Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Marathon Story - road to my first 42km

First of all whats this thing with runners and marathons? why so much hoo-ha over that random 42km distance? and in this day & age of ultra modern conveniences, of fast cars and even faster super cars, why the hell would anyone even consider running that distance?

The marathon dates back to ancient greece where Pheidippedes the soldier gave his life to fulfill his duties, and that spirit of heroic running has been kept alive thru the modern olympic games.  bcos it is also an acknowledgement as well as a celebration of the courage & tenacity of the human spirit, to this very day runners everywhere scheme and dream about running that marathon distance.

Me included lol.

Yup, forget about age, level of fitness, appropriateness or whatever.  its just one of those things that needs to be experienced.

I love keeping active and with the kids all grown up, i have the leeway to experiment with a lot of other things apart from running but truth be told, it still holds a special place in my heart.  being the wuss that i am, i have shied away from anything that spells 'unnecessary pain' so i have seldom strayed from my comfort zone or pushed myself beyond my limits.  thus my slow and boring progress lol.  after years of running, i only started doing half marathons in 2011 and although i've always toyed with the idea of doing a full and not to mention the endless stream of encouragement from my running buddies, i've always managed to come up with some pretty legitimate excuses hehehehe.

Until i declared 2013 to be the year of the marathon.  until a friend made it quite impossible for me to chicken out.  until i finally said to myself, enough is enough, this is it.

Malaysia Woman Marathon actually came right out of the blue for me.  i was planning to lose my 'marathon virginity' at SCKLM 2013, which was way out in june and which gave me plenty of time to fool around with lol.  or so i thought.  but God presented me with another option just too good to be ignored.  not only was MWM an inaugral all women run, it was also to be held in shah alam, the place i loved most on this planet.  For a person who grew up without any roots and who has claimed shah alam as her home, running my maiden FM here would mean all that much more to me.

MWM launching & press conference 
I-City, Shah Alam
February 2013

Karen Loh, the heart & soul of MWM 2013

The lovely ladies making up the MWM Team

Press Conference

Ultra ray - he 'sealed' my fate by announcing my participation in the FM

My soon to be partners in crime

So i had to reset my mind and focus on a solid training plan.  instead of 6 months i am now left with 4 but it was still a workable time frame.  i didnt realise i would be going through a couple of major setbacks.

First was an unexpected attack of shingles.  it was bad enough to bring about a change of heart and at one point i had even decided i was just going to do a half marathon during MWM (read about it here & here). second, a challenging period of hormonal instability brought about by my perimenopausal state.  and put together, both collided to turn my world completely upside down.

I guess the realisation that i wouldnt be getting any younger and the high possibility of things going further downhill was what spurred me on.  regardless of whether it would be enough or not, i tried my best to put in whatever training i could muster and during those sparodic days when the grips of fatigue & lethargy left me, i utilised to the fullest.

I closed my ears to that voice in my head when the longest lsd that i could put in was only 25km and even then, only once.

Although it still bothered me, i went ahead with the rest of the pre-race preparation.  topping up on the fluid intake, the oralites, the carbs but truth be told, i was more prepared for my half marathon in 2011 than my full (read about it here & here).

Of course friends and family was supportive and it would have meant the world to me to have golfman around but sadly, he had a prior appointment he couldnt get out off.  golfman will be golfman, enough said.

So to make up for his absence, right after my carbo-loading session eve of the race (by then my appetite had deserted me and i couldnt really eat much), i dragged him along to check out the 42km route.  of course there were no surprises for me.  the route was made up of smaller portions i had covered in my years of solitary & group runs, rolling hills included lol.  but never before have i attempted ALL of them together at one go.

Shah Alam has a lot of roundabouts and at certain points, the route looked quite complicated due to the loops & turns.  i certainly didnt want to get lost in my own backyard but in the wee hours of the morning anything was possible lol.  in fact golfman & i miscalculated the route that nite, we were actually short of about 7km and it was that missing portion which became quite a mental challenge to me during the race.

As is the case with any event, be it a 5k, 8k, 10k or half mara,  sleep was an impossibility but this time, even more so bcos not only was i looking forward to doing a full marathon, i was also dreading it with all my heart.  so i busied myself with the final preparations - clothes, shoes, socks, bars, gels, ipod, waterbottle, small change etc.  and as my mind meandered aimlessly, it was already time to put on the battle gear.  God, never had i put on sooo much vaseline on myself before lol.... but i was thinking better this goey mess than the dreaded chaffing & blisters.  i then realised i hadnt bought anything specific in respect to the marathon that i was attempting. i had actually forgotten all about the existence of the special socks i had read about before, or consider the possible need for compression tights, ankle/knee guards, kinestic tapes etc etc.  i was good for a normal run but definately NOT a marathon.

But it was a tad too late to start thinking about all that and hadnt i already decided that it was going to be a 'lenggang kengkang' marathon (albeit a sadistic twist to the usual 'lenggang kangkung' version lol) for me?

I had been in an anxious state all week so i didnt make any plans to meet up with anyone.  whatever happens will happen anyway so i was on my own when groggy golfman dropped me off at the gates of i-city, 3.15am that fateful sunday morning, 7 April 2013.

Yup, this was it... D-day lol.

Coming up (soon i hope hehehe) The Marathon Story - race day ;-))


lina said...

Congrats Kak Tiff! You're awesome!

I love running in Shah Alam. I love Shah Alam people. More so because my late grandparents used to live in Seksyen 11 and I visited and stayed with them during all my school holidays.

Shah Alam rocks! :)

Amilita Zaini said...

Saw your blog on Ray's. Congrats Kak Tiff! Lina & I ran our first 42km too. What a journey it was, dari mula training sampai cross finish line, kan?
So your next 42km is SCKLM..? Continue training? :)


Justiffa said...

Lina, u did good urself girl...and seems that we now hv more in common, love of shah alam hehehehe.

Congrats on a job well done lina the marathoner ;D

Justiffa said...

Hi Amilita, welcome welcome :)

Congrats to u also, masa abis tu mmg rasa serik but i guess i'll be doing scklm as originally planned. sayang plak nak lepaskan but, i do believe i'll be running shorter distances after this...i want to spend time experimenting with cycling and maybe try malakoffs run bike run.

Lets keep happy & healthy shall we ;))

Julin Julai said...

Congrats Kak Tiffa! Certified marathoner :)
And to think you'll be doing another one in 2 months..gasp!

RaYzeef said...

Congrats Kak Tiff, proud of you. I know it's not an easy feat, but you conquered it :)

Did i hear someone said Malakoff as in POwerman? no need for me to announce this time ok, see you at Powerman start line :))

Anonymous said...

Salam auntie

Terbaik ;)

Justiffa said...

Doc JJ... another in 2 months *double gasp*

Hehehe, ntah la doc, its different i guess if the aim is just to finish, no pressure... and i'm thinking if i'm to run another marathon i'll be using the same strategy, tanak siksa diri tua ni :))

Justiffa said...

Ray mr super duper ultra, bila nak publish buku nih (mcm si rich tu), akak mesti beli, pastu nk signed copy tau ;))

Again, thx for everything <3

Justiffa said...

Running doc, bila la nak lari sama2 ni ;p