race reviews

Race Review – takbo.ph Runfest, July 25

Better late than never. =)

After being excessively involved in long-distance races, I thought that maybe it was about time for me to do a 5K effort in this race. I’ve checked my records and according to the archives, the last 5K race I joined in dates to last year – and I was assigned to Cebu at that time. This is one of the reasons why Caren and I signed up for the 5K category. It was a perfect chance to break the speed barrier. Come to think of it, after favoring long-distance runs, there may be a chance that I may get a new 5K personal record on this event.

What even prompted me to set a new target time was the fact that I became a volunteer photographer for this race, much like what the personnel at Photovendo do during road races. So in some sense, there was a certain degree of pressure to run the race quickly and arm the camera immediately to take pictures of fellow runners on their way to the finish line.

Unfortunately, Caren wasn’t available during this event even though she had previously signed up. So I ran for the both of us.

I ran the first half of the course with an average of 6:00 mpk (or even faster). Incredibly, my lungs were keeping up. If I kept up with this kind of momentum I will be able to attain a sub-30 finish with a smile on my face!

And true enough, my body played along until I reached the finish line. The GF 305 registered a time of 28:15. NEW 5K PR!!! =D

After doing a bit of stretching I immediately went near the finish line with camera in hand. There I started taking pictures of other runners giving their final push to the finish line. At that point I told myself that it felt great being a volunteer. It feels great to be able to pay everything forward to those who are starting their respective careers in running.

Thus, the spirit of volunteerism will be the subject of my next post.

Congratulations to all those responsible for the organization of the Runfest. I’m hoping that by next year there will be longer distances available.

For those who want to view their Runfest pictures, click on the following public sets on Facebook.
Set 1
Set 2
Set 3
Set 4
Set 5
Set 6
Don’t forget to cite your sources. =)


Race Review – 3rd Robinsons Fit and Fun Buddy Run, July 11

I’ll be summing up this post in one picture.

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Feels good when we do a 10K together at a very easy pace. =)


Race Review, Part 2: The 34th National MILO Marathon, July 4 – THE SCANDAL

Now for the more interesting part of this race review: the dark side.

1 – Lack of hydration.

In my previous post I mentioned about struggling to reach the finish line though I was about to get completely dried up. Thanks to a little push I was able to finish the course in one piece. There was no water on the approach to the finish line! I can accept that water stations at this point will be dry since it is a common passing point for 3K, 5K, and 10K runners. But the point here is, water will be VERY essential for those who did the longer distance categories and for those who endured the sun’s heat to the point that their skins are burned to a near crisp. These people, like myself, need the hydration at the approach to the finish line! Thank goodness there were support stations like those provided by Adination Alabang and takbo.ph – they did a real good job in providing the necessary aid to long-distance road warriors. Organizers can’t just dismiss the hydration issue even though there are people to support the half-marathoners and marathoners along the way. It’s still the organizer’s responsibility to make sure the runner’s needs are met.

As an example, one of takbo.ph’s regulars, Edwin, had to go back to the takbo.ph support station just to get a bottle of Pocari as he was making his way to finish his maiden 42K. Imagine, he had to run all the way to CCP just for this one. (Partida na yan, umabot pa siya sa 6-hour cut-off.)

Ever heard of the saying “Mas maganda na ang sobra kesa kulang”? This doesn’t apply to running events, particularly in hydration. Better to have more than ample stock of sports drinks/water/whatever hydration is necessary for runners to be at their best.

2 – Chaos at the baggage counters.

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Nope, this isn’t an auction. These are runners who are shoving in and out to retrieve their baggage and head home. After completing the race I immediately went to the baggage counter, and this was what I got – a barrage of frustrated, furious runners raising their bibs in the air. What’s wrong with this picture?

First of all, where’s the line? Kids, don’t you know how to form a line? This was taught in grade school (even in kindergarten, for crying out loud)! I don’t see any reason why you should push other race participants out of the way to get your things. Looking at on this picture, it is almost as similar to a mosh pit at a rock concert.

Second, those responsible for handling the baggage counter don’t know how to handle the crowd. What they did was they were holding the first bag that they see up in the air and they scream out the number in the hopes that the actual owner would be present. That’s totally wrong! Wouldn’t it be better if the runner just mentioned the bib number to baggage personnel and look for it? That’s the usual procedure in road races. It may take some time finding where the bag us, but at least it’s a surefire way of giving the bag back to its rightful owner, rather than just shouting it out to the crowd!

