Race Review: The Condura Skyway Run, March 22
Race number 6 for the year, and my official half-marathon debut. =)
At first, I was very hesitant in signing up for the half-marathon, as I can see myself doing only a maximum of 10K. But since there might not be another chance running the Skyway again, what the hell, I might as well sign up for it anyway. Not only will I be one of the handful who will be part of this historic event, but also I get to push my limits further and test if my body will be able to handle this long run. Might I add that this is the longest run of my life – by far. Besides, I was sure that there will be a lot of people who will be engaged in their first half-marathon. And the fact that you get a finisher’s medal in the end – plus the fact that our names will be published in a few names from now – provides fuel to the fire.
I started training one month before the race. Usually, I would engage in a long run, lasting from 16K to 21K, either on a Monday or a Thursday. An easy 5K recovery run would go on a Wednesday. I also pitched in a 10K, also on a Monday or a Thursday, depending on my mood and depending on when I did my long training run. During those days I did lose a lot of weight. And surprisingly, my skin grew darker. I have no idea why, really. What was important is that my body adapts quickly to the concept of long running. A week and a half before the half-marathon, I started feeling a minor strain on my left thigh, so I was forced to cut down my mileage. I only did a maximum of 7.5K runs, but that’s alright, I would be relaxing my body as much as possible before the main event. I also told myself that I would be getting a massage a day or two before the race, but since I was lazy, I just slept it off. Hahaha!
2 days before the race, takbo.ph had a carbo-loading party for us to store all the fuel we need. All the pictures are posted on a previous post. The day before the face, I was a couch potato, and got myself some additional carbs for the race. =P
When the big day came, I was surprised to see that were A LOT who showed up. According to the race organizers, more than 6000 people are present – that counts in all race categories. Impressive, many people do want to make history. I woke up as early as 330AM that Sunday to avoid the traffic I will experience, as well as to get a preview of the actual route I’m about to run on. I’m glad to see that a portion of Buendia was already closed to traffic to give way to the runners. When I got to the Fort, I met up with some of the members of takbo.ph, and they were as hyped up as I am. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to run up the Skyway, right?
The race started at around 530AM. I didn’t bring my watch that time since I didn’t want to pressure myself to finish it in the fastest possible time. Initially, my aim was to accomplish the half-marathon in less than 3 hours. That was the timme I winded up with when I was doing my training runs. So for now, anything under 3 hours would do just fine for me, since this is my first time to run a 21K. With our spirits invigorated pumped up, we ran our best after the boom of the race gun. The sun wasn’t up yet when we started, so it was perfect to get some more cool into our system. Admittedly, it’s hard to run when the sun sears through your skin.
The hardest portions to tackle were the uphill portions of the Kalayaan flyover and the Skyway off-ramp. I have to admit that I’m not used to running uphill, since it does provide much strain to the legs and feet. Hmmmm, maybe that’s the reason why the hell I got that strain a few days before the race. Probably I may have pushed myself. Oh well, the damage has been done. But when you get along the stretch of Buendia and the glorious asphalt-laden stretches of the Skyway, you’ll be more than excited to run, especially when you’re up the Skyway itself! I don’t know why, but somehow I got “high” up there. It may be probably the experience dubbed as the “runner’s high”, but I was really pumped upon reaching the skies. It was an experience that I’ll never forget. Oh, might I mention that I didn’t know most of the people in takbo.ph, I’d utter out two words everytime I pass by them (the takbo.ph runners wore their team singlet for the duration of the race): GO TEAM! =D
I was really amused that even Manila Water even provided “golden showers” during the race. It was like mist dropping across our heads, and it was very relaxing. Unfortunately, I opted not to go under it, since it might permanently damage my iPod. Hehehe. What’s even more interesting is that some race volunteers gave us small sponges drenched in ice-cold water. Spreading that sponge across our necks, our faces, and our heads really released all that inner heat that we had, making us crave for an ice-cold bath when we get home.
