Sunday, April 14, 2013

MWM Race Report Part 2

My earlier post did not include the route and elevation maps for your studying as I didn't want to sound soooooo long-winded. You may scroll down to the relevant section of this post if you want to avoid the non-running related photos. :)

Saturday, 6th April 2013 - The day before Race Day

I arrived pretty late to pick up my race pack, but it didn't matter as I was still in time for the pasta party AND the opportunity to chat with our Very Important People. 

The pasta served was from Ben's: Sun-dried tomato spaghetti and Wild mushroom spaghetti. There were also fruit kebabs (on a satay stick and iced lemon tea.

It was a warm evening but the crowd had fun with the brief entertainment from Joanne Kam.

I only had 3 small servings of pasta as I didn't feel like eating although I was pretty hungry!

Had a cupcake too, while I was at it. But as I was chatting with Sue (of Couple On The Run and Partnerunning), I delayed gobbling up my cupcake for fear of having black bits stuck between my teeth. Didn't want her to stare at them as I yakked away. :D

Top photo: With Sue O'Brien / Bottom photo: With Kathrine Switzer.

With some crazy fast runners who were our volunteers on Race Day.

For convenience, I checked in at a nearby hotel to avoid the traveling to and from KL to Shah Alam in the wee hours of the morning.

The Tree Boutique Hotel was just less than a 5 minute drive away from I-city. I took, but it was still a bit more spacious than one of the rooms in Value Hotel I had previously stayed in Singapore.

Check out the canvas print of a tree on the wall!

I never switched on the TV during the whole time I was there!

Decent size. At least there was hot water!

I bumped into two Taiwanese girls who were checking in that night. The recognised my MWM race pack whereas I recognised their Taiwanese race bag (see the maroon bag 3 photos up). I asked them whether they were here for MWM and one of them eagerly nodded her head.

Well, I did my best to converse properly in Mandarin, but I hesitated a lot as I'm not very confident speaking Mandarin with people who speak 'proper' proper Mandarin. So I would speak English for a bit, then swapped back to Mandarin. I was quite terrified they'd laugh at my poor pronunciation!

Anyway, both Bobo and Jo came all the way to run the MWM half marathon. Jo had come across the MWM event on Facebook/Internet and they decided to fly over to participate. Bobo is the friendly one and it was very easy to warm up to her immediately. We chatted about the Fubon Taipei Marathon where they have participated before (I can't recall which category). 

Oh and then she requested me to bang on their door to wake them before I left for my marathon.


They did balk when I said I'd leave at about 3am and so I'd wake them then. :D

My new pair of GOrun 2 with lime yellow laces from the earlier pair. :D
Many thanks to Skechers Malaysia! xxoo

Preparing for Race Day
Besides laying out my gear for the night, I had to prepare a few things. First, the bottle of water which I planned to carry with me.

I deliberately bought two bottles with two different covers so I could swap them around. I wanted a small bottle but with a suction cap so I wouldn't fumble with the cover while drinking on the go.

The small bottle was soft and quite easy to grasp.

The Alpine water was bought just for the suction cap.

I decided to bring a bottle with me just to ensure I could add an electrolyte tablet to it.

I was quite worried about cramping, you see. That time of the month thingy had arrived. Arghhhh.

Next, it was planning my target time.

I took the opportunity to survey the route before picking up my race pack and so the conscience warned me of the hills to come. To be honest, some of them looked negligible but I took note, anyway. Any tiny slope would be a mountain once you're tired!

With hills in mind, I had decided on a realistic target of 4:45 instead of the earlier 4:30. With a 4:30 target, each 10KM must be completed in an hour and 5 minutes (1:05). But knowing that certain sections had some hills, I mentally adjusted the time to accommodate a decrease in my pace when conquering them.

For a 4:45, I needed to reach KM40 in 4:30 to achieve my target time.

[To make your own pace band, you can go to Marathon Guide.]

Then it was time to sleep.
I fell asleep at 9.45pm only to wake up at 10.30pm. Wide-eyed, I tossed and turned and tried to fall asleep again but to no avail.

The noise from the slamming doors and chatter outside the corridors would interrupt my attempts to sleep. I ended up checking my watch every 30minutes, horrified that I wouldn't be getting my planned 6 hours of rest.

Time was ticking away.

I eventually dozed after midnight and soon, the alarm woke me up rudely at 2.15am.

I wanted to sleep some more.

Groggy-eyed, I forced myself to wake up and prepare. Unlike other marathons, this time I had panadol, electrolytes, 4 power gels and a water bottle.

It was also Day 2 of That Time of The Month.

Elevation and Route Map for MWM

Click for a larger view

I do apologise for the messy notes.
  • Basically there was always at least one slope to conquer at every 5KM. I still think that KM17 and KM33 - KM38 proved to be the toughest. 
  • Looking back, I think I should have taken another gel at KM38 as I slowed down. Maybe that could have spurred me on!
  • Finishing strong is always of utmost importance. It doesn't matter if people overtake you during the 1st half of the run because as you slowly continue to chug along, you may find yourself catching up and overtaking them as they slow down during the 2nd half. You may want to say that it is gratifying in a selfish way, but think of it as you doing extremely well and your training is finally paying off!

Someone asked me about the elevation of the run and all I could say was that it was just like Brooks Half Marathon, but twice the distance.

