Satisfying my need for long slow distance runs.
I am the kind of runner who will run with anyone, any group, anywhere and anytime – and I have. However I have always longed to be part of a circle that consistently meets up to do long distances (by consistent I mean every week, and by long I mean anything above 12km). It took me a while to find such a group that had the right mix of warmth and spunk, with but when I did, boy did I strike gold. They called themselves Gaited Community (cute wordplay there), and I was introduced to them by an East Malaysian named Sylvia who had posted in the IndoRunners FB group. So you could say that my Indonesian running connection was my link to this cozy Malaysian running family.
Personally, I see three main benefits of joining such a running group: 1) to discover new routes that are not familiar to me, and 2) to establish friendships with new people, and 3) to run safely in a group. I am happy to say all three have been accomplished.
Let me just walk through with you some of the long distance routes I did in December:
Bukit Aman – Bukit Tunku – Damas
This was my first LSD with Gaited Community and it was easily 20km. The route is a common one that most runners in KL wanting to train long distance would embark on, and I was thrilled as this route has been on my to-run-list for the longest time. You can check out the route here. As we were about to enter Bukit Tunku area, we ran into a familiar face – Din Shaharudin, Malaysia’s #1 marathoner.
I made many new friends from this LSD, notably Bismi (who led the group), Lini and Ku Zie, two powerhouse ladies whom I barely saw because their paces were as wicked as Bismi’s; Gai, a sweet lady from Ampang and veteran runner who really left an impression on me, and Jeli, our faithful and patient sweeper who made sure us back-of-the-pack runners didn’t get left behind. Not only was Jeli super technical, he’s a bit of a salesman himself, promoting to us all kinds of gadgets and trinkets we may need for running. I think the others had a nickname for him, Racun Man, something or rather. 🙂
What I particularly liked about this running exercise was the checkpoints that the group established for us all to reconvene and take a breather, which was very considerate given that our paces were not all the same. The checkpoints included Plaza Damas and even Istana Negara, where we took pictures for keepsake. The long run personally got tough towards the end as the morning became hotter and I ran out of water. At the end of the route, we met up again in Bukit Aman where a food stall serving bihun sup became our post-run staple.
Malakoff Practice Run
Exactly a week after the 20km LSD at Bukit Aman, the GC group held another LSD, this time led by runners associated with the 24Running group (they are closely related). The objective this time was to practice the Malakoff Run route, which for me was a new scene. The Bukit Damansara area is notoriously known for its hilly terrain, so this LSD was a much-welcomed practice for us Malakoff virgins. In the spirit of the-more-the-merrier, I invited my own friends, namely Nannoor, Farisha and Encik Azman. Lina ended up joining, too.
Like the LSD last week, we started early at 6:30am, this time the starting point was Desa Sri Hartamas. As with any LSD route that is self-initiated, traffic is always a concern that weighs heavily on my mind, so I am extra alert and ran without my ipod; I am super careful when having to cross roads and we always run in the opposite direction of traffic so that we can see oncoming cars. Our sweeper this time was Nan, a sporting guy who also makes sure no one gets left behind.
We spent almost 2 hours on the road, and by the end we covered around 13km, photo ops included. Food and drinks went all around at Pelita restaurant till late that morning, and we all left feeling energized and confident to face Malakoff the following week. And because of this practice run, I finished Malakoff 1 minute better than my target time because I was mentally prepared to run the course. 🙂
LSD at Universiti Malaya
Now this particular LSD has no association whatsoever with GC or 24Running but it is worth remembering in my book and I did it in between the Bukit Aman and Malakoff LSDs. I have other running friends who frequent the UM campus for a weekly LSD night run every Wednesday, so I decided to join them to check out the route which included Bukit Cinta, a long hill. We started at around 8pm, right after work, and there were only 4 of us: me, Zainudin, Ramlan and Aniz. A small group, but very manageable.
Encik Ramlan led the run as he always does on other nights; the man is a longtime UM staff who obviously is very much at home with the territory. You’d think running in campus was safer, but the traffic flow in there is pretty much the same as it is outside. People do speed in there and I got a bit nervous along some dark areas of the roads and vowed that I needed to wear more reflectors on me.
We ran twice around UM, covering almost 13km. That also included one lap around the new stadium, which according to Ramlan was built not according to specifications, causing the field to flood whenever it rains. Poor management of the construction efforts was to blame. But all in all, the LSD turned out very well, except perhaps when Zainudin felt like passing out after eating dinner. Too much food too soon, perhaps.
Well, there you have it – an overview of all the LSDs I did with groups of runners in the last month of the year 2012. Since I’ve established my connection with them, I look forward to more running with them in 2013 and beyond – and thus my craving for LSD, fulfilled!
Other runner groups I’ve run with include the following:
- Larian 40 Taman
- Chap Ayam Runners
- Nike Training Sessions: Tempo / Interval / LSD
- Tristupe’s band of friends