Standard Chartered KL Marathon holds a special place in my heart because it is the very place and event where I achieved a couple of breakthroughs when I picked up competitive running 3 years ago. This is where I ran my first overseas half marathon in June 2011 in under 99 mins and where I achieved my very first BQ cum sub 3:30hr marathon the year after.
So I was very excited to be going to KL for the half-marathon again this year and set a target of a new pb for my half-marathon.
The Friday before the race, Jackie, Gis, Chris and I met up at Golden Mile Complex to take the 11 pm coach from Singapore to KL together. A bumpy ride but we managed to catch forty winks in the coach and arrived in KL at 4.30am. We spent a couple of hours in a nearby McDonald. The plan was to wait for the first train to be in service so we could head to Chinatown for breakfast before checking into our hotel. Thankfully, the hotel allowed us to check in early at 9am so we get to wash up. After meeting up with Laichee who was also staying in the same hotel, we went for a second round of breakfast before finding our way to the Dataran Merdeka to pick up our race kits.
We also met up with fellow Safra running mates, Sew Hyong and Peyling and took some nice photos at the finishing line. Had lunch at Lot 10 and we parted in the late afternoon to rest before meeting again for dinner at 630pm. Had about 6 hrs of quality sleep, and woke up feeling fresh.
12 October 2014 – Race Day
We set off on foot from the hotel to Dataran Merdeka at 5am. By the time Jackie and I deposited our belongings and visited the loo, it was 5:30am and the race pen was quickly filling up with people. There was little time for warm up. We started jogging towards the pen and squeezed our way to the front. Did some light stretching while we waited for the race to start.
The half marathoners were flagged off at 6 am. A different route this year, we set off running at the opposite direction as past years towards Medan Tuanku Monorail station. Jackie said he will try pacing me for a 1:30hr half-marathon so our target was to start at 4:20/km pace and gradually increase to 4:15″/km. The first few km started smoothly. Spotted a few ladies ahead and my target was to keep them in sight. I was quite surprised though that the first water station only appeared at the 3km mark. Thankfully, the weather was not as humid as I thought it would be. Subsequently, the water stations were spaced about 2.5km apart, which was good enough for runners. There was a tall Caucasian lady in white top running strongly in front of me. And further ahead was a petite female in orange top, running fast and strong.
The first 5km was over shortly. Did a time check: under 22 mins, average pace 4:17″/km. Not bad for the first 5km, I thought as I was (surprisingly) still feeling fresh. After 5km, Jackie and I attempted to increase our pace closer to 4:15″/km as planned. At 6km, my Garmin suddenly lost the satellite. I continue to run alongside Jackie. Thankfully, it captured the satellite a while later and I continue to receive alerts for every km, albeit not exactly at the distance marker now. I was getting into the momentum, gradually closing up with the Caucasian lady in front. Finally, I past her after the 7km mark. We were running smoothly, hitting at a split of 4:17″/km most of the time. I thought we were not too far of 42mins plus for the first 10km, but a time check at 10km shows 43min 15s (almost 45s off!)That got me anxious, and I ran a little faster at the next km. Though target was still off by a bit, I was really quite pleased with how the run was working out at this point as I was not panting too heavily.
Alas, at close to 12km mark, there was a steep slope that totally threw me off my pace. I could only watch as Jackie ran strongly up the slope and pulled away from me. I struggled up the hill, and by the time I was at the top, I had slowed down a fair bit to catch my breath. The good thing was I could still see Jackie ahead, he was closing up on the female lady in orange top. I concentrate on the couple of runners ahead of me, taking them as my target.
There was a hairpin turn after the 13km mark, and I saw Jackie on the other side. We cheered for each other and it was at that point I know he’s gonna run on his own. Which means I gotta finish the race on my own too, without him pacing me.Back on flat ground, I was getting my wind back and was very encouraged when the Caucasian lady whom I overtook earlier cheered for me as I past her on the other side of the road.
Crossed the 15km mark in about 1hr 05min. I was feeling good and was prepared to increase my pace for the last 6km. Alas, at the next km, a series of slopes greeted me. Running up and down the undulating terrain threw me off my pace again. I was now doing splits of 4:22-4:26″/km and beginning to feel the fatigue setting in. At 18km mark, there was another steep hill and my pace dropped to 4:33″/km. I was winded by the time I reached the top. Thankfully, what goes up must come down. I try to catch my breath as I cruised down the hill. Back on a flat course with just 2 more km to go, I pressed on. There were more photographers around taking running pictures of participants.
At the last 500m, I could see the finishing line right ahead. Gave my all and chased the two male runners who were slightly ahead. The female lady in orange was still in sight but a distance away, and not quite possible to catch anymore. It was a gentle down slope to the finishing line. I could see the clock ticking away..1:31:xx.. No personal best since it’s already more than 1:31:09 but I can still chase for a sub 1:32 timing to get a season best timing for this year.
Gave my all and finished the half marathon in 1:31:33, with a 8th position in the open women’s category. No personal best, but it was a feel-good run and I thoroughly enjoyed the race.