The last time I did a full marathon was the June 2011 Christchurch SBS marathon. It was one of the worst running experiences I had in my entire running history. I stuffed up on ‘THE DAY’. I wasn’t prepared, didn’t take food with me, had the wrong type of clothes on, it was cold and miserable, and the most boring run I had ever done. I hit the wall at 25km struggled on to 30km, then had to walk for 10km. I was in pain, hungry, cold, and grumpy, it really scarred me. It took me almost 5 hours, but all I could think of, was that I walked for 10km. I was not proud of it. I knew in my heart I would have to run another marathon, properly, regardless of the time, and run it the whole way. Hence my enrolment for the upcoming Buller Gorge Marathon.
What I love about long distance running is the sense of freedom, and the sense of achievement. So I run, and have been running lots for over the last 6 years. When I first looked at the Beijing Olympics Marathon race, I was rather impressed with the women runners. It looked so simple, and the girl from Japan was not much bigger than me, and she ran fast. If she can, why can’t I (well not on the same speed but at least I can aim at completion). So I took on the challenge and did the Christchurch Marathon the following year, and had a great time running it. Took me about 4 hours and 30 mins, I trained in Taiwan, India, Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand. I loved the training journey, the hard work. The actual run was pretty cool, we had snow, rain, wind, sunshine, but I just had the best time. This great experience probably contributed to my lack of preparation for my second marathon.
The biggest challenge for me about doing my 3rd marathon, is actually my self doubt, and the preparation of it – can I run the whole way? Do I have the mental strength to hold it together for 5 hours? Can I make peace with myself? Should I push my boundaries that far? Do I have the discipline to stick to a training plan?
I started my training for this marathon on my last work trip to Nepal and India, it was not very successful. The hotel I stayed in Kathmandu only had one treadmill, and it wouldn’t go more than 6k/hour speed. Things got slightly better when I got to India and when a stopped briefly at home in Malaysia. But when I got home to New Zealand it was Christmas and New Year holidays. (Let’s not even talk about over eating, alcohol, and hangovers). Then I decided to go home to Malaysia for Chinese New Year to see my grandparents. It also took me forever to put the registration in. I know I was in denial, even though I was running consistently.
One thing for sure - traveling and holidaying is the wost thing you can do in the training programme. Firstly, is the change of routine, there is no routine! Secondly, heat. I can’t just put on my shoes on and go for a run when I have a moment. I went to the gym yesterday, and seriously it was the worst run. I hit the wall in about 5 mins, and how I completed the rest of 55 mins, I have no idea. I was so over heated I had to stop almost every 5 mins to have some water. So it is either I get up early to go for a run, or I get up early to go for a run (and I am not a morning person, trust me!)
Thirdly – Chinese New Year means that I have to follow a certain bigger plan. Chinese New Year is all about family, so I have to be at my grandparents place at certain times and then there is the food and catching up with everyone etc etc, and of course the majong training… Consequently I missed my 3 hr run on the 1st day of the new year and I haven’t been able to make it up yet.
In short, I am stuffed – and that’ life. I am not backing down on this race, and still have the next couple of weeks to do what’s needed to make it work. This race is a reflection on the current stage of my life, I am going to embrace all the pain that I know I am going to feel on the day and complete it! Don’t wish me luck, just wish that I have enough physical and mental strength on the day to survive the race.
Annie Goh, travelling runner.