Third – probably the biggest baggage handling issue of all – many bags were placed A FEW METERS OUTSIDE the baggage counter with no personnel to guard it. They were simply there, waiting to be grabbed by anyone. My backpack was so unfortunate to be part of this. Upon seeing my bag I immediately got it and checked the contents, hoping that my valuables would still be intact. Thank goodness nothing was lost. The good part was that no one stole my bag and I was able to leave the race site right away, but the bad part was that no one was keeping an eye over my belongings, including that of other bags. So much for security.

3 – CHEATERS.

Yes, you read it right. Some blogs have posted about 42K runners cheating on the race course by (1) not registering splits at KM26 and KM37 or (2) having a “support vehicle” carry you to some place near the finish line or (3) physically switching runners, just like in a relay! And yet these culprits manage to finish with really fast times, comparable to that of elite maratonhers, and get away with the finisher’s medal? There are many more people deserving of that medal – those who suffered from cramps during the run, those who were unfortunately injured during the run, those who busted their knees during the run, those who endured the heat of the sun and the humidity of the race course during the run, and those who have undergone 3 or 4 months of training before their participation in the race! Only those who have crossed the finish line without deliberately cutting the course can be called true marathoners, no matter how slow or fast they might get.

Have these runners no shame? And to think that some of them are part of a running club??? What kind of ethics does your club impart on you? I’m very sure that cheating is not part of it!

This post proudly bares it all, without fear or favor. Even the bib numbers are included. (Now I know who the “fatso” Jonel was referring to.) To the criminals involved in this sham: you should be ashamed of yourselves. You call yourselves runners? Heck, you’re not even worthy of running. The fact that you cheated in this race disbars you from being called as such. You’ve ruined the sanctity of the sport – completely. Have you no respect for those who really prepared for this event?

To those who did their respective exposes, well done. The running community deserves to know about this farce. Thanks to the beauty of the timing chip and Photovendo, now we’ll be able to see you really are. Now there’s justification why MILO decided to increase its registration fees – to increase the quality of a running event and to sift out wrongdoers like these.

To the MILO race organizers, find a way to chase after these people and forcibly take away their medals and certificates from them. They should be given to more noteworthy people. To other race organizers, you better take note of these individuals. Should they have the guts to join running events in the future, rip their registration forms, and throw them back their cash.

Tough luck, you cheaters, but you couldn’t get away with it. You just got NAILED.

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(image source: http://degreedirectory.org/cimages/multimages/2/cheater.jpg)

Would you still have the balls to come out in public?

Naku, mga ser, kapag nakita kayo ng mga hardcore at elite runners sa kalye sa mga susunod na araw, siguradong bugbog-sarado kayo sa kanila.

A final note…

In the last few days, there have been reports of casualties along the race course. One of them was a senior battling the full marathon. The other was a youngster trying to beat his 21K personal record, a kilometer short of the finish line. The latter is one of my officemate’s friends. Both fell under a heat stroke and met the Creator not long after. My heart goes out to you and may your souls rest in pace.

Sa mga mandaraya, mahiya naman kayo sa mga namatayan. At least they tried their best, habang nagpapakapetix kayo.

MILO is famed for distributing green singlets with the power statement “Kaya mo ‘yan!” printed at the back. I suggest that this be modified in the future to something like this: “Kaya mo ‘yan… Pero huwag ka mandaya!


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.

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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. =)

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(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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.


Race Review: Earth Run 2010, April 18

Two words to sum up this race: PACER DUTIES. =)

Might I also add – KNEE-HIGH SOCKS! This is my first race to debut in such apparel. Not only does it look good, but it also provides additional compression to my legs. So I can say goodbye to my cramps – hahaha! =P

Since I didn’t have any training prior to this race, I decided to take it slow for the meantime and simply finish it the best way I can. I wasn’t really aiming for any PR whatsoever since I knew from the very start that the race course was going to be hard.

