This is a long overdue post.
I RAN 42.195km!! Can you believe it? I couldn't believe myself either.
When I registered myself for the category, I did question myself. Can I run 42.195km? Finishing 21km pun dah macam separuh mati. The thought of running the 42.195km is really horrifying but I always have this kind of ego and tell myself, if other people can do it, why can't I? My sister can do it. So of course I can. I also think the ultimate achievement of a runner is running and completing the full marathon.
I actually registered myself for two full marathons before this but I chickened out and never turned up for the event. hahaha.. OK I lied. The first event I registered was PBIM '10 but nearing the date, I decided to travel to Turkey with my eldest sister. I've never been to Turkey so better go to Turkey than Penang right? Then the second one was Sundown Marathon '11. This time around, I burnt my trip to Singapore cos my youngest sister was getting married. So, this is the third time lucky for me.
I was actually nervous taking the flight to Penang. As soon as I reached Penang International Airport, I headed to the race site to collect the race kit. My sister and her friends were on the way as they chose to drive. While waiting for them, I stuffed myself at Pizza Hut trying to carboload and drank loads of ORS.
bought supplies of Power Bar for the run
After a while, my sister arrived and we met at the race site again to camwhore. hahaha...
What's a trip to Penang if you don't go to a Nasi Kandar restaurant?
So yeah.. I had another carboload session. :D
Done with the makan-makan session, we headed to our rented condo and rest ourselves. I was actually feeling unwell. My red flag has arrived!! It was supposed to come later but it chosed to greet me on the day I was gonna run my maiden full marathon. Urghhh!!! I felt the period pain coming.. Dieeee la how to run like this?!
My sister was worried about me so she asked whether I still wanted to run the marathon. I told her I didn't know. It was around 6pm and time for us to sleep as our category would start at 2am.
In the end, I swallowed a painkiller, set my alarm clock at 1am and went to bed hoping the pain would subside by the time I woke up later.
So we woke up around 1am and got ready. Thank God the period pain has gone but it was still uncomfortable. We made our way to Queensbay Mall, the starting line of the run at around 1.30am. Our rented condo was located just around 10 minutes walk from the race site so we just walked to the venue to warm up our bodies.
Luckily woman and men category started at the same time. The participants in both categories were not as many as half marathon or the 10km run so I thought it was a wise move to start everyone together.
Having completed numerous half marathons, I was so excited to finally run my first full marathon but I was nervous at the same time cos I didn't prepare enough prior to the run. I didn't have any LSD. My only training was running on the treadmill on weekends. If you count that as training la.
So we started the run at 2am while other people were sleeping soundly on their comfortable bed. I was trailing the 6-hour pacers but man, they were fast. Within a few kms into the run, I lost them already! Oh well.. I am a slow runner anyway.
We ran to the industrial zone and back again to Queenbay area. I could hear the voices of the MCs and people cheering. I guessed the half marathon was gonna start anytime soon so I doubled my speed. Not gonna get crammed by them.
I passed by the 8km mark and the bridge was in front of me. I looked at my watch. One hour had passed. I continued running and almost halfway through the bridge, the halfies already caught up with the full marathoners. The bridge was then full of runners and I had to zig zag my way.
Just as I reached the centre of the bridge, the thing I dreaded most happened. I felt the leg cramp coming! And it was only like 18km through the run. Shit me. How the hell was I going to finish another 24km with this condition? I religiously drank the ORS to avoid the cramp as advised by many people but too bad, it's still coming. Not sure whether it was partly because of the menstruation or the painkiller I took. I stopped for a while to ease the pain and pray that it would go away. I thought God heard my prayer as suddenly a guy stopped beside me and asked whether I was OK. He handed me his Salonpas spray, asked me to keep it and continued running. I was awestruck by his kindness I almost cried. Was he an angel?
Then came another blow, as I reached the water station nearby the toll plaza, the volunteers told me and other runners that they have no more supplies of water. WTF man!! What with my on and off leg cramp, now they tell me they've run out of water? My spirit really went down the drain at that time but giving up was not really an option. So yeah.. just continue running-jogging-walking though I felt like dying already. Luckily they had water at the next hydration station if not I would kill them organizers!
the lonely run
I struggled until I exited the Penang Bridge. To my horror, the km marker only showed 28. Whatt?!? I thought the bridge's length was 13.5km so to and fro run would cover at least 25km. OK my mistake I didn't study the route map. 14km to go. T_T
We were running on the Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu highway towards Georgetown and man, I thought that was the longest run ever. Everything seemed very far away. At km33 or something I saw my sister at the other side of the road, she waved at me and said the turning point was not that far in front. I looked at my watch, it was somewhere around 5 hours. My sister usually would finish her full marathon under 6 hours so I was a little bit blank upon seeing her.
Then I saw the U-turn! Finally!! Heading back to Queensbay, this part of the run really tested one's patience and mental strength. The pain, severe fatigue...and the sun had started to shine oh so brightly. Matilah sunburn. Sempat lagi vain thoughts. muahahaha...
My leg cramp became worst by the time I reached 38km mark. I couldn't run anymore. Everytime I started running it would come so I had no choice but walked the last 4km of the route. I caught up with one of my sister's friends and she was having the leg cramp too so we walked the remaining kms together. Reaching the final 2km was a real patience test. Thousands of fun runners were blocking the route, walking lenggang kangkung in groups. Gahhhh!!! Sabar sabar...
I powerwalked past them and as I reached that roundabout nearby Eastin Hotel, I couldn't contain my excitement anymore. I saw a few familiar faces and they were all giving encouraging words for me to push to that last stretch of the run. Seeing the FINISH arch in front of me, I forgot all my pain and started running towards the finishing line. My sister and her friends were all waiting for us there with the camera. hahaha...
Crossing the finishing line, the feeling was surreal. Did I just complete a whole 42.195km? Oh yes I DID!
My timing sucks though. I finished the run out of the 7 hours qualifying time but I told all my friends, screw the time, what matters was that I am now officially a FULL MARATHON runner.
For someone who never trains regularly, that was quite an achievement. Here's to many more 42.195km medal and finisher tee! :D
OK.. I promise I will train more after this.