After three months of haze wreaking havoc with the run events, many organisers were forced to postpone or cancel their events. Most of the major events with thousands of signups usually chose to cancel their events, because it was too late in the year to postpone, plus logistics would be a nightmare.
Finally, the haze went away at the tail end of October, but this was followed by torrential rain every day.
I finally managed to run in the PUMA Night Run, but personally I found the run a little bit of a disaster, considering it was such a major event by an established company. Yes I acknowledged they suffered several unanticipated major problems, but I thought they would have had people onboard who would have been experienced enough to handle the issues better.
Anyway… Farah, Andrew and I had signed up for a literal back-to-back run this time. The 10km PUMA Night Run was on the Saturday night just before the Sunday morning run of 2XU Compression Run. At that time, I was all gungho and excited, but when the weekend actually rolled around, I could feel my reluctance (or rather, laziness) starting to creep in. Considering how I hadn’t run or exercised much in the past few months, I was severely undertrained (and overweight).
It didn’t help that the organisers decided to give out the finisher medals before the event!
FINISHER MEDALS BEFORE THE EVENT??
Because of the uncertainty of the haze situation, the 2XU Compression Run organisers decided to go a different route from all the other run organisers. They were not sure whether the haze would clear up in time for the event, and didn’t want to leave everyone hanging, so instead of keeping everyone on tenterhooks, they decided to distribute the finisher medals and finisher tees (for the half-marathoners) with the race packs.
To be honest, I do understand why. They didn’t want to have to postpone the event to another day, and if they announced a cancellation only to find the haze suddenly clearing up, people would moan and complain. So to make it easier for everyone, they must have decided to give out the finisher medals, but still go ahead with the event. They left the decision to run in the hands of the participants, and even if the participants chose not to, they already have the medals so they would not complain.
Problem with distributing the finisher medals before the run was that many people decided not to go for the run. Why go through the hassle of running if we already have what we were aiming for – the medal?
Having said that though… I still respect the organisers for their bold decision. It was the wisest choice to make, that would have the least complaints. In case of haze, you want the medal? Well, you’ve got it. Still want to run? Come over, you’re welcomed to! Frankly I think this was the best solution to undertake in this situation, and I salute them for that!
TO RUN… OR NOT TO RUN?
In fact, I was put in the same dilemma. It was made worse because of the fact I had suffered a very wet and challenging run during the PUMA Night Run. By the time I had gone home and dried off for bed, it was already 2am, and I needed to wake up by 4am to get ready to go to Putrajaya. I was extremely reluctant, and I had half a mind to skip the run… after all, I already had the coveted medal!
But the runner in me did not really want a medal I didn’t earn. I still wanted to run for the experience of running.
RUNNING ON EMPTY
After the PUMA Night Run, Farah and Andrew were hungry so we stopped by for a quick meal. By the time I got home it was already past midnight; by the time I showered, dried off and got ready for bed, it was close to 2am. I still had to quickly dry off my race pouch and bib belt, and dig out my spare running shoes because my current pair was completely soaked from the run.
And like every night before a run, I could barely sleep. I finally got some shut-eye but barely an hour later I had to wake up again to get ready to go to Putrajaya, which was about an hour’s drive away!!!
Even while I was getting ready, my mind was like, “Are you sure you want to do this…?”
RUN DAY 1 NOVEMBER 2015
Getting to the Putrajaya Watersports Complex was easy, and there was ample parking when I arrived. But the crowds quickly came, and I was actually quite surprised to see a huge turnout. A lot of runners, like me, wanted the experience of running even though we already had the medal.
The organisers still attempted to carry out a full-blown event, with the timing mats in place, sufficient water stations, and distance markers.
Sufficient water stations, yes. Sufficient cups? No. There were not enough cups to go around. Perhaps they had underestimated the number of people who would actually show up. And only two water stations had isotonic drinks, the rest were just plain water. Although some may prefer plain water, many runners still needed isotonic drinks to keep themselves hydrated, and find plain water insufficient for this purpose.
Distance markers were not all the way through; they started with “12km more to go”. When I saw the sign, I was surprised… wasn’t it already past 10km?? That’s what my pedometer told me. That meant there should be only 11km more to go. As I continued to run, I checked my pedometer app against the distance signage. It seemed as if the distance we had to run was 1km more than the half-marathon 21km.
And true enough, as I struggled to the Finish Line… the total distance covered was 22.4km, not 21km!
I don’t normally mind the extra distance, but I was really hoping to hit sub-3, which I have been failing to do this whole year (yes yes I need more training). The extra 1.4km certainly did not allow me that!
BUT… the good news for me personally is that I did manage to cross the 21km mark in less than 3 hours! I crossed the Finish Line about 3h11m. This was still my fastest pace ever for a half-marathon, so in spite of the fatigue from last night, the lack of sleep and spoilt shoes!
Spoilt shoes, you ask? Well, at about 12km, I felt something dragging along the bottom of my left shoe, and it was annoying. I thought perhaps something got caught on my shoe, like a piece of paper or a bit of plastic. What actually happened was that my shoe had “crocodiled”!
Oh dear! And I was only midway through the run!
So I had to adjust my gait and try to move in such a way that the sole would not get caught on the ground (and trip me), and to minimise the annoying feeling that something was flapping at the bottom of my shoe.
In spite of all that, I still managed my best HM pace. Not too bad for me, whee!
So far throughout the year, I have found that the less sleep I get, the better my pace is. Hmm….
AND AT THE FINISH…
Because entitlements for the finishers had been distributed long ago, there was not much jubilation at the Finish Line. When runners ran across the timing mat, there wasn’t many people cheering them on. It was quite a mild finish for an event as big as this. I have had very quiet finishes at other half-marathons before, but those were at other smaller events that had smaller participation numbers and very little marshalls or volunteers. For such a major event, it felt weird having such a quiet finish.
It also felt rather weird that as I ran across the Finish, there was nothing to collect. Quite a first for me.
The Finish Line very clearly showed that they had underestimated the number of people who would turn up. There were no bananas provided at all, and by the time I reached the Finish, there was no more isotonic drinks; only water was available. Andrew who had finished much earlier than I did said that there was 100 Plus when he got there; but by the time I did, none was available.
People were actually quite upset about that, and took to Facebook to rant.
As for Farah, she has pushed herself too much the night before (she ran very fast in the rain), so much so that she couldn’t complete the morning run. She had to hop on the ambulance back. I’m sure that was an interesting experience! Luckily Finisher medals and tees were already in hand so she didn’t lose out!
All in all… quite mixed feelings about this run. The insufficient drinks at the water station and the finish line were quite disappointing. Otherwise, the event went fairly smoothly.
This was the first time I ran in a back-to-back run. Literally back-to-back; it was a night run followed by a morning run! And they were really long distance: 10km + 21km! (Actually 9km + 22km, but it adds up to the same amount)
After the event, my right knee was hurting for a few days. I could walk, but I could not walk down the stairs without grimacing.
Moral of the story? I AM NEVER DOING BACK-TO-BACK RUNS EVER AGAIN!
At least I have already experienced it once…