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."
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!