Disclaimer: This post has no relation to Haruki Murakami’s book. However a very popular question that I get from spectators who were cheering for us by the roadside at 2 am was “Why is everyone doing this? Why is everyone up at 2 am?” has left me pondering. On the flip side, I have no idea why these villagers are not asleep too at 2 in the morning.
Passing by villages and its friendly population is the norm for Kuching Marathon. I enjoyed the supportive atmosphere from last year so much, that I decided to upgrade myself to the full marathon category for this year. Coupled by good reviews from runners who participated in previous years, I was convinced that I made the right choice to come to Kuching again. I was so wrong.
The race started very early in the morning at exactly 2 am. The gun time was perfect, as the sun is not out yet and we enjoyed the cool morning air. Just like last year, the race started with a quick prayer, asking for Allah’s blessings so this event will run smoothly, and to protect the runners from any harm or injury. The first 10km was a breeze, and everything was going well. It was only the “warm-up phase” anyways.
A few kilometers later I spotted a water station, but there was hardly a line since no one was stopping there. It turns out that they have ran out of water. “It’s ok, I still have some water from my own bottle”, I said to myself. It did not take very long my own supply to deplete quickly. Empty plastic bottles were strewn around the next few water stations, but still there was no water in sight. There was hardly any petrol station at this part of the route, and I had to resort to asking a runner if he could spare a few sips of his 100 Plus. Bless this gentleman’s soul for sharing!
By the 25km, perhaps my running form was really bad, or I looked like I was about to collapse, but I noticed that the medic van was slowly trailing behind me and the driver was looking very concerned. I was losing my momentum from the thirst. I tried to shake it off – DNF is not an option! The only way for me to end up on that van is when I really passed out, not when I almost feel like passing out. I decided to take it easy until I find water. I think it was best for me to take things down a notch so I don’t pass out from dehydration. My focus has shifted from achieving another PB for 42km to just completing the race within the cut off time.
Speaking of PBs, I did some self-reflection: I noticed that I have been improving for 10km and 21km, but I have yet to break the barrier at 30km, as it have been hovering around the 4:20-4:30 hour without much improvement. Any thoughts on why is this happening and how can I fix this?
I finished the race just barely within the extended cut off time (the organizers extended the cut off time from 6.5 hours to 7 hours), feeling exhausted like I have just finished the hardest race of my life. I don’t think that I will be back again for Kuching Marathon next year, but I’ll hunt for another full marathon event to renew my PB.
Until next week,
The Weekend Runner.