Don’t shoot me for not updating! Things has been hectic. What has happen since Brooks Marathon is a TLC trip to an island, a 10K run in Singapore and yesterday, my first half marathon; all within the span of 3 weeks. Phew.
I wasn’t planning on signing up a half marathon (HM) for the first half of the year. I didn’t felt ready at that time when everyone was adding HMs to their new-year’s resolution list. Then again, I’m not the type to make such a list. So when the news came out that the inaugural Malaysia Women Marathon (MWM) will be held in April, I was ready to sign up for the 10K distance (or anything close to that). However, to my disappointment, the pendants (instead of finishing medals, pendants were given), are only given out to HM finishers and marathon finishers. The 8K finishers are only given certificates; no way I thought to myself! I do indeed run to earn the dang medal. Haha. So at that moment, exactly 12 weeks before yesterday, I decided I will run my first half marathon. All for the sake of a pendant, and I can gladly say it was all worth it.
I followed my training plan religiously except for 2 weeks; I fell sick right after the longest LSD – 19km, so I took a week off and the week after was an impromptu TLC trip to Pulau Rawa. I went to the starting line feeling physically ready, but in my head I was still thinking, “What the freaking heck did I sign up for?”. In the KVRC group, I wasn’t the only HM virgin; there were 2 other girls and so us three plus Emma wore matching t-shirts that we printed and dissected within 4 days. Refer to the pictures below after this post. Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to enter the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry flagged off the run as planned at 5.30am. Last Sunday’s run in Singapore was extremely humid; I was so thankful that yesterday it was the complete opposite. There were subtle breezes and the air was light. As I glanced over my shoulder, I realize it was just a small group of us running the half marathon – later I found out, there were roughly 300 participants.
As we took off, I started off slow while everyone sped ahead. I mean hey, there’s 21 km ahead of me and I have no intention of speeding. I’d be happy to finish under 3 hours even if I had to walk to the finishing line. A whole bunch of people passed me, and I was beginning to get that sinking feeling like I’ll be the last ones. A few times I looked over the shoulder for the first few KMs. After the first water station at KM4, I cranked up the volume of my music and the rest was a blur. Every 20 minutes, I’d pop a GU Chomp in my mouth followed by a short walk to drink at the water stations which were every 2.5KM after the first one. I do remember having a sudden surge of energy at KM10. God knows what was that about. I remembered saying to myself, “This feels good. I can do this. 10km already down. I’m a 21km finisher once I complete this”. There were a couple of hills, yet to my surprise, I wasn’t bothered by them, I guess after Brooks 10K earlier last month and the LSDs at Bukit Tunku, I was almost comfortable with hills; Hurrah! I mean I did slow down, but I did my best to not walk which was good.
All the self-doubt ideas started coming in at KM18. From that point on to the finishing line, I just thought, I can’t go on any longer. To make matters worse, when I stopped to walk, I could feel my IT-band cramping up; and that’s a first! So those last 3km or so I run-walk as best as I could. I just wanted to get it over and done with. As I approached the finishing line, a buddy came up beside me and ran the last few meters with me. He gave a couple words of encouragement and told me to finish strong. Gave myself one final push to sprint a couple of meters to the finishing line with my arms raised high in victory. I almost collapse in pain, but I was ushered to collect my finisher items; a bag, pendant, two bananas and water.
I did it. I finished 21.1km. I’m a half marathon finisher. I’d be emotional at that point, but I was doing my best to not get the cramps. Photo ops started immediately; I was the last of the girls to arrive. Emma did her PB in 2:05! The other two 2.22 and 2:30….. and finally me at 2:37.
Alhamdulillah. So thankful.