So, 24th October, it was the day before the big day, before the run, and I was still sleeping when I heard a call, 4 miscalls actually, from Fatin. Yeah, I promised to meet her today, it’s been quite some time since I last saw her, gotta do some, no, actually lots of catching up I guess. It’s time to hear her long-awaited case presentation which turns out to be very shocking and motivational one :-)
I was a lil bit late, but fortunately Sufian was half-awaked, he helped me to go to Wangsa Maju, but before that we swing around Maybank to cash in some required money. When I reach Mid Valley, it was around noon. Tho I had eaten a lil bit earlier, I still went for lunch with her. We swap stories for almost more than an hour; we didn’t watch the movie because there wasn’t any suitable time, and I had one thing to do, that is taking the running vest for my first run tomorrow.
I rushed back home, when it was almost 3.30 p.m. The cab ride back home was about seven bucks, which is totally expensive for a trip which used to be around RM4 or 5, tho I was mumbling about the high pay, the driver could only use the typical excuses, oil price increase and there was never a raise for taxi pays since the last 30 years. Lantak la, I tot, I didn’t give it much tot for I was in a hurry. I went to the toilet and took my Zohor, grabbed the kaki (‘car key’ actually, dis is just lame joke dat I always had with mak since I was small) and Alex Yoong all the way to UPM, haha.
When I reached there, it was around 4.40 p.m., almost 5 o’clock. Damn, I shud’ve checked the net to find the collection location. I was clueless where to find the place I’m supposed to go to take my registration number and running vest. I called the Pacesetter’s Athletics Malaysia twice but nobody picked up, and I called the Mizuno shop where I registered, or another branch I guess and they gave me another number, but by the time I have it, it was already too late, I’ve found the place, the stadium, UPM’s stadium, which is located next to Kajang Silk’s highway.
When I entered UPM from the front, I went to the guard post at the Engineering Faculty, and they told me to take left from the roundabout, turn right when reaching the traffic light and go straight. I followed the instruction but stuck at the ‘go straight’ part. Fortunately I found the cursor, which shows the running route for tomorrow’s event. But somehow I was misled into a dead end, twice. First is because I didn’t notice the cursor to go to left and second I was following into the closed, shut-off gate. I had to reverse and ask the students nearby. Again I had to reverse in front some of the kolej kediaman (I don’t remember what number is it) and dis time I went straight, not following the cursed cursor, haha. I went up the hill and there it is the small stadium, equivalent to Salak Tinggi’s. There was a decoration, banner raised and some setups for finishing line dat’s made from wood. I don’t know what it’s called, but I just wanna run thru dat tomorrow, with awesome, lightning speed, heh, yeah, in my dreams eh? But than again, if I can dream, I can see, I can achieve it!
I parked near the field, there were few others too, who is like me searching for the same thing. We were told that the booth for collecting the running vest was behind the spectators’ building, at the back of the stadium. We went there, and collect our yellowish green running vest, with the registration number that followed by the receipts’ number. Mine was A0242. After that I went back home, preparing, worrying about what will happen tomorrow.
That night, I did some buying, I bought eggs, pack of Yakult, Ginseng Tongkat Ali Power Root Drink, Mentos, and Jojo for my nephew, each had its respective usage for tomorrow. I went to cyber café, then to kedai mamak, after that went straight back home, and go to sleep.
The following day, that is Sunday, 25th October, one of the much anticipated day of my life, at least ever since I started registering, my first attempt running in an event ever since I started running, which is like since after SPM, during Khidmat Negara. Thinking how little distance I go back then surely amused me, compared with now; I’m ready to take up this 11.09 km, or at least I thought I’m ready. Thinking otherwise could only disrupt my mentality, or at least that’s what I thought again.
Before that, last night, after packing all the required things, the number, set aside the vest and the shorts to wear, I reminded Sufian to call me if he went back from lepak around 4 a.m. which he did, and I was awake due to his phone call, but then I continued sleeping, haha. Fatin offered to give me a call to wake me up, but I turned down her generous offer, why? I just didn’t feel like troubling her, that’s all.
So when I woke up that morning, it was 6.30 a.m.! ‘Wei, what the heck?’ I thought. Running will start in less than an hour; but I’m supposed to be there like right now. ‘Semayang pun tak lagi’ I murmured, and go the bathroom, took the ablution, and my Subuh. I didn’t have the chance to pray longer that time, but I prayed that I could finish the run without having to stop, or walk at all.
