In doing a marathon, FEAR controls my feelings.
For my first marathon in May 2009, there is a FEAR as to whether I can finish the race. Luckily, the cut-off time was at 11 hours so I realized that even if I walked the second half, I would still reach the finish line. But there was also a FEAR of cramping on the race, getting blisters, getting dizzy or injured in it. There was a FEAR of running out of water (this being the Sundown's first race), FEAR of rain and FEAR of dying in it (it has happened before in the Philippines and USA). Generally it was a FEAR of the unknown as I have not gone farther than 32km while training for this race.
I survived the race, finished it, got my medal and finisher shirt. Proud I finished it but at the same time, swore never to do it again!
NEVER SAY NEVER!
Per got us cheap tickets for the USA and immediately I looked for a road race there. We found the San Francisco half marathon but then realized that we had another Sunday in the USA. And that's when I saw the Fresno Marathon. Could it be my 2nd marathon for its 2nd marathon ever? I thought hard about it and then decided to go for it. I figured I had the advantage to my side: I knew what to expect, I would be running in the cold weather, and in the morning (where I was rested vs Sundown where we went shopping the entire day). I was confident I could beat my Singapore PR time.
But then I almost stopped running for three weeks. When I resumed running, I was back to zero. All the training disappeared. I was panting from the start. I couldn't run fast. And that was when FEAR crept into me again. How can I train given the lack of time I had left? Luckily I met Alvin again and he agreed to help me in that one month time. He trained me to the point of sheer exhaustion but I didn't quit and came whenever he told me to. My goal of 5:30 was conquered and I got an unbelievable time of 4:52. Part of that was due to FEAR again. I was afraid that Alvin would make me run Cebu or Condura for a sub-5 hour target if I failed this one!! This time I learned how to use FEAR properly.
After finishing the race, I swore off doing another marathon, as I was very satisfied with my achievements and had nothing else to look forward to in a marathon.
NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN!
Our friend Janine wanted to do her first marathon in Cebu. Per and I agreed to go with her and run with her. Per will do the 5km while I was caught between doing a 21km or a 42km. I couldn't decide! What made my decision was seeing the finisher medal and finding out that only 42km finishers can get one. There wasn't a cut off time and race will start at an early (and cold) time of 4:00am. Besides, there was no time pressure for me as doing this for fun (if you can call it that!) and just aimed to finish. But I wondered if I went faster by just a little bit, could I get a new PR? The trainings have been in place. I knew what to expect (again) and would feel fulfilled running a marathon in Cebu.
But then FEAR crept in again. This time due to injury on my part. I don't know how it came about. It just happened. My left heel hurts. A lot! I can run short distance but then the pain comes and I lose my form. I slow down. I walk. And I get frustrated knowing my lungs can still handle it but my feet can't. It's what people call Plantar Fasciitis.
From an ambitious goal of PR, it has gone all the way to just finish and even that I am not sure it is achievable. My goals (from easiest to hardest) are as follows:
1. Finish a marathon (and bring home the mango medal)
2. Beat Singapore time of 6:31
3. Go Sub 6 hours
4. Go at least 5:30
5. Go below 5:00
6. Go below 4:52
I wonder how far down I can reach my goals. But with this injury, it's hard to say. I may not be able to reach even goal #1. But I will try.
Or as a certain Jedi Master would say "Do or do not. There is no try." So I will do. I will give my all. I will block off my pain and keep moving forward. For the medal. But more importantly, for the chance to see my wife at the finish line. That would be reward enough...
Good luck to everyone going to Cebu for the race. See you there!