Marathons are for mad people! That’s what I’d always assumed. And I didn’t fit that club until one day, I signed up for my very first half marathon. And Hell-yeah- I am only half insane! LOL-Segar Rajoo, my ‘sole’ mate became my running mentor. My Yoda. He would be the one to picked me up and pulled me along at every setback offering support and advice. It became clear early that to be a runner it wasn’t as simple as putting on a pair of shoes and running, unless you are Kenyan, of course….anyway……
We decided to put up a night in Kuala Lumpur, since we live in Seremban and also to avoid traffic and parking madness. We booked a budget hotel about 1KM away from the race venue (Dataran Merdeka). We had our early dinner (carbs loading with banana and chocolate smoothie) at SOGO Kuala Lumpur. After dinner, we headed back to our hotel, took our shower and hit the sack! Only to be awaken by supernatural happenings! We stayed on the 4th floor, room 404 (hmmmmm..eeewww) Hubby slept like a piece of log. I, however, was awaken by ‘someone’ or ‘something’! Hell-yeah…..at around 1.00am, ‘someone’ or ‘something’ was having a bath in our bathroom. The room was pitch dark and I could only see shadows and the hot steam from the bathroom, however the shower was on. I brushed aside all those crazy, spooky eerie imaginations, thinking maybe a runner from the next door room was awake and was getting ready for his/her Full Marathon but the shower in our bathroom was still on and the water was still running. How could it be? I froze and I just could not move. Being a Christian, I recited as many decades of the holy rosary and the Novenas that I could think of, Somehow in my darkest hours, I managed to fall asleep only to be awaken once again by shortness of breath and a series of cough attack. I checked my garmin watch only to discover that it was 3.00am. I just could not wait to wake up and get out of the room and start my half marathon race.
I put my uneasy feelings aside and substituted them with an optimistic, ready-to-conquer mindset! Once I made my way to my corral (pen-5, if that helps you realize how slow I am) it was ok, stand around and wait. Forget about what had happened last night. Do some lungs and leg swings to warm up my muscles a little. But I was uncomfortable because I was alone. Hubby was in Pen-2, I felt like people were thinking LOL what’s she trying to prove, she is never gonna be able to finish. Which I realized is ridiculous. The running community is so not obnoxious like that. I’ve come to realize that runners are SO supportive and just there for each other.
And then when the gun went off and the first wave was on their way, I think my start was about 10 minutes after the gun start. And there I went trying to remember to keep it slow and easy, not take off (not like there was a lot of room to just take off anyways, 11,000 runners)
The first 5KM of the half marathon went incredibly well despite running along with 11,000 runners- it was the perfect temperature, with no rain or clouds in sight and I was enjoying getting to run on the empty Kuala Lumpur streets and highways with other happy runners!
I saw the 2:30 pacer ahead of me..thinking, ok, I should try to catch up and stay as long as I can. My goal was only to finish under 3 hours. So I know I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them the whole time. I was able to keep running only stopping at aid stations/water breaks. (The first 2 aid/water stations were a little chaotic and messy, with runners pushing and shoving to get water) However, I need to give a shout and thank the stranger in the cute blue and white polka dot shirt, she does not know she did anything but I was trying my damnest to keep up with her. And I did, for a long time. So stranger, thank you for keeping me going, for motivating me and helping me not to stop……even though you have no clue and will probably never see this, you helped me immensely.
Making it 10KM nonstop was a pretty big deal, as that was the furthest I had ever run without stopping. I was feeling pretty awesome at that point (the so-called “runner’s high” was kicking in), and I wasn’t experiencing any pain or aches in my body. Feeding off of everyone else’s uplifting energy, I was determined to push myself to keep going . I wouldn’t stop until I absolutely needed to.
At around 14KM, I started hurting…or maybe getting tired is the better way to put it. But I went through a checklist in my head, are my shins ok, yeah….side cramps, nope……So I kept going. Remembered my breathing and kept going. I was really tired, mentally and psychically. I was beat! So, I walked a bit, but I tried to keep my speed up a bit, then I realized I could just slow down my running, So I started again, just slower, at this point, I’d lost my blue and while polka dot stranger and the pace group had finally passed..and all I could see was their dust…I was discourage but I wasn’t about to give up yet, I’d come this far. Keep going!
Once I hit 16KM, I tried to remind myself I only had a 5KM left to do. No sweat…I do 5KM daily in the gym, that didn’t really work. I was already super exhausted and my feet hurt (probably because I wore a new pair of Reeboks) But I still kept at it. At about 17KM, I gave in and walked some more… I walked about 1KM or maybe a bit more. I wanted to be able to run to the finish so I was trying to preserve some energy.
And then I saw it, in the distance…the end. It looked So.FAR.AWAY! I can do this….Just go, finish!
And finish I DID! I did not managed to do my PB or a sub-3 but I got a little emotional, crossed the finish, I cried a little (bitter-sweet feelings) I got my hard earned medal and my legs felt like taugeh (Bean sprouts) But I just ran a half marathon. OMG! For someone who running does not come easy for, I was (AM) unbelievably proud of myself!
So I did! I ran Standard Chartered International Marathon Kuala Lumpur. I got my medal and now I want more. It’s been almost a week and now I am back to the gym. I was pretty sore this week the worst of it Monday, obviously! ANd now, I think I’m gonna start training for the next!
No, I don’t think I’ll ever do a full marathon….. KM 21 is a freaking long way…and 42KM? NOOooooo Way! I’d die! I totally admire people who can do those……But you will never know, it’s all in your mind…….
And I’ll do it again…and maybe, just maybe, my goal will be running it just a little faster this time. I can do it.!
Race: The event was organised to the highest level (with 38,000 runners)
Course: A good city route, rarely, what you could call interesting, especially in the wee mornings, no steep climbs but some long tough inclines to test legs, lungs and will power! Overall, a not too tough a course that most runners thoroughly enjoyed. If anyone set a PB on this course, I would be surprised and they should be proud! (Congratulations! My ‘sole’ mate for achieving your Sub-2)
Marshalling and water stations: Excellent and and abundant marshals. There were ample of water stations however, at 4KM and the 8KM abit of a mess and a little chaotic lacked of cups, water was splashing every where, runners were pushing and shoving each other to get water.
OVERALL: I think, to my opinion, the Race Director and all who have been involved can be very proud of a well-managed, enjoyable and safe event! KUDOS and CONGRATULATIONS!