There are many things that can run through your mind when you are standing at the starting line of a 50k race at 1 in the morning. Why am I doing this? How did I get here? Why are there so many other people here as crazy as me? Did I train enough? Am I ready? I was thinking about all of this but the dominant thought in my head at the start of this race was: Did I lock the car? Then about 2km into the race I figured if I left my car unlocked it wouldn’t matter.
Then I remember that my wallet was in the car.
Then I remember that in a moment of brilliance, I left the keys in the car and only took the fob with me in order to safe space in my bag. So yeah. That was the thought bouncing around in my head for the first 10km or so.
After that, my thoughts turned to the normal thoughts one has when running a long race, which is pretty much everything you can think of, at least until your thoughts turn to quitting.
But we are not there yet. Let’s go back to the beginning. Wait, let’s go back further. About 1 year or so ago I ran a marathon in Singapore and I hated it. The heat was just unbearable. It got so bad that I was drinking water from abandoned water bottles I found along the route. That kind of bad. It took me a long time to get over that and get up the desire to run again. Once I found it, I signed up for a 50km race because really, if you can run 42km an extra 8 doesn’t matter. Also, I kept missing the sign up dates for the KL marathon and the famous bridge marathon in Penang. So I signed up for this race without really looking into it. It billed itself as the toughest road race in Malaysia but other then that I did not really look into it too much. It wasn’t until about two months ago that I realized it started at 1am. Gulp indeed.
And because of a back injury and my parent’s visiting, I did not get a chance to train as I would have liked. So I crammed 6 months of training into about 3 months. Gulp again.
The course is considered difficult because it is essentially two hills. One steep and short, and one big and long. Yeah, lots of fun.
As we were listening to the instructions from the race organizer’s it started to pour. Like really pour, like it seems to do every day here in Malaysia this time of year. So far, not off to a good start. There was a nice moment before we lined up. Another racer, I suspect a 250km racer (!) judging by how tired he looked, came in for a pit stop. When he got up to start running again everyone gave him a mighty cheer.
By the time we lined up to start racing the rain had cleared. It would only sprinkle a few times when we were running so the weather did not prove to be much of an issue.
This was a hard race for me. I considered quitting a few times before I reached the turn around point because that big long hill was brutal. Once I got to the turn around point though I worked up my nerve and kept going. I said that I would make it to the next rest area before I quit.
But then I started running download for the firs time in 3 hours. It was amazing. It was so amazing. Joyous is the word I use to describe it. All my troubles and concerns about not finishing went flying out the door. I was going to finish, no doubt about that!
And I did. I did finish. I stopped a few times when dawn broke to take some photos of the amazing surroundings. It was the first time seeing anything, since it was pretty pitch black running in the middle of the night in the jungle.
The fallout: Well for the next two days every time I closed my eyes I could still see the bouncing lights of everyone’s safety lights and headlamps. That was pretty much all you could see in the middle of the night in the jungle. I got a nice little bruise on my forehead from the headlamp rubbing against it for 7 hours. And I was tired. Very tired. But overall not bad.
My time was not great. I have had to get used to being a lot slower running in this heat. My marathon in May, right here in KL, I am going to shoot for 5-5.5 hours. That is really low for me. My PR in the marathon is 3:52. But like I always say, IT’S REALLY HOT IN MALAYSIA!
That’s all for now. We have not done a lot of exploring and traveling, and therefore have not posted about it on here, because most Saturdays I have been training. That will continue for a little bit but we have some exciting trips planned for this year so far. In April Iris is going to Ho Chi Minh city with some friends. (I have to work) Then we are both going to Australia for 9 days. (Koalas and the Great Barrier Reef!). In August Iris is going back to The States for a month and I am going to Cambodia for a few days. (Phnom Penh). In October Iris and I are both going to Cambodia, this time to Seim Reap to see Angkor Wat. After that, we are thinking of going to Japan/South Korea or someplace cold in December. We’ll see! I am sure there will be other trips inside Malaysia on a few of our long weekends too because Malaysia loves holidays!