As our smashing holiday in the Gold Coast drew to an end, a number of us proclaimed (more like groaned) tiredly that we’ll just be doing 5K Fun Runs from then on. If you know these friends of mine, none of them are to be trusted when it comes to all things running. For example, if they deny having done high mileage weeks, unpreparedness for sub-4 marathons or like in this example, resorting to 5K Fun Runs, it’ll do you well to just flick your hair and ignore them.
On the other hand, I’m someone you could trust. Because I did run a 5K Fun Run in the form of Men’s Health/Women’s Health Night Run (MHWHNR or “Meh-weh-nn-err”) last Saturday! It was complimentary entry from my workplace and Putrajaya isn’t too far a drive (and a toll-free one at that!), I thought, it’ll be a nice couple of hours’ worth of running – my fellow conspirator nonamesmentioned and I had planned an 8K pre-race runabout.
That was before a thunderstorm laid waste to all plans. If it was just a drizzle, we’d have stuck to our plans but just like the 2015 Shape Run (when the start was much delayed), weather played a major role once again. The car parks were fast filling up and I was forced to resort to parking in a complex. With more than 2 hours to kill with nothing to do, we hunted for dinner and chanced upon a small hidden-away eatery which served only mee rebus and nasi lemak. Both were pretty good but both weren’t exactly things you’d eat before a race. Please do not follow our examples! Naturally that pretty much ruined the “lean-and-mean” approach going into the race – hey, it may be a Fun Run, but I still wanted to run a decent race. So we waited and waited until the gut felt settled enough before embarking on a token warm-up routine.
By the time we entered the pen, the crowd had gotten in and it was pretty jammed up. Still we apologized our way to the front, stopping probably 10 rows deep from the front line. nonamesmentioned said we could find ourselves being at the end of snarky comments from kids and their parents like, “Hey, shouldn’t you two be over the other side running the 12K?”. Truth be told, I wanted the Half Marathon but the comps were all taken. So there we were looking around us for some “serious looking runners” amidst folks carrying umbrellas and parents with kids on their shoulders. Thankfully we found a few and I promptly hid behind his broad frame, as if to deflect any stares away. I had to caution a kid of no more than 6 years old behind me to watch out during the start stampede. I spotted a number of children positioned too forward for their own safety.
No time to worry as the race was started 5 minutes ahead of time! Some human obstruction the first 100 meters or so but the legs started churning as we began finding some space after that. The lead bike was about 150m ahead and when the runners thinned out as the race progressed, things got pretty exciting. Breathing was comfortable and I was basically running to feel, just feeling my way in a distance I so very rarely do. My decision to go with the Fastwitch 7 was an appropriate one since its PWRTRAC outsole provided great assurance on the wet roads. My apprehension relating to my PF issue melted away as there was no discomfort felt at all and I was able to focus on my running. My legs’ range of motion was unlike what I’ve felt before, along with stronger push off. Stats would prove that my footpod recorded a higher average stride length than ever. I’m truly sold on the Bowen Therapy!
At about the halfway mark, CY who felt a stitch coming, asked that I went ahead and from that point, I was basically on my own. The biker was no longer in sight but I spotted a guy ahead and told myself that there wasn’t a need to go faster – just hold the effort and see if he dropped back. My recollections are rather hazy now on what happened the final 2K. I can’t remember if I passed the dude or he went the wrong way. Because the lead bike was already out of sight, I made sure I asked the crew at every intersection to be sure I was on the correct route. Which made the final 250 meters even more surreal. 2 FTAAA bikers approached and one stayed on my 11 to lead me to the finish. He barked into his walkie that he was escorting the 2nd runner in with 200 meters to go. I was a little astonished (understatement of the year!) at that and couldn’t help but really enjoy the moment. Never mind that this Fun Run category was devoid of elites because they were busy hammering each other in the 12K and Half for the top prizes, I never will experience this again in my lifetime! There was but 1 photographer who took a shot of me as I approached the finish. The rest were positioned along the 12K and Half Marathon finishing chute. A check with several volunteers there confirmed that I was the second one in. Since this wasn’t a timed-category, there were no prize money nor trophy, no mention on the official website and most likely no photos, so you the reader will just have to take my word for it, HAHAHAHA!
Meh-weh-nn-err was only my 3rd race for the year and the 22:19 would probably the recovery effort of the elites. It wasn’t even my best time over the distance but the experience provided me with many positives, that my body is healing well and getting stronger and if I could eke out an effort like last Saturday with absolutely no speed work and in control right to the end, who knows what’s in store?
Till then, onward to the next Fun Run!