Thinking in Mobility

I had lunch last Saturday with my bestfriend, and being someone who runs herself, she asked me out of the blue, “Why do you run?”

Why do I run?

#1 – I wanted to have a nice pair of calves. Mine is pretty fat-ish right now.
#2 – I have a very short attention span and I have problems focussing. Running helps me focus.
#3 – It helps me think, about a lot of things. Almost like my ME time.

My bestfriend agrees to the last reason, having it being her reason for running as well. Her quality ME time. I get to think about a lot of things when I’m mobile. While I’m driving, or walking, or running. It’s amazing how your brain prefers to work better while you’re at the mercy of speed, regardless it being movement or time.

After lunch, I rushed home for my first 12.3km Shape Night Run 2011 in Putrajaya.

This is my 7th Run, since I started running early last year. I’m quite excited for this run, first because this is my first run with my new Asics which I bought for a killer cheap price of RM 155, second because I’ve started upgrading my training to Metropolitan Park’s running tracks.

I didn’t get enough rest that Saturday. Head out as early as 8.30am for breakfast, went to teach tuition at 11am, went for lunch at 2pm and only arrived home 10 minutes to 5pm while rushing to get ready before I head over to my running partner’s place.

When we got to Putrajaya, my running partner whom I called ‘Sis’ was quite impressed with the city area by the government complexes. Especially the Palace of Justice and the arch by the Perbadananan Putrajaya. Portable toilets were placed right at the very end of the main area. Probably 300-400m away from the stage and the flag-off line. We headed straight to the stage where the warm up session took place. The warm-up session by the fitness trainers were a bit too tiring. At first it was fun to follow and fool around. Later, when you’re already panting and sweating like a pig 30minutes before your run, it was no longer fun. I don’t understand how warm-ups should be that vigorous. And I doubt the trainers are running the marathon. I’m just making assumptions. 🙂

There’s something about marathons/running events. There’s a certain camaraderie between the runners, especially those who run on recreational basis. We get to have our small peptalks with strangers who are there also to have fun. There’s no sense of competitiveness. Everyone there shares their experiences, and useful tips to just getting through the race. It’s amazing because it’s called a race but everyone is helping each other. But of course, there are some selfish individuals. But blessed be, I tend not to cross their paths. We chatted with a few older ladies while queuing up for the toilet. We chatted with the boys while waiting for our flag-off. I remembered in my other runs, some guys wearing placecards stating it’s their birthday, and we pat them on the shoulders and say, “Happy Birthday Man!/Babe!”. It’s a nice feeling, everyone was at a level playing field.

Then the flag-off. We started slow. Sis had some tummy cramp so I prefer to run by her side at least for the first 4km. I didn’t use my iPod shuffle this time and stored all my music in my BlackBerry. Unfortunately at KM2, my BB went bonkers and the music sounds forwarded like chipmunks. I was still running at that time, but was holding my BB, figuring how the hell it went that way, and then, I was like, “Fuck it”, and just decided to run without music. 5 minutes of no music, suddenly, Maxwell’s Sumthin’ Sumthin’ managed to find its way into my ears. Great. Marker said, 9kms to go. And we’re still running. All around the Putrajaya International Convention Centre.

Right after the second water station, Sis started slowing down to drink her water. I went ahead and left her behind. I saw the marker, 8km to go. I went ahead, slow normal pace. The one I used to do at the Metropolitan Park. My tummy felt a little gassy with the absence of dinner. I sipped my concoction of 100Plus and Water while running. Not easy, but I didn’t want to stop. We went on the Jambatan Warisan. Then I saw the marker. 6km to go. I almost wanted to jump at that point. Because I just ran 6.3km nonstop. But I wasn’t stopping, not yet. I still went on. Felt a little weak, but the slow pace was enough to keep me consistently pushing ahead.

We came down to the highway where we drove by earlier upon reaching Putrajaya. I remember seeing the “4km to go” marker where both me and Sis made fun off while in the car. That was my goal. And I know it was right up ahead the exit from the highway. As I passed by that marker, I gave the widest grin I can and almost leap through it like a finishing line. I immediately tweeted about it. I just ran 8.3km nonstop. That was an achievement. My achievement.

