Runs I would not miss

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Here is a list of runs I would not miss as the year comes to an end and the new year begins. While more runs may be added in the coming weeks, these are the ones that I really would not want to miss. In fact, I have already registered in some of them.

 

CommUNITY Long Distance Run.

Community Run

Photo from the event page

Organized by A Runners Circle Phils and ARC Running Club, the LSD will be held on October 19, 2014 in Ternate Cavite. As its name suggests, it will be some kind of a group run for the ARC Runners. I will think of it as a good opportunity for my own ‘balik-loob’ with ARC, especially because it has been a long time since I ran with these guys. It would also be nice to meet the new members of the Club. Just thinking of the run brings good memories of all those Thursday runs in Manila.

On the other hand, the run is also “for a cause” so part of the donations (the joining fee is aptly called a donation instead of just registration fee) will be used for the Club’s outreach program. So that makes it all the more interesting, a better reason for joining.

 

Pinoy Fitness 21K Challenge

Photo from PF FB page

Photo from PF FB page

Happening in November 16, 2104 at Bonifacio Global City, the event is part of the regular runs hosted and organized by Pinoy Fitness. Like ARC, Pinoy Fitness is another running family that made me want to keep running in the past three years. I have already missed the previous events that they organized (due to some pressing matters during those times) so I have to make it sure that this time, I will be there.

Again, as suggested by the event title, this will be a harder challenge as there is a set cut-off time. Before June of 2013, the standing challenge for me then was to finish a half-marathon in under two hours. I was already very close to the target (my best time is 2 hours and 3 minutes) but then the school year opened and running was a luxury I did not have. So the goal was never reached.

I don’t, however, expect to reach that goal during this run. But I shall be expecting myself to at least beat the cut off time of 2 hours and 30 minutes (which was actually my time in my very first half marathon three years ago).

 

38th Milo Marathon – Finals (Half-marathon distance)

Milo-Marathon-2014-LOGO

 

For December 2014, I am thinking of registering for the half-marathon distance of the 38th Milo Marathon (Finals). I’ve already missed the Manila eliminations and it’s not likely that I will register in the unfinished provincial stages so I might register for the Finals. Unlike the other runs on this list, however, this is one run that I can miss.

 

Corregidor Marathon 2015

Corregidor-Marathon-2015

I have always thought of Condura Skyway Marathon to be my ‘come back’ marathon after my long hiatus from running. But I cannot miss the Corregidor Marathon again (I’ve already missed the first one) so I have to register this time. Technically, that makes it the ‘come back’ marathon. And strictly speaking, if I run this marathon it would seem unwise to be running another marathon (Condura) after just two week. But that is ok because the uniqueness of the event actually makes it just perfect for the training plan I have in mind. Since there will be no time limits for this event I will just treat it as the last LSD. It’s even made better by the fact that the terrain provides enough uphills (or probably too much of it) and downhills that will be helpful in preparing for what would be a rolling skyway two weeks after.

Happening in January 17, 2015, the run will go through the roads around Corregidor Island.

 

Condura Skyway Marathon 2015

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If I may use what others have already coined and used to often, this is supposed to be my ‘runniversary’. This is why it has become the end and my running year and the start of another one. This is also why I really don’t want to miss this. For me it is the culmination of my one year of preparation. (Well for this time, it’s actually just six months since I only started my serious training this August.)

Condura-Skyway-Marathon-CSM-Run-for-A-Hero-2015

“Believe that you can run farther or faster. Believe that you’re young enough, old enough, strong enough, and so on to accomplish everything you want to do. Don’t let worn-out beliefs stop you from moving beyond yourself.” -John Bingham, running speaker and writer

 

 

Training starts now

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Life has not been that kind to me for the past year such that I did not even have time to run, which is the only activity I have to counter the sedentary lifestyle in the city.  I cannot even remember the last time I joined a running event or a running clinic.

Things have changed however, so I can go back to running again. As such I am targeting to run a full marathon in the next six months. It may sound a bit ambitious considering that I am practically starting from scratch again but I think I still my ‘notes’ of the things I learned from the previous years so I think I know what to do this time.

What’s on my list?

The first one that I am considering is Condura Skyway Marathon 2015. This one has always been memorable for me because as I may have already mentioned before, it is the first running event that I ever participated in. That was back in 2011 when I thought a five-kilometer run was such a big feat. A year after, I ran my first ever full marathon on the skyway. And then again in 2013 for the second time for this event. This was the run that got me hooked so I am looking forward to running the Skyway again.

I am also thinking of the Corregidor Marathon 2015. I first joined this event as an official photographer back in 2011*. A year after that, I went back as a runner participant. It was so much fun. The views and the route itself were breathtaking – and I’m sure, they still are. And I must say that such views are a good excuse to slow down for picture taking and recovery. This is happening barely a month before the Condura Marathon and it might not be a good idea for a returning runner to abuse himself with two full marathons in a very short span of time. But I am thinking, this one does not have a restriction on time (unlike the marathons in the city) so I don’t have to worry about exerting too much effort to beat the time. In other words, this could actually serve as the last LSD before the Skyway marathon. Perfect timing, I must say.

There are still at least a couple of marathons in the next six months but for now I think I’ll stick with these two first. Joining marathons is not exactly cheap so I’ll stick with the ones I am sure will provide me what I am looking for.

Training begins

Of course, running these marathons is not really easy. Unless one does not care about injuries, keeping healthy and avoiding untoward incidences, one really has to prepare for these marathons.

So for me, along with my resolve to run a marathon, I am also resolved to start preparing seriously. And I have resolved that such training starts today – literally, this 3rd day of August 2014.

