Monday, January 22, 2007

GE Pacesetters 30km Race

After having participated in the Pacesetters 15km race in 2006, and having enjoyed the good organization and the challenging but scenic route then, I had already planned to do the Pacesetters 30km race in 2007.

There were going to be a large contigent from Singapore, especially after hearing positive feedback about this race. A large group from SAFRA Running Club and SgRunners were known to have set off for the race on Friday and Saturday morning. I chose to drive up to KL this time, and had DO, Yean and Uncle Lim join me. We set off on Saturday 5am for the 4-5hour journey to the Coranade Hotel in KL. I was nursing a quite a bad case of COLD, and my nose was still blocked and uncomfortable. Otherwise, we had a pretty smooth journey along the North-South Highway.

Pre Race

We reached the hotel by 10am, very smooth, thanks to the earlier recce trips by Yean :). While waiting for check in, we got started quickly on our carbo-loading fiesta. First up was breakfast of nice wonton noodles at Lor Alor, a very 'happening' food street near to our hotel. We bumped into the SgRunner's group that went by train....a large group indeed. I was feeling quite sick and sleepy already, and since Alvin was also not feeling too well, we went for for some kuai lin kou at a nice Liong Char Poh. I even had a special concoction for my cold. The 4 of us then went for a sumptious lunch of Bak Koot Teh at Jln Imbi. That was another very nice place for food, esp. Bak Koot Teh. On the way back to the hotel, the SAFRA MF group arrived and they spotted us crossing the road. After check in, I was so tired I fell asleep....and only awoke to a call on my hp by Yean. Apparently, they were meeting for dinner. again...haha.

We met at the lobby, took a short walk to hotel malaya where the SAFRA gang was, and proceeded to Jln Alor for a very nice Tze Char dinner. There were about 26 of us, occupying 2 tables....the boss of the Tze Char stall was a happy man. Heavy rain came while we were waiting for our food...we were so fortunate to be seated in a nice place, just waiting for the food. We had so much to eat that my tummy was bursting. That topped the day's worth of feasting, and before heading straight back to the hotel, Brokie, Cokiee, DO and I decided we needed to 'walk off' some of the food.

Race Day

I awoke at 4am, took a slice of bread and coffee, got changed, and went down with DO to meet the rest for our bus journey to Lake Garden, the start point of the race. We met so many familiar faces on the way, and it felt like we were doing a local race in Singapore. We were warned by Alan Chao and Lai Chee of the many slopes to expect, especially the 2 loops of double-hill. We were flagged off at about 6am, and after some shuffling at the start, I was able to break free and run at a leisurely pace, taking time for my nose to clear and conserving energy for the hills. Many of the SAFRA runners have zoomed ahead. We came to double-hill and I tackled it very agression. I was still trying to find my comfort zone, while my mouth was dry due to the medication I took the previous night. I took sips of gatorade water from my water belt to ease the throat. The weather was very cool, after an evening of showers, and we were running in the dark most of the time. I was told later we actually ran the hill loop twice, but I certainly didn't feel it. There were a lot of downslopes that followed....arghh, I was so concerned that my knees would suffer from the jarring on the way down....

I passed quite a number of runners as the race progressed, and after I got warmed up. I always start a lot slower, and try to catch up as the race progresses and the crowd thins. There were no distance markers, and other than the ribbons given out to indicate us passing a certain point, I had no idea how much I had run at all. The elapsed time wasn't accurate as we were running to many slopes, both up and down. It was only when I entered the long road that I saw the front runners emerging on the other side...first the Kenyans, then tha very fast local runners. Up along the way, I spotted many SAFRA Runners like Ricci, Alan, Ronnie, small Chua, David. They were all doing very well. As I ran on, I realized there was a long distance in where they came out from...wah, they were wah ahead of me...I must have been to slack...haha. I picked up speed from that point on to catch up, stopping for the free Powergel. I paced the girl in chopchop who was running near me most of the way from the 5km mark. There were times she went ahead, and other times, I moved up.

Out on the other side of the long road, Cokiee shouted that there was about 10km to go...hmm. I waved to many others that were coming in from the other side, and along the various uphills, I overtook quite a number of tiring runners. The chopchop was still running strong, and I decided to maintain a gap of about 50m from behind. She must have been in the standings in for ladies category, as they maintained a good steady speed. With about 7km to go, she hasten the pace and moved further ahead to a 100m gap. I was still conserving my energy, waiting for the second double-hill (that never came). As I ran up the long slope, I was maintained pace, and still had reserves. Soon it was down to only about 2km, and I overheard someone mentioned we were at the end of the last slope. The marshall told me it was just 2km to go. When I realized there were no more double-hill, I decided to let it go. Time check was 2hr26min. As my muscles were tightening, I was careful not to overstrain less I get cramps of the final stretch. Maintaining a steady pace, I cruised home, making sure I get a nice clear-angled photo taken this time (for the cert)...:). The time on my watch showed 2hr39min....was glad to finish it below 2hr45min, and not suffering any symptoms of the flu nor having leg problems.

Post Race

Collected a nice finisher's medal, T-Shirt and goodie bag. I went straight for the Milo station and downed 4 cups of ice-cold milo. That was followed by 3 cups of Powerbar recovery drink. And then 4 pieces of, they were so good. I went around chatting with people, and finding out how everyone did. All those I knew finished strongly and enjoyed the run, pointing out that the challenging route and nice post-race makan were key positives. The SAFRA gang did extremely well. I was proud of the progress that they have all made. With our SAFRA Running tops, we did attract a lot of attention from other runners, and even the PaceSetters organizers. They spoke with us for quite a bit, and also gathered some feedback. Lots of group photos were taken, followed by more post-race food.

We went back to the hotel at 11am, and after wash-up, 9 of us SgRunners and Uncle Lim went for a well-deserving coca steamboat was yummilicious. 2 hours of good food, nice conversations and some gossip...hehe followed, all while being served protein-rich food, great for recovery. A few of us were seen visiting the toilets a few times...haha. The 4 of us who drove in, departed at 4pm and reached Singapore at 9pm...quite a smooth journey back as well. Those who travelled back by coach reached Singapore at about 10pm. The SAFRA gang stayed on for another day of revelry, and I heard they were to be taken to the largest disco in KL. It was a fruitful, enjoyable, and stomach-filling trip...hope to do this again next year!

After a good night's sleep, my flu has gotten better this morning. I have no aches whatsover...wah, I must have really been relaxed and enjoying the run....haha, what a slacker! I just love the feeling.

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