I was originally planning to do a continuous run, around 6:45 to 7:00 mpk. But when Carina, Tere, and Julie tagged along – and upon hearing that Carina left her GF 305 – I volunteered to be their pacer. The game plan? A Galloway strategy with a 5:1 ratio, with a maximum pace of 7:00 mpk. This was going to be a chill run indeed. But as we were progressing along our run, I discovered that we could sustain a 6:30 mpk pace for around 5 minutes, so we decided to upgrade our pace. =)

Being that this was going to be a relaxed run, we decided to take it slow on the uphill paths, like the Kalayaan flyover ascents and the rolling hills at Bayani Road and at Heritage Park. To compensate for this, we would speed our butts off when the downhill path came, to the point that we were running to 5:30 mpk at most. Sometimes I would break the 5:1 ratio especially, when we were in the middle of a descent, until it smoothens out or until we get to an uphill struggle.

During the race, Carina, Tere, and I were focused on Julie. I knew later on that she was gunning for a new Pikermi PR. As such, we stayed by her side all the time and gave her all the motivation (not to mention the rest time) she needed to gun for a sub-2:30 finish. We followed this “blocking”, as Julie would call it, for the most part:

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Carina and I were in front, Tere and Julie were behind. (Thanks to Julie for this photo.)

I was happy to know that there were a few others who tagged along with us. Too bad we weren’t able to get a picture of them.

At the last 3K, we can sense that Julie was slowly getting weary and her energy reserves were nearly depleting. But nevertheless, we kept her motivated and focused on reaching her goal – in fact, to make our performance better, we decided to include some fartlek sessions! I was initially fearing that we might not make it to 2:30 because the last 500 meters of the route extended all the way until Serendra, but we somehow managed to speed ourselves. In the end, we finished at 2:27:40, as per the Garmin.

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Congrats, Julie, for beating your time. Next target – 2:25! =)

Caren also ran 5K in this race, and she has set a new record of 40 minutes. =) Congratulations, baby! =*

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Just a little more and we’ll be able to break the 35 minute barrier. =D

After this run, I have realized that I can actually become a pacer for life, since I have no plans on beating my records anymore. I know there is room for improvement, but I can put those aside for now. I want to help other people beat their records now. Maybe it’s about time that I pay it forward. =)

Here’s the route

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And my splits.

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Race Review: Globe-Ayala Run For Home, March 20

This is my “welcome-back-to-Manila” race. It may have taken more than a month to come up with this race review, but it’s better late than never. =)

I never really intended to join this race to begin with, since I didn’t have the time and since my wallet that time was telling me not to join. =P I let it go – until 2 weeks before the event, during the running core’s bowling finals (yes, you read it right, BOWLING FINALS – we also do multisport sessions, hehehe). Almost everyone I know was going to participate in this event. Knowing how much I wouldn’t want to miss out on things (especially running events), I tried to look for ways to get myself included in the race. If I couldn’t get through after exhausting all efforts, then I’m running bandit.

Days before the race I received a message from Doc Pinky, a friend of mine who was going to run 21K.

docpnx: Gusto mo hiramin race bib ko? Hindi kasi ako makakatakbo sa Globe.
Me: Anong nangyari sa iyo?
docpnx: Injured ako. Gusto mo hiramin? Pero dapat sub-2 ang finish time mo kasi ayaw ko masira record ko!
Me: WHAT??? SUB-2??? Hirap na hirap nga ako makatapos ng sub-2:15 sa 21K e! Sub-2:30 pwede pa.
docpnx: Joke lang yun sa sub-2. Sige, papahiram ko sa iyo.
Me: Yey! Salamat salamat!
docpnx: Anytime. Balita ko HHWRPSSP ka na raw a…

Alright, that’s pretty much enough of the conversation, I’ll cut it there. =P

Race day. When I got to the race site, I got the race kit from Mac. When I got the bib number, I was surprised at my race number – 10. Now it makes sense why Doc Pinky wanted a sub-2 finish – because her number belongs to that of the elites, hahaha! But without a doubt, she’s really a fast runner. At that time I felt like an elite, but I couldn’t push myself to have the standards of an elite runner, since I didn’t have that much runs weeks before the event. My main target was simply to finish the race strong and without injuries.

