Sunday, January 8, 2012

Multi Purpose Insurans Run 2012 Report

The MPIB run (or MPIR) held this morn 8 Jan 2012 was superbly organized, with plenty of water and 100+ stations, and a huge contingent of enthusiastic volunteers. These volunteers were constantly plying us with drinks, snapping photos like paparazzi (but nice paparazzis ya), and generally making sure all 3700 runners had the best race possible. The only thing they didn't do was help me to run this thing! (Read a volunteer supervisor Frank Chong's report HERE)

And oh my, the goodies - race kit had a whole box of Nestle Fitnesse Cereal (not those little dinky samples), good quality New Balance running tee, and 20&50% discount vouchers for New Balance and Sworke sunglasses (anyone want mine FOC?). Finishers race bag had High 5 sausage bun, water, banana and mandarin orange. We also had Nestle Tropicana Lime ice cream, and free flow of Milo, Nescafe, Fitnesse Cereal with milk, and 100+. The registration fee of RM48 (late bird) certainly got us a lot.

The 12 km race route included the 'Reverse Double Hills', which is supposedly 'easier' than the Double Hills. The route was extremely pleasant running, and throwing in the bonus hills makes it challenging and memorable. Now this is just a newbie's opinion (mine). I have taken part in only one running race here (the Putrajaya Night Marathon 2011), and was never much of an athlete back in school days, but I think it's fair to say the organizers put together a race that is going to be a staple 'must do' on the local runners' calendar in future years. Here's the route below:

View Larger Map

Pre-Race Secret Training
What secret training? Don't have lah. Hee hee. I drastically cut back on running the past two weeks trying to recover from plantar fasciitis, so I was definitely undermileaged. Anyway, I have rarely run on tarmac since I discovered the joys of trail running last month, where I can do a slow shuffle, have frequent breaks, and enjoy the pristine air. I consider it a precious gift to be able to do physical activity like this, which I couldn't do all the years I was sick. Anyway my 'secret training' comprised some swimming, an attempt to ride my mountain bike (I fell), and my daily P90X workouts (Day 21 so far). I didn't do much to prepare for the hills in this MPIR. I don't like pain, and hills = pain + panting, so I avoid hill running if possible haha. I so malas hoh?

Race Morning
I was really scared of oversleeping and burning the forty eight bones I put down for the race. I have the most difficult time getting up before 9 am in the morning. And I have a hard time getting to sleep as well, so I use ear plugs to help me sleep. This kinda makes it difficult to hear the alarm beeping ya know. I set three alarms to go off, hoping that I could at least hear one of them through my ear plugs. I also asked Mama, who was running the 6 km, but going with Gary from Cheras, to pleeeeeease call and call me until I answer the phone. I inexplicably woke up before the alarms went off, had my four soft boiled eggs for breakfast, and was at Padang Merbok by 6.15 am. Mama didn't call me :p

I think I went just a little overboard on the pre-race hydration, because 6.40 am I was standing in one of the five verrrry long queues to the Port-a-Potties. Uhoh... 6.50 am saw me at the Start Line with a verrrrrry full bladder. Dang, now I gotta run with all that extra weight (at least 1/2 kilo is my guess). I saw guys going off to the bushes and really wished I could do that. Dangit.

At the Start Line a few minutes before Flag Off.
Hard to smile when bladder so full, but I managed :p .
(Thanks Yap Eng Hui for the awesome pic of Ma and I)

I had never run here and only knew that it's HILLY, so I prepared myself for the pain. I planned to take it slow and easy the entire way and do whatever I felt capable of. In the Phuket Triathlon, my 12 km run time (after the swim and bike leg) was 1 hour 10 minutes for that flat route, so I was hoping to do about 1 hr 20 minutes today. I was surprised to find myself passing some ladies (all the ladies were Started first). This was on the first uphill, about 1 km of it. This is not such a bad uphill, I thought to myself. And the more people I passed, the more I worried if I was pushing too hard too soon. I was concerned I would bonk, and at the 3 km mark, I started to feel t-i-r-e-d.


I quickly sipped some of my honey and hoped I wouldn't have to walk up the next hill. I took advantage of the downhills to gain some ground, and waited for those big hills to arrive. I also entertained myself by trying to copy the Kenyan runners that passed me. Ecewah. And saying hi to all the volunteers, including friends like Raymond, Tey, Eng Hui and Jeff whom I spotted along the way. And for most of the race, I kept this girl (Susanah) in a bright (eye-searing really) yellow top in my sights and tried to stay with her. I kept sipping honey, didn't stop at the drink stations, and all of a sudden I was at the 6 km mark, and feeling better! Except for the belching. I was letting loose like a sailor. Dear oh dear. I usually don't have any problems digesting honey, so I don't know why all this burping. Maybe because my body still thought it was in bed??!

