What to expect from the Mandiri Jakarta Marathon

Pleasant surprises would be my super short answer. Read on for a longer version.

1. Registration

I signed up for the half marathon at the Jakarta Marathon a couple of months ago and the process was not all that straight forward for foreigners. The way the organiser manage the registration was not like my ordinary experiences, nevertheless, it was all good. Basically, you just need to go through the not-so-ordinary process and you will be fine. They will help you get your registration through. I registered via their website and completed payment via email.

2. Racekit Collection

Racekit collection at the Kuningan City mall was well organised, no queue with plenty of space.

Race kit Collection Jakarta Marathon 2017

3 days Race kit collection for Jakarta Marathon 2017 at Kuningan City Mall

The running shirts are in 3 colors – green, blue and purple. They have female and male versions, both sleeveless. So, they assigned your shirt color based on size. I got a blue, due to the size I chose. So, do bring tops, sports hijabs and running pants that go well with all colors to be safe! I only knew the color of my running tee when I collected my racekit. Turned out majority wore their own running shirts!

You can easily check the routes for all categories at the collection center as buntings of the routes were displayed around the area.

What’s in the Race Kit Mandiri Jakarta Marathon 2017

3. The Race, People & Route

This year, the Jakarta Marathon marked its 5th time being organised with about 10,000 participants running the 5km, 10km, 21km and 42km categories. The most popular category was the half marathon with about 3,000 of the runners. The run was held on the 29th October, at the Monumen Nasional like the previous years. The first flag off was at 5am for the full marathon and half marathon runners. It was a bit confusing at first as there was no demarcation for these two categories, and runners from 10km were already flooding the flag off area. I passed the start line 1.59 mins after the flag off time.

At Start Line Jakarta Marathon 2017

Everyone was in a jovial mood. The roads along the first 15km were flat and paved smoothly mainly on Jalan Gajah Mada towards Museum Bank Indonesia, Bank Mandiri Museum and Kota Lama Area. The runners were fast and I caught up with their pace under 7km/min, 2nd km onward. The sun rose pretty early, however both the sun and clouds were super kind to me – it was an overcast morning. In fact, it drizzled 11th km onward and stopped about ten minutes after.  There were water stations, serving Pocari Sweat and water at almost every 2.5km. From 12th km, I passed by the Cathedral Church and Istiqal Mosque on flat roads.

At the point when we turned back onto Jalan Gajah Mada

At the point when we turned back onto Jalan Gajah Mada

It was nice to see major landmarks and to get to know the city on foot. The last 5km was ‘meriah’ – runners had to pave through a street carnival. Thousands of people and hundreds of street hawkers and performers were on the street at Bundaran H1. It was quite challenging to pace your way among ‘macet’ pedestrian and buses. I was running behind a bus at a very slow pace for a few minutes as I couldn’t get pass through human traffic and the bus.

Street Festival from 17-20th km around Bundaran H1

Street Festival from 17-20th km around Bundaran H1

There were many supporters along the last 3 km, offering drinks and all sorts of food. A policeman by the road saw me pacing through pedestrian gave me a good nudge – “Ayoh Bu, Semangat Bu Semangat!”. After that I kept reminding myself to keep my strides strong.

I reached the finish line feeling very grateful. They gave me a banana and a bottle of Pocari Sweat (I like this better than the 100 Plus – not sweet). The finisher tee was only for the full marathon runner. I was happy to walk back to the hotel. Oh ya, it was convenient to put up at a hotel close to the race area. We were only about 700 meters away from the Monumen.

I enjoyed the run and did my personal best.

jakarta mandiri marathon 2017 results

4. The Medal

Mandiri Jakarta Marathon 2017

Mandiri Jakarta Marathon 2017 featuring the Tanjidor and Gigi Balang

It was surely a good way to check out the city of Jakarta on foot with least vehicle around you. It is a beautiful city with friendly people. The locals are courteous and helpful. We made a couple of new friends ; Adni who walked with us from the hotel to the Monumen and Jeffry who took our pictures.

A picture with the Monumen Nasional to complete the race!

