Monday, October 02, 2023

KLSCM 2023 : Half Marathon Race Report

First of all, allow me to congratulate all of you that has braved the KLSCM REPC, Race and Post Race. It was indeed a huge event with no less than 55,000 participants, not counting the manpower involved in the whole event proper. No matter which state of achievement you did, you all deserved a big pat on your back. Extra shout out if this is your FIRST ever proper running race - remember to sign up for more in the future and make this a healthy option in your life.

Now, onwards to my race report.

Evidence I Ran and Finished the Half Marathon

The biggest run annually took place last weekend with an almost even split of 27K runners on Saturday running the Kid Dash. 5 and 10KM categories and Full Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday. It was a build up that many season runners were looking forward to. Many had trained just for this one race, with mission 

This year is my 12th time taking part in KLSCM with my participation record showing I ran 10KM once (2009), Half Marathon twice (2010 and 2023 this year), with remaining 10 times FM (2010-2015, 2019, 2020 VR, 2021 VR, 2022) only missing 3 years where I had to juggle work and other priorities that clashes with the race. While it seems strange to "downgrade" to a Half Marathon when record has shown I have been running Marathon all these while, it was done with a lot of consideration and calculated risk.

Some of you may remember my KLSCM 2022 where it happened on my birthday. While i clocked my personal best in a standalone marathon, I must relive the fact that it was a race that got away - I was very prepared, primed for the race. But I overestimated my personal condition having landed back from a 33hours journey. You can read about it here

Decision to run the Half was with the intend to renew a 3-years old Half Marathon distance that I clocked while travelling on the eve of the Pandemic. A solid 1:34 HM around Central Park NYC could not be sweeter. Naturally, to match or to break this timing I set back in 2020 would be sweet in an accredited race route and on home ground. Thanks to my sponsor Sports Paragon, I secured a slot to race despite having priority registration.

October 1, 2023 marked Day 1320 of Runstreak. That is also how many days it was since the country went into lockdown. The training has not ceased. Unlearning, relearning, restarting everything from scratch because there isn't really anything more to do during the 18 months plus of lock down - and dare I say, that many days of showing up was what gave me the confidence in setting a 3:30 Marathon in 2022. As they say, we can train, we can plan. Come race day, things can change.

Pre-Race Flat Lay: Brooks racing top, Pressio Arahi shorts, Brooks Hyperion Elite 2, Stryd Pod, Pacific and Co Socks, Shokz OpenRun Pro, Garmin FR965, Hammer Nutrition Espresso 50mg Caff Gel, Hammer race belt
Waking up at 2.45am after a good 4 hours and 30mins of sleep, me and my wife got ready to head down to Dataran. We spent 20mins to ensure we got everything we need, including a quick breakfast which will give us a good 2-hours buffer before the race. We brought some pre-race snacks too, to ensure we do not start on an empty tank. A bottle of plain water to hydrate and some spare nutrition, in case we drop it along the way. I plan to bring two gels with me but decided one will be, or may be more than suffice. For a short distance below 30km, I hardly hydrate or fuel up. I envision that i be choking if I be when running at my threshold. But I will bring one.
One BEFORE photo at the bike parking area

Took the motorbike down and we arrived at Dataran by 3.30am, from the distance we could hear the Marathon flag off and the thunderous cheers from the ground. Secured the motorbike and belongings, we headed to the race start. Bumped into Fiza which told us Kam was in the Marathon. Then we make our way around Dataran to get to the other end near to Dayabumi to cross the road to get to our starting Pen. We registered under fast finish because we could do so (sub 2hours HM). As the Pen wasn't opened yet, we parked ourselves at one of the building staircase and took a short nap of about 45mins before waking up and walking to the starting Pen. By then, more familiar faces, more people warming up, and we both came to realisation that the race is finally happening. I did not race with my handphone, so no photos if you are looking for them.

I stood near the start line. Likely third row as I lined up with Syafiq, Farhan, Jessie and Idzham. Syafiq is treating it as an LSD and aiming for sub 150, Idzham is doing this as his last LSD before Ironman this weekend. Farhan has a mission to break his PB, and Jessie was brave to toe the line despite nursing an injury. Wifey decided to stay a few rows back. She too, has picked up injuries over the months - some due to carelessness (weak ankle, sprained/dislocate it twice while trying to stand up from sitting!), bruised hip due and ITBS due to run mileage. Her start was a suspect too, but this woman won't take no for an answer.

