Pengalaman Lari di Sibayak Altitude Run

Niat saya mendaftarkan diri pada Sibayak Altitude Run sebenarnya adalah untuk membangkitkan kembali motivasi lari yang sedang turun-turunnya. Namun ternyata sama aja. Masih dilanda kemalasan luar biasa. Masih payah. Sampai hari-h pun saya belum sempat melaksanakan satu long run yang cukup sama sekali. Waktu acara? Keteteran. Saya peserta yang finish terakhir. Paling belakang.

 

Begini kronologis ceritanya:

 

  1. Perjalanan awal.

 

Bersama seorang rekan kerja serumah dinas yang hendak pulang cuti, saya berangkat menuju Medan. Di pesawat sempat terjadi guncangan. Saya ketakutan, lalu meringkuk ke perutnya. Saat itulah saya berpikir, mengapa saya takut mati, apa yang sesungguhnya saya takutkan? Segala pemikiran yang belum tersampaikan, atau minimal tertuliskan; yang tertunda, yang terlupa, dan yang belum matang; saya tidak rela. Oke. Mungkin memang sudah panggilannya; selalu ingin kembali menulis lebih banyak, apapun wujudnya.

 

 

  1. Pisah di Medan.

 

Teman saya lanjut menuju Palembang untuk menghadiri acara pesta pernikahan seorang teman. Sementara saya, memuaskan diri melahap waffle sebelum kemudian buru-buru menemui pihak panitia yang menjemput. Panitia yang menjemput saya protes, karena saya tidak memakai kaca mata hitam seperti yang saya bilang di telepon. Lho,tapi framenya hitam kok. Lagipula, lensanya nanti hitam kalau kena sinar matahari.

 

 

  1. Menuju Sibayak.

 

Masuk ke Mobil. Saya disambut oleh penumpang lain yang kemudian diketahui ternyata adalah seorang jurnalis majalah olah raga. Ia sibuk dengan gadgetnya, saya asik membaca Foundation Trilogy. Lalu mobil bergerak menjemput satu orang lagi di Medan, peserta juga. Jalanan waktu itu macet cukup panjang. Kami memutar mengambil jalur alternatif. Di jalan saya mendengarkan obrolan menarik, yakni adanya doorsmeer plus-plus di daerah menuju Sibayak yang saat itu sedang kami lalui. Haha, jadi, itu maksudnya tempat cuci mobil yang supirnya juga sekalian “dicuci”. Obrolan sampai ke topik tersebut bermula dari respon pihak penjemput terhadap keinginan salah seorang dari kami untuk berhenti turun izin buang air kecil.

 

 

  1. Sampai di Sibayak.

 

Tepatnya di daerah pemandian air panas Ncole. Wah. Awkward. Saya malu. Saya minder. Belum kenal siapa-siapa. Bingung. Oh ya, ambil BIB dulu! Begitulah, lalu, bersama seorang peserta lain, saya mengambil racepack lalu melanjutkan proses administrasi. Setelahnya kami duduk-duduk di samping kolam pemandian air panas, berbincang-bincang. Ia makan indomie rebus, lalu saya ditraktir teh hangat; terima kasih! Oh ya, kami juga foto-foto. Kemudian setelah mendapatkan kunci hotel, saya segera berangkat, bongkar barang bawaan, istirahat sebentar, lalu malam-malamnya saya kembali ke pemandian air panas itu sendirian; berendam. Fuah! Mantab.

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  1. Sebelum Start.

 

Gila. Rasa khawatir telat bangun itu gak enak banget. Saya pasang alarm berlapis-lapis. Bangun lebih awal, yakni sekitar pukul tiga pagi. Namun itu terbangun karena mimpi buruk. Mimpi apa? MIMPI TELAT BANGUN. Hal ini persis banget terulang seperti saat-saat dulu saya hendak lari di Jakarta Marathon 2015. Justru karena kekhawatiran itulah tidur jadi terasa kurang dan tidak nyenyak. Setelah tersiksa bangun-tidur-bangun-tidur-bangun dalam kegelisahan mengerikan, saya putuskan untuk bersiap segera menuju ke tempat start.

