Encouraging drums were thrashed, frantic “all the best”s were uttered and limbs were sprung into full action as us maniacs dashed off into the darkness, enthusiastic as ever. Puff, pant, gasp, wheeze, we shuffled down the first incline like a stampede of unruly schoolchildren, looking over shimmying shoulders for familiar faces to tag along with.
The first kilometre went off as well as I could have hoped. I stubbornly stuck to the middle of the pack and repeatedly reminded myself to stick to what my legs told me and not get swayed by the initial speed of the crowd. This turned out to be pretty solid advice as sure enough, in a few minutes people were already being forced to a stop, their energy burned out by a few moments of reckless sprinting.
Shadows overlapped and danced about on the tarred road as I stumbled my way to a reasonable pace, all the while keeping my eyes on Althea, a fellow runner who I’d promised myself I’d trail throughout the course of the marathon.
I ended up losing Althea in the first 5KM itself, which was a total bummer because her animated chatter helps you forget that you’re running [if that makes any sense].
So I trudged on, -this time without someone to talk to- mentally making a note of every kilometre sign I crawled [at least, that’s what it felt like] past;
Okay, okay, 4 done. That leaves me with, what, a little more than 80% to go? Piece of cake.
Ah, 5 down. Seems like a LOT more, to be honest.
I’m only just hitting SIX? Gosh, am I slowing down or WHAT? Come on, Trusha, move a little bit faster…
Wait, it’s only 7KM NOW? Is it just me or did we pass this board half an hour ago?!
Aha! 8KM. Hey, this is actually pretty fun!
Wow, is it already NINE KILOMETRES? I’m barely even feeling anything!
You have GOT to be kidding me. TEN ALREADY?
Honestly. It CAN’T be the turnaround! I don’t want this to be halfway through! I am having the TIME. OF. MY. LIFE!
Hands down the EASIEST 12KM of my LIFE. I can’t even feel a- OUCH! CRAMP!
And that was the end of my first EVER half-marathon attempt.
Just kidding [thank God]!
At around twelve and a half kilometres, however, I was hit with a pretty bad case of cramps that not only caused me to slow down considerably, but also made me realise for the first time that morning how extremely humid it was. I was pretty much soaked and, as I surveyed the runners around me, it looked like I wasn’t the only one.
So I wrung my shirt, clutched my sides [which somewhat eased the cramp] and hobbled my way into the thirteenth kilometre, looking [I’m sure] like some sort of deformed, running teapot.
I was beginning to believe that I might just finish the entire thing with a decent timing when I felt a fresh, more powerful wave of pain cruise through my bloodstream and screeched to a very unpleasant stop. My insides felt like they were bouncing about on a trampoline [NOT a pleasant sensation] and my right arm became sore from having to grip my stomach for an entire half hour.
Needless to say, it was not one of my finer running moments.
After a few seconds of internally pep talking myself [“If you finish this thing, you can have five- no TEN bars of Choconutty ice cream from Double Dip! TEN!”], I restarted, my body lurching forward.
I overtook and got overtaken by hundreds of people, but barely noticed it at the time. Right then, all I wanted to do was complete the distance, race back home and immerse myself in a cold-water bath. I didn’t care about the medal, stopped thinking about my timing, didn’t bother about the other runners. I just wanted –needed– to finish it…