Bali Life / Shouts

My first marathon’s seven mistakes and how I recovered

August 28th 2017, Padma Ubud Resort, Bali.


I ran this year’s Maybank Bali Marathon. It took me 5:53hr. A painful eight minutes behind my targeted 5:45hr. My decision to run the marathon was based on a lifelong ambition of beating this tough challenge. I want to talk about the mistakes I made before and during the challenging 42.195-km route,and how a one-night stay in Ubud helped me recover from them. Emotionally fragile, blisters on my feet, and chaffing in parts of my body I didn’t realize even existed, I needed Padma luxury.


Mistake #1
Being like a tour operator the night before the race
My family did not want to miss this first Full Marathon experience of mine so they came to support me all the way from Jakarta. As a host, I forgot this was not a regular holiday. Taking care of their hotels, transport, and where to eat the day before the race was not a good distraction. I lost my focus. They did not demand anything, but it was me who did not know how to let go. So a tranquil escape was my go-to-plan. After the race, after all the emotion, chaos and euphoria mixed together, my partner and I cocooned ourselves inside the Padma Resort Ubud, nestled within an untouched river valley overlooking the bamboo forests of Payangan in Ubud; There I sought comfort, solace and rest.


Mistake #2
Not sleeping enough
Especially the night before my first full Marathon. The three-month-long training program was a tough regime during which sleeping for long is a novelty. I should have known that I needed to sleep at least eight hours before the big day, instead of a broken three hours only. Now I had the perfect chance to do so. We were booked into a Premier Room with stunning views overlooking the lush forest. Its artisan-crafted furnishings, crisp beddings and a private balcony are some my favorite features of the room. My fave is the bathroom. The sliding door separating it from the bedroom is key because I can multi task while bathing. You know like, watching sitcoms.


Mistake #3
I should have been more confident that my body could handle the scorching sun. But I couldn’t. So instead of taking sips, I took deep gulps of water at every water station. Running with a bloated water-filled belly was no fun. But, yes, those gallons of sweat (and tears in my case) needed to be replenished soon after the race. My partner asked: “Do you want To Marry Me?” as he handed me the pool bar menu. Luckily for him I understood that it must be one of their cheekily named mocktails. So I gladly say “I do” to him. Twice. I was tempted to join their Mixology Class, but then I opted for a glass of white instead to relax me before sleeping. It’s like a good ending to a very long day, having a sip while I soak myself deep inside the bathtub, before I sink my body into the fluffy and plush bedding. By the way, the bathtub fits two. Comfortably.


Mistake #4
Not Fuelling Up Properly
I was so nervous the night before I did not eat enough. I knew that my body would hit “the wall” at Km-28 and my energy gels did not help as much as if I had fuelled up the night before and carbo-loaded. Funnily enough, I only felt that starvation the morning after the race. It was hard for me to leave the crisp bed sheets in my room, and because I had left the drapes open, the misty morning views from Mount Agung made it harder for me to get out of bed.

I eventually dragged myself out of bed. Well, more like my partner lifted me out of my warm and comfortable nest. But I did not regret it. The breakfast at Puhu Restaurant is second to none. With a wide-ranging rich buffet spread, ranging from western to oriental cuisine, it is easy fail. But they did not. I had the most perfectly moist eggs benedict, tasty noodles and meatballs. And even my childhood favorite of waffles and thick jam! Don’t miss the jamu corner too, which tastes exactly the way traditional Javanese made it back in the olden days. All fuelled up now, I ask my partner “What shall we do now?”

Photo by Tom Tom Travel


Mistake #5
Forgetting to cover my toes inanti-blister lubricant
It is amazing how to help your body recover quicker, one must do another shorter run to recover from a long run. But apparently it is needed to help your stiff muscles loosen up a little. Whether or not it is a placebo ritual, the scenic Padma Resort Ubud jogging track gave me a reason to lace up my running shoes and go for an easy jog.

Since I had missed some parts of my toes and inner thighs when I lathered my anti-blister lubricant before the race, those parts chaffed horribly. But a 3.4-km long jogging track of lush tropical gardens made the slow jog bearable.


Mistake #6
Rolling hills breaking my spirit
The Bali Marathon race route is renowned for its tough rolling hills. Even though I was warned, they still shocked me. I remember telling myself that “If you are running uphill, there has to be a downhill right around the corner.” Still, it was not easy. So I decided to do a leisurely bicycle ride.With a group of six other guests we did an easy 7-km ride to Puhu village, enjoying the views of the padi fields and traditional Balinese houses. The breeze was so refreshing and I enjoyed the thrill of the rolling hills much more on this occasion.


(The Biggest) Mistake #7
Only staying one night at Padma Resort Ubud
This is more like a mistake I made after the race. The kind reception staff allowed me a late checkout. I showed them my sweaty 42.195-km marathon finisher’s medal when I checked in the previous afternoon, so they let me staya couple of hours longer. “Poor you; you must be so tired,” he said. I gave them my “Bambi eyes” look, as I nodded with gratitude. I decided to swim in the inviting“all-over-Instagram”infinity pool. Connected to the resort via an enchanting glass top tunnel, the pool offers awe-inspiring views and the refreshing mountain air of Ubud. The water is cool during the day and heated when the temperature drops – perfect for my tired muscles.
Later that afternoon I checkout, feeling all refreshed, and ready to register for another full marathon race. I drag my suitcase slowly to the car, sad to be leaving such a beautiful oasis of calm.

Weeks later, my runner’s high has finally settled down. Despite the pain I experienced, I am already registered for another Full Marathon in December 2017. My only regret is there are no Padma Resort Ubud at that destination.

But perhaps that will be my 2018 Bali Marathon resolution? To stay more than just one night in an oasis of calm and luxury.


Tressabel Hutasoit

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