Malaysia Women Marathon - By Annie Yee
Malaysia First Women International Marathon. What do you think of when you see this? Yes, I am telling you on last Sunday I took part in Malaysia First Women International Marathon, 42.195km. It was my 15th marathon within the past four years since 2009.
Reminiscing back for few months, I ran everyday and increased my mileage since I started to have my internship in February. Despite increasing my mileage, it was still far from the ideal mileage for a full marathon training. As lectured by my coach before, the preparations starting from a week till a day before the marathon are crucial for every runner. I used to think those preparations are a waste of time and effort. However, I tried to set my mind positively.
As the preparation of carbo-loading, I started to eat chicken (source of protein) and half bowl of rice as the fuel of carbohydrates since Wednesday. Typically, I don’t eat chicken, meat sources. Of course, I ate more chocolates than usual (LOL). I doubled up my fruits intake every day as well.
A day before the race, I had claypot chicken rice as my lunch. In the evening, after having my simple broiled Japanese noodles with soy sauce, the clock showed seven sharp. After I pin my bib number on my favourite, superlight 2ndSkin Vaporlight LEGENDARY tee and stuffed two Hammer Nutrition Espresso flavor gels into the SPI belt, I went to bed.
2am in the morning, with a refreshing shower and a cup of Annie’s coffee plus two slices of wholegrain bread, I pushed off to the destination. Upon reaching, there were so many guys with the bib of PACER on their vests. Two thoughts appeared in my mind, “Why are there guys in this marathon?” and “Luckily I am running alone without any pacer.” (LOL, I am evil and I know that). Coach reminded me to warm up at least twenty minutes and have a dash before the race starts. So, I did that in a corner.
4.27am: Kathrine Switzer and Karen Loh flagged off the pretties and there we went! I kept my pace to about 4:55-5:00 min/km and tried not to run too fast at first. There were 5 runners in front of me for the first two km. RELA, policemen on bikes, marshals were directing the first runner. She was leading the runners and Annie Lee, another slim, fast and steady veteran was the second. I tried focusing on the road ahead instead of the runners beside me. Siak Yeng was pacing with me for 1km and I remembered it was about 5:15 min/km. I knew it was slow. I have to run faster. Another female suddenly appeared and we ran for 3km and eventually she couldn’t catch up. Her striding was quite loud and I tried to avoid from pacing with her.
David Ong, a CARI runner, cycled beside me to escort me. All the while, I ran and when I passed by two Mamak restaurants on my right, I saw the people there were watching us. The road was lit up with the neon lights and the sky. Upon looking up to the sky, the moon shadowed by the clouds was there. I have always searched for the moon when I run. I have always pledged the moon to let me be strong and to finish the races. I believe it is God. He looks down on us and gives us spiritual support. I counted the hills I passed and when I reached the third hill, a guy under the neon light, holding a DSLR was snapping photos. By the time he gave me a high-5, only I realized it was CP Tan. Wao! 4am plus and he was standing there to support the women.
By the time I passed by the RHB bank, my distance and Annie Lee’s was 10 meter. Initially, I thought of running behind her. But, she seemed to be slowing down a bit so I overtook her.
“Wah, very fast huh you…”
“hehe..” I said.
I didn’t want to talk and smile. I need to be focused on the race.
I met a lot of my friends as marshals and policemen were doing their duties well. Many cars were stopped every time I passed the traffic lights. I nodded and smiled to policemen. I was running alone from 10km and I tried to catch up with the first runner. I didn’t know where David has gone and I passed by Dataran Shah Alam. I was astonished to see so many guys were sitting on the bench with McDonalds food. I assumed that they stayed there and didn’t even go back home.
At 21km, I checked my watch, 1:44. 6 minutes faster than I thought. From 21-22km, I downed a Hammer Nutrition espresso gel and have a quick sip of water. From 22km-26km, though the road was elevated, the gel was working well. I came very near to the first runner and at 25km, I overtook her and I gulped a small cup of water provided and followed Raymond, the cyclist. He was leading the road and when he turned over, he said something to me but I couldn’t actually hear it. I didn’t know my distance difference between me and the runner. I was hoping that I reached 27km where it was a support station from my 2ndSkin teammates.
But, I couldn’t see any of them until I turned to a dark corner and the guys were just starting to set up the support station and some of them were actually peeping to see who the first runner was. In panic and exciting moment, I guessed it was Roy who passed me a Hammer gel. The situation was so “kelam-kabut”. I grabbed it very rapidly and continued running. Undoubtedly, their support made me energetic and determined to keep my pace. The watch showed 2:15.
The sky was getting brighter as I continued my journey accompanied by Raymond and two policemen and made uncountable roundabouts. I realized that runners were opposite the road from me. Some of them cheered for me, I guess but I couldn’t look up to them. I knew I need to look at the road ahead and focus. It was 33km. I took another Hammer gel which was given by my team. I faced problem of tearing open the gel. The adhesive part of the gel was very strong and it took some time for me. I ran and ran….37km reached. Saw LYN runners, I signaled two, two and they understood well. One of the LYN runners passed me the chilled water. I gulped it down quickly. God, it was so refreshing!
