Tuesday, June 1, 2010


In short, a marathon is a distance that demands your attention, commands your respect, and sends you whimpering and babbling to yourself at the end.

It was more than I bargained for.

Running in a race I was so severely unprepared for, physically, mentally, nutrition wise (I was a charity case from Yim and Zaki and Syah throwing me extra powergels, OSR, etc... thanks guys) could only be the scariest thing I've done in my life.

But it was also quite lovely. To be honest, I thought it was quite romantic, in a way I could not describe. Only the realization that you're 2 hours away from daybreak, in the most out of the world pain you could ever imagine - ready to cry to anyone in any second, dizzy, sad, exhausted - could make you think that despite everything sucky right that moment, it was one of the most awesome things in the world.

"One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful."
- Sigmund Freud

It was just you and your thoughts, and you have to bring them home to matter what.

To tell you the truth I wished I could say that I thought about a lot of things while doing the 42km. I've always enjoyed long distance anything because it gives me the company of my thoughts, which I almost always welcome entirely. But when the pain crept in around my feet at kilometer 12, and never let go like a French lover, my thoughts circulated around these 3:

1) Just a little bit, one foot forward, one foot forward, one foot forward.
2) 1km done, another 1km to go yeayy!!!! come on come on come on! (repeated 14 times)
3) Ya Allah sakitnyer. ohmigod. maybe I should stop. WHAT AM I TRYING TO PROVE?

I did not know why I decided to go ahead with the race. I go back and forth between reasons: a part of it is, in the words of Haza, material gains - I WANT that finisher's t-shirt, which leads to the other second part, the ego boosting 'Yo, I done a marathon - you?'. Other parts also being: I just wanted to see if I could finish this, I just wanted to know how far I could go, and also, I really thought that it's going to be a lot of fun at the same time. I remember telling myself, "You already enjoy running, plus you can always walk if you can't run. What's not to enjoy?"

So I finished it. All 42km of it, of which I spent the remaining 16km walking. Just walking. My knees have given out by that time, my feet were long gone. Did I tell you I was doing them in Vibram Five Fingers? Yes. And did I tell you that the longest run I did prior to this was 10km? (I knew I told everyone I did 13km... I lied... because to tell you the truth, I couldn't swallow 10km of 'LSD' either)

To anyone attempting a marathon, let me tell you that it is doable, provided that that cut-off time is more than 6 hours (I finished it in 6 hours 50 minutes :). I have done it in the most Commando style possible, sketchy 10ks in between, mentally surprised (found out about this Friday night). But, if I may:

1) It is totally more rewarding, and satisfying, to complete it with proper and sound training. This would be a totally sweet thing to feel when you cross the finish line, with a good time, and overwhelmed sensors. You worked hard for it, how many weeks before. You will walk on air afterwards, for maybe a few days.

2) Respect the distance. 42km is a mother with a metal whip and a ciggarette dangling at the corner of her smirk. She is relentless, continuous, daunting, and she will never let you forget that fact, even 40km into the whole thing.

3) Remember this quote, all throughout your pain and suffering, and I am sure you'd be alright:

"Mind is everything; muscles mere pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind."
-Pavo Nurmi

I would like to give my biggest and heartiest Thanks to Zaki the running librarian for keeping me company and guiding me the whole 25km of the race. I would have given up to a walk at kilometer 12 if it weren't for him. He decided we should incorporate walk breaks into our run since I was horribly in pain. I was the reason for his Personal Worst. But I have no doubt there'll be more PBs in the future for this guy. There is no other kind act that could replace a runner's selflessness in forgoing the race and helping a flailing runner. Karma points for that.

- Shoutouts to KASH and HAZA who were so inspiring that I felt like belting out "Ain't no Mountain high enoughhhhh" when I watched them crossing the line. Rais for the race kit pick-up :), Syah, Yim, Ijam, Ian, Ziff, Diket, Det (betulker semua nama ni?) for the company and the 'motivational' prep before/after the race. Also for Khairul Anuar a.k.a Metalhead for the company after until my bus arrives at 6pm, and Tey who also stays in the same hostel as I did. We were namedropping Haza like it's hot!


  1. congrats nadya!
    whatever the time is, it's an amazing feat u have achieved!

