Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Countdown to Borneo International Marathon 2009

Well, I finally conquered 35km last Sunday for the very first time in my life! And it wasn't a pleasant experience, I tell you! Somehow, in spite of all the mileage I've logged over the last 4 months didn't seem to help at all—the 35km was still a torture anyway. I had to fight the temptation to give up long before the end of the run, and obviously that's a bad sign.

Towards the end, my legs had more or less reached their limits; I was basically dragging myself just to finish the distance. Of course, right now I haven't the slightest idea how I'm going to conquer the remaining 7km during the actual event, because when the legs are no longer cooperating, every single step requires a Herculean strength to make.

Thankfully, however, that's the last long run above 30km before the event. This Sunday, I'll do a milder 20km and then another 13km next Sunday. The weekly runs will also be reducing substantially as I taper for the event. When I ran the 9km this evening, my legs were still tired from last Sunday's long run. Hopefully, by the time I arrive at the starting line of the marathon, I would have built up on my energy reserve and that can help push my legs for those final 7km. In any case, I know I'm gonna suffer on that day.

Incidentally, last night I surfed the official website for the Singapore International Marathon which will be held on 6 December. I have signed up for the full course in that event too. I was checking out some of the info in that website when I stumbled upon that part about the finisher T-shirt for the full marathon. Suddenly, it occured to me to find out if we're gonna have a finisher T-shirt for our Borneo International Marathon too. Well, today when I called up the organiser, I was informed that there won't be any T-shirt. Sigh.

So a little over 2 weeks to go, and although I'm unsure if I could finish the remaining 7km, I'd still want to set a target. Originally, I was kinda thinking of 5 hours. But now that I have done the 35km at 3:51:53, I'm hoping to finish the 42km in 4:30 - 4:45, and it would be even better if I can push it closer to the 4:30 mark (smile). Keeping my fingers crossed...


Anonymous said...

I know you will not give up to run your first full marathon at this stage. I have faith in you that you will achieve your target 4:30 though I think you can definitely dip below that. I presume you are running in circles during your 35km run, and man.. that's boring ! Let me tell you that when you run on the road is a different story, and you will see the result will be vastly different from your circuit run. I'll not say "go break a leg" on your debut run, but all the same, I like to just wish you luck. Take it easy in the initial stage, remember...slow and steady wins the race !


Cornelius said...

Thanks, KK, for your faith in me. And you are right, running in circles is really boring! Will try my best to do better than 4:30, but I doubt that I can achieve it. Well, if not, there is still Singapore 2 months after the Borneo Marathon!

Yes, that is the game plan - slow and steady for the first half. Not that I have very much in me to go fast anyway, HAHAHA!

scute said...

If you ran around 35 times, you actually did 33.6km?

Cornelius said...

Yes, scute, one lap at the Likas track is slightly less than 1km. I was told that the BIM folks measured it at 950m. I myself measured using google earth at 960m, taking the full outer route and assuming running in the middle of the track. But when I do my long runs, I run along the outer edge of the track, and that would obviously add a bit more to the total distance. Yesterday, I tried to measure again using google earth based on the outer edge of the route, and I got slightly over 980m per lap.

All in all, running 35 laps will not amount to 35km, but I'd like to think that I ran very close to it anyway. I have adjusted my distance to allow for such descrepancy. The requirement of the training program is to run 20 miles 3 weeks before the marathon. That works out to be about 32.4km. That's why I allowed for a bit more to make sure that there is no possibility for me to cheat on my training. But I noticed that other marathoners just ran 32 laps, which would mean that they ran slightly less than the training requirement. However, I don't think it would make much difference anyway.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous, track running is hard!! So boring it is hard to keep pushing. I love running through neighborhoods :)

Regarding the comment you left on my blog. yes it is true we are supposed to taper down, but if I do that there is no way I will make it through that marathon.

I read a couple articles in my Runners magazine about non-traditional training techniques, and I am planning to just do the opposite of the tapering down. Instead I am going to push myself a little further every day, but then make marathon day my "long" day.

Anyways, I ran last night, just did a very fast 2 mile sprint, to try building my energy faster. Tonight I am going to run long and see if the sprint last night gives me more distance at a slow pace today :)

We'll see, and I think since we are given 6 hours to finish, I might just take 5 1/2 since it is my first time :)

Keep us all updated on your training.

Cornelius said...

Yes, Sarah, there is just no way I can disagree with that - running around the track over and over again is indeed boring! I don't think anyone can say otherwise! But I just don't know how else I can deal with the water problem if I were to run along the main roads or through neighbourhoods.

Running with water packs is obviously a possible solution, but I really can't imagine bringing up to 3 litres on me for my long runs. I drink a lot during my long runs because I sweat a lot. I prefer the boredom over the running with water on me.

Another possible solution is to place water along the route at fixed intervals. Mia tried that once, but when she got to her "water station" her water bottle was gone.

There is nothing very interesting about my training program, now that I've begun to taper. I'm gradually reducing my distances up to the marathon day.

