Monday, 12 January 2015

16-hours In Putrajaya

There’s this long hours running event called Watergate 16-hours held in Putrajaya last weekend.

The event has a simple format. Participants do as much or as little as they want, their choice. But to get the finisher items, one must do a minimum of 10 x 5K loops = 50K. The format for me, is really good for those still looking for a way to increase their mileage but may be hesitant to go headlong into much bigger and longer distance races. The route is also kinda tame for runners, where we ran on mostly flat pavements/tarmac with the exception of the stairs leading up to the Jambatan Seri Gemilang. That steps were simply torturous, I tell you!

Of course, we are all more than welcomed to run the whole of 16-hours, and that’s what I intended to do, all along. I’m actually quite surprised on how many runners who thought I’d stop after reaching 50K mark. It was never a plan to stop if I can still do loops by 12.00pm on Sunday.

It doesn’t matter whether one runs or walk or both in this. No matter how fast or slow. It’s an achievement no matter what, and the courage of those who are willing to test their limit last weekend should be applauded. We could really see some runners who tried their best even though it took them hours to finish 50K. Some ran despite injuries or having just recovered from one. It’s not exactly a clever thing to do, but we understand why they did it. They had GUTS!

I enjoyed last year’s Watergate 16-hour experience tremendously and was anticipating this year’s sophomore edition.

But I had to review my earlier goal and target seeing that I haven’t been running much since Fujisan Marathon back in November 2014. With just a slow hike, a couple of short and slow runs the past three weeks to test my achy knees; I had to really study and think about what I want and what I’d be able to achieve in this year’s Watergate 16-hour edition. Whatever I had done for the past month, it sure wasn’t enough to be able to do anything too ambitious. So I came up with a backup plan. With less mileage.

But hey! Try we must. We can’t fail if we didn’t even try. We can’t succeed either.

This was the original plan.

After a bit of thinking, on Friday before the event, I decided to try and follow this original plan and ditched the backup plan. Try my best and let the rest fall in its place.


The event flag-off was at 8.00pm and the bib collection for the 200-odd runners started at 5.00pm the same day. Unlike last year, where we arrived half an hour before the flag-off, we got there earlier at 6.00pm this year.

A bit later than what we had planned. Making some rice balls to share with friends took more time than I had bargained and with the help of my son, we finished making them at almost 5.00pm.

By the time we arrived; Taman Seri Empangan, which was where the event will be flagged off and CP2; was already lively with runners.

It was after 7.00pm when both Zaini and I changed into our running gears while Son who had tagged along, “lepak”ed with his friends, kids of the PACat Team members. We had actually brought a tent for him so that he could wait for us and camp out, but a friend took him under her care later and we needn’t need to worry about him.
Photo credit : Bett
At 8.00pm, runners were flagged off in waves. We waited with a bunch of friends and started last. No hurry. The night was still young. (And turned out later, there were more runners starting much later… no problem). 
Photo credit : RFF (Kahwai)
I had these “mantra” that I set out for Watergate 16 hour run. I needed to be careful not to start too fast and go off steam a few hours later, and I also did not want to be too slow and not achieve my target. I also needed to remind myself not to be a self-centered asshole while running. SMILE! Because I believe in running happy.
Photo credit : KuHairul
Zaini and I had agreed that we would not have the same target so for the first 4 hours of our run, we’d sometimes run together, and there were times when either he/I sped ahead. He didn’t linger long at CPs while I took more time there during the early hours of the run.
Photo credit : PACat Team
At the early hours of the run, I stopped to hydrate myself at both CPs and made sure I ate something – fruits, candies, gummies, etc. before starting off again while Zaini wasn’t keen on wasting too much time there.

I managed to run the first 15K at planned pace before the lack of training started to show. Plus, both my second toes were kinda in pain. I stopped at CP2 (Taman Seri Empangan) to tend to them and the paramedics were sure quick to come to my aid but I assured them I had it sorted out myself.

