Half marathon 21.1km – phew


21.1 km on the Polar

I did something really silly today. I ran a half marathon personal time trial.

It started very innocently. I wanted to run 10km as part of my weekly run. I specifically chose 2 PM to run as I wanted to get used to running in the mid afternoon sun. It was about 33 deg Celsius when I started running which is awfully hot. I had soaked my shirt and cap in water before I started and it became dry after about 30 minutes and I had to keep on soaking it in water in order to keep cool.

When I reached about 9km I still felt quite strong and felt that I was able to run to 15km so I decided to go for it. I still had a half full 1.5 litre water bottle that I brought with me and 2 bottles of drinking water left so I felt confident.
Sun was still quite high casting a
small side shadow
Disaster struck at about the 13 km. There is a school near the place where I was running and there were some school kids loitering about. They seem perfectly harmless enough until one of them decided to kick the my water bottle (which I had left by the trail). From being over half full there was only about 1 quarter left. I blew my top at the girl and literally summoned her in front of me and asked her why she did that. I think her and her friends were quite shocked and I told her never to do this again. Drama over, I began my run again and tried to put in out of my mind. I knew I was in trouble as I was relying on that water to keep my cap and shirt wet so that it will cool me.
When I reached 15 km I thought that I can make another 6.1 km. I knew it was going to be tough but I was determined to do this. So I carried pass the 15 km mark.

I also liked I have now developed the habit of updating things on facebook on my runs. It’s not that difficult really as I would update on the distance plus 2 words – ‘still going’. Many thanks to my cousin Zyra Yusoff, Mariza Abdulkadir, Guy Griffiths (from school) and Django Charlwood(from school) for the encouragement and keeping me company.

The sun kept getting lower in
the horizon as the day goes by
The last 6 km proved to be the toughest I have ever experienced. There was more drama as my bottle of water with the precious little water to keep me cool had disappeared. I suspect some more school kids. I am not angry now (or even then) but more sad that these kids have nothing better to do. I’m sorry to say I do feel sorry for them and hope for the best.
But my immediate problems of keeping cool had to be solved. I decided to run home and get more drinking water and get my cap and shirt wet. I had a really long think about this as I didn’t want to impact the ‘integrity’ of the run. I decided it was my run anyway and I was making the rules so without breaking my rhythm and went home and got refueled and also managed to get my cap and shirt completely soaking in water. It only took me about 5 minutes to get back to my running trail so that was good news.
The sun
More drama started as I started getting weaker with every stride. At the 18km I had to alternate between running and slow walking. The mind was willing but my body was not listening to me and started to do its own thing. It was the longest 3km of my life so far. Time and space seemed to pass so slowly. I had been on the move for more than 3 hours now and by that time was starting to question my own sanity (I’m still questioning it now). The usual evening runners and walkers have by now appeared. As I passed them we did the usual nod of the head and wink of the eye. I don’t think they knew though what I was going through.
How much longer?
Taken at 19km
I kept glancing at my watch to get an idea of how much further I have to run. I decided that that wasn’t the best thing to do as it started to make me anxious. SO I started to focus on my heart rate which was beeping at 83% MHR.
My running form by this had deteriorated badly. I knew about the wall and had read about it but this was the first time I went through it. My facebook updating was also getting bad as my fingers and hands were trembling. Looking back, I don’t think I hit the wall though. My running form was getting bad but it was bad from fatigue and not from glycogen depletion. I was still in control of my muscles. When I wanted to I could still run with good form. It just took a bit more effort than usual. By this time, I was also emotionally numb and tears started coming out. I just wanted to break down there and then. I just let the tears come out as I knew that the intensity of what I just did has an emotional impact as well as a physical one.
I’m nearly there!!!!
When I got to the 20km point I don’t know what came over me. Somehow my body and my mind found some energy stored somewhere in my body and I ran what I think was about a very fast lap relative to the rest of the run. My heart rate had jumped to 85% by this time but I just kept on going. And going. And going. Time and space by this time didn’t matter. I willed myself to keep on going. And going. And going.
I did it. I ran a 21.1 km half marathon. My time was awfully slow at 3 hours 54 mins and 40 secs and I didn’t care. 2 months ago I couldn’t run for 1 min or 100m before stopping gasping for air and today I ran for nearly 4 hours and I did it at an average of 77% MHR. This is great as it means I can push myself for 4 hours at this heart rate before I start getting fatigue. When I lose more weight and my technique improves, the time will definitely get faster.
Let me say that again.
I can’t describe the feelings that was going through me when it was finally over. There was no one to greet me or give me a hug. There were no congratulatory slap on the back. There was no applause. It was just me. For the last 3 hours 54 mins and 40 secs I was battling my inner demons. I was faced with all the fears and inhibitions that plagues me since childhood. All the failures. All the sadness in my life. All the rotten things and people that often appears since I was a little child. All the disappointments and lost hopes. All the anger.
And I beat them all.
Thumbs up just as the sun
was going down.
As I write this at this moment and reflect on what happened to day, I have to admit I am an emotional wreck and feel like I can break down and cry at any moment.
I want to cry because today I just made my dream more real.
I want to cry because I’ve learnt so much about myself.
I want to cry for all the times I doubted myself.
I want to cry for all the times I was hurt and for all the times I caused hurt.

I want to cry for all the people who doubt me (some still do and take me as a joke).

I want to cry for those who had absolute belief in me even when I don’t believe in myself.

I want to cry because my parents never had a chance to see what I can truly do.

I want to cry because I know from this moment on, I know I can do anything.
I started this blog and my facebook fan page as a way of recording my journey as I change my life. I keep finding ways to inspire me as I plod on in this journey. There’s been a lot of pain. A lot of tears. A lot of ice packs. A lot of doubt.
Your dreams may not be about running or cycling or the triathlon or even anything remotely physical. If you have them, allow your dream to happen by taking action. If you fail to get the results you want, don’t beat yourself up. Just allow yourself to learn from the experience. Keep on moving forward.
I ran a half marathon today.
If I can do it, you can do it too.As for me, tonight I’m going to have a good cry….