The day started off with me getting all happy and excited about the race. I couldn’t contain my excitement, and blogged about it. I fueled up, hydrated, studied the route, and left home about 1.5 hours before the start time. The sky was overcast then, and I was praying hard that it wouldn’t rain.
Despite allowing for 1.5 hours of traveling time, I soon realized that I would be late. I was flustered, and this left me wishing that I had teleportation skills. True to my expectations, when I arrived at the race venue, the race has already started. I panicked, but quickly found the baggage deposit counter, and fled to the starting point. I wish I had arrived earlier, so that I could have done some warm up. I followed the crowd (who were as late as I was), and started walking the race. There was such a huge crowd at the starting point, I had to walk the 500 metres of the race. This was actually a good warm-up for me, and made up for the warm-up that I had missed. Miraculously, the dark clouds have disappeared, and the sun was blazing.
The first 5KM went by like a breeze. I think it’s probably because I was filled with euphoria, knowing that I’m finally running the race that I have been training hard for; and from knowing that there are so many others (such as all of you) who have been giving me your relentless support. I thought ‘If 5KM is this easy, 25KM shouldn’t be a big deal…’. Unlike my previous 10K race, I stopped at almost all the water and 100-plus stops, so I was feeling a lot more hydrated as compared to the last time.
While the first 5KM went by quickly, I was still not into the run. I was more distracted by what the people around me were doing. Instead of finding my own comfortable pace, I was trying my best to keep up with the pace of someone just ahead of me. When someone stopped to walk, I wondered if I should stop to walk too.
It was after the 5KM mark that I started to get into the run, and found my comfortable pace; I focused my attention on my breathing and the tempo of my run. It made the run more enjoyable, and because my mind was in sync with my body, it made that run MINE.
By the 10 KM mark, the heat started to overwhelm me. I just wanted to stop to walk a little, but I knew that if I stopped, I will likely lose the momentum; I decided to push on. I was hoping for a slight drizzle at this point in time. It could have been my hallucination, but shortly after that, I THOUGHT I felt a drizzle and it made me feel better. But according to my fellow runners, there wasn’t any drizzle at all. Some of them suggested that it could have been someone else’s perspiration landing on me –which I hope was not the case - or possibly my own perspiration.
After the 15KM mark, I started to feel fatigue setting in, but it was purely physical, so I continued pushing on. I remembered reading an article about running mantras some time back, and decided to use one of my favorite for this run: Think strong, run strong! It worked ! At least that motivated me for the next 7 KM.
After the 22KM mark, I started to really struggle. My knees started to buckle, my feet hurt, and my toes cramped up. My longest training run has been 22KM, so I was mentally prepared for a challenging last 3 KM. But I did not expect my body to react in this manner. I really would have stopped, but when I passed by a signage that says ‘Winning is important, but persistence is vital’, I just had to push on. For it wouldn’t be long before I reach my goal.
The last KM was especially hard. If it was not for the supporters who were cheering all the runners on, I would have stopped. I really wanted to sprint, but all that I could manage was a slightly faster jog. I wondered ‘How can anyone manage a sprint during their final KM?’ Yet I just wanted to finish strong. I mustered up all the remaining energy that I had, and ran as fast as I could. I couldn’t be happier when I crossed the finishing line.
The race results are not out yet, but according to my watch, I finished it in 2 hr 50 minutes. While I was hoping that I would finish it in 2 hr 45 minutes, I am still pretty contented with my timing. I learnt something more valuable: If you want something badly enough, you will do whatever you can to reach your desired goal. That is the power of the human body and mind :)
Do you have a motivational mantra in life?