Saturday, 28 December 2013

Year in Review - 2013

Five Full Marathons in 2013

Looking back on the year I truly wonder how I managed to do what I did. I am fifty. Not exactly a picture of fitness. My tummy is the first thing that stands out, after my big head. I am not a fast runner. Never will be even if I lose weight, which I undoubtedly will next year. Five full marathons in one year. Inconceivable! And a Marathon Maniac too boot. I joined that insane bunch of runners thanks to Mohan Marathon. One look at that singlet of his and I said to myself, "I want one too!" Am that sort of guy. When I set my mind to it, I will find a way to do it. No distance is too great. I have to believe that. After this year I think I can do anything. I proved to myself it is possible. Impossible is a word not in my dictionary. Why should we put limits on ourself? For that matter why should anyone? Running has made me many friends and also has helped me improve my health tremendously. How I wish all my friends ran. Hopefully if they read what I write in my blog, they too might give it a try.

I lost my FMV at Penang Bridge International Marathon last year. It was truly an experience I will never forget. I went into it prepared. Maybe a bit too prepared. However nothing counts more than experience. You have to run it to experience it. 42.195km will never be easy. For me it's at least six hours of shuffling. Why do I run it and continue to do it? Well that's easy, I really enjoy it. It is my happy place. I am truly alone when I run. It's just me and my body performing in unison. What I put into it I get out of it. It's the same with everything in life. You train for it and then you do. However for me there's a lot of mental strength needed for long distance running. You might have the legs for it but your mind might let you down. My mind never let me down through thick and thin. I knew I had found my second true love the moment I finished my first full marathon. I know come next year there will be many aspiring FMers in Kuching. Do learn from my mistakes. I will make many. I am open to suggestions on how to improve myself too.

Next year I intend, body willing, to challenge myself. I am going to put myself on the line and say I will try for twelve FMs. Some of those runs may be ultras too. I will not go crazy and do what I know I cannot just yet. So TMBT 100kms or TNF 100kms are out of the question, at least for next year. If it was a straight road run I would consider, but maybe later in the year. It all depends on my body. I realised towards the end of this year how much wear and tear my legs had taken. What I can tell you for sure is that no shoe is too expensive if you want to run a full marathon. However you must choose the right shoe for you. This is through trial and error. It helps if you have an expert to help you out. Things like weight, pronation, running style, all play a part in choosing your shoe. I found what worked for me and used it for four full marathons, PBing in two of them. Of course in the coming year I might try other shoes as I attempt to go even longer. We are so lucky that we have so many runs to choose from in Malaysia.

Island Ocean Marathon

This was my first FM of 2013, and my second FM lifetime. When the inaugural IOM appeared on the horizon I was so excited. This was just the excuse I needed to visit Langkawi Island. None of my gang from Kuching joined me. By most marathon standards in Malaysia this must be considered a small marathon. Only 1,000 slots were available. It's a straight marathon. I may have gone alone but the runners there made me feel so at home. Made new friends in the process. Kudos to The Marathon Shop people for making this an incredibly fun marathon to run. There were surprises along the route. We were treated to everything from chilled coconut water to ice cream! There was no cut off so everyone just enjoyed themselves. That didn't mean the route wasn't challenging. It was all about rolling hills on the way back. The heat was totally unbearable too. However we had enough gels and isotonic drinks to keep us going. This is a must run marathon for anyone thinking of a runcation. If I could I would love to run this sort of race every year.

Ready to rumble

Borneo International Marathon

Talk about the most postponed marathon ever! The elections and some other hiccup meant that what should have been run on May 4th was actually run on August 25th, two days shy of my 50th birthday. I went into this run having already run the 10km route in training with MBF and so knew a bit about it already. We also drove as much of the route as we could, even through the university. As much knowledge of the route always helps. BIM was a much smaller run than PBIM, but of course bigger than IOM. The usual suspects were there. We met up the day before the run. Took lots of pics too. This was a different sort of run for me. I met friends and also made a pitstop at an Orange (Think Sabah's version of a 7-Eleven). For the last 10km I just chatted up a storm with some guy. That's me for you. In fact all my effort came in the first 21km. After that I just enjoyed the route. So it came as a big surprised that I did a PB. I will not think of what might have been. Instead I will just treasure the memories of what was.