At 5:10am, the organisers has started the countdown for flag off. Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, Adam Adli was there to flag us off. On time. I like. As the final minute started, we (myself, Syafiq, Farhan, Jessie and Idzham) fist-bumped each other and wished each other luck.

I had a mission. I want to break my 1:34. I was confident I may even touch 1:30. I will be pacing with Power from my Stryd Pod. It predict at 94% of my Critical Power, I can (+/- 90seconds). I was hopeful if i can keep to the 274W to 283W range, I be nailing it. But there is that fear and self-doubt as always. I felt the task (to 1:30) will be tough - but i was prepared for it mentally. 10...9...8...7...

This is it.

I started my Garmin FR965 and ran a bit harder than I should to clear the crowd. Having stood so close to the front made it a bit easier than to try to avoid bumping into others - but still a challenge as some slower runners (remember, this is Pen 1 for those that can run below 2hours) set into their pace while you are trying to get ahead. It wasn't until KM1 that I managed to set into my pace. By then, I was running a pretty fast pace.
KM0 to KM5
I was using the Garmin PacePro together with my Stryd to monitor my progress. Up until KM5, I was still ahead of my target by 45s. Making good progress with my HR broadcasted to be at a steady sub-threshold of 155bpm. Thanks to my Shokz OpenPro Run, I have full data relayed to my ear via bone conduction while having upbeat music pushing me on. a very decent sub22 5km. Important to note that at KM3, Noramin which is my other teammate from Everymove overtook me and was running at pace 3:50. I was tempted to catch on, as he is on a mission to do a 1:30 like me. I decided to be more conservative and told myself to trust the plan. It took great discipline, those running this distance would know what can happen if you busted too early.

The road was pretty empty at 5.30am and the first sign of life came about near Odean where the first water station was at. I skipped it, focusing on the task ahead. This was at KM4. KM6 saw us turning into Jalan Sultan Ismail and the slight climb towards Lot10/Pavi cross junction. KM 6 to KM9 was around Sultan Ismail. And we the front HM pack has the mid-HM pack cheering them as we cross path before turning into Jalan Ampang for KM10.
KM6 to KM10
I was holding the Power effort really well, and the PacePro was reducted to about 10s ahead. I knew I had slowed down - but the KM10 timing was faster than my 10km PB (also created at the same HM 1:34 run). I was a minute under my best 10km timing. I broke my 44mins PB to clock in a 43mins PB. It was a major confidence booster. All I need now is to keep to the same pace or push harder for a negative split at the final 5km. It can happen. HR was hanging around 155bpm, legs were superb. Passed another water station (third to be exact with second one at KM7), skipped it, pushed on.

I then passed another water station at KM11, where Gel and banana were given out. I was assessing my breathing - nope, this won't be good to take any. Do i need it? Maybe. Can I do without it? Yes, most certainly. Water? Nah. Pushed on as I passed Ampang Park and running towards RRI before turning left into Jalan Jelatek to enter Akleh. At KM12, the PacePro was alerting me of the upcoming climb at Jelatek towards Akleh. It was also then I was informed I am now a good 2mins behind my target time. OK. Chill. That would meant a 1:32 and I am still a happy person. What I did realized too was that I was struggling to keep to the 94% CP and was hovering around 88%. Fatigue is setting in, and I know no amount of nutrition even if i taken it earlier would help. 
KM11 to KM15

Having run this route many times in the past, I know being slow here is nothing to be worried about. Elevation changes on Akleh is pretty fast and sharp, I just have to make up the time when going down the slope. At KM14, I was clocking in 61minutes. Which meant the final 7km would need to be wrapped up within 33minutes if I want to break my PB. 

KM15 was the Toll Plaza. On the opposite site was the FM runners between 4hours to 6hours timing. I know I am still making good progress. PacePro however, is telling me I am not a good 5minutes behind my targeted time. Not good. I told myself there is still chances as the remaining distance (6km) is flattish. I can cover this distance in sub 30mins. No issues. 67mins at KM15.

