The Kuching Marathon when I no longer run with my legs

Yesterday, I ran the Kuching Marathon for the second time. It is one of my favourite homeground running events that I never miss.

At the REPC..I'm very excited to run soon!

At the REPC..Looking very excited to run!

What’s exciting about the run was that I did a back to back full marathon (FM). A week before, I ran a full marathon (42.195km) at the Standard Charted Kuala Lumpur Marathon better known as SCKLM.  My goal was to  finish BOTH marathons without injury and I did it! Hoyeahh!

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Hoyeahh! I finished strong after back to back FM.


After coming back from SCKLM, I was very busy attending classes and lectures. Honestly, a week before the Kuching Marathon I didn’t run much, only carbo-loading and hydrating myself well. I believed that all I needed was a good rest and to continue loading myself with carbs since there was only a week gap before the Kuching Marathon.

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I couldn’t wait to arrive at the finish line,..but before that let’s take a pic first!

I was glad that the number of participants at the Kuching Marathon increased this year. Yayy! Here’s the breakdown:

  • 5km – 2200
  • 10km – 1897
  • 21km – 2343
  • 42km – 1658
    (info from KPD Kuching)

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It was almost time to flag off,..and everybody was soo excited!

The full marathon flagged off at 2am. I liked it early because first  – no sunburn and second – the weather would not be not that hot. I was hoping to finish the run before 8 am.

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Yayy! Aina was back hometown for this event! Run Aina run!

The route was almost flat with some not-so-hilly, and long, never ending road. I started my first 10 km with paces ranging from 5.30 to 6.30 min per km and the timing for first 10 km was 59 min. For the next 11 km, my average pace dropped to 7 to 8.30 min per km, hence my timing was 2 hr 21 min for the first 21 km. Oh ya, I did spend 6-8 minutes for toilet stop at the Shell petrol station nearby. Hmm, how I wished that I didn’t stop.

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Running with energy for a selfie ;P The Nashata hoodie top keeps my head dry from morning dew

It was cold and humid, and was sure most of the runners performed best at their first 21 km. I then continued running until km 32. It was already 5.50 am and I stopped at the Petronas Petrol Station nearby for about 7-8 min to perform Fajr prayer.

By the time I started running back, it was already 6 am. If I really wanted go for sub 5, I only had about one hour left for my last 10 km. However, sub 1 for my last 10 km was probably impossible. I remained positive and changed my target to sub 5 hr 15 min, 1 min earlier from my timing at SCKLM – 5hr 16min.

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I like this pic very much! I look like an Olympians..teehee 😛 photo credit to DNA Sport 🙂

I kept telling myself, “just keep running, this suffering is almost at its end”

My last 5 km was really tough, as I was fighting with myself to complete within my target. I no longer ran with my legs, I ran with heart. I kept running, no matter how slow it was, at least I kept moving. I kept my pace within 9 to 10.30 km/min, and at that time, I could no longer feel my leg. All I could feel was my socks soaking in sweat, my big toes felt like being pressed, this and that…my only wish was that I could just walk.

Towards the finish line, there were a few cheering squats who kept entertaining the runners. I ran even faster towards my last 500 m., and yet that 500 m felt like 500 km. Arghh!

Finally, I finished my 10th Full Marathon strong at the Kuching Marathon in 5 hours 9 min.*drum rolls*.. Yayy, mission sub 5hr 15min accomplished and 7 minutes earlier from FM SCKLM. Alhamdullilah.

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My first time running in Amin Sports Hijab and I love it. I love the look and the feel. Yeahh! I made it! Forget the mile, and just remember the glory 😉

Overall, the traffic was well controlled and organised. However, the water stations had limited supply of  plain water and isotonic drink. Runners had to queue up and share cups to drink, to our inconvenience. My take home message is to bring small bottle at my next run. Should the organiser fail to provide enough water throughout the run, at least I have my own.

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Thank you guys for support 😉 and not to forget, Fatin finished her first run, a 10km within cut off time..congrats! *claps

Before I went back, I managed to meet up with some friends who flew in from Peninsular just to race. Ermm, not entirely, they flew in for Kek Lapis and Mee kolok too 😛

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Congrats Khairul (in black shirt) for doing his personal best for his HM. And others, congrats guys for finishing strong.

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This superman did a back to back too,..with an awesome timing ,..sub 4.30..congrats Mambo!

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My medical lecturer (in blue hijab) also ran this morning,..she’s did 5km but overmileage with 3km add on! Congrats Dr! Next time she should upgrade to 10km 😉

When someone tells you, ‘You can’t’, turn around and say, ‘Watch me!’ ….And the bragging continues ….. 😛

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We continued bragging,..because the suffer is astounding!

Before the moment ended, we celebrated our victory with…..tadaaa!

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Mee Kolok with FM finisher medal add-on!

Till then, we shall meet again in next post 🙂

Keep running and be inspired!

The Weekend Runner: Fairy Cave & Mount Singai, Sarawak.

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Salam Eid Al Adha to everyone! Most Malaysians love travelling back to their ‘kampung’ (villages or hometown) to celebrate Eid with the extended family. So last Thursday, I packed my bags and flew back to my dad’s hometown in Bau, Sarawak to celebrate Eid with them. The district of Bau is situated about 22km from the capital city of Kuching on the Borneo Island. Bau used to be a thriving, bustling gold mining town until the 1970s. But these days it’s a small, simple ‘kampung’ rich in natural attractions, such as limestone formation, rivers, and jungles. First on the list is Fairy Cave.