  2. My hearthiest congratulation to u! U are a brave and strong girl. If i was in your shoe, I may just throw in the towel even before going to the starting line. I suppose u will be there in SCKLM? U have done ur LSD of 42km already :)

  3. This entry should be posted into FMV's wall or something. Very nicely done.

    Well done Nadia. Congrats.
    We never doubt your ability and capability.
    And hope you didn't sustain any injury, or if any, hope you recover the soonest.

  4. Congrats on your virgin marathon, it's not easy completing a marathon, hat off to ya' nadia :-)

  5. good job nadia!
    i read that you got blisters from the vibrams but still persevere until the end!
    see you soon at other races.
    at the moment, rest that knee of yours!

  6. it's hard to explain to people when we have strong passion for these kind of sports. It may be a lil bit nutty to attempt the FM at this stage but whattheheck...you took the challenge and best of all, you're doing for the pure enjoyment of it ...... as long as we are happy, that's what matters most. Way to to FMV girl, you are one of their ambassadors now.Congrats, we are darn proud of you.

  7. congrats gurl =) u r mentally strong =) despite sakit lutut etc =)

  8. ian: you're right, which is why I totally advocate training prior to marathon. I am glad I did it, but I don't suggest people doing it this way.

    puisan, rayzeef, ziff, nik, syed: thanks a lot :)!

  9. hehe thanks fong! can't wait to see you back in the game

  10. I am so relieved so arrived back with minimum injury. It could have been others etc, but am grateful regrdless. Take care of your knees now.

    You are proof that our physical is a survivor when put into. Congratulations on your first FM!

    See you in KL?

  11. nadia, nadia, thank god, you were there that morning. otherwise, i will be crying buckets all by myself. The guys will probably stand helplessly not knowing whether to console me or leave me alone…hehehe.

    One day, I might want to walk the whole 42KM and be the last one back to finish, 9 hours, can? Wanna join me?

  12. hehe told ya you can do it. am glad we decided not to swap and you just go for it! so now, whens the next? lol

  13. Nadia, I'm sorry I cant agree with you on the PW thing. You don't slow me down, I was tired with the long wait, no proper food, feeling sleepy etc. Your company actually kept we awake, and I should thank you for that. Glad you made it anyway. I actually felt guilty when I left you at 25k. Should've stick with you till finish.

  14. I love that Pavo Nurmi quote. You were very gutsy. And to think that it was your first. I'm sure you're enjoying the high now, as The Accidental Marathon Runner!

    You could pull it through because you've been active even when you said you didn't train. It's not the same with people with zero mileage. You are right to say people shouldn't attempt it.

    Anyway, there's always time to train for another one. And yes, I agree that the reward tastes better when you've worked hard. But still, it was you who slogged through the night and you who crossed the finish line. So bask in the glory!

  15. Hey babes....at first i actually thought the guys were pulling my leg about your accidental marathon. Dunno whether to laugh or cry. If I were you, I'd just pirate the 21km je. Haha...so cowardly of me.
    Quite romantic? The race? Ye ke?
    Hope you are getting better. Wanna do SCKLM with me? Come la... But ditch the Vibram le.
    Thanx for the company and the great entertaining conversation too. Nowadays listening to Rocket Queen will put a sudden smile on my face ;)

  16. syah: thankg od aside form the swollen top foot everything is just lactic acid buildup. I'm not sure about kl!!

    kash: glad to be a part of your joyous and emotional celebration, basking in the fame of knowing an ultramarathoner ok! and yes - i would take up on that offer to walk the marathon hihi

  17. Zaki: Don't feel guilty - what you did was more than enough already and I felt guilty holding you back. Next time I would run alongside you till the end! chewaaah.

    Haza: I'm grateful for being able to finish it but at the same time wished I had enough training - don't we all. I like knowing my hard work was worth it. Next time maybe!

    ka: yeah thanks for the great conversation till the bus comes - what great issues we debated about kan? KL marathon is a possibility but I still need to train for it, no more of this bidan terjun style.

  18. Nadia! Sorry for the late comment. my stremyx is down and I'm extra busy at my new workplace.
    Enough about me.
    You did it! And a very brave feat it was.
    Now rest well for there will be many running days/races to go.

  19. training 10km je, gila babas berani badak budak ni, hahaha

    well done dear!

  20. julin: no worries! work is more important of course! hahha. thank you for the wish but really, it's more about the fact I did it than the fact I did a 42k... you get what i mean?

    Jaja: thanks! your time is up now right? where's the first race?