe in ourselves first. Half the battle are won when we believe we can do it.

Back to Wifey, i know she was worried. With less than enough training, it is almost suicidal to push through. But i know this woman. "NO" is just a way for her to express her modesty.

"Ai-yer...Don't show off la. Nanti you can't finish then you know!!!", she always tell me.

Been racing for years and I've always finished any races no matter how the ball is passed to me and on whichever side of the court it comes or goes. I know many others that has the same drive and concept. It is not a race against your friends. It is not a race against anything or anyone but yourself.

With that, wifey was out to prove to herself that 25km is just a number (very much like age ;-))

The day started off pretty well with us reaching the race start by 6am. We managed to get my sister to come over to help babysit the two kids. Thank you Svun!

As we walk towards the race start line, we saw familiar faces. It is always nice to see familiar faces at race. Not just friends, but acquaintances.

The first 8km was pretty alright. The hilly route looked more menacing that they actually are. Infact, if you keep moving forward, it is really just a long road with slight upgradient - which is mild even when compared to the Bukit Tunku route.

See, not that bad isn't it? Remember, it's all in the mind. Saying you can't already meant you lost half the battle and in races such as these over distance that exceed normal training run or weekend run, it is sometime best to just NOT know what lies ahead.

With the race entry to be RM60/person for the 25km distance, it is by far the single most expensive running race in the country, to be followed by StanChart. However, unlike StanChart where you were given things you don't need...or rather, not given anything would be more accurate, this run comes with a newton running vest and a 2XU compression socks. These two alone already cost more than just RM60. This is also the first time i tried the socks though i am no stranger to the calf guard and the long thighs already. I swear by the benefit of the compression these technical wear offers.

The sun started coming out by 830am. It was then that taking photos was extremely tricky without risking washing it all off away by overexposing or the camera metering going haywire. That also spelt potential trouble as i forgot my usual cap and sunnies. This would meant merciless run as the hours tick passed.

Is this how it will be light when you die and "go towards the light"? I hope they will allow me to bring my camelbak bottle with Ribena...

By KM8, we chance upon the 12km runners making their U-turn at their 5th or 6th KM run. Suddenly, the whole road is filled with humans sweating it out when they could actually sleep in on a non-working day.

But i guess everyone there was a sucker for pain. How else would anyone sign up for a race where the route is unknown? Oh ya, it was the socks/freebies factor. Typical Malaysians.

Along the way, there were a lot of makcik selling Nasi Lemak and morning breakfast. Boy was i tempted. I have RM30 in my pocket and a lot of time. And not helping was that each stall smell really nice! I was hungry by then with only having 4 dates for breakfast at 6am in the morning.

At 10km, me and wifey clocked timing of 80minutes. Typical of our usual 10km stroll along Hartamas. There was no rush really as there was another 15km to go. Experience tells me to conserve the energy (or rather, train wifey to learn to take things a bit easier as it will be equally important to keep some energy for later) and to keep hydrating.

One complain though - there wasn't and it really wasn't enough of water stations. It's ridiculous to have one water station only after what seems like 5km...i only went though 7 or 8 water stations and that works out to be 4km each; which technically speaking is within the IAAF's regulation. Credit to be given that each water station has icey cold water and have enough of water. So that is certainly welcomed. Only wish is that there was more water and electrolytes, especially at the finishing. Late finishers will not have enough to drink as they cross the line.

I ran with a 750ml bottle. More than sufficient for a 10km run. Wifey has with her a 120ml bottle, which is good for a 4km distance between water stations. But as the day grow hotter, the 120ml was not even enough to cool the face. Especially so when you do not even have a visor or sunnies! It was hot hot hot!

We did 21km in about 3:10, which is pretty decent as her PB for 21km was flat 3:00. Taking into consideration the terrain and how hilly it was (though i did say it was flat - but it was really to trick the mind to believe it). 3:10 for her second 21km distance was decent!

Many would think the last 4km would be a stroll, after all, what is 4km more when you already completed 21km?
Second bottle of ice water over the head to cool down the body.

I was rather enjoying the heat to be frank. It has been some time since i last had a decent tan line. Triathletes would agree with me that those tan lines are sexy though you can appear like a Tapir sometimes. No worries here, as ugly as i am it is too late for wifey to say no. :P
Officially surpassing the longest distance she ever ran.

The last 4 took us almost an hour to complete. By then, there was a lot of walking as the heat gets unbearable. That 750ml of iced water become so ever important as i found my initially drenched body starting to dry up. Got to save these for wifey. I know i can stand the heat a bit better - having raced in insane heat in Langkawi for a good part of the day three years in a row.

As wifey keep telling herself that "I will finish this", i felt a bit guilty for pushing her past her usual limits. The tenacity she showed reaffirmed why she was special to me. Got to keep up her pace then!
With 2km more to go, Bandit in his cheery self showed up to cheer Wifey on. On race course like these with familiar faces, everyone almost always look forward to bump into friends that will understand why you are doing this and offer encouragement and some "reverse physcology".
Knight in shining Red Jawbone and Blinged out Nike Pegasus Special Edition.

Bandit then proceed to run with wifey a bit and went off to look for both Chief Kutu and Farouk. The last i saw Farouk, he was zoning out and i know for a fact he is pulling all his mental strength to finish the race. Unfortunately i can't support him as i have to ensure Wifey keep moving. Him being a Budak Boy was my only reassurance that he will pull this off no matter what. He did. No doubt.

So, in 3:56, me and wifey walked and crossed the finish line hand-in-hand. There was no fanfare and definitely no more medals for us to collect. Luckily there was finisher Ts which made the whole race a little bit more worth it.
My hair all dried up under the heat and it's obvious that wifey's hair was still drenched. She still manage to pull a smile. Which made it all really worth it.

With that, and the comforter just finished washing, that is my signal to end today's posting and bring the laundry out to dry.

Now, where is the sun when you need it?


  1. Congrats to you both man, and great to see you on the road. I was killed by the heat rather than distance or terrain.

  2. good to see you again mate. send my congrats to your wifey. i signed uo for the race for the socks nad they gave me those HILLS and HEAT. Adoi!!

  3. Well done Stupe and Aileen!
    Couple in black.. nice.

  4. Great race report, great photos and great achievement by Mrs Stupe. That was one tough race for her to conquer - she should be very proud of herself (and I'm sure you're very proud of her).

  5. Jamie - Yeap. The heat was a bigger challenge than the route. Well done on the marathon you and frank did!

    Zailan - Tok Aji - well done. We all signed up for the socks. The Hills and Heat was bonus.

    Nik - I did not perasan we are both in black until you mentioned it! Well done to you too!

    Simon - thanks. Am always proud of her. Wished i am strong enough to finish a 25km so fast i can run twice to meet her half way too. :D

  6. I never thank you for the drink you offered...i later bought a bottle of drink at the next petronas station. cheers mate and congrats again to you both. see you at the next training session !

  7. Farouk - you did very well. 25km under those heat is no joke.