The devil started to appear in my mind, giving me negative thoughts after passing 37km. An elevated hill AGAIN!!! I knew I smiled when seeing a board written ANNIE, JIAYOU!!! It was CP Tan who encouraged me. I pushed more and past him. I was so touched but at the same time, I knew I needed to keep on going. The devil in my mind was getting stronger and stronger, I stopped and drank at a water station, walked for 1min and ran again.
Talking to myself, telling myself to keep on going, keep on going. 38km, 39km….I walked several times and I was cursing myself.
Angel: “It is just 12 laps in the stadium, why can’t you make it? Annie, you can, you can…”
Devil: “Nobody behind you, take your time. You can’t make it to sub330 though.”
“Bang, cakap dengan saya. Bang umur berapa?”I asked one of the policeman.
This was how I talked to the policemen. I needed distraction. I guess he must be thinking that this girl “Gila”.
I merged with other categories runners and the policemen were honking so that they didn’t block my way. The last two km seemed to be 20km for me. I walked, ran, walked and Raymond reminded me of the runner behind me.
“Annie, 200m from you, go go…”
“Annie, 200m from you, go go…”
“Moi, sikit lagi, sikit lagi, tahan..”
“ Tepi sikit, champion ni, tepi tepi..”
Voices lingered around me but I was so tired. I knew, the devil won!
Suddenly someone held my hand when it was 20meter. It was last elevated hill again! She, the lady held my hand, I held her very tightly and ran together to the finishing line! People cheered for us. I hugged her so tight the moment I passed the finishing line and realizing that she was a Japanese! We congratulated each other and I didn’t know where she has been and I walked to take my fruits, medals and support station when I saw Pat was there.
While waiting for the prize ceremony, I chit-chatted with some friends, talked about the race.
I was so happy when I got my prize and Kathrine Switzer came up to the stage to present me her book! It was my best luck to get the autographed book. She told me I can make it to sub3 in future. It was a big support for me!!! She achieved her 2:51 after 35 marathons. She gave me the confidence which I am seeking for many years. My team members have finally came back as the last runner has passed the 27km mark and their support station. We had meet-up, photo sessions and chit-chatting. It was our first meet up and it was family for me. I was the princess for these guys. Their support gave me a really warm feeling.
I have to say this marathon was organized well:
- Water stations were very sufficient. Every 2-2.5km, there was a water station and they provided isotonic drinks.
- The runners as marshals. They did their jobs very well as they understood the participants.
- The policemen. They directed the runners and blocked the roads to avoid vehicles from disrupting the runners.
- The fruits, food, medals supplied after the race were sufficient.
- The baggage deposit staffs were well organized.
However, some improvements can be done in future:
- Since it is a women race, the male pacers shouldn’t be there. They should just be the spectators and cheer for us along the road. This is just my personal opinion.
- A nice reusable bag should be given to the participants instead of the dark, blue bag with blank design. It should have some logos of Malaysia Women Marathon for foreign participants.
There are some preparations I need to highlight for other runners:
- Sleep sufficiently!! Even though you can’t sleep but just lay on the bed and relax the mind instead staying up late and think you’re the hero for not sleeping.
- Prepare the clothes, drinks, breakfast, etc which needed for tomorrow race.
- Wear proper attire so that no chafing of body especially long distance. 2ndSkin does work very well even though it is in tee design. The Vaporlite/Vaporskin technology expel the sweat rapidly. No heavy feeling even after the race.
- Take sufficient gels for refuel and select the right one. There are a lot of gels in the market. Before a race, try them out and feel the body. Is it working well to provide the immediate energy? So far, I think Hammer Nutrition Gel really does well. There is no sticky after taste and it is digested easily. However, we need to cut the sachet a little before a race to make it easy to be torn while running.
- Hydrate and eat high protein food after a race. Normally, I drink a lot of water after a race and after half an hour, I eat banana, milk, soy milk and bars. Another option is Hammer Nutrition Recoverite which is good for muscle repair and recovery.
Of course, for myself, I think I need to change my bad habits in order to improve my time:
- I need to train LSD!!!!!!So far, I can only run 15km the most in the stadium where I train. I have to achieve at least 30km.
- My mind set. I need to change to very positive and determined. I don’t aim and target timing in marathons. I have always thought that I can’t make it. It is very bad!
I would like to thank my parents, especially my mom who is really supportive, my coach, my team (2ndSkin), the team sponsors (Hammer Nutrition/Skechers Malaysia/Garmin Malaysia), friends and photographers. You guys made my Sunday!
Kudos to all the runners who accomplished the marathon, 42.195km and I shall see you in future races. :)