Mutual pre-race jitters
One thing that I must say from this experience, A marathon isn't half worth doing without the camaraderie. That's my honest opinion. I can't imagine going through the whole of the distance with a game face on and not talk to or acknowledging anybody. It isn't worth the pain without the laugh or smiles.
Ok la..so I'll start.
One for the album ( hubs decided to shave it all off a day before. I can only sigh)
We started from Bangi to the race venue at about 3.45 pm leaving the kids with my sister and brother. My kids never minded to be left with my siblings because they are pros in keeping little kids busy. I'm kinda suspecting my kids were glad to see us go after our lengthy lectures on how to keep safe.
Anyway,we arrived at about 4.10 pm and parked near Saba'. We were supposed to take a bus to the race area so hub and I wore slippers and while hub carried our race bag , I held on to our running shoes in a plastic bag. On the way to the bus, we made small talk with an uncle who was also a first time marathoner. I must have looked more like a supporter than a runner with my ratty slippers and a plastic bag in my hand because the uncle asked me , " You kenapa tak lari juge?"
The funniest thing was, when the uncle met up with his friend, he referred us to his friend as 'The Kids'. It tickled me to be 30 and still be called a kid.
When we arrived, we still had ample time to put on our race bibs, time chip and munch on the free powerbar. But by the time we checked our bag in the baggage area, the race officials announced for full marathon participants to be at the starting line.
Although the weather isn't as hot and humid as it was a month ago, it was still exceptionally hot and sunny that evening. While waiting for gun off, the mingling process began. I was totally in awe when Kak Haza and Kak Kash greeted me with hugs, as if we were long time friends.The rest of the guys ( Nik, Ian, Shuk, Syah, Sarah etc etc) made me and hub feel like we belong too. Thanks guys. You almost made my pre race jitter go away.
I was a nervous wreck when the gun went off. Since hub wore the Garmin, I had to rely on him for our pacing. Why I didn't think of wearing his old Garmin is beyond me. So there I went. Garminless, heart monitorless, just trusting my hub with what he had.
The first 10 K was easy. Although before the race, I spent half a day sneezing because my siblings had a cat in the house ( or was it the bunnies), I had minimal wheezing during the first few minutes of the race. In fact, it was barely noticeable because what I thought was a rhythmic bird call in the distance, was actually the sound of my windpipe screaming for air. No worries, after a few Ks, the wheezing was gone.
On I guess the 8th K mark, hub nudged me to look at a roadside sign.
" Macamana ni Ma, it says Kurangkan Laju" he grinned.
" No way!" I replied. Cheyy, semangat lagiiii.
So we continued. I don't know how far we were in the run when I saw Nik calling out from the opposite side of the road. Foolishly we thought, " Oh, the u turn wouldn't be far now". But we were fooled by Nik's fast pace. It seemed so long to reach the 21K mark. I guess the distance marker which spanned each 2K didn't help kot. It was discouraging for me to run for what I thought was at least 5 K, to find out it was only 2K.
Anyway, when at last we made the U-turn, suddenly hub had bad stomach and calf cramps. He urged me to go ahead. I hesitated at first but he insisted and promised me he'll catch up. So I continued on my own, Garmin less. Hub managed to catch up with me at least 2 times, but he was so badly cramped up, I didn't get to see him again until after the race. Which was bad because every 15 minutes I kept glancing back to where he was.
I ran partnerless for a few minutes, but after that I managed to ran with a few people. Random people would come up and chit chat and talk to me which really helped. Just when I thought of walking, an uncle would come up from behind and say , " Come on, don't stop now, come run with me" or " You're young and strong, you can run faster". One uncle even ran with me for half an hour and gave me a talk on the how to ward off leg cramps ( when I told him about hub's predicament). Even a slight smile from fellow runners gave me the motivation to trudge on.
