Monday, June 25, 2007

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy

What? Penang Bridge International Run

Where? Pulau Pinang or Penang

When? 24 June 2007 (4:00am)

How far? 22.3km

Another island trip! After a wet affair in Phuket the week before, I flew to Penang last weekend for the Penang Bridge Marathon (PBM). I had signed up for half marathon event. PBM is one of my favourite run in Malaysia because of the spectacular views and beautiful finisher medal.

It was smooth flight to Penang from LCCT, KL. In fact, the flight was so smooth that we arrive 20 minutes ahead of schedule. From Bayan Lepas airport, we took 2 cabs to Stallions Apartment. There were 8 of us. Stallions apartment is located about 30-45 mins walk from USM, where the starting point is.

Stallions Apartment even though can be considered "near" the start point is not quite convenient location. No public transport plies that area. So, we had to depend in our legs.

After checking in, we headed to Tesco, a hypermarket, 25 mins walk for lunch and grab our food supply for dinner and breakfast. I brought KFC for dinner and cup noodles for breakfast.

Our race kits were collected by a Penangite friend of us, HF. (Insert thank you here). Race kit consists of a T-shirt, two bibs, registration card, quiz card and a useless KFC voucher! (only useable in Queensbay mall and expired on the next day).

We didn't go out after we got back from Tesco. I had to go online and do some urgent office work. (Insert grumbling here). The dial-up was so slow that it took 3 freaking minutes to refresh a page. After dinner, everyone went to bed by 9:30pm. Below is a night view picture of Penang Bridge as seen from our apartment. Lovely, isn't it?

On the race day, we walked to the start point from our apartment. The main road was closed to traffic. It quite a long walk and my Saucony shoes felt strangely tight around the toes. Either my feet had grown fat for the shoes had shrunken. Hmmmm.....After long long walk, I finally reached USM entrance. The same commotion as last year happened. Runners were pushing and shoving trying to get into a half opened gate. It really felt like pigs being led to slaughter house. Sweaty and smelly. (Grrrr...Some people just don't believe in deodorant)

I exchanged my registration card with a yellow band, which is actually a hair band for ponytail. Last year, they gave a better quality PBM printed rubber band. After getting through one gate, I had to dash to another gate at the opposite end of a huge field. Then, we had to walk another few kms through some housing area to the actual starting point on the main road. Why do we have to do so much walking before the run? It was crazy! I was cursing all the way. There has to be a better way to do this.

As I approached the start point, I heard the crowd was cheering. I didn't hear the gun being let off but the crowd was moving already. I missed the start again like last year! (Insert sigh here!)

I had no choice but to tail thousands of other runners who were in front. Wowow! It was like the whole Penang population was on the road! I was sandwiched left right, back front by sweaty men. They should get some deodorant sponsor next year!

The road was so crowded that we couldn't even run. Had to do baby step, for the first km. There goes my PB down the bridge. As if! Heheh!

At the curve turning into the bridge, some runners even climbed over the divider to free themselves from the crowd. I did too....but I was greeted with more crowd on the bridge. Yikes!

My baby steps turned into baby jog as the crowd began to disperse on the bridge.

My Sony MP3 player was playing club mixes from Rihanna new album - Good Girl Gone Bad. My umbrella ella ella eh eh! Thank God we do not need umbrella as the weather was good even though it was forecasted that Penang would be hit by scattered thunderstorm.

I did a few stops to take photo of the bridge. To get a good shot, I had to bring my mini tripod along. going running with a tripod. Call me crazy but I think the result is worth it. See....

In case you are wondering, I used the night scenery setting. It worked OK with static object. When I used it on moving runners, the result turned out to be a little spooky....(Insert ghostly wail here!)

I enjoyed my run even though at times, my nostrils were assaulted by fishy smell which could be from the sea or the sweaty grunting runner running next to me. Deodorant, please!

I was quite happy when I reached the below signboard. It meant that I had finished half the battle already.

I picked up a red rubber band at the U turn at the end of the bridge. The sky was still dark. I remembered that the sky was much brighter last year when I did the U-turn. We started an hour earlier this year! This mean I had to slow down a little to catch the sunrise. There goes my PB down the bridge. As if! Heheh!

The moment that I was waiting for. Bit by bit, the East horizon began to dramatically lit up with hues of purple, orange and red. I kept turning my head back to watch as the sun was rising at the mainland side. Simply glorious!

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy

Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry

Sunshine on the water looks so lovely

Sunshine almost always makes me high

If I had a day that I could give you

I'd give to you a day just like today

If I had a song that I could sing for you

I'd sing a song to make you feel this way

If I had a tale that I could tell you

I'd tell a tale sure to make you smile

If I had a wish that I could wish for you

I'd make a wish for sunshine all the while.

OK! OK! Enough karaoke singing...Time to get back to running....Heheh!

The dividers at the middle of the bridge blocked the view. But, it will not stop me from taking this photo.....

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy

Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry

Sunshine on the water looks so lovely

Sunshine almost always makes me high.

Heheh! Can't resist this John Denver song! It's so....sunny and happy!

The running continued...The heat from the sun started to be felt. I could feel my feet melting away. Not because of the sun, but I think I walked too much on the day before and on that morning....

If you thought my Phuket nipple bleeding incident was bad, take a look of this. Her back was bleeding in crescent shape! Bad friction from her bra, I guess. That must hurt like hey when she hits the shower. Lesson learned, marathon, like the other physically demanding activity, proper lubrication is absolutely essential before doing it! Heheh!

Doesn't this building look kinda peculiar? To me it look like someone had sawed off the top portions of KLCC Twin Tower (insert). I knew the finishing point was near as I approached this building. My timing? Really baaaaad.....It was over 3 hours (qualification time) but at least they still gave me a medal. I think I took more pictures than I ran. Heheh!

I hang around the finish point area, looking out for my marathon running friends.

Seen below is Running Mom completing her first marathon ever. (Insert applause here!)

This marathoner (below) collapsed once he crossed the finish line. He must have conserved his last drop of energy till the finish line. Wow! Very dramatic. I was actually shocked by the loud thud he made when he hit the ground. I hope he is OK now. (Insert salute here!)

Overall, Penang Bridge Marathon is still one of my favourite running event in Malaysia. There are some improvements that the organiser should look into, as the participations grow bigger and bigger by year. I really hope they introduce timing chips and improve the reporting procedure. Please do not let us run like headless chicken to the starting line.

Will I be back next year? Sure...We already started planning.....where to stay, what to eat, where to go.....I just love Penang!

What's in the Goodies Bag?

2 x canned drink

1 x MyVito biscuit

1 x Flavette lozenges

1 x Indo Cafe Instant Coffee Mix

1 x AntaBax Soap (To smell fresh..They should include deodorant next year!)

1 x Hovid Glucosamine Sulphate (to lubricate those creaky joints)

1 x Sloan analgesic rub

1 x Proviton capsules

1 x Fruitale Shower Gel

1 x Tesco plactic bag. Heheh!

Note: My friend in Paris, Mr. Waterman had posted these amazing shots from the Penang Bridge webcam. Take a look and be awed! Merci beaucoup, H20man!

Bird Eye Views of PBM 2007

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