Thursday, April 01, 2010

Energizer Night Race (2)

Written by Josie Yap
After running 3 full marathons in 2 months, I am scared stiff of going for another one. Running full has become like sort of love and hate relationship for me: miss it when I don’t sign up for it; hate it when I am running it; yearn for it when I see runners doing it. After much thought, I signed up for the Energizer Night Race 2010.

Josie Yap with the iconic Energizer battery
Please click here to view Album #3 by courtesy of Weng. Stay tuned for more ...
At the starting line
Last minute frantic calls to fellow runners to enquire whereabouts of the exact location of the event proved futile as nobody seems to know … as blur as the maps that were provided in the Energizer Guide Book. After much effort of circling around Cyberjaya, we finally found the parking area nearest to the starting line. I could not imagine how many would have got lost trying to get to the location. A better approach of informing runners (by the organizer) is to mention that the starting line is located at the back of MMU (Multimedia University), a landmark that is prominently associated with the development of Cyberjaya.

Near the starting line, free PowerBar were given to runners but I had learnt a hard lesson during the Putrajaya Night Marathon (PNM) when I took half bar of banana flavoured power bar. It is as effective as laxative medicine at the wrong time.
hmmm... quite a unique (or high-tech) running shoes
Starting Line

Standing at the starting line, I was more concern about getting sun burned than the run itself. As the gun went off at 6:00 p.m. sharp, it was the most unbearable start to any running event that I’ve ever encountered with the extreme heat from the sun. It was almost painful on the skin and there were practically nothing one can do except to pray that the darkness will come quickly.

I was tempted to stop running and get a shelter till sun sets. But then I was also thinking that I would probably end up running alone in the dark later at some creepy and spooky route. Not only one get sun burned but I felt my energy was being zapped away and I couldn’t even settle down to a comfortable pace as I was trying hard to adjust my shadow into another runner’s shadow much to the agitation of the runner who was running behind me. Much like shadow playing … :-)

Graced by the Energizer batteries and cheerleading team

Into the Night

As the day sets into the night, even though the air was humid, there were occasional breeze. I must say it was much better than during PNM. Even the route seems kinder. Runners will find themselves looping around the same area in Cyberjaya twice. It did cross my mind whether we will have to run in the dark during the Earth Hour from 8.30pm to 9.30pm save for those runners who wore the headlights given by the organizer.

Thank goodness the street lights stayed on. At certain route, the street light was quite dim and I was glad I was always in the company of runners whose pace was about the same as mine. It’s a different feeling when I was running in PNM. In PNM, there were hardly any runners in sight. Even in the company of another female runner, both of us were running in fear of our safety.

Having said that, I felt in this run, the traffic control could be much better. Most of the times, there were no cones separating the moving traffic and the runners. We were left alone crossing the roads. The volunteers only positioned themselves at the junctions to guide runners into correct turn-ins/outs with traffic police manning the traffic.

L-R: Jasone Lee, Weng, Josie, Steven, ..., Ming (from Singapore)

Water Station/Shower
Water station was aplenty at every 2-3km serving mineral water and Gatorade. However, one of the fast veteran runners was complaining that between 18km and 26km, there were missing water stations. The organiser must have realized their mistake and quickly set it up because I did not encounter any missing water station. My only complaint was that at certain water station, the water was lukewarm and that didn’t help to quench thirst at all. It would be nice if the water is as cool as the sponge dipped in the ice water. That really helps to cool down the heat. I bet runners enjoyed going through the shower of water sprayed by the fire brigade. It was extremely refreshing, cooling and exhilarating at the same time. When I first saw the fire brigade showering the water on runners, the first thought that came into my mind was how to avoid getting my shoes wet. Surprisingly, my shoes did not get wet. Instead I found myself running faster after the refreshing shower.

Runner in fancy dress ... it will be more dramatic if dressed in all white with the night run ... :-)
Another problem that I encounter in this run was the markers. Either the markers are not visible or it is due to my poor eyesight at night because I could not see most of the markers. And definitely I wasn’t running like the ‘road runner’ cartoon character that sped by markers…J I was always left wondering how much more to go. At times, I will ask the volunteers at the water station. By the time I reached around 25km, my left knee cap was really hurting. There was only one water station where the first aiders had the Salonpas spray and provided temporary relief. The pain came back half an hour later to remind me that I did it to myself by not training consistently.

