The Malakoff Curse Strikes Yet Again

On: Sunday, June 7, 2009

I had high hopes that I would better last year's timing of 3:05. But it was shattered as soon as I hit the 18km mark. The Malakoff curse had struck me again.

It all started pretty badly for me. The early signs weren't good.

Firstly I misplaced my gel bottle for my Thunderbolt belt. Can't remember where I'd placed it and finally gave up after searching high and low for it. I was planning to load the powergel into the bottle for the extra boost in times of desperation. 3 packets can be filled into the 4oz bottle and saves me a lot of hassle. But it seems the plan had to be abandoned. Back-up plan then, my arm pouch

Secondly I hardly had any sleep the night before. Twisting and turning around on bed, I simply can't fall into sleep mode. Everytime I tried to close my eyes, the memory of last year's nightmare came flashing across my mind. It was not until 1am in the morning that I manage to dose off, after England had put 4 past Kazakhstan.

My lack of training couldn't be more obvious, made worse by the searingly hot weather and haze. I haven't done any runs more than 2 hours for a few months now. This has taken a heavy toll on me as I experience discomfort just after the 15k drink station. I hung on for another 3k before the cramps finally set it after the clock tower. I was bitterly dissapointed as it was even sooner than last year. I recalled it was somewhere after 20k last year that my legs gave in. Trying to be positive, I pressed on by doing the walk/jog routine. With my Gatorade running out, I wished I had brought along some small change as I noticed some runners deviated into the Shell kiosk to recharge. I was surprised that there were no isotonic drink provided this year. I knew that water couldn't properly replace my depleted electrolytes, in fact it might have even more adverse effects.

As I was nearing the 23k drink station, my legs finally gave up and reduced me to a halt. The cramps were so severe that I can no longer walk. I had to sit on the pavement and relax my legs. I can see the muscle spasm on my calves. It was like worms moving in it. At that moment, I really doubt my ability to finish the race.

I was hoping that there were some medical officers on-site to provide assistance but there were none to be seen. Fortunately after some massaging and stretching, I was able to get on my feet again and pushed on. Now, even walking was a difficult task as I had cramps on both my calves, thighs and even toes. I knew I was too close to give up now, just another 2k to go.

Being reduced to a walking pace, it was a good time to engage in some conversation with fellow runners. This had somewhat helped distract me from the excruciating pain from the cramps. Finally, I was able to cross the finish line at 3:05 which is my same time as last year.

So here is my rating on the race this year.

Improvement Required: Insufficient medical staff at final kms, no isotonic drinks, poor mile markers
Good Job: On-time start, sufficient water at stations

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2 comments on "The Malakoff Curse Strikes Yet Again"

kazuolim said...

Same goes to me as well. Unexpected mild cramp strike at KM17.5 just right in front of E&O Hotel, I thought it will go away by doing calf streching, too bad it start to trigger me about the cramp again just right after I turned at KM18, then worsen when reaching St.Xaviers School, I decided to fast walking all the way back till finishing line.

Last year managed to finish without any single cramp but really very bad luck for me this time.

I totally agreed, no well marked KM sign & no isotonic drink. I remembered well last year they even provide Power Bar Recovery drink and isotonic drink along the course.

Moreover, not a great month for this 26km run this year besides lack of sleep and lack of 2hours+ training.

The night before the run was so humid & hot, my house temperature gauge showed 31°C at night and even when I woke up 3:30am on event day still the same 31°C. Just imagine how bad the weather was that day. Anyway, must train more in this kind of condition.

Life goes on, never give up. There are still many runs waiting for us.

Theo said...

Hey Shaun,
I think one of the mistakes runners did (running in long distance) is taking in too much fluids along the way. From my past experience, it can induce cramps as soon as we try to take off too soon thereafter gulping down. Try to limit your fluid intake (just 1 or 2 sips) the next time around and see if it helps. Also, just plain water is best.