“Call up all our friends, go hard this weekend.
For no damn reason, I don’t think we’ll ever change.
Meet you at the spot, half past ten o’clock.
We don’t ever stop, and we’re never gonna change.”
Here’s To Never Growing Up, Avril Lavigne
It’s 4 months into the year yet last night’s Shape Night Run was just my first race of 2015. Much of the running I’ve put in thus far have been geared towards running well in the Gold Coast and to lay a foundation towards an ambitious 2-year goal so last night’s 11.2K was pretty much a penned-in speed work.
The week had been nasty as far as stress was concerned. There was little running and when I managed to lace up, it was more an up-tempo workout than anything to do with mileage. Therefore Saturday morning’s short jaunt around the neighborhood was a much needed time-out. I was also testing out a new gear which I’ll be writing more about in the coming days.
The day had been a scorcher as with all others recently and I made sure I drank consistently throughout the morning and afternoon. As agreed, I met CY for a light and early dinner and arrived without any drama to Precinct 3. There were already a number of early birds at the booths. First thing to do was to catch up with the friendly Skechers Malaysia folks at their booth. Skechers was, once again, a main sponsor for the event – one of the best organized in KL. At 6:45pm, it was time for a bit of warm up jog. The skies had progressively turned darker by the minute and even before we got back to our cars, it had started drizzling. The lightning show was also turning quite spectacular. In the distant, PICC was already obscured by the heavy rain.
With rain already a foregone conclusion, I headed back to the car for my cap. Weather conditions would deteriorate so much that delay was inevitable. All the warm up came to nothing and the next hour was spent chatting with friends. The announcements over the PA weren’t heard where we were seated so when we saw people walking to the starting pen, we followed suit. The organizers had made the “go” decision when the weather showed signs of improvements. Streaks of lightning still flashed across the skies but it was getting better. Most runners were just anxious to get it started. Personally I felt it would’ve been a waste of the cool conditions if the race was called off.
At 8:45pm, the race was finally underway. No starter’s gun or horn to mark the start. The first couple of Ks were light and easy and Nick blazed ahead and remained about 30 meters ahead of me. The quicker pace meant there was room to run without having to weave around others. The Seri Gemilang Bridge was cleared in due course but Nick pulled up just after that. I continued at the same pace and the evening was just too nice and cooling, negating the need to grab a cup at the first drink station. I only took note of the watch on and off but largely ran by feel.
The pace took a hit when a side stitch struck. It’s been a nuisance of late especially when negotiating faster paces and it’s an issue I must remedy ASAP. I tried regulating my breathing with the cadence and it helped a little, enough to ensure that my pace didn’t slip further. The first challenge was pushing up the ramp along Lebuh Wadi before heading back to the finish. The final climb towards Precinct 3 was even tougher but by then it was too close to the finish to slack off.
With 500 meters to go, I dropped 2 more runners and tried to chase down an F1 girl in the final straight. She must’ve sensed it and promptly found another gear and scooted off like there was a Prada sale. I crossed the line tired but not spent. A 53:26 for the 11.2K course was a good outing for me, more so a 47:46 PR for the 10K. Nick and CY also scored their PRs, which meant the GCAM15 teamsters had a great night out. The 4:46 average pace was what I reckoned was possible with the greater focus on the strength this time around. With the crucial period of marathon training approaching, the key would be to develop the endurance part.
I’d like to thank the Skechers Malaysia team for inviting me to this happening race. The hardworking team along with the enthusiastic crew at all the support areas and water stations were excellent and I’m sure every runner felt special out there last night.