Phew! I’m pooped. My feet and calves are sore and I could hardly keep my eyes open after dinner last night – the side effects of my 10km race yesterday morning at the Brooks Half Marathon 2013. This was my first race ever and overall it was a fun experience.
The day started at 3.30am. I woke up, made sure I had something to eat and answered nature’s (long) call. I then made my way to the flag-off venue in Stadium Bukit Jalil at 5.30am as advised to ensure I had plenty of time to get my bearings, make a last minute toilet stop and get into the starting block early. Unfortunately the organizer didn’t tell us that the flag-off time was delayed to 6.45am so I had to wait a little longer than planned.
6.20am arrived and I lined up in the starting block. I turned on my music and reviewed the route in my head and my race plan. I didn’t want to get all pumped up with adrenalin and run too fast too early. My plan was to only start pushing it at the midway point.
The start of the race approached but there was no announcement – poor communication on the organizer’s part. All the runners in the starting block were trying to warm up, stretch, etc when suddenly the starters gun fired. There was a collective “huh?” and we started inching out. I think it took me 2 minutes to cross the starting line because there were so many people in front of me.
Finally out on the road, I faced the most difficult task of the day – dodging and overtaking other runners as we ran through the roads in the dark. There were more people than I expected and we were literally rubbing shoulders. After the 1st kilometer there were already other runners who had started to walk and I had to weave around them. I felt the adrenalin and I kept an average pace of 6:30 per km, 30 seconds faster than my usual pace. Surprisingly I didn’t run out of gas at all and was able to maintain that pace all the way to the end. Here’s my race on Nike+ Running if you’re interested (you might need to login).
The course was pretty hilly all the way. The previous week I ran with the TPRC up and down Bukit Tunku so that was good preparation. I tried to focus on keeping good form and take advantage of gravity on the downhill slopes. I started to tire at about 8.5km and the toughest part was the final slope up towards the stadium and that’s where I finally slowed down to a walk. By that point the finish was already in sight and so after 3 steps I sucked it up and ran the final 200m, hoping that I would not collapse after crossing the finish line.
In the end I crossed the line about about 1:06. My actual time should be a little better because it will give me the exact time when I crossed the start and finish lines. I won’t get my final time for a few weeks but my Nike Running app reports that I took about 1:04. It also reports that the total distance was actually only 9.79km
Overall my first race was a good and fun experience where I learnt a lot. I started on my fitness journey in September 2012 with the goal of getting into shape. The activity I chose to achieve that goal was running, and it turns out that I enjoy it quite a bit. I’ve signed up for the Standard Chartered KL Marathon 10km category in June, so I’m now looking forward to that!