From the euphoria of victory to the pain of just competeing. The efforts of a veteran runner.
It all began back in 2012.
After an extended running break from competitive running, of some forty years Running a Marathon appeared at the top of my bucket list.
Earlier it had been straight forward crossing off the easy ones, the bungee jump, parachuting, white-water rafting, African safari, you know all the items that take no training just a little time, cash and gumption.
This time around I had to put in some meaningful effort, some training, I vaguely remembered what that entailed from my youth, so looking through the local, Malaysian, running calendar I found the perfect event, the Penang Bridge International Marathon, almost four months away, surely enough time to get this odd shaped body whipped into shape!
So now registered for the said race and almost five months and of dedicated training planned, well sort of jotted down on a scrap of paper, I began my early morning appointments with the tar and kampongs around Banting, Malaysia.
Having run little further than for a bus in the last thirty years it was not an easy journey. The dedicated training became getting out as often as I could which became as often as I felt like it.
After all I had not set my sites high just finishing. What is more I was 'training' to a Hal Higdon plan aimed at sub five-hour.
Hal Higdon's view of distance running and my idea of how to complete this marathon were very much from the same page:
"Running is basically a simple sport. You lead with the left foot, follow with the right foot, and continue"
01:30 November 18th 2012 arrived to find me setting off on my virgin marathon amongst a throng of more the three-thousand eager runners. After a near forty year sabbatical and with a single longest distance of 32 kilometres firmly tucked under my belt I was away and feeling so good.
What training I had completed had gone pretty well. All in all, five months became three, with gaps of differing lengths, but I was there and, yes, I was feeling great.
I could not understand what all the worry and fuss was about, almost half-way and just one-hour fifty-seven minutes on the clock, it was a breeze. Off the far end of the bridge, turn around through the underpass, up the feed in road and some bugger has hung a ten kilo weight to each leg!
The following twenty-two or so kilometres took an eternity that felt so much longer, the wall, yes that wall, was higher and wider than I could ever had imagined. The only way to the finish was straight through it, no strength left just shear guts and bloody-mindedness but through it I got and I crossed that white line weaving from side to side at less than walking pace, but, I crossed that white line.
I am no philosopher but I learnt one momentous thing that day
I LOVE RUNNING