We did it! 🙂 We completed the 42.195km and emerged with sore feet, ankles, knees, shins, calves, thighs, butt and core, but with all the satisfaction that we can get from achieving this goal together!
Due to unforeseen circumstances, only 4 of us got to race that day – Jay, Pooi San, Wan Jun and me. We gave it our all. 🙂 The training did us good because none of us were close to giving up at any point in the race. We pushed on – mind over body – and looked forward to seeing each other again after we crossed the finishing line.
All thanks to our trainers – Allen and Qiu Lu – for helping us through this seemingly insurmountable task. We have done it, and it is all because of your dedication and guidance. Thank you for showing us that we can do it. 🙂
I am really thrilled that I can add this “Sundown Marathon 2016” to my list of “I have accomplished…” 🙂 I never thought I could have done this, much less with only 3 months of training. The knowledge is still sinking in. 🙂
I am very grateful to have been a part of this team; thankful for all the experiences I have shared with all my team mates. We have become very good friends now – it is amazing how a sport can bring people from different walks of life together, and even more amazing that strong bonds can be forged simply by sharing a common goal. Running kept us together and will keep us together. Thank you – Vincent, Jay, Pooi San, Weiming, Wan Jun – for being such great people. I found strength in each one of you and I am so glad to be a part of this team. 🙂
My husband has been my greatest supporter. He was my ever-ready “chauffeur” who made it a point to drive me to my running locations; patiently waited for me to complete my training before breakfast, lunch or dinner; bought me all the gear I needed and spent more money on me than I deserved; cheered me on when I felt my legs couldn’t bear the distance anymore; listened to my grievances and continued to encourage me to go further. Thank you, thank you so much for being here for me.
And a big shout-out to all my family and friends who supported this endeavour of mine – you know who you are. 🙂 Thank you!
Now, for a breakdown of the marathon experience – from A to Z:
A – All or nothing
You either train and give your all or don’t do it at all. 42km is not 5km or 10km, it isn’t even 21km. Whenever I hit the wall at 18, 20, 25km during my training runs, I know that I have to give this my all – mind and body both had to be ready for the final race day.
B – Bread
Carbs became our best friend. Bread is my best friend. 😀 Carbs = Energy. To be able to run more than 20km, we need the carbs to sustain us. I happily complied.
C – Chafing
I never realised abrasions could happen at so many places!
D – Discipline
In short: Eat sleep run repeat. Of course, life happens in between. And it is during these ‘life happens’ moments that we work on our sense of discipline and get ourselves out there to run. Discipline is really more mental than physical. Sometimes even when your body seems to say no, your mental strength pushes you further.
E – Eat well
Do not just gorge yourself silly on carbs (read: bread), but eat mindfully. Know which foods cause gas and acid reflux. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eat protein for muscle repair.
F – Follow the training plan
With a training plan in place, we all tried our best to stick to it. It pays off – we feel secure that we have clocked enough miles, learnt to control our breathing, managed our strides.
G – Grit
During the race, I really GRITTED my teeth to carry on when all the pain started ’emerging’ and my body felt tired… To do anything that is challenging, we need GRIT.
H – Happy endorphins
When you run and let your body move according to its own rhythm, it creates this happy feeling in you – you feel light, clear-headed, happy.
I – Inspire others and be inspired by others
Running with different people, recognising how others overcome their own limitations, reflecting on ourselves and trying to encourage others to find joy in running – all these are intangible lessons worth learning.
J – Join in
Embrace ourselves alongside others and just join in – run, walk, eat, talk, laugh together. Having a community that ‘joins’ people together is good for the soul. Find a community or build one, and then just join in!
K – Knowledge is key
Know your body. Everyone is different – body make-up, pain threshold, running gait, natural speed etc. So knowing our own body, knowing how to train, knowing how to take care of ourselves is truly important.
L – Lighten your load
Do not carry unnecessary load when you run if you can help it. It only weighs you down. I would prefer to run free – with just my watch / GPS. Unfortunately, during our own long runs, we need to carry our water bottles, gel etc. Thankfully we have fueling stations set up for us during the race! Every 3km or so, we get water!
M – Manage expectations
Don’t think that you can do a 42k without training, and don’t expect that you can do it without any pain or hiccups even after you have trained! Gradual improvements will serve you well – I have learnt how to go slow and steady rather than ‘fast and furious’. Each has its own perks and benefits.