The Mizuno run would be my last long run before the Half Marathon at the Standard Chartered KL Marathon on June 30th. I woke early, ate my usual breakfast of bread, oats, chia seeds and a banana, and headed out to Putrajaya with hubby, who had signed up for the 7K. I found my fellow running-group mates at the 16K start pen all set, some having just returned from some pre-race extra mileage to prep for their Full Marathon at the end of the month.
The MC made many announcements that morning. Some were useful reminders (‘run at your own pace, don’t try to outdo yourself, stay hydrated’), though others were a little confusing (instructions to go to a registration counter?). We were flagged off at around 6.30am – a far more reasonable start time than the 7.30am of the sun-baked World Kidney Day Run course some weeks ago. I might just actually enjoy Putrajaya this time, I told myself.
Before the first kilometre was up, I realized I should probably have joined the earlier washroom lines at the Perbadanan Putrajaya building. The detour to the loo at the Petronas gas station cost some precious minutes. When I rejoined the pack after coming out of Petronas, I found myself running at a pace faster than I should to make up for lost time. I was [re]starting too fast. I made some futile efforts to slow down, amid the encouraging atmosphere of the crisp, cool morning air that kept pumping up the endorphins until about km #6…
I ended up with split times of 38 minutes at 5K and 1:15 at 10K. Not good – not in terms of time, these were in fact post-childbirth personal bests – but I would be in trouble for the remaining bits — thanks to going faster than I should too early in the run, the following six kilometres took me almost an hour! I made attempts at consoling myself by noting that I did make one good decision that morning, which was to run with my waterbottle; as the last two water stations at 12K and 15K were out of water.
Aside from water woes and a slight smog in the air towards the end, the race route and weather were excellent – good enough views of the architecture and planned urban space that was characteristic of the administrative capital, with a tailwind in the last few kilometres to boot! The tailwind became a headwind as we made a U-turn towards the final straight near the finish, but at the end of 16 kilometres, any wind was a boon to the senses. Rainclouds had begun to roll over at about km #14, but thankfully the drizzle managed to hold off until well after I finished.
There was an unexpected queue at the finish where a congestion of sorts around the medal and goodie-bag collection tents spilled out to the finish chute. As a result, one couldn’t quite gradually slow down into a brisk walk after the finish.. I resorted to running on the spot and alternating that with whatever stretching I could do. Someone from the tents came out to hand us bottles of water – that was the most welcome sight ever, as the last drop of my 500ml of sustenance was gone 2km ago!
I happily collected what was my first medal for the year, and, to my surprise, a full-sized box of breakfast cereal courtesy of one of the sponsors. This was, to me, officially the race with the best post-race goodies ever. A bakery occupying the next tent handed out small packs of confectionery which I only got to sampling when I got home – they were delicious – unfortunately the packaging didn’t include information on where their business was located. Ah well. And there was a stall with my all-time favourite tau foo fa (soybean pudding) again. I almost forgot about the Milo. You’d think races were all about the eating at the end…
The post-race aches reminded me that while tapering, I will still need to find time to keep up some short runs during the next few weeks.
On June 30th, I will tell myself, 21K is ‘just’ Mizuno plus a 5K. And when the day comes, I’m pretty sure it will be, for the most part, a mind game.