Sunday, October 26, 2014

My First Half Marathon-- the Rexona Run 2014

I just finished my first half marathon and the fulfillment is tremendous. Before this, my farthest was 16 kilometers, so I was really nervous running a 21 kilometer distance. Aside from that, my right leg was also uncomfortably sore. I ran up and down 40 flights of stairs three days ago in my attempt to make my legs stronger. I guess that wasn't a very good idea. It was different from my usual running exercise and I ended up using different leg muscles.

After the Rexona Run.  :-)

The first few kilometers was a challenge because I still wasn't fully warmed up when the race started. I dragged my legs with each step I took and started doubting and questioning myself.  Why was I running 21 kilometers in the first place? Can I really finish the course?

Once I was warmed up, the course became enjoyable. I ran on a steady and rhythmic pace. And possibly with a smile on my face. 

Then suddenly there were flyovers. My goodness was I scared. When I started the race I told myself that I wouldn't stop running no matter what and I stuck to that. Uphill was hard-- my legs felt like rubber. I ran very slowly yet I still passed those who chose to walk. Downhill was harder-- the impact was stronger (compared to running on flat or uphill grounds) on my knees whenever each of my feet landed on the pavement. I knew I had to be more careful so I wouldn't injure myself. If my memory serves me right, there were a total of three flyovers. The uphills and downhills combined with the distance introduced new kinds of pains in different parts of my legs and feet. 

A little over the 12th kilometer, I had to stop and quickly loosen the laces of my shoes. The pair of running shoes I had on fits me perfectly, but as the salesman in Runnr repeatedly told me it should be a size bigger. Big mistake on my part for not listening to him. I guess at that time my feet were all swelled already and shouting for more space. Sadly, loosening the laces didn't do much.

On the last few kilometers, on top of having piercing pains on both my feet, my legs started to have minds of their own. I knew deep inside my heart and mind that I can easily finish the last kilometers. However, physically my legs and feet were saying no. I had to remind them that we could do it-- that I would take care of them and to please do not give up. Might be weird, but yes, I had to communicate with my legs and feet.

The whole race which I finished in 2:50:12 was not just a physical but a mental test. It was believing right from the start that I could finish the whole 21 kilometers and pushing myself on reaching that goal. I constantly reminded myself to be careful with each step I took. Or else I might had pulled a muscle or got cramps. I had to be focused on what works for me in terms of speed and not be pressured by the other runners. It was really surprising at times when an unfit-looking person was faster than me. I also learned to enjoy the energy from the other runners. There are different kinds of runners I encountered: leisure runners-- those who run with their barkada and stopped in music tunnels for photos; newbie runners-- like me; regular runners-- those who basing from their form run frequently; competitive runners; senior runners, etc. All are very inspiring but the senior ones are the most-- if they can do then I can do it also!

Around 1:30am before leaving for the Rexona Run