Sundown Marathon (half marathon) 2014

I was back in Singapore to do the Sundown Marathon 2014 2 weeks back and it has been quite an experience.

Was really honored to have the opportunity to be one of the ambassadors for the race and I had a couple of opportunities to talk to the press to share with others my unique story.

I was really nervous and excited about the run. Im excited because I am back at Sundown Marathon, officially taking my first step back into running and I am really nervous because I do know how brutal the distance can be. I have always told others why I love marathons and it is because it is the most “honest” race. How much hard work and how well one is prepared for the race is almost certainly to show on race day itself. There will be no “miracles”, no excuses, no gimmicks. It all boils down to how much hardwork were put on a daily basis leading up to the race and I just love it for being so. So, a 21km (half marathon) is honestly a huge challenge for me, especially with my longest run being a 12km which resulted in me limping for 3 days after. Doctors have told me how much damage this run could cost me and how this could set me back and hinder me from improving. I was told to “know my limits” and be smart about it. Ermmm.. the problem is.. i know no “limits”. I have been told and wired to go beyond what I think I can, to continuously outdo myself, to perform one after another “limit-break” to become the best I can be. Hardwork, discipline and determination. My eventual conclusion was: whatever, lets do this run.

Before I knew it, I was at the starting line of the half marathon. This was a very familiar feeling. This adrenaline, this sense of unknown, this fear of what is about to come.. just makes me feel so alive again. I remember making a promise to myself when I was still in rehabilitation hospital that I will treasure every single moment I have while running. I will enjoy and be thankful for it because it was something that I have taken for granted. I have been chasing this “personal record” thingy that I have forgotten how fun and enjoyable it is to run, to feel the wind in my face and feel free from this social rat race we are so damn involved in. And, I told myself at the start line for the first time that “today is a good day. This is going to be a good run. Just gotta give my best”.

Priority entry to the race thanks to Hivelocity and Sundown.

I am sure people have heard about my miraculous healing and how i defied all odds to be back walk/running 7 months post to a C1 incomplete spinal injury. What no one knows were the struggles, the amount of help I have gotten during this race and the build up to it. (Of course, I did lots and lots of praying).  I had two wonderful friends who decided to do a half marathon with me as my “support team” to help motivate ma and to keep me safe during my run. What no one (except for my support team) knew was that I fell while running the day before the sundown race and I dislocated my shoulder. I got it fixed soon after the fall but i did not have much of a shoulder movement due to it. It was really painful. Shit happens. Nevertheless, I am back at the starting line, with my support team, embarking on my first step back into running. 

My awesome friends =)

Cant wait to start my run after the bag deposit!
Taking every step with you Lachy

I had a strategy going into the run. 3mins of running, 2 min of walking. I set my watch on repeated intervals and it beeped at the start of each intervals. I tried my best to follow the intervals but at times I just got too carried away and I refused to do the 2 min walking, which I eventually paid a pay for it later in the run. As I was running, mixed emotions were running through me. I knew this is a big step forward for me and I am really happy and thankful for it, but at the same time, it just feels so frustrating to see people over-taking me, seeing the 2 hour pacers run further and further away from me. Goodness, I would have never thought of doing a half marathon this way prior to the injury. I guess, life changes and it is up to me to adapt and make the best out of it. My team mate Steph once told me: Every race changes, condition changes, situation changes. But that’s what triathletes do best. We adapt.

Watching other runners go pass me as I walk.. is a bitter pill to swallow.

Yes! finally my 3 minutes to run!! Wheee..

walking my 2 min off

At certain portions of the route, there were lots of opportunities to cut corners or even run across a field (which will save about 400 m +). I was tempted to cut the corners to get a faster timing, but I thought to myself: I have never cheated on a distance before, why start now? My support team and I were probably the handful of “idiots” who followed the route strictly and run along the long windy congested roads to clock the full 21 km. Pride. That’s what it is. Pride. I did not cheat and I completed a real 21km. That’s my pride talking, right here, right now.

I started to feel the fatigue kicking in after 15km and uncontrollably, started to drag my left foot. Although I could run a little now, there are a lot of spasm going through my left body (arms, legs, back and abdominal) and these are things that I cannot control. I just have to live with it, deal with it, understand it and adapt to it. These spasms are the reasons why I have not been back riding my bike on the road. I have gotten too many falls just traveling from home to uni (1.6km) and these falls just aint pleasant. (bad for my bike too). Sundown Marathon was so kind to include the Shears Bridge this year to make a hell of a climb. THANK YOU FOR THE TOUGH COURSE. No. seriously. Thank you. I wouldnt have wanted it easy. It is because it is so damn tough, it makes the finishing more worthwhile. Maybe I should start learning to do things the simple way. Make life easier… hmmm.. NEH!

At the top of Shears Bridge! Took me freaking 20 mins to walk up.

My buddy who raced her own 21km race, did a u-turn after her race and came back to meet me 2km away from the finishing line. What a babe =) So, the 4 of us slowly, steadily ran towards the finishing line and I told them that I wanted to finish the run in style. I started to pick up speed going into the last 1 km of the run, doing this is the last stretch.

The run was seriously a struggle.

I started to lose my running rhythm.
I tried to keep my focus.
My left leg started to drag,
I used more of my right leg to carry through.
My left shoulder gave way and started to spasm,
I began to lose control of my body and I was about to fall over.
Just 20m more…
Just 10m more..
Come on!
And.. I crossed the finish line just in time before falling and having spasm kicked in all over my body.

Definitely not a nice finishing photo.

I completed the run in 2:40:21.
Just not too along ago, I would have covered 38km in the same time. How life has changed for me as a runner.

One day, I hope to start a race at the front of a pack again, focused, to run a best race of my life.

Will be doing the Perth Marathon this coming weekend. Hopefully I will be able to complete it. Just gotta get a bench mark and start improving from there. Nil Sine Labore.

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Sportsman Scientist Husband Victorian

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