At the 14K mark, roughly before the Skyway off-ramp on the way back to the Fort, I started feeling major discomfort between my thighs as there was skin chaffing already. I couldn’t run my usual pace and I was highly annoyed by this discomfort that I was forced to employ a run-and-stop strategy. Run 700 meters, rest for around 150-200 meters, and then do the same process all over again. That strategy proved useful until I got to the Kalayaan flyover. By this time I was already exhausted and my feet were slowly starting to give in. In order to prevent myself from getting injured, I walked that flyover until I got to the downhill part. From there I resumed my run-and-stop strategy.
At the 19K mark, after stopping for a water break, I asked one of the race volunteers what time it was. I was glad to know that I was still within my target – I had spent 2 hours and 15 minutes on the road! Definitely I was going to reach my target of a finish time under 3 hours. Given this, I decided to run with a VERY slow pace and have a few walk breaks as much as possible. The chaffing between my legs was getting worse, and I was left with no choice but to bear the pain since I was close to the finish line. Once one of the race volunteers mentioned that there were only 300 meters left before completing the race, I set off my mind from the walk breaks and tried to sprint all the way. Upon looking at the race clock, I saw a time of 2 hours and 31 minutes. Yup, indeed, I was well within my target and WAY beyond the half-marathon cut-off time. Once I reached the finish line I let off a scream of exhilaration and accomplishment, for I completed my first historic half-marathon. =)
After that, picture taking with takbo.ph. It’s on the previous post. Then breakfast at McDonald’s as a reward. There I got to know the other members. And though most of us couldn’t walk well after that event (including myself), this day was definitely momentous. For many first-timers, we proved that we can run 21K, no matter how slow we were. In addition, we broke our records and our limits at the same time. Am I looking for another half-marathon? ABSOLUTELY. I told myself that I’ll join a half-marathon once a year, but now that I’m looking for more, I guess joining a couple more wouldn’t hurt at all, provided that I train for it. Right? =)
So, here’s my review:
D (direction) – start at the Fort, then make your way to Rizal Drive, then turn left to the Kalayaan flyover and go straight until you reach Buendia. Then run all the way to the South Luzon Expressway. Once you see the Buendia off-ramp, turn left, then go up. Enjoy the glory of being in the skies until you see the Magallanes off-ramp, then make a u-turn and go all the way back until the finish line. Heading to the Skyway was relatively easy since I was that excited to run above it. But after you go down the Skyway off-ramp, it gets really hard, especially with the gradual uphills of Buendia and the killer Kalayaan flyover, which I had to walk for the most part!
R (registration) – many registration centers were made available for this grand event. No wonder there were as many as 6000+ participants in this race. I had myself registered in Festival Mall, Alabang, since it was the closest to my residence.
U (uhaw) – lots of hydration stations, a couple of fire trucks providing “showers” to runners, and ice-cold water sponges. Not a chance of passing out here, definitely.
M (money) – a cool souvenir shirt and a colorful finisher’s medal? Without a doubt, my 500 bucks was well spent!
S (safety) – the race organizers closed off a majority of the roads, although there were many motorists who cursed at them for not allowing them to move. Hey, you try to run us over, you’ll be slapped with homicide. Kudos to the policemen for making our safety their top priority. And I saw several ambulances along the race route. A very safe running course indeed.
Many thanks to the Concepcion brothers for conceptualizing this races. It’s one of the best I ever participated on. The smile on my face shows it. =)
Oh yeah, in this picture, I was holding a banana, c/o the takbo.ph support group. Many thanks, guys! And many thanks to Neil Barrios for letting me grab this pic. And thanks to the following artists in my iPod for providing me the push I needed to go forth in this race: Siam Shade, Rize, High and Mighty Color, Maximum the Hormone, BeForU, Riyu Kosaka, Slipknot, and Mayonnaise.
Next race: the Greenfield City run. I was supposed to join the Airspeed event at the Mall of Asia, but I’ll be off to Caramoan with my family that time. Awwww. So, will be participating in the 10K or the 21K event? Help me decide, folks! =)