Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Run With Santarina On Xmas Day

A few days ago, a member of our local running group in KK posted a photo on facebook, and added a comment: "We should don our santa suit and do a Christmas morning run....."

One of the admins of the group, Judy Liew, liked the idea and created an event for this morning. She named the event Run With Santarina On Xmas Day. But unfortunately she had a bit of problem posting the event, so she asked for my help to post it for her, which I obliged. After all, I'm a co-admin of the group too. While I was at it, I took the liberty to include an event photo which I downloaded randomly from the net to encourage some of the guys to turn up. Here's the photo.

Despite the above photo, however, I was rather disappointed that less than 10 members had indicated that they would come. Since I did a bit of hillwork last Sunday, I reckoned that running just 9km slowly would be a good recovery workout. I arrived at Klinik Malaysia, Iramanis Branch, at 6am and was pleasantly surprised to see quite a good turnout. However, Darren, the fellow with the big idea of running on Christmas day did not show. Somebody should remind me to kick his butt! Then to my horror, I saw Dr Peter aka the Tormentor was also there. 

Tony was also there with his intimidating huge camera; I bet if that camera accidentally fell down it could cause serious injury to the foot! Later on, he kept emerging out of nowhere along the route like a highly-skilled secret agent. Well, we took a group photo before we started.

We did not have the Santarina of the event photo, of course, but Judy did try her best to come close to it. Well, we started out to the highway, heading towards Bukit Padang. Soon I was running abreast with the Tormentor. I thought he would immediate put on the turbo. But instead he announced an ankle injury which he probably picked up during the Beaufort 60km a little over a week ago. So we ran at between 6-7 mins pace just as I had intended. But I was surprised to note that Erwan and Lim decided to run with us too. It turned out to be a very pleasant run—one that felt so relaxed, I thought we could go on and on forever at that pace!

But Santarina was already far ahead. By the time we reached the Jln Kolam-Jln Lintas traffic lights, they were already approaching Bukit Padang where we had intended to turn.

Anslem, of course was accompanying his wife, Amy, and daughter, Janna. But I'm thinking he's probably secretly enjoying Santarina's company too? Surprisingly, Audrey tried to keep up with the front pack too.

At some point along that stretch, Santarina decided to pose for a proper shot.

By the way, folks, this is how accidents can happen on the highway. But of course on Christmas day, Santarina is immune from accidents; and even if that oncoming car had hit Santarina, I bet that car would be seriously damaged and Santarina wouldn't have gotten a scratch!

At about that time, my group, led by the Tormentor was approaching Bukit Padang from the other side of the road.

As we were approaching Bukit Padang, we saw Santarina's group already on their way back. Well, we went all the way to the round about at the entrance of Tun Fuad Park before turning back from the other side of the highway. Because it's such a slow and easy pace, we were able to chit-chat throughout the run confortably.

Tormented: This was how I hugged my wife on our wedding day...

Tormentor: Oh! That's nothing! All those years ago, I was extremely strong, and this was how I carried my wife on my wedding day!

Just a little behind us, the two doctors were also doing great with their run.

A little further behind, Mr Lee and Mr Lee were happily running their slow and steady pace.

Bruce: What da hell are you doing, bro? You're gonna waste a lot of energy raising your hands like that wor!

Xiao Long: Aiyah, never mind lah bro, I have you—you are well equipped with those special concoction around your waist!

But as it was getting bright, Santarina was already passing Damai, and still going strong.

I'm not sure where JC came from. I didn't notice him when we started running, but suddenly he was there with Santarina! As is usually the case when a pack of strong runners run together, their pace was getting faster and faster all the time. By the time they turned into the internal road of SMC, Santarina was already a little in front, followed closely by Amy.

And then of course the rest in that pack began to run faster too. JC picked up his pace too. Although Audrey doesn't usually run fast, but perhaps because this was just a 9km workout, she decided to try to keep with with them. But that stretch was a little of a climb. Her body twisted a bit; even her head tilted slightly to the side. And when that too failed, she resorted to use some sort of yoga meditative approach to endure the pace. 

I will need to have a serious talk with JC soon on how to treat a woman well.

My group eventually passed the Damai area too. By then Yunus, who had lagged behind from the front pack, decided to follow our pace. But eventually, he couldn't keep up with our pace too. It wasn't a big problem though, as there were some other runners still behind us.
Soon, we, too, arrived at that same internal SMC stretch, and while we were making that gradual climb, the Tormentor was having a swell time! For a brief moment, he contemplated running up a steep hill to a private land, but as we were nearing that road, there was a pack of dogs singing Jingle Bells and The First Noel. That helped to change the Tormentor's mind.

