Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Melaka Marathon 2014 : Annie Yee

The marathon event turned out to leave a bitter taste in my mouth and something which I don’t know where should I start writing from… (Well, let me start from a good and enjoyable writing)

When the day my running mates aka my boyfriend, Jin Kuang persuaded me to sign up for this marathon, I had a bad feeling that something is going to go wrong in this race. At the same time, it coincided with the same day with another tower run which I had registered earlier. Nonetheless, to test my own lost confidence since Penang Bridge International marathon and my episode of falling down from my bike, I guessed this was the right timing for me to test myself. The quote of “DOWN BUT NOT OUT” popped out in my head when I clicked on the Malaysian women open category to register myself. 
Upon reaching Melaka, we went to collect our bibs as well as our friends bibs. It was a chaotic situation there. We were informed to wait while the crews went to take M size tees for us. Ultimately, the person in charged told us she has lost our friends bib in the recycle bags and probably other crew members have taken the bags away. Without wasting time, we asked for replacement but were told that they did not have extra chip and asked for our permission if they could just give us the bib number without the timing. How could this happen?! We sorted out the solution after that anyway.

There were a lot of familiar faces around the collection. I wouldn’t have known that the starting time of each category differed by 10 mins if Yum Kim Kok didn’t inform me. Great thanks to him! Apart from him, I bumped into Weng Woo from KL, Alvin from Klang and some runners who I haven’t met for some while.

Jin  Kuang and I walked to our place of accommodation which was located just few meters from the starting point, Hotel Sixty Six at Jalan Melaka Raya 3. The hotel is strategically located as surroundings are convenient stores (7-11, 24hours Marts), restaurants (Station One, Hailam Kopitiam, Ah Hui Bak Kut Theh) and banks. My boyfriend suggested the food for best carbo-loading would be as follows and I agreed that because I have been craving for spaghetti since long long time ago!!!
That night we tried to get an early sleep but there was a lot of noise and activity going on outside the hotel as it was a Saturday night.
I woke up right after the alarm rang. We prepared our gears and met our buddies. We met more and more familiar faces at the starting line. Not forget to thank Lee Lee's homemade muffins and her big smile did really soothe my nervous feeling. We wished every runner good luck and waited and waited..............17 mins past 4 in the morning and we were supposedly to start at 4:00 am. Runners started to make a commotion and the emcee just neglected the complains and kept on talking. Each sentence from the speaker sounded like lullaby to me, I wasn't focus on what he was saying. While seeking for the moon and praying hard, I heard was, " 3..2..1...."
REMARKS: As seen in above diagram, the last part of the marathon is so complicated....

I was running with moderate pace, around 4:40-4:50 km/hour. It was very humid and I could feel the heat was burning up my body. We went through some small streets and turned left and turned right which I didn’t know where I was heading to. There was a lady in front of me stopped for several times to ask for the direction while we passed by the seaside (I guess). There were a lot of cyclists dating hanging around and sitting on the bench looking at us passing by. “It is 4am in the morning, what are they doing at this time, aren’t they supposed to sleep at home instead of hanging out here?” Feeling uneasy, I followed the lady, trying to catch up with her. Still, I couldn’t make it. At 3.5km, I reached the first water station. But the board was written 5km. I assumed this marathon was going to be under distance.

I was running with a weak will, my mind kept telling me to stop and walk. Fighting with the devil, I chose to continue but with slow pace and counting each kilometer I passed through. I came to a roundabout at 15km and the lady stopped and doubted. I shouted at her to turn right.  When I ran towards the 20km water station, from far I saw the familiar face, Chooi Hooi standing there, had his hand on his waist. I pushed myself and he told me he had been there for the last 4 minutes waiting for me. Thanks God!

We started to pace each other up to a slightly steep slope and it was pitch dark. There was a tiny rat ran across the road and I was almost walking. I told him to ignore me if he wanted to go faster. Instead, he told me to hold on and there was left 7 water stations to go. I held the water bottle so tightly. I guess he saw it and asked me to throw away in order to run faster. We ran and saw Choy (sub3 runner) ahead of us and we sped off to pass him. Gradually, around 27km, Chooi Hooi slowed down and I ran alone....I ate my first Hammer Gel at 27.5km water station and one tablet of Endurolyte.

Once I ran down the slope, I turned around to see if Chooi Hooi had catched up with me but he did not. Choy’s strides were getting nearer and I thought he wanted to pace me but in fact no. He ran faster and faster...I passed by buildings on my left and right but the area was quiet. Suddenly, I felt my right butt was touched. One motorbike with two riders, in brown complexion flew off.
“Shall I shout?” I couldn’t recall. The immediate action I did was to run on the grassy side away from the road. A bus rumbled past me. I just kept on running with small strides. There was a guy 50 metres ahead of me. I ran besides him and talked to him. He came from Johor and he told me he wanted to speed after we reached a T-Junction. I saw Loh Choi Fern, known as Yuan Yu Fang’s apprentice was walking. She became aware that we were coming and she ran off. I tried to catch up with her but she was fast. Few hundred metres, she walked again.
I encouraged her when I ran besides her and had a chit-chat there. Her pace was slower, so I remained my pace and ran off.

Upon reaching the Melaka Raya street, I walked. It was almost 35 km. I was exhausted mentally. I took out another Hammer Gel and gorged it down. Left two water stations, Annie Go! Annie Go!!!I didn’t know when a motorbike appeared from out of nowhere leading me and I saw the finishing line. I thought I was going to there, instead of that, the motorcyclist brought me left-right-left junction till I stopped. My Garmin have shown 42.2km yet he led me astray and he even asked the police for direction. OMG!!
With 42.6km, finally I ran up the slope and to the finishing line.
Photo from Tey Eng Tiong. Thank you Sir!
A rank 9th tag was given by an Indian lady and I followed her instruction to a booth to claim my finishing tee and medal in a red plastic bag. The standard of the event was nowhere near international standard in my opinion~ I was looking around my boyfriend and asked around but no one saw him. I got nervous and worried that he didn’t not finish his marathon or he ran on the wrong route. At the same time, Chooi Hooi was back and I told him about that. He was really exhausted. We rested for a short while and walked back to the hotel to refresh ourselves. Thank God my boyfriend called just after I reached the hotel and he was in a rage and described how he ended up in police patrol car which was following the last participant of 21km. 

Everything was a mess. Even the prize ceremony happened in a chaotic situation. We were told that there was no Malaysian category anymore and many winners gathered beside the stage to find out the final decision. After all the VIP went off, only they gave the prizes for the Malaysian category

In summary, 8th of June 2014, I had a very bad experience which I don’t wish to mention anymore and lessons learnt. 
1. Ain’t going to support local and small marathons anymore. (my opinion)
2. Bring pepper spray along during training, especially for ladies.
3. Study the route in details before the race.

Last but not least, I am really grateful for the sponsorship, and my team members’ support and a lot of friends’ concerns. 2ndskintee has never disappointed me, never experienced chaffing and blisters .Kraftfitcompression pants has protected my recurring knee pain and Skechers Gorun Speed is my first choice for racing. Lastly, the Hammer Nutrition products, Perpetuem before racing, Gels and Endurolytes tablets during racing increased my energy level. This is undeniable. Of course, my advise to all still is train hard for a marathon! 

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