Tuesday, April 01, 2008

the great forty two.

when i came home at 11.30 pm from work, i sat down by my bedside and started counting with my fingers.

"4.30 am race start. means must reach before 3.45 am. means must leave here by 3 am if want to find parking. means must wake up by 2.30 am. means...shit...don't need to sleep di la!!"

anyway, even if i had the luxury of hitting the sack at 9 or 10, i wouldn't have been able to sleep. my heart was pounding. who the hell runs 42 kms with merely a 24 km mileage a week? that also, not every week i hit that. i think i only managed that 2 weeks. the weeks before that i did like 16 km only. i've got to be the biggest joke alive where marathon running is concerned.

the alarm rang too soon. i didn't sleep a wink. slightly agitated and nervous i scrambled downstairs, packed some gels (5 to be exact), drank some Powerbar Endurance and off we went, Sam, Isaiah and myself.

Found a parking spot right behind Dataran. At the starting i was jumping up and down, trying to shirk the nerves from me. Saw Eugene, then Stupe, then Uncle Choi and Jamie and a few other people, all of which kinda gave me a look when i told them my target was 4 hours and 30 minutes. A look which was a little sympathetic, like a "Oh boy she has no idea", kinda look. But i was stubborn and extremely naive and was quite determined to prove all of them wrong.

Race started and i ran alongside Sam and Isaiah. Both of them started sticking ipod earphones into their ears soon enough. i ought to get me one of those. :) But the boys were nice, and being the gentlemen they are, they talked to me and stayed by my side most of the time.

To be honest, I did not run at a pace whereby i was holding back. I felt like i was running at normal pace, which got me a bit worried because i knew if i kept that up, i'd burn out soon. Then i reached the first 10 km chip sensor and the time showed 1:13. that's when i started to worry...

i was running at a pace which i thought was normal, but my watch was telling me that i'm doing a 7+minute/km pace. i refused to believe that, even though i knew it was true. i wished at the back of my head that they had marked it wrongly, but i knew that an organizer of 17 years wouldn't have done that.

anyway, accepting the fact that i'd have to now lower my expectations and accept a 4:55 target, i was determined to keep at that pace for as long as i can.

the rest of the race, was pretty much normal. the boys kinda took turns to accompany me, very sweet of both of them. i know they would've sped off in a split second if they wanted to, but they didn't. i ate a gel before race started, and one at every 10 km. at 25 km, i clocked 2:59. that was the only time split i remember.

when i reached 30 km, my baby toes on both feet were numb. and i could feel the burning sensation on both my feet soles. my knees felt a sharp pain with every step. at some point along BB, i accidentally kicked a cone on the road and the pain literally radiated from my toes up to my knees. at this point i was already not running straight.

then there was that humongous u-turn which made my heart sink to the pits of my stomach when it came to view. i saw people running on the other side bearing marathon tags, but i could not see the u-turn up ahead. i hate u-turns. it came to a point where i heard my thoughts go "if i don't see that u-turn soon, i'm gonna bawl my eyes out". and then i saw it. thank god.

Along this u-turn i saw Abu and Adrian. Both lifted my spirits up a bit, because the slightest agitation would make me stop at this point.

Amazingly, i managed to increase my speed a little towards the end because if i had stuck to that pace, i would've come in later than 4:55. But i reached the finishing at 4:52.

I had a painful shower thereafter because i obtained some minor abrasions on my hip, probably due to the race belt i wore to pin my gels. i slept for an hour, ate a hearty lunch, and went to work. my colleagues thought 4:52 was kinda slow. i had every nerve to tell them "You go run a marathon, then come and talk to me", but i was too exhausted. i chose, instead, to laugh along.

Sub 5 hours for a marathon virgin is apparently good, so the wise and experienced speaketh. therefore, i must admit, it was quite a feat to have done it without much training. i guess running is one of the very few things whereby my mental strength is actually something to shout about. that is, of course, what i'd like to believe, but most people who know me would say that i have a male's ego the size of Mars. whatever it is, it made me complete that race. and, as Rahul pointed out, I'm the 10th Malaysian woman in my category. That technically makes me the 10th fastest female marathoner aged 18-35 in the country. sounds pretty cool when u look at it that way huh? :)

Am proud, really i am. Feels good to be able to tell people "Yeah i do marathons" and not having to explain that i actually do the side events and not the real event. :)

on other news, i've just quit my job...yea, i only worked for a couple of weeks.

reason being:
1. i really dislike the working hours. you could say i'm not ready to commit, not mature enough, yadda yadda. perhaps it's true. i need my time to hang out with family and friends. 2-11 pm from tuesdays to sundays just doesn't allow me to do so.

