Thursday, November 20, 2008

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2008

I'm sorry it took me a while to blog about this. To be honest, i haven't had more than 10 hours of sleep for the pass 3 days that i ended up sleeping in the exam hall this morning. My lecturer was nice enough to woke me up tho ;p

I started my journey from hostel at about 8.30A.M and finally arrived at Butterworth around 1.45 P.M. The distance isn't that far actually, but when you're taking the bus, it involves a lot of waiting.

From the jetty, i took the ferry over and then the Rapid directly to Queensbay to collect my bib and my goodie beg.

The girls at the collection counter were really hot and the guys too were good looking but that didn't add any cream to the disappointing goodie beg. In fact, i think it's more appropriate to call it a plastic beg.

Women's Half-run Goodie Beg : T-shirt, Bib, Runner's guide, Digi Beg, DiGi pen, Toilet Seat Sanitizer, Chi-kit-teck-aun pills and tissue paper.
Men's Half-run Goodie Beg: T-shirt, Bib, Runner's guide, RM50 Adidas voucher, 10% Chocolate boutique voucher, Analgesic cream, Chi-Kit-teck-aun pills and tissue paper.

I seriously doubt if the organizers have problems with their mathematics because it was obvious that the value of goodie bags are somewhat imbalance.

I also think the graphic designers made a poor job in designing the banners.

I could hardly see the word "Penang Bridge International Marathon"! Plus, the number of DiGi Banners on the road side totally outshine the PBIM banners. It almost felt like it's DiGi International Run.

and the t-shirt looks almost similar to my high school's PE t-shirt.

What's with the small logo of Penang?!

After taking the goodie bag, i went to buy all the necessities i need for the marathon and was planning to have a high-carb dinner. Unfortunately, i was too tired, lose my appetite and only bought Auntie Anne's pretzels and egg tarts for dinner. That's nil carbohydrate.

Me and my friend had agreed to meet at 6.30 p.m at her place so i went to wait for the bus at around 5.30 p.m. Like I say, taking the bus (or public transportation for that matter) involves a lot of waiting and my bus didn't came till 2 hours later. I was tempted to use the taxi but that would ripped RM 20 off my pocket and I was on a tight budget. So, i waited for the bus and only arrived at my friend's place at 8.30 P.M. Needless to say, I was exhausted. I had been carrying my backpack with my laptop for almost 9 hours!!

I had the food i tapau-ed plus two KFC chicken my friend bought. We rested a while and it was not long after that i found myself in toilet having a major explosion of diarrhea. I came out of the toilet rather weak and had to rush to pack my stuff because by 9.40 P.M , i had to leave to Queensbay Mall. My friend is volunteering so i had to go early. My stomach was still not feeling alright so i went to get myself diarrhea pills. I finished the whole thing before the run.

I camp in Coffee Bean the whole night together with the many runners. It was hard to choose a drink there because caffeine would cause dehydration and i didn't want drinks with milk as well. I finally settled for the tea and only drank half of it because tea contains caffeine too, just lower.

Funny thing was that, the mall was close for public that night.I mean, it's logic to think that the mall should be open for public to use the toilet right? So since i couldn't use the toilet in the mall, i went to the nearest mobile toilet. It was close so i went to another but it was also close. I could not sight any toilet anymore and i went to the information center and asked the volunteers. Only to have them reply me " I don't know, I don't know." and did NOTHING to help.

I didn't had anything for breakfast, except two bananas, two Power Bar and yogurt drink. The only food available there was nasi kandar which is a big no-no for my stomach condition and i didn't have any appetite as well.

It was around I got bored waiting in Coffee Bean and went outside. There were quite a number of interesting performances but I was so turned off with how the organizers shooed them without respect when the full-marathon was about to begin.

I registered an hour earlier cause I was really sleepy and tired of the waiting. Upon registering, you'll be given the yellow wrist band and when you finished half of your run, they'll give you the orange one. That's Huai Bin's registration card by the way. He couldn't make it - No, he didn't chicken out. He's got a good reason ;p

The men's half run was scheduled to start at 4.30a.m while the women at 5 a.m. However, the lack of management made the women go along with the men at 4.30 a.m and only to be called back after 20 minutes or so. Thankfully tho', i didn't ran along.

Finally it was my turn to run. It didn't took me long before i arrive at the bridge. My initial plan was to run at a faster pace at the bridge but the plan was all crushed when the bridge was so hilly! Yes, all the time we had always thought the bridge to be flat right? It's only when you run on it, you know how hilly it is. Plus the fact that the wind was so strong made running a lot harder. It was almost like doing some superwoman thing, running-against-the-wind.

However, I was still quite confident I could finish the run in time for the pace that i kept for the first half of the run. The house music playing on my mp3 helped a lot and I was the leading 200 runners. Only, until the nightmare came. My toes started to chafe. I had forgotten to put vaseline there! I still continued running but the pain were excruciating and I stopped the St. John to asked for plasters. Only to have them answered me " We don't have plasters. We only have ice.". Holy cow, so they only expected people to have cramps?! And to have St. John saying they don't have plasters is like going to KFC and have them say they don't have chicken.

The problem didn't stop just there. Even after running half of the bridge, I still could not sight any water or sponging stations. I was starting to feel dehydrated because the sun is up. Out of the 11 water stations they planned, there was only THREE on the day itself. Seriously, someone could die with the hot sun and lack of water. There was no sponging stations at all for half-marathoners!

It was around 7 a.m, i realized i can not make it in time for the finishers medal because i was stopping a lot and i lost my pace but i still really wanted to finish the run. My toes was killing me, I was dehydrated and the next thing is I hit-the-wall. It was just simply impossible for me to run anymore even with the loudest house music playing. But sweeper bus was still out of the question and i was determined to finish the marathon.

I walked the rest of the course and seriously thought of committing suicide at the bridge. Coz when you're tired, you think of crazy stuff and the finishing line was still really, really far. I still manage to walk up to the 23rd km, and time was running out and they asked the runners to take the sweeper bus because the road is going to be open to public so i took the bus and it took me to the 24km. Bugger, I still have to walk another 1km. I thought, if i didn't took the bus, i could have officially finish the marathon.

It is often said that marathon is not a competition with others but rather a race with yourself. With all the circumstances i faced - no food before the run, diarrhea, no sleep for three days ( i had exam, remember?) , no water, no training and I still manage to made it through 24 km, it's amazing. and to be honest even tho' i arrived really late, but I never gave up along the way and for that, I believed , I had finished the marathon.

This marathon is definitely not the first and the last. I am planning to join the KL International Marathon in Mac 2009! I think i really need a pedometer! My birthday is next week, any kind and rich readers? Haha!

* Food posts resumes tomorrow!
** Jess, thanks for arranging transport for me to the venue and for the accommodation!

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