I grabbed my things, went downstairs, go to the kitchen, saw the egg I bought last night and crack it open into a cup and drank it. Buekk, the taste was less awful than other eggs I had before, but still, its taste sucks. ‘I just need the energy’ that’s what was in my head when I drank that raw egg, yuck.
I went inside the car, and notice my Tongkat Ali drink wasn’t in the bag, I went back to the room, but I couldn’t find it. I decided to just go without it. Like any other typical Malaysian, I also believe that Tongkat Ali as one of the good aphrodisiac to be used, tho in this context, I used it for running, not related with anything sexual. It’s just that I had tried this earlier, and it had shown few effects in my running, I tend to be more focused and more energetic, but the down part is I tend to be more excited and tend to run faster, increase my pace a lot more, but in the end I couldn’t go further due to exhaustion. So, I think I’ll be fine, what matters more if I could get there on time.
I sped up the car, due to rain last night I was more cautions and careful when pressing the accelerator, but still I tried to maintain about 100 km/h or more. Luckily, it was early Sunday, and there aren’t many cars on the Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2). But at that time, one more factor really disrupted my focus on getting to the destination, which is the fuel capacity. It’s almost empty when I reached Sg. Besi, and I was in dilemma whether to fuel the car first or get to the stadium; and I chose the stadium, haha.
As I reach Kajang Silk, there was a car tried to reverse on the highway, it seems that he wanted to park on the left side of the road, but somehow mistakenly passed through. I didn’t notice the car and when I realized it, I tried to move to the right side because braking didn’t seem to be the best idea, and what’s worst, I didn’t notice the car that’s coming from the back, on the right side of the road. Whoa, it was a close call I’d say, and since I was in a rush, I didn’t had the time to be annoyed. I make a u-turn by the Uniten’s roundabout and park faaaarrr from the stadium. I had to walk quite far, and my car was like the third from the last. I decided to put my backpack, that contains the windbreaker, camera and extra shirt in the car, only took out my mp3 player, and Mentos that I bought last night.
I started walking towards the stadium. Along the way, I saw lotsa people who just like I am, wearing the same running vest. And as I walk, I tried to put on the number on my shirt using safety pins provided. I’m glad I reached there on time, and I took the red band as a sign of registration. Fortunately there wasn’t any much thing to do except waiting for the run to begin. I ran one lap around the stadium in slowly manner, stretch a little bit, look at all the runners who like me, share the same burning passion for running and tried not to be too anxious.
I was very excited looking at all the participants, their shirts, crowd of yellowish vest runners, their running shoes; all this kept me captivated, wow, I was really excited. They all look ready, and determined to finish the run. So I continued stretching, until like few minutes before the run begins. After that, they made an announcement and every participant gathered up front. I started to steer myself in the yet-to-be-sweating crowd, and then the run started.
I ran slowly, reeeaaaallly slow due to large number of participants, haha. We start off from the stadium, and the stadium’s entrance is too small to let out almost 4000 participants, haha, so just imagine how congested it was. As I get out of the school entrance, the route was hilly, but it was short.
The congestion keeps on almost 2-3 km into the running route, after that, there’re some spaces for runners to increase their pace, but still they had to avoid the other runners. A day before, when I was stuck in finding the UPM’s stadium, I had the chance to actually follow the running route, so I kinda get a little idea what it looks like, or how further I have to run. I kept on running, or jogging, at I started saw people taking some rest, some even stopped for nature’s call, or waiting for their friends, or to tie up their laces. These entire scenes only made me wanted to not even stop and push myself further, haha.
So, I continued, and its kinda hard when I came across another long, incline route, but again started to do things, keep myself busy. I started to turn on the music, tho I didn’t actually care what song I was listening to, at that time, I wasn bothered, but other participant’s progress made me.
As I continued, I remembered my days back in Khidmat Negara, I remembered what it feels like to do the exercise EARLY in the chilly, windy morning, haha. And I remembered what we chanted, or something similar, and I make up one and chanted it myself, in my heart, in my mind, like it had always been.
Kasi kuat ibu kaki
Apa dalam diri?
Kekuatan yang hakiki
Sejauh mana kita lari?
Terletak jati diri
Laju atau perlahan,
Itu tanda kekuatan
Mari-mari kita lari,
Tinggalkan kesedihan ini
And I continued running.
