Race Report – Larian Hari Keputeraan Sultan Azlan Shah 2011 7km

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RACE REPORT
LARIAN HARI KEPUTERAAN SULTAN AZLAN SHAH 2011 7KM

I have been looking forward to this race for awhile now as it’s my first ‘away race’. This race is held in honour of and to celebrate the birthday of His Majesty The Sultan Of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah. So I had high hopes for this running event and it did not disappoint.


TRAVEL

Kuala Kangsar is about 3 hours away (by car) from KL. We too a drive yesterday and arrived about 5 PM. After settling the accommodation matters, we took a drive to survey the route (see here for my Pre Race Prep). After dinner and a bit of a drive, it was time to go to sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a great day.

numbers were swelling up

BEFORE THE RACE

The race had just under three thousand runners participating in either the 7km or the 14km. By 6:30 the number of people were swelling up and I can feel the anticipation in the air.

I can see some familiar faces in the crowd (don’t know their name though) who are the regular runners at running events in KL.

WARMING UP

The 14km runners

I warmed up for about 15 minutes before the runs were supposed to start. This is shorter then my usual warming up routine. A lot of other runners were also warming up and it was interesting to see the various methods of warming up and stretching. There are those who will warm up with the slowest jog imaginable (like me) and others who will warm up as if they are running a 100 m sprint. You get the static stretches, the dynamic stretches, the pulling and bending.


THE 14KM FLAG OFF

The start of the 14km event

At about 7:00 The runners for the 14km event were told to start lining up at the Starting Line and to get ready to run. Flagging off both the 14km and the 7km run would be The Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Nazrin Shah (who will also be running in the Special Run for the VIPs once the 14km and 7km have been flagged off). At precisely 7:10 the horn was  sounded and the 14km went off to a roaring start.

Now it’s time for the 7km runners (including me) to start getting ready to run.

MY RACE STRATEGY


The last time I ran a 7km event was the FT Day 7km run which also meant that so far it’s my best time (63 minutes). Today’s cut off time for the 7km is 60 minutes so I had to improve my time by 3 mins. I was feeling good about going under 60 minutes today. I figured that if I ran my fastest 5km pace I ought to be able to do it in 56 minutes.

I also wanted to experiment a bit today with my running strategy. I am usually a slow starter and my pace is almost a jog in the first half of my runs. I would usually get into high gear in the second half of the run. Today I wanted to change that strategy and get into high gear from the get go. The idea being to start off strongly then run a moderately fast pace in the middle portion and run hard for the last 2 km. Will it matter? At this point of the day I didn’t know but I was going to find out real quick.

THE 7KM FLAG OFF – HERE WE GO

I assembled at the starting line along with all the other runners. And before I know it, the horn was sounded and it was time to get running. I sped out quite strongly (well strong for me anyway) and before I know it my heart rate was up to 85% MHR. It usually get’s that high at the start of any race and I usually slow my pace down until my heart rate gets to about 80% and then settle at that pace. Today I ignored my heart rate and maintain the pace for the first 3km.

THE FIRST 4KM

I was doing quite well for the first km but then started to slip considerably. These are my splits for the first 4km.

1km – 8:02
2km – 8:18
3km – 9:20
4km – 9:35

I was losing steam real quick and had to walk for a few hundred metres in the 3rd km. The 5th km was painful and I found myself alternating between walking and running. It looks like the strategy is definitely not working. Based on my other races, I am a strong finisher and I always get faster in the second half of a run. In today’s race, I was getting slower and slower by the minute and I can feel the sub 60 minutes for the 7km slipping away.

The final mad dash

FINAL KM

I was still alternating between walking and running. I saw the 6km marker and glanced glanced at my watch. I had run for 52 minutes so I still had a chance to go under 60 minutes (and definitely under 63 minutes for a personal best) if I ran the final km in under 8 minutes. I knew this was possible for me and I had done it before. Can I do it today. In that final km I picked up my cadence and started to get some speed going. Whenever I felt myself losing form I would slow to a walk for about 10-15 secs before running again. As I passed the final corner I could just see the Finishing Line banner which gave me some motivation to push through the fatigue and pain. I judged it to be about 600m so I made a dash for it hoping that I can last 600m at the pace I was running. If I could then I’ll do it in under 60 minutes. With about 200m to the finishing my heart, legs and body were screaming for me to stop. I couldn’t run anymore and I had to slow my pace to a walk. I knew by this time that it’s totally impossible for me to run that 7km in under 60 minutes. With that target shelved I focussed on going under 63 minutes. I walked for about 30m and then made a last mad dash for the finishing line. This time I am not going to slow down until I get to the end.

