So before i completely forget all the details (sadly there are blanks already huhu) heres sharing my first half marathon experience. but a word of caution though, this report is based mostly on my feelings rather than technical info which till now, i barely understand nor quite make much sense of lol.
A race actually starts way before the flag off, even before the race day itself and for me, 3 days earlier. why the non runner might ask? bcos the body needs to be prepped for the beating it was going to be put through, especially a well-used (luckily-not-abused) old body like mine lol. once you make the decision to run a race you have to accept the responsibility of minimising the damage... otherwise be ready to suffer the consequences.
So there i was hydrating myself with fluids and downing the necessary ORS till i got pretty pissed off with having to piss so often hahaha. and 3 days of such an activity seem like a looong time until i remind myself suffering cramps on race day would be even worse! oh and then there was also carbo-loading time. i tell ya, having to eat bcos u hafta kinda takes away the joy from eating. but i slogged on regardless.. bcos truth be told, i was pretty damn scared of running that first 21km.
Yes i've been putting in the miles and i've been consistent in pounding that tarmac but, my limit was plus minus 15km. and during all this time, my weekly lsd has been, eerrrr dont laugh now, 8km which was 2 laps round the tasik. only this year have i upgraded myself to doing 3 laps, which equals 12km. so i'm sure you can understand my concern and in as much as i respect the distance, i also need to respect the age. i'm no spring chicken y'all lol.
I made sure i had a good nites sleep 2 days before the race bcos i knew for a fact i'd be a restless, hyper mess eve of it. but would you believe i dozed off around 3am and didnt wake up until 5.15am bcos my alarm didnt go off as it should, which was an hour earlier!!! hah, turns out i didnt turn it on properly, careless me. we had to rush and i was so thankful that golfman, the dear dear man, had actually agreed to be with me. for the first time ever, he'd be there from start to finish. yeah it was a day of firsts lol.
Surprisingly the road to stadium PJ wasnt all that jammed and he dropped me off with plenty of time to spare. there was a sea of runners everywhere i turned but i couldnt recognise a single familiar face, and feeling panicky bcos my D-tag was still inside its plastic and i sure as hell didnt know how to put it on (by this time the explanation didnt make any sense at all lol). the moment my eyes hit a friendly face, i quickly approached the guy (who was innocently doing his stretches by the way) to help me out. mr. kar tat, thank you for being such a gentleman.
Thank god by gun time i was already with friends, my anr kids jey & zyra and my buddy azza. yup, i was ready, as ready as i ever will be lol. and with the shot ringing clearly in the morning air, we were off.
Just before starting, i had downed one packet of power gel, strawberry/banana flavour 1x caffein strength and although my comrade-in-arms, juney the anakmami, had earlier reminded me (again & again - thx babe) to set my watch i still forgot to and only remembered about 10mins into the run. so there goes the actual timing hua2 but 10 was an easy enough figure to add on so i wasnt too worried lol. anyway i was also using the allocated water & sponge stations to gauge my run.
It was an interesting feeling to be running along the federal highway. we were deviated to the motorcyclist lane and there was this underground tunnel that was rather dark, i feared tripping over stones & potholes bcos of my weak ankles. my knees have not let me down yet but my ankles, thats another story. the first 15mins is always the toughest for me bcos thats the time i take to warm up but by then i was starting to feel pretty good about everything. it was a beautiful sunday morning and there i was sharing it with others of the same passion.
I gave the first water station @ km 4 a skip. they were serving 100plus and it was only about 30mins into the run.. i didnt need water bouncing about in my tummy as yet. at some point we had to merge into the highway itself and once we hit the flyover, some runners were beginning to slow down. thankfully, my coach taught me not to fear hills and my hillwork certainly paid off. at this point i kept reminding myself not to push it bcos this was going to be a much longer run than usual. i had to pace myself.
I looked forward to the 2nd water station @ km 8 and thankfully they had mineral water. i didnt quite need the 100plus bcos i was planning on taking more power gels. after the 1st hour, i downed my second, this time tangerine, 2x caffein strength. once we hit the old subang airport road (dunno what they call it now), i was just cruising along, sometimes passing other runners while other runners passed me lol. i saw friends along the way.. there was aini, ruby, lily & others and seeing their familiar faces somehow made the run more real & meaningful.
The sponge stations were a godsend bcos by then the day was heating up. the sun was shining oh so brightly and it was also sapping away at my strength. nothing hits me worse than heat and we sure had a whole lot of that during the pj half mara. i dont drink all that much when i'm running but this time i made it a point to stop at each water station even if for a sip or two.
By the time we were nearing the u-turn, i was seeing a lot of other runners on the other side and catching sight of jey bounding away like a wildhorse really gave me a boost.. my feet felt that much lighter lol. he later told me he actually went thru bouts of walking bcos of cramps but thankfully i didnt catch him that way lol. it would've somehow brought me down bcos jey was a strong runner and i looked up to him for inspiration. i was also focussing a lot on what my body was telling me since i didnt know how it would take on the extra pounding but so far so good, the knees were holding up and the muscles were fine.
Sometime after making the u-turn i caught sight of jaja, a friend who was also doing her first half and we had our little game of 'potong memotong' until she went along her way and left me with a rather beautiful view of her, eerrr, derriere (jangan marah ja) lol. oh and another friend azza, who was on turbo boost that day, zoomed merrily along passing us never to be seen again, until after the race (way to go babe).
The sun was merciless. when we hit the last flyover i was dragging my feet, my energy draining away slowly but surely. earlier, i wasnt sure about a third gel but i'm thankful i brought a spare anyway and downed it without hesitation, still another tangerine. i'm thinking that its probably what gave me the strength to finish the run strong.
When we turned the corner and hit the last stretch, i was feeling much better and when the stadium started coming into view my feet was beginning to have a life of its own lol. surprisingly i picked up the pace and the fatigue was just a memory. catching sight of golfman when i neared the stadium made my day and the shout out by ray added to the boost.
Once inside the stadium, i felt like i was tearing down the track but of course i'm just a macik struggling to finish the race lol. by then my running family was there to run along with me and it was a wonderful feeling indeed, thanks guys for being there and being part of it.
Timing - 2:20:00.54 chip time, 2:20:38.40 guntime.
And that was my first half marathon. i feel that it was a race well run bcos i felt strong at the finish and i didnt suffer any pain or injury, no cramps, not even chaffing or blistering and just muscle ache & soreness post run. of course there is much room for improvement but thankfully it was a race i enjoyed.
Now on to the next half lol ;)