Two weeks ago I was in Penang for the Penang Bridge International Marathon. I completed my second half marathon there in 2012. My first half marathon was at the Standard Chartered KL Marathon back in June.
It was quite a weekend in Penang so I thought I ought to blog about it. I’ll divide this post into three parts: pre-race, during race, and post-race.
My uni room mates and I signed up for the PBIM package by Pacesetters Athletics Club Malaysia (PACM). We paid RM 150 each for the return chartered bus trips and one night’s accommodation, which was pretty decent. Three of us shared an apartment with a fellow runner.
We stayed at the Krystal Suites. It’s about 10 minutes walk to Queensbay Mall – the starting/finishing point for the run. The apartment we stayed in was really comfortable and spacious – it has a spacious living room that is connected to the dining and kitchen area, two big rooms, and a shared toilet.
It was so spacious we could throw a house party for 20 person.
After checking in to the apartment, I met up with Yen, who’s studying in USM Penang. She joined the PBIM too but more on that later. We went out for makanthon that day. Plenty images of good food ahead.
For appetizer, we had Kuih Apam Balik in Jelutong after making a U-turn from Bayan Lepas. We wanted to head over to Balik Pulau for the Asam Laksa there but found out it’s closed.
Unker Google saved us some time there.
Then, we headed off to Lorong Selamat for the famous Char Koay Teow (CKT). Also famous for being rude.
But screw that cos the CKT was reeeeeally good!
Heavenly. So heavenly I must show you another picture of it.
(Stomach growling at the time of typing.)
It costed RM 8 each. Pricey yes but you know it’s worth it if you’ve had it before. Plus, we’re not having it on daily basis.
Next up we went to New World Park in Georgetown (walking distance from Lorong Selamat actually) for the ice kacang.
I find this picture of it rather disturbing, but looks can be deceiving. You have no idea how much my tongue and throat enjoyed it. Lol!
What a fine thirst quencher it was!
Yen asked me what else I wanted to eat and I told her: Everything – just bring me anywhere, I want everything. So we stopped by the busy road (I think it was Burma Road?) and bought a few pieces of mini Apam Baliks, which they call as Apom.
The tiny delicacy is made of eggs, coconut shreds, and bananas. I didn’t like it.
I don’t like coconut shreds. It’s disgusting.
After that we hung out at Gurney Plaza for a while – where I got a haircut – and wrapped the day up with Hokkien mee for dinner at Jalan Burma Old Green House.
The handsome dude at the left was the hair-stylist who cut my hair. Apparently he’s as young as I am.
That night, I got back to Krystal Suite at about 11pm and I only slept for one and a half hour before waking up at 2am to walk to Queensbay Mall. The flag-off time for half marathon was at 3am.
Here comes the second part – during the race.
It was my second half marathon of the year and this time I was accompanied by Yen who was a first-timer in running event. She has never run a 5km, a 10km, or a 15km. Yet, her first ever run was a half marathon. Stupid but very courageous! Distance of a half marathon is 21km.
The whole run was pretty easy as most of the route was rather flat, except for the middle part of the Penang Bridge, where there were two stretches of uphill ramp. The weather wasn’t very kind to us. It was rather stuffy that morning and it’s totally different from running at 6am or 7am. There was little to no breeze on the bridge.
I managed to pace Yen up to KM19 before I sprinted through the last 2km to the finishing line. I managed to complete the run in 2 hours 55 minutes. Yen finished at the same timing too, cos the Women Open category started 15 minutes later than Men Open. First-timer, Half-marathon virgin (HMV), and managed to finish in sub3 – that’s quite an achievement!
It wasn’t my half-marathon personal best cos I recorded 2 hours 28 minutes in June, but I’ll definitely challenge myself for a new PB record at the Brooks Half Marathon (in March 2013).
After the race I bumped into Jia Haur and his girlfriend. I also bumped into him and his colleagues at the Standard Chartered KL Marathon back in June.
He always said this whenever he met me at running events: budok Ganu kuat lari. Lol.
Ganu is short for Terengganu – my home town.
Okay, during the race part is pretty short but screw it. Now, the post-race.
After the race, I didn’t sleep. I went back to the apartment, washed up, packed my stuffs, and headed off again – for more FOOD! Haha!
Before that, Yen and I went to Gurney Paragon again – this time for an hour of Thai foot massage. It wasn’t cheap but to get foot massage after running 21km was the greatest feeling ever. We thoroughly enjoyed the massage and went to Ayer Hitam for the famous Penang Asam Laksa!
The place was crowded, like any other Sunday afternoon, with visitors and tourists. We had to wait for a while before the delicious bowls of Asam Laksa were served to us. I had been craving for it for months before the PBIM and I finally got to taste. Maximum satisfactory was achieved that day.
At 2pm, I joined the PACM runners at Penang Road before we left Penang for Kuala Lumpur. It was a fulfilling weekend – I ate so much good Penang food and I completed a half-marathon in between. Totally felt like a champion. That was before my body started to react negatively to all the tortures.
That night I got really, really lethargic. I went home, skipped laundry, took a bath, and went straight to bed. I felt feverish. The next morning I got up at 5.30am so I could pick my sister up from the airport. I fell ill.
The doctor claimed that it could be viral fever and it would take at least 5 days for me to recover, but he only gave me one-day MC. I should have asked for more. But who am I kidding? Viral fever? Dengue? I knew damn well what happened to me – lack of sleep, dehydration, all those delicacies, and a bloody half marathon. Only Ironman could survive that.
Anyway, I slept for the entire day and on Tuesday morning, the fever was gone and I felt like a brand new man. Not really. I felt weak for the rest of the week. Maybe the doctor was right, but yeah.. Lesson learned.
I’m still going for PBIM 2013. :)
Disclaimer: All photos in this post were taken using Blackberry Bold 9790.