 

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How to get there: the only way to get here from the city is by car. However, if you want to travel like the locals do, take the bus from Kuching city and walk a few kilometers from the Bau bus station.

 

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To get to the cave entrance you have to climb about 4 storeys of stairs. Alternatively, you can take a ‘faster’ route if you are feeling adventerous (Harness, helmets, and other safety equipment not included!)

 

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The cave entrance. Have Nashata top, will travel!

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The walk into the cave will be dark. But inside, the belly of the cave will be flooded with natural light.

 

IMG_0870According to the locals, this place is called Fairy Cave because there is a stone formation which resembles a divine deity.

 

Difficulty level: 1/10 – Very Easy. 

Duration: Less than 30 minutes.

Additional note: Bring your own torch light.

 

The next day, we decided to do something more adventurous; hiking up Mount Singai, located in Kampung Singai, Bau. Unlike Fairy Cave, this place is not very famous amongst tourists so we relied heavily on directions by the local villagers. Overall, the hike will take you about 4 hours in total (2 hours ascending and 2 hours descending) at a very leisurely pace. Take your time to appreciate the surroundings, and you will spot many plants species that are indigenous to Borneo only.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 4.48.30 PM How to get there: the only way to get here from the city is by car. This is the nearest landmark to get to the parking entrance. You will need a good ol’ map to Kampung Singai and a friendly face to ask for directions, no such thing as Waze or Google around here!

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This mountain is also a holy site for the locals. So there are well-maintained stairways to get to the church. The church is also a halfway marker to the peak of Mount Singai.

IMG_0912After the church is where the real fun begins!

 

IMG_0916Chatting with the locals. The old man has been coming here for all his life.

IMG_8095IMG_0933More flora and fauna.

 

IMG_8098Sadly, the view at the top was blanketed by the haze. At least my Azeeza Zip Up is in a more cheerful shade of grey.

 

Difficulty level: 3/10 – Easy to Moderate (depending on your fitness level) 

Duration: 4 hours, approx. 1600 ft.

Additional note: Bring your own water and gloves. Sneakers/ any work out shoes

 

I did not realise that this sleepy kampung has so much to offer. With some proper planning and infrastructure development, Bau has high potential to become a eco-tourism spot in the future.

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Pristine, beautiful, and green – there is still so much more to explore and discover here.

 

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.

The Weekend Runner: Kuching Marathon 2015

“Kitak dah Subuh kah?” (“Have you prayed Fajr?”), asked some friendly uncles and aunties as I ran past them as they walked from the mosque.

“Aok, lepas azan kamek terus solat” (“Yes I did, I prayed as soon as the adhan finished”), I replied in broken Sarawakian, laced with a noticeable KL accent.

Thanks for the friendly prayer reminder, aunties and uncles! Indeed, performing Fajr (morning prayers) was a breeze during the Kuching Marathon because the route was dotted with a few mosques and surau at almost every 2-3 km along the way. As usual, most half marathon events flag off early before dawn, around 5-5.30a.m. Armed with my usual strategy to pray on-the-go, I ensured that I am cleansed with wudhu (ablutions) before running, tried my best to remain in that cleansed state, and pray as soon as I hear the adhan (calling of prayers) even if I have to pray by the roadside. However, this was not necessary as there were plenty of mosques and surau along the way.

Usually, I would also bring along a waist pack to store an unopened bottle of mineral water (just in case if I have to perform the wudhu again), my phone, energy gel, money, etc. as my running pants had limited pocket space. However, I forgot to pack my waist pack from KL but I remembered that the Azeeza Zip Up I was wearing had a hidden pocket on the right sleeve. Now, with the additional pocket space, I can store my essentials while only holding the water bottle.

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One could not have too many pockets. This cleverly designed wrist pocket was discreet yet spacious enough to fill with some money and cards.

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The hidden pocket can be stretched to accommodate a pack of energy gel too. This was the energy gel provided for free at 12KM check point.

 

We were not sure if the organizers planned this route for the convenience of Muslim runners, or it was just coincidence since we had to pass by some Malay villages so prayers facilities were plenty. However, I appreciated that the organizers displayed an admirable level of racial and religion tolerance that should be an example to other events; I was pleasantly surprised that there was a du’a (short prayer) recital just before we were flagged off, and this is not common at running events.

 

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Moment of silence while the Muslims said “Ameen” to the short prayer. Other religions were encouraged to do the same thing too in their own way.

 

Besides villages, Kuching Marathon would not be complete if we did not run past the iconic giant cat statue (Kuching is literally translated as ‘cat’). There was a long line up to take pictures with this cat statue during the race. We were too focused on sprinting towards the finishing line since it was the final 2KM, so we went back at night to take pictures.

IMG_0133Oh hey cat with vest, did you get a finisher t-shirt too?

IMG_0132It would be pretty cool if the organizers put vests on this family of cats too!

 

Overall, this event was well-organized as it met most of the participant’s expectations. We hope that the organizers keep up with the same standards next year, as we plan to return with an even bigger team and run the full marathon.

 

IMG_0104After approximately 6 hours and 36 minutes, we spotted our only team mate who ran a full marathon and sprinted towards the finishing line together.

11889453_10207260390497879_7319495245154347458_nMedal design: Cute, or cliche? 

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IMG_0108Only one of us ran the full marathon. Hopefully, next year we’ll be back and all of us will run the full marathon too.

 

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.