Venue: Taman Chi Liung, Klang, Malaysia
Distance: 5km (Garmin: 4.75km)
Timing: 23:27 minutes or 4.56 min/km (yippee!)
Position: 3rd in Women’s Open (should have gunned for the Veteran category and would probably be one up)
I did not know if I could race this – shorter distances are inevitably more difficult since there is hardly any room to catch up if you start slow. Besides, Michael had put me through a drop set workout the previous day and then there was the stress of navigating to the race venue. I started about 50-100 meters behind the speedy veteran Susan Khoo and her daughter, Kim, and kept them in sight for most of the race. There were also three girls in my category ahead of me and my initial thought was to maintain the pace, keep them in sight and if the tank wasn’t empty towards the second half, to move ahead. The girl in front of me overtook the 3rd running girl mid way but they slowed down after that. I moved in (it was not easy) and eventually managed to hold them off. Soon, the men veteran guys came barreling down (yes, it can get demotivating to have someone who started later than you overtaking and sprinting ahead like it was a piece of cake!). I ran with Unc Wah Sing and Daniel (like for 2 seconds! LOL!) at or after this point. Just as soon as the race started, the padang and finishing chute came quickly and became visible. So 5km done and dusted and in excellent timing. Great start to 2011!
a) A small local race with all the humdrum, cozy and close-knit neighbourhood feel.
b) Flat as pancake although I do think that flattish routes can work to a disadvantage since you need to go faster without the declines to help you along.
c) Absolutely fabulous timing – a sub-5 min average pacing.
d) The ladies categories were flagged off first and hence zero congestion or having to weave around the crowds.
e) Low registration fee of RM20 (or was it RM25?) and you get a New Balance tee and finisher medal.
f) Plentiful opportunities to hit the lucky draw given the small crowd and the draw prizes weren’t too shabby – food hampers from the local supermart, bicycles from the bike shop, tupperwares from the neighbourhood distributor, the grand prize of a washing machine from the local electrical shop (yes, they actually brought it to the padang!). Kei Ming received a food hamper (and probably does not need to go grocery shopping at Tesco for the coming week!) while Chen Pong Pong snagged some tupeprwares.
g) Volunteers stationed at the critical road junctions; there were plenty of these since we were basically running around the neighbourhood.
h) I managed to catch up with a few friends – Suresh, Kei Ming, Stanley and Chen Pong Pong and got to know more than a few new ones – YS Lee, Daniel, Unc Wah Sing (the local hero of barefoot running).
i) Lovely finisher’s trophy – it looks like the Oscar! Plus the New Balance RM100 voucher more than made up for the navigation mess (see below).
j) On the dot timing for everything – start, lucky draws and prize presentation. In fact, I think we finished about 20 minutes before the scheduled close of 9:30 am. Now those of you who have been to runs would know how annoying it can be to hang or stand around waiting and waiting. I was back home and showered by 10:30 am and had the rest of the day to myself.
a) Getting there! For both the collection of the swag and race! Thank goodness I had made allowance for getting lost and navigating my-first-time-being-in-Klang. Even so, I was this close to swearing and cussing and turning around. I figured if I did not find the awfully-difficult-to-locate Taman Chi Liung by 6:45 am (I got into Klang at 6 am), I would join Ronnie for his track training. Well at least I wasn’t alone in this respect; Dannie told me later on that even though he’s from Klang, Taman Chi Liung can be pretty obscure and off the radar screen (my apologies for you Taman Chi Liung folks). Suresh, another local, concurred.
b) Partial road closure – some thing I have never liked but at least in this race, it was manageable since we were running around the neighbourhood where the traffic is low (especially at 7+ am on New Year’s Day when everyone is probably sleeping off their hangover). Nonetheless, there was one instance when I nearly became roadkill when I ran in front of a car – indecisiveness on both our parts on which lane to take. But for all that, the volunteers and Rela guys did a fantastic job holding up traffic when I came through.
c) Ok, this could be either a good or bad point – since we were running in the neighbourhood…a dog came out and started barking at Unc Wah Sing and then Daniel and when it came to my turn, he not only barked but moved at least 10 paces towards me! So apart from being a possible roadkill, I was also in line for foodkill! Ah but the great thing was it made run faster at that stretch!