Race Review, Part 1: The 34th National MILO Marathon, July 4 – THE GLORY
I first participated in a MILO running event last year when I was assigned back in Cebu, far away from the glory of takbo.ph. But even though I was located outside of Manila I ran with my fellow road warriors in spirit. It was in this race where I have set a new personal record of 2:17 for a 21K route, only later on to be beaten at the Globe Run For Home event 2 weeks after by a full minute. The 33rd National MILO Marathon was a fun experience and I was looking forward to do it again.
Which is why I joined it once more this year, only that now, I’ll be running in Manila along with some of my running cohorts. =)
I signed up for the 21K race category, given that I didn’t have that much training. When the race organizers posted the final race route several weeks after, it was then that I had second thoughts about selling my race bib so as I could enter the full marathon category – it was relatively a flat course that will concentrate on Roxas Boulevard and Macapagal Avenue. In the end, it was a good decision for me to stick to completing half a marathon, as you will see later on.
Target time wasn’t really that important to me. As long as I’m able to reach the finish line in under 2 hours and 30 minutes (which is the cut-off time for 21K runners in order to receive the much-coveted MILO finisher’s medal) then I will be happy. As I said, the course is relatively flat, but there is the issue of running over 2 flyovers – one across the World Trade Center and the other across Heritage Hotel EDSA. Screw the PR, just finish the race. This was the agreement reached between Doc Marvs, Team Logan, Mark, and myself.
Our overall strategy was to implement a Galloway approach, with a 6:1 ratio and a pace of 6:30mpk. Thankfully, it did work – and our legs were strong enough to run the twin bridges of Roxas Boulevard. For the first half of the course, we seem to be having fun and we were in all smiles. We even got to heckle along the way.
While I was running along Macapagal Avenue, I met up with the Adination Alabang chapter support group, spearheaded by Nao. There I asked for a quick shot of water that should last me until I got past EDSA Extension. Thanks for the help, guys. =)
The hardship starts from KM12.5 onwards. By the time I got across Dampa Macapagal Avenue, the thirst was starting to kick in, for the sun was in full effect and it was drying me up gradually. The subsequent water stations in this location had no stock of hydration, so there was no choice but to continue running until Sofitel, in the hopes that there would be even just one full cup of water available. Finally, upon the approach to V. Sotto on the way to the Aliw Theater, I got myself a couple of water cups – one for the body and one to pour above my head. So refreshing.
And then – an unexpected surprise.
Caren was running along CCP along with her cousin, Adeline. She was training her for her first 5K event on July 18th. She called my attention and I was happy to see her! That provided the emotional fuel I needed to finish the race. I stopped for a few minutes and gave her a kiss, for I was that thankful that she’s there to support me. She told me to keep on going, and that I did. After waving goodbye I resumed the run, then passed by the takbo.ph support station, full of spirit and energy. I let out a “happy scream” here before reaching them. =)
(Thank you, Gail, for this picture!)
I made a quick stop then got myself a bottle of Pocari. My mistake here was that I consumed all of it in one sitting, giving me a bloated feeling later on.
I made the final cross at the World Trade Center flyover, with my energy reserves still intact.
But after passing CCP, I was nearing absolute exhaustion. The heat of the sun was slowly getting into me and my only hope was to reach a water station for me to splash all over myself. There was no more water available 2.5K to the finish line! And my thirst was kicking by the second! There came times in the final stretch of the race when I had to have a major walk break since I didn’t want to push myself. However, given the fact that there were only a few minutes left before the cut-off, I had no choice. Starting from the walls of the US Embassy until the finish line I pulled it all off, making sure to keep within a “somewhat comfortable pace” for a strong finish. (As an aside, I was witness to a small riot in front of the US Embassy while I was running, c/o some protesters wanting to eradicate the VFA. That was creepy.)
Finally, I crossed the finish line, with the GF 305 registering a total distance of 20.97KM, and a total elapsed time of 2:27:20. I’m so happy that I made it to the cut-off. However, the marshalls told me that there were no more medals for the 21K runners since they had ran out of it! Man, what a letdown. They better make sure to have that medal delivered to my residence within the next few days. =z
After chugging a bottle and a half of Gatorade and cooling down, I drove my way to the takbo.ph support station to pay them forward. It feels good to help other runners finish the race. The next time around I’ll try to be part of the running core’s support group and cheer fellow road warriors to the finish.
Thanks loads, guys, much appreciated.
There’s something in this race which made it hard – and that’s the humidity and the blistering heat. Apparently, Mother Nature didn’t want to rain on MILO’s parade – literally speaking – so she made the sun shine at its best. Darn it, where’s the rain when you need it the most? Moreover, isn’t it the rainy season right now? If you were to ask me, thank goodness I didn’t change my mind on running the 42K route. Yes, sticking to my original decision was right. But I take my hat off and I admirably salute all those who were to legitimately complete the full marathon despite the sun’s rage.
Wait, legitimately? Is there an issue here? Oh yes, there is.
This will be covered in part 2 of the review. Stay tuned.