A good friend recently said this to me “It’s so nice that you have a sibling to run with”. I’ve never really thought about it that way but as I reflect about her remark, it does strike me as extraordinary (or at least within my circle of friends) that my brother Evan and I both share a passion for running. We were both athletic in our younger days though we did not share the same passion for any sport. As we grew up, we were somehow drawn to running (him more so than me) and it has become a staple in both our lives. I was pleasantly surprised when I realised how Evan, like I do, plan his day around running. The questions we ask ourselves almost daily are “when should I run today?” and “how far should I run?” Our common love (or some would say addiction) to running led us to participating in this year’s Paris Marathon together.
I’m a loner when it comes to training for my marathons as I find it too much of an obligation to join a running club or to run with friends. Nonetheless, having my brother around in the lead-up to this marathon where we discussed how we should taper and carbo-load as well as our running attire and gear for the big day, was strangely comforting. On the eve of the marathon and the morning of the race, we were both busy with our preparations – (i) attire (long or short sleeve, single or double-layer, running shorts or tights); (ii) nutrition (what and how much to eat, are we consuming enough liquids); (iii) anti-abrasion cream; (iv) how to keep warm (with temperatures hovering around 4-8°C before the race, it was important to figure out how to stay warm); (v) what energy gels to use; (vi) what to eat for breakfast, etc etc.
The beauty of the marathon race is that it’s an entirely personal experience. How you motivate yourself, how you plan your pace, what you draw from the experience… First-time runners are probably psyching themselves to complete the race while ‘old-timers’ are seeking to improve their personal best (PB) timings. I started the race thinking that I would not be able to complete it as my training plan was rudely interrupted in January by a month-long bout of illness. As the kilometers passed under my feet and I got to the 21km mark with a timing of 1hr 56min, I was surprised as I was actually running at a potential PB pace! Many thoughts crossed my mind from the 21st kilometre mark to the finishing line near the Arch of Triumph but the one distinct refrain was: “Go for a PB”. What also pushed me to the finishing line was knowing that this time round, I would find a familiar face at the finishing line.
Paris Marathon 2012 would always hold a special place in my heart. It was a race that my brother and I had both participated in and achieved our personal best timings for the 42.195km run. Evan’s timing was an incredible 2hrs 57:30 min while mine stands at 4hrs 01:33min.
Another feather in the cap and off to train for the next marathon and this time round, a sub 4hrs timing!