When they published the route map, I know that the true test will come during the East Coast Park’s section of the run, between km 11 -34. Marathon is half endurance, half mental battle. The first 11 km goes through the city street, light and building that keeps your mind off the run and distance, and help to pass time. Into the east coast park, the light and building was replaced by trees and the sound of nature. It is easy for the mind to fall into the thought of many kilometres to go, or the pain that start to creep up on my feet.
One sign of the mind playing tricks on you is the feeling that water station become more spaced apart. The water station is supposed to stay between 2-2.5 km apart. It feels closer during the city part of the run. Well into the East Coast Park, the water station feels further apart.
The route through East Coast Park is also the kind of out-and-back route, where they turn at 24km mark back and run the same route back to the finish line. Near the 13km mark, the handcyclyst group passed me from the other direction. They did start few minutes ahead us, and did go fast with their handcycle. The lead runners passed me from the other direction when I’m reaching 15-16km mark.
The further out through the East Coast Park, the Marathon become more and more disheartening. More runners pass me fromt he other direction, and no city light or noise from cars to keep my mind busy. The beeping sound from my Polar Heart Rate Monitor is beeping every now and then, signalling me to slow down and keep my heart rate under control. The compression calf guard on my left foot was bruising my skin. I stopped every few kilometers to fix it, but decided to ignore it and run through the pain.
At one point in time, I started looking inside my soul. With nothing to keep my mind busy, I started thinking of life, about when thing get tough and hopeless. There are times in life that, when thing get tough, I was thinking of quitting, of giving up. It might be easier to quit a project, or work, when it seems to become unbearable. But to quit on your family is impossible. It is impossible to quit from fatherhood, from your wife, or from your parents. Sometimes, in such hopeless situation, there are only 1 choice: to preserve. It means to think harder about the problem, do harder to change what you can change, brace yourself with what you can’t change, and importantly, believe that things will be better at the end of the day, that the sun will rise.
With this in mind, I got my first Second Wind that brings me to the 21km mark. I have completed the first half of Sundown Marathon.