Spotlight

I am so blessed with awesome friends and support.

Aunty June - for transporting me to the venue (04:30 am) and supporting me throughout the day.

Aunty Aileen - for pacing me and her support.

Aunties Monica, Bee, Wendee, Steph, Fanny and Sabrina for supporting me from the start and throughout the day.

The SP guys: Charlie, Kim, Scott for all their help

The Fetchies for keeping me entertained when I could not sleep!

A Marathon Struggle

8th December 2008


The Dragon Guys and me heading to the end!
When life becomes tough, I imagine light piercing through dark clouds. That light makes me smile and reminds me that there are good things that can pierce through rough moments in one's life.  This image was strong for me in this marathon as I struggled with coping with the temperatures and a severe case of "insomniatic" jetlag.

Rewind the clock back to August...

I started my marathon training with the fetchies, running a number of long runs including a series of 18, 19, 20, and then 18 miles over 4 weekends in September/October. I learnt "eat before your hungry, drink before your thirsty". This meant eating and drinking at least every 5 miles even if I did not feel the need (thanks Diva for the training).

During October to November, I also began dragging two tyres with Tess, who is attempting the South Pole this year. Over trail paths we could drag our 22kg loads easily - 7.5 miles in 1.5 hours. On tarmac it was 10 miles in 3 hours consistently.

Two Weeks Before the Race...

I was in Finland,  pulling pulks, helping Tess and Pete train for their up and coming South Pole event.  Temperatures ranged from -5 degrees to -12 degrees.

The Week of the Race...

I landed in Singapore 6 days before the marathon so I could acclimatise. Unfortunately I had to 6 days of sleepless nights trying to get over jetlag. Also found the heat oppressive and stifling when I went out for short runs.  But I was hopeful the body would shift out of its disorder the day before the marathon.

3 Days Before the Marathon


Ate 4 large plates of calamari
I met up with a gang of friends to have a calamari carbo loading feast. At the same time, I am persuading a friend to do a future expedition with me. The 10 thousand dollar question that my friends wanted to know was - would I be pulling a tyre on the day. I hadn't really decided and would be based on whether I'd be helping a couple (Tess and Pete) get to the South Pole this year. If I was, then certainly from a training point of view but I was still awaiting a response from the South Pole organiser whether they would accept the price I could afford.

However over the course of dinner, I am talked into, or I have talked myself into dragging 2 tyres. Attempting to drag 2 tyres for 26 miles seemed reasonable although I had not factored my lessened ability to acclimatise or the lack of sleep.  Aileen tells me she would pace me all the way, however has not trained for a marathon. Of course, I tell her that my dragging speed would be her walking speed.

Race Day Eve - Breaking Rules

Soooo how was I feeling on the day of the marathon - CRAP!

The Day


My mad fan supporters
If I could have not bothered with this race, I would have.  My mental capacity was feeling rubbish and my head was telling my body it really needed sleep.  Nonetheless, I'd committed to the event.  Everything was set up from transportation, to a pacer, to fan support.

04:20 - 05:00: June picks me up and I try to be positive about the event. We meet up with the SWET gals. The gals were going to complete the full marathon roped together to market their Everest climb in 2009.


The mass of people getting to the pens
Two Tyre Start (Start Line - 3ks): Chee Meng and Aileen help me carry the 2 tyres and box to the start line (22kgs).  The elite runners have already run 3kms! A hug to Chee Mun and he was off in the distance. Aileen and myself step over the start line at about 05:50. With the excitement I jog the first 100m stretch and immediately slow it down to a walk.  My mouth is very dry as if all the moisture had been sucked out of it.  It is an abnormal phenomena and am happy at 2ks to see a drink station. After 2 cups of water my mouth is still parched and am not feeling too good either but think perhaps it is all down to excitement and will all pass over.  Pretty soon after leaving the drink's station I ask Aileen to hook up with the tyres to help me to drag them.  I had rigged up the tyres so that a second person could also help drag them.

Tyre Blow Out (4 - 6ks): Aileen is feeling tired and about 4.5ks I drag the tyres myself. Timing has been poor even with the 2 of us dragging the tyre. It is obvious that my physical strength is not with me to complete the marathon before the roads are re-opened. I decide to ditch the 2nd tyre and continue with one tyre.  1 hour 45 mins and at 6ks, June and supporters take the second tyre away.  Wendy passes a couple of caffeinated power gels to me. I attempt to suck one and nearly throw up the sickly sweetness.


