Monday, May 17, 2010

New Balance 15 KM Run- an experience

Me and Mac

I had really, really wanted to run this event. I was one of the few early birds who registered early. Why would I really, really want to run this one? It is a personal pledge. I believe if I can run even one step, I will live one more day and if I can run one kilometer, I will live one more year longer. Like that who wouldn’t want to run?

I am a cancer patient. For the past eight months I have being up and down like a roller coaster. Mood swings, hypersensitivity, dizziness and worries comes with cancer. I am currently under hormone and radiotherapies. The later BBQed me ready to eat. I had discussed with my Oncologist, he had encouraged light exercises and plenty of rest. I asked him if I could run for exercise. If I could run in half marathons which was within my capacity. He said no problem, provided I have the energy and CAN STILL RUN that is. Radiotherapy really zaps up one’s energy. I had already 20 sessions of daily zaps. I feel lethargic and actually lacks energy and strength in my muzzle groups. I have to climb 27 steps from the car park to the hospital lobby in HUKM daily. I wished it was 26 steps. Seriously.

But run, I will. I know the importance of race preparation. I was committed mentally. I will have to put back some strength into my legs. I did short daily walks (my version of LSDs). The week before I did two walks round Jalan Beringin, Bukit Damansara and a slow climb up Bukit Gasing, PJ. I need 3 full days off to charge my battery.

The run was res-venued to Padang Merbok, with the famous double hills. Reality hit home when I studied the route map. Double hills TWICE. I am in trouble. OK I said no need to kill myself. Cancer is already doing it. I will not set any PB or any timings. Just run.

Sunday morning May Senn and Arif picked me up at 05.45 am. May Senn wanted to pirate and ‘pace’ me. I know she actually wanted to be with me should anything happen, as she normally would want to run herself, and I am glad for that. She was always a couple of steps behind me throughout the run.

It was a nice and beautiful Sunday morning and we had a better than expected crowd. Met the usual kakis. I started at the rear of the pack, with a short prayer just to finish the run, whatever the timing. I had a slow and easy pace. Not too uncomfortable, until the Double hills hit me. Yak! my legs wouldn’t lift. No energy to climb. Overall I was OK, I did a quick chectlist, breathing OK, legs OK, chest OK, but pace slowing and stopping. I breathed hard and walked. I was beginning to feel dizzy, I was wandering/swaying from side to side. Though I did not tell May Senn, she saw and knew and she guided me back to the side of the road each time I strayed into the middle of the road. I was OK once up on top of the hills and I am thankful that every time there is a hill climb, there is also a downhill after that.

My usual heartbeat for normal runs would be 120 – 140 BPM. My max is 160 BPM. This time my heartbeat was constantly plus of 150 BPM. It was 160 – 165 climbing the hills. I was actually within the 90% zone on my heart beat. And I know that is no good. I have nothing to prove.

With 2 Km to go I ‘caught up’ with Mac and Adeliene. Mac would always be well ahead of me in previous runs. Yeh, I said to myself I must take on Mac. It is now or never. It must have been one of Mac’s bad hair days. Hi Mac, I puffed, Home run. Woot woot. My heart beat maxed at 176 BPM. Something else worried me. My heart beat recovery time. I usually recover 20 to 30 BPM as I start to slow down. But this did not happen. It was still 170 plus, and didn’t seem to slow down at all. But I was breathing fairly easy. I pushed on for the last kilometer. Then I saw the policemen removing the traffic cones. I know it was their job, but at least let us finish the run first. Taking the traffic cones away was like main battle tanks retreating in the mist of a battle. It effected me with low morale. We may be with the rear pack, but we are in the home run. I came home at 2 hours 20 mins gun time. My kakis were all there to greet me. What a run. I had a bit of collateral damage though. As my skin throughout my body is very dry and brittle caused by radiation, the rubber lining for my knee guards and underwear had braised and tore into my skin at the knees and in between my legs. Otherwise I am feeling very good and pleased with myself. Thanks May Senn.

After this experience, I will take a break and not run until at least after August 2010. I will resign to taking photographs during events until I am well again. I am no Terry Fox nor Lance Armstrong.

View some photos at my previous post. Enjoy.

Allen Lai


  1. Allen, I cant and wont begin to understand what you're going through. In the past I have lost loved ones to cancer. I do wish you stay strong through these trying times and happy to see you running in the NB 15km! It's not about how long but completing the run and being at the finishing line to celebrate the achievement. I wish you well all the time ya

  2. Hi Allen,

    Bravo and well done to you!! You overcame much more that just the physical challenge of the double hills that day and have my deepest respect and admiration.

    Rest and recover well! Keep up the good fight! I wish you well and will keep you in my prayers!

    Take care and cheers!
    Paul Lee

    PS. Thanks for being so nice to my wife and son(chubby 10yr old in imcyclist Tshirt) at IM Langkawi... They send their warmest regards too

  3. I will be at the Relay for life Bukit Jalil and will look you up there!