I stopped belching temporarily to smile for Tey :D

At about the 8 km point, the 12 km and 6 km runners merge.
The 6 km runners are wearing green strings around their necks.
(Photo credit: Runner's Footprints)

We soon merged with the 6 km runners, and I was still feeling pretty good. At 10 km, I looked at my watch and realized that it said 50 minutes. I've never done 10 km under an hour before, so I was stunned. Hey, I thought to myself, I might have a chance of finishing under an hour if I keep going at this pace and if it keeps being a downhill hehe. So I went for it. The Victoria Institution Band was going full blast and the thumping drum beat gave me the last push to sprint at the Finish. Sub 1 hr!!! I think 59 minutes 50 seconds. And I was speechless when a volunteer slipped a tag over my head, indicating 6th place in my category. Wah. My grin so big it tore my smile muscles. First time win something!

The fruits of my labor :p

Mama came in a little while later at a commendable 45 minutes for her 6 km. So Proud of Mama! I think I get my running genes from her. If I can run like that with no training, when I am 57 years old, it would be so great. First thing we did was head for the Milo Truck. It's become a tradition of sorts dating back to the Desaru Triathlon. We love Milo. Mama loves it more! After the Milo, some stretching, then the Ice Cream Station. Ohhhhhh heaven. I love Tropicana Lime. I don't usually allow myself too many carbs, especially sugar, since my body doesn't do well with it, but immediately following exercise seems to be okay. I gave the banana, orange, sosej bun and water to Ma, and she left with Gary to try make it for the 11 pm church service.

Mama passing young ciku a third her age.
So proud I could cry.
After that just chatted with various friends until the prize giving time. Daryl surprised me by mentioning how inspired he was reading my blog and knowing what I had been through healthwise yet continued to be as physically active as possible. I felt so glad that sharing my experience had given a friend some encouragement. What you, my friends, might not know is that I am likewise encouraged and inspired by you, by your stories and your lives (including those of you whom I haven't yet met in person). I am very blessed to have all of you in my life.

Daryl, Susanah and Grace
One thing Mich and I chatted about, or rather, I asked her about was, 'Are all these podium people previously athletes back in school or uni days?', and found out that she didn't start running until a few years back but now places regularly. So maybe I have hope of catching up despite my lack of athletic background. :) Anyway, Amelia Musa won the women's 12 km with 47 minutes. I wasn't paying attention to the rest of the timings, sorry! You can check out the results HERE.

Proud owners of Timex Global Trainer with GPS.
Guess which one is mine? (Photo by Shine Teh)

Why All the Surprises?
I'm surprised at my timing. What did I do to get this timing? I usually run 5 km in 30 minutes or 6 minute/km pace. Today was 11.5 km (the route was underdistanced) in 60 minutes, or 5.2 minute/km pace. I think the biggest factor is that my body, now weaned off the meds for 6 weeks, is healing, and getting stronger. My previous run times were when I was still trying to taper the meds. Also, this was a rare occasion for me running before the break of dawn. I always run in the daytime, sometimes noon. So my body felt cool today, and didn't have to contend with overheating. Last but not least, the electric atmosphere on race day, running alongside friends and strangers, cheered on by volunteers from all walks of life, multiplied my 'feel good' feelings and just made me want to GO!!

What's Next?
I am going to have to cut back on running until this plantar fasciitis goes away. I mean it! That's going to be my official excuse for not showing up at races. The unofficial excuse is that I'm broke! And I can't get up on time for these things. :p

A click on any ad below this post will put a few cents in my pocket, from the advertisers. Thanks for supporting my blog!

xo Gracie


  1. Echewahhh indeed Grace!! Nice chalice to take home and great work!!Congratulations and very well done!!

  2. Thanks Paul! I was telling my coach (Spencer) that this is a nice way to end my short-lived running 'career' (re: the plantar fasciitis) but he thinks I have a sub-50 minute in me yet, for that distance. :p

  3. Congrats Grace...your training totally paid off.

  4. Jenn, thank you! I still can't believe I won something haha. As Mich says 'Ah mah ngo tak joh'. I think I can retire now :D

  5. No Retiring yet - we have many more adventures ahead of us :)

  6. Okay Coach. I listen to you. :p


I LOVE hearing from you! Please do leave a comment!