Friday, 12 June 2015

Alor Setar Jogging Club 21KM Race Report - Jun Shen

Our teammate Jun Shen has moved to northern part of Malaysia in his new assignment as a Naval Officer. Being closer to land (no pun intended) meaning he has more time for some local races nearby. He did not waste time and went on to run the ASJC 21KM. Enjoy the wonderful Paddy Field Run.


Alor Setar Jogging Club Half Marathon 2015 Race Report

Last week I started racing again by completing the Larian Bendang 11km under the extreme Kedah weather. This week is my second race of the month, most likely will be the last one for this month to restructure my training programme. I’m currently based in Alor Setar Airforce College, nothing much triathlon related stuff that I can do due to the road condition and my tight schedule. I could hardly run because the sport period in the college is allocated for group sports. Unless I choose to be anti social, I have no choice but to join all the ball sports that I really suck in.
My left knee injury started few months ago when I was triggered to do my ultra marathon this year inspired by my teammate Deo and Roy. I went through a tough time looking for remedies, doing self physio and stretches, strapped up my knee with kinesio tape in all races and greatly reduced my training mileage. None of that worked, ultra marathon became an abandoned plan. While driving long hours when my knee flexes, the sharp pain starts to torture me. Finally, I went to I-Sihat pharmacy at Manjung and bought myself glucosamine.

Surprisingly, the pain was gone. With just glucosamine?? I should have swallowed it long time ago! Better late than never =) Upon competing Larian Bendang (30 May15), I was quite positive with my left knee’s progression. Larian Bendang was a fun run actually, it was not organized mainly for runners. I mean the run was intended to make the carnival merrier; too many VIPs attended the run. Long story short, race start was delayed almost two hours. I managed to finish the 11km run in 47mins, pace was around 4.16mins/km.

Completed the run with my fellow future aircraft engineer. =)

Pre-Race Drama

I signed up for ASJC Half Marathon which is one week after Larian Bendang. I did a bit of homework studying the route from Garmin Connect, trying to remember some turnings and landmarks. The manual registration is similar to Larian Bendang, fill up forms and be present at certain location to pick up race kits. So the direction given on registration form was 1073, Bee Bee Park, Alor Setar which could not be found in GPS, Google Map or whatsoever. I drove towards the huge maze of Bee Bee Park, stuck inside the housing area asking everyone I saw, “Where is this ASJC (Alor Setar Jogging Club)” before I found the mysterious race kit collection center at one of the corner lot.

My name was missing in the Men Open starting list. =p I stayed calm and once again told the elderly uncles, my name is “Chan Jun Shen, 22km Men Open A category”. When they finally found my name in the veteran category, I was sure that I will be in the podium tomorrow because there were only two participants! That will be one veteran uncle against me, fighting for the RM500 cash prize and trophy=p Anyway, a lot of participants registered at the very last minute so I changed my bib number to A category. 

This ASJC has been around for over 32 years but this is the first time I’ve heard of it.

The registration costs only RM40, I was provided with a collar cotton tee and a cotton race number.=)

The Race
I was ambitious to target 4.15mins/km pace throughout the course. I felt that I could do it so I set Garmins 920xt alerts to beep me at slowest pace of 4.30mins/km. Once flagged off, I just wanted to maintain my pace and not to be bothered with the race field. The first 5km was manageable with 4.15mins/km although I was still synchronizing my breathing and running rhythm. I tried to maintain one inhale and two exhales to make sure the double exhales puff out all the “used” air. The course was “pancake flat” along the “ruler straight” Kuala Kedah road, but I could not see the race leader (just to give you an idea how fast they were going). In my group was Wong Jin Ji, and two Thai runners. I had no intention to drop anybody or chase after the front runners because I feel safer to run at my own planned pace since I don’t think I have much endurance or speed with my current tight schedule. My alerts were to remind me my every 2km pace and slowest pace beeps at 4.30mins/km, so my Garmin 920xt was my pacer.

I wasn’t feeling comfortable with 4.15mins/km pace when I almost reached the turning point at Jambatan Tok Pasai. My breathing rhythm went haywire as I tried to synchronize my steps, my upper posture started to slouch and too much of sideward arm swing motion. Obviously, it is a sign of fatigue. I switched to one inhale and one exhale, grabbed water at all water stations and suck in one caffeinated energy gel. The race course was very well marked and marshalled at every corner, we were provided with 8 water stations (if I am not wrong). The local communities were really committed to organize this race, most of the marshalls were old uncles and MTB escorts were plenty. Garmin non stop alerting me since the 10th kilometre, I dug really deep to shut it up but my pace was fluctuating between 4.25mins/km to 4.35mins/km. In order to be a good distance runner, consistency is the key to a strong finish. I believe in amateur level, there’s not much tactic involved so just stay focus on pace, nutrition and gears.

Out of form =p

Later on, I saw the silhouette of a runner few hundred meters in front; I tried really hard to reel him back since the 16thkilometre. It became more like a mental game already as I struggled to focus on my rhythm and dig as deep as possible. “I have 2ndskin Vaporlite Team Tee, Skechers GoSpeed2 and Garmin 920xt! All are the best gears in the market! If I couldn’t get top 5 I should at least push myself to the maximum possible effort”. I gave 100% to catch him because I am confident to finish this race in top 8 position. I needed three kilometres to overtake him! I did not slow down so that I could get break him mentally and get a comfortable margin just in case I bonk for the final 2km. It was such a battle because I did not have the speed! Moral of the story, “The best medicine always taste the worse, so the medicine for a slow runner is the much hated speed work!”. 

Come the final kilometre, I saw another runner! Haha. My last 400m sprint put me one ranking up but I was about to pass out at the finishing line. After more than 10 slices of watermelon and few cups of 100 plus, I felt much better. 

Met new friends=) 
Kota Kemuning Pacers, they all know Eugene Teoh and Roy Yeow =p
All pictures courtesy Soon Hoe Hin Tak=)

6th place Men Open finish for a 21.32km ASJC Half Marathon. I feel really happy that my knee did well and my timing was an acceptable 1 hour 33 minutes. Frankly, I am coming back and will train harder to shave off a few minutes from my PB by the end of this year.   

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