Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Respecting The Distance

What does it really meant?
In the simplest defination, it simply meant that you MUST train for your race.
But WHY?
You do not "just go and run" a 5km if you are a beginner or jump in and do a 42km just because you've done a couple of 10km.
You do not assume 100km is do-able just because you have done many 42km or don't expect that just because you have done a 42km before, your next 42km will be a stroll in the park.
Often time I have seen just how some noobs (beginner) call their run a marathon. Fair enough as a 5km or 10km run is a (pseudo)marathon as your weekend activities consist of walking for hours window shopping in Mid Valley or One Utama.
I am running a risk of offending many readers of this blog (most are first time visitors with only about 30% returning readers). But YES...
I cringe every time someone tells me he/she runs a marathon in 1hour and 30 minutes.
You see, when you do that, you are NOT respecting the distance.
And you certainly made a fool of yourself and undermine anyone that has put in effort and sacrifices and mileage to complete a certain distance.
Take myself as an example. I've completed nine humble timed marathons, three Ironman triathlon races, countless long distance triathlons, countless Olympic distance triathlon, many adventure races, many duathlons, many more short runs and does 21km on weekends for mileage. Just for Standard Chartered KL Marathon alone, I've clocked in no less than 10 long slow distance (LSD) training. Don't get me started on the mileage (and hours I have to wake up) to train when i was training for my Ironman races.
Am i bragging now?
By respecting the distance, you will learn about your own ability. You will surpass your own limits. You will find out what others put in to be better (weekend) athletes.
By respecting the distance, you will know what to do when you have cramps. You will know what food and diet to follow that suits your body the most. You will be prepared for the unforeseen when you race.
By respecting the distance, you will go out for your training or race - and come back alive.
Sadly, not many give themselves that respect and learn to respect the distance.
Unless you are Lance Armstrong or some super athletes, you can just wear your shoe and go out for a run and ace it (by the way, Lance can finish a 42km in sub 3hours). But these professional knows that they too, have to respect the distance.
I have to get this off my chest and i see this as an opportunity to educate. Back when i started running, no one was there to guide me. No one cared about telling me to "train". No one certainly told me that 42.195km is a far far distance.
My wife took 8 months to fully train for her first Marathon. And that too, she was jittery about it on race morning. She respected the distance. She put in the mileage. She not only ran a good race but she recovered so well she is ready for another run today!
So, apart from respecting the distance, what is the next most important aspect of running?
Staying alive.
There are many death related to running. Remember the casualty during Adidas King Of The Road? How about Last year's SCKLM? I am not implying that they did not respect the distance here by the way. Far from it.
For those of you that ran yesterday's SCKLM, did you not noticed many paramedics around? Did you not feel comfortable having them around? In my most humble opinion (and trust me, i can be a huge critic and could make race organisers feel uneasy), yesterday's race organisation was amongst the best I've ever seen in that many years I've been doing (purely) running sports! What was there to complain?
The water was adequate.
There was isotonic enough to drown you.
There was even banana about KM16 for the full marathoners.
Medic were everywhere.
Medic were equipped with mobile defib. Two were at least on bicycle. You know how heavy are those?
And i was utterly disgusted when some "runners" participants complained about UNRIPE BANANAS in their POST-RACE bag and NO BREAKFAST WAS SERVED AFTER RACE.
Look. You are certainly NOT respecting the distance. Let alone respecting yourself when you make those statement.
Then there are participants that registered but for some reasons did not went to collect their race kits and asking "how to redeem back". Where can...
So can i buy a Happy Meal, don't eat it, and ask for refund? (Sadly, one past event organiser has decided to set a precedence and refunded not only MONEY, but also race kit, medal and finisher t-shirts to ALL participants because they screw up the run). I sure hope he/she meant that they want the race kit (i.e. the bib, the race pack, the muscle ointment and the recycle bag) and not the medal, T-shirt and eeerrr...bananas.
So dearest running friends - those that is starting to run and decided to run for health or to run to socialise, please, respect the distance. Please know the differences between the committed distance. And certainly please don't make a banana out of yourself or demand for a breakfast after a race. If it makes you feel better, a plate of Nasi Lemak has enough energy to let you run 21km and climb 10 flights of stairs. So, if you came to run 5km...and want a breakfast...you are NOT doing yourself a favor and you are respecting those that has put in the time and effort to train!
You are allowed to throw the unripe bananas at me if you are offended by what i wrote above. Breakfast not included, but i might offer you some salt tabs and my drinks, perhaps even help you with your cramps if i see you rolling on the ground.  :)


  1. Yes, Some people really need to respect the word Marathon, yesterday MHI for instant the host ran 10k (that's not even a quarter marathon) but brag about running a marathon.

