• Tuesday, December 27, 2016
  • By Imam Santosa

#CeritaNusantrun Ch. 1

When Nusantarun Chapter 4 registration was finally opened, I didn’t have to wait for too long to register myself and this time I aim high by signed up for the full course. I believe I could complete both the running and the fund rising.

I was just too happy when it was announced that my participation was accepted. I started to plan out my training routine to make sure that I would be well prepare for the super ultra run that I have never ever done that before in my life.

But then story changed. 4 months before Nusantarun I felt a sharp pain on my outer side of my left knee. It was such an annoying pain. I just ignored it for days and decided not to run at all, afraid that I will make it worst. I tried other exercises instead but having other sports except running is just so lame. My heart is just not there. Instead, I run still but not in a regular basis, with of course the same result, sharp pain during or after the run. There was one time I even could not walk up or down the stairs at all.

After a month with no progress, I decided to have it checked because I did not want to risk anything further. And the doctor said that I have got ITB or Iliotibial Band Syndrome on my left legs. It is a common injury for runners and it occurs when the connective tissue (ligament) extending from the pelvic bone to the shinbone becomes so tight that it rubs against the thighbone. And my biggest problem was the constant pain between the hip and knees that worsens with my activities, even a small walk.

I’ve got only one word, DESPERATION. For someone that enjoys running a lot, not able to run is such a torture.

Indeed the doctor gave me a medication for a week and it didn’t help at all.

Thank God one of the fellow runners Dany Chika suggested me to try a Physiotherapy Center that he went himself a week ago or so with a little less different situation but he got treated there and felt much better now. Best of all, he could run again. So I called and made a reservation.

When I stepped in to the lobby, I could tell the place is really professional, clean and well managed. The therapist was really nice and knew what to do. Nervously I went through my first session and I could tell it was a total of 2 hours of tortures. Pain here and there, but once the session was over, I felt much much better. And I was scheduled for another 5 more visits and I was looking forward to the sessions. In the meantime, the therapist suggested me to go for a swim and to eat lots of protein and vitamin. I completed the 6 sessions and I was really happy. I could start running again! Wohoo!!

A few days later I decided to give it a go by walking for 4 km and there wasn’t any pain at all. 2 days later I run for 4 km and no pain at all. The following week I gave myself 2 runs per week. This gave me a really small preparation for the Nusantarun. Meanwhile the longest run was only 10 km with the last 2 km I walked, in pain.

10 days before Nusantarun I decided to text Jurian that I would be coming not to run but just to help because I wasn’t well prepared and my ITBS wasn’t properly healed. But then some of my friends motivated me just to come and run and to try my best. It is ok if I could not complete even a quarter of it but as long as I try to start. Because Nusantarun is all about how you use your runs to encourage people to do good stuff. The charity was for the kids and the run is for me. I have tried my best to get donations and now I will then try my best to run. (I did not regret it at all that I decided to follow your suggestions guys Mamak Chai, Bang Topik, Bli Agus, Koh Serwin and DekLMen). Bli Agus, your “mestakung” jimat did work. Matur sukseme.

And the D day came. I was as nervous as hell. I was super nervous that I had a really small preparation for my run. I was nervous that my logistic was just very lame. I was nervous that my ITBS might give me pain. I was nervous that probably I would just run for 10K. I was nervous for so many things. Thanks God I met lots of friends fellow runners or volunteers at the starting line. It eased a little bit of my worries.

All I said was Nam Myoho Renge Kyo (awaken the strength within) over and over again when the run was finally started. I looked around and all I could see was content faces, full of excitements and anticipations. The committees were full of excitement, encouragement and I could tell they are all 100% alert and just full of spirits.

I took it very easy, just small run in pace probably about 8. Try to breath and create less impact on my left foot. Bang Yazid was running next to me and I thanked him for doing that because he kept my pace at around that and we had some good conversation that helped me not to think much about my feet.

I few hours later I made it the first Water Station. I was literally happy. My legs were all alright. I decided to continue to Check Point 2 with same pace and this time I was by myself. Along the way I met other fellow runners Danang and Wisnu. Danang was in pain because he said his plantar was aching. He asked me “What about if I do not complete the run” and I said, it is alright as long as you try your best and there is nothing wrong about trying your best. Let’s walk together to CP2 and theer you can decide whether you want to stop or continue.