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Di sana belum ramai saat saya sampai. Saya duduk bengong, pusing, dan bingung. Takut juga. Apa saya mampu? Saya tidak bawa headlamp, hanya lampu senter genggam yang baterainya sudah mau mampus. Menjelang start, kami berkumpul. Angin bertiup dingin. Gelap. Gerimis.

 

 

  1. Mulai lari.

 

Saya start termasuk di barisan paling depan. Namun belum tiga langkah saya ambil, saya sudah diserbu orang bersalip-salipan di kanan kiri saya. Ngebut sekali mereka. Saya lari, mencoba mengejar, namun tetap menjaga pace sesuai batas aerobic saja sembari berulang-kali melirik penunjuk heartbeat di garmin. Gelap. Gelap. Gelap. Saya terpisah sendiri. Terlalu ke depan untuk pelari selambat saya. Terlalu lambat untuk sok buru-buru. Lalu ketika kemudian mulai masuk ke jalur hutan, saat itulah keraguan mulai terakumulasi menjadi beban di hati.

 

 

  1. Cek Poin Pertama.

 

Di hutan gelap sendirian, awalnya saya mampu mencari jalan. Memang dituntut untuk mampu mengira-ngira jalan, mencari jejak sepatu manusia di antara lumpur dan mencari penanda jalan entah di pohon, entah di batu, entah di mana. Tapi akhirnya saya berhenti di tempat karena betul-betul tidak tahu mesti ke mana. Lama saya menunggu, akhirnya datanglah dua pria berpakaian biru dari belakang. Mereka sangat baik dan mau melanjutkan perjalanan bersama saya. Kami sempat tersesat bersama-sama di hutan itu. Lampu senter sayapun sempat mati, beruntung ada headlamp mereka. Menanjak hutan terjal terus sampai akhirnya terang. Ketika pria di depan memperingatkan saya atas duri; saya teringat seorang teman yang dulu pernah lari trail di bogor hingga kepalanya sobek kena tanaman. Takut.

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Mulai Meninggalkan Gelapnya Hutan

 

Keluar hutan, kami terus menanjak ke cek poin pertama. Saya sampai lebih dulu, lalu turun gunung sendirian di depan. Turunannya sangat licin. Saya tidak berani jalan. Hanya berani duduk merosot. Mengadu pantat dengan lumut dan batu. Saya bergerak dengan semangatnya karena masih begitu naif mencoba mengejar Cut Off Time; hal ini saya sesali. Karena kemudian saya tersasar. Terima kasih lagi kepada mereka, karena  mendengar sahutan mereka dari jauhlah saya sadar bahwa saya salah arah dan perlu lari naik kembali. Jadilah saya kemudian yang berada di belakang.

 

 

  1. Cek Poin Kedua.

 

Menanjak gunung lagi. Yah, setidaknya kali ini tidak melalui hutan-hutan lagi. Tapi tetap saja berat. Lebih tinggi pula. Saya kapok melesat sendirian lagi. Takut tersasar karena sok tahu. Jadilah kali ini saya ikut bergerak seiringan dengan dua orang lain lagi. Tepat sebelum puncak, ada jalur batu besar yang harus dipanjat; saya pikir tadinya saya tak mampu, namun setelah ditawari pertolongan, ternyata saya mampu naik sendiri. Woah, kok bisa ya, sayapun bingung; mungkin saya hanya takut. Ah, lupakan, yang penting sampai!

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Makan Jeruk dan Nanas

Setelah sampai puncak dan mendapatkan gelang cek poin kedua, kami turun. Di bawah, kami menyempatkan diri makan jeruk dan nanas dan minum air pada water station yang disediakan panitia. Kemudian kami melesat terus. Pada jalur sebelumnya nyaris tidak bisa dibuat lari saking terjal dan licinnya. Barulah pada jalur ini kami bisa betul-betul lari macam di acara lomba lari.

