Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Newton New Year Challenge 2012 – 12km


Date: 1 January 2012

Venue: Bandar Kinrara, Selangor, Malaysia

Distance: 12km (Garmin: 10.85km)

Timing: 55:03 (Gun); 54:41 (Chip); 54:44 (Garmin)

Pace: 5:02 min/km (Garmin)

Result: 2nd (Women’s Veteran) (results below)

 









Nothing like a run to start off the year, eh? At least that’s the excuse most of us were “presenting” when asked on the need to cut short New Year’s Eve celebration in lieu of rest and zzz. I was iffy on doing the event since the quads were still sore when I woke up on Sunday – obviously the Shake the Gremlins out run and lounging around the house in the name of resting on Saturday DID NOT help one IOTA. Game plan was to take it easy and not blow up in the first half. The nerves were jittery, extremely jittery the whole weekend – look, hearing about killer hills from everyone who did the inaugural event in 2010 and test runs did not help. Amy and Fiona were worried when they saw me in the morning. I would be too if I saw how ghastly pale and downtrodden I looked.

Know something…the sore quads and the often-drilled-into-my-mind killer hills kept the pace in check. The strategy worked: no expectations, go easy.

Km1-2

Started in the middle of the pack as it was extremely crowded and I couldn’t move any further front. Good. Won’t get caught up with the race leaders and you’re unlikely to be passed (huge morale knockdown) or at least few would pass you. You’re running your own race instead. I slowly inched forward, keeping the pace easy and was passing runners (Indra at km2 I think).

Sitting down recollecting my thoughts post-race, I can’t for the life of me remember that giant hill that everyone was “raving” about.

Km3-6.5

The cover of darkness (race started at 6:30 am) worked well because optical illusion meant I could hardly scare my wits out with the inclines and there were a few here, even a long-ish one. Or was it a few? There were 2 hydration stations up to this point (check point). I passed Pei Leng just after the check point which was an incline.

Km7-9

See there are pros for hilly runs – long downhill at km 9. My prayers were answered! These mid miles (previous section included) were boring on the scenic side for those of you looking for a picturesque route since they were stretches of felt-like-a-never ending road with some houses on the sides occasionally.

I can't for the life of me figure out where this was but it looks like a long downhill. Photo credits to Victor Chong.

Km9-11

Back onto the main road heading to Bandar Kinrara – flattish – me no likey and kept wishing for another downhill. Now tell me where I can register for a net downhill event?! I heard Fortuna and St George are downhills all the way…too bad it’s half the world away. I was literally counting down the gas stations on the main road for the turnoff to Kinrara 5 (race start/finish); plus eliminating/reducing the possibility of being roadkill. One more hill to crest after the turnoff and ironically I was wishing (and praying fervently!) for a downhill. Who doesn’t anyway. At this point, thinking I had another 2km to go, I didn’t think it was wise to push the pace – I can probably hold it for 1km but not 2 (I’m working on it!). Imagine my surprise and utter disbelieve when the finishing point came out. Dang! I could have shaved off a few seconds there from that 55 min since I had some in the tank (from starting and holding a conservative pace throughout). Hey, 54 looks more impressive than 55, right? Let’s not get too full of ourselves and hope for 53, 52, 51 or even a 4x.

Pros:

a) Early start = cooler temps and optical illusion. Plus less traffic since there were no road closures.

b) Plentiful of parking nearby which brings me to the point of why a lot of people continue to park on the road shoulders on BOTH sides of the road.

c) Pretty good post-race traffic management – cross the line and you’re given the finisher’s medal and a bottle of water. Further on, you can queue up for isotonics and Milo.

d) Carnival/expo at the site – Flippers and 2XU set up booths.

e) Great volunteers and support crews. I gathered from Tey that they waited for the last runner to come in, some 4.5 hours after the start.

f) Time chipped.

Cons:

a) Overall, I didn’t think this event was that well managed. It all started out with the race bib collection – Friday and Saturday the week before and the Saturday before the race. Now, granted that the previous weekend was Xmas, surely they could have found non-Xmas celebrants to man the booth, even for a few hours? Friday was out for me since it would have been a nightmare to fight traffic, first, getting into Mid Valley (race collection at 2XU Gardens) and second, finding parking as I’m sure a lot of you would attest. The horror of all horrors: one good hour for each was a few friends’ comments. Next up, the race pack collection booth could have been opened earlier, say 10 am instead of 11am – same opening times as the 2XU shop and mall.

b) Back to the race. No hydration available pre-race. Zilch. Nada. Some of us had warmed up and were looking to re-hydrate and they had none. In the end, after more than a few requests, they started pouring out water into paper cups at the Secretariat. Of course, given the haphazard and last minute set up, there was overcrowding at the ONE table. So what gives about hydrating yourself well pre, during and post race? Add warm up to pre-race.

c) Organizers of races would need to obtain some sort of a local authority (and police?) permit for events and engage them for traffic control etc, wouldn’t it make sense to work with the local council to ensure that all the street lamps along the route were lit? I run in my Vibrams and was so afraid of misstepping on rocks, pebbles or a pothole (typical Malaysian road conditions – I dare anyone who claims otherwise!). Even if I was fully shod, that last item would still be a worry.

d) I won’t term this last item a con but there have been some comments on the lack of a goodie bag given how “expensive” the race fees were (comparatively). I think they were between RM50-60? I’m always of the view that you pay to run a well organized event and partake in the camaraderie rather than “earn your keep” in a goodie bag. Your thoughts?

e) The prize presentation area seemed like another last minute set up – they only started to out the Newton banners, stagebox closer to 9 am……………………………….immediately after the finishing chute. So now you’ve slower runners coming in right smack into the cluster of people gathering at the prize presentation.

The hastily set up stage

Photo log (photo credits to Fiona, Sharon Chow and Dannie Choong as well):



3 comments:

Mohd Ikhwan Mazlan said...

congrat!!!.. can i have a link to the photo album by elaine?.. (sen@a new runner)

Sue's Ramblings said...

Thanks. The pic came from Victor Chong: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1221651540#!/media/set/?set=a.3070661005126.2164019.1221651540&type=3

Mohd Ikhwan Mazlan said...

Thanks a lot.. you such a strong runner.. I just started running about 6 months ago.. really don't know much about this sport.. :)