I decided to walk, jog and run with them. Along the way we met Angela and she was walking as well because she got that big bruise and she was barely able to run. We talked for a long time and we did not get tired at all. I wasn’t much into race mood at all at that time. All I care was I am save and so does my friends.

We made it to check point 2 and I was still alright. I gave myself a little rest there and tried to sip the instant coffee provided. Some runners were there and they were so determined but were also taking it easy.

After a good rest, I decided to run and of course I was still by myself. Jurian was sending me off with his sleepy face. But that was a good motivation. I could see far ahead of me were runners and I could see behind me some runners but one thing for sure I w as by myself. I felt a little pain on my left foot. So decided to combine run, walk and jog. Some motorist marshal approached me with their big smile and always asked is I was ok. And I always answered it in a same way, big smile, thank you, I am alright and thumb up. Some of them were even ride their motor next to me for a few minutes when I am approaching to a certain dark route. They were such a good help. I was actually amazed that some of them were ladies.

Morning was approaching and I started to get hungry and a little bit sleepy. I managed to nibble on my snacks and drink in regular basis. I started to see the light and I was just amazed with the scenery. I stop a couple of times to get some pictures. There was a moment that I stopped, just stare at the green paddies, the black blue grayish sky and all I could say in a whisper was “I am grateful”.

I was still managed to walk, run and jog and I reached to Check Point 3 early morning, a perfect time for breakfast. I knew I have got blisters as well. So take off my shoes, ordered a bubur kacang ijo for my breakfast, drink an instant coffee and went to the medic room to get my blisters treated.

I round faced doctor greeted me with her warm smile. I told her my problem and I told her as well that please apologize for my dirty and stinky feet. I felt sorry for her because I am sure that she dealt with lots of stinky feet and other problems from the runners. But I could tell as well that she was sincere and she was ready to support us runners at no cost at all. I am grateful that I was properly supported. Once the blisters treated, a physiotherapist came approach me and help me to stretch.
Since I knew the day would be hot, I decided to continue to Check Point 4. I was actually worried because I did not bring any trail shoes. The committee told me that there would be lots of kilometer ahead on trail. But I told myself not to worry. If I believe I can then I can.

As expected, the weather was really hot. The local students cheered me along the way. There were locals that asked me like what are you doing, where do you start running, why are you running, where are you heading to. I knew I was tired but I tried my best to answer their question as polite as possible in kromo alus, a polite Javanese language that I could speak of. Brebes is close to my hometown and they have the same language and dialect.

Reaching km 50 I was so tired and I decide to rest for a while. Just sit down under the 50km marker. Enjoying extra breakfast of chocolate bar that Angela gave me the night before. Some volunteers in car approaching me and asked me if I am alright and if I need anything. And suddenly a car approached me and I could see Mbak Chia and Mamak Chai in a car. I was literally sad that they got injured but I am happy that they made the decision because otherwise they might get a worst injury.
A few kilometers later I met Danang and he was waiting for an ambulance to rescue him. His plantar reached to its maximum pain I guess and Danang called a quit to the run. I was happy that he made it that far.

It is getting hot and hotter and suddenly there were a marshal that directing runners to the trail route. I was not ready but decided to just enjoy it and keep going. There were no shades on the route, muddy, uneven ground and some of the area was used by the locals to dry shallots.
But after walking for a few kilometers, I started to enjoy the scenery. There were the locals mending their vegetables, harvesting shallots, drying shallots, local children were playing by the river bank, men making ropes and some mums just talking to each other under the shades. I captured a few those moments.

Later I met Audi and Cisco and we completed the rest of the route to Check Point 4 together. On the way we made a lot of interaction with the locals. It was fun actually, distracting ourselves from the heat. A car approaching us, it was the official mobile support from MAEM Running Club. They offered us food and drinks and best of all, they have ice block and they helped rubbed it on our neck and shoulders. I couldn’t thank them enough.

