I love going through Jakarta without the traffic (don’t we all!) and some days, my preferred way is by running.
Back in February, my sister, brother-in-law and I registered for our first ever Half Marathon (HM) at Jakarta Marathon 2016 and we thought “Oh, it’s 8 months away!” and it dawned on me how fast time passed by as we got to the race last Sunday. We also went to the event last year although we only did the 10km. By the time we did this HM however, I already did another one back in May and another 17km in Helsinki, so it ended up not being our first time after all.
Let’s start with the race pack. Last year, the race tee was by Adidas but this year, Brooks made it. I would say that I like the Brooks’ fabric lightness, but I definitely am not a big fan of the design (sheer polkadot, really?) and the fitting. My sister also prefers the looser fit of last year’s tee. In addition, we also got some Salonpas relief patch and cream (handy for post-race recovery!) and few brochures from the sponsors.
So, race day! What a rare occasion that I woke up earlier than my mom usually does. I wasn’t feeling well the night before but thankfully had a solid 6,5 hours of sleep (which is 3 hours more than my Helsinki run..) and woke up at 03.40. Pre-race snack was peanut butter toast, a small banana, half an energy bar and Brands’ chicken essence (my dad strongly encouraged it, said it helped him on his younger days). Okay, that was lots of snack but much needed, really.
Watch the race day’s footage here.
I rarely go out (or finished for the night) that early in Jakarta most of the time so it was always really pleasant to see Jakarta in a more relaxed state and the air feels fresh! Last year, we went pretty late (by late I mean like 5am..) and parked soooo far away from the starting line that we joked that we walked pretty much half our running distance (okay, not that much but it did feel so far!) to go to the venue. This year we had our lesson and went pretty early and we scored a pretty sweet parking place 100 meters away from Monas, the starting line.
Though we went earlier, we started the race 5 minutes after starting time. The weather was cloudy…until it started pouring at around 3 km point. We decided to take cover (dude, I have mid-term the day after, so not looking forward to studying with a flu or/and fever) and asked for a plastic bag at a donut shop before continuing the race. We assumed that the pawang hujan (what is pawang hujan? read here) wasn’t strong enough to keep the sky from pouring.
The HM route was pretty nice with adequate water stations. I think the route was pretty similar or almost the same as last year’s, but since I did a 10k last year, I passed the route that I didn’t go through last year, such as the Old Town (I haven’t been there in years, so it’s really nice!), the Jakarta Cathedral and Istiqlal Mosque, and Bundaran Hotel Indonesia. The abundant race course marshals throughout also made all the difference, except for the Harmoni crossroad where the runners had to go on the sidewalk.
Since the weather wasn’t being savage, the first 15 kilometers were a breeze (quite literally) for my sister and I. We didn’t aim for any personal best, knowing that we didn’t train as proper as we did for our first HM back in May. We just wanted to finish with no injury and I cringed at people who did get one (or cramps) as we passed by quite a few along the way. Get well soon, people! We walked from kilometer 15 to 16, and another 500 meters between kilometer 18/19. We met our friend around kilometer 18 and I was giving him a high five and accidentally pulled my earphone along with my phone out of my armband, then my phone proceeded to fall and drag on the asphalt for 3 meters. However, I had my tempered glass screen protector on so it didn’t damage the screen. Still, I just cringed and whimpered the whole time.
The real struggle was actually at kilometer 20 with the knowledge that the finish was so close but it felt so far, we were so mentally ready to see the finish line to no avail. There were few cheering crews along the way (with few snacks and cold water sponge!) from running communities also with few ondel-ondel and it provided a good mental boost for the last push. And boom, the finish line is in sight. It was getting hotter and we finally crossed the line! We did it, we did it, we did it, hurray (Dora the Explorer style)! My sister and I finished it in 3 hours and 9 minutes (net time) and my brother-in-law finished around 2 hours and 40 minutes. So proud!
The medal is cool but really, nothing beats the feeling of finishing a race (although my back and legs now feel pretty shitty, no regrets!). No matter the time or the distance, congratulations to every runner who ran Jakarta, hope you had fun and recovered well, see you on the road and hopefully will see you next year at Jakarta Marathon 2017!
Running is an individual sport, but it also feels so much like a team one as well. The way I see it, every runner you meet is your team, pushing and motivating you towards the finish line. That being said, nothing matters if you can’t motivate yourself. To tell you the truth, I have a love/hate relationship with running, but what I found about running is that it always pushes yourself to be better, to know your mental and physical limit better, and in the end, you’ll always come out better.