As we were approaching Jln Lintas, the front pack was already approaching the end of the run. Anslem had by then overtaken Santarina together with Janna.

We made our way back to the main road, Jln Lintas, once again and shortly later finished our run where we started at the Iramanis Centre.

The doctors were also happy to finish the workout shortly after us.

The final runners to finish were Mr Lee and Mr Lee. It was of course a very big entrance. I have seen it earlier, but I was still in awe looking at those concoction he had around his waist. I'm not sure what those were, but it sure gave the impression that they were good for a full marathon!

Well, there isn't much more to tell. Audrey was pleased to have been able to finish together with the Santarina group.

And hopefully Erwan, although didn't get to sweat very much during the run, at least enjoyed listening to the many stories between the Tormentor and the Tormented.

JC was also there to congratulate Yunus for a good workout.

I then invited them all for a yam cha at a nearby restaurant where we took this photo.

Quite an interesting way to start a Christmas day, except that we haven't forgotten that Darren, the person who started all this, was missing in action! We shall think of a suitable punishment for him!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Safety Nets Of The Runner

When was the last time you read or heard a runner, when counting down the days, hours and minutes before the start of a race, declaring that he's fully trained and prepared for the challenge? I bet if you did, it must have been ages ago. But I would venture that it's probably likelier that you haven't met such a runner yet up to now.

Since I started running seriously in late 2008, I've met many, many runners of different colours, sizes, and racial and family backgrounds. And on many occasions, I've had the opportunities to mingle with them in the days leading to the races that they've signed up for. Or otherwise, I've also had glimpses of their thoughts through their facebook posts, or blogs. I've noticed a curious tendency in almost all of them—they almost always have a mechanical paragraph specially dedicated for safety nets.

The safety nets I speak of come in many sizes, shapes and forms. But after seeing so many over the years, there is a sense of monotone—most of them have begun to look the same to me. It is almost like these “safety net” paragraphs are an expected ingredient of the race reports!

Don't get me wrong, though; I'm not immune from that tendency too! And since my next race is the Vibram HK 100 in the third week of January next year, I thought I might as well take the opportunity to fill up the gap between race reports with this article about safety nets. As I said, there are many types, but I will just mention three of the more popular ones here.

The Injury Safety Nets

This is intended to inform the readers that the runner is carrying an injury going into the race. Or at the very least, he has just recovered from an injury which has prevented him to train properly throughout the months or weeks prior to the race. If it's not injuries, then it will be other types of illnesses somehow.

The Insufficient-Training Safety Nets

This is intended to emphasize the fact that the runner, despite free from injuries, did not have the time to train properly. This could be due to job and family commitments, and unfavourable weather conditions. Others may also offer other excuses such as lack of mood to train. But it all boils down to arriving at the starting line without the necessary training for the race.

The Run-For-Fun Safety Nets

Of course the most popular of them all is the ultimate fool-proof defence that is not to be gainsaid. This is when the runner has a secret wish to do well—perhaps even trying to achieve a personal best—but declares that he's just running for fun “just to finish the race”. I have a shrewd suspicion that the majority of runners, whether new or seasoned, fall within this category.

The inevitable question is: Why do we do that; why do we automatically, perhaps subconsciously, provide for these safety nets at all?

I'm convinced that for most runners, there is that peculiar feeling of unpreparedness no matter how prepared they are! I'm sure there are many, many reasons out there, but I can only speak for myself.

Well, I have two main reasons; and they are connected to one another. Firstly, I have come to a stage where people expect me to keep achieving greater achievements in every race that I join. Maybe it has a lot to do with my own obsession in trying so hard to improve myself in each race; and people have come to see a kind of “trend” in my results over the years. So subconsciously I feel there is a need to remind these people that I'm no longer a budding athlete; rather a runner approaching the twilight of his life!

Secondly, I lay out the safety nets because I don't want to put pressure upon myself and then get all stressed up even before the race! The burden of self-expectation can be quite overwhelming, you know! Having said that, however, I always make it a point to try my very best in almost all of my races, in spite of all those safety nets; unless of course if I had planned to treat an event as a training workout from the beginning.

