April 2, 2016 by Soo Ee
Upon arrival from KLIA, I wanted to take a bus to the hotel but I was not able to locate the bus I was suppose to take so I GRABbed a teksi instead. It took some time to locate a driver for me but one eventually came.
The hotel, D’ Boutique, was nothing fancy but it looked new and nice from the onset. I saw a few eating places located in close proximity. No other food places were within walking distance of my hotel. There wasn’t any shopping malls or supermarkets around.
After I checked in, I waited at the reception to find out how I could get to Paya Indah Wetlands, the race venue, to collect my race bib. I overheard this French couple talking to the receptionist about going to the wetlands for a race the following day so I asked them. The lady said she could get their race packs on Sunday as she had emailed the organisers and informed them. I thought I emailed the organizers too but I was told to collect it on the day I arrive. Maybe they didn’t get what I was trying to say.
I did not know how far the race venue was from out hotel (though it didn’t seem that far on Google Map) so I asked if they were interested to GRAB a cab together to the venue. Better to lost together right? We agreed to arrange the ride out through Facebook messenger.
I was given a huge room which came with cable (Fox TV), nice showering facilities and a big bed. I think cable is useful because I do not think there is anywhere to go to around here.
The arrangement with the couple fell through because they wanted to book a cab the night before and not GRAB one on the morning itself. They didn’t feel it was safe to do so given it was so early in the morning and they didn’t want to risk not able to get one. I didn’t want to risk it too but I couldn’t get an advanced booking via the apps. Both GRAB and Uber said it was unnecessary. On the other hand, I didn’t want to book one through the hotel because of the added charges that might come with booking one. The couple went ahead and booked a cab but they were nice. They said if I still wanted to go with them, I was welcome to do so. I thought about it and decided to just GRAB a teksi in the morning. I wanted to reach the venue earlier than 6.15am but they didn’t. So there.
The next day, I GRABbed a teksi to Paya Indah Wetlands and it arrived at 5.54 am Before I knew it, I was at the race venue by 6.00am. When I stepped out of the Grab taxi, it was very dark outside. It was so dark I could see the stars in the sky. I could hear sounds of creatures and nature all around. I had to walk another 1 km to the race venue because where I was dropped off wasn’t the race venue. I had stopped the cab ride too soon. The walk was nice though. Cool and breezy in the morning. I saw signs saying there were ponds with crocodiles and hippos!
The race started a little past 7.30 am. The running ground was relatively flat, like Singapore’s Green Corridor, with its share of mud and grass. I could hear birds chirping and the sound of the breeze. The sun was creeping up slowly. There was a good mixture of tarmac and trail, mostly trail.
I made a mental calculation of all the females I passed on the trail and turned my head on a few occasions to take a peek at their bibs to see if they were in the same category as me. Towards the end, at the last one kilometre mark, when I didn’t see any other ladies in my line of view, I started to pick up speed. A motorcyclist rode up to me and announced on his radio “women veteran #4 ” Hearing that motivated me to keep pushing hard because I realised the lady I passed just a while ago could very well catch up and overtake me.
Adrenaline was high!This was what I saw when I stepped outside. Roads and more roads. There was only one coffee shop beside the hotel, a cafe selling ‘decorated’ sinful dessert in a glass decorated with chocolate and rainbow sprinkles.
The hotel I booked to stay at, D’boutique hotel. The run register website recommended this among a few and I searched on booking.com for reviews. The lobby is small but nice, the receptionists are friendly and the first impression I got was that the place is clean. The room was spacious enough for me alone and has a table for me to place stuff. I have no idea what this is called. The servers at the coffee shop near the hotel understood English so I googled the ingredients. It said mutton but what appeared was chicken. It tastes really good though. It is a naan wrap with shredded meat, onions and chilli. I am not sure what sauce it was mixed in. Some kind of sweetened mayonnaise. The naan was crispy and fluffy and hot. The long bench in the room with my things. All my things.
This is for the person who has been supporting me through all these: Look! I came in third place! Seeing I am taller and bigger in size, I somehow feel that, maybe, with a little more weight loss, I might be able to run faster.