And did I mention the unsuspecting support crew? I had strangers calling out " You go Doc!" from the sidelines. I don't know who you are but you are my heroes. And then there were the University kids cheering from their apartments, " Go kak go!" and the policemen and women were clapping and giving way, blocking the traffic as I slowly made my way through. And the volunteers giving their thumbs up and words of encouragement. Even the Firemen cheered and gave support. I don't know whether they did this with every other runner or because I was a lady tudung runner running on my own but they defiantly made the pain worthwhile ( and sometimes made me to pick up my pace and go faster)
Unfortunately, there were no distance markers after the 30 K marker, but I didn't know that. There I was running, trying to scan for distance markers on the side of the road. Being a rabun ayam person, I saw a sign board with the number 10 on it. "Great! 10 K to go" I thought. Only to find out a few meters later it was only advertising 10 % off some house in Putrajaya. Then I saw a sign with what I thought was 25KM on it which got me reeling a bit because I thought I crossed the 30K marker. When I got close, it only said 2.5km to Measat. After that ordeal, I gave up searching for distance markers all together. Redah je la.
Truthfully, I felt okay throughout most of the run. Okay, the usual fatigueness was there and sometimes when I feel a cramp coming I'd walk, or sometimes my feet would feel numb. Everything was okay right until the last 8K (I asked a fellow runner for the distance). I fished my pockets for the last powergel but was horrified to find out there was none left. What I thought was the chocolate powergel in my left pocket was just a packet of ORS. Panik kejap. I retraced my steps only to realize that I must have thrown the damn thing with the rest of my empty powergel packets at the last water station ( tu la, nak environmental friendly sangat- taknak litter konon). So I decided, I'd have to rely on the sickening Gatorade ( it made my tummy ache) at any water station left. Worse come to worse, I'd have to beg for a packet from a fellow runner if I'm really dying for one. So after that, at any waterstation left, I guzzled in a full cup of Gatorade and washed it with a full cup of water. Kembung perut pun kembung la.
The last 4K was bad. Really bad. I keep telling myself, hey it's just 4K. 4 K is easy. But it was not. It was the longest, the toughest 4 K in my life. Suddenly my feet had a mind of their own. They tend to stop and walk without even me thinking it. Really. Betul. And when I tried to run, they can only wog. That's a combination of walking and jogging. Very slowly. And my neck hurts, and my thigh hurts and even coughing hurts. I can only think of finishing fast not to have a good time but to get it over with fast. So I forced myself to wog faster. I had to focus to keep on wogging. I promised my feet I'll walk when I reached the person in front of me, the lamp post, the next turn. There, there, feet only a few miles to go. I saw the Kurangkan Laju sign again and I thought " Hey, no problem."
When finally, a volunteer at the side of the road clapped from the distance and announced that there was 1 K to go, I felt a sudden energy surge. I could hear the music coming from afar. I said to another girl (who I found out later was in the relay), " Let's finish together" and off we went pumping. Halfway to the finish line she was joined by her team who ran together with her to give support. So there I was pumping and running faster that I thought I can ,to the finish line. I had to zigzag my way through other finishers who were already making their way back.
Pumping. Pumping. Pumping.
When I saw the finishing line, I was overjoyed. But I was also mad to see there were cars going out the same lane. Bodoh! I screamed. Bodoh! The runners running behind me screamed. We almost got ran over. The whole lot of us. Furthermore we had to slow down to give way to the cars!
But nothing beats finishing. It was all over. But wait. What? NO LARGE DIGITAL CLOCK?! And there I was without any timing gadget. Come on la, even a 10K race kat Ipoh pon ada large digital clock, okay.
So anyway, I got my handphone out from my pocket and saw it was 11.30 pm. Tolak -tolak tambah, I estimated I ran for 5:30. But today, official results are out ( that was fast) and I found out I did my first full marathon in 5:27. Okla tu..haha. And I PBed the 21K.
Hub arrived, wincing 10 minutes after. Personally, during running, every time I heard the ambulance screaming from afar, I prayed let it not be my hub. Thankfully he mustered enough strength and bit his way through his cramps to his PB! Yay!
All in all, we ran happy ( ok la, last 4k was hell but still acceptable). That's what counts eh? Running happy. And to see friends at the finishing line is the extra perk. And to have people coming to me saying they respect me running all the way clad in my attire is the extra-extra perk ( to be fair, I don't sweat that much, and it was a cool breezy night).
But to do it again in SCKLM? Naaahh...too close. I'll probably do half to attempt a PB.
And to you people planning to do your first FM, I strongly suggest PBIM. More precisely planned. Post run meals, efficient medal collection and most important, an overall flatter route. ( What's with Pacesetters and their obsession with hills anyway?)
Okay fuh. Penat type. Off to fetch Chiam from school. Bye!