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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2010

Penang Bridge International Marathon
Date:21 November 2010
Time:2.00am

PRE-RACE

This is my 2nd year taking part in the Penang Bridge Marathon.This year we decided to fly to Penang and we are thankful to Gopalan and his wife,Ronisa for fetching us from the airport and also for the dinner in Queensbay Mall.



*L-R:my youngest daughter Jacyntha,my wife Juliet,Ronisa,her youngest daughter and Gopalan

After the dinner,I checked into Eastin Hotel while my wife and daughter went out shopping with Ronisa.I tried to get some sleep but unable to since it wasn't my usual sleeping hour.Instead, I spent the night watching English Premier League match between Arsenal and Spurs.It was an exciting match where Spurs being 2 goals down, came back to win the match 3-2!!

When I was about to sleep at 11pm,my wife came back from shopping.Finally only managed to get half and hour nap before getting ready for the marathon.


RACE

At 1.30am, I walked to the starting point at the Queensbay Mall.There were many runners and I was trying to look out for the Seremban group.Only managed to see Lim,Eric and my friend Tham from Sungai Petani.



*The starting of the full marathon at 2.00am.This year there wasn't a lion dance before the race but during the starting of the race.



  • The strategy for this year PBIM....to run a better race compared to last year.So I decided to follow the 4:30 hour pacers and if I can't maintain the pace later in the race then at least I hope to achieve a sub 5h finishing time.
The first part of the run took us towards Seagate then make a U turn back towards Eastin Hotel before entering the Penang Bridge.I noticed the 4:30h pacers were a bit slow so I overtook them just before entering the Penang Bridge.


  • Midway up the Penang Bridge,Heng overtook me and we chit-chat for a few minutes.We were talking about running ultra marathon in the coming Sundown 2011.Then Heng sped off leaving me wondering why everyone from the Seremban group was running so fast.
After the U turn at the toll plaza,runners must now run back towards the Penang Island.That was the moment when I heard tunders and the sky started to pour heavily.Everyone were fully soaked.The were chaos when the half marathoners joined in at the mid way of the bridge.


  • The rain slowed down to drizzle after I exited from the bridge.I was feeling fresh and cool after the heavy shower.I was still feeling strong so I decided to run a bit faster along the Jelutong Expressway.In order to concentrate on my pace/run,I kept on focusing 3 metres in front of me.I tried not to look side ways as not to be disturbed by the negative scenes like runners walking,having cramps,stopping or sitting.

Francis was on his way back towards Queensbay Mall when he noticed me.He was cheering me.I noticed it was already 3 hours 11 minutes into our race.Seems like he won't able to do a PB time but sure it would be a sub 4h finishing.


  • Then the U turn at the end of the expressway and runners were heading back to the finishing line.This was the last stretch of the race and I was still feeling good and strong.No impending cramp but slight muscle ache.I took my final packet of Power gel and one bananas.I was feeling excited as I knew the end was near.Yesudian called out my name when our path cross not far from the U turn.
  • Suddenly it came across my mind that I have not seen any of my Seremban group runners after exiting from the bridge except Francis.They must be way ahead of me.



*The picture taken near the finishing line by Kho.Thanks for his effort.The link is http://picasaweb.google.com/khokl74




  • Then the nightmare came....at about 2 km from the finishing line,there was a massive crowd of runners who have just started the 10km fun run.Most of them were walking and they had taken up the entire road.I had to run at the side of the road and trying hard to avoid colliding into them.


Few full marathoners were seen shouting on top of their voice at the 10km runners for blocking their (full marathoners)path.One of them was a 4:30h pacer.I briefly told her to continue running instead of wasting time and energy shouting.



  • Personally I feel that we as full marathoners shouldn't be so proud or think that we are the special breed and other runners need to respect or gave way to us.10km or 42km...we are all runners.Please don't shout at others.



*The picture taken by my wife from our hotel room.The massive crowd of 10km runners..I heard there were 10,000 10 km runners!!



  • The best part was running toward the finishing line.There wasn't a big crowd lining up near the finishing line as compared to last year probably because it was raining.Again,I saw Francis cheering me near the finishing line.Eh..where were the rest of the Seremban runners??


*Picture of me and my daughter after the run.My daughter woke up late so they were unable to see me finishing the race.The initial plan was for my wife to snap pictures of me crossing the finishing line between 4:30-4:45 hours.
POST-RACE
  • After collecting my medal and finisher T,I went around looking for my wife and the rest of my group.Only managed to see Tham who finished with time of 4h 38min.His initial target was to do a sub 4h marathon.



