Just a few more days to go and Malaysia Women Marathon or simply called MWM will be held for the second time.
The inaugural MWM 2013 was my first full marathon. And quite a few of us were first time full marathon runners at the event too.
I'm not sure how the event will be this year or whether I’ll be running in it or not, judging from the current hazy weather that we are experiencing right now but I hope and believe that the organisers will make the best decision for everyone.
When I first started running regularly, I had never thought of ever joining a road race. I only wanted to keep fit and running was a replacement for gym sessions. I didn't want to renew my gym membership and had thought that running would be the most flexible form of exercise there is. Put on shoes. Run. Right? Righttttt… hehehe
There was a time that I had thought that I would never be able to run a marathon (which means a run of 42.195km by the way) or commit to training for one. Time away from the family was one excuse. The distance was another. The commitment to do one scared me. Plenty of excuses, at first.
I ran my first 10K in Sep 2011. I loved running in races and wanted more so I decided to try and train for a half-marathon in Dec 2011; with the aim ofdoing SCKLM 2012.
I followed Runner’s World Training plan for my first half-marathon. I started with first building up my base mileage then followed by a 9-weeks half-marathon plan for beginners and proceeded with another 9-weeks plan for intermediate level. It was actually a tough plan but it taught me how to do intervals, speedworks, long runs and made me very aware of my pacing.
June came and jitters came too. I was very much in doubt that I could run 21.1km even on the morning of the race and had contemplated just staying in the nice bed at the hotel we were staying in. I didn’t and I ran.
Boy, I ran. Hahaha (Announcing whatever runs you’re going to do on the social media has its benefits. If you bail out from a race because you’re a chicken and not because of a valid reason, there’s the “malu” factor if you DNS a run. He he)
I ran for 2 hours 31min 29sec that day. I hadn’t thought I’d be able to do 2:30 but when I passed Sogo, it was another kilometer to go and I had only 6minutes to go for a 2:30 timing. I knew I wouldn’t make it for a sub 2:30 but I just had to give it a shot and I ran all my worth to the finish line which resulted in ugly finishing photos. Muahaha
1 minute and 29 sec slower than a 2:30 timing but I was elated! (Anyway, it was 28min 31sec faster than what I told people my target finishing time was)
I continued to do a few more half-marathons in 2012 after that, Taiping International Marathon, Putrajaya Night Marathon, CICM Responsible Care Run, Penang Bridge International Marathon and Newton Challenge. Newton Challenge was up to that point the longest race I did, as I entered the 25K category.
I started to want to go for more so I registered myself for Borneo International Marathon. For full marathon. I ended up not going but luckily, there was Malaysia Women Marathon.
While I used Runner’s World plan for my half-marathons, I decided to follow Finish with FIRST training plan for my marathon training. It’s an 18-weeks plan, that began with a 13K long run and progressed to a 32K long run three
weeks before my marathon. 3 key runs a week. One speedwork, one tempo and
one long run. The other days were for cross-training.
I am blessed with very supportive family and training didn’t pose much a
problem. I try to incorporate races into the training plan whenever I can because I miss the joy of running in races. That, or I just run around my apartment’s carpark either very late at night or very early in the morning to avoid inconvenience (and also to avoid awake neighbours from seeing me going round for hours).
Newton Challenge was actually a part of my training run. I had aimed to finish in 3hours 10minutes and I did 3:06. It was underdistanced so I was actually a bit behind my target pace for it. I was happy nonetheless.
The next run was Brooks Half Marathon 2013. I had just recovered from a flu and did badly in it. 2:59:16 for a half-marathon! A personal worst. But unlike Energizer Night race in 2012 when I was 20minutes slower than my target finishing time and beat myself up for it, I just let the bad timing slide. C’est la vie.
Malaysia Women Marathon 2013 was a month after Brooks. I was having pre-race jitters early and feeling panicky on whether I had trained enough for my marathon. I even took a day off one Wednesday and spent it running in Lake Garden and finishing up at Dataran Merdeka at 10.30am! Ahhh…. Those were the times.
I was so scared I wouldn’t be able to run further than 30K, I actually requested hubby to wait and run the final 10K with me at MWM.
Son and hubby were there giving me full support. We made a slight change. As Son insisted in cheering for me, both hubby and son promised to wait for me
at the last 5K mark instead of 10K and both of them promised to pace me to the finish line. They also waited for me at the halfway mark to cheer mommy on before proceeding to wait for me at the promised km.
That day, it wasn’t just me running 6hours +. My son and hubby were on their feet, cheering and walking the same amount of hours too!
I was feeling great at the race. I wasn’t fast, that’s for sure. But I wasn’t that slow that it got me worried either. I was getting a second wind approaching the last 5K of the run when I met hubby and son again. I had wanted to jog till the finish line but after realizing that I was leaving my son behind, I stopped.
Yes, I can try get a good timing for my first marathon but that would mean leaving behind my family who had been so supportive of my journey so I decided to screw timing and finished my run, walking hand-in-hand with son.
Hubby ran first because he wanted to grab a can of Malta for me and waited a
kilometer from the finish line.
Hubby did say to me to stop using my son as an excuse for my slow timing that day. But no. I wasn’t using him as an excuse. I tell people I walked with son for 5K to the finish line because I was (and still am) so proud of him. The poor boy was awake from 3am for his mommy. He was tired. Can I blame him for not running with me? Of course not!
It was the least I can do to ensure that he did the final kilometers with me happily. I want to cultivate interest not kill it.
I did a slow 6hours 36min that day. But I was happy.
I did another marathon later, running with hubby later in November at the Putrajaya Night Marathon shaving off 21min despite not having enough training for it. Despite my earlier plans, MWM 2014 will only be my third full marathon. I don’t mind. I’m not in a hurry and not in competition to run a lot of marathons. I did two marathons and I also already did a 50K.
All with the support of my family.
Yes, I am blessed with such a supportive family. They weren’t keen in running at first but both my husband and son had run in races with me a few times now.
But is running; 10K, 15K, 21K, 42K out of reach for some?
I know not everyone has the same support as I do. But what I did when neither the hubby nor the son was interested in running was
1. I train at a time that did not take time away from them especially the son. Weekdays that meant after son’s bedtime. Though now son does look forward to my weekend long runs as he gets to spend it at home parents-free until 12.00pm.
2. I did not linger when I finished a run. Effectively that meant, when I go out for a run, I made sure I won’t come back after lunch! A 3hour long run shouldn’t translate into a 6 hours time away from home. #justsaying
3. I talk enthusiastically about my passion hoping that it’ll rub off to them (it did)
4. I bought them running shoes at the mere mention that they wanted to try run in a race. Hahaha
Taking the first step is never easy. I hesitated too, at first. When a colleague told me that her boyfriend told her it is not running if she can’t finish a loop around the park with non-stop running, I told her its’ BULL! No one is born an elite athlete.
Start slow and progress. I started with a 5min jog followed by a 5 min walk.
My 20min run around the carpark had already progressed to a 3hour run around the carpark.
There is no such thing as “don’t walk, you are in a marathon not a walkathon” in my dictionary. Walk if you have to. The important thing is that you aspire to do it and finish. Keep moving!
To the first-timers doing Malaysia Women Marathon, all the best to you all!
Dream, Believe, Become.