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26 May 2011

My Most Memorable Marathon by Ee Wey (Gold Coast Airport Marathon)

By Ee Wey

Gold Coast Airport Marathon… HERE I COME… or not (depending on YOUR votes~!)

Let’s start with a brief introduction of how I started getting involved in the running scene. It was roughly a year ago that I began running in my very first running event which was a 6km run organized in my city. From then on I was hooked to running events. My next run was a week later which was a 10km run 5 hours drive away from where I stay, and the rest is history… at the busiest times I was travelling every other week for running events and was involved in running events (of short and long distances) for consecutive weeks. I would like to give credit to a bunch of friends which we aptly named ourselves the ‘Crazee Monsterz Road Runners’ for getting me addicted to running events. It is their company which makes each and every event memorable. My CMRR Family

One of the many memorable races that I’ve been to would be my FIRST HALF MARATHON and my FIRST RACE OUT OF THE COUNTRY, i.e. to Hatyai, Thailand for the Hatyai Nature Run held on 8th August 2010. I was having mixed feelings about this trip, it’s one of those weekend trips I usually do for races, arrive on Saturday, run the race on Sunday and back to Penang on Sunday afternoon. I would have to admit that I was excited and yet worried as I haven’t train for 21km distance running EVER! But being the food enthusiast that I am, the moment I arrived in Hatyai, all I could think about is the fact that yummy gastronomical food awaits, I shall then give myself excuse that it is part of the carbo-loading required for the race the next day (yeah, I psyche myself into believing many logic and theories which can be quite over-the-top at times).

Fast forwarding to race day, I was at the starting line, trying to imagine the distance, telling myself to take it easy, I’m sure I’ll be able to finish the run no matter running or crawling. The race started, and I was keeping my pace, trying not to over-exert myself too early on the race. Found some friendly chatty Thais to chat with (the irony being I don’t understand a single word of Thai and the uncle I was chatting with kept talking to me in Thai, I replied in English and we were chatting like cat and dog, mostly with sign language while RUNNING =D). That got me through a few kilometers quite effortlessly as I was having fun chatting with Thai uncle(s). No one told me the next few kilometers will be made of multiple rolling hills (I know it’s called the Nature Run, but I wasn’t thinking so much about hills). Struggled through the ups and downs of the hilly route. Thankfully there were sufficient drinking stations laid out along the route to really help me go on with the run as it was getting quite humid and hot. After 2 hours 40 minutes, I was at the finishing line and was handed a placing card to my surprise. I was placed #7 in my category and actually get to go on stage to collect a trophy during prize giving ceremony. I shall relabel this race as my FIRST HALF MARATHON, FIRST RUN OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY and FIRST RACE TO WIN A PODIUM FINISHING!

My First Trophy!

It’s been slightly less than a year (since my first race of 6km), a few halfies (my best half-marathon time thus far stands at 2 hours 23 minutes) and countless short distance races later, I attempted my very first FULL MARATHON on Labor Day 2011 (can’t be calling myself a marathoner without a FULL MARATHON under my belt right?). It was the Borneo International Marathon held in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. Flew there from Penang on AirAsia (it was approximately 3 hours of flight). And again I was having butterflies in my stomach days before the trip as it is a 42km run, which to me is a LONG WAY!

I arrived on late Friday night with a group of friends, got ourselves checked in to our hotel, had a quick supper and hit the sack. Next morning, the butterflies have left my stomach and I was left with hunger. We spend the day exploring around town and found this Italian restaurant called Little Italy that I absolutely adore. Check out the pre-race ‘carbo-loading’ we had the night before the race from the picture below.
Food Galore~

It was the HOTTEST race I’ve ever ran… The sun was at it’s scorching glory way earlier than where I stay… The sun was already smiling brightly at me just pass the halfway mark. The heat really got to me and it was MY FIRST FULL MARATHON, I keep telling myself… keep going… I WILL NOT let myself give up… how hard can putting one foot in front of the other be right? And that was what I did for more than 5 hours… left, right, left, right… Finally managed to finished the race in 5 hours 36 minutes. It was through sheer mental determination for me to finish the race in such humid and SUNNY condition… I was cooling myself with water splashes at literally every water station available.
Approaching the finishing line!
CMRR Groupy Photo at the Finishing Line
For the past year, I’ve joined running events in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, never travelled further than these neighboring countries for runs. After enduring running a marathon in humid and scorching condition, the idea of attempting another run in cooler climate really appeals to me. It would be like a real ‘thermal stress test’ for me to experience running in different temperatures.

P.S. – I’m attempting to achieve the Silver Level status for Marathon Maniacs (8 Full Marathons in 365 days). Going to Gold Coast Airport Marathon will bring me one-step closer to achieving my goal.