My first marathon

“So what is a 42km stretch like again?”

On the eve of Standard Chartered Kl Marathon 2012, my sister made sure that everything was ready from pinning my bip, checking my shoes, explaining the dos and don’ts to even packing my fanny pack!

Well of course I didn’t want to commit a fashion crime so I carried a backpack instead. The motivation was not just about completing the distance but to also do it in style. Right.

My sister’s eagerness was on getting the finisher medal and t-shirt. Talk about being kiasu but it is important to set a goal before you commit to anything. Of course my goal was to avoid being a liability and have her ‘baby-run’ me throughout the marathon. The next 12 hours of preparation was then crucial .

Carb loading would have been the highlight of our night but I still went for the sexy 300gm rib eye steak. It was primal nature 101. Meat unlocks the beast in you. Roarrrr…The family dinner however took my mind on a back seat contemplating on news headlines that would read, “Virgin marathoner takes a blow to heart”, “Death by 42km” or even “Boy runs to heaven”.

This is when your mind starts to play up on worst-case scenarios yet I knew I needed to stay focus. It was time to simulate the run.

At 4.30am, my body was about to discover the boundaries of metabolic conditioning and mental strength. The adrenaline rush was frightening, as I had to prevent any sudden acceleration that could cost a premature exit. My hips and core were working together motioning the road to show who was in charge. Me. Not the excitement.

The end goal was tempting and orgasmic. To be able to complete a full marathon and be the privileged top 1 per cent of world’s population was easy to make you lose control of your body and focus.

Every kilometer was a milestone success. I rewarded myself with energy chomps and sips of water and allow myself to check on my phone every 3km. The system helped me pace myself with absolute discipline.

Breathing was also crucial. By observing the pattern of inhaling on left foot and maintaining exhalation on right foot only, my heart felt fine even after completing 21km at 3hrs at 10mins. I assured myself that this is doable!

This is when I began to increase my speed gradually.

Thereon every kilometer felt longer. It was a complete opposite to what I had experienced earlier. At 28km I started to slow down and take short rests. The previous surge of energy and conviction simply vanished.

My legs were losing it, and my sister and her friends had caught up after leaving them earlier. The situation became clearer. It was more dangerous to stay on the road amidst traffic and obnoxious motorists throwing insults. I know this, I’ve been through this, realising that I was experiencing a mental break down.

I decided to throw in the towel after running 35km. It was frustrating, humiliating and dehydrating.

The marathon had left me fragile. Be it my immune system being weakened, legs beaten, skin burnt, but it was my dampened spirit which needed to recover most.

My first marathon may have not be a success. I learned to manage my expectations better. One thing for sure is that this will not be my last full marathon, and who knows next will be the Ironman Challenge too.

At #trainwithaidi you only have yourself to beat.

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