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  1. Cek Poin Ketiga

 

Jalanan turun. Kaki ini dipaksa untuk bergerak lebih cepat oleh gravitasi. Lutut menerima tekanan yang lebih kuat karenanya. Sakit! Serius. Kami terbawa momentum, lari terlalu cepat sampai kesulitan berhenti sendiri. Seorang peserta mencoba berhenti dengan meraih tanaman, tapi gagal, dan terpelanting jatuh. Katanya, kalau ada rekaman youtubenya, dia mau lihat. Tapi begitu diminta diulang lari lalu jatuh, ia tidak mau. Yeah, ngeri memang. Kamipun akhirnya bergerak pelan karena takut kesulitan berhenti kalau lari. Hahaha. Ternyata jalur menuju cek poin ketiga ini cukup panjang. Seorang dari kami lari duluan, saya dan seorang lagi mengekor di belakang. Sialnya, ternyata di jalur ini kami harus melewati hutan lagi.

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Keraaaaaaaaam!!!

 

Di sana saya terpeleset jatuh, kaki terbenam lumpur, dan paha kiri saya keram. Peserta lain itu membantu meluruskan kaki saya yang keram dan terbenam lumpur, kemudian saya beri tahu ia untuk pergi duluan saja. Begitulah, saya tergeletak sendirian tak bisa bergerak. Yah itulah hidup. Tapi setelah beristirahat sampai dirasa sembuh, saya segera maju lagi seperti pada lirik lagu Frank Sinatra yang berjudul That’s Life:

Each time I find myself lying flat on my face,

I just picked myself up and get back in the race!

 

Perjalanan hingga mencapai cek poin ketiga ini kurang menarik, kecuali saat saya harus terpaksa melalui jalan yang dijaga dua anjing besar yang semangat sekali menggonggong. Saya yang lelah hanya berjalan lunglai pasrah, melambat, membisu, sampai akhirnya mereka minggir dan saya berhasil lalu. Sampai di cek poin tiga, saya berhasil berkumpul kembali dengan dua peserta sebelumnya. Kamipun kemudian melanjutkan perjalanan bersama dengan lebih santai berdasarkan saran panitia yang menjaga cek poin ketiga. Saking lelahnya, setiap beberapa ratus meter kami duduk istirahat, bahkan sesekali berbaring di jalanan. Ada salah satu dari kami yang membawa Snickers yang kemudian dipatah dan dibagi tiga. Panitia-panitia, entah dengan mobil, entah dengan motor, berkali-kali menawarkan tumpangan agar kami segera diangkut ke finish. Namun kami dengan keras kepala menolak.

 

Menjelang dekat finish, kami ditemani lari oleh seorang pelari senior yang bercerita tentang intrik-intrik lari trail. Ia berkisah, pada event-event trail run di Jawa sana, tidak jarang ada kelompok pelari yang bagi-bagi peran, yakni peran untuk sengaja menyesatkan pelari lain. Jadi kata senior itu, janganlah terlalu semangat mengikuti pelari di depan, lihatlah pada penanda lomba, kalau sudah beberapa ratus meter tak terlihat lagi penanda, maka segeralah kembali. Begitu. Wow. Lucunya di kasus saya tadi setelah cek poin pertama, justru saya yang semangat menyesatkan diri sendiri dan justru terselamatkan oleh petunjuk sahutan peserta lain. Terima kasih!

Dari kami bertiga, seorang akhirnya memutuskan lari lebih dulu ke depan. Kemudian seorang lagi lari di depan saya disemangati teman-temannya. Terakhirlah saya di belakang. Begitu terus sampai akhirnya kami sampai tujuan.

 

Dari seluruh peserta.

Saya manusia yang finish terakhir.

Keren gak? Banget! Ha! Ha! Ha!

 

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Akhirnya selesai 18 kilometer altitude run!

 

 

 

 

 

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My First Marathon: Analogy To Life Hardships

I wasn’t that serious about running. But I needed a result to convince myself that this dabbling in running wasn’t in vain. So, in August I registered mysef for a Full Marathon at Jakarta Marathon 2015.

At October 5th, I was deployed to my new office in Meulaboh.  I did consider canceling my participation in the race since the flight would be expensive, but arrogance and recklessness pushed me to disregard money in exchange for experience. At October 23th, I flew to Jakarta.