Side by side, arms on shoulders the three of us reached Check Point 4. My stomach was aching and I started to get that vomiting feel. And yes, I literally vomited there. The doctor gave me medicines and I ordered simoay, but stomach just refused to take it. I saw there was a sliced fruit seller so I decided to buy some watermelon and share it with other runners who were resting in Check Point 4. I just rest a while there because I really wanted to reach Check Point 5 as soon as possible.

The route directed us to the local kampung for probably about 5km. We were run, walked or jog in the middle of the kampung, where on the sides of the road we could see the locals were cleaning or mending shallots. I could smell the shallots everywhere. One thing that annoyed me a lot was that the kampung was so dirty. Seems there is no system on managing the shallots wastes. People just dump their wastes on the sides of the road. I was a bit sad about this. I was really glad when the route directed us to the big road again.

I tried to ask the locals a direction to get to the next check point and I received some answers. The most remembered answered was came from a middle aged lady and she said, “Just go straight, very soon you will see a bridge and then after that you will see a big water gate/sluice. And the location is by the water gate.” I turned up there were lots of bridge, probably about 4 bridges and it was such a long time to reach that check point.

I checked in in Check Point 5. I could see lots of runners and volunteers. They cheered me but all I could manage was just keep on walking, clap and smile because I was not able to run anymore. I tried to get some food from the committee and too bad the food was finished. I decided to take a bath, got change and probably take a nap for a while. I met Audi again and he offered me for his food. He was just too kind.

At 4:30 in the afternoon I started to walk again. I was reluctant to continue because it will get dark very soon. The route was still on the river bank. And earlier there were rain that made the track very wet and slippery. I slipped and fell. There was Pak Suman, a farmer that saw me and helped me. I felt pain on my knee and ankle. He said that he can mend my knee and my ankle. He offered me a ride on his bike and I said, no I would prefer to walk to his house. Just to make sure that I am in the right hand, I texted Jurian that I fell and the local is helping me. I’ll rest a while and continue. Otherwise I will ask to be evacuated.

I went to Pak Suman’s house and his neighbor started to join in and asked me lots of questions. Thank god I am able to speak polite Javanese. Pak Suman started to massage my ankle, my legs and basically my whole aching body. It felt so god! He used traditional oil that smell like onion and shallots. After that he offered me coffee and food. I knew I was in rush so politely I refused his offer and excused myself to continue my walk.

It got darker and the road was just hard walk on, too wet and muddy and no pedestrian for me to walk on. Worst of all, there were too many big trucks that forced me to stop and go further to the bushes by the side of the road. My shoes were all wet and muddy. I could feel the cold water in my sock. Looking to my left and my right was just very quiet area. Just few warong with few people in it. I could hear TV was blaring inside of the few houses I passed on, mostly with the same programme, final soccer match between Indonesia and Thailand.

I started to mumble myself to kill the boredom. Inside of my head I kept on saying, just keep going. You can stop when you reach Check Point 6.

Suddenly I reached to a big junction, left to Tegal and going right to Purwokerto. More houses there. But I decided to stop in a warong to buy water and was plan to get my dinner but decided to change my mind. I just bought 1 salted egg instead. I ate it in silent and think about the hour passes and imagining another hours that I still need to go through. When I finished eating my egg, I decided to continue my walk. I saw other runners in a restaurant and I was tempted to join them but I decided not to because they probably still able to run while I could not run at all.

I was actually happy because the road was a bit crowded with people here and there.

A few kilo meters later I met Koh Serwin. I could tell that he was very very tired and sleepy at the same time. I decided to just walk with him. There was one time that he was too sleepy and told me to stop and probably get 5 minutes sleep. We stopped in front of someone’s house. He slumped himself to the floor and closed his eyes. I just sit and drink, too tired to do more than that. Suddenly I received a text from Jurian. “Where are you”. I told him that I am about 4km to the check point and had to stop a while because I am with Koh Serwin now and he needed to rest for a while.

5 minutes later we decided to continue. We asked people a direction and got no proper answer. We were walking in silent. Just keep going. Just keep moving. The faster you move, the faster you get to the check pint.

I saw a lady was waving at me from faraway. She was started to jump and approached me. I saw a big smile. And she said, you made it here to CP 6. I was just so glad to meet her and hugged her. It was Novi the funny girl, one of the many friends I have from my running journey.

