The events of the past week had made me physically, mentally and emotionally unfit for this race. And I knew it. Yet, like a stubborn old git, I went and did it.
Before the start, already not in the mood to race.
Race morning and my strategy was simple: race as hard as you can, harder than you've ever done, so hard that it hurts. Not the good hurt, mind you, any kind of hurt. If it hurts, maybe, just maybe, it'll take away the hurt from my heart. That's what I really needed to do.
I figured with this strategy, I'd end up with a personal best or in the hospital.
The first run went ok. No, better than ok. I was running at approximately 5:30 pace the entire 11k, and felt good. This go-harder-than-usual strategy seems to be working. And the hurt was coming fast too, but so far, it's been the good hurt. Gotta keep it up.
Going hard, faster than usual.
Pain is good.
Arrived in T1 in about 58 minutes and change, 4 minutes faster than last year. So far so good.
Got on the bike. New race wheels, new position, I was determined to go faster than last year. Last year I had to battle cramps from kilometre 10 onwards. So far this year, no cramps.
I was going as hard as I could yet, could not put out the speed I was hoping to. This seemed like the beginning of the end. And I was hurting too. My right knee was starting to stiffen up, and my neck and shoulders were killing me.
Hurting real bad up that bridge.
Still I went as hard as I could. Just kept pushing it, but the average speed was getting lower. Got off the bike in about 2h12m, 5 minutes slower than last year.
Thank God the bike leg is over.
To make things worse, when I got off the bike, my knee completely refused to work. It just wouldn't bend. I hobbled into T2 in pain and considered calling it a day.
Then I remembered the strategy, go hard till it hurts so it can take the hurt from the heart away.
So I hobbled out of T2. Perhaps not the smartest thing to do but hey, I was physically, mentally and emotianally unfit, remember?
I tried running, but it just wasn't happening. This guy sprayed something on my knee and rub it down real hard, and that seemed to work. For a while.
I was soon walking again. Just beyond the first drink station, I stopped and stretched my ITB. That helped, I was able to run all the way to the next water station at around 6:30-7:00 minute pace.
But as soon as I got back to the stadium, I was walking again. On the second loop, Vong showed up on his bike and gave me an ice cold can of 100Plus. Thanks Vong, you're a lifesaver.
I was later joined by Bean, Ishsal and Omar. We would walk a bit, run then walk again. Towards the end, Ish and Omar went off, and I managed to put some space on Bean. I crossed the line in a miserable 4h48m, 8 minutes slower than last year.
Hobbling to the finish line.
What a miserable 4h48m.
So did my strategy work? Of course not! I neither got a PB nor ended up in the hospital, but I was much closer to the latter. There were a couple of times out there when I thought I was going to faint. I was seeing spots and everything was spinning. And while I did hurt a lot, it never took away the hurt in my heart. Oh well, can't say I didn't try.
As I type this, my knee is in a lot of pain. As such, I will be skipping the Penang Marathon next week. I don't think my knee can endure a 42km run and I don't think I can endure another weekend like this one.
I'm also thinking this could be my last Powerman, because I'm not so Power after all...