The so-called "traditional training technique" is a time-tested program and makes a lot of sense too. The idea is to allow the body to start building up on energy reserves for that one major run! Hence the need to taper down towards the event.

The theory is to train the legs to endure the distance/time non-stop through the long runs. The weekly short runs are generally meant for fitness. In the course of my training, I sometimes cheated on the weekly runs, i.e. I either reduced some of them, or totally missed a day or two in between. But I didn't cheat on the long runs. To me the long runs are more important than the weekly runs. I really needed to train my legs to keep going for over 30km. Otherwise, what could potentially happen is that at the 30km point on the day of the marathon, I still have the stamina and strength to continue, but my legs are all jammed up and simply refuse to move! My friend Teo experienced that last year in his first attempt.

However, because the long runs consume a lot of energy, that's why the end of the long runs is set at 3 weeks before the event.

If you really wanna try your own approach, that is fine. It will be a good case study. In fact, I am really keen to know what's the outcome! However, Sarah, you should be careful with the sprinting at this time. That, too, is not advisable. You're risking too much with only a few days to the marathon day. Sprinting increases the risk of injury. Trust me, Sarah, you don't want to get injured at this stage!

Anonymous said...

EEK!! I know!! I am nervous about my technique also!! I am a good lab rat to study though, eh? :)

Considering I missed 2 1/2 weeks I feel it is my only solution. That or don't run and retrain for next year.. hmm.. Nahhh, I am going to give it a go! :)

you see, I have never run super far distances before, so i have no idea of the pain, etc... so I guess this will be my moment to find out what it is all about.

Yea, since you are in Malaysia and the heat and humidity is almost unbearable at times, I really don't see any other option for you either. I always wondered how it felt to be a runner in Malaysia, but am motivated to know that it is doable. I was always afraid I may have to give up my running there.

scute said...

Cornelius, I know where you leave your water bottle too!

Cornelius said...


Of course there is no turning back now; one way or another, you should certainly run that marathon on Oct 4th! Perhaps it will be tough, but still doable.

A doctor friend of mine completed his first ever 42km in the Borneo Marathon last year with a time of 4:45 - a respectable time for a 48-year old man who never ran a marathon before that. What made it even more fantastic was the fact that he only achieved about 20km in his long runs during his training prior to the event.

So you see, Sarah, it is still possible to complete the 42km without running above 30km in the training. It's just that I'm trying very hard to reduce the possibility of failing in my first attempt; that's why I try as much as I can to follow the program.


I'm not so worried that you know the location of my water bottle. There is not much benefit for you to spike my drinks at the moment. But when we're up against each other in any future hunts, then I might need to be very careful with my water bottles when you're around!... hehehe

teo said...

Hi...totally agree that running in Likas in damn boring!! I usually do my week days runs and long runs in my neighbourhood and placed a water station.

Just as u have highlighted, somebody STOLE my water bottle yesterday when i did my 10K speed run at the 3rd km. Huh...i was hoping for a sip then continue with a few more fast laps but unfortunately it was GONE!! Damn, the last 2km was torturing without water at below 6min/km. Finally, did a 58m 14s with no water & under the hot sun!!!

See u in the Sun long run this week. I 'might' do 18km - 20km. So it will be 5.30am.

Cornelius said...


You 'might'do 18km - 20km? What da hell is that supposed to mean?... HAHAHA! Make sure you're there this Sunday!

And by the way, teo, after several times, I have come to a stage where I can't trust your watch lah. You're always late by an hour! Last Sunday we were supposed to have started running together at 4:30am. If I had waited for you to arrive, I could've fallen asleep on the bench!

Whatever you do, teo, make sure that you won't arrive at the Likas Stadium any later than 4am on 17 October! I would be too tired to laugh out loud when I reach (if I can actually reach) the finish line, knowing that you did not even start!

teo said...

Haha....'Might' means either I do the 18km or 20km if only I 'FEEL' like doing. and 'Might' also means if i 'FEEL' like waking up at 5am on a Sun morning after all the hype watching football & some beer.

Haha...on 11/10/09, u think I wil miss it? If everything goes well - body & spirit, I guess I wont miss the Big Day lah....but I might miss completing the 42km again...and guess what, I will be forced to come back for BIM 2010....thats life...BECAUSE I SAY SO!!

teo said...

BTW Corny....I will laugh out even louder till I m out of breath if u r at Likas 4 a.m in the bloody cold morning on 17 October as what u have wrote;

"Whatever you do, teo, make sure that you won't arrive at the Likas Stadium any later than 4am on 17 October! I would be too tired to laugh out loud when I reach (if I can actually reach) the finish line, knowing that you did not even start!"


scute said...

Does that mean your KK Challenge is now on 11th October instead? Ha ha ha........ Must be something you drank......... ha ha ha

Cornelius said...

HAHAHA!... scute, this goes to show that's I'm getting old and easily confused with the dates!

I meant to say to teo not to come later than 4am on 11 October, which is the starting time/date for the full marathon. The 17th is of course a different kind of challenge.

But at least I have an excuse because I'm approaching my mid forties now, old enough to be forgetful... hehehe