Green Warrior Run 1.0, 10km – June 14, 2015

Joined an inaugural race today, the Green Warrior Run 1.0 (initially Green Army Run). Ran the 10km (9.68km measured by my GPS watch) in 44min:50sec (average pace 4min:38sec). Sounds like not my fastest 10km and it wasn’t. However it was with 205 meters elevation gain very hilly. Managed to grasp 2nd place in the Men Junior Veteran category.

Happy about a good run - thanks Tea Chua for the photo

Happy about a good run – thanks Tea Chua for the photo

The organization / technical support came from Pacers Sport, an indication for a good event. Love them for the annual Dragon Back run. Looking for a race in June before Ramadan starts, that looked like a good option and I signed up. Two distances were offered, 4km and 10km and with Taman Botanic Negara Shah Alam a new venue was introduced.

Registration online went via, cost RM59. That included a unique event shirt in camouflage design, however no timing chip. The run had a charitable character, eventually RM10,000 could be handed over to “Love and Care Charitable Association Selangor”. Starting time at 7:15am was also quite in my favor, living 30km away from the race venue, so didn’t have to wake up so early.

Today race day, got up at 4:10am giving me some time to get my metabolism up and running. It was a very cooling morning, it rained over night. Also the race was impacted, the organizer “Earth Runners” posted on Facebook that due to flooding the 10km route had to be changed. Not good, I thought, expecting a messy race with that last minute change, it occurred to me skipping this run and go back to bed. Luckily I didn’t.

I arrived at Taman Botanik Negara Shah Alam at 6:10am, always try to be early for easy parking and avoid the queue in front of the toilet. Surprisingly many people already reached the venue and a short jam built up. Luckily there was this jam, as the organizer missed to give GPS coordinates of the start area, also I couldn’t see any signboard. So I followed the crowd hoping they don’t go to another event. Saw some canopies to my left and thought this must be the start area, still the cars went on straight. In the dark I identifed a car park and just pulled into it. I was alone there, I was worried this may not be the right place but risked it anyway. Whereever it is, I can walk, most important the car is at a proper place.

In the meantime it started to rain heavily and it wouldn’t stop, flood like amounts of water flowed down the hill. Then another Facebook posting, race start delayed by 45 minutes (now 8am). Rain continued for quite some time, luckily it got less and less. Then there was lightning and thunder but good thing the thunderstorm decided to go another direction and leave us alone.

At around 7:15am I left the car, only drizzling now – being a responsible runner I hydrated well, a bit too much, thus I needed a tandas – URGENTLY. There were no port-a-loos at the starting area but quickly found the actual toilets in the park, actually plenty of them around and very clean. Important prerequisite for a good race – checked!

Warmed up a bit running a few hundred meters including 3 strides to prepare my body for the race, bringing the heart rate up a bit. Felt good, had 4 hours of sleep and the cool temperature helped as well. Met Daniel and Ronnie at the starting area, good as Daniel runs around my pace and good to have somebody in the run as orientation. Not too many runners where there anymore, guess many left or didn’t come due to the rain. Some posted on Facebook about the risk of injury on wet and slippery tarmac. Fair enough.

At 7:57am then the flag-off. Immediately we turned into left, a downhill section, I controlled my pace to just below 4 minutes. Then after 200m or so, the first hill started – argh. The entire race turned out to be torture, gruesome hills after hills. The worst right after km 5, really steep section, my pace went down to 6:10 for the entire km 6. On top of that we merged with the 4km runner, some of them with umbrellas (opened ones!). Still enough space to manouver around them, just cost some extra meters on that terrible hill, having 5km of up and down in the legs already.

Elevation in grey, my pace in blue, see the hill at km 6!

Elevation in grey, my pace in blue, see the hill at km 6!

For the first 4km or so Daniel and me ran together, taking over a few of younger runners that started too fast. Then Daniel, rightfully known as Bukit Raja (King of the Hill) increased the distance between us. He is very strong even not having much time to train lately. That really kept me going, Daniel pulled me along that tough hill section in his neon yellow shirt.

Sometime into km 7 a long downhill section started. Daniel was now far ahead and didn’t really feel like having a lot of fuel in my muscles left but there was this other runner that overtook me. OK, take it as it comes and I took him as motivation to push again. I normally don’t like to speed downhill too much, my strength are uphill sections but in that case I had to increase pace considerably to stay close to this other runner. Downhill runs put a lot of strain on the legs, the natural shock absorption system. You can tell, many runners steps are quite loud when they hit the road going downhill – this is actually an indication of weak muscles, the legs hit the tarmac uncontrolled risking injuries, e.g. shin splints. I was rather confident to go downhill fast today, I know my muscles building my natural shock absorption system are quite strong, I also consciously avoid heel strike, which you may tend goind down a hill.

So I raced against this other guy and by doing so I caught up to Daniel. I overtook him and as he told me later the other runner couldn’t keep up with me. Well I didn’t know all this during the run, so I kept on pushing, for a short while I thought to be able to catch up to another runner ahead (I think he finished 4th in Open Men?) but that didn’t realize.

Shortly after I recognized the surroundings, I knew I am close to the finish. There was another short hill to tackle to reach the finishing area, short but quite steep at this moment. Scolded a two 4km runners that walked kinda zig-zag and forced me to slow down, when I just wanted to finish – people, sorry for scolding, no harm done but I am quite fierce when racing. Reaching the finish line I wanted to cross in the section for category D and E, thinking I am D but actually I was B – my bad again, blame it on the exhaustion.

Very happy then to get the placing card for 2nd placing in my category (Men Junior Veterans). Got my bottle of water right after the finish line – VERY important requirement for a good event checked!

It was a very satisfying run. After all the uncertainty if the race takes place, I was very glad to have come. The run through the hills are a great workout, my 3rd quality session of the week – awesome.

Tough but rewarding run - loved it!

Tough but rewarding run – loved it!

The rest of the event went by rather fast, having the delay of 45 minutes for flag-off, the rest of the program went as initially planned, as the VIP was there already.

Good event, new venue but very tough to run, I yet to find a nice and flat 10km route in KL. Sufficient water stations but first 2 only provided 100Plus, when I would have preferred water. The route itself was all in the park, so road safety was not an issue. Number of people that ran today actually felt quite right but consider maybe 50% didn’t start. Not so sure though if the venue can really cope with the initially planned 2,500 participants.

I personally like the good communication by the organizer of the status via Facebook. I felt always informed being able to make my own decision to wait and to run. Big accomplishment also by the organizer to change the route hours before flag-off and still have all water stations available and the distance being, well, close to 10km.

Unfortunately there was no trophy, only cash, which was a surprise having expected cash vouchers for the top 3 runners in each category. Will invest the money well, Lego for my son who had a small accident yesterday and had to be stitched. Also going to donate some money for the heroes of the Sabah earthquake a few days ago, the Mountain guides that saved many lives and people that Malaysia can really be proud of – in contrast to so many other things that are going on right now.


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