Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Realization of a Dream - Running My First Marathon

The Bull Runner, Dream Marathon 2011 

Marathon Morning

Relaxed, this the only emotion I was allowing myself to feel once I arrived on race day. Apart from barely having two hours of sleep, I think everything else was finely tuned at that moment. I walked around to see a lot of my other friends ready to run and support us. This is what gave me a feeling of reassurance that we are finally taking this on.

Gun Start
I remember the very fast countdown which started from 10 seconds backwards. I felt like this was happening all so fast. Then out of no where, PANG! I found myself running.

The First Loop (21kms)

I was pacing with a friend Aileen Breen (who finished 1st in the womens category and 4th overall) for the first 5kms. We were doing good time, but I chose to go ahead after that. At this point it was still so dark and it was getting really lonely. I was at the lead pack and all I could see were the dark open roads.There weren't any cheerful cheerers and too early to be passing by other runners. So it was as if there was no race happening and just me running on my own.

A few kilometers later I noticed a head lamp's light frolicking from behind me, I was then joined by Francis Facultad, it was nice to have someone with me. We had a short chat. But after a while I bid goodbye to him and went on my way.

I reached the turn around point a few minutes later which signaled the first 10kms were done. I was feeling really good and these hills didn't even feel like they existed. (but this would be a different story the second time we meet)

As I started to make my way back to the starting point I was greeted by the other marathon dreamers and were being given words of encouragement. Sorry I wasn't able to reply to all of you, I was in the "zone" lol

Up to this point, my run has been flawless, I even got a boost as I passed by these fellas who looked really familiar as they cheered for the runners. haha

I clocked in at 1:50 in doing the first full  loop of the run. 

The Second Loop (21kms)

As I started with my second loop, it hit me. This is the start of the real race. I was telling myself its all heart from here. I know that I will bonk one way or another, it will now depend on how much I want this and how much am I willing to keep pushing.

Once I arrived at 23kms I stopped for a while at a med station to ask for some of omega pain ointment to help heat my legs and relax my muscles. I was not yet cramping at this point but  prevention is better than a cure right? I again want to say sorry to the medical teams who I may have seemed like an"ass hole" to. Every time I got them to put omega pain, I was always telling them to hurry up cause I was chasing a time after all. But as I left I always told them I'm sorry for being rude. So much love and thanks!

Now remember when I said that I felt like the hills did not exist during the first loop of the run? Coming back I felt each single one of them. I felt the pain of going up, but I still strive to keep an even pace and to not walk in any of the hills. I always kept telling myself that an uphill always has a downhill and we'll make up more time when we descend.

Up until the u turn point, this mantra seemed to keep working. I was also relieved that I was feeling quite alright with only 10kms to go. But this wouldn't be a dramatic story if we didn't have an antagonist right? So let me present to you my enemy during this race, CRAMPS.

I was hit by a really bad case of cramps with 10kms to go into the race. This was the toughest thing to happen to me. It was also the first time I have ever experienced it this bad. My legs and calves were so tight they were locked in rock solid.

I told myself though, this cannot be it. I will not lose to this. So after a short stretch I tried to keep running onwards, again it kept coming back. Still, I did the same thing, stretch then slowly run again. This seemed to keep working but I was slowly losing both time and energy. Good thing at about 5kms left to go, I was greeted by a familiar face, Chang Hitalia and Craig Logan who was there to pace me and give me strength for the last few kms.

This was honestly the longest 5km of my life. It felt like it would never end. I am really thankful that they paced me, they kept giving me encouraging words and Craig's music was just so groovy!

The Finish Line

It was the most surreal experience I've ever had. Crossing that line made me really proud of myself, finishing something so tough that only 1% of the world would ever do it in their lifetime. This was my marathon finish and I loved each second of it!

Looking Back
After the race I still could not imagine what it is that we just did. It was one crazy experience that I would give anything to relieve again. The journey may have been painful but finishing it gives you all this positive energy of fulfillment and joy. 

They say runners have such a hard time explaining to non runners why they run. Well its cause, the journey is indescribable and words can not paint the feelings that come to us during the run. Its an expression of inner thoughts and emotions, and the only way you will understand it is by trying it out for yourself.

 A special thanks to the support team that helped us all through this, from the banners, the food, and the moral support. Each single deed will not be forgotten nor returned. Thank you!

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