  2. To some people, eating is also a marathon - they deserves to be fat.

  3. Yesterday I ran 2km in 30 mins...

    I very respect one.... fooooh

  4. well said. but damn, at least they got an unripe banana and i don't. now can i complain why i ain't got banana in my goodies bag . . .. lol

    yup, the best FM i ever ran.

  5. LM - your 20mins are spent oggling at those girls in US of A.

    Jue - what can i say? I did not even know there were bananas until i read the comments. I got 3 cans of isotonic when i went to collect my medals - and that, if you ask me, is worth every comb of banana i can get!

  6. dear banana complainers,

    next time, if the banana isn't ripe, stick it up somewhere dark and warm.. for sure will change color..

  7. Hi Stupe,

    I've been a big fan of your accomplishment over the years and i know how painfully disgusting some wannabes can be. I've always agreed on this eversince i heard of you two years ago. I've come across friends who always say "Oh you're running a marathon?" and i always say i'm doing 21km runs, simply because i haven't earned the capability of running a full marathon, being under prepared or just..plain lazy.Also because i'm so humbled by people like you and your peers who have accomplished so much.
    When i first read your posts long time ago, i went "ouch!" but you couldn't be any truer about this!

  8. Bandito - hahaha. I did not see that coming! Lucky that area sudah lubed with vaseline to prevent chaffing!

    Exotica - You do not know that you are inspiration to many as well. When someone starts respecting themselves and the training and commitment to do something, it will show. No doubt we all wished we have all the luxuries and the race organizer have a big makan after the race. Truth to be told, even that too, you will see food being wasted and thrown all over the area. I have not accomplished as much as many others but i will only do my best when i stand at the race line. It's always a race between my good and evil self. So what if i come in last? :)

  9. stupe: well said. respect the distance. its not about asking people 'eh, how many hours u did ah?' , 'what number you got?', and anything along those lines. same goes when people ask me what number/placing i got for IM. I'll ask them first, do they know what is IM, and what kind of discipline/distance are involved. educating those who are new to the sport is important. thanks for sharing your thoughts Stupe. congrats Stupe + Aileen

  10. Well said ... Even though I did run 10km run for the first time without any prior training, I do know what is a definition of a half or full marathon distance. Even though I took part in PD tri last year, I do know what a sprint, OD, 70.3 and ironman distance is. But albeit my ignorance of not training for my run on Sunday, I did have fun doing the run with buddies. And suffering the after effects of not training till now ... Desaru 70.3 this year? Would see how I fare in the swim and run in PD next month ... And how much I get run from now ... Because I know how to respect the distance

  11. Julie - well done on the 100KM. Yes. just like you, it's never about how i fare against others. I agree. :)

    Chris - well done on the 10km. heard it was all over Bukit Tunku. Applaud yourself for that. I shall see you in PD and also Desaru. :)

  12. I cringe when I hear people telling me they ran a marathon in under 2 hours, only to find that I was correct in guessing that the distance was actually 10 clicks. I have nothing but respect for people who have run a complete marathon, let alone people who have completed numerous distance endurance events like yourself.

    My aim for 2012 will be to finally kick the habit of dem cancer sticks and to run a 1/2 marathon as well.

    Congrats to you and your wife on completing a Marathon bro :)

  13. Unka - i did not know you do the stick. why not be a bit more ambitious, we do your first marathon together. We can certainly train together on Saturday for long run. Your fitness level is way better than me and i don't see how you can justify a 21km unless you want to ace it in 1:30! :D

  14. Congrats to both Aileen and to u. Superlikes the way u have been trying to give your perspective on the idea of endurance sports and competing in it.

  15. Jansen - many thanks. YOu bila lagi? :D

  16. HappyFeet - thanks for dropping by and well done on the 21km!

  17. I am going to share this on the fmv page .. i've always insisted to the young ones to respect the distance, even if its a mere 5k. I guess since the organising this year is way better than previous years, the people just need to find something to complain about, unripe pisang pun jadi lah haha .. you are one true hero stupe .. and I am glad that now I can proudly say, I know you and your lovely wife :) Another matter I am going to pound on is running with injury!

