RAK Half Marathon 2013

I was still at my infancy in running when I participated in this race last year. I thought finishing a sub 3 hours half marathon was already a remarkable achievement at that time. RAK really changed me. I'm no longer a weekend casual jogger. Running has been my passion after RAK Half Marathon 2012 and I was anxious to see just how far have I improved in a year. I did not really have a specific target other than trying my best as I did not have the best of preparation leading to this race, but I was quietly confident of finishing around 1:45, plus I will be running with my running buddy Stephanie Schneider from DBRC and she was planning to run it sub 1:45. I ran with her and she is a good pacer, so if I can keep her within sight, I should be all right. On top of that, we were also accompanied by many others from DBRC. Oumhani, Claire, Sheila, Evelyn, Gareth, and Becky among others. It was a great boost for my morale to have them here. I also met Otmane Lazrak from Qtel Doha Marathon who came here to learn and observe how this fantastic event being put together. 

I thought every elements of a great race came together nicely on the race day. I had a good night sleep (very rare on a race eve), nice weather, cool with gentle breeze, decent size race, not too crowded and I even get to start just behind the runners in the Preferred Start corral. I did not bring my ipod this time because I want to concentrate on my breathing and focus only on my running. Anyway this is not a fun run and I mean business!

As an 'experienced' runner, I started the race cautiously and tried not to speed up. I was thinking of pacing with Stephanie, but she went out in a blazing speed, so I fall back and just ran at a steady pace of 4:50ish/km. I felt really good in the first 5 km (except that both my lower shins near the ankles felt really tight, but I know it will go away) and thought the pace was quite easy, but I didn't want to take any chances too early in the race (4:50, 4:51, 4:47, 4:51, 4:52). I took my 1st gel at km 7.5 and I walked for a little bit so I could drink properly, I tried to just grab the water and drink while maintaining the speed, but it was far too challenging. (so I cannot claim myself as an experienced runner yet). I started to feel tired after 10km and took a brief walk break. I still remember I walked the entire kilometre after the 10km marker last year, and 10km was a really long way to run and I was dreaded to run another 11.1. This year I felt that 10km was not really that far and I ran them pretty quick too (4:52, 4:52, 4:54, 5:14, 4:50, 4:53). 

I continued running at sub 5min/km, but struggling to hold the pace. It felt harder and harder and I can feel my heart rate was high through out. I will focus on high cadence every time I started to loose it. I told myself , cadence..cadence..cadence, suddenly I saw Stephanie not that far away right after km 13. She seemed to be slowing down as I was catching up, but I just maintained my speed. I finally overtook her near the u-turn at km 14. I felt relieved that I caught Stephanie. It means my 1:45 target was on track. But I stop and took another walk break at km 15 for hydrate and took another gel. Stephanie overtook me again but I was not concern. I will keep a close distance with her and I will be fine (4:59, 4:54, 4:49, 4:59; 4:51, 5:33).

I spent the last 5km just concentrating on my run and trying to keep Stephanie in check while she was getting faster. Every step was harder. I felt heavy. I mean literally heavy. All my access fat were wobbly and bouncy like a bouncing castle at a kid's birthday party. Well I did gain 5 extra kg in just 3 months! My knees are fine but the area around the ball of my feet where I land are quite painful. Especially on my left foot (I later found out from my massage therapist that my left foot is bigger than my right!). The penultimate km felt like an eternity, luckily there was a Filipino guy who was so proud not to let me pass him, so we ended up racing each other until the finish line, and he won. (4:55, 4:57, 4:55, 5:03, 4:55, 4:43). 

I finished the race in 1:45:26, a new personal best for half marathon by 5 minutes. The time was also 1 hour faster than my 2012 race here. It was a remarkable progress if you ask me. I cannot be more happier than that. Most of other members from DBRC seemed to have good run too and many of them ran a PB. Well you cannot find a faster course than RAK around here. Runners, elite or not came here to break records and the average finish time of 2:03:00 speaks for itself. Once again RAK has delivered, Thank you. I will be back again next year, but don't expect me to slash another hour from my finish time because that would make me faster than the world record holder.    

Race Statistics:
Nett Time: 1:45:26
Gun Time: 1:45:36
Rank Total: 363/2107 (1482 Finisher)
Rank Male: 301/976 Finisher
Rank Malaysian: 1/4


Anna said…
Fantastic recount of your race Syafei.
Thanks for sharing it with us! and
congrats again on your fantastic HM time! Anna
Matjoe said…
tahniah bro. u make our nation proud. sub 2 hours tu mmg power dah
I should thank you. I wont be possible without you and DBRC!!

Thanks bro, belum power lg bro.. terus usaha ni..

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