Almost the same lah. :D

The Mental Challenge
There were only 3 things which bothered me before the start of the race:
1. the fear of bad cramps due to menses;
2. what if my left knee decides to bail out on me; and
3. how would I perform with barely 3 hours of sleep.

The 1st issue, I forced myself to be prepared as much as possible. Tampon, Panadol and electrolytes. I would not hesitate to take Panadol for tummy cramps if need be. My bottle of water with me was for electrolytes, hoping it would curb severe muscle cramps.

The 2nd issue, I told myself I would deal with it when it really bothered me. I opted to run without the knee guard because vanity preceded common sense. Hah! I wanted to look good without it.

The 3rd issue, I said, just let it be. I will run when I can, and slow down if I couldn't. Just keep running and don't stop.

Reading Scott Jurek's 'Eat & Run' proved to be an eye opener. So my last pep talk to myself before the race was, "Fek it, just run. It's all in your head."

"It's all mental, mental, mental!"

Come on, if I wanted to do an ultra trail run this year, I'd have to be strong in the mind, right? *pep talks self*

Judy also tipped me to run faster on the flats and downhill, a contrast to keeping your pace consistent all the time, as advised by most experienced marathoners. I took note of that. So, most of my flats and downhills were no more than 6:17 pace, just a wee bit faster than the intended marathon pace, but I would end up doing a 6:30 to 6:59 pace on inclines. That evened out the average pace.

But you know what?

Overall, it's almost 90% training and 10% everything else.

When I signed up for MWM, I knew what needed to be done - the time and commitment for clocking up the mileage. If I didn't have the time to train, I wouldn't have signed up for it. Setting a goal (i.e. 4:30) was something I looked towards and along the way during my training, I did have doubts about whether I was capable enough. Hence, the backup target of 4:45.

(I usually set 2 goals: the 1st one is something I really want to achieve, and the 2nd one is if shit happens, I'd better make it at this time, anyway.)

5KM time checks on the left, hill markings on the right!

But why I decided to swap back to my initial target for 4:30 when I was mentally prepared to go for 4:45, I don't know. I was going with my instincts and my instincts were telling me that my mind was bored with the pace, so please pick it up, will ya?

Oh yes. I think it was because the weather was fantastic! 
It was a cool morning for a lovely long run.

Friends commented that I was like a superstar, with photos of me showing up on their Facebook news feed non-stop that day. I said I surely wasn't a superstar, just that there were plenty of photographers covering up such a lovely boutique event just for women!

Also, I noticed how almost every picture was of me grinning from ear to ear til my cheeks hurt and my stupid thumbs up sign was starting to look pretty ridiculous!

The hubby asked, "So, you must be really happy, huh?" and I replied, "YES!!!"

"You should be," he remarked. "After the amount of self-doubt you stock up, that's good."

Sounds like what Lynn was telling me that day, about me and my low self-esteem and lack of confidence, yada yada yada! :D

I'm so glad I didn't burst into tears that day, but then again, I had none. I just wanted to hug everyone but had to refrain myself from doing so!

I did, however, wake up the next day with my face breaking into a smile as I recalled my achievement.

Awesome opossum!

p.s. Thank you for the compliments on my running dress! It was great as I had pockets on my back, like a cycling jersey. I stored my phone, key, cards, money, gels and iPod in them. I made sure I slathered Body Glide on my back and waistline to avoid chafing but somehow I missed a spot or two. My 1 piece of electrolyte and Panadol were stored in the front pocket of my tights, which meant I had to lift up the hem of my dress to remove them!

Related posts:

"You have to keep running to get better and faster." - such simple but wise words of Madam Lum and all my speedy running friends.


  1. Whoah.... technical lah...

    You had a great run with a great smile on. Congrats again!

    p.s. I'm so happy I know a femes runner. *wipe tears of gratitude*

    1. *wipe tears of laughter*
      femes, konon. LOL!
      anyways, the elevation map is for Femes Nick.

      and you, all the best for another 2.5 months of marathon training!! keep it up, k! eat hills for meals! :D

    2. Lina, if you asked CY and Zane, they'd tell you that Yvonne is really the femes one with people on the streets of FRIM all recognizing her this morning :D

      Whoa! The bloody elevation! Thank god the wife didn't join and make me her pacer! She would have finished before me ... hahaha!

    3. with plenty of water stations at every 2KM and good weather, you and wifey would have BLAZED through it easy peasy! don't think i don't know you'd prolly end up with 4:15 or something. :D

  2. Replies
    1. i think you would have adored Bobo. She was very bubbly and cute and young!! :D

  3. looks like you had a brilliant time! two thumbs up =)

    1. hey hey! i hope you are well!
      i hope to see you guys again in June when my schedule isn't so hectic! :)

  4. Congratz for your 14th placing n 4.31 timing, Vyonne... Keep on inspiring newbies like me, ya? Luv reading your race report entry... Very very helpful indeed... I've printed my Pace Band too for this Sunday's IOM... Super jittery feeling at this moment n U were right, it`s all about mental mental n mental! =D

    1. Hey! sorry this is late but i hope you aced IOM!! i heard there were hills and it was super hot? can't wait to read your race report. :)

      lol, you don't qualify as a newbie la, you've been running for so long!

      thanks for your kind words. :)
      see you at the next run!