A marathon is a test of the body, the mind and your character to finish the race.
Well, that statement above is an original based on the actual experience I had running and finishing the 42-kilometer race. It has only been a week since the TBR Dream Marathon concluded.
The race did not start quite good for me. The adrenaline was there but the small amount of sleep caught up with me. I had frequent breaks at the portalet maybe because of the temperature (23 deg C at 2 a.m.) and the liquid I took before the race. I actually had three trips to it even before the race started. I also had tummy problems while running. I'm thinking it's because of the bananas I took during the race. What's wrong though is I still ate them even though I did not practice having it during my training runs, bad decision. I should have stick to the carb gels I have brought with me. The race route is difficult as well since it's hilly. When I finished the race, the elevation I was able to track was 477 meters. The elevation I ran on my 32K run was only 201 meters. It's way below the actual race and you can really imagine the difficulty if you're not used to running that kind of elevation.
It was really tough. I'm trying to achieve a decent 6-hour finish but ended up going an additional 1 hour and 21 minutes. My legs and feet have experienced pain around the 25K mark and all I'm thinking at that moment is finish the race. Racing a marathon is also mental so I composed myself when the pain started to enter. My portalet trips and tummy have stabilized by that distance already so it's a different challenge up to the end of the race. As I was running the 28K mark, I took a break and had my legs sprayed. But before I resumed, I grabbed some mixed nuts from the tent stationed there. The salty taste made a lot of difference, it might have released my endorphins triggering a positive feeling to my body. After that, I looked for some more chips in the next stops aside from water. After the mixed nuts, the wet sponges helped a lot in cooling my body. We are very fortunate to have a cloudy weather on race day but when the sun started to shine, these wet sponges helped in stabilizing my body temperature from the heat. I placed the sponges on my left and right shoulder under my shirt. I kept them wet with cold water from the hydration stations. I kept them before I reached the 40K mark.
Having the right training is just one factor in a marathon event. You also need to have the mental toughness and perseverance to complete the race. What I experienced during the event tested my character a lot. I changed my mindset in every difficult situation and kept the goal in place -- to finish the race no matter what. For example, instead of thinking the finish line that is still far, I thought of reaching smaller milestone marks first along the route. It made a sense of accomplishment. The whole event is a great learning experience which I can apply to future running races. I once heard someone say that once you start running, you won't easily remove it from your system. I have it already and I think it will stay for a long time.