Without much hope of getting any response from my readers, I'm inviting you to share what are your reasons for the safety nets. I would really love to know.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Miserable Life Watching Life Of Pi

As a general policy, I would refrain from reading reviews on movies I haven't seen yet, but which I may want to see in the future. But of course there will be trailers and teasers which may emerge unexpectedly during commercial breaks on tv; or perhaps reviews published in the papers in the entertainment section. So obviously, sometimes it's quite impossible to escape from getting at least a general idea what a movie is about, although perhaps not very much more. 

Such was the case with the movie entitled Life of Pi. In fact, I dare say even a total idiot can guess, based on the many versions of pictures accompanying the advertisements of the movie, that the story has something to do with a guy stranded on a lifeboat with a tiger in the ocean.

Well, I'll be honest here—my curiosity got the better of me when I saw a review on the movie in the local papers recently, and I committed the sin of breaching my own policy by stealing a peak at a paragraph—just one paragraph, mind you!—and learned that a major part of the movie was actually scenes of a boy and a tiger on a boat in the open ocean. That, however, wasn't really a big revelation to me, as I had expected that's what the movie was about anyway. But that was quite enough to put me off. I mean, how boring can that be? Just a boy and a tiger on a boat for over an hour in the cinema, for goodness sake!

Nevertheless, as fate would have it, I found myself at the Growball Cinema in Centrepoint one weekend, and decided to unwind by watching a movie. Browsing through the movies on offer then, two caught my attention. One was the seemingly never ending saga of vampires and warewolves, of which I'm just not a big fan of the hairstyle of that sissy vampire named Edward Cullen. And the other was Life of Pi.

I'm sure you must have guessed it by now; I chose Life of Pi because of a hairstyle. I was willing to spend about one-and-a-half hours watching a boring scene of a boy and a tiger sharing a boat at sea, instead of a ridiculous hairstyle.

So anyway, without giving too much away (just in case if there are still some of you who haven't seen the movie out there), I found the movie quite good after all! That's rather strange, because I could think of nothing very interesting about seeing a boy and a tiger on a boat for over an hour. But I was wrong; I was stuck to my seat, wanting to know what's coming next. And then next; and next. It reminds me of the situation that can arise when reading a very interesting book—one would be willing to forgo food and endure hunger for wanting to read the book to the end!

But here's the thing about knowing very little about the movie. As it gradually progressed, I realised that it's longer than one-and-a-half hours. The suspense was killing me; I was at the edge of my seat, wondering when it would end. One hour forty-five minutes, and it's still not finished yet, oh for Pete's sake! No, it went on to about two hours before it finally ended!

Even two-hour long, it was still not a boring movie; and I would therefore recommend to my readers to watch it, if you haven't already! I think the message that the writer is trying to send to the viewers is very profound and meaningful; even spiritual! 

Just be sure that you don't have a full bladder when you're watching it. Two hours can feel like an eternity even if the movie is exciting, I tell you!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Beaufort 60K—A Bridge Too Far

Shortly after The Most Beautiful Thing last September, Sabah Adventure Challenge launched the Beaufort 60k - A Bridge Too Far. I wasn't really paying attention to this event. I have done several ultra trail marathons up to 100km, and 60km was just another event to me; until I noticed those few words "on the hottest stretch of tar sealed road in Malaysia". The lust for challenges of many flavours—I hate to admit it, but I'm a sucker when it comes to these things! And soon after that, my name found it's place in the official racers' list.

In the weeks leading up to the race, I had very little opportunities to train specifically for the Beaufort 60k. You see, after the TMBT, I did the Miri International Triathlon in early October; and then the Powerman in early November; and finally the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon just 2 weeks ago. But I had planned from the beginning to use the Beaufort 60k as a training run for Vibram HK 100km in January 2013, so I was going to run very slow. The cutoff time was 9 hours. I reckoned that it'd be a good training if I could go slow to finish, say, in about 8 hours. That was the plan. But I totally did not expect the effect of the heat of the day!

On the way from KK to Beaufort wherefrom the race would start, we spent the time chit-chatting. In fact, we stopped briefly for roti canai at Salim's in Lintas Plaza. We discussed about blisters in the groin area for endurance sports. There were suggestions of wearing G-string, silky soft underwear (that had a secondary function to seduce the wife), and even no underwear at all. Conversations such as these can be very enlightening, you know! Well, we arrived at the starting line just a few minutes before the flag off.