 

THE FINISHING LINE

Wow. If I thought my heart, legs and body were screaming for me to stop earlier, this time it was completely deafening. My body wanted to slow down but my mind refused to. Thankfully, my body listened to my mind. And I went all the way to the finishing line (which seemed to get further and further away with each step I took).

I was running so hard when I got to the finish line that I was panting and gasping for air. The medical emergency staff came rushed tome and kept asking me if I was all right. I nodded to them indicating that I was all right. They still kept asking me over and over again and I kept on nodding and nodding (I was waiting to get my breath back). When I did get my breath back I told them that I was ok and that this is all part of the drama. Still, I was very appreciative for their concern.

MY TIME


60 MINS 55 SECS

Woo hoo and yee haa.

I had beaten my personal best of 63 minutes recorded during the FT Day Run (my first race) time by 2 mins 5 secs.

Even though I didn’t make the cut off time, getting a personal best is really gratifying for sure. I don’t think I’ve ever ran faster than I did in that last km and that burst of speed at the end was just awesome (and painful).

THE RACE CARNIVAL

One thing for sure, the race organisers really know how to take care of runners. There was an impressive buffet laid with a never ending supply of food for the runners. I don’t know if it was because I was hungry or whether it’s the mood of the day but that meehoon they served was probably the best I have ever tasted in my life and I must have had at least 4 helpings plus all the savoury stuff like karipap.

The prize giving ceremony
THE RACE ORGANISERS
I have to say that as a participant, this is the best organised race I have ever participated in. The race itself was organised by the Pacesetters which means that the race itself will be managed and organised by runners and I did feel that as a runner, I was really taken care off.
Some of my likes:
– I like that there are distance markers throughout the route
– I like the medical emergency staff presence (they were all over the place at the finishing line)
– I like the food spread (I really really really liked it)
– I liked the carnival atmosphere created at the end- most of the time people would just slowly disperse because there’s nothing to do.
– I like the route.
– I like the finisher’s medal
– I like my bib number (G7000)
– I like the special rate for accommodation (RM115 per night is really great)
– I like and love the volunteers
Some of my (I wish)
– Though they had route markers, I wish they were bigger. I missed the 3km marker and only realised at 4km
– The water station was at the 3km just before the turn at the bridge. This is where ribbons were distributed as proof that runners ran the route. The volunteers were lined up in front of the water station so if I wanted to get water I would have to go through the volunteers and make a sharp 90 deg turn to get the water. It would have been better if the water station and the ribbon giving was done one after the other (instead of ‘at the same place’)
– Back to route markers, it would have been great to have a countdown every 100m in the last 500m of the finishing line. I don’t know if it’s done in other races but I woud certainly have appreciated it
– I would also have loved a clock displaying time at the finishing line.
But all in all, this was a great race and thank you to PACESETTERS and the volunteers.
RACE AFTERMATH.
I crashed out completely at the hotel room after the run. I’ve never been so tired after a run as I did today. My left ankle really hurt for a bit (it feels better now). As I’m writing this race report I am safely at home enjoying my own bed. I know I’m going to sleep well tonight.
Psychologically I am very happy and contented. There’s a twinge of disappointment at not going under 60 minutes but achieving a personal best more than makes up for it. This race completes a 4 week cycle of intervals, pace and power workouts. Now it’s time for an easy week before starting the cycle again.
MY LEARNINGS
Today was a great day for learning. I learnt that I have to pace my start very well and not commit to quickly to a fast pace. People have been telling me that for a long time. Now I know and more importantly, my mind knows it.
Every race is supposed to make be better for the next race and despite not making the cut off time, I know my next race will be better.
About Reza Ali

Reza Ali Reactivated tells of the journey of Reza Ali as he embarks on transforming himself from a 120kg (35kg overweight) 46 inch waist unhealthy and unfit person to someone who can compete in a triathlon. Don’t be afraid to dream. Take action. Correct your mistakes. Learn from failures. Bit by bit, you will get closer to your dream.

If I Can Do It, So Can You…..


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2 thoughts on “Race Report – Larian Hari Keputeraan Sultan Azlan Shah 2011 7km

  1. wow…i just found your blog when i search polar FT60…seem u r courage to loose your weight…well done..it seem work…im beginner…just try to run…but im skinny (frankly…really underweight)hahahaha…i run for my heart…to avoid CVA….

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