My second half-marathon preparation was - from the start - messy with many unplanned details. I was late to book for the bus, I accidentally double booked the hostel, this and that. Since my bestfriend had accompanied me for the Great Eastern and my sister for the PBIM, my boyfriend decided to become my supporter. Friday night, he told me that we might have to change the time on our bus tickets since he had an important football selection on Sunday evening.
So early in the morning we were at first coach bandar utama asking if it was possible for us to change our tickets back from 5pm to 10am. they said no. Not wanting to give up, I called the singapore;s first coach whose response was, "sure!" But we decided to change the time to 1045am in case I did not manage to finish within 3 hours.
The ride to Singapore was uneventful. I watched one of my favorite movies, armageddon, and cried buckets much to my boyfriend's dismay. He later told me that the whole bus heard me sobbing. I could not help it, the touching father-daughter scenes at the end will always make me cry, no matter how macho I believe myself to be. and it's Bruce Willis!
When we arrived (at 3pm) we went straight to the expo to get my race kit. as I walked towards it I was surprised to see that the Penguin Book sale was just beside! It was all I could do to stop myself from entering. I am currently financially unstable ever since I signed the SNP of my first property ever (my first thought upon signing: rasa macam adult!) and adding to the fact that I (might) be going to L.A in January I am not even in the state to buy a pencil.
We checked in at our hostel, a comfy, laid-back building in the little india area. The 6 bed mixed dorms were the only ones available when I booked but only 4 people including us was in the room. As usual i opted for the bunk below hahaha.
Fast forward to the race day. No one in the hostel were participating in the race so we were the only ones who got out at about 550 am (I thought subuh was at 545) We walked to little india MRT but it was closed. I was taken aback and stunned. This was poor planning on my part as I had stupidly expected that it would be opened. We had only $4 with us and I left my atm card at home - we did not have enough for a taxi fare. and I have no map that could lead us to City hall. We alked blindly for a few minutes asking random sleepy people until we bumped into another malaysian runner Jeff, who was on the way to do his 10k. By that time (610 am), Bugis mrt was open.
At the starting line not only was I sweaty (from panicking and walking fast) but i realized that I am way unprepared. I was holding two water bottles: one filled with OSR and one just water. I did this with PBIM and had no problem running holding two bottles, in fact, my running was better because I had something to hold on to. But this time around I was also carrying my two ointments - a counterpain and some analgesic ointment prescribed by my doctor for my knees. I had wanted to buy an SPI belt but did not get the chance to the night before as we were lost in the city after having dinner. so in desperation I did the unthinkable - stuffed them in my sports bra with a quick prayer to god that they won't chafe me until I bleed to death.
I started the race ok, running at my usual relaxed 7mins/km pace. I sipped the OSR, looked at other runners, enjoyed the view.
And then my feet hurt.
Im sure all of you have experienced plantar fasciitis. Mine is highly serious due to bad recovery (or none at all!) and it hurt like you have no idea. Mostly I have problems with my arches and not the heel itself. Still, it's a bad bad bad bad thing to have when you need to use your feet to run another 16 km. And then, came the second bad thing: I started to worry about the race.
I hate it when it happens to me. The moment my mind goes, "Damn... this is tiring," the feeling will NEVER stop. It will not stop until I finish the race. The were races where I felt this: Siemens, Great Eastern 10k, and races where I felt wonderful: Mizuno, PBIM. This time, I felt the BIG BAD tiring feeling. And guess what? It continued all the way until the end. I tried tot hink about something else: my new shoes, ..... but nothing came to mind except, "When is this going to end this HURTS!!"
At 10km mark I felt mentally drained. My knees started to hurt so bad that I was forced to slow down and walk. I repeated this cycle - walk, run, walk - for a good 5 km. I started to feel insanely hungry. And because I've been bracing my whole body from the knee pain, i.e, trying not to put pressure on the left leg I've accidentally tightened up my entire body which resulted in cramps in my stomach even though I've been steadily drinking the OSR. I can't remember how many times I stopped to re-apply the counter pain to noth myknees and my arches. and I've never been so relieved to see the km markers on the way. One km was a horrible distance to cover when your feet's on fire!
At 15km I looked at my watch and it was 1 hour and 59 minutes. That means I could cover the remaining 6km in about 30 minutes or so, allowing me to finish it in 2hrs 30 mins (my target time, walaupun tak practice langsung boleh lagi nak berangan...) YEAH RIGHT. My feet were screaming bloody murder and I was forced to walk until I reached 18km - slow painful steps. By that time I've passed my 2hrs 50 minutes time from PBIM and I could not care less. I just wanted to finish it! My wristwatch came off and luckily someone tapped me on the shoulder and I had to reverse a couple of steps to retrieve it.
At the last 1km, knowing my boyfriend would be at the sideline waiting, I forced myself to run (hahaha ego gila!), thinking that I'll never hear the end of it if he saw me walking to the finish line. I guess it was adrenaline and knowing that my pain would soon be over, but i didn't even remember feeling the pain in both my feet and knees. I was busy trying to look like I'm some sort of a pro-runner carrying two water bottles, for the benefit of my boyfriend who had the camera. But I was soon humbled as I crossed the finish line with the time ticking above to
3:00:50 (official time, 2:58 was based on my wristwatch).
My favorite quotes (that I can remember):
1) Quitters never run, Runners NEVER quit.
2) I like men chasing me.
3) For Grandpa :) (I just think there is a story behind this. I always have a soft spot for male role models)
4) Breakfast after the run! YUM.
and my personal favorite:
"Nothing is Impossible. The Impossible JUST takes longer..." The lady wearing it was a slightly chubby girl with a determined look on her face, slowly running. It literally made me go Wow when I read it. It's true. Whatever you think is impossible - it just takes a little longer. you only have to go through with it, grit your teeth, and finish. Throughout the race, whenever I felt sucky about finishing with a bad time, I thought of that lady runner whom I left behind 10km back, who probably would finish late but I bet she would be super proud of herself. Because I am too. I hoped she had a really good race because her quote really helped me.