Monday, November 26, 2007

What A Walk.....

Recuperating.... recuperating... groggy... suffering... lethargic... recuperating..

I'm back in KL... took the day off as I had expected to be burnt out and all tired out. This is my first time taking part in the 12 hour walk race and the first time attempting anything more than a 1/2 marathon distance...

Arrived in Penang on Sat around noon and went to my granddad's place for lunch and some rest. Lepaked around the house till 5:30pm and J fetched me to the Esplanade to register and collect my timing chip (Championchip).


Championchip used to record the distance covered...

After registering, we went for some naan and tandoori for carbo-loading before the race. J dropped me off at about 7:30pm where I did some warm-up and stretching prior to the start of the event. There were already many people mingling around, warming up and generally hanging around the starting point waiting for the 8pm gunshot. I was registered for the Men's Open category where there were about 90 participants. Quietly I told myself that I would target for a top half finish in my maiden ultra walk...


Walkers mingling at the start point before the race


Some building along the route... Well lit up..only source of visual entertainement

At 8pm sharp the walk started and I told myself to settle into a comfortable walking pace. Nothing too fast, nothing too slow. Dun wanna burn meself out and I got all of 12 hours to kill. So I paced myself to a slightly faster than 5km/hour pace and held that for the 1st 4 hours till 12am. Shortly after 12am, I had already qualified for a "special achievement" medal (for walkers covering 24km or more) and I could sense that a number of participants had stopped walking and left as they were already contented with the medal thingy. Me? I carried on as I had vowed to myself I would finish all 12 hours of the walk...


"Special Achievement" medal for covering >24km

Food was served at about every 3 hours interval, starting at 9pm, but I didn't really stop for much, just grabbing some sausages and sandwiches and continued walking. Water, isotonic drinks, coffee and bananas were free flow tho, and I made sure I had a cup of water and 100 plus every 2 laps to hydrate myself and prevent cramping (lesson learnt from Pg Bridge Run)...
At the same time, I also stopped after every 5 laps and took a couple of minutes to stretch my back and legs to ensure a strain-free walk...

Everything went according to plan until about 1am when I started to feel a fucking blister forming on the sole of my left foot... Shit.. This was something I never forecasted and planned for... Aaaarggghhh... the inexperience of a newbie on an ultra-event..

I had no extra socks, or shoes or sandals I could change into... so I just.. plodded on.. The pain became increasingly unbearable and I had to stop and put some tissue paper and plasters on the spot to reduce the pressure point. Crap... My pace started to drop and every step taken was agony... All in I had covered about 25km and I was still short of my target of finishing a marathon distance (42km) and I sure as well knew that if I stopped walking I would not be able to finish in the top half of the category... And so I plodded on.. telling myself that its all in my head... That I can't be driving >300km to Penang to give up now....

And as if things could not get worse, another blister started forming next to the 1st one, and another one started growing on the sole of my right foot... Triple agony!! It was only 2am and I had a torturing 6 hours of walking to go till 8am. Every single step was making me scream inside and no amount of tissue paper or plasters could lessen the pain...

As if it couldn't get any worse, my calf and shins were starting to hurt due the the unnatural walking gait of trying to compensate for the blistered areas of my feet... all in, i was having a tortorous time... Oh it was hell..


The source of all my pain and suffering...

Still.. hour after hour passed by so damn slowly... and I was covering only 3-4kms every hour after that... I forgot the number of times I stopped at the medical station to get some deep-heat rub and ice pack to soothe my aching muscles and knee. The only thing that kept me going was pure willpower and I thank god for that... It was really a test of mental and physical fortitude. You never expect how hard it could be untl you actually experience it. And I have total respect for the elites who could churn out a bloody fast pace THROUGHOUT the 12 hours... Total respect man..

At about 6:40am, I had exceeded my target distance of 42kms and I seriously thought of stopping and calling it a day.. I had walked for 10 hours and 40 mins practically non-stop and I had proven to myself that I could do it... and on really blistered feet at that...


A "had to take" commemorative photo.. =D

I heaved a sigh of relief and sat down to stretch my aching muscles... Shoes came off and I could feel relief for taking the pressure off my blistered feet...

That's when I cleared my mind and looked at things in perspective. "C'mon man, you have already walked more than 10 hours... Its a 12 hour race.. Are you gonna go home and tell yourself you did 10:40 in a 12 hour race? This is unfinished business. Your feet are already raw and blistered. It can't get any more worse than it already is even if you walk another 1 hour. You didn't come all the way for a 10 hour walk... Dammit, you came for 12 hours and its 12 hours you are going to walk!!!"

So stupid me listened to that voice in my head and laced my shoes and stupid me proceeded to walk another hour till 8am... And in the process finishing a total of 48.5kms in 12 hours!!

I was totally knackered and didn't wait around for the final results on my placement. My available split times were as follows:
After:-
2 hours: 60th position
4 hours: 52nd position
6 hours: 41st position
8 hours: 37th position
10 hours: 25th position
12 hours: Didn't wait to find out, but they will mail me my certificate with position later

So yes, I did it. I finished in the top half of the category, I achieved more than a marathon distance and I feel strong because of it.

Would I do it again? You bet I will... and the next time, I am going to be more prepared for it.

8 Comments:

At 2:09 PM, Anonymous j said...

I'm so proud of you! Muaks!

 
At 11:26 PM, Anonymous Bugkamp said...

You are THE most inspiring married man I personally know...(sorry, dad!)

:)

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger CapArnabBrand said...

J: Prouder still when I go for the 24 hour one!

Bug(ger): We're doing the next one together man!!

 
At 1:14 AM, Anonymous Bugkamp said...

We'll make Kiefer Sutherland proud as well.

 
At 3:01 PM, Anonymous chris said...

eeee... your blisters damn scary!
but seriously, job well done!

 
At 4:38 PM, Blogger CapArnabBrand said...

Chris: Job well done means you and Des are gonna join me for the next one rite? Make it part of your GPT la!

 
At 10:32 PM, Blogger Carboman said...

great job rabbit! and tks for dropping by my blog. also a penang lang i see. i remembered your tshirt, so it turned out to be you. small world. training for ge30k and klim?

 
At 9:16 AM, Blogger CapArnabBrand said...

Carboman: heheh. Not the GE30k, but prolly the 1/2 for KLIM.. Will officially say 'hi' then!

 

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