5 Oct 2013
My body was still aching from my Jujitsu trial session last Wednesday and I had to run a 25km trail. My back and ribcage, due to being thrown to the ground multiple times, ached like an elephant stepped on me. Against all my friends’ advice, I went ahead with it, excitedly as always.
I woke up at 4am, prepared my stuff because registration at McRitchie would start at 5:30am. Alas, my trail running shoes’ damaged. Good thing, I still have my Adidas road running shoes. I thought, ‘this would be a dry run anyway.’
I took cab and met up with my friends Noel and Phil. We walked to the baggage deposit and headed to the starting line to support the 50km runners. At 5:30am, as soon as they were flagged off, rain started to pour heavily.
I wasn’t worried about myself getting wet. I was more worried about my white non-trail running shoes. I knew it won’t be good. It continued to rain until the 25km flag off time.
At 6:30am, we started to run. We decided to run on the 2nd wave despite coming earlier. Phil was anxious, I was too. It was Phil’s first time to run in an event. It wasn’t my first time, but it was my farthest so far. Just like him, I was anxious too. I knew it’s going to be tough. Wrong shoes (no choice) wrong weather, wrong body condition. The only thing right was my mind set, “Whatever it takes, I will conquer and finish it”.
I trained, on the road. I followed different bus routes but nothing could have prepared me for the trail I was about to conquer. It was uphill and down slopes. The route consisted of a mixture of trail, road, gravel, clay, stone tracks. It was muddy and slippery. Mud and clay everywhere and for the first time in my few years of running, I slipped and almost slipped multiple times. I’ve always loved dirty running and for the first time, mud has worked against me. My butt and knees got engraved everywhere.
It was raining almost the whole time I was running. There were direction markers but distance markers were scarce. I only saw the 5-10-20km marks. My bag was brushing into my nape, it was uncomfortable. My legs were stiffened and every step was excruciatingly painful. I saw all the 50km and 100km runners and they were still running steadily. I told myself, “I should be ashamed, I was only running 25 and I wanted give up already”.
Roads and plains were blessings. These conditions were my forte. Running unto them was less agonizing; therefore, I was able to catch up a little. We passed through a pavement made of wood after the 20km mark and it felt like it was infinite. Then, a lake, despite it’s supposed to be cooling and comforting effects, because there were no rocks, it was mud-less and dry, an easy condition, I still chose to walk. It was so serene; I started to dream a little, with the monkeys. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t hallucinating. The monkeys were real and there were a number of them relaxing around the area.
I thought cut off was 11am, and I was partly worried because I wanted to finish before the cut off. That was my challenge to myself. I knew I was close to the finish line but I just couldn’t make my legs move faster. My knees were trembling and my inner thighs were cramped even when I was walking, much more when I was running.
Then 100meters to the finish line, there was an Indian man. He was cheering the runners up. He said;
“ Come on…you can do it..”
He started to run beside me while I walked. He said:
“Come on, 100 meters more. What’s your name?” I answered. He then asked again;
“What do u have to do at the finish line?”
All I could think about was food so I answered him;
“Eat?” And then he said,
“Smile lah..for the pictures. Run with me…”
and I ran with him. When he noticed I was already running, he decided to bid me goodbye and went back to his original post and cheered other people up again.
Passed the finish line, there’s food from Subway, lots of it, Nasi lemak for Muslims, fruits, ice cream, drinks. There was a feast. It was the first time I’ve joined in a race with such a wide spread of rewards. Ice cream, drinks and fruits were common but Nasi lemak? Variety of Subway sandwiches and cookies?
Wow. I ate like a hungry horse.
Well, to sum up, I enjoyed the run, the finish and the company of my friends despite the setbacks. At night, I rewarded myself with a 1 1/2 hrs of soothing Javanese massage.
I’m grateful as always!=)