A picture with the Monumen Nasional to complete the race! Picture by Jeffry

5. The weather

I was running in the Hooda Racerback Sports Hijab, Heather Galaxy Pink and Dual Tone Leggings by Nashata. I was still in #pinkoctober breast cancer campaign mood. There were good for both hot and rainy weather – only 3 layers of clothing. I had a viser on throughout the run although it was not much of a use. But I was told it was scorching hot previous years. Guess I was lucky.

PickOctober Breastcancer Awareness Mood

Glad I joined the run. It was totally worth it and I hope to run happy in races like the Jakarta Marathon again soon!

TMMT 2017 Part 1: The Pre-Race

I am drafting this out just a few hours before we drive towards Pahang for The Magnificent Merapoh Trail (TMMT) 2017. I will be doing the shortest distance available: 35km. My main motivation to enter this race was because I have never ran in that part of Malaysia before. It is also one of the National Parks in Malaysia. Don’t you just love how running takes you to extraordinary places that you could not think of if you’re just a regular traveller?

The pre-race is always the most exciting yet nerve-wrecking part of the race. What if I didn’t train enough? Did I miss something from the mandatory item? Do I have enough equipment? There are many aspects  To make things more manageable, I have prepared a to-do list to ensure that (hopefully) I have covered everything.

  • The training

I admit that this is one of the areas that I lacked the most. I have not been running any longer than 21km for quite some time, although I do run 5-7 km on weekdays and more than 15km on weekends. Due to my busy work schedule, I had the time to attend my CrossFit class for once a week only, and that is insufficient. Therefore, I had to set realistic expectations for this 35km race: Just finish it within the cut off time (COT).

Training also involves route studying. For my ease of reference, I have printed out the elevation profile along with vital information required. I didn’t print the map because I’m going to be really honest here: I don’t understand maps. As long as I keep up with the crowd and don’t steer off course, I shouldn’t get lost.

Why printing out the elevation profile is important, especially for trail running at long distances:

  1. Your GPS watch will be inaccurate. It will not state the actual distance covered.
  2. Since your GPS watch is not accurate, you have to use a different method to gauge your distance – the elevation. For example, the highest elevation point that you will hit first is at roughly KM8-9.
  3. You will know which checkpoints have drinks/food/bag drop/toilet etc. This is also important if you want to quit from the race as not all checkpoints are accessible by car/ 4 wheel drive.
  4. You will know the COT at each check point to ensure you’re not disqualified

The most cost-effective yet crude method to ‘laminate’ your elevation profile. Sloppy workmanship, but oh well, as long as it gets the job done!

  • Equipment

Always always always refer to the mandatory list as a guideline for packing. They are important for a reason. Many participants take the mandatory list too lightly, but most trail run especially long distances will have a mandatory item check-in to ensure participants comply. Usually, at the race site there will also be several booths selling the mandatory items but at a very high price.

Hence, the packing begins. Luckily, I did not have to buy a lot of new stuff as I can still use some of the mandatory items from Cultra 2016 and my previous trail runs. Here is a #flatlay of the items I will be bringing. In the end, I decided not to bring the jacket. I also added some painkiller and socks into my bag later. Not in the flatlay is also my headlamp.

I think that covers pretty much most of my pre-race to-do list. Time to head off to Merapoh, wish me luck!

What I think about when I think about running [at 2am]

Disclaimer: This post has no relation to Haruki Murakami’s book. However a very popular question that I get from spectators who were cheering for us by the roadside at 2 am was “Why is everyone doing this? Why is everyone up at 2 am?” has left me pondering. On the flip side, I have no idea why these villagers are not asleep too at 2 in the morning.

Our happy faces at 2am. It is never too early to get excited!

Our happy faces at 2am. It is never too early to get excited!

The #KLWolfpack taking over Kuching

The #KLWolfpack taking over Kuching

Passing by villages and its friendly population is the norm for Kuching Marathon. I enjoyed the supportive atmosphere from last year so much, that I decided to upgrade myself to the full marathon category for this year. Coupled by good reviews from runners who participated in previous years, I was convinced that I made the right choice to come to Kuching again. I was so wrong.