I felt enjoyed looking at all the runners, yeah, the way they struggle and push themselves, just the same I’m pushing myself, only we had different capabilities, different traits, different motivations and reasons to strive. I often look back as I was running, I know what it felt to be left behind, and I know what it feels like to be in the front, all these are very valuable lesson for me, call it another learning session in life, haha.
So I came to about half way of the run, and there was this water station that gave free drinks to every runner. Haha, I was hesitated whether I should drink it, since I don’t drink cold water. So, I tot its best to let things as it is, and let me proceed the way I am, haha. I continued running with feeling slightly worried that if I didn’t drink, I would be dehydrated, but ‘naah, I I have my mentos’ I thought. ‘This will maintain my glucose level’ but then again, what’s the relation between dehydration and glucose level? Haha, whatever it is, im enjoying this run and try to savor every part I can. It only 11km, I won’t be dehydrated right? Tkpa, lets put that aside, at least for now.
Okay, then, as I came to the last part of the run, that is for me around 1.5 km before the finish line back at the stadium, I felt exhausted, my body started to feel every tiredness, and my stomach felt tight, my hands tried to pump harder, it’s getting hard I thought. But I didn’t give in, I saw people, I saw competitors, and its fun, reeaaaallyy fun to see people pushing their limits, I felt Im pushing too, but I felt like I still had the upper hand, my breathing is still stable, only my stomach felt uneasy, but such feeling is not worth to stop the run, so I continued. Then I can see where the route continues because the runners came thru the same route earlier, so this is the part after running in circles, which is backtracking to the stadium. It was a hill, but it wasn’t that high, but it took toll on my pace, I started to run slowly, and the tiredness felt at my feet; but stil I don’t wanna give in, I tried maintaining the pace, tried to lose as smallest as possible the tempo of my running, which it helped me outpace lots of runners, lots of people who started to jog more slowly, some of them even started to walk, feeling exhausted. I continued, as I reach up the hill, I saw the final hill, the last part of the event. Wow, this is one hell of a hill I thought. It was long, and steep, yeah, I can imagine what it feels like to run up through it for I had came down from that route earlier. Seeing the hill from afar is very de-motivating, I felt ‘alamak, adoi, tk guna betul’ all that kind or similar feelings came across. But then again, it was very inspiring, I continued running, jogging, my tempo was as slow as tortoise, I barely gave in, I barely wanted to walk, but I just cant, its not that far left I thought, it wouldn’t hurt just to continue running, that was what came through my mind.
Finally I was able to climb that hill, in a very, verrryyy slow manner, but what the heck, I thought I could run and outpace other runners since this is like the almost last part of the run, and I was suppose not to be tired because running downhill, but then I felt no energy, my legs didn’t listen to me for some time, fatigue at its limit, its yield point and I’m just glad I didn’t have to climb other hill again. But, for other runners, this is it, this is the time to give it your all out for the finishing line is near, but I cant, I can hopelessly saw other people outrun me, I can only smile at their enthusiasm, smiling thinking that they didn’t run up the hill like I did, but walk over it, and took this downhill side to overtook me, but then life is all about taking opportunities, not any opportunities are suitable to one’s capability. And dis time, I’m incapable for such rewarding, final opportunity.
Few metres before the stadium entrance I started to search some upbeat tempo music. My playlist was so mixed up, so I could only finally make do with Ungu’s Dari Satu Hati. I finally came to the stadium entrance. I saw other people walking out of it, other early finisher runners, each of them holding he orange plastic goody bag. ‘Will I have mine too? What will my number be? Wow, I’m jus glad I finished this, I cant wait to tell mak, Fatin, Sufian, budak2 lain’ is what that came thru my mind.