Felice and Hana had apparently planned to run together, and obliged to take a photo before the race; Hana of course did her trademark back-breaking pose, while I was still busy attaching the bib on my shirt.

Before the start, the race director gave a final briefing; and then made a pleasant announcement: the cut off time for the race had been extended to 10 hours instead of 9 hours. It was quite a relief, I thought I would relax even further, perhaps putting in even more walking breaks. We then made our way to the starting line.

Erwan was there (extreme left in photo), and Yim was also there in his striking orange-coloured outfit. Felice was looking grim; probably praying really hard for the impending torture.

We started the race on a short stretch of gravelled road before turning to the highway which was fully asphalt and there was hardly any shades. It was already fast approaching 7:30am when we were flagged off, and the sun was already up in the sky.

I started way at the back, and Bob decided to run together with me. But we stopped for a few minutes to pour some fertilizer on the grass at the roadside.

As we turned to the highway, we could already feel our backs burning from the sun. But it was still a pleasant run then, as we were going at about 6:30 min/km. And then later on we eased to about 7 min/km. I could see my running buddy, Dr Peter, a few hundred metres ahead, but I had no intention to run at his pace. However, I remarked to Bob that Peter was running exceptionally slow for his style!

We kept to more or less that same pace up to almost 20km, passing water stations every 5km apart. I'm not sure if it's the shoe, or maybe the socks, but shortly after 15km into the run, I could feel something of a biting pain in my right toe. It was obvious that a blister was developing, but there was very little that I could do. I tried compensating by changing my footstrike, but to no avail.

After about 2 hours running, it was also clear that we would struggle in the heat of the day; and it's gonna be a long, long day! I actually found myself hoping for a rain, but that was just wishful thinking. Bob kept his pace steady behind me. He's got this thing about following my pace rather than dictating the pace; sometimes I kinda feel a bit of pressure too!

When we reached the 4th water station (20km), though, I told Bob to go ahead as I had to rest a little longer. I was feeling a little faint because of the heat. I stood there under the tent watching Bob drifting further and further away. A few other participants overtook me, but eventually, I had to continue running. I must have taken about 15 minutes or so before I caught up with Bob again. We alternated between running and walking, but after passing the water station at 25km, the blister on my toe was becoming unbearably uncomfortable. We walked for a good distance, until I decided I should deal with the blister. Hence I stopped at a bus stop, taking off my shoe to put a plaster on my toe. Again Bob went ahead. Little did I know, the next water station was just around the corner, meaning that we've done 30km so far. It was quite disheartening to think that we have actually reached just the halfway point, and there's another 30km to go!

It was probably around then that Judy was already approaching Kuala Penyu, and she's still running strong.

After the water station at Km30, I continued running and eventually caught up with Bob again. I knew that there's a Petronas station up ahead, so I ran a little faster, leaving Bob behind. I was running alone for perhaps 10 minutes.

I stopped at Petronas station and used the toilet there to douse my head with water. The water wasn't really cold, but it felt like ice water anyway. It was very soothing, but the downside was that perhaps because of the sudden cooling of my head, I felt a bit of nausea. I stood there in the toilet for some minutes, leaning on the sink and looking at myself in the mirror on the wall. I was, like, "Why on earth am I doing this to  myself?" 

Throughout the race there were moments when I contemplated throwing in the towel, and this was one of those moments. But, you see, failure was just not an option—for as long as my legs could still move, I had to continue. Otherwise, when I wake up after a good rest the next day, I would hate myself for surrendering. Thus I went out to the road again. It must have been around noon by then and the temperature was around 35 degrees C. I duly crossed the bridge and as I was reaching to other side of Sungai Sitompok, I saw Bob in the yonder. I did not realise that I spent much longer than I thought at the Petronas station after all.

Well, I caught up with Bob again, and we remained together for some distance. We were by then walking more than running, but I wasn't planning to finish fast anyway. I meant to take my time to benefit the most from the training. Eventually, not only were we walking a great deal, we were also walking very slowly.

It must have been around then that Peter was already at the 45km point; and he was still going strong. I can imagine his excitement as this was to be his longest running distance ever, and he's doing great!

