Thursday, January 15, 2009

First Putrajaya International 12 Hours Walk

Please click here for other 12-hour Walk postings
Note by KC: According to Josie, she went for another 10-hour walk last weekend. The venue is air-conditioned and posh -- in the comfortable environment of Mid-Valley Megamall and The Gardens. This time, she is shopping for Chinese New Year celebration. She spent almost RM 2,000 in buying seven new dresses and other CNY related items. Looks like walking at the venue for race competition is 100 times cheaper... :-)
By Josie Yap
Not a Stroll in the Park ...

My colleagues at work thought I was crazy to go for a 12 hours walk, less than a week after running full marathon in SCSM. I have never joined any walking event before, not even big events like Malay Mail Big Walk or Penang StarWalk. However, the thought of walking around Putrajaya Boulevard under the moonlight and bright stars seems too appealing to resist. After all, it would be just like a walk in the park….well, that’s what I assumed. How wrong I was…..

The event has received very good response from walkers including foreigners from Hong Kong and Belgium. Many participants that I bumped into are familiar faces in running events too. The atmosphere was great as enthusiastic walkers gather at the starting line for a briefing from officials. Majestic government buildings surrounding Putrajaya Boulevard were nicely lit-up apt for the occasion. It is truly a fantastic venue for this event.
Putrajaya at night

As the gun goes off at 8pm, walkers quickly adapt to their walking speed and style. Being a first timer, I just follow the crowd. All walkers have to walk in a circuit-like loop covering 1km in distance for every loop. Loud conversation from participants can be heard clearly which is amusing. The 12-hour Walk is uniquely different from any running events that I’ve joined so far. Normally in a running event, whenever we meet a familiar face, it’s always ‘Hi and Bye’ situation as we continue to run and it’s quite impossible to have a conversation. But in this event, it is a great chance to catch up with fellow runners/walkers and have long chats till it is easy to forget that one is in a competition.

Organiser keeps the mood going by playing songs and make sure walkers are continuously pumped up to keep walking. The only snag is that after finishing the whole selections, the same songs are played over and over again. One might suggest that maybe in future organizer can arrange for whole lot of songs like MP3 player that last for more than 12 hours! That would be a great treat indeed ... :-)

After continuously walking for hours, my socks had become uncomfortable that it feels like thousands little stones pricking under my feet. I changed into a new pair of socks but it doesn’t really help much. I had brought a pair of slippers just in case I need a change but unfortunately I had forgotten to bring along a string to tie the timing chip. So much for my preparation …. :-(

Organiser was great in providing latest results every two hours on the notice board for walkers to check on their performance. It’s easy to lost count of many loops one had completed so far after walking for many hours. Once completed minimum loops under each category, many walkers started to take longer breaks and enjoy the variety of foods served. When walkers were busy walking to add on to the count of loops, cooks were kept busy all night preparing food for everybody and there was never a shortage of volunteers serving food and drinks.
Josie Yap (left)
As the night drags on slowly, each step now takes a little more extra effort. My feet hurt as if I am walking on a bed of nails. At least I am not the only one. Except for elite walkers, most of us have slowed down our pace tremendously; some even walk with jerky movements while some walk in a daze and zombie-like. Some walkers had stop altogether and sleep under the tent even though the rules says that in every two hours, walkers must at least step on the mat once to ensure that walkers continue to walk even after completing the minimum loops.

Early hours in the morning, it started to rain and as it gets slightly heavier, one can see some walkers take refuge under the tent and took the chance to rest. Many however, continue to walk. Some were seen wearing raincoats, ponchos while some female walkers use umbrella. It’s quite comical to see some male walkers donning transparent shower caps to avoid getting their hair wet … :-) Well, that’s a good way to avoid getting headaches caused by the rain..

As long as I am on my feet walking, I wasn’t sleepy but as soon as I sat down to take a break, voices from people having conversation around me sounded more like Lullaby in my ears and I felt myself dozing off. The sight of some walkers sleeping like a cocoon in their sleeping bags made it worse. I quickly get up on my feet and started walking again. After getting a good leg massage from the First Aid tent, I had felt much better.

Since my right heel was also in pain, Angie suggested me to bandage it. That’s when I discovered that a blister as big as a five cent coin has developed on my right heel. To think that I have never had any blister in all the running events that I joined and it had to be a walking event that bring me down!
At the first daylight, there seems to be a last hour rush for walkers who had obviously feeling fresher after taking naps, now trying to complete more loops. I guess it was a relief for everyone as the time finally struck 8am marking the end of the 12 hours walk. It has been a long night. All walkers who completed the minimum loop requirement were given finisher medal and a bottle of 1.5 litre 100plus, a nice surprise indeed..
In this event too I came to realize that walking 12 hours is even tougher than running a full marathon when it comes to trying to achieve the 42km distance. So, it is an amazing feat for Mike, a friend of us who managed to complete SCSM in 8 hours by walking where else I could only managed to complete the same distance after walking for more than 10 hours. It is an amazing feat too for walkers who managed to walk non-stop for 12 hours, braving the pains and rain. Definitely not a stroll in the park….

Despite the pains felt all over my legs and groin area, and not to mention looking really out-of-sorts having not slept a wink for the whole night, I have to admit that I had so much fun and thoroughly enjoyed it. Even though I had told myself earlier that I would never want to go through this again, now I can’t wait for next year’s 12 hours walk and I will definitely be more prepared.

To all my fellow runners/walkers, I wish you all a Happy Chinese New Year!

.Keep Running

Written by Josie Yap

1 comment:

C-CUBE said...

Josie, I share the same sentiments as you. Had ran numerous marathons but never take part in any walk event before let alone a 12-hr walk. But like you said, i am looking forward to next year 12-hr walk, no regrets!!!!