The race started at the Makati Stock Exchange, then it took runners to Paseo de Roxas, the underpass at Glorietta 5, the Greenbelt driveway leading to Makati Avenue, Makati Avenue itself, up the Kalayaan flyover, then to Lawton Avenue, Bayani Road, the insides of Heritage Park, Bonifacio High Street, and finally back to the finish line at Paseo de Roxas via Makati Avenue. I felt uneasy upon reaching the cemetery because I had to take a ‘dump’, if you know what I mean. I felt disappointed that the portalets placed along the routes were locked up, but thankfully there was an available comfort room along the way, so I took a few minutes off the race to get some relief. From there, it was a smiling finish all the way to the finish line.

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The route was hard, and was overshot by a full kilometer. What’s surprising was that I still had a 6:30 mpk overall pace, with no cramp attacks. =) If it were 21K flat, I would have finished under 2:20, but running 22K in 2:24 is not bad in itself.

As an additional report, this was the first race where I’ve seen bouncers. Really, what were they for?

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Ah, feels good to be running with you guys again.

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Here were racers 1 to 10. Too unfortunate we weren’t able to find out who #9 was. Ley was runner #2, but he was out somewhere when this picture was taken.

Here’s the route

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And my split analysis.

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Race Review – Condura Run for the Dolphins, February 7

This is my second running event for this year – but what makes this event even more memorable is that this day marks my maiden 42K voyage. Many of those in the running core will also engage in their first full marathon on this day because for the first time, runners will be traveling the whole of the Skyway on foot. During last year’s Condura, some of us only got until the approach to the tollgate across Nichols. This time, 42K runners will complete the Skyway all the way until Bicutan. Long-distance runners couldn’t resist this one – if you think about it, when will you ever get to run the Skyway’s entirety in your life? You might as well take the opportunity because you’ll get to tell your future kids that you had the chance to run the Skyway.

I had to think more than twice before signing up for the 42K. First of all, I never had the chance to go beyond 21K since past experience dictates I end up wasted more often than not after a half-marathon. Second, I won’t have much time to train since I was quite busy with work and I was still in Cebu, and it was getting close to our client’s implementation week. But upon further thought, I told myself that I can’t stick doing 21K races all my life. I must be moving on to greater challenges somehow. Besides, one of my goals that I had set to myself ever since I got hooked on running was to finish AT LEAST one full marathon. Even just one would do for me. After that, I can carry on with the usual 5s, 10s, and 21s.

I made the big decision sometime in November of last year. This was my chance to break the wall once again – so I started training in the process, even during the Christmas season. At first it was hard since I had always set my eyes on the glorious number 21. But with a little push, some discipline, an “inspiration” – and the right kind of mix from the iPod Shuffle – accomplishing long runs became more bearable. I was racking in the kilometers whenever I can, resulting in the conceptualization of the Project Cuarenta hamster-training session and the completion of my longest training run by far – a 36.22K solo LSD in the Queen City of the South that took me to a lot of major roads in Cebu. Training commenced until the last week of January.

Along with these long runs come highly noticeable weight loss. So I’m very happy that even though I usually gorge a lot on the holidays – who wouldn’t, right? – I was able to maintain my weight. It was also good news since I decided to sign up for a second serving of the running group’s biggest loser challenge. Shedding off those pounds really did me well.

One week into the race, I had to strictly implement the following aside from the usual carbo-loading so that I can safely say that I’m ready for race day:
• Get enough sleep – there was a need to make it between 6 to 8 hours.
• Eat at least 2 bananas everyday – after suffering from cramps in a number of races, there was no way I’m going to let that rain on my parade. In a sense, I was also potassium loading.
• Prepare a loud playlist for the iPod Shuffle, and I mean LOUD – studies have shown that runners who listen to their favorite type of music before and during a run are psychologically motivated to do more. Hence, I grabbed my favorite hardcore rock songs utilizing double pedal bass beats as much as possible, both local and foreign, to match the mood.
• Lay off the alcohol – it really works.
• Get any more pending work done so that I won’t have to worry much on race weekend.
• Finally, taper on the distance – ‘nuff said!

I took a flight back home to Manila Friday night. Couldn’t help but feel excited because the race was in a few days. This was definitely going to be my moment and there was no way anything was going to stop me – except colds and signs of sore throat. I was blowing my nose frequently that day and I tried to contain my coughing as much as possible so that my throat wouldn’t be that aggravated. So there was a need to stock up on vitamin C, and pray that nothing bad happens on race day. Sure, it’s only colds and a sore throat, but it could still affect my concentration and my spirit. Thankfully, the following day, signs of sickness were kept at bay, but there was still no reason for me not to drink my vitamins and gargle full strength does of Bactidol.

