Race report: 1 min 44 sec too late at Putrajaya Night Marathon 2016, my first ever night marathon

While Facebook posts were excitingly swamped with Langkawi Ironman's posts these few days, I was uncontrollably swamped by work stress over last few days from my first ever business trip after a year break, which saw me reaching home past midnight last Friday. I ended up catching a cold with a chilled body on race day (Saturday). Still - the stubborn me didn't want to succumb to the physically unwell body. I ended up taking 2 tablets of Panadol at 1.00 pm then took a nap in the hope of full recovery in time for my first ever night marathon, Putrajaya Night Marathon at 8.00 pm. It was also going to be my last race of 2016. So I would force myself to complete it no matter what.

Besides, I never ran in a night marathon before. I only ran in a 12 km Men's Health Night Run few years back. I never liked running at night due to the humid weather and close to sleeping hours. But this year I decided to try out night marathon to gain night marathon experience.

So, here I was - at the start line of Putrajaya Night Marathon 2016 - not knowing what to expect out of the race.

Start line
At the start line of Putrajaya Night Marathon 2016 with the down pour right before the start off, my body was shivering again. At that spur of moment, I thought of DNS - not starting at all. Physically and mentally I was not prepared. So many thoughts rushed through my head but 2 big questions constantly popped into my head:
  1. Would I be able to complete this first ever night marathon with my chilled body and light fever?
  2. Would I be able to complete this race under sub 4 to make it a perfect sub 4 year?

But hey --
It is better to start this race with uncertainties and finish this race with certainties; than to start this race with certainties and finish with uncertainties. 
With that in mind, I decided to start this race even mentally and physically not prepared. At least I would have my 2 questions in my head answered few hours later. You can call me stubborn. But I would rather find out the answer one way or another. :)

First 21 km: too fast, too ambitious and the wanton burp

For the first 21 km, I was trying to keep to around 5:21-5.23 min / km pace. But I believe I was too ambitious - running too fast too soon in the first 10 km. In my past 2 full marathon races, I ran at much slower pace. But this round, I wasn't sure why I wanted to run faster. I guess I was hoping to finish it earlier and go home to sleep in on my comfortable bed to rest my body. haha!

What a bad idea!! I wasn't listening to my body - yet trying to run faster than usual. What a double blow to my spirit and soul! (serve me right!)

When I reached around 21 km, I had consumed 2 packs of power gel and I wanted to consume the third pack. But my stomach started to feel the burn and I felt like vomiting. What could be burped out from my mouth was lots of air and gas with some wanton noodle smell!! lol!! Not sure if it was due to my late eating of  oily wanton noodle at 5.30 pm (2.5 hours before race) or not. I guess it must be! I wasn't quite sure whether to eat early dinner or not for the race.  I guess it was a very bad pre-race decision. :)

My body was so exhausted by then with the chill started to attack me again. So many thoughts rushed through my head asking me to quit.

But hey no... I ain't a quitter. 

At the spur of moment, I also thought of all the full Ironman participants in Langkawi. And I drew strength from their mental toughness saying that Putrajaya Night Marathon was only 1/3 of what they went through. So I should not whine!! haha!!

I psyched myself up to swallow another pack of power gel to march on - much slower - but still marching on in the dark up and down the rolling hills with a chilled body and a beaten-up no smiling face.

Such a lonely, agony journey to endure!! Where was the finish line???

2nd 21 km - chilled body, rolling hills and weak mental strength started to take its toll

When would the rolling hills going to end? Why was it so long, so dark, so far?

I had never felt so bad in a race before. All the races I participated, I made sure I was fully rested and well. But I remember I almost felt the same at Penang Bridge International Marathon 2015 - almost same feeling of desperation, hopelessness. But at Putrajaya Night Marathon 2016, I felt much worse!

Anyway - stop all the whining - so I told myself!

I re-focused my energy on my cadence, steps to ensure efficient running. Step by step, little by little, I inched myself towards finish line.

