Race Review: The 33rd Milo Marathon (Cebu Leg), July 5
According to a well-known movie, revenge is a dish best served cold. I couldn’t agree more with this statement. After a disappointing run at Greenfield City in Laguna several months ago, I vowed to myself that I would be improving my 21K record sometime soon. The race route took on me completely – and besides, I wasn’t that well prepared for it. My second chance to get a 21K was during the Baguio run; however, that one doesn’t qualify since it was short by 3 kilometers. I told myself that someday I will get my chance – even if it means training really hard for it.
I’m quite happy that I got that chance today – here in Cebu. It’s far from my hometown, but I’m here for a project. So might as well take the opportunity. Who knows, something positive might happen. Thankfully, something glorious and wonderful was bestowed upon me today. And I couldn’t be more happier with this achievement. =)
I BROKE MY 21K PERSONAL RECORD AT THE CEBU LEG OF THE 33RD MILO MARATHON TODAY! =)
Today’s run was simultaneous with the Manila elimination leg for the national finals. According to the race organizers here in Cebu, statistics show that there are more participants here rather in Manila. Honestly, I found this quite surprising. But the difference was only in thousands. Apparently, there are more dedicated runners here, including students from various schools and universities. No wonder there’s a lot of them.
I had around a month of training before I got myself in this race. Lots of easy runs and tempo runs comprised my program, not to mention distance running exercises. In addition, there was also a speedwork session, which I completely missed due to carelessness (and other commitments). Oh well, I just made up for it by running longer during my long runs and going above the pace that was required of me when I was tasked to do an easy run. Bad? Not really. It did pay off in the end. And it served as practice to maintain the race pace that was required of me today. Along with the training came the numerous carbo-loading sessions (most of them in solid form, anyway). So I wouldn’t be surprised if I gained a few pounds in the process.
Just before the race I set up the pace zones in my Garmin. The training regimen said that I should maintain a pace of 6:46 min/km on race day itself. As such, the Forerunner will alarm me if I go any lower than this. At the same time, it will tell me if I’m going way too fast when I’m running. Anything beyond 6:16 km/min would be bad for me and I would end up hitting the wall in the end. Also, I was thinking whether I should enter the race with a hydration belt or not. This was quite a big decision for me. But since I’ve been doing a couple of Cebu LSDs without it, I might as well gun it. Heck, there will be many water stations along the way. So I left my Nathans back here at the condo. I was completely sure that I will survive this race. Besides, the weather wasn’t that hot, and it wouldn’t dry me up completely.
At the starting line I found a handful of 21K runners ready to tackle the long course. Among them are – to my surprise – Donna Cruz, who still looks pretty to me after all these years (she was my childhood crush); Dr. Yong Larrazabal, her husband, who is a frequent participant at Cebu-based running events; and Sen. Pia Cayetano, donning her signature pink top. Darn To keep up with the team spirit, I wore my favorite takbo.ph singlet. My secondary objective was to promote the team to the runners here in Cebu, hehehe. I wanted to document this run, but since this was going to be a “revenge run”, there was no room for additional weight. It would be cool to have a picture of Donna Cruz beside me at the starting line! Oh well, I’m sure she’ll be present in many other races. There’s always next time.
With a fully-charged soul, my second pair of NB 1063s, warmed-up muscles, no hydration belt, no camera (not even a camphone), and nothing to lose, we started the race at 5:30 in the morning. It was off to the Cebu provinicial capitol and the beginning of a long journey.
