Brooks Half Marathon was held on 22 March 2012 in KL, Malaysia. This was probably one of the most enjoyable half marathons I ever ran, despite the challenging undulating hilly terrains.
The race started on the running track of the National Stadium. At about 5am, many participants had already made their way to the starting point. After depositing my stuff, Laichee, Gis and myself hurried to get into the stadium. It was crowded and there was a bottleneck due to the limited walking space to get onto the track. I managed to squeeze all the way to the front to find Jackie, Andy and Uncle Gary who were already waiting for the race to start.When the horn sounded, the front pack shot off like a rocket. I saw Jackie, Andy and Uncle Gary disappearing from my sight as we exited the stadium. It was pretty dark when we got onto the road. I took some time to adjust to the darkness, making sure I kept clear of potholes and uneven path which Jackie had caution me beforehand.
I started at an avg pace of 4:45″km. The pace was just about right. Though I felt that I could go faster, I resisted the urge to chase after the runners ahead, fearing that I would pay back for the time. As I got into the momentum, I found myself gradually increasing my pace to 4:40″km and was slowly overtaking a few female runners who were initially ahead of me. I had mentally prepared myself for the slopes and managed to maintain the same effort and overtook more runners when going up the slope.
Past 7km mark, and two malay guys who were running about the same pace as me started chatting with me, asking me what was my target. I continued running a few km with them and one of them fell back. The other guy, on the other hand got stronger and ran ahead of me. I continued running at my own pace. The hills seems daunting from a distance, but strangely I was calm and was not as fearful of the slopes as I thought I would be. As I huffed and puffed up the hills, I kept assuring myself to hang in there as “What goes up, must come down.” I knew there would be an equally long stretch of downhill after an uphill and that would be the point where I get to pick up my pace and catch my breath. True enough, there were plenty of down slopes and I just let my legs flow. A Malaysia Chinese runner who was running alongside with me introduced himself and started chatting with me about nice bah kut teh in his hometown as we cruised down the slope. Didn’t know Malaysians are so friendly and love to chat on the run.
I reached the 15km mark and I realised that I was really enjoying this race. It was nothing like the Army half marathon I did last year when I already felt the fatigue after 15km. At some point, I caught up with the same Malay guy who has ran ahead of me. He has slowed down by then, and was surprised to see me running past. Soon, I reached the merging point where 21km and 10km runners came together. I had a tough time weaving through the crowd and was worried that I would be following the wrong crowd and end up running the wrong route. So I tried to keep one of the 21km runners who was ahead of me in sight and followed him.
I was 2km from the National Stadium, and I tried to push a little up the slope. Fatigue was slowly setting in but I know I could still push a little. Distance seemed to be slightly longer than 21km and I knew I might not be able to finish the race in under 1hr 40min. Persevere and I managed to catch up with the runner ahead when I entered the Stadium. However, the race did not end at the entrance. We still have to run about 300m round the track to cross the finishing line. My first time completing a race in a stadium and the feeling was so different! Gave my all at the last 200m. Saw Jackie cheering for me at the grand stand. Almost ran at the wrong lane and have to zig zag to finish in the correct lane.
Finally, I completed the race in just under 1hr 42 min. Not a pb but I’m contented, considering the undulating terrains and slightly longer distance. Clinched a surprise 3rd placing as well. A confidence booster race which got me all excited about racing a half marathon again.