I piked up a banana and a pack of power gel along the route. I ate the banana half way and I had to throw the remaining away because I felt like vomiting. 

Never mind - so I told myself. I would survive the remaining distance

My pace had dropped from around 5.23 min / km during the first 21 km to 5.35 min / km after 35 km.

By the time I reached 38 km or so, I was at 5.39 min / km.

And I know there was no way I could complete the race within 5.40 min / km. It also meant that I could already say good bye to the long-awaited sub 4 time. 

Finish line: Down on my knees with Personal Worst (PW) of 2016 

True enough - I finished the race 1 min 44 seconds too late to qualify for another sub 4 full marathon!! 

My personal worst (PW) time of 2016 running season!

No sub 4! No sub 4!! sob sob!!! 

Look at my face at finish line!!

It was my most horrible race photo ever.

I was so wet, sad, devastated and disappointed. With no smile, all the disappointments were written all over my sad face!!

Sigh! What to do? Who asked me to be so stubborn taking Panadol and wanton noodle to run with a chilled body? I asked for this mental and physical punishment!!

May be you don't know what achieving a sub 4 would mean so much to me this year!! I only ran 5 full marathon races this year. I would have a perfect sub 4 full marathon season this year if it wasn't because of this 1 min 44 sec!!!!

1 min 44 sec!! You ruined my sub 4 season!!! Geram!!!!

But hey - let's look at the bright side. Now I belong to 401 club - as warmly welcomed by one of my running friends for joining the club. But he encouraged me not to stay too long in this 401 club!! lol!!

(Phew!! I finally could laugh at my own disappointment!!)

About Organizer

Overall, Putrajaya Night Marathon 2016 was a very well organised event. I believe it was organised for the 7th time but only my first time joining. The water stations were aplenty - every 3 km or so. There was a banana station and power gel station. Another wonderful thing about the race was the distance marker almost every water station telling us "xxx km to go".  

I thought I should give them the due recognition for their professionalism in organizing such event. 

Oh before I forgot, organizers even arranged for lighted lion dance and some music blasting along the route. I thought that was really cool!

But unfortunately, I wasn't in the mood to enjoy all that. 

After thoughts
I reached home around 1 am, tired and physically beaten but still couldn't sleep. I ended up taking 2 more tablets of Panadol after warm shower and before sleep.

As my body was still cold, I ended up wearing long sleeve shirt, cap and long pajamas to sleep. lol!! First time for me to wear like this to sleep!! 

But with the power gel still inside my stomach, I couldn't sleep until around 3.30 am.

Am I whining? Yeah - a little bit! haha!

Still not satisfied with the 1 min 44 sec short of another sub 4!!

But at least now I have experienced running at night - the whole 42 km distance of it! Quite a horrible experience I must say - not because of organizer but more so for my own unwell physical condition and poor mental state of mind.

Will I run another night marathon again? Err.... .hmmmm.... ooooh.... .aaaaah...... 

Will I run another night marathon again? Err.... .hmmmm.... ooooh.... .aaaaah...... 

One part of me said, no way!! definitely a no no in future! 

Another part of me said that I should try again to overcome my weakness in night running. And also to aim for sub 4 club instead of staying in 401 club for night marathons.

Which part of me would win? :) Well, let's wait for answer in 2017.  But if you know me well enough, you would have already got an answer. :) 

We shall see.... Putrajaya Night Marathon - either I come back after you or I forever ban myself from running another night marathon! 

But for 2016 - thank you very much for allowing me to have first night marathon experience! But no thanks for not allowing me to achieve sub 4. sob sob!!

1 min 44 sec too late!!! This is going to eat into me for a long long long long time....... 

Event     : Putrajaya Night Marathon 2016
Date       : 12 Nov 2016
Distance : 42 km
Shoes      : Saucony Kinvara 6 (Orange)
Watch      ; Garmin Vivoactive
Shorts      : ASICS
Vest         : Adidas

Written on: 2016.11.15


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