[09/12/08 0226h edit] I just received an official email telling me that the time I actually clocked was 4 hours 50 minutes and 9 seconds. That's not too bad considering that my sub-5 timing doesn't seem like such a miserable shave anymore. Cameras only caught one photo of me, and it seems like I'm not wearing my headphones in that one so it must've been shot at somewhere after 35km.
I actually started out pretty strong and I felt like yesterday's last minute high-energy diet preparation worked wonders for the first part of the run.
I remember entering East Coast Park from the Mountbatten Road side, which was somewhere around 12km to 15km, and seeing the Kenyan and Ethiopian race leaders running back out of East Coast Park. It was just fucking incredible, and I would later realise the full weight of that feat when I finally got to where they were at around 28km. The East Coast Park stretch seemed to last forever, and at the entrance was where I saw their exit. Last year's fastest runners came in at 2 hours and 15 minutes. It is truly a tribute to the limits of human capability.
When I reached the end of East Coast Park, which was way past OBS and the midway point at between 20-21km, and made the turnaround to head back towards where I entered East Coast Park itself, that was when the whole physical limit ordeal started to kick in. It was like I learnt about the merciful relief of deep heat rub only today. I've never really suffered from cramps before and while I didn't cramp up throughout the whole run, it was always threatening to happen. At parts my legs just felt like they were disappearing. Every bodily fibre gets messed up - muscles, joints, bones - and when your leg muscles start to lose power it just draws energy from elsewhere - your neck, your arms, your back - such that everything just feels like hell.
When the en route drink stations started serving 100 Plus, the first drink I had was quite a surprise because I thought I'd grabbed yet another cup of plain water and the sensation and sweetness was just overwhelming. 100 Plus became an addiction and for most parts of the run I was craving for every upcoming drink station, and they never came soon enough.
The final half of the marathon was laced with an intermittent pattern of starting and stopping and crazy hunger pangs. I lost sense of myself and the road at times, and I was overtaking people and those same people were overtaking me in a dull, monotonous cycle. Run labourously until the whoosh of another looming cramp disables you, stop and stretch, walk, painfully start running again. Insane.
I hit the 37km mark and thought to myself, "wow it's like now I'm starting to run a 5km cross-country." Then came the 40km mark and I was like, "people complain they have to do 2.4km runs." Everything seems unbelievably small and insignificant when sized up against a full marathon.
There were many elderly people of both genders running too and I couldn't match up to them at times, having some of them overtake me, and it was funny that I felt like it wasn't a shameful thing. There were very strong young female runners too. I just wanted to bow down to them. Everything was just an incredible testament to human spirit.
Being in such running mental zones always totally transform my perspective and paradigms too, which has always fascinated me. Songs suddenly meant radically different things.
At the 9km mark I remember running behind a girl who was wearing a shirt that had the number 8 on it and some words. So I recalled thinking, "hahah 8km runner, what a pointless shirt - we're already onto 9km in a full marathon." Then as I got closer, I realised the words on her shirt read: 8 hour endurance run. Hahar oops, pwned.
I saw all kinds of nifty pouch-like gadgets carried by people on their waists that looked like SBOs.
This is an unceremoniously disjointed end to a largely regurgitative post about my virgin marathon. Time for the repair works to kick in on the semi-disabled limbs and skin chafing.
Teddy Geiger - For You I Will