Jurian was there with the LDR crew. They were so keen to help and congratulated me and Koh Serwin for reaching that CP. I took off my BIB and decided to quit. But suddenly I sad, I would continue the race if there is a shoes fit in me that I could borrow since my proper shoes was mistakenly put in the drop bag by myself.

Suddenly Novi said, “Here, you can use mine. It is big.” I asked her what was the size and she said it was 42, exactly my shoes size. “Can I please borrow?” and she said YES!

I was literally took my bib back and asked how many more minutes left for me to check out. They said I’ve got only 5 minutes. I decided to quickly get ready. The LDR team was very helpful. They helped me to put on the BIB, gave me a cup of coffee and helped changed the battery of my headlamp. I refilled my water and start again. I knew the distance was only 10K but it was going to be hard because there were lots of hills.

Koh Serwin decided to stop at CP 6. I said a quick good bye and thank you to the CP 6 team.
I was with other 2 runners and there were a car that continued to go with us slowly. But of course I was then left behind since I was walking very slowly. I started to worry because it is hilly, getting darker and colder and I was by myself.

But I said, I can’t quit now because I decided to continue and this mean I have to make it to CP 7. My knee started to feel funny but I kept going. Very very slowly. Cold and very very quiet. I did not like it one bit. I was always hoping there were many cars passing by. Time went so slow. I stopped too many times. I stretched my legs a lot and took off my shoes a lot just to relax my feet.

My brain started to complain about the distance. About the whole thing I was doing. About the cold night. About the road that has no lights. About the committee that did not put enough Km marker. Going up and up and up and up at no end. 2,5 hours later the road was going down. I was a little speeding myself up and suddenly I could feel a sharp pain on my left knee. I stopped for probably 5 minutes to check and stretched. The pain did not go. I thought if I don’t continue I would run out of time. So I walk slowly and my knee got worst. Slowly is a progress I told myself. 15 minutes later I felt that I am closer to the check point. I decided to take of my bib. I planned to hand my bib right away. And yes, I saw the sign and 5 minutes before the check out time, I reached Cp 7, 103,8KM. I was happy to see familiar faces. I checked in and told the committee I would like to stop.
I went to the rest area and could see my knee was swollen, big bump.

Vike, my fellow runners from Semarang was there as a medic volunteer. He treated my swollen knee and I was just there and too tired to talk or eat. Topher was there and he congratulated me for reaching Cp 7. He made me realized that I have just completed a 103,8KM! It was such a cool feeling.

After I was treated and rest for a while, at 3am the committee transported me to the finish line with a car.  I made it to the finish line at 6am. I could see the finish gate and I was just passing it slowly. I told myself that yes I did not make it to the finish line but I made it to CP 7 and I was just grateful. I proofed myself that I have tried my best for both fund raising and doing the run. And there wasn’t anything low about trying your best. I walk slowly like a robot passing the finish line with a thought, I made it.

  1. Big family of Semarang Multinational School. I am accepted the way I am in that big warm family. I’ve learnt what determinations and being resilience means. Thank you for the motivations and the donations.
  2. Team #NR4SMG (Fareet, Taufan, Danang, Sutri, Riko, Wisnu, Binsar). “Berat sama dipikul, ringan sama dijinjing”. Thank you guys!
  3. SEMARANG RUNNERS, running is indeed beyond exercise. It is about finding happiness.
  4. Team SEXY PACE (Mak Chai, Bli Agus, Dek LMen, KoSherwin, BangTopik). Kalian BATU! Kalian GILA!
  5. All Volunteers. Thank you for taking care of me and the other runners. I’ll pay it forward.
  6. BangJur and bangTopher, thank you for always there when I checked out and when I checked in.
  7. BangYasid, you helped my found my pace!
  8. Thank you for the long conversation Audi Reza, Francisco, Munchip and Angela.
  9. Novi! You made me reached CP 7! Thank you for the shoes!
  10. Nyah Filan for the SEGO and just simply being there at the finish line.
  11. Team MAEM and LDR. I felt special!
  12. The BIG Family of NusantaRun!

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  1. You did your best buddy, congratulation ....
    Thanks for continuing to accompany Angela. Semarang runners were awesome

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