  18. good one stupe! :D i might wanna share this on my blog..some education has to be given! :D

  19. good one stupe! :D i might wanna share this on my blog..some education has to be given! :D

  20. June - that sunday, i saw many people struggling on the 42km. I saw at least 2 person wearing a wrongly fittted shoe. One had a stylo milo shoelace not tighten and you can see the show heel moving as the leg strike the ground. I can only imagine the blister that person (a girl) will get before entering Sg besi. The other one was wearing an old shoe that has seen better days. While i tell myself they might not be as lucky as me to be able to afford a proper footwear, but they have to know the importance to stay injury free. I do not know that to be their last MARATHON.

    The pisang case is just tasteless. if only they know there are more pressing issues with a long distance race...than pisang.

    thanks for being there at KM36. The sight of friends on the last 6km was priceless!

  21. Ezooooone - many thanks for dropping by. Please share. We, the one that does the sports should take the lead to help educate. That is how other countries such as Singapore and Thailand managed to secure better organisers and participants. it is through respecting ourselves as runners and also giving the distance the due mileage in training.

  22. Stupe, thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience. I did my first FM last Sunday and agree that the 42km distance MUST BE RESPECTED. Despite running countless LSDs since I picked up running in 2009 and doing 5hrs 20mins for the virgin FM, I am still suffering from the pain until today. Will have to train harder for my next FM. Thanks again..

  23. Kak Julie said it right, most people ask about placing and podium finish.
    actually i saw this post from somebody else's facebook. u said it right sir, respect the distance. there is no such thing as bullshit 10km marathon.

  24. Black Mamba - thanks for dropping by. Well done on your 5:20 FM. I believe you came out stronger than you think you are and achieved more than most people that did not know to put in the amount of hard work just to be there. Recover well, take more stuff with protien and wear those compression tights. It help. Don't forget active recovery. It might be painful to run now, but it will only encourage you to be back faster. :) See you on the road (on foot, not in car as you drive a mean machine!)

  25. Jun Shen - When podium and position become too important, people will then find ways to be better. It's a competetive world out there. Just make sure that the results and podium is through hard work and not through find short cuts. ;-)

  26. we still have runners that do it on the spur of the moment or because their friend asked them to join .. not understanding the bigger picture, i guess we have to slowly and surely try to put this out to the marathoners wannabe :) i had fun that day, sorry i couldnt really tell you if your wife did pass you, I thot I saw her but then again many passed by .. but I guess she did hehe ..

  27. Well said and blogged..:) congrats to wifey which i reckon is an enormous feat!! couldn't join this year as I was sick for about a month. Its good to see that this year's race was excellently organized and hopefully i can make my comeback.. which category? i must respect the distance..

  28. congrats to u and wifey!!!! well, esp wifey for completing her FIRST ever FULL marathon (and many many more to come, I presume!!!)

    I totally understand what you're getting at about respecting the distance.
    I told my colleagues about the Sundown ultra that I took leave from work for...and the first thing they ask me was, "did you win?!?!"
    (honestly, i don't think I'd get anywhere near winning even if I was half as fast as Lamchanak)

    but the banana story was absolutely hilarious!!!!!!

  29. Doc mafietz -I hope you are almost 100% recovered. Did noticed you went "missing" for a while. I think for you to start off again, 10km amacam?

    Doc PS - i get that too. After every race i finish and back in office, they will ask me "got win ah?" I always tell them if i "got win", i long time no need work here liao.

    Well done on the SD100K. It's mental!

  30. If in a run (whatever distant it might be: 5KM, 10KM, 21KM or 42KM) and we need to slow down and walk and then continue to run back again to complete the whole race, does this mean that we are disrespecting the distant?

    From: Choongster.....

  31. Choongster - no. you are only disrespcting the distance if you disrespect yourself and not put in enough training mileage. It is ok to walk. I walk during races. I will crawl if i have to.

  32. Well said...I am currently training up for my maiden FM at SCKLM. Its no easy task even with weeks of training. Nonetheless, your message is a reminder ;it hits the point on respecting the distance and putting in the mileage. As the day draws nearer, its already giving me goose-bumps and a racing heart when I think about it.All is say and done, just enjoy the race, the company, the experience and most of all respecting the distance.

  33. LG - good luck with the training. 33 days more from today. I am very sure you have been putting in the mileages and definitely has weighed all pros and cons.

    We are all amateur athlete, at best we all exercise as an extension for our social connections and to stay healthy.

    My wish is to be able to do this until i am 80, or die, whichever come first. So, definitely putting in the training is utmost importance!