So I got through the first hurdle, which was to gain entry into the New York City Marathon 2011. Next up was a bigger challenge--to start the first of my three-month training during Ramadhan.
This wouldn’t be my first attempt at training for a marathon through the fasting month. Last year, I had to do the same in preparation of my maiden 42.195km race. Drawing experiences learnt from then, I opted to maintain the three-days-a-week running schedule consisting of one short (5-7km) + one medium (7-10km) run on the weekdays, and one long run (anything above 10) on either Saturday or Sunday. I also stuck to the suggested intensity level as best as I could: went ahead with the tempos and intervals so long as I didn’t puke =P Took it easy on the long runs, though; made sure I reached the prescribed mileage without caring too much about the timing.
Not gonna lie, I found it super-tough to keep the faith during this month. My only chance to run was late at night, i.e. 2-3 hours after breaking fast. Had to be very disciplined with food during iftar because if I ate anything more than oatmeal + eggs, then I’d definitely feel sick while running. But after going through 14-or-so hours of starvation, it’s not easy to refrain yourself from eating whatever it is that your tastebuds desired… especially if you love food as much as I do!
|The run Celeste (pictured) and I will never, ever forget...|
I gotta sidetrack here for a bit to tell you what happened during one of my training runs during Ramadhan. On this particular night, I had a friend, Celeste, with me. To cut a long story short, somewhere along the way we both inhaled a really foul stench right outside the Istana gate. I kept smelling it over the next four days while walking back from work as well but had no idea what it was. Can you imagine the horror Celeste and I faced when we found out that it was actually coming from a decomposing human body?!
Anyway, back to training. Other than the NYC Marathon, my second most-anticipated race for the year was the TNF 50K Duo Challenge. Set exactly three weeks before NYC Marathon, the 25K that I had to complete fit perfectly with my scheduled long run for that weekend. Plus, since the NYC route is far from flat, the trainings required to tackle the hilly TNF trail race was befitting. And living in Singapore meant that I could conveniently opt for the jungles of mystical MacRitchie as my training ground. Sweet :)
|With my Sole Sisters, Endon & Linda, at MacRitchie|
By early September, my weekly training schedule consisted of two runs on the road and one trail run. A tad worried about my lack of mileage on asphalt, come the last weekend in September I went into hardcore mode: added an extra session per week by doing back-to-back runs on weekends.
It started with my 24K trail run done on the last Saturday in September, followed by a 4K recovery run the next day. The following weekend, I did 14.5K’s of trail run at FRIM back home in KL on Saturday, then a 16.8K race at the Malaysian installment of the adidas King of The Road + 4K recovery post-race run on Sunday.
|Whee! I love trail running :)|
|Goofing around with my Freedom Freaks mates|
|Planking on Bukit Timah!|
|My first climb up the nasty Steroid Hills at FRIM.|
I've since renamed it Bukit Haram Jadah =P
On the third “hardcore” weekend, I did a 20-miler (my longest training run) on Saturday, and ran the Nike We Run SG 10K at recovery pace on Sunday. Finally, I completed my share of the TNF 50K duo challenge on the Saturday three weeks before NYC Marathon, and did another so-called recovery 10K at the NB Real Run on Saturday (my very first time participating in two races in one weekend!).
|A very productive weekend ;)|
Call me crazy but honestly I reckon that these double-trouble shots of runs on both weekend days helped my legs’ endurance tremendously during The Day.
Coming up: Empire State Of Mind