Then, I decided to walk with Zaini. Not exactly “makan angin” pace though. At first, he was walking at 8:30min/km pace (I know, I checked) so I had to jog to make sure I didn’t get left behind but as he slowed down, I was able to match his walking pace. That was about 9:50-10.30min/km.

By this time I know however, that I was lagging in distance of what I planned for the first 4 hours but as the night was still young, I had hoped that I’d managed to somehow narrow the gap later.

Supper was served for runners from 12.00am onwards, and we got back to the CP at around 12.30am with chicken rice and coffee waiting for us. Yumms…

We ate and rested for 23minutes (yes, of course I calculate them) before setting off again, at a much slower pace. In keeping of not going with anything slower than 12min/km walk, we continued and after 2.5km, we had quickly picked up our pace again.

When we were together, it was rather nice and we were quite touched that a few runners actually recognised us, manning CP4 at Putrajaya 100 miles. Awww… ^^

Another loop with Zaini and then he told me to go ahead as he didn’t plan to keep the fast walking pace anymore. The poor guy had blisters on the sole of his foot and I guess he attended to it too late, that it got a bit too painful for him to continue with his fast walking pace.

And so, after midnight, I plod through the route alone but thankfully, there were still quite a number of runners and it wasn’t too eerie to pass through a dark stretch midway of the loop.


So we all had run past midnight and while some chose to rest and catch some sleep, some of us still continues on.

If I had been rather relaxed in the first four hours of the run, I was more focused by now.

By this time, my aim was not to drop my pace to anything below than 11min/km. I’d occasionally jog but most time, I was walking.

Feeling rather bloated drinking all the cold Coke and 100-Plus, my only wish for fluid after this time was coffee. And boy, it was a motivation to reach the CP just so I can have coffee.

As I somehow had kinda regularise my pace, the aim for each loop was to do it in 50min for each 5K loop. I only stopped at CP1 at Palace of Justice just to get my bib ticked off and I’d start off immediately without stopping to drink. A hurried drink and getting a quick bite at CP2 and off I went again.

And I tell you, I managed to keep almost all the loops timing at that average timing, and we’re talking about 10 hours of the balance of the run.

Seeing not only friendly faces manning both CPs but other runners sure helped in keeping me in high spirits. I don’t listen to music during my run, so I keep myself entertained by looking forward to bumping with other runners. To smile. To encourage. To be encouraged.
Photo credit : RFF (Calvin Toh)
And yes, I do get plenty of encouragements from other runners. Thank you! Even just a smile meant a lot to me. The claps I received from volunteers each time I arrived to the CPs were too. Hugs to everyone!

After reaching 50K, my back started to hurt and it was hard to run as it was painful to draw deep breath. Not intending to stop any time soon, I just asked the medic to rub some ointment on my back.

I still tried to run and I’d do it at all the declines (from the starting line at CP2 towards the bridge and halfway down the bridge) and the rest, I just walked. Better than nothing lah.

Run declines and walked the rest. Oh, sometimes I changed to a jog when it got a tad boring. At 60K, I guess my energy level somehow went down, and most probably due to hunger and I started to get sleepy. It was hard to focus walking and even a couple of runners who were out for a run asked me whether I was awake! I’m barely awake! Hahaha. Luckily, I bumped into a couple of friends and they made me snap out of my sleepiness.

By 65K, my right knees started to hurt and boy, it was sure was painful to go down the Jambatan Seri Gemilang stairs by now. Had it sprayed later and after some coffee and a can of drinks kindly donated by a friend, along with a packet of nasi lemak; I set off again.

At 70K mark, my feet started to hurt despite changing into another pair of shoes earlier so I opted to change into my sandals. And I completed the balance of 10K clad in sandals. A quick sip of drink, a rub at the back by Zaini as my back was killing me and I set off again.

Arriving CP2 after completing 75K, I asked the volunteer whether I still have enough time to do one more loop and they encouraged me to continue. Not wanting to waste any more time as I had about an hour to complete one final 5K loop, limping one final loop, I plodded out again. I was still in pain actually, that barely a few metres after setting off, I was thinking of turning back and quit. But somehow I didn’t.

