Thursday, December 11, 2008

Shit happens!

Yes, I must say that shit did happen in Penang Bridge International Marathon 2008 on 16th Nov.

Sleeping at 10pm and waking up at 1am clearly (or I should say blurr) is a lack of rest before a long run…a marathon. If it’s a 10km run, no complaints from me but for a 42km run starting at an ungodly hour of 3 o’ clock in the morning, I expected another Sundown to happen. That’s where I had cramps on both legs, hay wired body clock, drowsiness and pounding in your head was …stop…stop…stop!

But hoping for the best, I drowned Sundown memories with peanut butter sandwiches and the not so delicious Powerbar, although much needed. After washing it down with a big endurance drink, I set off to Queensball Mall together with Meng and Siok Bee. Halfway there, a van full of Kenyans were in front of us so since we’re not very clear on the directions to the mall, we tried to follow that van. Why I put it as ‘we tried to follow’ was because somehow that van zoomed away like Kenyans in a run and sad to say, we lost track of them. Embarrassing…can’t even follow them in a van…what more to say when running! Hahaha!

Anyway, at the carnival-like starting line, shit no.1 appeared. No baggage tent! Over the loud speakers, someone had the guts to inform runners that they do not have baggage service this year. Simply unbelievable! Last year they have but this year don’t have? Sounded like they failed to secure any sponsorship for this service, huh! Meng & I had to scout for a ‘safe’ place to put our bags. Luckily we found a spot at the Digi booth. Many thanks to the staff.

Shit no.2 was the ‘kandang lembu’ style of keeping runners at the same place. This year, full marathon didn’t have many runners. Some runners sprinted and must have thought the race started with officials waving us out of ‘kandang’ to be at the starting line. Hilarious! I was one of the last to walk to the starting line and could stand literally on it. Clearly this 42km did not attract enough runners.

3am and we were flagged off. Felt like Chinese New Year with the lion dance drumming away. Anyhow, with lion dance or not, shit no.3 popped up rather quickly. Just 1km into the run, it was dark and the street lamps somehow vanished. A runner in front of me fell due to a rather big pothole. Poor fella had to endure unnecessary pain at such an early part of the long run.

Reached 10km check point with a time of 55min, I felt comfortable but honestly hoped the pace was sustainable. But lo and behold, gas & shitty problem crept in not long after that first check point. I was farting like nobody’s business and after a while, I simply had to find a decent place to ‘let go’. No portable toilets in sight so anywhere not very visible would do just fine and yes, I managed to relieve myself at the river-bank, secluded from runners. Hahaha! And that’s shit no.4!

Passing by Queensbay Mall at 20km mark on the opposite direction, marathoners ran into thousands of people doing the 25km run. Terrible! Had to start our zig zagging running style over walking traffic obstacles. Reaching the booth distributing Powergel and I thought it looked like shit swamped over by flies. Hundreds grabbing something they know not of using. Shit no.5!
A very funny story I heard was a makcik asking for water instead of Powergel. There was not a single drop at this booth. Makcik has never seen Powergel before and asked what it was for… funny guy flexed his biceps ans told her Powergel will make her strong like Popeye!

The next 10km was difficult to run our own pace with thousands of these walking traffic obstacles in front. There were signboards indicating “ Slow runners – Please keep left” but…sigh! Who is gonna follow??? Shit no.6!
Penang bridge was having a different kind of traffic jam. People jam!

Water stations at km22.5 to km27.5 seemed to have been looted by hooligans. At this point of a marathon, water was most important for runners. How can there be no water for us?!?! Absolutely unacceptable! In USA, the organizer will be sued. Perhaps that’s why so few runners took part in this full marathon….or should I say ‘fool’ marathon!
Even typing it now and thinking about it makes me thirsty. Shit no.7!

Without water, I was already very thirsty, angry and adding to the irritation was a traffic walking obstacle that suddenly decided to pace with me. Not only was he making loud stamping noises, he was pacing very near at an uncomfortable space. I tried to ignore and kept on with my pace. Not even 2km and noise disappeared. Phew!

Thank God water was available at km30, km32.5 onwards. Didn’t want to risk another dry water station so I grabbed a 500ml mineral water bottle along just to be sure. At 35km mark, I knew this was where you make or break. Something else broke… blister in my pinkie toe. It was bloody painful! For 1 to 2km I hobbled rather than running.
Shit no.8!

38km….40km….and 2km to go….as the sun rises, my eyes grew brighter and with constant pace, I smiled knowing I was doing my 2nd sub4hr marathon. Upon reaching the last 500m I was delighted looking at my watch…3:49 Another PB in the making, a surprising one as well with all the shit that took place.
Last 50m was a satisfying sprint as I crossed the finish line with a time of 3:52:39

A fantastic shitty race!

Finish 3:52:39
30km 2:45
20km 1:50
10km 55min


Yap! It's 3088.. said...

was there a timing chip?
running without water is a real torture. i can't even work for more than an hour without a sip of water!

John said...

Shit or no shit, you've got a PB, congrats!

Wishing you many more PBs to come.

Ciaklat !!! said...

hey Crazy Ray,

read your post....good time of 3 hours plus to finish your marathon...a lot better than Kenny Sia's 6 hours 15 mins 42km Singapore Marathon....Ciaklat...I think he is walking more than jogging laa....put in his blog and brag about it some more...Ciaklat..bay siaw lee.....

Anonymous said...


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