I woke up at 5.15am. Woke up? Actually, I didn't sleep at all the whole night. I always feel the jitters when it comes to taking part in my targeted road races. Images of me running in the course keep playing in my mind. This normally affected my heart to beat harder than usual. But this problem will never occur if I take part in minor races as I treat them as another training.
After freshening up, I ate one pao and a snack bar with a bottle of sport drink before leaving our house.
At 6.15am, Wai Mun and I reached the Lake Garden. There were already many cars in the car park. We were lucky enough to find an empty lot near the children playground.
As we walked to the starting area, we met so many PACM members and friends. We wished each other good luck. To me, the event was more like a gathering instead of a serious competition.
With another 15 minutes to start, the organiser wanted us to check into the respective barricades according to our own estimated finishing time. Wai Mun and I went into the second barricade as we expected to complete within 65 to 90 minutes.
At 7.00am sharp, the gun fired and off we ran. As the course was ascending in the beginning, we were blocked by some slower runners. I was fine with my pace as I needed some time warm up. There were already some casualties on the first hill at the Deer Park.
After a while, I saw one big "1 KM" distance marker. Excellent job! It would certainly help us in our pacing. Upon reaching the Jalan Parlimen junction, noises could be heard as the kind and pretty cheering teams were busy cheering every runners on. My adrenalin was high and automatically I step up my pace. Fearing that I might lose steam, I overtook the ever-sexy and ever-fast-paced Li Sar, who was in red top today, without saying "hello". Sorry about that, Li Sar.
Then at the Bank Negara hill, I caught up with Agnes Tee who still had the chance to ask me if Wai Mun was running this morning. To which, I replied with a short "Yes and she is coming". In fact, at this point in time, my wife was probably trailing by one kilometre behind.
Kenny Hill was neither easy. I had to constantly monitor my pace by listening to my body. I was happy to just stick to 80% of my capabilities.
At the 5KM mark, my time was 23'05". I estimated that I should be able to finish in 69 minutes. Upon reaching the water station, I quickly grabbed a cup of water and swallowed it into my stomach.
I managed to overtake some runners on the flat road before reaching the dreadful Double Hill. I shortened my strides and tried running on my toe as much as possible on my way up the hill. There were some victims who chose to walk up the hill instead. I saw one tall African runner with an interesting hairstyle ala "Alleycats". As he was wearing a singlet with "SMK Cheras Perdana", I assumed he was a student from that secondary school.
Before arriving at the second of the Double Hill, I could see Siah struggling a little. Siah had beaten me by a good 4 minutes during the KLIM full marathon. I supposed the lack of training after the KLIM had slowed him down.
At 8KM mark, I believe I had caught my second wind and suddenly had this good feeling. I lengthened my strides and still felt comfortable. I reached 10KM mark at 46'34".
At the Wisma Tani, I suddenly saw one runner with a familiar running style - the toe running. Oh dear! What had happened to Justin? Is he hurt? As I ran pass him, he cheered me on and told me he has been over-training. I gave him a thumb up signaling that he should be alright and continue to complete his run.
At this juncture, I was in an intense competition with the popular Ironman-cum-Powerbarman, Richard Tang. In fact, our race started since the second of the Double Hill. We had exchanged lead a couple of times. This guy is really good at the downhill. He literally rolled down the hill. Meanwhile, I had an upperhand on the uphill. Thanks to my recent hill training.
Upon reaching the Jalan Parlimen and Lake Garden junction, with the full support of Tomoko and her children and friends and Kelvin Ng's do re mi, I decided to increase my tempo and surged ahead. However, it was not long as Richard overtook me again.
As we turned into the Seri Carcosa hill, we both ran pass KK Onn and Azwar. The much-improved Azwar was kind enough to cheer me on, "John. Go. John". He then added, "From the shadow, I could tell it's you". I knew he was laughing at the way I swing my hand while running. "The helicopter style", he always says. "Ok, Mr Azwar. You don't like me when I'm angry". Zooooom, and he was nowhere to be seen.
I pushed hard on the downhill before entering the Lake Garden. Surprisingly, Richard didn't follow me anymore. With 400 metres to go, I gave my final shot and pushed myself all the way to the finishing line.
By the way, as I was crossing the line, I raised both my hands and then gave a flying kiss on my second and third fingers. I had rehearsed this many times in my "sleep". I hope the photographer would do a good job!
And, finally, my time was .......(insert a drum beating sound effect)....
I managed to cut down 3 minutes from last year's time!
Meanwhile, my dearest wife, Wai Mun also came back with a PB of 1:15:48!
What a great day for two of us!