First 21 KM (NPE Challenge)

3:30 a.m. woke up by the alarm and some discipline, the wee hours felt groggy but I must get ready for the run 2 hours away. Dragged myself out of bed, washed up with a half-awoken mind, saturated myself with a vitamin-C drink and a can of coffee, grabbed my stuffs and got into my car.

4:30 a.m. I reached the venue barely just on time, found a parking within 10 minutes, and met up with my friends- Lee and Guo Bao. They were prepared just as every other runner present there. I had to do my business in the toilet in order to get out those excesses for a lighter run.

5:15 a.m. We got to the starting point of the race, warming up for the 21 KM ahead. The route was simple, just a straight line and a only a few turns around the 10 KM. Many were pumped up for the run and there were many people are still enthusiastic in running.

NPE Half Marathon Run 1
People mountain people sea.
NPE Half Marathon Run 2
Family runs with stroller with a child inside. Insane.

5.30 a.m. Flags off. I wished my friends good luck and may we meet at the finishing point. The start of the run was slow, there were too many people crowding at the starting point, I had to walk my way for a couple of metres only then I got space to run ahead. My goal for the half-marathon was to finish it within 3 hours. Hence, I set my pace inside my head to about 8 min/km.

As for the start of the run, I felt like rushing ahead as the people around me were doing so. But, I kept telling myself to go slow or else I would be worn out at the end of the run. I did not attempt to check my phone for time or whatsoever, I concentrated fully in my pacing, my breathing and my direction, those were the only things in my head.

Approximately 6 KM in, not much stress had been put unto my body as this is just what I do normally, I did maintain my pace around the 8 mark. However, as I was running, there were those Jamaican or African dudes running at the opposite of the track that meant that they had ran about 14 KM within 45 minutes or so. I was shocked, shook and awestruck.

what the… how… just how? Trains of thoughts started to form in my head and rushed back and forth with the calculation of their speed and their sheer power. As of approaching the 7th KM, a few more of those runners passed us. The sight of them did not belittle my spirit, but it burned more of me to fuel me to run further and faster. I did so, my pace got a little faster for the next 5 KM.

Upon reaching the 8th KM, I stopped to quench my thirst with those sports drinks, quickly chugged 3 small paper cups and kept on running. The run was still at a manageable level, my breath was maintained at a functioning pace. As mentioned, the route was a straight line, so there was not too much of a burden for my body, yet.

As I hit the 10 KM mark, there was a stop for sponges, bananas and drinks. I did not understand why the sponges but I ignored the question and kept on running. Why sponges when you can just pour the mineral water provided onto yourself. This was where the run got difficult, the route went uphill for a kilometre or so, making it breathtaking, literally.

I had to rest for a while as I could not run at the 8 mark pace anymore at the 14th KM, my legs were slightly giving way but my mind was still fixated at the finishing point. The sun was peeking through the horizon as the runner beat their way through the tar-paved road. Some stopped for pictures here and there throughout the race.

After the 1 kilometre break, I resumed running, counting down the distance in my head, motivating myself to push it through. I was doing this inner talk throughout the run, making sure that I could make it. The run was getting tougher by each step forwards, I was feeling my legs calling me to stop, but I knew if I stopped I would not have enough energy to pull myself anymore.

Unfortunately, at the 19 KM mark, my body went fuck it and I walked for another kilometre. My legs were not behaving as I wanted them to, same goes to my head, the mental and physical toll at this point of the race was immense. There were so many things going on in my head, the desire to stop and the heartbeat to finish the race. I told myself to keep running and just keep running, it was almost to the end.

I just kept running, commanded my legs to pace through, no matter what. My head was in a state of war between the stop and the run. I was praying my way through the last few kilometres, literally, taking my head off thinking about stopping.

I kept running and I recognised that I was nearing the finish line. After a few hefty steps, I saw the finishing line. A gush of adrenaline surged through my veins, I sprinted the for the last stretch. My body was almost at its limit and yet there was this untapped energy reserved for one final sprint. Simply splendid!

As I crossed the finish line, I thanked God and shouted out loud. The feeling was intelligible, it was a mix of happiness and euphoria, no signs of tiredness at all. It was one of the best feelings that I had in my entire life. Got my medal, met up with the boys and went for a little photo-taking session before they open back the road.

NPE Half Marathon Run 3
One of the heaviest medal I received so far.
NPE Half Marathon Run 5
Sore and tired…


NPE Half Marathon Run 4

My finishing time was 02:53:03 (based on the official timer by the organizer), under 3 hours for a half marathon.

The soreness hit just after. Rest was imminent and painful. Gonna train harder for a future run.

Next up, a full marathon?

Craving for more? Down below:
“Let There Be Light.” (Revisited)
29516 Steps From Tsukiji to Ginza to Odaiba
32703 Steps From Kudanshita to Shibuya to Yotsuya
28167 Steps From Mt. Fuji to Shinjuku to Tokyo Tower
27531 Steps From Haneda to Asakusa to Akibahara to Mt. Fuji
A Trap Called Life


Published by zeckrombryan

Hope. Joy. Feelings cloaked as words.

9 thoughts on “First 21 KM (NPE Challenge)

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