I started walking. We were entering the intersection of Precinct 8, before Jambatan Warisan. I gulped the last drop of my drink and at the traffic light, I started running. It felt nice, running at the great beautiful bridge. The feeling was exceptional. And what felt greater, was when Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” started playing in my ears, I started running faster. While banging the empty 100plus bottle in my hand following the beat, my steps became bigger. It was almost as if I wasn’t even tired. The music was pumping my speed. For a good 500m, the music have helped me speed up. And even after the song changed, I didn’t stop. I kept on my slow pace running.

Just as you can see the end of the finishing line, like most races, it got diverted towards the back of the buildings. Just to fill in the distance required. I obliged, at that time, the crowd was lesser. You don’t see many people running anymore. I kept to my pace. As I pass by the “1km to go” marker, I can see runners starting to put up speed. I kept to my pace, didn’t want to force it. I remember an advice from a seasoned marathoner. He said, “Don’t stop, but keep to your own wind. There are times your wind will bring you faster, and times when the wind is slow. But the rule is, don’t stop.”

As we head straight back at where we started, I can see the stage and the crowd. Suddenly, I see my friend TSB by the side. He went for the 5km run. Once he saw me, he shouted, “Come on Abby, come on!” and ran towards me. That was it. The final 20m. I sprinted like I was sprinting for a 100m relay. I sprinted as if if I didn’t touch the finishing line within 2 seconds, the whole world will collapse before me. And I jumped at the finishing line! I made it! 12.3km!

SHAPERUN 2011, 12.3KM, Nurol Latif, Ranking – 280th, Time – 1 hour 35 mins 38 secs. Average 7.72 mins per kilometre.

They gave medals to the first 200 runners. But it didn’t matter. I was proud of myself. I walked less than a kilometre and ran the whole way!

Sis did great despite having tummy cramps and whatnot. Although she was bitter for the false hope of getting a medal. Unlike KL Marathon where all finishers receive a medal, SHAPE RUN only gives us a blank certificate that didn’t even state how many kilometres we ran for.

On our way back, we had a few wrong turnings in Putrajaya trying to find MEX to go back to KL. But the company matters. We spent great time singing and joking around in the car in Kelantanese. And we end up going to Ampang Jaya for the famous Burger Sepah OM. A reward for our running. And dinner of course.

I got home as a winner that night. And Ramadhan enters with a month break from running. But September will come and we’ll start training for our Adidas Run for 16.8km on the NPE. I’m looking forward for that. Maybe next year, we’ll have enough endurance for a half marathon!

In retrospect:

My first run was the MPSJ-NST 10km run. I did fairly well, having to go through the entire 10km without water because organisers decided to use plastic water bottles at their water stations which not only unpractical for the runners but also bad for the environment.

My second run was the MKLand 7km Green Run. We all came back with a plant and the hilly route was a fair share of nature plus construction site run.

My third run was the Siemens 10km Run 2010. I started timing myself, or more like setting a Personal Time for myself. The best thing about Siemens run was the fact that you can put the reason what you’re running for. I ran for INDIVIDUALITY and of course, WORLD PEACE.

My fourth run was the Nike 10.10.10 10km run. That was a very dry humid city run. Not only that it goes up the AKLEH highway, but the tunnel at the Ampang Park intersection was a dreadful experience. They separated one lane of us runners and the other 2 lanes of non-moving traffic. The amount of carbon monoxides for our final 1km of the race could have killed a lot of brain cells.

My fifth run was the Penang Bridge Run where we did 10km. Having eaten a lot of dishes (almost forgot it was a running trip, not a food trip), I end up running while holding my poop. As gross as it may sound, the organiser did not provide any portable toilets along the 10km route and the drizzling rain didn’t help either.

My sixth run was the KL Marathon 10km run. Sharing almost the same route as Siemens Run, the final 1km wasn’t as cheerful as Siemens’ crowd with all the Banghra boys banging their drums and whatnot. But I still did my best and also got a professional running picture taken by my photographer friend, Johan Sopiee at KM 8.5. And we had our friend Rafai who came particularly to just cheer for us. What a great team for the day. 😉

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