As I started running, I felt no pain from either leg. The weather, as mentioned by Per who did the 10km race 3hours earlier, was extremely warm and humid. The road was relatively flat and in a few minutes, I was able to catch up with the other runners.
By 2km, my singlet was already wet with sweat. Oh man, how am I going to survive the remaining 40km? But I put that thought aside and hoped for the best. Up till now, we were running on the wide open roads and when we reached the first 5km and first water station, that is when we were directed by the marshals to use the sidewalks! What the %$# ? ?? I didn't understand this at all. How can nearly 5,500 runners (and not even counting the ultra marathoners) fit on a sidewalk that is at best good for 3 runners running side by side? Oh this is definitely not good. With the tight crowd and very warm weather, it felt like running inside a sauna. It was that horrible. I kept hoping for a part where we would go back to the open roads again but that was not to be.
By 7km, my feet were making wet swoshing sounds inside my shoes and I had to find a place to sit down, take off my shoes and my socks, wring out the sweat out of the socks and put them back on again! Gosh, this never happened in the Philippines even during a Half Marathon race and here I am at just 7km and doing this already. Yikes!!!! But this I had to do for fear of getting blisters at such an early part of the race. Squeezing the water out helped but it didn't make my socks dry. Worst of all was that I was running at a very slow and easy pace. I wasn't even exerting effort yet. I knew right there and then that I won't be able to finish the race at a good time. I only hope that I don't burn out here and was extra careful in my running pace.
By 10km, I looked at my Garmin and saw that I have been running for a time of 1 hour 16 minutes. A personal worse. Haha! But I didn't care as I concentrated on finishing this race and getting that darn shirt.
Per and Blanche were having a good time with their movie marathons and relaxing after completing their own races. I can just imagine them with their feet off their shoes, lying on the mattresses with a beer in each hand, laughing and trading jokes and stories while Iron Man plays on the movie screen. Yup, they had a good time with my camera too. Those FIENDS!!!
One long boring straight road. Nothing to see but street lamps. Still crammed on the sidewalk like sardines in a can and at the same time, being heated in a microwave. Terrible terrible feeling. Oooh, a plane flew by. Must be near the airport.
Oh there it is! Behind the barbed fences. Something to distract me by. Ho hum. Time to take a GU power gel. Hoping for Coffee flavor. Got Vanilla instead. DARN! Too lazy to switch GU Gel. Maybe would be luckier the next time around. Pink Gatorade in my right hand still remained untouched. Security Gatorade Blanket is what I call it. Still running...
13km - Toilet break and also socks-out-of-shoes-and-wring-the-sweat-out break. 'Nuff said. Went back to running. At this point, my morale is kinda low and just kept thinking why I'm doing this. On a good point, I'm 1/4 done already. Big Whoopee!!
15km - it is now 2AM. "Crazy midnight marathon": that was all I can think about. And also: 2hour time, another personal worst time! Haha! Goal is to get to finish line before third movie ends (so P and B won't get bored waiting for me) and before sun rises (feeling Twilight... Twilight Zone that is)! But odds are against me in this race.
17km - Turning point out of here. Going towards greenery where there were a lot of campers here. For some reason, this area looked so similar to where we started the race from that I started to believe that it was the same place. I was excited to see Per and get the motivation I needed to complete this race. So I increased my pace and I hurried on. Any minute now, I would see the big screen showing the action movie. Any minute now... any minute now. . . just got to be patient and keep on running. . . it's coming up... pretty soon. . . got to run further and faster .. any second now. . .
But sadly, this hope didn't become reality.
It was a different area! Probably on the opposite side from where I started the race from. My morale got even lower. It was incredibly frustrating to have your expectations run high and have it come crashing down.
As a form of consolation, I got another GU gel and hoped for the Coffee flavor. I got Strawberry-banana instead! DARN MY LUCK!
I kept running and saw runners standing on the road or lying on the floor stretching their legs. Looks like cramps. Another guy was leaning heavily on a tree, face down. It was a terrible ordeal but it was hard to tell whether they were ultra-marathoners or marathoners as we all pass the same route. (I didn't even think to look at their bib colors at that time)
At 21km, I saw time was at 3:06AM. Three freaking hours for a half marathon!!! But my mind was just pushing me to finish this race. Each water station I get to, I would walk for a few minutes before resuming my run again. It was a technique taught by my two sisters who both had their first full marathons a month ago. It is supposed to relieve the stress from running for a long time. Unfortunately, my supposedly one-minute walk break turned into minutes. I was always delaying the inevitable. And that is to go back into running. But go back to it I did.
The route changed from this moment on. No more boring long road but it will be more difficult. There was a series of overhead bridges we had to climb up on and they were very high. The good point here was that all the runners used it as recovery area so at this point I was climbing up the stairs to the bridge, walking across it and walking down it again on the other side of the road. Then, I would resume my running.
My pink gatorade was still alive but now just 1/4th full. Still couldn't let this go eventhough there were ample water and ISO drinks every 3km of the course. Yup, security "Gatorade" blanket!
I kept running. I got a banana at one point. And a coffee at another point. I don't remember where or when. I was so out of it. I did sit down again and do the whole sock-out-of-shoe-and- wring-out-sweat routine again. I didn't look at my sole anymore for fear of seeing blisters and that would discourage me even more.
Went back to running...
28km - I have been running for more than 4hours. Yes, I know how long this is taking and how far I still am but nothing to do at that time. By this time, I was thinking that P and B have probably finished their second movie and should be starting their 3rd one by now. More than 50% done so that is a good thing but I am getting slower.
More GU gels and hoping for elusive Coffee flavor. It continues to escape me! Made me think, "did I even have a coffee flavor or was that from my imagination?"
29km - Start of trail running. It was softer on the legs but felt some sand and a small pebble go into my shoe. Didn't want to slow down and just kept running. For a few minutes, I toyed around with the pebble in the shoe, moving it around to my toes while running at same time. Yep, I was bored! Haha. This running thing feels like forever! Good thing there were a lot of people in the race so that kept me distracted.
I saw a lot more people stretching their legs or resting on the ground. Still no idea if they were doing the 42km or 84km race.
30km - with only 12km to go, I decided to finish my pink gatorade (it only had 1/8th contents anyway) and threw away the plastic bottle at the trash can. I think I can finish the remaining miles without my security blanket. Thanks Pink Gatorade for the support!
32km - this was it. The farthest I've ever run and I am still running (though at a turtle pace). No hitting the wall yet so that was good. I feel pain on my shoulders and rotated it from time to time to give it the flexibility it needs. Seems to work.
View of the lake on my right side (or was it left side). At this point, everything was a blur for me.
She had my camera with her and took my finisher photo. She noticed I was really pale but after re-hydrating and eating a museli bar, my colors went back to normal. Phew! I did a few stetches before I stood up again. I was still limping as we headed out to meet Blanche.
The very nice finisher medal. So proud of this one.
No muscle pains the next day!!! Wow, another good surprise! I was walking normally and since I had two more days in Singapore, Per and I went right back to shopping shopping shopping!!!
5. Natalie - for all the GU she gave to me! Plus the race belt to put the GU in (as a pre-birthday gift). Also marathon tips too.
7./8. Aline/Phil - for the relaxing place for us to crash in during our stay in Singapore. Great suggestion on body massage! It worked wonders for me!