Saturday came. Relaxed in the comfort of my own home and watch the tube. Tried to contain the excitement as much as possible, but to no avail. Sent greetings of good luck to all those who were going to participate in the race. Sustained my potassium loading to prevent the risk of getting cramps in the race. Prepared my equipment and my apparel for the race. Ate a lot – after a long while, I got to eat rice again and some “evil” food. Hehehe! Got to bed as early as 8PM to prevent myself from being groggy when I wake up.

Sunday was race day. I woke up at 2AM, got dressed, then headed to my favorite parking spot at The Fort. There I met up with the running core, who I haven’t seen and ran with for quite some time.

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(This is Team Tahanan Village. Too bad we couldn’t find Rachel this time.)

Knowing that we will be soaking ourselves under the sun for approximately 4 hours, I took the liberty of bringing in some sunblock. Yes, though I already have dark skin already, I was THAT scared of getting darker further. I passed that on to some of my friends.

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We got ourselves in the coral later on. Approximately 30 of us who will be doing the full marathon got ourselves conditioned as much as possible and warmed up completely. Our Garmins were set, our laces were tied, our hydration belts were tightly secured, and our spirits were anxious to get the race started already. A few minutes before the race, déjà vu – much like what happened at the Cebu City Marathon a while ago, we were greeted by fireworks. That sure provided more than enough boost for us. After giving ourselves pats on the backs and encouraging words of support, the final seconds had shown up on the race clock. 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… We were off!

I joined along with Team Galloway, headed by the running group’s proponent, Carina. The major point in this race was not about speed, but rather endurance. Since this was my first, I wouldn’t matter what time I finish, although I have to admit, I was aiming for a finish time under 5 hours and 30 minutes. If I implemented a Galloway approach to the race, I would have a better shot at finishing at my target time. But the main target of the race was TO FINISH at a strong state. No matter what time I cross the finish time, it will be a personal record for me, as long as I make the cut-off mark of 6 hours.

Team Galloway was doing constant 5:1 intervals, and for the first few kilometers, I discovered that it was really working! I told myself that this strategy was really going to do wonders for me! So I kept along with the pace of the team, making sure not to get ahead of them. We kept running along Bayani Road, the Kalayaan flyover, the aid station near the highway, and the approach to the Skyway while bike support (led by Z and Pepsi) was taking pictures of us. Thanks for the shots, ladies! =D

Nearly 6AM. We were now at the Skyway, still engaged in the Galloway approach. The sun was starting to show up and we couldn’t help ourselves but look at the sunrise from above. If I had only brought a camera small enough to fit in my hydration belt I would have done so and take pictures of it. But that would mean there would be no space for the e-pass =P

We continued on until reaching the turnaround point just across the Bicutan off-ramp. So far, so good – everything was going great. I wasn’t running out of breath just yet and my legs didn’t feel wasted yet. If I kept up with my existing pace then everything would be great even when I reach that high bridge leading to NAIA Terminal 3, dubbed as the “Condura Hill”. Unfortunately, the great feeling wasn’t to last that long. Just before reaching KM26, my left calf was starting to act up. Tracy was with me that time and asked me if I was doing okay. Initial shocks leading to cramps were imminent. Although they weren’t that painful at all, I was given no choice but to slow down, walk a bit, and do some stretching along the sides. Thankfully, one runner saw me and offered me a shot of cold cream to apply to legs. I accepted his offer and began applying the cold cream to my left calf, hoping that it would kill the jolt. As a token of gratitude, I offered to pace with him until the end of the race, along with Tracy. I met a new friend in the process and discovered later on that he was also part of the running group. His name is Mike, and he’s in the process of completing his full marathon as well.

