Keep Running to stay at the same place...
I have been taking the Firm strategy class quite seriously and one thing I have learnt and would like to implement is innovation. So, I thought I would get my class mates to start writing for this blog. This way it saves me time too...sinister!
There is no better way to start running than to run a marathon and kitmun my MBA classmate from Singapore ran the Hong Kong marathon.
The HK marathon took place on 12February with a record 40,000 runners taking part in various distances of the 10-year old event. Standing at the start line on that cool sunday at 8:15, the demands of the event and the fear of being able to cover the distance slowly started to sink in. You see, all the training hitherto had been on distances of 33k and below and after 3hours in a run, the thought of covering another 9-10k is quite a differnet thing altoghether.
Anyway on reflection, i have put together some of the most memorable parts of the event which I hope will make for interesting reading to those who are interested in taking up the sport or dare and sharing their own insights about running.
The most difficult part of the marathon was the training and the sacrifices that came with it. Now I know why completing a marathon is such a celebratory affair, it is because it marks the culmination of months of arduous physical and mental training,
Logging mileage was particularly difficult as I tried my best to cope with long solitary runs in the cold weather. Just the thought of the first few minutes of bone penetrating cold right now is already enough to send shivers down the spine.
Never underestimate the importance of support.
In Singapore, the communal lunacy of a bunch of hard-core runners getting up at 4am to run 30k, lended some semblance of normalcy but when you are running alone in the dark at 6.30 in Hong Kong and battling curious stares you know how much you miss your friends, and then the loneliness sets in ……., and the wild cheers that used to greet me when I returned last from a long run seemed just so far away….
Hence, it was a crazy uphill mental battle and when I stood at the start line on 12th Feb at Nathan Road, I experienced the ironic relief that it was the end of a very tough fight....
During the run
I never ran the course but it was excruciatingly boring, logging miles on the open highway where roads seemed to stretch on forever....
We had to battle wind chills and harsh winds running loops over two suspension bridges (Tsing Ma and Ting Kau bridge). And then there were two tunnels (one under a mountain and one which went under the sea) where the pervading sense of claustrophobia looms like a dark cloud over you.
Crowd support was also non-existent as the course ran through closed highways and bridges and tunnels. So it was really the inner voice that pushed those legs......
Greatest moments: (actually it was finding Fatima after one and a half hours)
Chewing on a chunky kitkat given out at 30k….it was the most heavenly taste of chocolate ever and the sugar high that came from it was most comforting ….and of course finishing the race at my all-time (actually only run 2x before) personal best (i had to double check that it was indeed 4:16) !
The agony of confronting a long steep ascent up a highway after emerging and climbing out of the Western Tunnel at the 36k mark, and the mental battle to put one feet infront of the other to slowly climb up the highway.
The frustration with my perceived timing when I noticed volunteers removing the traffic cones off the road and preparing the ready the road for traffic again created that feeling of defeat.
(read nine rules of surviving a marathon)