I think it has to be the t shirt. It must be the fucking tshirt because it surely wasn't for anything else.
I have to admit the mistakes on my part. I could have been too cavalier with my preparation. I think I should have been running every day instead of just going for long distances every weekend. I should not have taken my foot off the pedal so completely over the last 2 weeks that I even didn't feel that hyped up for the marathon. Most of all, I should not have been carbo loading the previous day with donuts (!) and nasi lemak (!) and lek tau suang (!).
It started off OK. I was never going to make a spectacular timing, and we calculated that the best we could hope for was 6 hours. Along the way I was even exuberent enough to make rude remarks while running past the building that used to be Lehman brothers, heckle back an angmoh who was heckling us, and cheer for the front leading Africans by going "OWWW!" like Michael Jackson. My usual obnoxious self, in other words.
Even when we slowed down, it was according to schedule. Things started going wobbly around the 25 km mark, and by the 28km mark, I had to start walking.
Then it happened. I couldn't help noticing that even walking was painful. At first I thought that my calf was tight. Then I realised: shit! I was cramping with 14 km to go!
My eventual timing was a little less than 7:30. I think, if I didn't have the cramp, but had to slow down, my timing would be 7:00. But to fully take into account what the last 14 km was like, hobbling through it took me more than 3 hours. Yes, I screwed up my timing big time, not that I really care about the timing because I'm just in this to complete. But when I am limping around (OK, not limping around but every step hurts) for 14 km. I have the right to claim that finishing this marathon was an achievement in itself.
Not that the organisers were particularly helpful. All the drink stations in the last 10 km had run out of 100 plus: quite naturally because we were the stragglers with cramps. Which means those people who need their salt were just not getting it. I was getting really hot under the collar at not getting my 100 plus and finally I had to run - limp, actually - to the nearest petrol kiosk to get it.
3 hours of saying to myself, "you're the man. You can get through this." I looked at all the people lying by the roadside, stretching their leg muscles and told myself, "you're doing something that these people can't do." Hardly fair, because if your cramps are serious enough you just have to stop. There's no way you can continue. But this was going to be my shining moment, I would walk 14 km through agony to reach the end. There were tears - I hadn't gone through as much physical agony since NS. But I knew that it was possible - barely possible for me to complete. I just had to endure the pain.
The fucking MC at the end was saying to us, "this is the end. Why don't you run instead of walking? Walk some more!" Fleeting thoughts of grabbing the mike and offering an expletive ridden explanation of my condition crossed my mind but I thought the better of it. Anyway nobody could accuse me of not having a sense of humour - I could always retort that grabbing the mike was situationist humour.
I suppose my helpful father in the end helped me brainstorm for things that had gone wrong. Today just reinforced my earlier decision that this will be the last time I will ever run a marathon in my life. I just don't have running technique, I'm liable to get myself injured, and I'm rather lucky I ever managed to cross the finishing line. Thank goodness for that.
I thought I would be struggling with my legs after the marathon. It wasn't the worst of my problems. My stomach was bloated from the energy bars I had dumped into it for the marathon. So I decided not to drink water after the thing. I went straight to sleep, and I think I probably got a heat stroke while sleeping. Then I woke up to have dinner, and then my head was spinning and I was shivering all over. I had to pop 2 panadols and sleep the damn thing off. I was constipated for 24 hours after the end of the marathon and couldn't eat much after that.
I have always thought of myself as an old man and I think I just sounded like one.
On another note, I had compared the marathon to the haj so it's suitable that both take place within 1 day of each other. I'm reading a book now, "The Siege of Mecca" by Yaroslav Trofimov, about the haj of 1979 when some Muslim terrorists took over the mosque.
I'm rereading this again after nearly 5 years. I haven't had as great an achievement as this one but I'm on the verge of another achievement. I just want to make a note: shingot said that I did this alone. I didn't do this alone. I had a running partner who trained with me and put up with my shit on an almost weekly basis for almost 2 years, in 2007, leading up to the half marathon. In 2008, leading up to the marathon. We ran the marathon together until the 28km mark, when I realised that I was unable to carry on running. That was when I signalled him to carry on, own time own target. He finished maybe half an hour ahead of me. That partner of mine does not know the existence of this blog but I want to extend my appreciation to him. I couldn't have done it without him.