It must have been written in the stars that I ran the Energizer Night Run in Cyberjaya last weekend. I have no other explanation for my participation in the 21 KM event. It was sheer coincident that Max who had a bib but could not run due to an urgent call to do some work. It was when he had insisted that I could use his bib to run, that reality really sank in; I panicked. Could I do justice to Max and deliver ? The three hours cut off time came immediately into my mind. Senior Veterans got another half an hour grace.
I have been laid off the road due to medical reasons for the past two months. My medications and treatments did me in. Extra tired all the time and frequent mood swings deterred me from training. It was an on/off mood for me to register online for the event. Several days before closing date for the online registration, I decided to participate; only to read ‘registration closed’ starring at my face. It was due to the maximum number of participants had been achieved. No run. Happy or sad it was my fault. On the eve of the event (Friday) I joined Putrajaya Critical Massers for their monthly cycle ride in Putrajaya. I rode hard, albeit for only 25 KM around Putrajaya. I felt refreshed and alive after the ride.
On Saturday evening I decided to go to the Energizer Night Run. I would take photos for the PACM and the gang. I might even take my bike and offer my services as one of the patrolling support volunteers. Or I might even pirate the event for fun. So I packed my camera and running gear into the car, but decided not to ride, as I had just cycled the night before.
I arrived at 5 pm and prepared to take photos at the venue and waited at the Start Line an hour later, to take photos for the flag off. Max and other photographers were also there. After the runners cleared the Start Line for their 42 KM event, Max asked me why I was not running the half marathon starting at 8 pm. I told him my predicament. Miracles and Angels come in many form, shapes and sizes. Max was delighted that I could use his bib as he could not run in the last minute. I followed him to his friend’s car and he handled to me his unopened package comprising the running vest, bib No J9023 and D-tag for my shoes. I thanked him and promised to do my best.
I was fairly up in the front of the pack behind the Start Line. I usually would be bringing up the rear group. But this time I had purposely moved up in the front for a purpose. I wanted to be ‘forced-pushed’ along in the middle of the pack. A strategy I would regret later because I would start off much too fast for my usual pace. I did not stretch nor warm up. Further more I was not in good shape as I was not prepared for the run at all.
Run, Allen Run I kept panting to myself. My heart beat monitor showed I had maxed out my MHR within the first KM, but soon stabilized to a steady range of 130- 145 BPM. I was pleased that I was breathing easier after the water station at the 2nd KM. I was still doing well although falling well back in the pack. I was pacing at about 7 -8 KM per minute, very smooth and easy. Fortunately the whole 21KM was flat with very slight gradients occasionally. I was 1 hour 20 minutes at the half way point. I thought I would have 10 minutes to spare if I could keep up the pace. I was also surprised that all systems were GO at this stage. I had a quick checklist. Breathing OK, knees OK, legs OK, lungs OK, chest OK, timing OK, morale OK, thirst OK, and mood OK.
I continued to run at a very consistent pace, not fast, not slow, until I started to feel my left calf had started to tighten up. It was Ok I thought, as there were many other runners who had stopped for cramps. I must apply cramp management to stop a potential painful pull. At about 16KM both legs started to tighten up. I had to be very careful in my strides, as I could not afford any cramps at this stage; with only 5 KM to go. I limped and landed hard on alternative legs to keep on going. I was loosing time, but I was progressing. I was on the home run. I was in control until the last 500 meters when I had a full cramp on my right leg. I limped home in pain and finished at 3 hours 16 minutes. My performance was much better than I had expected, given that I had no training and preparations.
I was pleased to report to Max and the others I had made it and showed off my finishing medal. Thanks Max you are an Angel. It was a happy ending when two more Angels unexpectedly turned up. My wife and daughter May Senn greeted me. I had never really on my life expected to see them. Can’t ask for more Angels and joys. Another medal round my neck. Good job.
Will upload some photos later.