So with all the reflection of our seasoned runners, here is a perspective from a real novice… both in the running sense and in terms of expressing ones experiences in words. My goal for Slow Mag like for any distance above the marathon mark is a finish, but silently I was hoping for a 5.40 without over exerting myself.
My race prep started the night before with attaching my number, laying out my clothes and filling my packet of dates. I woke up early and then the usual most nervous part of race morning….not being able to empty my stomach of lunch and supper from the previous day…I knew this was gonna be a shit article. I attended to my business as best I could with multiple visits to the loo. I read Fajr @ home instead of @ the stadium as planned and left for the venue.
Everything was okay until I took the Snake Rd off-ramp and was caught in traffic. Starting late was becoming a distinct possibility. I eventually got around 400m from the start and the gun went off, so I didn’t get to soak up any of that exhilarating pre-race, positive nervous atmosphere…
I started amongst thousands of other runners…but ran “alone”. I ran my own race and as normal, ran to feel without looking @ my watch too often. Besides being passed by Mehmood and Junaid early on, I didn’t see other familiar faces. I caught a glimpse of Uncle Yusuf and Doza @ the 18km water table, caught up to them a short while later and we then ran together. It was great to see familiar faces and enjoy the social aspect of running. Uncle Yusuf was taking some strain and there was a possibility that he was going to go into the stadium @ 21km instead of his planned 42km, so Doza and I waited nervously and were relieved when Uncle Yusuf emerged to run another loop. We picked up a runner named Feroze from Autostyle, who lives in Azaadville and we ran together trying to encourage each other. Uncle Yusuf who was taking strain kept telling us to push on. Feroze and I later made the decision to push on.
Feroze and I ran together nicely for a while, until I realised that my morning toilet ritual had not been all that effective. I gave the first porta loo a miss and decided @ the 30km mark (entrance to the golf estate) that I needed to heed the call. I found a queue of two ladies in front of me, with one using the race as a qualifier and claiming to have lost 8mins. I lost about 6 minutes, but had the comfort of not having to clench and run at the same time, so definitely worth it!
I tried to fuel properly but experienced my usual dip around 33kms. I ran through it and caught up with Feroze around 38km mark. We also caught up with the lady I met in the queue for the toilet around 40km who was clearly going to qualify. I congratulated her, wished her well, exchanged a few words and laughs and carried on. Its easy for back of the pack runners to connect and I guess that when you are anxiously waiting in line for a toilet, its an extra reason. I carried on with Feroze who was doing the 42km. We parted ways and then for the final 8km I was running “alone” again. I ran and walked reasonably well for the first 4km. My legs and body felt fine, but my feet were starting to ache.
I caught Junaid in the last 3 to 4kms who was feeling nauseous and clearly taking some strain. I kept encouraging and pushing Junaid, knowing that we had sufficient time to finish as long as we kept walking briskly, so like Johnny Walker… we kept walking..even when we got onto the grass at the finish.
My toilet stop and helping a fellow runner cost me my silent time goal…but both were worth it! Still managed to come in under the 6hr cut-off, so all in all a good day.
Ran an ultra yesterday and typed an ultra today!