2. i wasn't too thrilled about the sales targets. we go through a meeting daily, and i can safely say i didn't like the person i was training to be. i sincerely like to train people, it is the fact that i'd have to prospect, persuade, sell that i didn't quite like.

3. i was going to leave in a few months. if i had managed to take on any clients at all i'd have to leave them hanging. that wouldn't be nice. guess i didn't think of this earlier.

I have learned a lot, though, and i wouldn't say i regret taking this job. i met plenty of interesting people and learned a lot from all of them, colleagues and customers alike.

so yea, no regrets. :)


dektos said...

Miss Siah.. KL Marathon right? Guess what.. one of my bosses runs... He runs for Pacesetters and he did the half marathon on Sunday... The fella has been non stop asking me to run since day 1 and its starting to sound really familiar... =X

Anyway about your job... I believe reason #2 is good enuff a reason for me to not continue... =) I dont see the point of doing something you don't enjoy unless of cos you don't have a choice...

Besides, the working world can wait... trust me... XD

kev said...

Well done, sis. Did you have that special/emotional feeling when you cross the finish line? I know I did when I completed my first marathon.

So now you know what they mean by 'hitting the wall' at the 30km mark. Any black toe nails?

You can have my iPod lah. Shh... don't tell my friends. Hahhah.

Tey said...

sub 5 in maiden marathon is good liao..if want 4:30..u weekly mileage need to extra leh...may be train with sun bkt aman- hartamas group...!!

see u next full ya..haha...penang will be a good place for 4:30 !!

tryathlete said...

wow! sub-5 for a first marathon! well done, marathoner!

galnexdor said...

Mr Loh: really? whats his name? how did u he do? haha...your company encourages running and OBS...sounds like a good company...u should stay...=) anyway, im going for another interview later...:P i need a job laaa...

Kor: thanks...i think the same 4th toe nail which dropped ca couple of weeks back is now black again...before it can fully grow back...haha oooh...i want i want ipod...apparently it helps when ure instructing also....=)

mr tey: thanks...yup i should join that group more often...penang is when? people say penang quite tough wor...i think singapore stan chart easier...

tryathlete: thanks buddy!

Tey said...

b4 election is

22 June

Penang Bridge Marathon.
Phone: 604 262 0202
Fax: 604 263 1020

But gov change..don know now liao.

Ask my contact there,they said same..not yet confirm..hope confirm lah...haha

See u there is on ya.

aiya..why me said penang easy than singapore ? cause run early woh..cinya...not so hot like singapore leh..come come come..hehe

dektos said...

His name is Randy Leow... and yes it is a good company but im staying not bcos they encourage running and obs =p

Saiful Kodi said...

hello marathoner!!congrat..
very good, u potong sayur my brother, abu..hehe

galnexdor said...


saiful, thankss...u did also right? how did u do? i ajak ur brother to ikut me...but he didnt ikut...

ahmein0520 said...

Karen, i seldom leave comment on your blog, but this time when shirlyn told me you ran for 5 hours in a 42 km marathon i was like.. OMG, superwoman.
I even feel super tired when sit on a car for 5hours you can actually run for 5 hours..
I know i sound abit jakun to some people but i really admire you for being so GENG!!

galnexdor said...

ahha hie jingmein!!!

so long didnt see u...surprised u come to my blog...

haha nola...its not that great...a lot of ppl do it too...=)

thanks thanks...hope to see u soon in June!

sam said...

its times like these when u want a blog and people dropping by to leave wonderful comments on how wonderful it must be to finsh 42 excruxiating kilometers..haha..nice running along side u for most of my races karen=D

galnexdor said...

haha start blogging sam...start blogging...=)

pleasure's mine sam...=)