Yesterday I walked for 20 Kilometres — not much of a feat for seasoned runners. Yet, I felt the need to share my sense of gratification.
If I can run I would run, but I just started jogging about a month ago. Not much of a jog, I usually end up walking in a fast pace.
I’m not fat, my BMI was 21.4 which is normal. But, one week before I started I got my blood test result. My cholesterol level was high, especially my LDL level. It wasn’t bad enough until I need to take meds, but the doctor told me to avoid red meat and work out. So the next day I woke up around 5:00 am, after I done my dawn prayers around 5:40am got out of the house with track pants and running shoe.
During my first try, the first kilometres got me exhausted but the exhaustion felt good. My mood was better and the strangest part was that I ate less. Previously, I thought that the more we got tired, the more we ate, but after working out I became less hungry.
The good feeling made me motivated to wake up early to just go out for a long walk. Everyday I walked further and further, sometimes I changed my route from my home and back. From 1 kilometre, 2 kilometres until I settled to 5 kilometres every 5 days a week — I missed some days because it was raining or I stayed up late and need more sleep.
Every workout was 5 Kilometres, until one day I decided to try another route. It was also around 5 Kilometres without counting the distance going back home. If I gone back the same way it would doubled the distance, but directly going back and forth was boring. So I decided to go across the river via the bridge to the city centre then took a boat across and walk back home.
Add another 3 Kilometres I am in the city across the river and another 2 Kilometres I am back home. So I did my first 10 Kilometres, it was very exhausting. After 7 Kilometres I was very tired so end up at some Malay Restaurant eating Roti Telur with Dhal. Took a rest for half an hour and continued my journey back by foot.
The route was not that far — in the map at least. The initial 5 Kilometres I took on the new route felt longer. It was strange because I walked at the same pace or even faster than usual.I usually finished the 5 Kilometres walk within 30+ minutes or around 9Km/h, but this time it took me around 40+ minutes.
Weekdays I walked/jog for 5 Kilometres and 10 Kilometres on weekends. That was my routine for 2 weeks until I decided to add another 10 KM across another bridge into many small villages, walk up the hill and downward to my house.
6:15 am of 30th October, I walked out of the house and ventured to the path I have decided to take a few days ago. Fresh air and cool weather around 24ºC made it easier for me to finish the initial 5 Kilometres. Hardly any vehicle passed by since it was early Sunday morning until I reached the main road heading towards the bridge crossing the Sarawak river. There was significant traffic, but the air was still breathable — thank god the country next door didn’t burn down their forest.
Walking on the sidewalk of the bridge gave me a slight discomfort like the first time I did it. I hope I wasn’t an odd sight like some ‘mentally challenged person’ I saw which usually took the same path almost everyday. But, out of the blue a guy with complete runner’s gear running towards me. The sight of another person doing the ‘strange thing’ I did gave me some relieve from anxiety.
Then as I continued walking another guy passed me. Suddenly I had a boost of confidence and it motivated me to walk faster until I reached the 7th KM mark. Thank god there was 7 Eleven near by while I was extremely thirsty.
After the 7KM mark I felt extremely tired, but I just persevere. Continued walking, but it felt heavier and my pace became slower. On the 9th KM I felt hungry, I ate Laksa at Madam Tang’s.
I hang out at Madam Tang’s for a few minutes, before 9 am I depart. Then the journey was a little confusing because I got lost. I wasn’t familiar with the place, twice I end up at a dead road — In Google Map it exist but in real life it doesn’t.
After I crossed the second bridge, I had to go through a number of villages which was like a compact slump. The place was teeming with life, people and vehicles frequently passed me. Every few steps there’s a shop, a house, a service booth, a restaurant and full of activities. Houses was so close to each other, there was no space in between — sometimes only an average human width with more houses within it. Doors and windows were open, you could see people inside and they just don’t give a damn.
My t-shirt was soaking wet, the sun already high up above my head. As I was wearing sport wear, people seem not to blink an eye. Within the whole 3 KM strecth, only one grandma taunted me in a polite way. She jokingly told me that I walk too fast and that I need to take the van. I just laughed loudly, waved at her and continued walking.
The only difference between me and the ‘mentally challenged’ dude– I saw usually did the same thing– was our clothing. If I don’t dress appropriately people might suspect something wrong with me and it was not a good thing in this very small city — even though it is a city, but within the few KM radius people are mostly related to each other.
At the end of 3KM stretch of villages was a hill, on top of it was Fort Margherita. The only motivation I had to never stop was the fact that the only way home was forward. So I walked up the hill and stop for a while near the fort to enjoy the beautiful scenic view of Kuching.
As I gone downhill the trees provided shades against the heat. After the 17th KM mark, there was nothing to shade me against the sun. Another 3KM was like ‘I had to get over this so don’t remember much anything around me’. It was too hot to bother anything, my mind was in a tunnel vision mode until I arrived home at 10am.
4 hours plus plus of walking, I was wet and exhausted. Tired, but I felt good. At home I drank water and blended my fruit juice. The journey felt like an achievement, a very significant achievement for me over a very insignificant activity — walking.
Another significance in the insignificant which was an entry well suited to this blog. Writing this also gave me another significance of filling some empty void I felt. This one entry and my single walk would never fill the void for long. Like the stomach, it get empty everyday so maybe I got to fill it continuously.