Category Archives: #running

Race Report: Penang Bridge International Marathon 2014

Penang Bridge Marathon will be my third full Marathon. And in 2014, it will be the first time the Penang Bridge Marathon to be held at the new Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge, or more known as Penang 2nd Bridge. It was longer, and supposedly more challenging, as the bridge will expose runners longer to the wind and open water.

Standing at the starting line, I don’t have much expectation. The bridge itself will be so boring I thought. And boredom is what killed a marathon runner, as your negative thought will start to pop up. In fact, I was expecting not to finish before the 7 hours cut off time, and going to be picked up by the cut off bus.

Lets Get The Race Started
The Starting Line of Penang Bridge Marathon 2014

“I’m not going to run the Penang Bridge Marathon”, I told Grace, my wife, 2 months ago after a disappointing performance at Half Marathon race at BII Maybank Bali Marathon. Few weeks later, I told myself that probably it is because of the challenging elevation gain in Bali that hurt my performance. So I run another Half Marathon at Jakarta Marathon, only again to finish with disappointing result. I was 30 minutes slower than my fastest Half Marathon time.With this performance, I don’t think I will be able Penang Bridge Marathon in 7 hours cut off time.

So, I just enjoyed myself and let the music trigger the adrenaline release in my system. I don’t really chat a lot, preferring to calm my mind. My friend was out of sight, after we separate for them to drop their bag. I just digest the fireworks that they throw few minutes before flag off. It was beautiful, and really prepared my thought into the race.

“It’s all going to be OK”, I told myself as the gun shot mark the start of Penang Bridge Marathon 2014. Slowly, I move forward and start a jog once I pass the startling line.

Penang Bridge Marathon 2014: What Did I Do Right, or Wrong?

The Bridge Icon
The Icon of Penang Bridge

Today is 1 week after Penang Bridge Marathon. My leg has almost recovered, but the memory of the run still linger on my mind. The marathon is so enjoyable, being so quiet on Penang Bridge in the middle of the ocean, made more surreal with the street lights.

More importantly, I was so in control with my pace. Walking to the starting line with the thought that I will not reach the finish line within the 7 hour cut off time, I manage to pace myself so that I reach the half marathon mark still feeling fresh. There are only slight pain on my leg, but other than that, my breath and heart rate is very much under control.

I run the second half with confidence to make a new personal best of marathon run. And I did clip almost full 10 minutes faster than my previous marathon.

So, in the last 3 days, I can’t stop to think, what I did right days before and during the run? And what to improve to finish in less time for my next marathon, if I’m going to run another one?

So, here is the list.

What did I do right in Penang Bridge Marathon?

  1. Proper food. Yes, the proverb is right, you are what you eat. After a not so great medical check up result, I started to pay attention to what I eat in the last 2 weeks before the run. In particular, I start to consume coconut water, vanilla rooibos tea and replace my snack of fried food with fruits.
  2. Endurance training. Different with my former marathon training, I run more half marathon during my training. Sometimes I run 2 half marathon in 2 consecutive weeks. Each run focus on endurance training: slower speed with lower heart rate. This training sacrifice my speed in race of half marathon or less distance, but it pay off during full marathon run
  3. Nibble during the run. This is an advice that was given my a friend, an ultra runner. Instead of finishing a bread in one go, try to nibble it in a small chunk. It didn’t make me bloated and make your throat dry. Yet, at the same time, nibbling will give constant supply of carbohydrate as energy source. I nibble my bread from km 28 up to 38. It is also help to pass the time.
  4. Keep your heart rate under control. This means that you run slower to achieve target heart rate, giving illusion that you will finish mich longer. But, it will prevent the exhaustion and drop in speed at the later part of the race. I reach the half marathon mark in 3 hours in my previous marathon, compared to 3:15 in Penang Bridge Marathon. Yet, I finish almost 10 minutes faster than my previous marathon
Sunrise On Penang Bridge
Sunrise on the horizon, as runners march toward the finish line

What Should I Improve for my Next Marathon?

  1. Do non-running training. In particular, I feel that I need to do more weight training, and improve my core muscle strength. Swimming is a good exercise that will develop core and upper body strength necessary to improve running endurance
  2. More mileage. I did one 100km/month project in June. Instead of one time project, I need to be more consistent to achieve 100km running per month
  3. Include speed training. Endurance training will decrease your speed. So, to be faster, you need to include speed training along with endurance training.
Eventually, all the improvement will need significant amount of time to put in place. Am I able to commit the time necessary for the training? That is the question that I have to answer before deciding to run another marathon.
Penang Marathon Official Result
My Official Result of Penang Bridge International Marathon 2014

My Treadmill: The Road of Jakarta

I have been running since 2001, but only on 2011 I started to run outdoor, on the street of Jakarta. Why I started late to go out and run on the road of Jakarta is because of the obvious reason: How can someone run on a very polluted air like in Jakarta, and on the road that is lined up with pothole and full of motorcycle?