The race started very early in the morning at exactly 2 am. The gun time was perfect, as the sun is not out yet and we enjoyed the cool morning air. Just like last year, the race started with a quick prayer, asking for Allah’s blessings so this event will run smoothly, and to protect the runners from any harm or injury. The first 10km was a breeze, and everything was going well. It was only the “warm-up phase” anyways.

A few kilometers later I spotted a water station, but there was hardly a line since no one was stopping there. It turns out that they have ran out of water. “It’s ok, I still have some water from my own bottle”, I said to myself. It did not take very long my own supply to deplete quickly. Empty plastic bottles were strewn around the next few water stations, but still there was no water in sight. There was hardly any petrol station at this part of the route, and I had to resort to asking a runner if he could spare a few sips of his 100 Plus. Bless this gentleman’s soul for sharing!

By the 25km, perhaps my running form was really bad, or I looked like I was about to collapse, but I noticed that the medic van was slowly trailing behind me and the driver was looking very concerned. I was losing my momentum from the thirst. I tried to shake it off – DNF is not an option! The only way for me to end up on that van is when I really passed out, not when I almost feel like passing out. I decided to take it easy until I find water. I think it was best for me to take things down a notch so I don’t pass out from dehydration. My focus has shifted from achieving another PB for 42km to just completing the race within the cut off time.

Finally, a water station that actually has water! Why use only one hand to drink when you can use both sides?

Finally, a water station that actually has water! Why use only one hand to drink when you can use both?

Speaking of PBs, I did some self-reflection: I noticed that I have been improving for 10km and 21km, but I have yet to break the barrier at 30km, as it have been hovering around the 4:20-4:30 hour without much improvement. Any thoughts on why is this happening and how can I fix this?

I finished the race just barely within the extended cut off time (the organizers extended the cut off time from 6.5 hours to 7 hours), feeling exhausted like I have just finished the hardest race of my life. I don’t think that I will be back again for Kuching Marathon next year, but I’ll hunt for another full marathon event to renew my PB.

Oh hey cat with bib and vest, did you get dehydrated from running too?

Oh hey cat with bib and vest, did you get dehydrated from running too?

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.

Because the struggle is real!

The Standard Charted KL Marathon is the biggest and the most famous running event in Malaysia. It is an event where all running communities gather and meet up. This year, I managed to join. Last year, it was cancelled due to the haze.

My flight from Kuching was at 5.30 pm and I touched down Kuala Lumpur 7 pm. It was 8 hours before the race. And I was nervous! Every Full Marathon always feel like my very first.

As early as 2 am, 2 hours before the race, thousands runners started to gather at Dataran Merdeka. We were all too excited for the race to start.

Let"s take wefie before run! yayy!

Let”s take wefie before run! yayy!

He managed to pace me for the first 21km ;) Thanks Hadi.

He managed to pace me for the first 21km 😉 Thanks Hadi.

Full marathon flagged off at 4am, and it was a long crowded queue at the starting line and the first 2 kilometers,it was just run easy pace since it was too crowded. I started to run at my own pace at kilometers 5 when people start to distance themselves.

I maintained my pace between 6 to 8 min/km until kilometres 21. By the Fajr time, I was already at Kilometres 16. It took 10 minutes to perform solah at the water station since we have to take turn. After the prayer, I continued to run. As I passed by the Duke and Akleh highways, the pace drop to 9 min/km. If you aim to finish sub 5.30, you can maintain this pace towards the end. Always watch out that the pacers for 5h 30 mins do not take over you.

Don't forget to smile at the camera!

Don’t forget to smile at the camera!

The water stations were available at almost every 3 km, provided with cold water and isotonic drink. It was very convenient for the runners because they could choose how frequent they needed to drink. As for me, I would drink although a sip at every water station. Water station is one of my motivations to run faster. I would try to run faster to reach the next water station.

Congrats Kak Eliza for doing PB in HM today! Keep it up!

Congrats Kak Eliza for doing PB in HM today! Keep it up!