The three of us walked Condura Hill and later on resumed running at a much more comfortable pace. Tracy went on ahead of us after going downhill. But the effect of the cold cream eventually wore off and the jolt was making itself felt once again on the way to the Skyway exit. Mike didn’t refuse to lend his cold cream for me to apply on my left leg again. Since I didn’t want to have any cramps – who would want cramps during a race, right – I proposed the idea of implementing a reverse Galloway approach until the end of the race. Mike and I wanted a strong finish, so the idea was well accepted. This was going to be the strategy for KM32 onwards. However, it was sad to know that even with reverse Galloway, my left calf didn’t behave itself, and that left me completely frustrated. Did that mean I would have to walk it out until the finish line? After doing some quick computations, I discovered that even if I walked until the final kilometers of the race, I would still make it to the cut-off time. In the end, I had myself walking from Buendia all the way to The Fort via the Kalayaan flyover. Disappointing, I must agree. But the point was to have a strong finish. Later on, Mike handed me his tube of cold cream in case I might need it, and went on ahead.

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(Thanks again, Mike!)

Upon reaching the Kalayaan flyover endpoint, I tried to resume doing reverse Galloway, and so far it was working until the point that I reached the University Parkway. But it was no good as the jolt was there once again. Oh well, that meant more walking for me. Pepsi later on came in to the rescue and handed over some Gatorade. Also, the LSD team (composed of Neil, Pojie, Jet, and newcomer Timmy, who also joined Team Galloway earlier on) caught up with me. We were going to finish the race together somehow, since we were walking for the most part anyway.

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With one kilometer left before the race, it was time to give the final push. I’ve been walking for quite some time now and maybe I should give my running pace another shot, making sure to avoid the full effect of cramps. 350 meters before the finish line, Tracy went back for me and paced me until the end. Thanks for providing power to the final push despite the jolts!

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I crossed the finish line in 5 hours and 57 minutes. Not bad for a first timer indeed, although I could have done better. =)

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(Rico and Selle, thanks for greeting me. Mac, thanks for carrying my banner!)

At the finish line, I was in for a surprise – one of my really close friends who ran a 10K at this event was waiting for me at the finish line! That really warmed my heart. I presumed that she had waited approximately 2 hours for me just to see that I would cross the finish line safe and sound. There was no other form of gratitude but to hug her and thank her for waiting for me and being there at the race’s final stretch. I really appreciate the effort and the thought, and that was nothing short of priceless.

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(Caren, thank you so much. Your presence really meant a lot and I couldn’t be any more happier. =D)

Later on I met up with the other members of the running core and got my medal. I DID IT!!! I’M NOW OFFICIALLY A MARATHONER!!! =D

I was supposed to wear the Condura freebie shirt, and it didn’t fit me that well. Too bad for me, it had a good design. But I didn’t fret. I looked to where Team Bald Runner is and met up with Sir Jovie. Earlier, I had informed him that I had accumulated more than 1000K in my running endeavors. As a result, I end up with the following…

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I’ve been officially inducted into his 1000K club. Other inductees were Doc Marvs and Doc T. Thanks loads, Mr. Bald Runner! =D

And I couldn’t help but wear it for the whole world to see…

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There were definitely lessons learned after the completion of this race:
• Sacrifice = victory.
• Perseverance goes a long way.
• Long runs really help. Now I’m not scared to venture beyond 21K.
• I may need a pair of compression socks sometime soon to provide further support to my calves.
• Respect the distance. Running a 42K is no laughing matter at all.
• Finally, I have come to realization that I CAN DO IT. =D

So now that the marathon is finished, what’s next? Ultra runs spanning 50K or 102K over unforgiving heat, perhaps? Maybe, if I eventually go insane, but not for now. I have to improve my 42K time first, and live in the moment of relishing in the victory of accomplishing a feat not many can do. =) Congratulations to all those who had accomplished their first full marathon! Now I await the time when the running core will be doing this once again. Let’s resume training soon once I’m fully recovered!

Oh yeah, victory is sweet when you work hard for it. =)

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As parting words, I would like to thank the following:
• The Concepcion brothers, Pat and Ton, for conceptualizing this splendid race;
• The takbo.ph and Reinier Pacific support group;
• Z and Pepsi for the bike support;
Carina for showing the Gallo-way;
• Mike for the cold cream;
Tracy for the pace at the last few meters;
Sir Jovie for the 1000KM Club shirt;
Rico, Mac, Selle – for the greet at the endpoint; and
• Caren for being there at the finish line. =)

Here’s a map of the route…

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And my VERY positive splits. Never mind the slow pace – what matters is I finished it. =)

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Until the next 42K voyage, folks! See you at the starting line!!!

(Credits go to Bryan, Que, Carmen, Brando, and Pao for some of the pictures.)