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Run, Niki, Run!

Puma Night Run 2014

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve completed two 10k runs. I really wasn’t expecting to do so much running. While I’ve loved the exercise and used to do it quite regularly, the truth is that since I returned from London, I’ve not been very active.

In fact, it was in London that I lost my running momentum – having at least six cold months a year really put a dampener on things. My last run before the ones recently was the British London 10k, which I ran with my friend Rob.

British London 10k

But that was two years ago.

Until Oct 12 when I participated in the Standard Chartered KL Marathon with my friends David and Pei Chyi. I had missed the sign-up deadline last year so I didn’t participate. This yeah, when registration opened, I just thought I’d sign up and worry later if I could make it. And I could!

It was nice to do the run again for the first time since 2011. There’s something about the big crowd that really gets you going (although I didn’t like that the starting point for the 10k was not at Dataran Merdeka itself), and chances of bumping into friends are high.

What was also great was doing this as my first run since the London one because what I liked about it is the sights we’d pass. The SCKLM reminded me about how wonderful KL was – the Twin Towers, KL Toer, Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Dayabumi and more. And how much has KL changed – I didn’t even know there was a new shopping centre on Jalan Sultan Ismail!

With David and Pei Chyi for SCKLM

It also reminded me how much I enjoyed running.

A few days ago, I drove to Setia Alam for the Puma Night Run 2014. I had made no plans for the race. Because it was a last minute decision to actually do the run, I was just going to show up, quickly warm up, do the 10k and leave. None of my friends had responded to my tweets about participating so I assumed that no one I knew (or knew well, at least) was going to participate.

In the end, I really enjoyed the evening. If I had any criticism, it would be 1) the balloons the organisers released at the start of the race was actually pretty dangerous (I spent the first 50 metres trying to jump over them or avoid others that were kicked in my direction by other runners) and 2) Setia Alam isn’t very interesting to look at – just big gates and lots of trees. Plus it was dark. 😛

Other than that, it was faultless. There were ample parking so I actually had an hour to kill before the run started because I arrived earlier in case it was going to be a problem. I never had to queue for the toilets and I had no issues finding the start line and the like.

Because it was in a neighbourhood, it felt like I was running around my housing area except with lots of people for company and I managed to finish the run way faster than I had expected.

Completing the Puma Night Run 2014

I’m actually quite glad I got this opportunity because I think this will help me get back into the habit of running (I have also quit my gym as of early this year because I was paying so much and barely using the facilities).

One of the reasons why I stopped gymming is also because I told myself I would start running again. This was around the same time I was invited to participate in a trial run by World of Sports to test out the then-new Salomon City Trail X-Scream, which is a great pair of shoes if you’re going to be running on different surfaces in the same run. It was nice to do the run with Richard, as well, who I ran with at my first ever proper race several years ago in Singapore.

Salomon City Trail run

I was convinced that I’d get right back into running after that. It was nice to be reminded about the camaraderie that comes with the running that you forget so often when just going alone around the streets in your neighbourhood.

On top of that, I also got to test out for the first time the Suunto Ambit2R GPS device which really helped me with my running. Before this, I’d been relying on watches like the Pebble and apps on my phone which are great, but nowhere close to what this watch could do. I’m almost inseparable from it now whenever I’m doing outdoorsy stuff,  including when I climbed Mount Kinabalu in June.

Suunto Ambit2R Salomon X-Scream

I also loved this new pair of shoes, Salomon’s new City Trail line of shoes. Richard chose this colour for me, which I quite fancy, but what I liked more was that it was comfortable, pretty light and clearly efficient when you’re changing surfaces quickly.

These two new “toys” got me really geared up to run that I even brought them with me when I took my month off in London and the US not long after. The picture below was one of my runs from Deptford (where my best mate Adam lives) to Greenwich (beautiful, beautiful park!). The weather was perfect for most of my trip as well, which made it easy to put everything on and just sweat it all out!

Running to Greenwich

Or so I thought. In the end, laziness and holidays took over and when I went to the US, I was just caught up with the sights. Then I had to fly back. And then jet lag hit. And then Mount Kinabalu. And then I fell ill on the mountain and it took me two weeks to recover. And then I had to get back to teaching. And then LimaPuluhTujuh just took over. And then … I didn’t run until a week before the SCKLM.

It’s no surprised that I struggled with the run and barely clipped the under-60 minute mark. I did much better at the night run. I’m hoping this will give me the new momentum to keep going.

But just in case “hope” isn’t enough, I’ve decided to level up. So, I’ve signed up for my first ever 21k run next February at the Nike We Run KL event.

Bring it on!

We Run KL

9.21pm Malaysian time (+8 GMT)

1 Comment

Julian Yew

Hi. Niki. Nice article about your running experience.
My first half marathon was at SCKLM 2014 and the feeling of completing 21KM for the first time was great.
Good luck on your first half marathon at Nike We Run KL! 🙂

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