The goal: walk 42 km in 7 hours. Or, as Nicole pointed out, 100 m per minute, multiplied 42 times.
I thought it was an achievable goal, even if I hadn’t trained for it. Well I started to swim again and kept up my weekly climbing, but didn’t go for my practice walks.
In fact, we managed to keep pace for the first half of he marathon. We were well within our limits then, even though my left knee had begun to ache. But I was surprised by how well it had held up till that point, given my weak knees.
Lina had by then left Wei and I in the dust. At the 10 km mark, she took off running. That girl is amazing. The last half marathon she ran, the soles of her shoes were half flapping off, but still she ran.
I was starting to wilt. At the various water points, I used the water to splash myself awake. Wei walked along beside me, the unfailing pacer who kept reminding us of the seven hour goal. Heh it was heartening to see the various people who had started off with us. They were doing the combination of jog-walk, but still we kept pace.
At the two third mark, some kind volunteers handed the starving Wei a banana (which she proudly brandished and took several pictures of) while I gratefully accepted a cold and fresh cup of fizzy 100-plus.
But my blisters popped then, and my left knee was no longer cooperating. I couldn’t bend it and started to drag my leg along. We were fifteen minutes behind schedule. I waved Wei along, then limped along slowly.
Haha where it had taken me an hour to walk 6 km, I was now crawling along at the snail pace of 6 km in two hours. Seven am, my own cutoff time, and I was still 7km away from the finish point. At the rate I was going, it would have taken me till nine am to reach the finish line, if even.
Some people feel that they have to finish the race, no matter what. Heh, personally, I don’t really give a damn either way. I did not feel that I had to get to the finish line to prove a point, that I was not a quitter. To me, it was the journey itself that was the point. After all, I had signed up for the walk on impulse, just to see what it was like. And I hadn’t trained. I was worried about my knee; I think if I had insisted on pushing on, I could have made it. After all, 12 hours on, I still can’t bend my knee, but I am still able to walk. But I weighed the pros and cons – would it have been worth putting my knees out of commission for a month – like what happened when I attempted a 8 km run three years ago?
So I quit. The route veered close to home. At the 35 km mark, I cut away from the others, and began limping home.
It was a good experience though. I am glad to have tried it, and feel especially thankful to Wei who was there to press me on. Haha I don’t know if I could have kept pace for as long as I had had she not been there.
And even if I did not end up with the finishers t-shirt, I did get some momentos: bloody shoes and large blisters on both feet. 🙂