At around KM4, I started to feel a tingly, numb sensation on my foot. It’s quite hard to explain what it really was, but for sure it felt like it had a shot of anesthesia or something like that. At first it was quite bearable, but when I got to KM5, it started to annoy me. But I wasn’t in a state of pain, so I still kept up with my face. After KM5 it was a uphill-downhill stretch at N. Bacalso Avenue, so whenever I had to go up I would speed, and whenever the road was going down I slowed down so that I’m still within race pace. But the road to KM9 (and the u-turn on the way to the remaining sections of the race) proved to be hard since it was a continuous elevated path. I kept my spirits up and run as if it were normal flatland. Thankfully there was a water station at the u-turn point, so I took a small break until I finished my water. From then on, it was running all the way back to N. Bacalso Avenue, all the way to Imus Avenue and M. J. Cuenco. The numb sensation on my foot stopped KM12, and I was on fire! I was making good time and there was a 75% chance that I will get a new PR. So I decided to step up a bit – I increased my speed to 6:25-6:30 km/min until I got to more familiar running ground. Oh, I got to greet Sen. Pia and Donna along the way. Hehehe. =P
Just after hitting KM15 my confidence level even grew, because I have been on this road before, and I know how it goes! My relatively fast pace lingered on until I got to the final u-turn point near KM17. There was only 4K to go, and I was still on time, so it was time to push it! I told the runners approaching the u-turn point that there was only 4K to go so that they will have that extra push and make it to the finish line faster. After KM19 I sped up a little bit, since I was traversing a downhill path. Ignoring the fast pace alert (I think I went as fast as 5:55 km/min), I kept my concentration and set my eyes on that finish line with a new record. But after running quite fast, I stopped a bit at KM20 to get some air and rev up for the final stretch of the route. After a minute, I gave it all I got with no fear of collapse or injury, battled a few uphill paths, made my way to the Cebu City Sports Complex, ran 300 meters on the track oval, and finished the race with a huge smile on my face. =)
According to my Garmin, the route was short by 60 meters. But I had beaten by 21K PR by 14 minutes! =D My personal record before stood at 2:31, but now it’s a 2:17. Now that’s awesome! High five! =D
Now THIS was a good race. Not only did I finish it without a hydration belt, but also I finished it faster than what was expected of me from my training program. I couldn’t be happier indeed. I wish the team were here to join me relish in the victory. But I know they’re cheering for me from up there. Here’s to you, guys! =) Darn it, I should have gotten an autograph from Donna Cruz on my finisher’s certificate as a replacement for a picture with her. Too bad I only thought of the idea when I was on the taxi going home. And if ever I did think of it before going home, I don’t have a pen. Waaah. =P
And God, if you only knew the rush of happy hormones I had a while ago, you sure wouldn’t be able to bear with the words coming from my mouth, if you know what I mean. =)
So, here’s my review of the race.
D (direction) – from the Cebu City Sports Complex, race all the way to the Capitol at N. Escario, make your way to M. Velez, then down to V. Rama. Turn right at N. Bacalso Avenue until you get to a portion of the Cebu South Road nearing F. Jaca, then make a u-turn then run straight all the way to Imus Avenue and M. J. Cuenco Avenue. Be careful, though, once you see Innodata, you’ll be making that final u-turn which will take you all the way back to the finish line. When you get to the complex, turn right, then run a partial of the track oval, and you’re done. Since I’ve ran a portion of the route before, I’ll rate this one as an easy to course. It only gets to medium difficuly on certain uphill paths.
R (registration) – you have to go all the way to the Cebu City Sports Complex to get yourself registered. That’s quite far from my current place of residence. Had there been a satellite booth at Ayala/SM, then it would have been much easier. Oh well.
U (uhaw) – abundant water stations. No chance of getting dehydrated along the race course. What’s more, they give it in small plastic bags for easy sipping and disposal. Not environment-friendly, though, but they sure are lightweight and do the trick.
M (money) – for 100 bucks, you get a (relatively good) singlet, with a slightly loaded loot bag in the end, and the much coveted finisher’s certificate. Not bad at all.
S (safety) – volunteers from the University of Cebu, PNP, and local government made this race really safe, to the point that you could even run in the middle of the road instead of the sides. =D
Here’s a map of the 21K course…
As well as a split analysis from the GF 305.
So what’s next in line for me? The Fit and Fun Buddy Run. I’ll make a return to the 5K category along with Rod. Time to take it easy until the Globe-Ayala run. A new PR again? Well, we’ll see about that. For now, I’ll just enjoy the victory I garnered today while gorging on lots of food to recover all those calories I lost for exerting major effort on today’s race. =)
I got my revenge today, and it feels good.