KM16 to KM20
Right at KM16, Farhan overtook me. I tried to keep up, but It was tough. The legs were alright, but it lacked the power. Fatigue has officially sets in. 5km to finish and I knew it will take a miracle for me to break 1:34, nevermind 1:30. Stryd was buzzing me that I am running below my required CP. at KM18, another water station and this time with sponge. I will try to get the cold water to wake me up, perhaps jolt the legs up as well. Only to be majorly disappointed that the water was warm. Organiser must had left the water overnight and it soak up the ground/road heat. For the sponge water to be warmer than the body (which is in motion and drenched the past 70mins), it's telling. It wasn't what I wished for, but it is what it is. 

I merged into Jalan Kuching and was joined by the Marathoners that is well within finishing in 3:30 timing. inspiring. And at the same time, I know I won't get to renew my PB. At KM19, with the impossible task to cover the last 2km in less than 9minutes, I decided to hold back and run at my easier pace. 

KM19. Decision point. Thank you VE Picture!

Up ahead with Bulatan Kinabalu to the u-turn point at KM20, it's a slight slope. Then right after the u-Turn, there is the cheer crowd up ahead. It makes perfect reason to cheer back for them, and this was how I did it. 

Thank you my senior RKShoot
Thank you Hazreeq, Zideen, Nik Hazry, Teaqah for the video. It meant a lot for me to see myself actually enjoying the whole process. I was at zen with the outcome without a renewed PB for HM. 

As I ran towards the finishing line. I told myself it is ok. We have another chance in 3-weeks time to try it again. It may be be easy, but perhaps a bit of tweaking and a more realistic timing instead of a very ambitious 1:30, would be better. I crossed the line unofficially at time of writing at 1:39:20. 

"No Eye See". Thank you House24a!

Still very proud of what I had achieved. Being 139th overall that morning for HM, and turning up as 21st in Malaysia Veteran Category.
Thank you Bukan Run Club

very likely the highest nearest to podium i ever gotten to!
More infographic from RunPix.Co Awesome to see where you are at
My age group all category I am at 31st position

Malaysia all age i am at 102nd position

I was at KM16 when the champion finished his race!

How about My Binister?

My wife did well despite the condition she is in. Physically she is in way better shape than she was in 2020 as we used the privilege during the pandemic to revamp our lifestyle. She has started lifting weights to put on and maintain muscle mass, took up a very daring challenge with aerial yoga and hoop yoga, she eating much healthier (than me). However, old injuries on the ankle, coupled with hip and back injury, she was confident for a sub-2 (she did a 2:05 last year and she wasn't pushing and was stopping at every water station to chit chat) until about 2 months ago where visit to physio, mobility specialist, massage and taping could not help improve the situation. 

She did a 2:15:51 and shed some tears of pain as I capture her final 100meters. I know it was not pleasant to be running in the pain.

In her own words...

Retirement plans deferred
85th position for Division!

1536th Malaysian of all gender

Above the median

She was 7km behind the Lady winner!

We both finished the race injury free (except the injury that is already sustained pre-race of course). I have another mission in 3-weeks time. Was warned that it won't be easy to ace the Garmin HM route due to the bigger elevation synonymous with Putrajaya route. But hey, if it was ever easy, everyone will be going to be breaking their PB. Until next race report... See you all soon

After Race... high spirit despite the outcome

Thank you to all friends and sponsors that has made this happened. I wore my the Brooks Running Elite top for my runs. Coupled with the super awesome Pressio Arahi shorts. Both lightweight super breathable. You can get them from Sports Paragon. Was geared with the Pacific and Co FunRun socks that can be purchased from Cyclopath Cycling Syndicate Impressive performance socks, and you know I don’t wear socks much. I had zero blisters, not even the socks usually (ugly) garter marks on the ankle and still look good pre-during and post run. Of course the Garmin provided to me by Aeco Technologies FR965 worked reliably with my Stryd Malaysia power pod. And the Shokz Malaysia OpenRun Pro which streamed data and music for the 100minutes I was out there alone fighting the devil in my head. The unconsumed Hammer Nutrition Gel will go back to the fridge to support my wife's next race :D

Some photo drop of captured images during the REPC and post run with friends!

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