30 by Jamie
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
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
- The cobbled surface in several sections were uneasy to run
- 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
- 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
More reports: RunningMom
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!
May 12th 2008