I have done the most amazing and most stupidest thing in my life today. Amazing because I have passed the most difficult test to my mental strength and determination while stupidest thing because I have not run even 5K in last 6 months. Yes I have done my full marathon at the most prestigious Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon along with Amar and 20000 fellow runners who were competing in this category.
Exactly One Year back, I did my first ever run and it was half marathon at SC Marathon 2010. We did lot of other runs from then and felt confident that we were ready for the full marathon. In July, yet again Amar inspired (may be motivated .. hmmm may be forced) me to register for the full marathon. We felt that we had enough time to practice and we can finish off the race in 6 hours.
From there, days passed, weeks passed and months passed away. Before we realised and started our practice, December was showing up on the calendar and the D-Day has come.
The race was today (on 4th December 2011) in different categories:
Full Marathon – 42.195km
Half Marathon – 21.1km
Between 10-13 Years Old
Between 7-9 Years Old
Between 4-6 Years Old
3 Years and below
Ekiden – 42.195km (Each team must consist of 6 participants)
Amar & I, registered for Full Marathon while Swetha, Surya, Nagaraj, Mahesh & Praveen registered for half marathon. We also inspired, motivated and forced many others in the office to register.
This was half marathon route. This is same as what we did last year.
Race T-shirts along with the race BIBs
The D-Day has come and a record-breaking number of 65,000 runners were ready to flag-off from three different start lines:
Orchard Road (Full Marathon) – Start at 5.00AM
Sentosa (Half Marathon) – Start at 6.30AM
Esplanade Bridge (10km) – Start at 7.45AM
As the race was at 5AM, we had to start from home by 3:45AM. As always we couldn’t sleep the day before due to excitement.
Race day, we woke up at 3AM and got ready by 4AM. Amar & I, took a taxi to Orchard. We had couple of bananas before the race, which was actually our life savior.
The atmosphere at Orchard was electrifying. With Christmas round the corner, Orchard road was decorated with lights and was looking beautiful. We could see 20000 runners from different countries, different ages and different walks of life roaring to start their run.
As the clock ticked 5:00AM, the light turned green and the elite runners literally were invisible in a flash, while we others started off slowly waving hands to the cameras and the people cheering us around the track. As there were thousands of us running, we ran the initial 4KM at a very comfortable pace. The first 10KM was like a CBD area tour as we were going through the streets of Dhoby Ghaut, SMU, Fort Canning, City Hall, Clarke Quay, China Town, Fullerton Hotel, Esplanade, Marina Bay Sands, Tanjong Rhu, Marina Bay and finally entered ECP by the end of 12KM.
I was having water at every drinks station which were placed at every 2KM mark. It was at the 13th KM that I felt a little pain in my right leg but I still continued. Not more than 100Mts from there, the pain was unbearable. I stopped, did some stretching and felt a little relief. I called up Amar to check his position and he was almost there where I was standing. As I further walked, the pain got more acute and I was about to give up the race. It was then Amar came to me and reminded me of our motto (Run. Walk. Crawl. Finish)
Amar was with me for the next 1KM and after looking at me suffering, even he asked me to stop. At this point, I took the Active Muscle Rub from the volunteers and felt a little relief. I asked Amar to go ahead at his pace and I will stop if at all I cannot do it.
By the time I reached 20KM mark, I was literally limping and every next step was my target. I saw Amar in his 23rd KM by then. I took it very very slow. I slept for 5 Mins in between, I stretched my muscles every KM, I did sit ups every now and then, I had drinks all the way and finally reached 26KM mark. It was then I realised that I took 3 hours for the last 13KM and there were hardly 300 to 400 people behind me.
I called my bro and used Skype to show the race to mom, dad & bro. I felt very happy when I saw the 29KM mark as I could see the banana station. I was feeling very very hungry by then. As we could not see any volunteer at the banana station, one of the fellow runner took an initiative and distributed bananas. At this point, I was also suffering from headache. I went int0 Seven Eleven on the way and took Panadol. Eating Banana and having Panadol proved to be the turning point of my run. I felt very energetic and started to enjoy the pain.
I walked faster not thinking about the pain and was happy to see my self cruising. From 30KM to 40KM, there was no shelter and everyone was very very tired by then. As I was walking slowly till 30KM, I had all the energy to beat the rest. Infact at 34KM, I even crossed Amar who was having a bad patch of run from 30KM mark.
Finally, as we crossed Esplanade it was just 150Mts from the finish line. I took all my courage and neglected the pain and ran till the finish line to get a nice picture :).
Yes, we did it. We completed 42.195KM run. I took the finishers medal and t-shirt and was proud to sport the t-shirt immediately.
Surya & Swetha were waiting for us after their half marathon. They congratulated us and we left home immediately as we were very hungry.
I am sure we could do better if we have practiced properly. Better luck for the May Sundown Marathon.