As we were leisurely walking in the ridiculous afternoon sun, Bob suddenly remarked that at the rate we were going, we would take up to over 9 hours to finish the race. I waved him off, saying that we're doing OK; that we should be able to make it within 8 hours 30 minutes at the most. But later on when I stopped at a water station at Km45, my mind started thinking and calculating again. And to my horror, Bob was right with his calculation! When it was announced that the cut off time had been extended to 10 hours that morning, I remember telling myself to limit my running time to 9 hours. That should give me a good 1 hour buffer to the time limit. But I got it all wrong with my calculation, and it had now become quite critical. Thus it was time for remedial steps. The first thing I did was to go into my briskwalking routine. Bob was hot on my heels.

I kept going and after a few minutes, when I turned back, I noticed that Bob was already lagging behind. But I knew he would gradually catch up—he always would. Thus I kept going. The heat and humidity, and the blister on my toe were killing me, but there was no time to lose. Suddenly this had become a race once again! After all the hard work, it would have been such a shame if I couldn't at least finish in time.

When I reached the water station at Km50, Bob was already quite far behind. Looking at my watch, I realised that even at that pace, it's too late to hope to finish in under 9 hours. I began to panic. So I started running again, alternating between running and briskwalking for a good half an hour until I reached Km55. After gulping a few cups of water and 100Plus, suddenly my legs refused to cooperate! I leaned on the water container on the table, looking down to the ground, staring at my feet. I wondered if this could be the first ever race that I would fail to finish! The 4 volunteers at the water station looked at me sympathetically, and one of them saying that there's only 5km to go. Damn! 5km is such a short distance; I can run that distance in about 20 minutes on any other day, but right a this moment, it seemed like an impossible distance! 

I took out a sponge from an ice case and squeeze it on my arms, my neck, my back, my head, my legs. I wasn't sure if it helped at all at that stage, but it's the least I could do. I must have spent about 10 minutes at that water station. Just as I was about to leave, I saw Bob arriving from afar. As I had expected, Bob could always catch up in the end. 

I then turned to the other direction; a long straight road with seemingly no end. I embarked on the epic 5km final leg of the race. Several minutes later, Dr Dev Sidhu, driving from the opposite direction, stopped by to say that I had about 3km to go. By then I was having a bit of a problem keeping steady on my feet. But with only 3km to go, there was absolutely no way I would give up.

I limped because of my blister; I was slow because of my exhaustion. And walking that long straight road, I felt like I wasn't moving at all! Then after what seemed like eternity, I reached a sharp bend, and turning the corner, I saw the finish line. I gradually increased my pace again, eventually up to a jogging pace. 

Cheers abound, cameras clicking, and I was ecstatic when I crossed the finish line.

And then I was surprised to see Felice sitting on a chair. She had given up at Km45. I have raced together with her several times, especially in last year's TMBT. I know she's not one who'd easily give up in a race, so I know this must have been a difficult decision for her to make.

Peter was also there and obviously relieved to survive the torture. Perhaps we should up the ante to 70km next?

We waited for some more minutes before Bob showed up at the corner. He was walking slowly. We cheered him on, but it was obvious that he, too, was struggling throughout those last few kilometres...

I thought Bob's arrival was the climax of the day, but little did I know that Hana was still out there struggling to make the finish line. Earlier on she was complaining of knee pain and blisters, but I also know that she's quite a stubborn woman. After all she's an ex-St Franciscan, you see. I should know, because I'm married to one! I thought she's going to miss the cut off, but the race director had yet again extended the cut off to 11 hours!

About a minute or two after the 10-hour mark, Hana emerged from the corner, limping. And then my jaw dropped to the ground as I watched in disbelief how she sprinted that last 100 metres even faster than how she started the race 10 hours ago! She was literally flying to the finish line!

She was airborne, and running so damn fast that my camera was not quick enough to focus on her...

And not only both her legs were airborne, she raised both her hands too!

Fortunately, there was the finish line and she had to stop running to let Aman the race director to put the finisher medal around her neck. Neither the knee pain nor the blisters were apparent, so remember that folks, if ever this woman tells you that she's in pain, don't believe her!

Earlier on, I missed another dramatic finish by Dr Joseph Lau and Herddy who tied second and third hand-in-hand together.

The hardwork on a hot, hot Sunday for this medal.

A very challenging event which I would strongly recommend to crazy endurance runners out there.