But why? Why would someone wasted his cash to put himself through  42.195 km of torture? What is so special about finishing a marathon? We’ll see the answer to this question later. For know, let’s keep going.

***

It’s a lie if I didn’t prepare at all, but it’s also a lie to call it adequate. I didn’t train enough. That’s one excuse, and yeah, I have a lot more excuses in my arsenal, for examples:  I didn’t sleep enough the night before the race (I blamed the mosquitos , the nightmare I had, and the broken air conditioner) and the visit to a sushi restaurant with my family was also a blunder (digestion problem! Not enough rest time!), etc. Damn, I’m a man of excuse indeed, what a fool. These crappy characters of mine then manifested in how I ran the race.

I arrived at Monas 5 minutes before 5 am. I was anxious that I’d be late; panicked and confused. Where should I go? Where’s the starting line for Full Marathon? Damn. So many people!  While I was feeling lost in the crowd, I heard some young men shouting about rushing for the Full Marathon, then I quietly followed them. Fortunately, I made it to the Full Marathon starting line in time; gasping for breath but glad.

When the race started, the weariness of lacking sleep and rushing about in panic was gone. I felt a surge of euphoria. I was overwhelmed by people’s desires. The mood was excellent. Amazing.

The first half of the race was really fun. I enjoyed the pace, the sweat, the energy, the pumping of the blood, the beating of the heart, the breathing through my nose and mouth, the scenery, the variety of people running around me, the frustrated citizens who complained about the road blocked because of the marathon, and of course: the sight of the elite runners when they passed by, running with the agility and grace of prideful wild beasts.

People were talking, cheering, joking, laughing, smiling. But after we passed the 20th km, those signs of jollyness slowly replaced with teeth gritting, limping, and cramping. Because the people who participated in the 5k, 10k, and half-marathon had finished their course before us, we marathoners were getting lonelier and lonelier in our struggle. This, worsened by the fact that our lines were stretched thin; not all marathoners were equal in terms of speed and stamina.

The despair and agony we suffered, made every gesture of kindness by anyone –the girls, the boys, the old folks, the children lined up to cheer us; the fruits, snacks, and drinks provided; the ice and the  cold-wet-sponge; the pain relieving gel; the shades provided by the trees and buildings; etc– felt like blessings.

The second half of the race was the true test of endurance and also, willpower. I knew that, so I slowed my pace down to a walk, grabbed my phone and played my favourite songs. I sang my favourite songs to welcome the great torture ahead with a wide smile. If any of you Jakarta Marathoners reading this recalled a man singing so carelessly like no one is watching, that’s probably me.

But then I got bored, and thought that, I wasted too much energy singing. Even, merely listening to songs were tiring. So I turned the songs off then switched to another method to distract my mind from pain and exhaustion. I took out a paper from my pocket, it’s a list of things I wanted to ponder while doing the marathon. There, after reading it for a while, I continued my run, deep in thoughts, mostly about hardships I survived since childhood, schools, college; my visions and plans for the future plus its possible obstacles; abandoned dreams and regrets; etc.

Past the 30th km: my garmin watch’s battery was almost emptied, so I saved the run before it died. I was too tired to run and think, then I stopped pondering about the things in the list. I also sat, and drank a 500ml of coffee I kept at the back pocket of my running vest. After the cafein jolted my brain, I tried to run again. But goddamn. It wasn’t merely a matter of mental fatigue, it’s an actual physical limitation. Almost at every running attempt after that, ended up in me limping because my legs were in the state of soon-to-be-cramped-if-I-pushed-even-a-little-more.

Near the 38th km, while limping on a flyover, tears flooded my cheeks. I cried my eyes out when I realized I cannot finish the marathon before Cut Off Time. I thought of this marathon as an analogy of life hardships;  that roads to achieve worthy goals may include tedious steps over and over and over wrapped in misery, such as these steps we took under the merciless heat of the sun, and the breath we inhaled from the polluted atmosphere of Jakarta. The truth is even worse: this marathon is actually far far simpler and easier than LIFE. I was strucked with the vision of my dreams crumbling before me. I was saddened to acknowledge that I may not possess the discipline and endurance to achieve the thing I aspire. The road bellow the flyover was so tempting to jump into.

