Thursday, July 26, 2007

Maiden Marathon

“The hardest physical thing I’ve ever done” … Lance Armstrong (7th time Tour de France Champion) after conquering his first Marathon at the NYC Marathon 2006.

In The Beginning
It has been one year since I started running here in Kuala Lumpur. I still remember how it started from a little hobby and now a sport, way back in 2003 in the Philippines. At the time, my running mate was Wax who is twice as big as I am. We would jog around Quirino Grandstand for two laps (around 400m.). Exhausted, he would feel the urge to eat and being a true friend that I am, I would tag along to his favorite Tapsilog place. How ironic that after burning a couple of calories from jogging, we would eat right after with possibly even more calories to burn than what we lost. From there, the rest is history.

The Start
“Ito na”(Translated: This is it) these are the words I uttered on the start of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2006 last December. It was still dark, around 5am and slightly cold. I prepared myself, warm up and prayed that my 3 months of training for this event pays off else I will go home? As the clock nears for the flag off I can see people begin to pile up until already a sea of runners. Around 30,000 attended this event from different categories. Our starting point was beside the huge Durian shaped Esplanade. We were the first to run for the Full Marathon Category. I felt a little dizzy from a couple of drinks I had with friends on the eve of the race. I positioned myself at the 5hr mark (those were for the first timers like me finishing for 5 hrs). It’s my 1st time to join a marathon. They say the goal for first timers is to just finish the race. But I have my mind set to finish it by 5:30, 30mins ahead of the qualifying time which is 6hr. A couple of minutes more will be flagged off, the host were prepping us up with the loud U2’s “Beautiful Day” for a background. The Intro lyrics were enough to give me an unexplained adrenalin rush and goose bumps. I was thinking that this was one of the best songs for this kind of event. And before I knew it …5…4…3…2…off we go.

The Beauty of Letting Go
On the road, I run comfortably from 5 to 15KM, just enjoying the scenic view of Singapore. While we’re approaching the U turn in Marina grove, I heard the crowd ahead cheering & shouting as I looked on the Elite Runners leading the pack and already coming back from the opposite direction. They were All Black african Kenyans escorted by the marshals, those runners whose average speed is about 20Km/hr is a spectacular view to have witnessed.

Through Difficulty
I reached East Coast around 23Km. I was already limping from the lactic acid build-up in my legs. I mixed stretching, walking, and running as I was enduring physical and mental pain. I hit the so called “Wall” at 30 Km…another step and I will break my longest run. I snatched a bite of power bar only to throw it up afterwards. Thank God I was already nearing the drinking & energy station. They handed me a power gel instant energy boost to run the final 12K of the race. People in the park who cheered on us and the motivational sign boards helped me to carry on.

As I was nearing Promenade the 40Km mark, I send an SMS to my wife & kids to motivate and keep me going. This time the pain in my legs has doubled. I began to hallucinate like the “beginning of life” and all sort of things. This usually happens at the last 10k of the race.

I got my second wind past the 41Km mark to the cheers of waiting crowd, some even gave high fives. As I turned from Connaught Drive, I gave all what I have left until I crossed the finish line raising my arms in the air. But the worst has yet to come, cramps sets in my butt and I can barely put a foot forward. The medic officials carried me in a wheelchair. I was told that I suffered from a partial dehydration due to loss of sodium (salt in the body). I laid in the stretcher for about 20mins and took a 100 plus to replenish the salt in my body.

For the meantime, I grabbed my camera to have a souvenir shot. To my frustration the camera didn’t work and I have not a single picture to document this entire ordeal. Not even a picture of me lying in that stretcher =).

Thanks to who captured me in a wonderful shot right in the center. (see picture below)

I finished with a time of 5hr & 19mins. Not bad for 1st timer like me. The next SG Marathon will be held on Dec. 2, 2007. This will be my 4th marathon since I start the sport.

The Look of Determination

That’s me Entrant # 7876 for Full Marathon. (Sprinting the last 600 meters to the finish line 42.195).

My event souvenirs hanging in my desk, to remind me of the wonderful experience I had in Singapore.

The Route

Training & Motivation
It took me 3 to 4 months of preparation to build my base for running. During those months I have joined several race, 2nd 10K (Mizuno wave run), 1st ½ Marathon (Putra Jaya Int’l Marathon) and 1st 30K (Pacesetters practice run). I also had my running logs which I got from What motivated was an article about Lance Armstrong’s 1st marathon as well as the quote written on my 12K Cross Country Finisher’s Medal.

The endurance, strength and courage required of this sport had made me a better person. The feeling of achievement, of what could be a minor feat for some, is unexplainable. Now every time I run, I’ll always remember with fondness the struggle to go and break the human barrier. To have finished a marathon, I can proudly say that I am a certified Marathoner.

1 comment:

  1. My son I can not say a word ,but keep up the good run.Congratulation.