I made it! (and OW it hurts…)

I can now scratch off one of my resolutions for the year – that of completing a full marathon. 🙂

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It’s the first time I’ve EVER done this, and I’m feel pretty proud of myself (feeling pretty sore too).  My time wasn’t that great – I came in around 6hrs 41mins – and the cutoff time was 7hrs.  To be honest, I barely made it.

The primary reason it took me so long was because my bum knee kicked in at around the 12km mark.  I started off slowly, but it just started hurting again at a quarter of the way in and from that point I was forced to run/walk/run/walk the remainng 30km.  It was incredibly frustrating.

Another reason I took so long was because it took my “block” 20 minutes to even get past the start line!  With so many runners (30,000+) I guess it couldn’t be helped, but next time I hope to be placed somewhere closer to the start line so those 20 minutes aren’t lost.

The final reason I was so slow was… call of nature.  At around the 12km mark, I figured I’d stop and line up for a bathroom break, and give my knee a few minutes to rest up at the same time.  Bad idea.  I ended waiting at least 20min to use the bathroom, and that was the reason I barely crossed the 15km line before cutoff.

There were multiple cutoff points along the route – 15km had to be completed in 2hrs 38mins, and as you can see in the table below, I made it with NO time to spare.  In fact, I was the last one across that line as I dashed through just as the officials were roping off the 15km point – if I’d been 30 seconds slower, it would have been the end of race for me.

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That actually put more pressure on me, since I didn’t have any more of a “buffer” between the cutoff points, so I just kept going on – no more bathroom breaks for me!

I think the hardest period was the 25km to 30km period.  By then I was tired, legs were burning so much that I couldn’t feel the knee pain anymore (since EVERYTHING hurt), and I also started getting lighted-headed as energy levels were dropping.  I recall staring intently at every single eating spot I ran by (some of which were emitting some wonderful smells…).  Luckily I had some energy gels that my coworker had given to me, and those helped carry over that rough patch.

From 30km onwards, I knew it was in the bag.  12km is about the equivalent of 2 laps around the Imperial palace so it was just a matter of taking each kilometer as it came.   At that point, it was really a matter of willpower.  I think I even managed to speed up (from a walk to a hobble) because my legs were so dead I couldn’t feel much.  That, and the end was in sight. 🙂

Though it was bad for the runners (it was raining and very cold), the spectators probably had it just as bad as we did.  At least the runners warmed up from the physical exercise.  The spectators though, had to stand there, huddled under umbrellas, and cheer us on.  I’m really grateful to all the people who held out snacks of chocolate and crackers – particularly towards the end, those snacks gave me the last bit of energy I needed to keep going.  It was incredibly cheering to see people (including families and children) shouting “Gambare!” “Fight, fight!”.  I even pet a dog that one man was holding up. 🙂

All in all, it was an incredibly challenging experience.  Would I do it again?  Probably!  I do plan on training a little better this year though – AFTER my legs recover.  Despite the pain, it’s just something I can feel proud of doing, of pushing myself hard, and making it to the end.

For those interested, you can click on the link below and enter 6hrs 41min (as shown in the image) to see a video clip of me as I cross the finish line. 🙂


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