Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2016

I registered for Penang Bridge International Marathon since registration opened in March 2016. Flight and hotel booked and I was looking forward to the run for 3 reasons:

1) PBIM2016 was held on November 27 which was my dad's birthday. He would have been 76 years old in 2016.

2) To fulfill my 2016 goal to run a marathon overseas. 

3) Holiday with my family. The last time I was in Penang was about 30 years ago with my dad. 

My Preparation - 2 weeks before race day
I have earlier registered for GEWR2016 (earlier post) to prepare myself for PBIM2016. So the longest distance I've ran prior to PBIM2016 was 21km. (not recommended at all)

I always study the race route and locations of water points. This helps me plan the fuel I would need. For me, I usually consume 1 salt tablet every 7km and 1 gel every 10km. (requirement differs according to individual)

Tips #1: Plan how to carry your fuel. For me, 2 gels in arm band with mobile phone and 5 salt tablets in pocket. 

Tips #2: Place mobile phone in ziplock bag, in case of rain. 

1 week before race day
We arrived in Penang on November 23 (Wed). There were not much resting for my legs as there were a lot of walking in Penang. It was good to travel in a group. We ordered a lot of food at each meal for sharing.

We visited Batu Ferringhi Night Market, George Town for food hunt, George Town for Street Art, Gurney Drive and Queensbay Mall. (because it was near to the race site) The navigation around Penang was a lot of hard work. #realandnotposing

A day before race day 
Tips #3: Drink 3 litres of water till the urine was clear in colour. Helps to prevent dehydration. 

Tips #4: Avoid meat or food that takes longer to digest. For me, I discovered that meat is the culprit. No more stitches after I eliminate meat from my diet.

Took an hour of power nap till 10.30 p.m. (Flag off was 1.30 a.m.) I drank a can of coffee and headed to lobby to wait for hotel's free shuttle to race site. 

At starting line 
I took some pictures. Instagrammed. Facebooked. Check hair, check cap, check shades, check MP3, check Garmin. I did some easy stretching. I usually do not stretch stationary cold muscles. Ready for flag off. #fireworks

Tips #5: For long runs, the first 1-2km is warm-up pace for me. 

Was uneventful. Basically we ran along the highway and made 2 u-turns before heading up the bridge. Many people were running past me but 42km is a looooooong run. I resisted the temptation to keep up with the crowd. #bepatient

The bridge was 13.5km long. A friend told me it's flat; not much of a concern. Another friend said it's like running up the Mandai Road but much looonger... Slopes are not all bad news.

Motivation #1: What goes up must come down... That's my motivation to climb slopes. #paynowrewardlater

100Plus spotted at about 8km water point and I drowned a cup down. Huge Mistake! Too sweet. Too much gas. I started to burp... 

Tips #6: Dilute the 100Plus with water for easy drinking.

Felt much better at subsequent water stations. 

The morale of the people were still high. I caught up with the 6hr pacers on the bridge. Due to my low mileage, I was only expecting myself to complete the run before 7hr cut off and without injury (as usual). I told JX not to come before 7.30 a.m. because to finish sub 6 would be impossible. I was also careful not to hurt my knee and lower back. #oldinjury 

However, I managed to pass the 6hr pacers and was contemplating whether I should catch up with the 5.30hr pacers. #tooambitious But I still had close to 17km to go and I did not want to kill my legs. So the plan to play catch up was aborted.

Tips #7: For FM, your race only start after 3hrs. That's where all your race execution comes in. Hydration. Mental Wall. Cramps. Fatigue. #runsmart

Reached the other end of the bridge and I ran out of gel!! Miscalculated the distance of the gel station. I was feeling hungry when I ran past the toll plaza.

Bananas NEVER worked for me. In fact the last time I ate a banana during Sundown Marathon 2016 (earlier post), my stomach churned and I had to make an emergency stop at the toilet. I told myself "confirmed" no more bananas for me. 

At the end of the bridge, I saw bananas and I took a calculated risk! I ate 3 bites and washed it down with water. #badchoice 

Tips #8: NEVER try something new on race day. 

Tips #9: Never repeat the same mistake! #doublereminder

Finally saw the gel station at 35km... Unfortunately the 3 bites of banana took its effect fast :( Stomach was churning and I refused to go toilet... #stubborn My legs started to feel fatigue and the 6hr pacers ran past me. I looked at my Garmin for my average pace. If I could maintain a 8.30min pace; I could still finish sub 6. #bonusforme

By this time, many were walking and some limping. #walkingdead I managed to alternate run and walk on my way back to finishing line.

Motivation #2: If you are in pain, tell yourself everyone else is also in pain. Running an endurance race is how well you can cope with pain. 

Slight cramps here and there... Sun rising. More people on the bridge as route started to merge with 21km and 10km.

Tips #10: When those late race cramps hit, maintain your running form and keep moving. 

Finishing line
I wanted to go faster but there was nothing left in my legs. Managed to pick up speed in the last 50m and was hoping to see JX at the finishing line. (because I told him that it was not possible for me to finish within 6hrs) Yeah! Finished! #shotbyJX

Unofficial time on my Garmin showed 5h57s. #bonus I was happy with the timing; considering the lack of mileage I put into this race. #badexample After run check, no knee pain. No lower backache. No bunion pain. #happyfeet

First overseas full marathon #checked 
Post marathon: Shower. Sleep. Eat. 
Now to plan for 2017. 

Thank you Penang! You have been good to me and my family.

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