Mohan and me

River Jungle Marathon

Eight days after BIM I attempted RJM. The route had been changed because of landslides. Let me tell you it was hilly! This was the second FM in the Marathon Series. Those who ran both would get an extra finisher t-shirt. So it was two FMs and three finisher t-shirts. Trust me when I say that that finisher t-shirt is a rare one indeed. Ran it with MBF. It was her first FM, so I promised her I would run all the way with her. Met up with the usual suspects again. Mohan helped us with transport, for that I am so very grateful. In our group, MBF included, there were three FMVs. We all had the time of our lives. There were all sorts of fruits at one water station. Durian was even served. I ate as much as I could. The fresh coconut returned too. MBF had the FM experience of a lifetime. We came in at a really slow time, but I wasn't too worried about that, as long as we were still standing at the finish line. The crew took really good care of us. Isotonic drinks flowed freely. We could eat all the food we wanted. This could just be the most addictive full marathon in Malaysia ever!

Been there and done that


Putrajaya Night Marathon

PNM was my first night full marathon. In fact this was going to be my first weekend double out of Kuching. I had done shorter runs like this, and even attempted two short runs in one day. However this time around I would run an FM on Saturday and then King if the Road 16.8km on Sunday. I wasn't the only one from Kuching doing this. Even MBF went for 21km at PNM and 10km at KOTR. It drizzled during PNM. Things just clicked and I ran my first sub-6. I know many people had told me how tough the run would be, but to my amazement I did so well. This was also the first time I ran an FM without music. That was a big turning point for me. I was so high from my finish that it was hard to come down and get ready for my next run a couple of hours later. Suffice to say it was a disaster, but I finished anyways, and for me that was all that mattered. It was a sort of unofficial ultra for me. The experience was so worth it. Who knows next year there might be a repeat.

The one with the belly is me!


Penang Bridge International Marathon

Twas my fifth FM of 2013 and my sixth FM lifetime. Returning to Penang was so nostalgic. It was like I never left. This time we didn't stay near Queensbay Mall. Instead we were in Georgetown, at Little India. Nothing beats playing tourist and eating all the local delicacies in the name of carbo loading. The beginning of the race was run in the rain. The route was wet. I didn't even bother to bring my camera with me. I was running injured, but my painkillers helped to a point. I truly thought it would be a dismal performance on my part, but managed to come in just after 6 hours. That in itself was a victory of sorts for me. My mental strength pulled me through this time. Two tough PBIM experiences. Next year it will be the new route. Am lucky that I have been able to run the old route twice. That helped me a lot since I remembered the route completely. Scary how our mind doesn't forget such stuff. It's like it's branded in my consciousness. Penang will always be close to my heart. I so look forward to visiting the island again for another run.

First time running as a Marathon Maniac

What's in store for me next year?

Well. my dear constant readers, know what's on my mind now. I have already put it to print. Twelve. That's my magic number. The 12x12 club beckons. I know I cannot match some of my friends, especially Marathon Maniac #7618. His legs are just too young. I am only in competition with myself. Last year I always seemed to be the oldest guy in my group. What's more I was always finishing last among them. That never deters me. At least I started, ran the race, and finished it. I have a whole rack of running tops and t-shirts to prove that I have been there and run a particular race. My dad introduces me to his friends as, "My son the marathon runner." Yes, he is proud of me, the man who never ran competitively till he was on the way to fifty. Every medal I bring home I show him. He doesn't have many years to live with his heart problems, but thankfully his cancer is in remission. I know he is proud of his bookworm and computer addict son.

My dad and me

It's never too late too start. It's easy to make excuses. Look at me. I usually weigh 95kg. I have weighed as much as 105kg. I can bring my weight down if I train hard enough. However I have food issues. I just eat too much. So something has to give. My belly is the proof. I get a humongous kick from doing what I do. Am so glad am able to share it with others through my blog. I know there are many out there who dream of running long. Start slow. There is no rush. Train well. That is the most important thing. Learn from others who have done it before you. Marathon running is never easy. If anyone says it is, that person is lying. I am constantly learning new things. Not all of them will work for me. Like picking the right pair of shoes, it is trial and error. The more I run the more familiar with my body I become. I also enjoy the experience even more. The turbo snail in me is happy. Till next year I bid all my running buddies adieu.

My dad's favourite pic of me running


  1. Thank you for sharing you're experience!

  2. Am always happy to share. The more runners out there running marathons the merrier.

  3. Hi,
    I am really amaze with your dedication on this blog... The write ups are so detail and personal.
    Keep it the good work.

    Ps. How do I subscribe to your blog? I find myself logging in to this site almost on daily basis

  4. Thank you for being a constant runner. If we aren't friends on Facebook I guess the best way is to join Google+.