You know what? Sometimes it’s good to have a certain goal in doing something, especially in progressing into higher state or level. But at times, getting to the goal itself may eat your self from the back, or front, or from your knees.
As planned since the week earlier, last Saturday I had planned with Kash to run 30km plus, or at least to reach 3 hours of running time. The last long distance run I did was a painful 24km, with a terrible running time of 2hrs40mins.
I sms-ed Kash on Friday evening as I hopped into the express bus going back to KL from JB (yup, I’m a weekend husband/daddy), to confirm whether the planned run on Saturday is still ON or not. She said “yes”, and I started to feel nervous again. Nervous because I think 30km and above is as a super long mileage to cover. Even cycling with an average speed of 30km/hr will take you about an hour to finish.
I reached home kind of late and managed to get asleep by around 12.30am. Alarm was set to shout at me by 5.40am. Heck, with just over 5 hours of sleep, I’m not really sure whether I could wake up on time at the first place! It was one of the hardest mornings to wake up with a complete combination of tiredness from whole week of work and travelling and not having enough
If there was one thing, and one thing only that had pushed me to get prepared for the run was – the anticipation to see how can I survive running that 30km! I know for sure with my slow pace that I would need to run for more than 3 hours.
If you want to visually feel how far 30km is (for those who never run 30km, like me), try going to mapmyrun.com and plot on the map a 30km route, starting from your house (or office, or toll Plaza Sg. Besi), to wherever that 30km will bring you. It’s far. And if you fancy running on a track fields (like those inside a stadium), you need to run SEVENTY FIVE LOOPS. Dare to even imagine doing that?
OK, back to the main story.
The morning of that nice and shady Saturday, I arrived slightly earlier at the promised meeting point. Enough time for me to chew on two cream buns, two sticks of Milo wafer biscuit and half a liter of water. Stretched out the legs, preparing the legs for the torture.
Kash picked me up and we went straight to the Kiara park. She said we’ll be doing two small and two big loops at the park before heading out to the main road. I just nodded my head and follow her direction, as I don’t really know the route she had planned. One thing I know, the total distance for the day would be 30km, at least. The first one hour was spent there, circling the park.
This time, knowing exactly where I would be running (the route), I broke the run into smaller pieces, into the shape of “going to the next stop point”. The first stop point was the Petronas station. A can of Gatorade flowed down my throat in seconds. So, I bought another bottle of Gatorade for my fuel belt bottles refueling. From then on, I felt heavy with water in my tummy and water in the two water bottles I carried.
After the Petronas stop, we ran on the very hilly route somewhere behind the Petronas (relatively speaking). Lucky we had a very shady morning, or else that would be first place where I might started walking.
Going past the Plaza Damas, I started to have the mental game of “to-run-or-not-to-run”. It was already almost 2 hours into the run by this time, and I can’t wait to get to the u-turn point. We kept running, a bit slowly when going up some of the small climbs, and back to normal speed when on the flat.
I asked Kash about how she’s doing, as I could hear her heavy breathing since the start of the run. She claimed to feel a bit “mengah”, especially when ascending. As for me, breathing was still OK, but the pain at the knees area started to surface.
We made the u-turn behind the LHDN building and I asked Kash to stop for a while. I wanted to give up actually, a sudden rush of fatigue crept in. I stopped for few seconds, drank some more, trying to catch up a little bit of breath. I knew Kash had a certain target for the run, and I didn’t want to put any damage to it (by stopping), so I gathered some strength and continued running, heading back.
Soon, Kash told me we’ve passed the 20km mark. The pain at my knees was getting stronger, but still bearable. At the long slope nearby Plaza Damas, I started to walk. I told Kash I didn’t want to damage my knees and I wanted to save some energy for the remaining 10km run.
I remember when running up the super steep hill during Kenyir triathlon last April, where there was a participant, a lady who still kept on running very slowly that she couldn’t even overtake me, who was walking. It was somehow funny for me, that a running person was travelling slower than a walking person. I laughed in my heart every time I remember about that experience.
The same case happened again, when Kash was struggling up the hill running, trying to catch up with me who was already walking slightly ahead of her. Well, not that I was walking fast, but I guess even if I run, I would be running as slow as if I was walking. True enough, when going up those kind of slopes after 2 hours plus of running.
Another glance at my stopwatch, it was showing 2hr 35minutes. 5 minutes more to break my previous record. I started to smile, happy to be able to run that far. When the time showed 2hr40min, ”Yeayy.. I made it!!!”, I shouted silently in my heart as I broke my own long distance record, yet again.
I guess that might have been the extra source of strength that kept me moving forward. I turned back and noticed Kash had been slowing down a bit. I continued running to the Petronas station, can’t wait to rehydrate as I’ve already ran out of water supply.
Arriving at the Petronas station, I could feel the intensity of the pain at my knees. I did some stretching with the hope to ease the pain. ”How good if I can end the run here, and not any further”, I told myself. Kash was also feeling the pain on her calves and ankles. It was amazing to see how fast she finished the 500ml Gatorade. Hahahaa, yeah, she was very thirsty and tired. So was I.
Perhaps, the run from then on was the toughest for the day. Legs were already feeling the fatigue. If there was somebody in front of me, that person would have had the opportunity to see my bad face expressions as I hold the pain to keep on moving. Kash got dropped again. I looked behind once in a while to make sure she was still running.
Once I passed by the KLGCC, I stopped and waited for her. Obviously it was not fun to be running alone especially if there will be ascends again in front. Somehow I can sense that both of us won’t be able to run up the slopes. So, we better start walking. At least, we were still moving forward.
Wanting to finish the run strong, we continued running towards the park after the last hill travelled walking. My stopwatch showed 3hr 35min as we halted the run at the gate of Kiara Park. It was a total of 31km, according to Kash.
Another new record for my self – and I’m glad I survived it. This won’t materialize if I were to do it alone. So, thanks so much again to Kash for the good company.
And yes, now I know that running for 3 hours or more is painful. However, sooner or later the pain will go away but the experience stays in your memory box, right? (or at least the story remains inside this blog, as long as its existence)