I kept going. Because thepossibility of failure was already calculated and predicted. Even the emotional outburst was logically foreseen. I had anticipated these things before the race, and I already promised myself to keep pushing no matter what. Because it’s a fact that not every struggle reciprocated with the intended result. Hit and miss. That’s life. Keep hitting. Hurt the self. Pain is the gift of life. Pain is the curse of life. Whatever. Burn and learn. Then possibly earn. No? Burn again. Burn. Burn. Burn.

I finished the race in 7 hours and a half. Half an hour past the cut off time. I was given a finisher medal, but not given a finisher t-shirt. I laid myself down on the road under the refreshment tent, where other runners were also resting. My whole body was pained and weakened. I wondered: Why am I doing this?

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But why? Why would someone wasted his cash to put himself through  42.195 km of torture? What is so special about finishing a marathon? Why would someone want to run a marathon?

I read answers to such question in quora, and I fancy Michael Boeke’s answer:
“When presented with the choice between a 5k, 10k, or marathon, knowing that marathon may bring me a bit closer to my inevitable meeting with the Grim Reaper, I choose the marathon – cause fuck him, that’s why.”

In Jessica Long’s answer to such question, she mentioned that, “Running is about overcoming yourself. It tests how strong a belief (the necessity of stopping) you can overcome with your mind. You learn how to choose what to believe.”

In his Galloway’s Marathon FAQ book, Jeff Galloway answered the question with this:
“Thousands of runners, many who have been high achievers in their career, have told me that finishing a marathon gave them the greatest sense of accomplishment and achievement ever. Not only do you have to put together 4-6 months of hard training, but during every long run and the race itself, each person has to draw upon resources inside. The empowerment gained from completing this journey often leads to other positive life changes.”

I’m plagued with failures in my whole life. I gave up too frequently and too early in so many aspects of life. I lost so many war before the first skirmish even fought. That’s why I always aim so low. Yet, recently, in this year of 2015, I dared myself to set myself a vision, that maybe too big for mindless worm such as I.

Failure is death. My Grim Reaper. I choose marathon. Cause fuck failure, that’s why. As I ran the miles, I fought against the belief that I needed to stop. Yeah, I rested indeed once in a while. But I continued and finished the race.

Who would’ve thought this strange lonely psychotic boy who grew up fat, even obese, managed to finish a marathon?

I surprised even myself.

I want to,
I must,
I will surprise myself even more.

If the marathon was my life, then I failed to reach my goal in time. Unfortunately, life is far more complicated and harder than mere marathon. I may starting to limp at some points of my life, I may cry at the 38th km of my life. Fortunately, the marathon wasn’t my life. This means I still possess a lot of chances to prepare for and struggle in the war ahead. I just have to make sure that I don’t jump at the next flyover I find myself weeping at.

My Dabbling In Triath-alone

Shame is a great burden to shoulder. But do not drop the shame to pretend everything is fine. Even, I suggest to prolong and to enhance the weight (use your imagination! Be creative!). Because, its detrimental effects are actually rare resources we can try to use to our advantage. It may give way for strength and willpower to rise. To shoulder great shame, one must possess the necessary endurance, and this endurance we’d cultivate in mental and physical distractions.

First. I tried to swim, for an obese class one like me(at the time), it was the most comfortable sport. But it is costly so I turned to walk. Then slowly I tried to run. Well, god be damned, even after quite sometime and changed from obese class one to “just” overweight, I’m still struggling to finish even a 5 km run. My self-esteem rise and fall frequently just like my weight. Just not long ago, I lost 6 kg, but then I gained 2 kg. So what, I’ll just shed them again. Sometimes I feel like Sisyphus who’s condemned to push a boulder to the top just to watch it fall again and push it up again forever. But like Camus said, one must imagine Sisyphus happy!

