This was my first ever half marathon, So I want to be light on any firm conclusions. I learned a lot today-mostly about myself and pushing my limits, so without further ado, let’s dive into the recap.
So after dreaming that I kept missing the race and waking up in a panic, my alarm finally went off at 3.15am. Race day morning was incredibly nerve-wracking! I was up way earlier than I needed to be. I forced some peanut butter and bread and some coffee down, while my stomach felt like it was flipping over.
The race started sharp at 6am (however, it could have been better if it started earlier at 5am) I was so lucky and blessed to have my hubby running with me. (He is in the running for Husband of the Year Award) Lined up at the start with my hubby, looking around at all these rugged, athletic, accomplished runners, I thought I was going to throw up. We heard the official- counting down and we all started shuffling. “I can’t believe I’m about to run 21km- A half Marathon. This is insane,” were my last words before we took off running and I was soon running along with my hubby, trying to soak it all in!
The beginning of the race was pretty crowded. Started down a side road and turned onto busy main road. The route led us into the city. There were aid stations about every 4 km. Sponges, energy drinks and water and bananas were generously provided by the organisers. My only real complaint about the route is that, runners were running along side with the traffic. There were marshals, traffic police, volunteers on standby, however, the route was pretty busy streets in the city (Flag off at 5 am could have been better, lesser traffic, can avoid the hot sun too) We crossed numerous streets amd traffic police were there to stop traffic. Volunteers at the aid stations were great and cheered us on. Otherwise, there really were no spectators or supporters!
I was enjoying the crowds and crusing along happily putting no thoughts into what lay ahead. All I thought about was how this was my day! I had done the hard work and deserved to be there and it was absolutely spendid. Then I see the big hill coming up and felt like I could take on anything the world through at me. The route literally went up that hill so I mean it was right in my path. It wasn’t that steep but it just kept going. I noticed a lot of runners had to stop and walk at this point. My hubby kept telling me…….”just clear the hill because it’s all downhill from here”. After that Everest level climb to base camp, we come to a water station.
When I started the race, I was ecstatic (thoughts included:- This is incredible, I feel great! and “Why don’t I do marathons all the time?”) But let me assure you, by 15 km or 16 km, those thoughts were long gone…replacement thoughts: “WOW- my freaking body freaking hurts!) LOL
My runner friend- Jenn Lai did advised and told me “Stay hydrated” and say your mantra- 5 km, 5 km, 5 km, 5 km and before you know it, you have already reached the finish line!” That is when I had to have the inner pep talk to keep it going. I stopped and walked a bit at every aid station. Mostly so I could drink. I tried to pretend that I was a professional and run through and drink at the first aid station and almost died due to drowning, so I accepted that I lack a certain coordination and just walked through the rest.
About 17 km my lower legs felt fatigued. My legs became heavy. It was then I understood the mental aspect of endurance running- I would have to dig deep within myself to reach the finish line. Then came 18 km, my toes threatened to cramp so I wiggled them before each foot hit the ground again. My hips tightened. My shoulders tensed. I had become hyper-aware of each and every body part, those parts that hurt as well as those parts that didn’t. I shrank into my head, slowed to walk, and tried to imagine a pain worse than what I was feeling during this 18 km. I couldn’t think of one.. Then, hubby’s voice alerted me..”Almost there…..we are almost there!!”
Our final KM and I will have a finished! The true moment where I realize no matter how bad I may hurt, no matter how tired I am, I will be crossing the finish line-and more awesome- side by side with my hubby. Just run! Just run! It’s a personal taste of freedom only a runner knows when you have crossed the hump and will know that you finished the race! Grinning like an idiot and just loving every second of it and yet letting every second go by in a blur. All I know at that point was just to keep running and have my time! My hubby kept saying, “We are almost there! You are almost there!” I was staring at the finish line maybe 100 metres away and I never had such an urge in my life to just stop and walk….BUT NO WAY IN HELL was I going to give up now! At this point, I was just hoping I didn’t trip there at the end. I crossed the line and for the first time in my life I felt truly victorious! I finished in 3:23. So I think I need to step up my game. Now excuse me while I go do the happy pappy dance!
Overall this was a great race. It started on time (however, it could have been even better if started earlier), was well organised, had a nice route (hopefully, the next time- a full road closure would be better). Water and energy drinks about every 4 km and awesome volunteers. I was particularly impressed with the amount of manpower/ traffic police invested to make sure there was help when needed. It was enjoyabable to run on the road that we drive on every day. You can’t run freely in Kuala Lumpur roads without running the risk of getting run over or arrested for insanity! LOL
I might have crossed the finish line of HSN21KM Half Marathon, but I accomplished so much more! I pushed my limits and got to know myself. I am gonna cherish my finisher’s medal as if it were an Olympic Gold Medal, wear my 21 km finisher’s T-shirt every where and be all around obnoxious about a week..Then, I will chill out and begin to think about what my next endeavor might be……
So dear runners, If I can do it! YOU CAN DO IT! JUST RUN!!!!