My knee seized up after 21k so i hobbled back the rest of the 21 k hell bent on avoiding a DNF "did not finish".
It was my most difficult long run physically and mentally coz i knew i wasn't going to meet my time target but i still had to go on - in this walk of shame and painful self flagellation. Maybe I should have trained more properly. Maybe I should have done my long runs.
The marathon was penned into 3 categories a) the elites b) the 4 to 6 hr decent runners c) the more than 6.
The more than 6 was where i was. I saw a 78 year old guy who had a tag saying "age is not a barrier" and he had 3 marathons for the year listed including Boston. There was a woman who looked 60 plus who was wearing a cheong sam. And I saw a couple from Africa wearing their state flag. There were a few couples who took their PDA to entirely different level and ran the whole marathon hand in hand. I must have looked ridiculous too with my tevas and at some point, I let my fashion sense all hang out when i put on a pair of socks to avoid chafing. Sandals and socks. OMG.
Apart from a few bottlenecks at the start, you could pretty much break free and run along. My strategy was to break my marathon into a bar of music and take it 4 steps at a time and keep an even tempo.
When my knee seized up, probably because i my body was trying tell me something, i started walking, stopping to rest, massaging the spot and praying. My reflexive action when I am down on resources.
At one point, i sat down on a rock at the 33 km mark and wanted to be just left there and die, except it really looked like there was no good Samaritan out there who will be able to help me...so I had to snap of the self pity and keep walking.
When I reached the last 150 metres, my vanity took over and I broke into a run. Must look good for the camera finish mah! I tried to fake a smile but I realized that i didn't have to coz I was genuinely happy that it was over and I completed it without calling the ambulance.
7 hrs something. I didn't even bother to stop my stopwatch to record the time.
====== On my way to MRT, I met a 50 year old woman beaming coz she just completed her first marathon. Her name was Sandran. We compared our walking distance, complained about the heat and smelly guys in compression tights. I was so glad to talk to someone who had been to exactly where I had gone and understood.
How, I asked her, what do i tell my friends when they ask me how i did? 7 hrs plus. So lao kui leh?
Lao kui? I will be so proud! Some of my friends younger than me don't dare to run this marathon.
And that's when I knew, I would probably run again, 6 hours or no 6 hours, marathon or no marathon....simply because if I was ever going to wear being 50 with pride, then I need to be just like Sandran.