This year's message is about the government
making sustainable resources easier to access
with government subsidies
Computer Systems (6 - 15ks): At first dragging one tyre feels okay but my head is telling me it wants to sleep. In response the body feels tired and wants to power down. I am looking forward to doing an hourly 5 minute break. My feet are burning and despite drinking every 2ks I feel dehydrated. I suck the second power gel at 10 k, in the hope the caffeine would provide an auxiliary power surge to my system.  It does for an hour, and unfortunately it has only given me a temporary spike. The system wants a reboot.  At 13ks we meet a young chatty lad, Ryan.  I find my head cannot process much and just agree with everything he says. I am feeling hot and a little light headed and know I've got to rehydrate and eat or risk a total system blow out. At 15ks I sit on the grass to try to cool the legs and a kind volunteer provides me with a "strawberry and cream gu" plus a bottle of water.  The gu is sickly but am sure has given me another energy spike and part of the bottle's contents go over my head.


With the same old box!
Signs of Over Heating (15 - 24ks): Aileen is having problems.  She has been nurturing a blister and feels she may not be able to continue and in fact leaves somewhere at about 17ks when we meet the support crew. Wendy aids me and runs with me for a couple of ks. Kim Boon (my ice climbing teacher) appears and takes over. I run a couple more ks with him and then have to revert to walking.  At 20k I have another "gu" but the heat is really bothering me now. It is about 11:30am. My head is feeling hot, my body is feeling hot but I push myself to continue, throwing water over my head. I still feel in first gear mode.  The only things that are making this marathon enjoyable are meeting friends and seeing their madness!

The Dragon Boys (24 - 34ks): And from my cloudy confused mind, three buff guys who are taking part in the marathon appear - "Hi Wendy sent us back to help you"

Me: Amused and a little confused, pour water on my head to make sure my head is not making it up: "Hey that's really kind, but it's okay, you should carry on otherwise your time will be really messed up"

The guys: "Oh well, we've just run back 6ks to help you and we feel it would be a privilege to help you"

Kim Boon laughs and with a "there you go Rima", hands over his reign to one of the guys who now wears Aileen's harness. The other guy pulls one of the handles on my rope to reduce the weight I feel. At 25k we lose the chocolate cake that was in the box......hopefully looked after by Kim Boon.  At 26k, I decide to fully hand over my harness to one of the other guys rather than him pulling on my rope.  I again have to sit on the grass to cool down. I feel my engine wants to over heat.  I am conscious that I should have had sun block on.  My cheeks are stinging and so is the top of my lip.  A volunteer passes me 2 more gus. I eat one plus throw back another 500ml bottle of water.

The dragon guys (they are part of SP's dragon boating team) seem to relish dragging the tyre treating it like training.  My role becomes motherly! - as I throw water over them and get large bottles of water from each drink station we pass.  Two support crew and two drag the tyre.

I have drunken so much water I am now starting to burst and have to drop into the porta toilets a couple of times. I have never needed to use the toilets in any of the past 3 marathons I have participated in.  I have not felt so weak for so long either.

By 34ks I am finally feeling pretty good mentally and physically.  A couple of my guys are cramping in their legs and thus I try to help them reduce their thigh cramps!


Racing to the end - all for one and one for all!
To the Finish (34ks - the end): I try to take over one of the harnesses from the guys, but they are still in "look after mode" and well it doesn't really matter anyway.  My training stopped a long way back and their training started.

Me: "Guys I'm really okay now, I can take over to give your legs a break"

Scott: "If I stop now, I'm going to get more cramp"

Me to Charles: "You okay?"

Charles: "Don't worry we're big boys"

Me: "Yes and don't worry I'm a big girl too!!!"


Photo for Charlie!

The guys imply they will give me back the reigns closer to the end, however I like to keep things honest. So it was agreed we would go through together! At 38ks I am finally allowed to take over one harness and push harder to get the event over. At 41ks we all take a harness strap each and begin our final jog. 150 metres left, we begin to sprint and rocket to the end.  It was a fantastic moment jetting over the finish line with the dragon guys!

Am a little sun stroked but am thankful to the dragon guys for all their help in the second half and now my head thinks it enjoyed the event. Crazy!

Gun time: 8 hours 27 minutes