Barely 200m into the race, I turned and told CY that that was the furthest I’d run in a week. The country was so badly hit by smog from Indonesia (allegedly perpetrated by Malaysian and Singaporean plantation companies) that going outdoors was a foolhardy undertaking.
Initially I was quite unaffected by the foul air quality but eventually the inevitable hit – feeling of malaise, body sores, stuffy and watery nose was plain depressing. Around the same time, my lower back flared up with dull discomfort that spread to the glutes. It wasn’t exactly a fun time leading up to what would’ve been a frantic series of races in September. Better now than December, I suppose.
In any event, the air quality was fantastic as I drove to the USJ6 Shell station at 5am. I was glad to have made the decision to arrive early since more and more cars started to pour into the location, looking for valuable parking spots. I munched on a cereal bar and drank from a bottle while slowly taking the time to gear up.
A couple of hours later, we were flagged off by MPs Hannah Yeoh and Wong Chen. The plan was to run really easy and not let the stress take its toll on the recovering body – am still on meds after all. The crowd wasn’t that big and most elites were either at the BHP Run or had run the Firefighters’ Half the evening before. However as the roads opened up, so did the crowd and I was able to stride along nicely. Zijill, CY, Nick and Choo were just behind. By the time we turned into Persiaran Setia, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to sustain the 4:44 2nd K and thus picked a cup of drink and simply stood aside waiting for the rest to catch up. From that point till the 8K mark, we ran together.
Without a word to Zijill, Nick, CY and I conspired to pull her along to what we had hoped, a podium position. We had counted the number of women in her category on the other side of the road and thought from the looks of their expressions and form, she would be able to pick them off one by one.
And that started a fun, and thankfully distracting pastime for me, working with CY to pull Zijill past the other women. It was fun playing the stalking game. Heck, if I wasn’t able to race satisfactorily, I might as well help a (hopefully) future GCAMer along to a good finish.
That we did, passing one after the other until she moved from 10th to 7th. Eventually, I couldn’t sustain the pace and the increasingly warm weather (the smog had also returned) was taking its toll. I had to let her go on her own after the final water station. I peered behind but CY didn’t make the move to take over. I spotted 2 more women ahead which I wasn’t sure if she eventually dropped.
CY caught up with me as I ran the final 200m on the track and the result was the goofy shot you see above. Overall, it was a well organized race. Naturally when the organizers decided on a 7:30am start there was going to be traffic management challenges. Subang Jaya is a mature and thriving township, and we did encounter a few intersections where the motorists weren’t as willing in sharing their roads. If only we had started at 6:45 or 7am, it would’ve been a win-win situation for most people.
I rushed back to the car and brought out the MPIG Run flyers for distribution – the gang thankfully helped in the distribution (thanks guys!). That done, it was back home for the familial duties.
Having evaluated my present circumstances, I will log a DNS for SCKLM in a couple of weeks’ time. It’s just too much too soon for me. I’m in no condition to run especially when the air quality remain poor. Instead I’ll focus on getting well and slowly work myself back to race fitness once the smog blows over.