I wasn’t prepared for
…my first marathon
Sure, I started training first week in April with the last full marathon race in sight for 2010. It was a choice of QCIM and SCIM. I would have wanted to do it in SG and share the race with my sister. But the thought of the intense humidity I experienced when I did 21km last year, made me opt to do it in QC. Home turf and all that, right?
I was doing well in my training. I needed the extra months to lose weight, hence the early start. I was at the ULTRA Mondays and Fridays. It was a steady dose that escalates, of 2km warm up, dynamic/static stretching, drills, a choice of interval training, hill training, stairs training; 2km cool down, core exercises and stretching again.
Wednesdays were reserved for BHS, mostly for tempo runs. These 3 days were with Coach John. Then I do my long runs every Sunday—doing the Commonwealth route from Batasan to UP and back and at one point, La Mesa Eco Park.
This was also when I didn’t see much of my runner friends, which I thought to be very Ironic.
My training was a rain or storm type of thing from April to August. Everyone will be out of the ULTRA oval when it started raining and I would still be at it because running in the rain was the best thing ever!
September onwards was when I would renege on my training days because of a hodgepodge of reasons – work, tired, traffic, rain, hot, lazy, etc. which were all the lamest of lames, I know. I didn’t know this was also the start of an emotional sadness that I didn’t know could happen to me, but it did and I wasn’t prepared for it as well.
So my 4-day running, with 1 day strength training and 1 day swimming-week turned into 2 day running, 1 day swim, to 1 day run, to 0-run in a week. My long runs would stop at the 10th km or the 12th, or the 16th km. It could never progress past that (when I stopped at 26km in August. ) and I was getting scared. Really scared. I wasn’t in pain. I wasn’t. My brain would just shut off from running and I’d walk. I tried running with a group-the UP group that went to Tiendesitas and did 21km. I think I did 10km there. I tried joining Carina & Raff and do the Galloway method at BHS and even that I failed in.
The eureka moment that I can run began when someone told me that running is primarily a race in the mind. And arrogant me thought, if I conceive it in thought, I can do it. I can run. This was what I was banking on in every race I joined. If you’re reading this and know me at all, you know my gorgeous body is not made like an athlete. I already know it would take a lot of mind power to trudge on carrying a me. So you can imagine my fear when my brain shuts off and decides to stop running, decides it can’t carry me.
Two weeks before the race, I decided a do a make or break run in UP. It was a Tuesday and I told myself, if I can do 21km as my last long run, then I will run the race. If not, then I won’t. I did 8.8km, a strong 8.8km, but I stopped yet again. Take note, I was not feeling any pain. My lungs were ok naman, my heart was ok too. My legs and knees were fine. No physical hindrance to stop. And yet I did. I went to my car and changed and waited for a friend to finish running. The sadness that enveloped me was in a new level that I’ve ever experienced. I texted a couple of people and essentially said I wasn’t gonna run on December 5. The moment I texted it, I cried. This is not new to anyone that I’m a crybaby. What was new was that I actually threw up. I thought it was just the feeling of light headedness from doing a strong 8.8km. Then I realize it was my emotional reaction manifested physically. Oh dear God, help.
Wednesday morning in the office someone FB PM’d me and encouraged me to still do it even without a 32km long run. I got excited yet again (it’s not difficult to get me excited as you can see) with the thought of my first marathon. What if I don’t finish within the cut-off? So what? A cut-off is simply an organizer’s cut-off, not a testament to a runner’s endurance. What if I hit the wall early in the race that I pretty much walk the entire length of the race? You won’t be the first to do it.
What if I embarrass my friends, my pacers for finishing last yet again? (I’ll leave you to answer this question after you finish reading this)
Calling all that is good and holy, I prayed.
I will run it. As unprepared as I was, I will run it.