The upbeat tempo run through my ears, my body, my mind, my feelings, more importantly, it boost up my adrenaline push, and I was pushing myself even further, harder, and faster. So I ran, like hell, and as soon I came to the stadium’s running track, I sped up, and accelerates even further, I was Forest Gump, I was Rock Lee, I don’t know what I was, but then my mind, my body cant deny the fatigue, but the song keep pushing me, and as soon I outrun other participants, one after another, the fatigue decline, my body refused to give up, push, and push, and push. All the incidents, all the bad things dat happened recently came through my mind in that few moments, maybe I need some distractions, maybe I need to put the thoughts of exhaustion my body is feeling at dat time aside. And there it is, the finishing line, the white banner they built, and the finishing line is there, as I came near I realize I’m no longer a loser, I can run further now, I can move on now , I can go further, and now, the sky’s the limit, and there, it ends. The attendees looked at my registration number, A0242, and gave me a white card, A312; that’s my number, I got the 312th place in group A which is category for men above 15years old until 51, out of 4000 applications. In aviation, the number A312 could be derived as the extension modified model no for Airbus A310, mine was A312, haha. I couldn’t helped but smile, wahh, but with this pain and exhaustion all over my body, smiling could be very tiresome job, but I don’t give a damn, I wanna smile, I’ve done it, I’ve did it, I had finish the 11.09 km run to be exact, and I’m very glad, I never had such achievement before, and I wanna keep on smiling, haha, yeah!
I saw other participants, all with the white card in their hands, lining up to take their goody bag, but none of them smiled, or laughed, all of them were exhausted, but then again what u’d expect? We’re amateurs, we’re not Olympians, we’re no Usain Bolt, we are just some people who had deep passion for running, only in my case, my passion was overwhelming that it shows on my face, haha. I line up, and took the bag, it was a long line, but I didn’t mind, I took that time to recover, and as soon I get the bag I checked out its content.
In the bag, it contains a can of Revive, a small bottle of mineral water, a consolidation medal, a certificate, and other sponsors’ products samples. I was very glad, looking at the medal, and the certificate, but whats more important are the drinks, I took the mineral water as I tried to find my way a better place to sit, to relax, and observe other people while in the process of rejuvenating myself.
So I sat at the drain nearby, yeah, I’m always attracted to the drain, I don’t know why, maybe its ledge serve a better position for sitting, haha. Wow, it was very tiring, but it was fun, I really wanna do it again, the sense of accomplishment I had was amazing, and I hope next time I could train myself better, I also hope that this event serve as my starting point, my beginning to all the run I’ll enter, or other good things in life.
After that, I went back to the car, took my backpack, my camera, put the goody bag away in the car, and went back to the stadium. With the camera in my sweaty hands, I snapped, and continue doing another passionate hobby that I took up recently. I saw people, I saw sweaty people, running and walking in and out of the stadium, people lining up for free drinks and watermelon, tho I had none, I didn’t quite understand why they gave it, and people sitting like I was just now with overwhelming fatigue. Well, either way, I was very glad, I just was ;-)
The only spoiler dat morning was dat i had a stomachache on my way back to the car, which was very hard for me since I had to walk like 1 km to reach the car. And as soon I'm in it, I rushed to UPM's Petronas, near its entrance. After doing the nature's call, haha, I refueled my car and went straight to Pak Itam's house, took the cake mom asked me to, and sent it to Uncle Ismet's house, only after, around noon that I reach back home, yey!
There are few metaphors when I entered this running event. First, I had always run, but I don’t know how good, or how far can I go, thus this is a good choice to show my capabilities, to show how far I’ve come, to see how good I am. Second, it was to keep my mind occupied, to keep myself busy with all the hardship I’ve gone through, with my best friend’s stuff and other domestic problems, furthermore, when I submit the entry form for this event, my mind was really messed up, and I cant find other way other than tikar sejadah, or religious methods, and my other options was only running. Yeah, running keeps my mind occupied, and ever since that moment, I took up running at night quite regularly. Yeah, it’s a little bit dangerous (sorry la eh Fatin), and dark, but being a nocturnal runner reminds me of one thing, and every time I ran during the moon shines brightly, I felt myself aware of DEATH, astaga. So, running served me lots of purposes, and I wanna keep on running, so that I’ll be reminded, and not forget all the excited feelings I had, so that I can outpace the stigmas or other bad experiences, and outrun my lowly, pathetic self, and I know also by running, that I’m working my ass off to make myself better, and more deserving.
Well, this is life, and if life is a wheel like they had always said, well, then this just something we had to deal, some dirt we had to get stuck with and hope that the dirt will pulled off and again we will feel the breezy, cool air as we go up in life. Hanafiah, I wish u well in life, and for you, my beloved friends, or someone who sumhow manage to get urself into this boring page, I pray and wish you the best in life, and hopefully we all will become a better person, and able to contribute maybe not much, but a little bit of something to the society; how much? Well, it’s only an answer you can determine it yourself. God bless you guys, like I had always wished ;-)