RAK Half Marathon 2015

RAKHM134 that was the password for my desktop at work. Everyday I told myself that I want to run RAK Half Marathon this year in 1:34. I believe I am mentally stronger and armed with a better endurance level from my long triathlon and marathon trainings coming into the race. I will also have great supports from my DBRC and PelariStyloYo (PSY) mates. There will be JC who will lead the charge at 1:20ish. Joost will run 1:25ish with Paul Smith if he managed to recover from his fever. If not he can pace me. Then I will have Gareth Stride probably running around 1:35 ish and Davy who is about my pace. So I will catch the sights of JC, Joost and other faster DBRC runners at every turn around to boost my morale, then I will use Gareth as my target to hunt and make sure I wont be overtaken by the lanky Belgian Davy who I have lost to by few minutes last year. If he beats me again then it will be all over. Another positive for this year is, I am going to RAK with 7 others from PSY (Yusry, Sham, Nik, Kube, Abe, Aizal, Latif and Bulat). These guys will give me extra boost when I see them on the course. At least that was the plan. My grand RAKHM134 mission plan.

Like the famous Malay saying, 'Kita Hanya Merancang, Hanya Allah Yang Menentukan', the plan was not materialized. I had a severe food poisoning the day before the race. I was forced to pull off the highway 3 times while driving to Ras Al-Khaimah to throw up. First it was all water, then all the green bile stuff then it was all blood. I was panicked. Other than feeling nausea and stomach pain, I was feeling ok. The last meal I had was a bowl of tuna salad at Doha Airport. I was not the only one, Nik and Yusry were also seen baiting the trap few times at Manar Mall. I consulted my coach, she advised me not to race. Claire Stride (Gareth's wife) said the same thing. So you bet I would just heed their advise and had a nice lie in? Hell no. I was as stubborn as a mule. I would walk the whole way if I had to. I had been through far worse before Paris Marathon 2013. It didn't stop me from running the marathon.

13 February 2015

Me and the PSY guys were very excited. Our spirits were at an all time high. Probably because this was the biggest running trip we had so far. We just walked from the hotel to the start. After checked in the bag and taking few wefies, I wished the guys good luck and went to the preferred start chute where I met with JC, Joost, Paul and Davy. Joost was still sick and also battling with diarrhea and Davy was complaining about the lack of fitness. Things started going south even before the gun was fired for many of us. My goal now is just to have a PB no matter how small and run faster than 4:40/km pace. The pace from my current PB. I was cruising around my target pace until Km 7 when suddenly I felt tired. My battery drained. I was running out of gas. I tried to press on then there was pain in my stomach. I took a packet of gel and pop in a Hammer Endurolyte. This cant be happening.  No way, not this early, not in RAK. RAK has been my hunting ground for PB in the last three occasions. To add salt to the wound, Davy nonchalantly overtook me before the 7km turn around. I tried to draft on him but he went too fast and it was too much a risk to gamble on. I repeated the mantra 'mind over matter, you are stronger than you know' over and over again. One good thing about RAK Half Marathon is the KM markers were made of inflatable arches that resemble a typical finish line. From there I treated each km as a race by itself. It was the race between me and the 4:40/km pace. I was battling fatigued, stomach pain and my negative thoughts. I treated each of the kilometre marker arch was a finish line by itself. I imagined those arches pulling me to them. I won the battle 7 times in the 14 x 1km mini races I had with my current PB and lost 7 including a bathroom stop. I caught the sight of Gareth after the turnaround at 16th km and draw closer. I cant possibly ran faster. He was struggling and stop near the roundabout after KM 17. He told me that he had a pulled hamstring when I overtook him. Seeing Gareth fading affected my morale considerably. The evil voice in my head kept saying, 'It's ok you can walk now, you don't have to prove to anyone' . I would have found the reason to give up very reasonable and it was too convenient to quit, but it was just the opposite. I have never worked harder. My average heart rate was 179 bpm scoring an Epic Suffer score in Strava. I gave everything I have but it was not enough. I crossed the finish line in 1:39:38! Equalling my PB to the seconds.

I was not disappointed. In fact I was happy. Yes I failed but I failed trying. All other PSY guys did amazing too. All finished below their target time and we are still talking about our race experiences. Thank you RAK, never failed to deliver.

Race Result:

Time (Nett): 1:39:38
Rank Total: 213rd / 1817
Rank Male: 180th / 1177
Shoe: Saucony Kinvara 4

From Top clockwise: (1)Racing against my old PB (2) I ran RAK half this year as a tribute to DBRC and my adopted country, the State of Qatar. I am forever grateful for all the support I get and meeting many inspiring people since I joined DBRC (3) Malaysia's presence is more visible this year as PelariStyloYo made up 8 of 14 Malaysians contingent (4) Some of my awesome DBRC buddies, Joost, JC and Davy (5) Demi Negara yang tercinta



Yeen said…
Mabrook coach! You are really an inspiration!

Terima Kasih Sofleene, tak hebat mana pun. Masih byk kena baiki
Thanks Yeen

Im glad if I can inspire people around me. You are doing really well too. Keep it up.

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