2016 race reflections: 5 FMs (4 sub 4s, 1st back 2 back, 1st night marathon, a maiden podium finish), a maiden Ironman triathlon and a 30 km race.

My 2016 running and triathlon season has come to a close early this year. It has been a very fruitful year indeed with some unexpected surprises and twists. I thank God for giving me a healthy body to continue with my passion without any injuries. And I thank my mom for being my greatest inspiration and motivation for encouraging me to take 2 steps forward (instead of usual one little conservative step at a time). Despite 1 step back before year-end closing, i believe I am still moving forward by one step in 2016.

Beginning of 2016...

Before the start of 2016, I had only 3 goals:

1. To make sub 4 hours as consistent as possible in full marathons. This is to assure my own self that sub 4 is not a one-time wonder.

3. To finish Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2016 within sub 4 hour for the first time as SCKLM is considered THE full marathon in Malaysia.

3. To complete an Olympic distance triathlon (previously sprint distance only).

After 11 months...Time flies. In 11 months' time, I ended up completing five full marathons, one 30 km race and an "accidentally registered" maiden half ironman triahlon.

Here is the recap:

R  U  N  N  I  N  G

01.24  Twincity Marathon 2016, Cyberjaya / Putrajaya
42 km (#17 FM) | Net time 3:56:42 (#4 sub 4) | Saucony Kinvara 6 white | Garmin Forerunner 10
Twincity Marathon 2016, Cyberjaya / Putrajaya

Summary: I was in a bad state of phyical health (didn't train since September 2015) as well as mental health (lost mom 1.5 month earlier). And I almost DNS for this first race of the year. But I decided the night before to still go for it despite my sadness and lack of training. I wanted to be strong and didn't want to show my weakness. I was happy that I did. Thanks to William Lim for allowing me to pace him all the way - I mean the whole 42 km. Without him, I think I would have given up earlier. I also ended up with a surprised sub 4 but I had to sit at finish line for 1 hour before I could really walk. I guess I was totally exhausted - mentally and physically. 

Race report: click here

Lesson Learned:
Whether you win, lose, or collapse at the finish line, at least you will know exactly WHO YOU ARE!

02.21  Kaohsiung Mizuno International Marathon 高雄国际马拉松 2016, Taiwan 
42 km (#18 FM) | Net time 3:52:38 (#5 sub 4) | Saucony Kinvara 6 white | Garmin Forerunner 10
Kaohsiung Mizuno International Marathon 高雄国际马拉松 2016, Taiwan 

Summary: The only overseas full marathon in 2016. This trip was planned in September 2015. I love Taiwan very much. Never ran and visited Kaohsiung before so I thought of experiencing it. Wonderful route. Wonderful people. Environmentally friendly race with many runners holding paper cups to run and very minimal rubbish on the floor throughout 42 km.

Race report: click here

Lesson learned: 
The earth is a fine place and worth fighting for.

07.24  Newton Challenge Kuala Lumpur 2016 
30 km | Net time 2:33:40 | Saucony Kinvara 6 white | Garmin Forerunner 10

Newton Challenge Kuala Lumpur 2016
Summary: I decided to register for Newton Challenge Kuala Lumpur 2016's 30 km race to prepare for long-awaited Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2 weeks later. It was my last 30 km preparation before SCKLM 2016. I love the route for its hilly slopes. By right, it wasn't supposed to be a PB route. But I guess the rain and cool weather helped. With the help on the rain, I ended up running faster than usual, reaching finish line with a surprised PB finish time.

Race report: click here

Lesson learned: 
Happiness is..... running in the rain

08.07  Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2016 
42 km (#19 FM) | Net time 3:52:23 (#6 sub 4) | Saucony Kinvara 6 white | Garmin Forerunner 10
Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2016

Summary: Long-awaited race of the year. Last year it was cancelled due to haze. And I have never achieved sub 4 before at SCKLM. It's especially meaningful if I could do it as it's also the largest and most well organised event in Malaysia. It would help to assure my ownself that I could really do a sub 4 with hot weather, rolling hills, boring expressways. And I was so happy I did it! Special thanks to Sharon Zheng Norah and Karen Loh.

