The first experience is always memorable. So here’s my story running first half marathon.
My wimpy legs
I have always been a swimmer as swimming has low impact on my legs. Running was never my thing due to my weak legs since young. I would fall on my knees when I jumped to catch a ball when I was young. I was neither an athlete, nor a sportswoman, and I was always the first from the back to reach the finishing lines at school runs. I did no proud for my house.
I continued to swimming and in-line skate when I was out of school, during university days and till today, I enjoy both. However, I got to know the beautiful running community in Malaysia mid 2013, and started running. I thought I should try after without much training, or rather 2 months preparation, my family and I managed to climb Mount Kinabalu in January 2013. We were slow but surely reached Low’s Peak (the highest peak at Mount Kinabalu). It was not easy, but not impossible.
Why Run Now?
I thought of giving it a try since there is no pressure to be super good, now that I am not at school. Although it is still a competitive sports, I could be myself and train at my own pace and improve. I could still try despite my limitations and no one would brush me aside for not being good enough. So I started running when I have time. From 3 km to 5 km to 10 km and 12 km. I do not join running groups as I don’t have the luxury of time due to many many other commitments in hands. I train when I can steal the time, be it at night or early in the morning. Most of the time, unplanned, hence – alone 3 times on weekdays and every Saturday and Sunday for average of 5 km each run. Reality is – I need to train and collect mileage. There is no short cut for that!
I get a lot of support from friends and family. My daughters and husband run with me. It serves as quality and healthy time for the family. My cousin and friends who are avid marathon runners happily agree to pace me for my first half marathon. I have never ran or train more than 12 km. But due to time constraint, I gave it a try at the Cyberjaya Twin City Marathon on the 21st December 2014. Eda Fatimawati and Intan Suraya gave me loads of encouragement and tips before the run. Karen Loh the founder of Malaysia Women Marathon (MWM) has always been supporting my intent to run a full marathon in 2015 by introducing me to running groups and giving me loads of encouragement. So does Lini Kazim, the iron lady. The undivided support from the running community is simply amazing.
How did the 1st Run Go?
At 5am, Eda, Intan and I started running from Persiaran Flora, Cyberjaya. The first 5 km was good, and both Eda and Intan said with the pace we were going at 7 min/km, we could finish in 2.5 hour. I was just aiming to finish, but upon hearing that remark, I thought I should finish below 3 hours. The next 6 km was alright despite running uphill twice at Cyberheights and along the Cyberjaya/Putrajaya intersection. After a 5 min subuh prayer at 12 km, my energy level went down. It was close to 7am and I was afraid of the sun. Somehow sunshine and my energy level never correlates. Plus, I have never ran more than 12 km before.
My legs were heavier and I was not able to push the same pace as the first 12km. I kept looking at my watch and knew it would be hard to reach soon since my pelvic bone was stiff. I kept telling myself – “I don’t want to get injured”. So I took it slow; ran and stopped a few times. Having to run with friends was fun. The route was rather plain, so a lil laugh and jokes with girlfriends helped. Eda (Nashata Fitness Evangelist) and Intan (Model of Nashata) ran effortlessly and that motivated me to be effortless too. But of course with much TRY. They were not pushing me rather, going at my pace.
It was a cool day, yet the sunshine tired me further..
When we were about 20 meter away from the finishing line, the timing was 2:57… and I was happy. We reached the finishing line at 2:58:05. We were greeted by my daughters and brother who completed their 5km fun run earlier. Dizzy and dehydrated, I took a sit and had my favourite drink.
I wouldn’t have made it under 3 hour without Eda and Intan. I was happy to have ran with these fabulous ladies. We made it as a team and no one was injured during and after the run.
My first 21km was a NUDGE to train more and harder. I have less than 3 months to train for my first 42km. It looks like I have to train 3 times harder.
So, What are the Health Benefits?
- Running has definitely improved my eating habits. I tend to eat lesser and more fruits. My body naturally wants better food intake
- I drink more water to stay hydrated
- I have improved my stamina and strength. My legs are a lot stronger now – no longer wimpy. So I am happy! I shall #runstrong!