As I promised to my self earlier this year, finally I ran half marathon in June 2013. Series and weeks of training paid off. I finished strong and I had so many fun and fabulous experience as it was my first half marathon race and it was in Bali, Baby!!
Two weeks before the race, I was down with nasty flu. Thank God it was when I entered tapering mode. So, while in recovery, I only did some minor exercises. I slowed down the pace and shaved the distance. I felt mentally and physically prepared. What I was worried about were the heat because of the sun exposure and ascending track. Yet, I was very ecstatic about my first half marathon run.
On Saturday morning, one day before race, I went to Bali with my husband who also ran half marathon in Bali Marathon. Cena, our son, stayed in Jogja with my in-laws. Some fellow runners from Indo Runners Yogya also participated in this event. There were ten of all!! Arriving in Denpasar, we were picked up by Tito, my fellow runner who now resides in Bali. We’re bound to hotel and checked in. As the rooms were not ready yet, we couldn’t get in to the room immediately. We’re told the room would be ready at 2 P.M. For killing the time until 2 PM, we went ahead to Bali Beach Walk, where by coincidence I met my colleague mate in Gadjah Mada. Fortunately, the race packs were already collected one day before by my friends who arrived at Bali earlier so we didn’t have to rush on that day.
As we had to wake very early in the race day, what we needed is hitting the sheet earlier. I tried to make my self exhausted in the afternoon. After beach walk, back to hotel for check in, we went to Warong Miyabi in Kuta area to attend carbo loading with fellow runners from other city. It was arranged by Bang Francis, who was very kind inviting all members of Indo Runners from Jakarta, Bandung, Yogya, Surabaya, and Makassar. In the event I could finally meet fellow runners whom previously I met virtually. Happy!!
Back to hotel, I prepared clothes, hats, shoes and some equipments for the race. On 9 PM I thought I was already asleep and woken up by alarm on 1:30 AM. I woke up my husband and arranged everything for me and him. Tito picked up all of us at hotel at 2:30 AM and we’re directly bound to the pick up point at Water Boom. We departed to the race venue by bus. I slept along the trip to the venue and arrived there at 4 AM. Having arrived there, we saw many participants were already gathering. From my first impression, the race was well organized. The committee provided toilets and prayer tent. The signs were clear. All was neat and organized.
On 5 AM sharp the full marathon category was started. There were about 500 participants ran full marathon. As for half marathon, we started running 30 minutes later. The sky was still dark, yet the atmosphere was very lively. I never ran in race as big as Bali Marathon where more than thousands runners joined. Five minutes before 5:30 AM, the MC urged us to be ready. All of us yelled with a very loud “YEAH” when the MC cried “Runners, are your ready?”. Fantastic! Then we ran on 5:30 sharp!!
On the first five KM, the track was ascending slightly. I paced my speed on 7 minutes for every kilometer. I hold my impulse to run faster than my usual pace in order to finish strongly on the finish line. I had to keep my energy and use it effectively. Entering six kilometer, the path turned back to the north and as I anticipated the ascend was hard. The hill was quite steep and what made it hard actually the fact that it was just a start and we had to run on that hill! It turned out that the ascend was still there. The track kept up and up. That was really a battle for me! 45 minutes passed from the start, I needed to refuel my energy with the gel. However, I could not meet water station until 10 K. I passed the first water station before 5 K. Nearing the second water station, I slowed down and took the gel, tore it apart, slowly drank it and
rinsed it with the water I got from the station.
Passing half of the race, I was refueled not only by the gel and water but also with the cheer guards along the race. Children and people gathered on the side of track cheering and hand clapping for us. They yelled and supported us. Some children raised their hand and we tossed all of them. What an energy booster and I could keep my pace on 7 constantly until passing ten kilometers.
Unexpectedly but thankfully that the weather was very friendly. It was not hazy. The sun hid behind clouds, the wind breezed cool. And as we ran In Bali, the extra bonus was the beautiful scenery. I stopped and took some photos along the race. Then, I encountered water station again on 15 K and drank plain water instead of isotonic drink. Bad luck for me after taking water, the side stitch started to develop in my right stomach. I had to slow down otherwise it would hurt harder. To avoid worse side stitch, I didn’t stop and drink on the next water station. Besides, I still felt fit to run another kilos before finish.
Entering the last kilometers, the track was descending. The effort running on at least eight killing uphills paid off. We got reward on the last kilos. Yeayy!! I ran with a woman, whom I forgot her name and intended as a pacer for me. That was also her first half marathon. However, she could not keep the pace and ran behind me. Then, I met Yomy, my fellow runner from Indo Runners Jakarta. I pushed my self so hard so I could be as close as to him. I kept watching my wrist watch, expecting to fullfil my target finishing the race on two and half hours. After running 2 hours and 35 minutes, finally I could step on the finish line. On average, I ran with pace 7:24 per kilo. Satisfying!!
After completing the race was my legs felt like jell-o. I was exhausted but very happy. On the finish line, I met another fellow runners who finished earlier than me. I waited for my husband and brought him an isotonic drink. He was able to finish some minutes behind me. I was bloody proud of him. Although he was lacked of training, he could defeat the race.
After all of inevitable pains, do we want to run again? Another half marathon or even full marathon? We believe that we will not stop there and anticipate to participate another race. What we ran in Bali Marathon was a great lapse for both of us as it was unimaginable some years ago. And the medals we got are symbol of legacy to our children. We want them inherit sportiveness and competitiveness. And one thing that is ultimate is believing that nothing is impossible. Thing that imaginable is surely reachable. What we did is the proof and we want to run and push the limits!