º

At 20 July 2015, having just arrived the day before from a long trip to my grandmother’s village, I tried to perform a Triathlon Sprint Distance. Triathlon is an endurance sport that possesses death rate almost twice the death rate of marathon (says howstuffwork), awesome right? It consists of –conventionally in this sequence– swimming, biking, and running. It’s not merely dangerous to the health, but also to the wealth, duh, it’s an expensive sport! There are a lot of gears that screams, “Purchase me please!” like: swimsuit/wetsuit/trisuit/cyclingsuit, bike, goggles, bike shorts, running shoes, running belt, tracking device, etc. Whoa. Man. I don’t have enough resources to pay for those. and even the fee to triathlon events is probably too much for me. So, man, what the fuck, I just gotta do this shit my own way: minimum gears and solo (I think it would be cute to call this a triath-alone).
For Sprint Distance, the usual sequence and distance is swim (750 m), bike (20 km), then run (5 km). What I did was in the opposite sequence, run 5 km, bike 20 km, then swim 750 m. The logic behind the usual sequence is to prevent people from drowning out of exhaustion; because well, they actually sprint the race. Me? I didn’t intend to sprint at all, I merely trying to survive the distance and the pain, that’s it. Also, I kinda don’t like the idea of biking and running after being wet with chlorine in a pool; that’s why I rearrange the sequence so the running came first and the swimming came last.

As I said before, finishing a 5 km run is still not an easy thing for me. Especially when I just got home from a long trip; I was trapped inside a car for days, bored and kept shoving any food within arm’s reach into my mouth. That’s why, that morning, after I started my run at 07.00, I only managed to constantly running for (maybe) the first  km, and the rest of the run was filled with a run-walk-run switch; I finished it (5.09 km), in 38 minutes, with average pace of 7.33 min/km. I started and finished it at my home, there I took a piss, and drank a lot. But when I just wanted to grab my bike, I felt a slight cramp at my right thigh. It was not that painful, but the concern of what might follow that hurt so much. I doubted myself, “Stop this, you have two excuses, you just got home from a long trip, and now you got cramp!”. I was discouraged and disheartened, even my parents told me to stop. I took a deep breath, rested on the couch, browsing about cramps in my phone; in wikipedia, it says that one possibility that may cause cramping include low blood salt. I forced myself to stand up and then I ate a spoon of salt. I don’t know whether that really did the cramp justice or it merely served as a placebo treatment; the fact is, I decided to continue.
first tri running

I wasted 20 minutes in the first transition because of that cramps, and I rode my bike really slowly in fear of cramps. But after quite a while, I decided to be faster. At some point I went too fast for my own capacity, my knees felt like they have turned into stone, so I had to slow down to the point of almost standing still again. Overall, it went better than the run, I finished it (20.94 km) in 1 hr 6 min with average speed 18 km/h. I finished it at the Permata Timur pool.

first tri cycling

The pool’s area is 24 m x 12 m. To achieve 750 m, I had to swim the 12 m, 62,5 times. I thought it was going to be easy, but what the hell, I was wrong. After merely swimming for 12 x 4 in freestyle stroke, I was already hurting my arms. I was in despair. The innocence laughter of children playing at the pool suddenly felt like merciless mockery directed at me. I closed my eyes, rested myself for a while; brooding. Then I proceeded the swim with body facing the side, both hands stay still close, and I was only using my leg to stroke the water horizontally. With that form, I slowly regained calmness and focus, hence, I was able to use my arms again.  I didn’t have the device to track my swimming directly, so I merely using a stopwatch to count the time and my mind to count the distance. The result: I finished it (12 m x 64 = 768 m) in 51 minutes.

My phone's stopwatch
My phone’s stopwatch
The pool's ticket
The pool’s ticket
It was a bit crowded
It was a bit crowded

I started at 07.00 and ended it at 10.06. Of course the time was embarassingly slow. But I’m also quite proud and pleased. At least now I know I can survive the distance … and, am I allowed to call myself a Triathlete now? :p I wonder, should I try the olympic distance next (when?) or focus to increase my time in this distance?


Live slow!
Die whenever!