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2013 5k Jakarta Marathon


You know what went through my head a moment ago as I’m writing this? “I suck I suck I suck I suck I suck.” Similar episodes like this happen all the time, but I think I managed it relatively well today.

I know that kind of thinking pattern will never last me in a long run.

I’m sure you’re tired with my shitty self-esteem already as it works like a vicious cycle – you do (or don’t do) something and you’re unhappy about that and you find a way to punish yourself and you do something wrong in the detention room and then you blame yourself all over again for everything that spiraled from the beginning, ultimately making a negative person out of you and let it dominate a large part of your reality.

It’s been shitty because I know I have always set high goals for myself to achieve and then I go get them, especially in running. I have a target number of miles in mind for a week and I cover them without a single complaint.

Back in February, when I learned about the Jakarta Marathon, there wasn’t a single doubt that I wanted to be part of it. It’s a huge deal, you know, to become the second Asian host (after Japan) to have its own marathon event. Plus, the original route of the plan was supposed to be starting near my neighborhood – all the more reason I thought it’ll be awesome to finally crash a starting line that I can just head to by walking (i.e. no need to drive). I mean, yeah, the air quality across Jakarta is pretty bad because it’s humid and polluted and all. In fact some people fainted toward the finishing line because most locals spend a great deal of their daily lives sitting in the car. We’re not used to breathing in pure oxygen, I guess. But home’s home and life is as awesome as you make it.

What better setting to conquer your own difficult mind than facing the most remarkable monuments of your own nation? Every stride you make you’re reminded that there are much bigger stuff to deal with than your own demons. This is not heaven after all, so demons will always stick around to plant shitty stuff in your head, right?

Of course, the little miss Cruella in my head wasn’t really satisfied with my slower 5k time. My last PR for 3.1 miles was 29:15 minutes – way, waaay speedier than I was today, and I don’t even want to begin with the idea of beating my all-time 5k PR right now, which is 18:35 minutes. Those days were different. That PR was made during my pre-depression era, and I remember it felt pretty effortless. Anyway, there’s no use dwelling in nostalgia right now.

Let’s focus on the now.

Every road race I’ve been always brings together really unique people that you just can’t help but be inspired by them. Jakarta Marathon 2013 begged to differ. There was a blind participant as well as another in a wheelchair who was competing for the 10k. In my heart I was like, man, these guys just won’t quit. It just goes to show that you need nothing else but the sheer perseverance of the spirit to fight your battle.

When that shitty performance train of thought went through my head, I leave it there in my mind but decided to be happy instead. There was one thing I did right that I don’t usually do: R-E-L-A-X, instead of pushing more than I can exert. In fact, throughout the race I strive to move forward in good form. I was taking full advantage of gravity to propel me forward so each stride made a greater distance than they usually do. I had poor posture for a while now and running felt like up-and-down movements instead of a forward motion. On the run this morning, every time I feel the run is getting hard, I slowly increase my cadence just to relax. Speed wasn’t in my mind – safety was. I’ve got enough blisters to share.

Not a wall I'm completely proud of just yet, but I believe as we progress, a greater distance will just keep coming.
Not a wall I’m completely proud of just yet, but I believe as we progress, a greater distance will just keep coming.

When getting ahead of most others used to matter more to me, now I just let gravity do her work. It’s taxing to trust only our quads and hamstrings to push forward. Every long stride I make is me responding to Cruella and her discouragements with a quiet “let go.”

As the great Glenn Cunningham once said, “In running it is man against himself, the cruelest of opponents. The other runners are not the real enemies. His adversary lies within him, in his ability with brain and heart to master himself and his emotions.”

Did you run the Jakarta Marathon this morning? Which distance did you battle and how did you battle the miles?

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