But, once I started, I never look back. These days, I can barely survive more than 20 minutes on treadmill, while on the road, I can run for hours. The road of Jakarta has become my gym.

So, can you really run and train on the air that is polluted as in Jakarta? The answer is yes! Many people do that. Some even participate in international event, such as Berlin Marathon, New York Marathon, or Ironman Triathlon.

And to tackle the road issue, do some advance planning. Start small, around your house, and familiarize yourself with the surrounding road. Which road is less crowded? Go into small road around the housing complex if possible. Even a road construction project can pose a nice concrete for running, as in the picture below.

This is my gym
From top left clockwise: A small path in a village near BSD. Road construction project with a concrete slab good enough for a run. A new paving for pedestrian. A small path lined up with Banana Tree

Race Report: Sundown Marathon 2013 – No Longer Marathon Virgin

It was long detour. After the 36km mark, the course lead us heading to Singapore Flyer. The water station that we pass has run out of paper cup, so we took turn to drink from plastic jug. The pain in my feet has creped up to my right knee. Due to my weak Achilles Tendon, my knee has to take up the load of the running since the last 8km, and now it starts to complain. Not want to risk serious injury and worst, not able to finish, I resorted to walk even more.

Passing km 39 mark, I feel water trickling from above. It has started to rain, early in the morning, making the weather colder. The rain made the road more slippery, slowing me down even more. It is hard to walk on a dry road with weak knee, let alone running. Fortunately, the rain didn’t last long. Going into km 40, the rain has completely gone.

The sky has turned from dark to blue by the time I passed 41 km mark. I glanced at my watch. I have been running for over 6 hour, which is my initial goal. If I can pick my pace a bit, I can still make it to the finish line of my first marathon under 7 hours, and hopefully still beating the sunrise. For the next 1 km, I got another second wind, something that long distance runner wish they can have and maintain. The pain in my knee disappear, or rather subdued by excitement.

Medals and Finisher T-Shirt. No longer Marathon Virgin

Then come the finish line, the mark that will end the 7 hour ordeal. In a few minutes I can call myself a marathon

er. I can go home and tick one item from my bucket list. At the same time, I concentrating to put one foot in front of the other, and smile as I pass the finish gate. Later I found out from the finish photo that it was a rather ugly smile on a tired face.

I glanced at my clock, 6:59:59. Somehow I made it under 7 hour. I put on the T-shirt that they give to everyone, then leave to hotel for a good shower and sleep. Written on the back of my T-Shirt: 42.195k Finisher.


Race Report: Sundown Marathon 2013 – No Man’s Land

After well over 3 hours, I crossed into my personal no man’s land. It the distance beyond 25k mark, my longest run prior to the marathon. Three months ago, I run my first 25k in the morning, and almost collapse in the evening due to low blood sugar while walking at a shopping mall. Can I survive another 17k, and not collapsing during or after the run few hours later?

I took another shoot of Gu Gel at the next water station, and gulp 2 glass of water. By this time, what was suppose to be a running race has become a walk race. Many people have resorted to walking. In fact, by alternating between walking and running, I passed few runners.

Closing to 32k mark, the pain is more and more unbearable. During my training, I train to land with my forefeet, but now it is become impossible. The Achilles Tendon on the back of my leg has become weak. What brings me up to this point is remarkable cheers from race marshals. In the middle of silence between the sea on the left and forest to the right, the words of encouragement has helped us to push forward. One of them even say: “I suppose that it is a running race. Why are you all walking?” I’m sure had this happen earlier in the race, that man will be thrown to the ocean.

The East Coast Park is officially end at somewhere around 33k mark. From here, Singapore Flyer that marks the finish line was visible towering the night sky. Having the finish line in front of me infuse some energy, so I picked up the pace a bit. But alas, this is not for long. The first detour was after 34k mark where we run along the river away from Singapore Flyer. For a moment I stopped and cursed. I snapped a picture of Singapore Flyer, out of boredom and pain, then push forward.

Singapore Flyer, from 34km Mark of Singapore Sundown Marathon 2013