Overall, the route was mainly Duke highway, Akleh highway and hilly route at Bukit Tunku at the last 6 km before the finish line. How I wish was wearing a pair of roller blades whenever I was close the finish line. The weather was too hot.

Am wearing Burgandy heather, pink Iman Hijab and Black Riada Pant from Nashata

I was wearing one of my favourite outfits – Burgundy heather, pink Iman Hijab and Black Riada Pant from Nashata

The finishing line is almost there! Never give up!

The finishing line is almost there! Never give up! Pic by : AKU, WONG

I managed to complete my 9th  Full Marathon in 5 hours 16 minutes with no injury. Alhamdullilah!

Yayy I make it!

Yayy I make it!

After the race, I was very pleased to meet some hijabi runners. Most of them just finished their HM. They finished strong too.

They are doing well today ;) Congrats guys!

They did well today 😉 Congrats guys!

Running events are where runners get to meet each other

Running events are where runners get to meet each other

This is my beautiful and strong Iranian friend,..she is doing 4 h 30 min in FM..congrats Reem!

This is my beautiful and strong Iranian friend,..she did 4 h 30 min for FM..congrats Reem!

I was very happy to see people running,..either young or old, skinny or obese,..they choose to run. Lets keep running and be inspired!

I flew back to Kuching at 3:15pm feeling accomplished.

Till we meet again 😉

 

Malaysia Women Marathon

Did you know that until 1967, no women participated in a full marathon event? Katherine Switzer broke that record and signed up as a gender-neutral “K. Switzer” in Boston Marathon. When reporters realised she was a lady, she made headlines. She continued fighting to empower women in sports, and the rest is history. Imagine what would have happened if Katherine Switzer decided not to run! I am so glad that female-friendly races are becoming more common these days. Fast forward to 2016, inspired by Katherine Switzer’s legacy, I was honoured to run under Team Nashata in the full marathon category for Malaysia Women Marathon.

IMG_3061 IMG_3060An opportunity to run with the ladies of Nashata? Why yes of course!

When the gun goes off at exactly 4.00am, it’s show time. Game face on, it is time for a second shot at completing a full marathon. This time, the challenge lies not in the distance, but in the cut off time. I have never completed a full marathon in 6 hours and 30 minutes. My personal best at 42km was during Pink Ultra when I clocked in just slightly under 7 hours. So shaving off 30 minutes will be a struggle.

IMG_3067Excited for pacer duties, boys?

Everything was fine and I was ahead of schedule up to the 30km check point. The last 10km was the hardest part, especially the highway route. The rolling hills along the LKSA highway, the heat, the emptiness…you can run for miles without bumping into anybody. The highway route felt like forever to complete. At this point, it was a battle between the mind and the body. Many people started walking, and I felt like I should start walking too. I was glad that I had my pacer with me. We didn’t talk much, but at least he was there to keep me company. He pushed me to continuously run, no matter how slow I went, which I tried to abide to (in protest!). In the end I ended up with the walk-run-walk-run cycle just like everyone else, and my pace fell dramatically towards the end. Not to mention the confusing signage and unclear direction from the marshall at the 38km, causing most participants to lose precious time hesitating which direction they should go.

 

Hunger was slowly settling in too. But I was surprised that the only food provided along the way was only bananas, apples, and pears. I was accustomed to seeing at least some biscuits, chips, ice-cream, or at least Coca-cola in most long distance events, so the lack of sweet and salty snacks spread was pretty surprising. Luckily, I had my energy gel with me, and my pacer bought along some protein drink mix.

 

IMG_3064The last few hundred metres push. Believe me, I wasn’t smiling if it wasn’t for the camera.

IMG_3068Spotted any of these cheer squad along the way? Boys, your macho level and manliness just went up a notch in those tutu skirts and pompoms!

I managed to conclude my 2nd attempt at a full marathon in 6 hours and 33 minutes, exceeding the cut off time by 3 minutes. Now I wished that I listened to my pacer because he was right when he said “Hey no pain, no gain, girl!”. I have to train harder for my next full marathon in a few months time, because it is not fun being among the last ones to arrive!

IMG_3069Full marathon and half marathon finishers.

 

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.