My first Marathon // Borneo International Marathon 2013

Hi everyone, 

As you might have expected, I have taken some time to write about my first marathon experience especially for those who are interested to get started. I will first off start with the event itself. Borneo International Marathon is a marathon competition organized annually since its first installment in 2011. Ever since then, the number of participants have grown increasingly steady and this year alone welcomed nearly 5, 000 runners from all walks of life and from all over the world. Unfortunately for this event, it has gone through some uncanny journey as it was postponed twice this year, first due to the country’s general election, and secondly due to an unidentifiable rumours in relation to the election itself. Imagine the frustration the organizer and participants have gone through, knowing that they have worked and trained so hard prior to the race only to have it postponed. TWICE.  Must be brutal. 

I salute the organizers for keeping it together as well, and for staying true in what they believe in. That’s some true sportsmanship. If you want to see how they do their PR, you can check out their timeline on the Facebook Page here. Well done!

As it was for me, I was one of the participants that actually trained enough prior to my 10KM, before its first date. I woke up every morning around 5AM for my 2 – 4KM run before work. I used to do it everyday, only to learn my legs can get quite tired if it was done daily, so um okay I tell myself, let’s do it on alternate days, and it worked well for me! I had better stamina, and my legs weren’t giving up on me so easily. So I stick to the routine for almost 3 months, and I had Mt. Kinabalu coming up before this run, so you can say I did very little cardio for both these events separately. What was I thinking enrolling in all these events? NO IDEA.  I JUST HAD TO TELL MYSELF, LIFE IS MORE THAN WHAT I’M USED TO.

After Mt. Kinabalu which was in June, I died. It took my body 2 weeks to completely recuperate. And another 2 weeks to start of my daily routine again. That means I only started running again only in July, about a month before the 10KM. And for every run I did, I could never push myself past further 5KM so I figured I was doomed. 10KM means doubling what my body is so comfortable at! 

Yesterday’s date for the run seems like a challenge because the weeks before that also were raya. And you know what that means! Clean eating and higher metabolism meals seem impossible! Not only was it the food, it was the ample of houses to visit either, one after another. Okay, this is a typical Malaysian thing, filling ourselves with festive excuses L So eventually, I did ONE run a week before the actual day. /gulp 

The night before the run I had an engagement party to attend to. So I joined the bandwagon of carb-loading enough the night before with rice, proteins and stuff. This was my first marathon so I had no idea what carbloading can do for me but my common sense tells me that this could be another way of cheating energy into your body (instead of really having it in you). Some use it for insulin spike, while some use it to stock up basic energy. Once you have energy and complex carbs (with sugar) in your body, your brain will distract you less with the loss of water and sodium in your body throughout the run. Especially for long distance runners, losing a lot of sweat means losing a lot of sodium in your body. When your body loses its tank (fuel) this is when you are put into a mental endurance test, this is when your mind does wonders for your body, it’s like your mind can cheat your body to continue. 

Daren and Chris’ kickoff was at 5AM so I dropped them off first. Some friends invited me over to run with them, but frankly, I wasn’t sure I could do it. True enough, the moment we kicked off, I had to learn the hard way that training can never teach you “the crowd”. See when you train alone, you can run at YOUR pace with minimal distraction, but when you run with two thousand other runners around you, your momentum will be screwed. I panicked the first 3KM, and was lulling and stopping every few hundred metres (which was SO BAD). When I saw the 3KM mark, I stopped and told myself – you are not running for anyone here, you are running for yourself, fuck their pace, do yours.

And I did.

I started afresh after the 3rd KM, and went into a zone where no one around me existed, not even the cheers, not even the crowd, I followed my slow but sure pace for myself and it worked wonders. After the 3rd KM I paced and did not stop till the finishing line and made personal best time!

The greatest lesson I get from these training and doing amateur marathon eventually was – how I needed to know my body well. I needed to know whether carb loading worked for me, or whether I could listen to justin bieber while running (apparently I could) or whether I should stick to the wear that I’m used to instead of changing to the BIM’s official shirt like everyone else. We take the signals our body give us for granted until we are put to get to know them the hard way :) I think once we get to know our body well enough, we can be in control.


Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.


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