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RESOURCE CENTRE > ARTICLES > PUTRAJAYA MIDNIGHT 30

PUTRAJAYA MIDNIGHT 30 by Jamie Pang

Kit and Anil laughed when I told them that the midnight run we were about to embark on was only my second run of the week and if all went to plan my week's mileage would be 35K. For us who cover 50K in training mileage in 2 (read that again) consecutive days, my lack of runs was indeed a joke. I found it laughable too but there wasn't much I could do about it. I was too dug in at work right up to the morning of the run.

The idea of a midnight run was mooted by Tony Quay, who wanted to give the runners registered for the midnight Sundown Marathon on May 31, a taste of running into the witching hour. A 20-minute nap in the afternoon was all the luxury I had and after the household retired to bed, I left the house at 11pm. The after-dinner coffee seemed to be working as I was still wide awake. The drive to Putrajaya was longer than the usual 18 minutes I'd have taken, as the security closed off one of the most frequently used entrance/exit to the main thoroughfare as a way to discourage illegal racers. After taking a very long detour I finally arrived at the Palace of Justice where many cars were already parked along the main road.

The area was very well lit and the food and refreshment tables were already set up. As the crowd of runners swelled, so did the collection of food and fluids too. There were bottled water, grape cordial, isotonic, bananas, watermelons, red bean soup, chiffon cake, french toast, nasi lemak to ensure no one ever goes hungry. I relied mainly on my own chilled drinks. Saw many familiar faces, including Munning, Ben and Yee Hua, Haza the celebrity Running Mom, Uncle Sonny and Aunt Jenny among many more. Even Mohan came all the way from Singapore to join the group.

Before we were let off, Tony was busy organizing the crowd which totalled 75 and Chan Wing Kai snapping away on his trusty Nikon. Since it was already close to half past 12 midnight, Kit, Anil, Frank and I were eager to get things started. Once Tony finished his pre-run briefing, we were off running as the lead pack. I was running in shorts as opposed to my customary tights as I wanted to test my legs without the supportive tights. I was also in the relatively new (but broken in) Vomero instead of the Kayano or Elite, so coupled with the time of the day, it capped a hugely experimental experience for me. Even if I'd done 2 12-hour walks before.

The night, or more accurately, morning was cool with a gentle breeze blowing and it made for a very consistent relaxing pace for our quartet. Having run the hilly Hartamas route, the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) hill was a piece of cake and with the strategically located base station at the POJ we had plenty of chances to hydrate every 4.5K. Except for a few stretches we ran against opposing traffic most of the time. The entire route was well lit with the main avenue in incandescent white while the PICC loop was in amber yellow. No problems at all in terms of visibility.

Throughout our run I was surprised by the number of people chilling off at the area. They were either loitering, taking photos or just lazing around. They must've had the same thought on seeing so many runners too. We encountered a few small groups of bikers and fast cars but otherwise it felt safe. We were even passed a couple of times by a police patrol car as well.

The pace got decidedly faster after the 10K mark but it was still comfortable for me. I struggled a little between the 19 and 20K mark but got back my 2nd wind soon enough. The problem really started from 29K when the pain on both my calves and arch areas got bad enough to warrant a change in shoes. However even after changing into the Kayano, I couldn't finish the last 2.5K. The legs were too bashed up and I decided not to risk it. While Kit went on alone towards the Prime Minister's Office I turned back at the roundabout, half walking and half running back to the staging area to complete 31.6K. Kit was very strong that night and covered the 33.3K distance while Anil and Frank both did about 30K. Frank who already ran a quick 10K race that morning still had another 5K charity run a few hours after completing the 30K in blisters! Now that's what I call "The Man With The Iron Legs". I'm sure his week's mileage is on the exact end of the chart from mine! To read about his exploits hit this link.

I had a chance to think about what happened as I rested while catching up with the others over a banana and dessert. The lack of running obviously was a factor, but perhaps not as much as the choice of shoes - see next paragraph. To a lesser extent, the shorts while kept me cool, provided no support to the punished legs.

Now a bit on the shoes - the Vomero 2. This is the highest end cushioned model (voted Best Update in the '06 RW) in the Nike stable. Instead of the responsive cushioning of the Zoom Elite, the Vomero offers an extremely plush and almost pillowy ride. It's so soft that after I changed into the Kayano, it felt like I was running in a pair of sandals. And that is an honest to goodness assessment. After running in them for close to 100K, I can also attest that this shoe's stable enough for a neutral to mild overpronator like me (certainly stabler than the neutral Supernova Cushion). It also has an amazingly smooth ride. Its Cushlon midsole however, may be too soft for midfoot strikers like me and so unless you're a full-fledged heel striker, you may find the shoe sapping your energy and in the process fatiguing the leg and foot muscles more.

I got home at about 4:30am and promptly got down to washing the running gear while showering downstairs so as not wake anyone up. After a full 2 hours' sleep the whole house turned into a barn with the 2 kids shouting. It was only at 3pm that I managed to sneak back into bed for a 3 hour siesta. I'd planned for a Mothers' Day lunch outside but Mom had prepared a steamboat lunch and dinner.

My strategies between now and the Sundown race would be to put in some quality runs, workouts that are not focused on speed but aerobic and muscle conditioning. I need to get out there and workout those muscles again. The speed workouts will be this Sunday's New Balance 15K and the following weekend's RMAF Half Marathon. As for the Sundown race itself, I shall start off at a very very decent pace.

Some notes on running at Putrajaya
- Featureless with the exception of the administrative buildings and wide avenues make running there an exercise for the mind as much as the body. The long straights promotes the use of same muscles and may not necessarily be easier than a more undulating route.
- The cobbled surface in several sections were uneasy to run on.
- The tarred roads were definitely easier on the legs than the tiled stretches.
- Plenty of parking. Take your pick.
- Rather cool and breezy at night.
- For safety reasons, inform the police of your plan and route. I felt safe even when running alone at some stretches The area is well lit, so no problems with visibility. It's not so advisable to venture out from the administrative precint as the roads are definitely dimmer and lonely.

Some notes on marathoning at midnight
- The pace could potentially be slower due to the circadian cycle.
- It'll be ideal if you can squeeze in an afternoon sleep of an hour or two.
- Coffee is OK. Make it black one if taken close to the starting time.

More reports: RunningMom | Frank

Finally, MANY THANKS TO TONY AND HIS TEAM for organizing this gathering-run. Everything and everyone was well taken care off and there was nothing more we could've asked for. From food to safety, well done and thank you!

Jamie Pang
May 12th 2008

 

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