Jimbo ran in his first marathon last Sunday.
Okay, actually, it was a half marathon.
Okay, actually, Jimbo only signed up for the 11 km run, which makes it a ‘quarter marathon’.
Still, it’s not wrong to say ‘Jimbo ran IN his first marathon’, right?
Okay, now that we got the semantics cleared up, let me tell you a little about the event. Seven of us (1 lecturer-cum-ID physician-cum marathon runner wannabe-cum amateur mountain climber and 6 students) signed up for the event. One overslept and there were six. At 7 am, we congregated at the Admiral Marina and Leisure club in Port Dickson which served as the starting and ending point of the Port Dickson International Half Marathon 2008.
We each received a goody bag which contained 2 tubes of analgesic ointment, 10 tablets of branched-chain amino acid tablets, 1 pen, 2 notebooks, 1 T-shirt, one tiny Antabax soap and 6 tablets of Flavettes lozenges. I was hoping for Jusco shopping vouchers.
Since I was a wee-bit older than the rest, I was signed up under the ‘Senior Men’ Category’ and my number was this:
I had a feeling ‘E’ stood for ‘Elderly’. If I decide to run again next year, I might just be old enough for the ‘F’ category. I think ‘F’ stands for ‘fragile’. Anyway, being in the ‘E’ category does it have its advantages! I will tell you why later…
All the others were placed either in the ‘C’ or ‘D’ category, meaning ‘Young and restless men and women’. I felt kinda alone when they were flagged off 15 minutes ahead of me. I took the time to check out my competition. There were a few really well built and hunky fellas who intimidated me somewhat. The others were, well, pieces of cakes, or so I thought!
Anyway, we were given a green ribbon at the starting line, as proof of us ever being at the starting line. Along the route, we were handed more ribbons of different colors, again as proof that we actually passed by that way. I really couldn’t care less about them ribbons. My aim was to run from one water station to the next!
The gun went off and we, the ‘elderly’ people started the race. I was quite pleased with myself for the first 2 km or so of the run when I found that I could run without feeling breathless or pain. (This, by the way, is a major achievement for a person who could not run even 400 meters when he was in primary AND secondary school AND varsity! ~ you can read about my illustrious sports career here).
Heck, I even passed a couple of ladies and men who were wearing the ‘D’ tag, meaning they actually had a 15 min head start.
But as the saying goes, with pride, comes the downfall!
At 2.5 km or so, I felt my left knee stiffening up. I tried to ignore it, telling myself the injury I picked up while climbing Gunung Nuang last month could not be recurring! After all, I rested the knee for a month!
Suddenly I felt a sharp pain and I found myself stopping and grimacing in pain. I decided to just walk. At that moment, I had to decide whether to turn back or to carry on. I decided to go on (the thought of not completing the race, in front of my students, was too much to bear, compared to the knee pain!).
As I walked in pain, I noticed there were a few other runners who had the same pain that I have. Some were limping! Some were busy applying ointments to the painful parts. I didn’t feel too alone then!
By the time I reached the 4th km, the pain was much less and I could run a bit. Actually, my aim was to complete the 11 km in 1 hour but the marathon had by then degenerated into a ‘walkathon’ and if I was not careful, it could become a very embarrassing ‘crawl-a-thon’ !
By the 6th km, I found that I could run more and walk less. By the 8th km, I caught up with one of the student (she was a vital member as she held the car keys and hence my transport back to town ~ so it was pertinent that I at least keep pace with her!).
From the 8th km onwards, I was eye-ing a rather horizontally challenged guy in front of me who was also in the ‘E’ category. According to the rules, the first 80 runners from each category shall be eligible for a certificate and medal. Wild imaginations came to my mind then. I asked myself, “what if the guy in front of you is the 80th guy? Shouldn’t you be overtaking him? Go on! Overtake him and claim your certificate and medal!”
Still, tried as I might, I just could not catch up with him. He must have been powered with Energizer batteries! He just went on and on and on! I gave up chasing after him and settled in my mind to accept position number 81. if I had sling shot, I would have slung a pebble at him and knock him out cold!
But life is full of surprises, and this one was pleasant because as I crossed the finishing line, some one handed me a medal and certificate! I couldn’t believe my eyes! I actually asked the lady if she had made a mistake or what. She smiled and said the medal and cert are mine!
Jimbo completed his first 11 km in an international half marathon! And he was amongst the top 80! (now you see why there is a certain advantage for being in the ‘E’ group because there were not that many of us, probably about 100 or so; unlike the younger groups!). Jimbo’s time for the 11 km run was estimated to be about 90 minutes (I forgot to set the timer!).
The other pleasant surprise was to discover that every single one of my students made it in good time and were bestowed with the coveted certificate and medal!
We are the champions! (Girl on left got position 18 while the 2nd girl on right got position 21). Ugh… the sun-spot got in my face again.
I never thought I would be bringing these home but it felt real good. The last time I won a medal was a million years ago.
Will I run again? I think I will.
But right now, I have 6 weeks to get my knee back in shape before the KK climb! Gaargh!!!
Tues, 270508 @ 0700
PD International Half Marathon 2008