Well prepared with the headlamp
Press On
I am really thankful for the motivation the few runners gave me throughout the run especially the last stretch of 10km. Short conversations takes one’s mind off the tired body and the pain. Even the sound of the air horn blowed by Mohan, a Singaporean runner, is a motivation to keep me going as it can be heard from far away, breaking the silence of the night. When I see more and more runners walking at the opposite road carrying goodies bag, I knew the finishing is near. One of the runners shouted just two more corners and then it’s all the way to the finishing line. I quicken my pace and approaching the last corner, I can see my friends cheering me on. Even though I have not reached the finishing line, I felt high as if I was doing a victory lap during the last 200m.

After crossing the finishing line, I saw Mr Wong, a good friend who got 5th placing in his senior veteran category. Later, I was informed that another fellow runner, Yee Choi who ran across the finishing line in supposedly 4th placing was not noticed by the officials at the finishing line. Thus, 4th placing was awarded to Mr Wong and 5th placing to another runner. How could the officials missed Yee Choi is not known but after complaint lodged by Yee Choi, he was awarded the rightful 4th placing. The unofficial timing in the later confirmed that he was right. It must be frustrating for the 3 runners and it was really good sportsmanship of the runner who gave up the 5th placing to the rightful winner.

(L-R) Good Friends: Bruce Wan, Sonny Ng, TanWahSeng, Mohan, Wong
The walk to collect goodies bag was torturing as it was a long walk. Maybe the organizer thought it’s a good warm down for the runners. At least the finisher T-shirt still had the size that I want. It was another long walk to the car park. As Angie and me were getting ready to go back, more drama unfolded when her car could not start. The battery has gone dead. Isn’t it irony? We were all running in Energiser sponsored night run and here we were stuck in the car park in the middle of the night..
Fortunately and unfortunately too that we managed to catch our friends who have yet to leave the area but nobody has the jump-start cable. So we tried to push and forced start the car but to no avail. ‘Wow…pushing the car is worse than running the marathon’ said Kwan Weng, a runner friend. We were about to give up when one uncle who came for his car has the jump-start cable and in no time at all, got the car engine running. To top the dramatic end to our eventful night, Angie and I were lost for more than 15 minutes trying to get to the MEX Expressway. While driving home, I can feel my face was dirty and filled with dust. There was even one patch of dust on my eyebrow! I must have looked like a dirty stray cat.
Josie and Angie
Recharge Batteries

I felt a sense of satisfaction and relief that I am able to complete yet another marathon. I guess for any runner, being able to step over the finishing line is the most meaningful part of the run. It doesn’t matter whether one did it in 4, 6 or 8 hours. It’s still an achievement and should be celebrated.

Running 3 full marathons in a span of 2 months is really out of my expectation. After all, it took me 3 years to run my first 3 marathons. And after running 3 full marathons in these 2 months, I am scared stiff of going for another one. Running full has become like sort of love and hate relationship for me: Miss it when I don’t sign up for it; hate it when I am running it; yearn for it when I see runners doing it.

Since the Energizer Run, after my friend’s car battery went dead, I too have my own share of battery problem. I had to change my SMART TAG’s battery and my watch battery. Even my Astro remote control battery is not spared. Life is sure full of the coincidences and surprises! And of course, I need to recharge my batteries to refresh and energize for the next runs.

Written by Josie Yap
Posted by KC


YB said...

The best ever race report that I have read thus far.
All the very best in your future races.

dannie chOOng said...

congrat on your 6th Full Marathons !!! don't stop there, do 50 Marathons before you reach 50 !!! still a long way to go for you !!!

Anonymous said...

"Running full has become like sort of love and hate relationship for me: miss it when I don’t sign up for it; hate it when I am running it; yearn for it when I see runners doing it."

Well said.. this is EXACTLY how I feel....

I haven't decided which one - full or half - to join for the SCKLM... but I hate missing out on the 'challenge' of doing a full.


Josie said...

Thks, YB. I am glad you enjoyed reading my report...:-) Good luck in your runs too.

Hi SCHOnline..looks like I am not the only one who feels this way about full mrthon...:-)Happy deciding on which category to run for SCKLM.