Friday, December 10, 2010

FM at last, and I don't mean Frequency Modulation!

5 Dec 2010 - Singapore Marathon 2010

Wow.. it has been exactly one year since I last wrote here. My last post was about my first half marathon where I challenged myself to complete a Full Marathon in 2010, and I'm glad to report that I now have a finisher tee!!!!

Not in a million years would I have ever imagined myself completing a Full Marathon (yup! FM in runner’s lingo)! I am more of a computer and movie geek rather than a sportswoman. Then one day on a crazy whim, Mag and I decided to buy our first pair of serious running shoes and join our very first mass run! We started modestly with just the 5km SHAPE Run 2007. I think it must have been the free Nike running tee again - right, Mag? Back then the goodie bag had good stuff, including 5 bottles of Vitagen!

After progressively increasing our distance - GE Women 10K, then 21K (I did 3 in all I think), a 30K NEWTON Run, even a MacRitchie trail run and then... fast forward 3 years and 3 pairs of shoes later... FINALLY the BIG Whopper -> Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2010 FULL Marathon!

Seasoned runners shared their experiences about cramped up muscles at around 30-35km, so I was really worried that it would happen to me. And being a regular morning pooper, I was also worried that I had to use the toilet in the middle of the run!

I went through all sorts of ups and downs with training - knee pains, tight muscles and just plain laziness! With the schedules I needed to keep at work, I had to force myself to leave the house (sometimes as late as 9:30pm) to run at least 12km around the river and back for a late dinner. Gotta get those legs used to the pain we're gonna put them through! I watched videos about Chi Running and practised forefoot/midfoot running. I was determined to complete in one piece, with minimal suffering! The Newton 30K was a good indication of the pain level I had to endure(OUCH)!

The days leading to the marathon had some sort of weird quietness - we were thinking about what to eat, what to wear, what to bring, when to meet, where to meet and where to park (for Mag). After the logistics were settled, it was a matter of just waiting for the day to arrive... Instead of the usual "Pain is temporary", I went local and wrote "DON'T STOP TO LIM KOPI" and pinned it on my back and sure enough, a few runners were amused by it. "Lim Kopi" means drink coffee and Singaporeans and Malaysians will get it.

Guess what? It rained the whole of Saturday too, just like it did last year!!!

So on a beautiful Sunday, the 5th of Dec 2010 at 5am, while some of my more athletic friends did their Phuket Ironman 70.3 and Ironman Western Australia Busselton, I did my first ever Full Marathon at 44 years of age, with Mag, Calvin Boo, Sandy and Fang Jie around me. My colleagues Derek Scully (first timer) and Chongwah (seasoned marathoner) were somewhere too. Donna and Derek were running 21K from Sentosa (how exciting)!

Flag off was in front of ION and we ran under the twinkling Christmas lights that lined the entire stretch of Orchard Road - quite magical. I remembered Chongwah's words to start slow if we don't want to cramp up later. The route was familiar as I ran it with Mag a couple of weeks ago (even though we got lost later. Haha..).

I can't really remember the start of the race because it was basically quite uneventful. By the time we got to East Coast Park, the pain started. I distracted myself by looking out for the fast runners on the opposite side, trying to spot Chongwah and FangJie. CCW spotted me first and FJ was not far behind!! Wow.. they're fast! This stretch reminded me of the Newton 30K - not a good memory.. Boring and neverending... I lost Mag and caught up with Sandy. We finally reached the U-turn and headed back to Fort Road. I was amused by a supporter's sign that said "GO STRANGERS, RUN!" <-- quite apt because we were truly strangers and they were cheering for us! It so happened that one of them actually snapped 2 rather nice pictures of me jogging!

People started walking and I felt like walking too. It doesn't help that it was just open space and NO SHADE at all! Headed towards the golf club & Marina Barage in the scorching sun! 9:30am and the sun was unforgiving! Harsh and hot! I had to walk at some point because it got so demoralising watching other people walking! I could feel the tiny bones on my feet and ankle aching with every pounding step... and I felt like walking... PAIN!! The sun ate into my skin...

I decided to tell myself to jog as long as there is sun - then at least it will reduce the time spent in the sun! I walked a bit when there was shade. Someone had an ice lolly - me jealous! Told Mag we should join Safra Jurong running club - haha!!

The route after Marina South was slow and torturous. We were tested by the slopes of Benjamin Sheares bridge and had to watch the finishers walk to the F1 building for their bags. It was funny to see the 10K runners walking or sitting at the side, while the marathoners were just trying to jog around the strollers. I had to keep telling myself not to stop, even if my jog was as slow as someone else's brisk walk. I felt numb and blocked out the pain and finally the last 100m approached. It was so crowded at the end that I didn't even get a good photo! But it's ok, because it felt great to cross the finish line, and even GREATER to have the Finisher Tee! Oh and the medal looks great too!

Official chip time: 5hr 26mins 10secs

P.S. I made Mag sign up for Sundown Marathon 2011 even before we completed the above! The carrot was the ADIDAS Finisher Tee!! HAHAHA!!!

No comments: