Thursday, 21 November 2013

Jun Shen : Penang International Marathon 2013 Race Report

PBIM 2013 Race Report By Chan Jun Shen.
Penang Bridge International Marathon is a race full of uncertainties for me. I have never raced this event before, I thought of training hard to aim for another PB in marathon since my very last marathon was 3 years ago. However, my tour of duty as a young Navy Officer on board Frigate KD JEBAT requires me to participate in a few international military exercises and represent Malaysia for the Sydney International Fleet Review.
Officers on board KD Jebat
Thinking of changing my plan, my workouts on board the ship was mostly focusing on strengthening my cores due to space constraint. I was away for 68 days sailing across 4 straits and 7 seas, and came back 3 days before Penang Bridge International Marathon. From Team 2ndSkin, Roy Yeow, Annie Yee and I will be participating. After some discussion with Annie, I have decided to run with her. With all her marathons in hand, she is a more experienced marathoner compared to me, I dare not call myself her pacer.
I stayed with Michael’s family in Penang, my relation with them started way back during my student years when I came to Penang for internship, I coached their son Ethan swimming. They are such a warm family; my presence in Penang will be treated with Makanthon every single day. I drove to Queensbay Mall around 6pm, had to cancel my meeting with Jin Aik due to time constraint and super congested traffic. After massage, I camped in the car near Eastin Hotel. I couldn’t sleep due to my pre race jitters, so I went to Facebook and start writing “pantuns” on my wall =p
Camp in the car I cannot sleep,
Why the hell I'm counting sheeps,
2am we run penang bridge,
Naik podium sure become rich:-P
12.30am, I walked towards the starting point. The VIP’s were there with some singing performances and band music to entertain the runners. I had my energy gels, hammer endurolytes, hammer perpetuem solid and a few capsules of pain killers just in case we need it. Annie’s racing schedule is so packed that she is still not fully recovered from her old injury.
Race started at 2am, the first 4km was blazing fast with undulating pace; it didn’t take too long for all the 4700 marathoners to scatter into echelons. This is my Skechers GOSpeed’s maiden race, I felt very comfortable with it, stiff enough to be picked as my marathon shoes. The water stations were adequate and very well prepared, they had long tables with hundred over cups of water to cater for so many runners. Those students from secondary schools wearing scout uniform, police cadet and a few other uniform bodies were very helpful; I believe they take pride for serving the runners.
Annie, who was still nursing her injury, told me that her legs were starting to ache at km20, I kept checking my Garmin 910xt to make sure we were not speeding too fast. Having a GPS watch helps a lot in running long distance. I have customized all the data displays before the race; my very first screen was showing: 
1.    Distance
2.    Pace
3.    Elapsed Time
4.    Average Pace
I’m a big eater when running long distance, I can keep eating gels every 10kms, that’s why I had 5 perpetuem solids, 4 capsules of endurolytes, and 7 gels with me. I know my body well, I can get hungry very fast, so perpetuem solids is my choice of “hunger management” food. Every now and then I’ll offer Annie gels but she kept refusing to take them.. Hahaha. Km24 was a nightmare, Annie started walking and telling me that she wants to go into the ambulance, as her injury was acting up. Gave her another pain killer and gel, but she refused to take the gel. Her brisk walking was fast though, I had to run baby steps to keep up with her. I guess she was in a lot of pain and she was expressing her disappointment and wanting to quit. More and more female runners overtook us. People running past yelling “what happened to you Annie?” didn’t make things better. It was saddening to see her struggling to continue. By km30, the hope to score sub 4 became hopeless, I would have lost my 300 bucks if I bet with Eugene. =p I was running with a bottle of mineral water in my hand all the time just in case she needs it.
Equipped for the race
We walked and ran and chatted, took it easy. I was hoping that talking can distract her from all the negative thoughts. It took forever waiting for my Garmin 910xt to beep. I set my Auto Lap for every 5km, strides are becoming heavier and slower, the run took longer time than what I expected. Thousands of shorter distance runners were on the same course as us, it was tough to make our own way in a sea of runners. Finally the finishing arch was within sight, I crossed the finishing line in 4 hours 22 minutes. Throughout the race, we did not see Roy at all. Don’t know where he went missing. =p
Team's 42km report book
Overall, this run was a great experience for me running as an unofficial pacer for my team mate. I was focusing on my posture and strides all the way, even after 68 days way from home and low in training mileage, I can still finish the race with a satisfactory timing. Driving back to Butterworth was another torture; the queue for ferry was extremely long. I was dead tired and kept falling asleep, had to call my close friend Jamie Ng to drive me back to KL. I would have done better and raced painlessly if I had the chance to put in more mileage during my tour of duty. Anyway, slowly but surely, I will start picking up my long lost fitness and get back to competitive endurance racing in as soon as possible.
Thanks to all sponsors for Team2ndSkin especially Skechers, Garmin, Hammer and KraftFit.  

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