Race report: click here

Lesson learned:
Run the day. Don't let it run you!

08.14  Kuching Marathon 2016, Sarawak
42 km (#20 FM) | Net time 3:50:58 (#7 sub 4 ; FM PB) | #10 in Men Veteran Category | Saucony Kinvara 6 orange | Garmin Forerunner 10 
Kuching Marathon 2016, Sarawak
Summary: I registered for Kuching Marathon a few months earlier, not knowing later Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2016 would have fallen on a Sunday a week before. Oh my gosh!! I was telling myself how to run a back to back full marathon! Never before! Then I decided to still go for it but with a joyful relaxing mood. Didn't realise that my first back to back full marathon in Kuching also ended up with my all time PB and a #10 podium finish, also a first in my running history. What a pleasant surprise!

Race report: click here

Lesson learned: 
Believe in the best. Have a goal for the best. Never be satisfied with less than your best. And in the long run, things will turn out for the best.

11.12  Putrajaya Night Marathon 2016, Putrajaya
42 km | Net time 4:01:44 (#21 FM) | Saucony Kinvara 6 orange | Garmin Forerunner 10
Putrajaya Night Marathon 2016
Summary: First night marathon. Caught a cold and flu and ended up taking panadols before race. Decided to still race the last full marathon of the year on my calendar and also to experience the night running. Anything that could have gone wrong - all went wrong! :) It was also the only full marathon that I didn't manage to achieve a sub 4 time this year. Not a wise decision, but not regrets. It's part and parcel of life - with ups and down! :) Smile! :)

Race report: click here

Lesson learned: 
Unless you puke, faint or die, KEEP GOING!

T  R  I  A  T  H  L  O  N

09.04  113 Triathlon Bukit Merah 2016, Perak 
2 km swim / 90 km bike / 21 km run | Net time 7:33:44(First Half Ironman)| Saucony Kinvara 6 orange, TYR cycling tights, Arena swimming trunk, Adidas and ASICS running vests | Garmin Forerunner 10 | Nike+ Running Club (NRC) App on Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge
113 Triathlon Bukit Merah 2016, Perak

It was a terrible accidental registration. I was supposed to register for an Olympic Distance triathlon but I ended up register for Half Ironman distance. Only 2 choices: either I withdrew or I whacked! I decided to choose the latter. Bought my first road bike HASA. Learned a crash course on cycling from my colleagues through few weekend cycling. Practiced swimming in the pool. All done within 3 months. Then I braved myself to endure the 7 hour 34 min pain and torturing under hot sun - swimming 2km in Bukit Merah fresh water lake, cycling 90km around the beautiful Kampung around Bukit Merah, and running 21km through rubber plantations. And hey - I ended up completing my first maiden half ironman distance triathlon with much darker skin with sun burn! :) But it was an awesome, memorable experience! I felt so liberated!

Race report: click here

Lesson learned: 
Freedom lies in being bold

It's a wrap....

I really thank my mom for teaching me how fragile life is.
I really thank my mom for teaching me to be bold, courageous and brave in trying new things in life.
I really thank my mom for making me stronger and tougher mentally.

mom - I am dedicating 2016 to you. 

  • All time personal best at Kuching Marathon
  • 1st full marathon podium finish at Kuching Marathon
  • 1st back to back full marathon (SCKLM and Kuching Marathon)
  • 1st podium finish ever 
  • 1st night marathon at Putrajaya Night Marathon
  • 4/5 sub 4 full marathons including the elusive Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon
  • 1st half Ironman triathlon

And I thank all the running and triathlon friends, especially those cheering me on, teaching me running techniques, encouraging me, pacing me during races. 

Lastly, I thank God for carrying me through a year without mom - and find peace and joy through running and triathlon. 

Good bye, 2016 ! And I look forward to an injury-free 2017 season!

Written on 2016.11.26


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