*Picture of me posing in front of PBIM banner with my CW-X compression tights which I think is quite good.Still need to run more in it before making judgement.
  • Went around the event main area for half an hour looking for friends but can't see anyone so decided to go to the FM tent for the complimentary breakfast.There were plenty of foods-beehun,mee,eggs,apples,drinks etc.


    *Buying foods from the stalls in front of Queenbays Mall....a bad decision!!The food was expensive and they sold me 2 packets of stale nasi lemak.
  • Went back to hotel room for a bath and clean up.Then received a call from Lau asking about our group results.


*Picture of me in the finisher T shirt which is better than the cotton finisher T given out last year.
Went back to the event site at 9.10am hoping to grab the first prize of a Proton Saga..ha..ha..ha..I had the same hope last year.
  • There was still a big crowd of runners waiting despite the rain.Everyone was hoping to get a free gift.This year there were fewer prizes in the lucky draw.The main prize was a Proton Saga car.The secand was a motorcycle follow by air ticket to Guangzhou and air ticket to Macau.No free holidays vouchers or hotel vouchers.


*Despite the rain and feeling tired,many waited for the lucky draw.There were cultural performances,speeches by YBs and the whole show dragged on until 11.15am!!Wasted my time and did not win any prizes.What to do?....kiasu mah.He..he..he...
  • The S2 group results:
Francis 3h 37m
Eric 4h 03m
Myself 4h 41m
Heng 4h 50m
Lim 5h 06m
Yee 5h 08m
Conclusion:
Personally I am happy with my finishing time.Able to improve about 12 minutes from the previous year.Running in the drizzle do help but I don't like the heavy downpour.

  • The good points of PBIM:
1)Pre race concert.
2)Adequate water station but need more isotonic drinks.
3)Buns provided!!Noticed rain soaked buns at the middle of the bridge.
4)Live telecast on internet.
5)Fast results available online with split time.
6)Plenty of foods for the full marathoners after the race.
7)Nice finisher T
8)The rain...the drizzle all the way to the end....thank God for that!!
  • The bad points of PBIM:
1)Wastage..plenty of mineral water wasted.Should have given in small cups instead of the whole bottle.
2)Poor distance marker-inadequate and inacurrate.
3)10km starting route clashing with returning runners.
4)Inexperience pacers...many stories about 4h pacers from Eric.Personally I think the 4:30h pacers also did not achieve their aim
5)Late delivery of race packs.For us in Seremban,we were not affected.
6)Better quality medal please.
7)No cheering groups?Maybe been chased away by rain.
8)Too few prizes for the lucky draw.
9)Prize giving ceremony and lucky draw took too long.It dragged for almost 2 hours!!
  • Finally..Thanks PBIM for the experience.Hopefully will return again next year if my running group decided to join.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My New CW-X Tights

Finally.....I gave in to the temptation of trying a pair of compression tights.I was delibrating if I should use compression tights for the past few months.

Steve and Francis are both believer in the compression suits.

Just to quote Steve....if we are not the elite then we need some help in some form of running gadgets.

Francis swears it really helps him in running.This has been proven in his performance during the Beijing Marathon recently.

I was still unsure until last week when Francis who was attending a conference in Singapore voluntered to help me buy a pair of 2XU compression tights.I declined his offer of 2XU but instead choose CW-X which is cheaper.


I put in my order through this website http://www.racingtheplanet.com/store/

This website was recommended by users in CW-X facebook and HK Runners forum.

It was so easy to do online shopping.The compression tights arrived at my doorsteps from Hong Kong after 4 days.


The manufacturer http://www.cw-x.com/Default.aspx make various claims and benefits of its products.True or False ?


"CW-X support web technology when applied to muscles and joints will create an exoskeletal support system that improves biomechanics during running motion."

"It supported targeted key areas to decrease muscle oscillation and focusing power so the muscles can work efficiently."

"Compression along the web facilitates circulation,minimize lactic acid build up and muscle soreness so user can be active longer and recover faster."

WOW....very impressive!!but can it really work??




Till today,I am a non believer of compression suits.I personally believe if one can't run well then all these gadgets will not help.Maybe this gadget will make one feel more comfortable during run and give some mental confidence to the wearer...placebo effect.

If I don't believe...then why I buy the product?

The reason was to try out since it was not very expensive.I hope the product can change my negative perception so I can buy more of this products..ha..ha..ha..


So far I have use my CW-X Pro Tights on 2 occasion for a short run and I feel comfortable in it.Now...the bigger test will be this weekend during the PBIM and 2 weeks later in Singapore.Let's see if the compression tights can really help in running 42km.

More personal reviews on this CW-X tights after PBIM and SCSM.