Bali Marathon was my second (ever) half-marathon planned with the first being Malaysia Women Marathon back in April this year. I wasn’t planning to push for a PR as I was to run another half marathon 2 weeks later in KL Marathon 2013 and well because it’s Bali; enjoying the view is a must!
I arrived in Bali the day before the run on 15 June 2013. A bunch of the usual kaki lari had already arrive 2 days prior and had already picked up my race kit at Westin Resort, Bali. I was told that the race kit collection wasn’t as smooth as we’re used to here; numbers/names are checked manually one by one against a list on paper – not quite what you expected from an international run. The race kit contained, an obviously male-sized running vest, the race booklet, the race bib and a huge 1-liter Pocari Sweat water bottle. Behind the race bib, the organizers opted for the Mylaps timing chip; coincidentally what KL Marathon was planning to use this year too. I had a chance to try out the timing chip a week before my Bali Marathon during the final training clinic held by the SCKLM organizers. It’s nothing new, well not till I realize how Bali Marathon utilize the data populated.
I managed only 2 hours of sleep before the alarm went off at 2am. We made our way to the shuttle bus pick-up point with minutes to spare before the bus (which had the rest of the kaki-lari) left for Bali Safari & Marine Park, Gianyar, where the starting point is located. The journey took about 45 minutes from Kuta Discovery Mall. Or perhaps it was shorter. I tried my best to get some sleep but I just couldn’t. We arrived about 45 minutes before kick-off so it was just enough time to go to the loo (porta loos were scarce and the line was long), dropped off our bags and check everything was in place. I decided to run with my hydration pack for this half-marathon. I’ve enjoyed the experience of using it during a long run 2 weeks prior to the Bali Marathon so I wanted to see if I could replicate it during a race.
The gun went off exactly at 5.30am local time. Weather was on our side; the wet evening from the previous day certainly proved to be very beneficial to us runners. As much as I have studied the elevation of the route, I had actually underestimate the change in elevation. The first 5km already had me out of breath and I was oh-so-close to walking. To make matters worse, the promised water station at KM5 didn’t exist and so my planned shot of first isotonic drink didn’t fulfill till KM8.
The route starts out on a highway before turning into a series of villages. As we made that turn, I knew from memory that it was going to be up, up and up all the way till KM15. That was almost 10km of hill! Poor tortoise me, I ran slowly but at least I made sure I ran. I think I was at about a 9 min pace. Like I said. Slow. The first water station was pure heaven. The isotonic drinks served were Pocari Sweat; think it as 100 Plus without the fizz and a slight different taste – LOVE! My first experience with Pocari Sweat was during 2XU Compression Run in Singapore back in March this year.
Soon after the first water station, the sun was up and we were greeted by the villages in Balinese style; complete with children performing the kecak dance! Some of the children were also dressed in traditional kebayas and stood by the roadside cheering on us runners. This I was fortunate to witness at every village that we passed. I had a great time giving out high-fives to the awaiting hands of the children through out the entire run. It also brought me great joy to see them smile whenever we ran passed them. Ah!
Well back to the run. At every water station I grabbed 2 cups of fluid; isotonic and ice-cold water. I took my time drinking the isotonic. So good! Slurp slurp. Oh yes, I had GU Chomps in a zip-lock and pinned to my tights but that ripped off barely 8km into the race. I ended up just holding on to the packet for that point on. It was a great relief when the roads started to go downhill from KM 15; I knew for the most part it will be downhill till the the finishing line; yay! I picked up my pace and manage to overtake a few mat-salehs. Haha! For some reason that made me so happy. You mat-salehs are tall and so fast! It’s not always a tortoise like me get opportunities like that :D
At KM 18, I regretted the choice of carrying a hydration pack, my upper back, where the shoulder blades are, were really sore. Sore enough that I had to slow my pace down and this is when the two friends who I passed way earlier overtook me. They stopped at the final distance marker and even manage to take a picture of me “savoring” the pain. I was encouraged to pick up the pace for that final KM but my shoulders really really hurt. As I approach the final downhill before the turn to the finishing line, I passed by a few volunteers who were on their way down and chatting away happily (obviously done with their work). Gee, I’m so slow I thought to myself… but whatever I want this over and done with.. and I need to get this hydration pack off my shoulder.
That last few hundred meters was torture and I crossed the finishing line at 2:46. Sheesh. A full 9 minute from my first half-marathon. No regrets though. Almost always after a couple days of recovery I’m ready to repeat the beautiful torture again.
Beautiful torture. I like that.
Here are some victory photos with the rest of the KVRC family and lastly, a screenshot of how the results were presented. Pretty nifty.
And here are the screenshots I took from the individual results page. You can even enter a friend’s name and see how you stack up against them.