10 December 2010

The Rainy Penang Bridge International Marathon

It all started when I joined a bunch of friends to the Borneo International Marathon back in 2009.
Then I pushed my butt off to join the Sepilok Nature Marathon a few months later.
The rest, as they say, is history.
I returned to torture myself by joining the Penang Bridge International Marathon recently - again with literally the same bunch of friends.
This time, I was more prepared.
The category that I took up had required me to wake up at 1 am and being at the starting line at 3 in the morning!
I took the guts of bringing along my handphone and my most precious little darling LX3 in my little backpack, or rather ‘backsack’. In my pocket was an iPod lent to me by some good Samaritan. I never got to use it though because the earphones refused to stick to my ears whenever I fastidate my run.
Some people were even more daring. They brought their notebook along. Now I wonder if updating a facebook status or twitter or even blogging while running in a marathon is really doable. o.O
So, exactly at 3 o'clock in the morning, we were launched off.
Penang gotta be full of good marathoners. While about 6000 had participated in the category that I took up, 5000 must have been running in front of me while I only had the other 1000 to show my butt upon. Penagites really rock!

I was too worried about the weight that my lil backpack was going to impose on my shoulders I'd totally forgotten about something that I should be more worried of: Mr. Rain.
Then, I knew I was in a big trouble when I heard a thundering from a distance. And more thunderings followed.
This placade of U-turn here marked that I had covered half of the 21KM and that I only had 10.5KM to go. I was so excited I even twittered about it in between my paces (I am half way through Penang Bridge International Marathon! Wohoooo!). But then, it also marked the turning point of the whole run for it was beginning to rain.

And it wasn't just an ordinary rain. It was a downpour so heavy that the rain was jabbing almost like fine needles all over my face while I ran. THAT wasn't really the thing that bothered me most. I had some of my most precious possessions in my highly permeable backsack and they were totally unprotected against the rain!

I had come to find out that Penang Bridge has no shaded area at all. Not a single spot of roofed area! I tried to find somewhere where I could just go under something to avoid further possibility of my possessions getting damaged but there was no something.

I knew the only choice I had was to keep running and finish the run the soonest possible. By then the rain had seeped into just about everything of me and I could feel water dripping profusely down by back. In despair and dejection, I left it to God to decide the fate of my possessions. Yeah, to that extent. I prayed. :-D

Oh well, while the rain was terrifying me, in a positive way it was kinda motivate me to run faster. By the time I descended off the ramp of the bridge, the rain had stopped. Of course, coming into the last few kilometers of my 21Km run, my ankles were spraining painfully and they were slowing me down. But then, giving up wasn't anywhere nearby my head at that point.

So, finally hitting into the finishing line, my quick glance at the giant timer at one side of the road had had left me impressed of myself.

2hrs 55mins. A 23mins improvement from my time of 3hrs 18mins at the last BIM. Oh well, I wouldn't say it was something to be really proud of but it does feel good to have run under 3 hours for the first time. It's quite an achievement at least for me personally.
Having done with the run, it was time to face the truth.
I took some time to stop and switched off my hp when the rain first hit. Switching it back on, I've never been happier to see the Nokia's welcoming handshake blinking up on the screen of my E90. It was safe.
Then the iPod. I was anticipating damage on the earphones - at least. The worse would be the iPod itself because I don't think it was waterproof either. Putting the earphones on my dried up ears and switching on the iPod, I've never been happier to hear Lady Gaga spitting her Bad Romance right into my ears. The iPod was safe.

I checked my wallet to find out that some of my RM50 notes were stained to brownish. Apparently the little pendant that I always brought in my wallet to whenever I went had bleached out. I let myself to worry about them later.

Now - the camera. I was actually so worried that I couldn't even bring myself to switching it on. It was one of those times when you become afraid of facing the reality for the fact that it might hurt you more than you're prepared to take. oK, exaggerating. But seriously, I grew too fond of my camera I was far from ready to say goodbye to it YET. If I had to choose between losing a girlfriend and... Ok, exaggerating again. LOL! But that’s the idea.

I took my time to take out its battery and dry it out and put it back inside and.. And.. And... Closing my eyes while pressing one finger on the on-and-off button... And...

My camera was safe! It was a miracle considering how it was totally unprotected by anything waterproof AT ALL. The downpour could have filled up a big jar to its fullest in no time at all. Phew!

I could only think of something to rationalize it. The small towel that I had put in my backsack had been sucking in the water and thus spared all those precious possessions of mine from drowning to death potential damage.

But then, not all of us were lucky. I later found ulai was slumped on her back at one isolated corner of the building. She was too strong a woman to cry but her voice was weak. The LX5 she had just bought a few weeks back wouldn't switch on. I felt so sorry for her.
My LX3 survived the disaster and lived longer to capture the beautiful moment of another great personal achievement.
You see, there is something about finishing a run in a marathon that is simply unexplainable. The jubilant, the odds of victorious feeling, and the emotions - it is a mixture of things that you probably don't get from anywhere else but the finishing line.


Kelvin said...

Haha, after the rain and the theft, should i say u are a lucky man?

aud said...

I felt sorry for the FMs and HMs running in the heavy rain, but I guess everyone survived in the end :). We did get soaked walking from the bus drop off and waiting at the start point.

Huhu..my camera went to digital heaven while at Tabin last weekend :(. Time for a waterproof camera!!

JIPP said...

Kelvin: Yeah, I was lucky. But one can't expect to be lucky all the time right? I gotta be more careful next time. :-D
Aud: OMG! REally? Hope you'll blog about it or you already did. Wanna know how it happened. NWay, the rain at the PBIM was supposedly part of the fun if I didn't have those things with me. Ohh, and I was shivering when I was inside the bus back to George Town later. the aircond was killing me. Brrrrr.


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