Letting this one out for air over for The Lounge today cause, hells yeah…I’m still on a half marathon high!!!
Thanks Robomum for hosting!
Bungee jumping. Sky diving. Heli snowboarding. All activities included in this adrenalin junkie’s bucket list.
Long distance running, however, a test of mental and physical endurance, was something I stumbled into.
After 3 months of training, I lined up last Sunday at the crack of dawn, wondering how on earth I got myself in this position; standing along 10,000 others freezing their buns off, waiting to run the SMH half marathon.
5 minutes before the race, I wasn’t so much nervous but more curious.
How was my mind going to handle the strain of focusing on running 21.1 km?
Where was this run going to take me?
I mean, I knew logistically “where I was going”. The finish line. Duh. I was wondering more about where running was going to take me after this gruelling race. Would I still love it? Will I call it quits?
Did I really need to do a last minute pee or was that nerves?
While experienced runners tell you that endurance running is 90% mental, they don’t mention the mind games.
This particular half marathon course consisted of a lot of loops and bends. No big deal, I thought.
But on the day, actually seeing the faster runners already on the other side of the course left laggers like me, mistakenly believe that the turn ahead was just a short distance away.
Eventually, each time I saw a group running the opposite direction, I knew I was up for a battle. Even more so if there was a hill.
And it just wasn’t me who was getting frustrated with all the mind manipulation. After seeing up front what would’ve been the umpteenth corner, someone behind me yelled, “What the…???”
“Dude! You shoulda read the map!” I felt like telling him.
A straight forward “Point A to Point B” course would’ve been less taxing on the brain.
Instead, in the twists and turns, all sense of distance and time is lost.
There are delusions of covering more kilometres than you actually have; it taking longer than what it actually has.
Each time a flag marker came into view, my spirits would dissolve.
“What? Only 12 kilometres?”
“What only 15?!!”
“HOLY EFFING HELL!!! 17????!”
Changing focus was key.
If my toes felt like they were falling off, I tried to enjoy the view.
If I started to slouch, gasping for air after running up a hill, I straightened my posture and shoulders and took in deep, slow breaths.
If the notion of stopping crept up (which happened often), I would tell my mind to shut up and allow myself to just see where this was going to take me. Through pain? Through an adventure? Whatever.
300 metres from the finish line, I pretty much had enough. The quicker it was over, the better.
Ignoring that lungs were going to explode and feet were swollen and excruciatingly sore, I sprinted.
And just as I was about to collapse after running through the arch, I spotted my family.
Later that day, Mr Surfer said he had expected some triumphant “Woots” and victorious fist bumps from me.
Instead, all I could mutter was, “I need some water…”
Catching my breath with lungs back intact, again I asked myself where all this running is taking me.
No answers have yet come to mind.
However, without doubt, the intense mixed feelings of utter exhaustion and accomplishment is extremely close, dangerously so, to being addictive.
Sharing with Essentially Jess for IBOT