Beijing International Marathon...a personal perspective

We knew it was going to be cold. Forecast was 10-12 degrees Celcius. But on race day, it was wet, windy and VERY COLD. It was later confirmed that the temperature went down to as low as 2 degrees Celcius!

So was the start of the Beijing International Marathon 2010. For me, this is my first ever marathon in a temperate climate. Most of my previous runs were either in Malaysia or Singapore. Even the HK marathon this year was a hot and humid experience.

I didn't know how the weather was going to affect me. And quite frankly, I had no time to think about it. When we arrived at Tiananmen Square, the crowd was already ginormous. We had to move quickly into our starting area otherwise there was no way we could get a good enough position. I was hoping to do a bit of stretching/warm up after we get into our zone, but to my dismay, it was so packed that we were literally sandwiched in shoulder to shoulder. (At least that kept us warm!) I couldn't even move an inch hence there was little or no warm up at all!

At gun off, we were careful to avoid stepping and slipping on the disposable plastic rain coats which were everywhere! The space just opened up once we pass the starting arch and to my relief, there was no congestion. But suddenly, you feel the full impact of the weather. Out in the open, with the down pour and chilly wind, the cold was penetrating into my bones! But somehow, the excitement overwhelmed it all, jubilant shouts, resounding drums and chants of "Chia Yu!" filled the atmosphere. It was electric!

Soon, I found myself running at a pace that I had not anticipated. I was hoping to cover 12-12.5 km per hour. Somehow, I found myself going faster and when I reached the 1 hour mark, I have already done 13km. And I told myself, "Hey! This is great! Wonder if you can do a similar 13km/hour pace on the next hour?" Amazingly, I didn't feel tired. In fact, I don't remember sweating much. The cold weather had an unexpectedly good effect on me. There was less electrolyte and fluid loss; and on top of it, the cold served as a chilling agent for the muscles, so they don't seize up! I was pleasantly surprised to see the 26km sign board at the 2nd hour mark. I was pumped and motivated to go for 39 km for the 3rd hour....

Along the way, despite the cold and wet condition, there were loads of spectators at the road side cheering and spurring us on with their "Chia Yu! Chia Yu!". It was especially heart warming! I have run in various countries and so far this is the best crowd that I have ever encountered. Even HK marathon came second. Bravo! People of Beijing!

As for the Chinese runners, they were a very vocal bunch too. Some would cheer other runners onwards. "Chia Yu, xiung ti (brother)!" was commonly heard. At 35km, I was overtaken by a runner who probably chanted this all along the way to other runners! And he was probably in his late 50's! He was amazing! They are a rare breed. Those who not only excel but would also inspire others to excel.

I have just clocked 3 hours as I approached the 39km mark. I thought to myself, "I may have a chance here to do a PB as long as I don't cramp up." I was beginning to feel some muscle fatigue and tightening. But eager to do well, I press on, stretching as I ran to ease the tightness. It was getting tougher but to be frank, it was not as tiring compared to some other races when I reach this point. The mindset was different. I have a chance and I am going for it!

When I saw the Bird Nest Stadium from a distance, I knew that the finish was near. I started striding more to push myself further. Otherwise, the tendency is to slow down. We race into the stadium with a cheering crowd. And when making the final loop on the track to the finish line, I sprinted all the way to the end until I heard the final bleep from the chip. It is finished!

It was a satisfying run. The weather helped. The crowd helped. Some of it also has to do with the training leading up to this point. But somehow, until now, I am still surprised by the result.

I have qualified for my age category for Boston Marathon. But sadly, the registration for 2011 had closed a week earlier. It will be great to be able to run Boston, but for now, I am just contented with knowing that I have qualified. This is meaningful enough for me.

Comments

  1. whoaaa...cool. anyway hope there r more blogs to be updated soon...

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  2. I'll do a blog after each marathon I participate. Next will be Penang.

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  3. I'm following ur blog, once ur blog updated i'll know. All the best to u~~

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  4. 可见人的潜能是巨大的。如通过正确、不伤身和专业的训练方法,将可渐次把这潜能发挥极致。盼明年二月份的东京和香港马拉松赛能取得更隹成绩,唯应循序渐进,尽可能在不伤及筋骨的情况下完成!祝平安喜乐!

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  5. Thanks, dad! I will try. Main thing is enjoying what you do....

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