Monday, April 21, 2014

Borneo International Marathon 2014—Tapering

The 7th Borneo International Marathon (BIM) will be in about 2 weeks from now on 04 May. Yesterday, some of us ran our so-called “peak long slow distance” (LSD) run starting at 4am from the Likas Sports Complex. We were separated into several groups—some ran 35km, some ran 31km, and many others ran their respective peak LSD distances for half marathon training. But some ran even shorter distances, having peaked last week. 

I have mentioned that I’m trying to achieve a sub-4 hour full marathon in BIM this year, but after yesterday’s workout, I’m beginning to have my doubts. A friend who’s a member of the organizing committee informed me recently that we’re having slightly more full marathoners this year. I thought I’d just share about what to expect in the coming BIM, especially for those running the full marathon here for the first time. 

We are presently having a dry season here in Kota Kinabalu (KK); we have had very little rain for about 2 months now, and the temperature at 4am hovers around 25C and it rises swiftly to mid-35Cs during the day. Yesterday, it was probably approaching closer to 40C during mid-day. Those of you who’re not from within this region should also know about the ridiculous humidity in KK—it’s almost like your sweat will fall in sheets! 

Still, the full marathoners will be glad to know that the flag off is at 3am and will therefore run at least the first half of the race at about 25C-27C. The sun rises at 6am in KK, and the temperature builds up rapidly from about 6:30am. If you’re not done by 7:30am, you should be prepared for a bit of an adventure of running in an open microwave oven. Some sunblock lotion with very high SPF could become useful beyond 7:30am. The only good thing, so far, is that there is no sign of haze up to now. Let’s just hope that it stays that way, at least until after the BIM. 

As you probably already know, temperature is a big factor in long-distance running. So far, there is no sign that the weather pattern is changing anytime soon. If indeed the current weather remains this way till race day, I’m expecting more people will suffer from heatstroke this year. So please be careful; hydrate yourselves well during the race. 

A quick mention about barefoot running which is apparently fast becoming fashionable these days, though not my cup of tea. The BIM full marathon route is made up of asphalt roads throughout. There will be very few sections of rough patches, but I’d say good enough for barefoot runners. There will be some debris on some road shoulders and can become risky for barefoot runners. However, during the race day, half of the road will be closed. It is therefore possible to run closer to the middle of the road, as opposed to the sides. In any case, barefoot runners should bear in mind that they face higher risk of injuries when compared to their shod counterparts. 

So now that the peak LSD is over, tapering has begun! 2 weeks of breather as we reduce mileage to build up on energy reserves, and therefore will have more time to solve Level 575 of Candy Crush Saga and continue on Criminal Case. What a relief! 

And speaking of relief, here’s a photo of Milly when she—yes, looks can be deceiving, folks, it’s a she —finished her peak LSD yesterday morning. I bet you could feel the relief too, right? You will be happy to know that she did not injure her back and neck because of this maneuver. 

To the participants in the Borneo International Marathon 2014, I wish you all the best of luck in your races. See you at the finish line! 

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