I stopped at a bus stop just a km after that to check on my foot and somehow got cramps. First cramp of the run. Thank goodness it came so late actually. I waited and stretched to ease the cramps before starting off again.

My second last loop, a fellow runner paced with me and while we talked, we had somehow managed to pick up our pace together. My last loop a runner out for a training run paced me and urged me to run. I tried to follow him but it got too painful and I told him so and we just walked and talked for a few kms.

It was sheer murder to go down the Jambatan Seri Gemilang one last time with the knee in pain and I sure was glad that I got down. Tears almost welled up in my eyes as I see Zaini and a friend running towards me as I tried to finish the last 200m. I was so touched by their gesture and support.

Zaini pushed me to hurry me up as I walked on the inclines but let go as I ran the final 50m alone, letting me have my “glory”.

Of course I would love for him to be alongside me as I ran towards the finishing line, completing my 80K run that day but he stayed behind.
Photo credit : PACat Team
We didn’t run together much this time, but if not for him: I would not have done this 16-hours run. The patience of both my husband and son, letting me set off and do this for 16-hours in priceless for me. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Thank you too, to the organiser, the PACat V-army, runners and friends who turned up to support us. You all made me do this 80K run a very happy and meaningful run.

I had a great time last weekend and it’s all because of YOU! So thank you again!

And thank you for all the nice photographs.

See you in 2016! ^^


  1. I missed another big fun event!
    Marked my calender and I will sure join this in 2016. After all, I will need those mileage to enhance my endurance and push my marathon speed closer to my limit ;)

    1. See you in 2016!

      WG is sure a good training event for endurance and mileage :)

  2. Mak Glam ooi Mak Glam!!

    i thought i will be seeing a new post from you ytday RIGHT AFTER the run..


    1. Let me rest first la. I didn't sleep at all until I finished my run. Hahaha

  3. i love seeing all the happy faces in the photos..

    and especially the one Mak Glam jumped up like a GADIS!!

    phewitttt~~~ :p

    1. Keep a positive spirit always and we'll be happy even in pain. Hahaha

    2. Yeah this Mak Glam really amazed me! Kudos & Congratulations banyak kali!!!

    Omedetou gozaimasu!

  5. Tahniah.. mlm tu gi tgk peserta WaterGate lari.. terserempak ngan ahkak 2 kali.. tapi ahkak laju sangat x sempat nak keloi.. hehhehe

    1. Ala...

      Yo yo oh la ahkak laju tu

    2. Masa tu kitarang lepak kat depan secret recepi.. ada bawak budak kecik sekali tolong kasik semangat.. hehehe

    3. Aisey. Tak pasan.

      Kalau tau, ahkak stop mintak kek sikit. Lol

    4. Mintak kek pon x dapek.. Kedai kek tgh nak katup kedai.. heheheh...

  6. guys are really awesome la.

    LOL...halfway running can eat can drink and can even change baju . Eh 100 plus mixed with Coffee wont vomit?

    Think best of all is all kaki are there running la. Baru got umph to continue on

    1. You try run for 16-hours... sure have to somehow makan la. Lol

    2. if i run 16 need makan lo....can straight call ambulance put me into it liao :p

  7. Thanks for the sharing ... like to hear more from runners experience now. Hahha... well done again !

    1. There are lots of runner bloggers out there where you can their experiences. :)

  8. I like your that pose in the 2nd picture, hehe...

  9. Nice activity there....the bear is so cute..^_^

    1. Cute bear, right?

      That's why a lot of runners tried to at least complete 50K, so they can get the bear :)

  10. You looked so happy and young in the pink!!

    Run Lina Run!

  11. Congrats Kak Lina... Great mileage to kick start 2015... So proud of you... Sorry couldnt be there to give some support n kepoh2 like last year... Will definitely join WG16 2016... Looks so much fun n happening too =D

    1. Thanks!

      All the best to you? Masuk apa lepas ni? TNF Thai again?



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