I reached home utterly exhausted. I thought I was gonna be dreaming about G-strings and silky soft panties, but instead I slept like a corpse throughout the night. I woke up this morning, still in a state of disbelief that I have conquered such a gruesome hot, hot 60km ultra marathon.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Angkor Wat International Half Marathon 2012

When I first started running the half marathon in late 2008, I had a strange phobia of undulating terrains. Just to finish the 21.1km seemed like an impossible feat to me back then, let alone doing it on undulating or hilly terrains. I have since experienced some hilly half and full marathon courses. In fact, I have progressed further to extremely hilly ultra trail marathons too. 

It's funny that in 2008, I longed to run on a flat course; I did not think the day would ever come when I'd find a flat course uninteresting. Well, that day eventually came when I ran the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon almost 2 weeks ago on 02 December. The race course in Angkor Wat must be among the flattest courses in the world—if not the flattest of 'em all! In fact Cambodia is a very flat country; there's hardly any hill around!

I've been meaning to run Angkor for a while, but never seemed to find the right time to do it. But some of my friends wanted to do it this year, so I thought I might as well take the opportunity to do it too. It was quite late by the time I really made the necessary flight arrangements; and to my horror, all the direct flights to Siem Reap were sold out. To get to the race venue was quite an epic journey, but I will save that for another post. Suffice to say that the 6-hour bus ride from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap wasn't my original travelling itinerary. And then as if that's not bad enough, we had to repeat the same process on the return to Phnom Penh too!

I ran a half marathon in Brunei earlier this year in which I achieved a personal best (PB) of 1:55. But after that, I haven't been racing the half marathon for the rest of the year. I have, however, ran that distance in many of my Sunday long runs as a routine while preparing for other races. I was confident that I could improve the 1:55 by a minute or two, but perhaps not more. 

Anyway, the Angkor Wat Half Marathon was quite different from any other half marathons that I've joined so far. There was no fancy goodie bags. The event T-shirt was of simple cotton material. The finisher medal must be the smallest that I have in my collection. Throughout the race course, only water was available at the hydration stations, although isotonic drinks were available at the finish line. But even those were very limited.

Before the half marathon was flagged off, we had to wait for about 10 minutes to see the wheel-chair category off. There was quite a sizable crowd, all eager to start.

It wasn't a very long wait. I was a little concerned about the heat, since the temperature in Angkor Wat wasn't very different than our temperature back home. But when we were eventually flagged off, I was pleasantly surprised to find that almost the entire course was shaded by the trees.

I started at what I felt was a decent pace until perhaps 3km or so when I saw Anslem coming back from the loop. I knew that he's a faster runner, so that must have meant that I was running too fast. Accordingly, I slowed down a bit.

I found it interesting that water was available only in 500ml plastic bottles, as opposed to paper cups which are commonly used in many other marathons in this region. But it soon became clear to me why paper cups would not have been such a good idea for this race. You see, a good portion of the race course was dusty; in fact there were some gravelled stretches too.
There were many young children collecting the bottles, which I'm assuming would be recycled. But apart from collecting plastic bottles, many of them were there just for the sake of cheering the runners and having a swell time getting high-5!
I was fairly amused to see very simple distance markers placed 1km apart throughout the entire course.
I wasn't really paying attention to my surrounding during the race. I thought we were just running through the jungles. But actually, based on these photos taken by Joe who had a brilliant excuse for finishing beyond 2:30, there were quite many interesting landscapes to be savoured.
There were also curious audience of onlookers, probably wondering why on earth these people would travel from so far away to waste their energy when they could very easily ride on the tuk tuk.

More interesting landscapes ahead...

I used to feel that running these endurance races could be such a long affair. But on this day, I could hardly feel the time ticking away. I'm not sure if it's the many distractions from the views along the course; or is 21km really getting too short for me these days. But soon enough, we were already approaching the final homestretch.

As I was approaching the finish line, I was happy to note that I was certainly gonna achieve a new PB. But then I also realised that I may even be able to achieve a sub-1:50. I tried to run a little faster, but in the end, when I crossed the finish line, it was just about half a minute beyond 1:50!
Anslem eventually finished with a PB in about 1:44. Paul had a PB too in about 1:58. Diong failed to get a PB in spite of all the drink they had the night before for nitro boost, but still a respectable 2:08. Amy declined from 1:56 in Brunei to about 2:01. Albert was escorting Joe for the most part of the way (or was it he was being escorted?); whereas Joe had the convenient excuse of playing photographer for the day!

I think the Angkor Wat is a good place to hunt for a PB, but it's not a race that I would want to do again anytime soon. I will try to post something about Cambodia in general in a separate post later.