It’s no secret that runners are quite the sadistic bunch of people.
We not only enjoy sore legs, blistered feet and agonising mental torture, we pay good money to go through all the above running marathon after marathon. I vividly remember swearing that I won’t be doing the full marathon this year after last year’s ordeal but lo and behold I found myself signing up for it nonetheless when the registrations opened in March haha.
This year, Kiemun decided to join me in the madness but she had enough sense to take on only the half. I was so immensely proud of her for finishing despite having gone through minimum training and sticking it through when she admitted there were many times she wanted to give up. The Ninja too did his second half marathon whilst doubling as our photographer — reason #4323525 why he’s the best boyfriend ever.
I’ve told the story of how inspiring each marathon race means to me; I’ve recounted many uplifting tales of why I run so many marathons despite suffering through each one. This time, I thought I’d share with you what’s it like actually being in the race and some of the thoughts every marathoner would have crossed their minds while they take on that gruelling 42km of torture, pain, and mind games.
If you’ve run a marathon, see if any of this sounds familiar. If you haven’t, here’s what you’re missing out on.
Kilometre 1: Here we go! Remember to pace yourself. Don’t go too fast no matter how strong you feel because you’re going to pay for it later.
Kilometre 4: Strong and steady, that’s it.
Kilometre 6: Oops 10 minutes too fast. Slow it down. Conserve energy wherever possible.
Kilometre 8: Still too fast! But it’s so easy. What the heck, maybe I can do a sub-5 hour instead of a 5 and a half.
Kilometre 10: I’ll overtake that woman in the pink jersey there and that’s it, I’ll slow down to the my designated pace. Hello pacer balloon guy! How’s it going?
Kilometre 12: Water!
Kilometre 14: Man, shouldn’t have drunk so much 100-Plus. All this burping is interrupting my breathing rhythm.
Kilometre 16: Oh no is that a blister I feel? Nah, just a fold in my sock.
Kilometre 18: OK time to bring out the Power Gels. Mmm, green apple, my favourite.
Kilometre 20: Shit my muscles are beginning to ache and we’re not even halfway there yet.
Kilometre 22: BREAD! BANANA! WATERRRRR! Maybe I can afford to just sit down and rest a little while I eat… What the hell, Pink Jersey caught up with me?
Kilometre 24: Does tapering even work?? Oh my God my legs are on fire and my feet — I can’t feel my feet. What’s this ache all over my back and shoulders — I run with my legs, why are you guys aching??
Kilometre 26: Did we lock the car? My wallet and bag are in there.
Kilometre 28: I know it’s not time for my second gel yet but who cares. I need the energy. I’m. About. To Faint. God. Damn. It.
Kilometre 30: WHAT?? We’re only at 30km??
Kilometre 31: I’ve done 10 half marathons and 3 full marathons. (21 x 10) + (42 x 3) = Holy shit I’ve run more than 336km including practise runs and other road relays. Hear that, roads? I own you.
Kilometre 32: OK only 10 more km to the sweet finish line. What’s 10km, that’s warm up for me on a normal day.
Kilometre 34: Fuck. This. Shit. Fuck this bridge. Fuck these shoes. Fuck these Goddamned socks giving me Goddamned blisters. Fuck all of you who are going faster than me.
Kilometre 36: POWERGEL! Oh gross, it’s strawberry banana.
Kilometre 37: Ha! Take that Pink Jersey!
Kilometre 38: The sun is rising. No no no no no no. Must. Make. Finisher. Time.
Kilometre 40: I just wanna lie down and cry and curl into a ball and never run another marathon again. Why do I this. Come on I can do this. I will finish this. Even though every muscle in my body feel like it’s on fire, my legs feel like lead, my shoes feel like they’re lined with nails and my socks feel like sandpaper T_T
Kilometre 41: WHY THE HELL IS THE QUEENSBAY ROUNDABOUT SO BIG!
Kilometre 41.5: Since when is 500 metres so long?? Oh my God I am going to just collapse on my face, I’m so tired.
Kilometre 42.195: I made it! Third 42km in the bag! There’s Aris — smile for the camera! I am never doing this again.
It’s the same every race. I want to die, I want to give up. I’ll sit down nibbling away at the pathetically dry and powdery wholemeal bun they provide at the halfway mark and contemplate my life decisions while wishing I never got out of bed that morning. But at the end of it, when I finally cross the finish line with all the pain in the world gnawing at my legs, it becomes the best feeling ever.
It takes a lot to run and, more importantly, finish a marathon and every drop of blood, sweat and tears is always worth it. It’s a testament to your willpower, your mental strength and your commitment to finishing something you started, no matter how tough it gets, no matter how much you want to give up.
The rewards it showers upon you is doubly gratifying. If there’s one thing running marathons has taught me, it is that we are always stronger than we seem, braver than we believe, and capable of much more than we ever realise.
Thank you best boyfriend in the world, for always being there for me through all my races. From my first 21km in 2011 to this — my 3rd full marathon and counting — he’s been my number one supporter. He’d make me go on my training runs when I’m feeling super lazy; he’d call me on the phone mid-race exactly when I need it the most to tell me to run faster, push harder and always, always, finish stronger than I did the last time.
To you and Kiemun, I am so proud of the two of you for finishing the half marathon. Join me on a full marathon next year? :P