42.195KM.My heart never really felt perturbed as I clicked the “REGISTER” button on the Full Marathon page. Soon enough I was going to learn that this was to be the journey of my life.
Never have I ran this long a distance, and never have I ran with this much emotion. The marathon as I now see it, was not just a battle of strength and stamina but in fact a psychological war which had dimensions I never knew existed.
Pondering about this “great challenge” which left me with sore legs and an overwhelmed mind, I decided that I should write an account, the experience of my heart journeying this distance.It all began in an early morning on the 20th of November 2011.In the stillness of that early morn; I knew that I was at the going for a great test of mental and physical endurance.
After having an extra early meal, I hastily drove off to Queensbay where the marathon was to begin. Sharp 2.00 AM the marathon began and the sea of participants started moving albeit, slowly. I kept telling myself “Slow pace, slow pace, Rexy!” so that I won’t speed off and wear myself out early on.
Going at a slow and gentle pace of 10KM per hour, I was able to sustain myself well for the first 20KM.Then as everything seemed to go very much uneventfully, I decided to slow down and finally start walking. A regretful decision indeed! At first the feeling was, AHH, finally some rest for my legs!
Soon as I kept moving forward at my “Starwalk” like pace, a subtle pain started manifesting itself behind my knees. I realised it was not a pain that would go off immediately. After some time, my legs were just crying out in pain asking me to stop. Succumbing to this pain, I sat by the pavement to massage my worn out legs.
As I sat down there relieving my aching legs, I glanced at the fellow marathoners passing by. Looking intently at their faces, I realised I was not the only one in this mental tug of war. Distraught and embattled faces outnumbered those who had some kinda cheer. Turning a deaf ear to my leg's relentless cry, I stood up and kept marching on.
As I descended the Bridge a thought of relief filled my mind.”Finally some rest for my legs!”Little did I know the journey was far from over. It would test me to my farthest limits.
This last stretch from Penang Bridge to Macallum and then back to Queensbay was about 12-15KM , a distance very much fine for a seasoned runner. But after covering 30 KM,I felt very much exhausted. Every kilometre seemed like a huge hurdle. As time ticked away, I knew it was a losing battle to reach my goals.
Confidence ebbed away. Finishing the marathon in 5 hours was the first aim; soon it was 5.5 hours and then 6 hours. The thought of not going back with the finisher medal and T-shirt haunted me. “What if I don’t complete in 7 hours?” “Will I get my finisher medal?” These questions raced back and forth my mind.
Confidence, strength and stamina were all at an all time low but I knew if I kept pushing, perhaps, by the grace of G-d there would be some hope.
As I approached the final 5KM of the journey it became almost a hellish experience. Almost every 5 minutes I would sit down to massage my overstrained legs and then hastily get up to brisk walk again. Soon it was down to the final 1KM.
I knew the pain, torture and misery were coming to an end, and so with every bit of energy I had within me, I sprinted to the finish line.6 HOURS 16MINUTES 44SECONDS.I was satisfied :)