Lorraine (Lor) is one of my PT clients, a unique one too A non-runner when she first signed up with me in August 2010, she had one simple goal in mind – to run a marathon. And so she did i.e. 4 months after. Here’s her part of the story. Enjoy!
MY FIRST MARATHON EXPERIENCE
I must be the world’s # 1 crammer. Writing a thesis of 80,000 words for four months (from scratch!) must qualify me for such a title—especially when you’re given fours years or so to do it. So, when I thought of ‘running’ a marathon, I thought I could easily do it with just a month’s training or so. Readers should forgive me for this as I was totally naïve to what long distance running entails. I’ve always wanted to run, in fact, I bought my first set of running trainers in 2008 but was only able to use it once (read: less than 20 minutes). I wasn’t confident running alone and would always look for someone to ‘run with’. That 20 minutes usage of my trainers in 2008 was my very first shot into running. I ran with a marathoner friend– it was a huge mistake! Not only did I slow him down, I also had to keep pace with him the whole time—but he was ever so patient with my ‘stops’ in order to catch my breathe.
Getting ready for a lonnngggg night ... apply sufficient petroleum jelly to your soles!
Fast forward to 2010. I still have my trainers with me. Carefully packed in its box, still looking very new! I decided to bring it to Malaysia with me thinking “Who knows? I might give running a try—again”. A dinner with a friend was the starting point to changing my running trainer’s condition, and apparently my passion for (wanting to know how) to run. I did ask my friend during dinner if she wanted to run with me because I wanted to do a marathon but I think she turned down the offer (uhh—I’m sure she did). I think one should be aware that I tend to set ‘crazy’ goals for myself out of the blue. I decided one point in my life to pursue a doctorate for ‘fun’—so I spent quite a number of years being a full-time student and finishing that 80,000 words thesis. After I handed in my thesis, I was so bored I thought of doing a sky dive, so off I went to the diving centre and went for a jump (it was just a tandem, couldn’t bother to go for the full training—I might not be bored by the time the training finishes).
I didn't know that Putrajaya is so beautiful at night!
So, that took care of my ‘goals’ for 2009, a doctorate and a sky dive. And of course, there is still the desire to experience finishing a marathon. Given that my friend opted out on me, she then referred me to a ‘trainer-friend’ who can train me to finally (!) run. That’s how I met Ian, late July 2010—and my life changed dramatically (!) since. My first question to Ian when we first met was “Am I going to run alone?” I told him that I wanted to do a 42km run. He said I should start out with a 10km first—I was a bit despondent when I heard this and was thinking “Huh? Only a 10km?!” (again, I am a non-runner—meaning I’ve NEVER ran more than 200 meters in my entire life, so that I think justifies my reaction) . That is when Ian told me that there is a 10km run in two and a half weeks time, meaning—he will be running with me the entire time during training and before going for that 10km. Perfect! I was confident I could easily finish a 10km—come on! What is that compared to a 42km right?
taking a one minute break from the heavy rain, at a bus shelter
So for our first few sessions, Ian asked me to ‘run’. And I did run, rather slowly I would think. And the 400 meters loop around my place almost killed me! I couldn’t go beyond 400 meters without stopping. And our goal was just to run those 400 meters. This is when I started to have doubts and realised that it must take so much effort to train for a marathon. The 10km now seemed like the 42km! And I just have about two weeks and a half to train! How will I manage? Surprisingly (and by some miracle), I did manage to pull off a 10km on my 9th DAY of running, despite a knee injury (I injured myself on the only day that I decided to run without Ian)—I finished with a 1hr 14 mins. Not bad. I was ecstatic! No soreness the morning after as well.
Ian says that stretching during the run is very important to avoid injuries.
BUT—it’s still a long way to that 42km. In between, we managed to run 15km and 21km ONCE. Others were 10kms with Ian and some 2 or 3km with me running alone—I was getting serious doubts again if I can pull off a 42km.How can I if I can only run around 2 or 3km alone? I know some people just love the feeling that running gives. I on the one hand, get sleepy whenever I run. I can think of nothing but to hit the sack and have a good sleep. My three and a half months of training for a marathon changed my life. I had to run when I could’ve just slept or watched a movie. At some point, I got pumped with too much running and speed works I just wanted to ‘take a rest’ from running. We were planning to run at the Penang International Marathon but the day I decided to register, the full marathon registration closed. Tough luck. Now there’s a reason (or excuse?) not to run the 42km in an official race.
Having a good 10min rest at 26th km. Ian says the break is very important to make sure I finish the marathon injury free. We took ORS and some cookies for the glucose spikes so that I would not end-up sleeping on the road
We had to settle for a mock 42km at Putrajaya . Nearing the 42km run, I told myself “This is what I trained for three months and a half right? I should just finish it.” But then I heard of ‘hitting the wall’ and some runners crawling to the finish line. I thought to myself “Great! That would be me!!” Despite reassurances from Ian that I won’t end like that, the short training time and little mileage that this non-runner has made me ask myself if I can really finish a 42km? Plus, the last time I did a long run was two weeks before the supposed 42km run. We did two consecutive 10kms and that’s it. I did manage to run my 2km maybe three days before the 42km—but that was about it! We did eventually manage to run at Putrajaya last Saturday in the rain.
At around 26km, I was SO sleepy I could just sleep right there and then. I wasn’t really tired. My legs weren’t so tired, but I was just soooo sleepy. This was when we had our ‘pit stop’ of about 10minutes. Ian ate some noodles, I didn’t touch mine. I was not hungry. I “forced” myself to munch a cookie or two and take in an energy gel and rehydration salts (upon instruction!). At that point, I wanted to ask Ian if we can just go home and run the 42km the next day. I so wanted to ask him that but I stopped myself from doing so. And why should I? He just about announced to EVERYONE that we will be running a 42km that night. I couldn’t let him down! This was more the motivating factor for me more than anything. I guess part of the training I got was to put up with the ‘mental’ challenge. Though I’m aware I still need to improve a lot in this area even if I was told I’ve improved much since my first run.
I am so shhhwweeepppyyyy!
So to cut the story short, we did manage to pull off a 42km after running for about 5 hours (can you believe it?). It was such a ‘leisurely’ run, we even had the chance to take a couple of photos like tourists (errr—we were after a time). It was a walk –run –walk-run-walk (!!) for me. And a SPRINT when Ian asked me to apply some heating ointment to my legs at around 23km when I started to feel a bit tired. It was so HOT I felt like my legs were burning. I had no choice but to try to ‘get away’ from the burning sensation by running—FAST! (yes, she ran at 13km/hr) I was ecstatic again (and still am!) to finish a 42km, the same feeling when I finished my first 10km.
Yeaahhhh, I did it!
But I guess more than finishing the run, finishing strong made me appreciate running the ‘marathon’ more. I did not hit the wall (woohoo!), no injuries, no blisters (my anti blisters socks could’ve helped here plus the loads of petroleum jelly I placed on my feet—but then again it rained!) and most importantly, no black toe nails! There was also minimal soreness the morning after, and I did manage to run my 2-3 km the following morning. I felt a bit of tightness on my legs upon waking up but then disappeared within a few hours.
It was a terrific experience training with Ian. Also him being so patient to my constant cries of “Im sleepy” whenever we’re running. I enjoyed the runs and the speed works during the entire programme. Thank goodness, no 30+ km LSD for me, just proper training that incorporates speed works, proper nutrition, hydration and rest. So that’s how we crammed the 42km, my goal for 2010.
and that has officially made me a CORPORATE ATHLETE.
Hmmm, I wonder what’s up for next year?
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