Three weeks ago, I ran my first 42.2km race, across the mighty Harbour Bridge, to the beautiful Centennial Park, back around the eerily-quiet streets of normally boisterous CBD and finishing up at the picturesque Opera House of Sydney Harbour.
Unfortunately, I don’t recall much of the scenery!
This may sound surprising, coming from a guy who has numerous half-marathons under his belt, but I have never seen my body and my mind break down so competely as they did that day.
Physically, I began to cramp up around the 25km mark, despite the crap-load of energy gels that I was pumping down my parched throat since the starting gun. And at the 32km mark, I did something that I had never done before during a race until then i.e. I started walking. In fact, from the 32km mark until the finishing line, I alternated between walking, running and hobbling whilst massaging my own thighs (don’t picture it because it was not a pretty sight).
Mentally, I was already defeated at around the 25km point when a strange voice deep inside me started jabbering at me with unhelpful but somewhat valid comments such as: “why are you doing this to yourself?“, “stop running so your heart can stop having attacks!“, and “do you realise how much further you have to run?!“.
In the end, I did finish the race, and even managed to cross the line in what may roughly be classified as running motion. Reflecting on the race now, I learnt quite a bit about myself. Moreover, the alternating periods of agony and elation in the course of the 42.2km journey rather aptly mirrored the journey of parenthood that I have experienced to-date.
Perhaps I can share some of those thoughts with you in later blogs, while you’re sitting in front of your laptop with a comforting drink in your hand.
PS: In case you are interested, I finished the race in 3 hours and 55 minutes.
PPS: You are definitely not interested in this, but I was pacing to finish in 3 hours and 30 minutes at the 25km mark until the “voice” started jabbering!