This is why I have decided to go for a run – just to have a taste of how it is again to be on the road without distractions.

This morning I went out for a walk but I ended up shooting at the Artistakbo (which I did not know was happening at the QC Memorial Circle). This afternoon I decided to go for slow run around UPD which was then followed by a much slower run-walk combo going home. My pre-workout meal was a generous serving of tapa at #Rodics (Maginhawa). After the run, I had a ridiculously big serving of pasta, chocolate drink, and iced tea. The frog is a road kill I saw when I was running. No, I did not eat it but that's how I feel after my run, #bagsak. #backontheroad

This morning I went out for a walk but I ended up shooting at the Artistakbo (which I did not know was happening at the QC Memorial Circle). This afternoon I decided to go for slow run around UPD which was then followed by a much slower run-walk combo going home. My pre-workout meal was a generous serving of tapa at #Rodics (Maginhawa). After the run, I had a ridiculously big serving of pasta, chocolate drink, and iced tea. The frog is a road kill I saw when I was running. No, I did not eat it but that’s how I feel after my run, #bagsak.
#backontheroad

Of course as I expected, it wasn’t easy. For instance, warming up took longer this time. My body has been ‘idle’ for quite some time that starting to run again requires effort. Even my breathing took a beating. Even during the first couple of kilometres, I was already panting. And then I also experienced side stitch also on the first half of the run. For a good two kilometres, I actually had to really slow down because of the pain.

Fortunately, my body adjusted immediately that is why I decided to double my initial plan of five kilometres. I actually did 10 kilometers (plus a four-kilometer run-walk combo going home).

I can only hope that in the next coming months, I will be able to accumulate enough mileage to prepare me for the bigger events so that when they come, I will be able to finish with pride and without the unnecessary pains and injuries.

So to myself, here is praying for health and strength to go on with trainings that will keep me healthy and strong.

running quotes_thumb[3]

It rained on WGR’s parade

I’ve always thought that the rain is an inevitable part of living – at least in this world. There is nothing I can do to stop it from coming so I just need to adapt, to do things I need to do without being bothered too much by the rain. But earlier tonight, I wasn’t my usual optimistic self – all because it rained and I wasn’t able go on with my planned run. Tonight is one of those rare times when I would say, ” I hate the rain” and actually mean it.

On the other hand, it was nice to join the Wednesday Group of Runners once again. It’s been a long time since I last trained with them and tonight was supposed to be my “comeback” work out if not for the rain. Nevertheless, I still had a good time joining the celebrations for the group’s ‪#‎anniversary‬.

Thanks to ‪#‎wgr‬ for making me feel like I never left. And here is to more trainings to come and more miles to run. ‪#‎happyrunniversary‬

38th Milo Marathon

A night before the 36th Milo Marathon – Manila eliminations two years ago, I cannot sleep because I was so worried that I might not wake up on time. Tonight, I feel like I am in the same situation. The 38th edition of the race is happening in a couple of hours and I just realized that I still have not slept a wink. I am not running this time so I don’t actually have to be worried about being late to the event but for some reason, I cannot get myself to sleep. 

Anyway, here is wishing all the best for my friends who are running today. May the running gods keep you safe so that when you see me at the finish line, you will still look good in your photos. ‪#‎milomarathon‬‪#‎38thmilomarathon‬ ‪#‎manilaelims‬ ‪#‎moa‬

[Meanwhile, for that ‪#‎someone‬ who will surely be there to intimidate my other friends who will be taking photos, I can only pray that the gods give you humility and make you realize that you are not the only one who can do photography - you may have the latest tool but that does not make you more superior to anybody. May you be reminded that your equipment does not really make you better than the rest of us. May you be reminded that talent is in the person and not in the tool used. May you be reminded that respect is earned and is mutually given.‪#‎photographyduties‬ ‪#‎equalopportunity‬ ‪#‎mutualrespect‬]

carbo-loading 25 july a

If there is one thing I like from being in the company of serious runners (marathoners as we are sometimes referred to), it is the fact that we can have fun even without alcoholic beverages that’s usually the refreshment-of-choice of people our age when they go out on a Friday night. Tonight for instance, I had so much fun with friends during our dinner at DADS Saisaki & Kamayan and coffee at Starbucks Ayala 6750. It has been a very long time since we’ve seen each other (or more appropriately, since I’ve seen most of them) but tonight, it was as if nothing has changed. It was so nice to have the chance to catch up with everybody before we all become busy again. 


carbo-loading 25 july
Special thanks to Albert Abetski Tubera for the coffee – the one we had, the freebie which I’ll be getting soon (because I have the receipt), and the additional stars on my card. I guess that accounts for our ‪#‎pasalubong‬ from you.

With all that fun tonight, I wish everybody all the best for this weekend’s marathon. I will see you all again at the finish line on Sunday. ‪#‎milomarathon‬

[P.S. I am not saying that alcoholic beverages is totally a bad idea but sometimes, it's nice to catch up with friends sober.] ‪#‎biglangbawi‬

Running: The rest is over

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After more than a year of self-imposed “rest” from my running, I am now ready (or at least I think I am) to resume training and prepare for my next target. I have in my sights the 2015 edition of the very first organized run that I ever joined – the very same event where I did my very first marathon a year after. I am hopeful that by February next year, I would be marathon-ready again.

What I’ve learned, however, is that going back is not really that easy if you’re coming from a long hiatus. Perhaps it’s because my self-imposed rest was really mainly because of the stress that I had been through for the past 12 or so months. But anyway, I want to think that the “rest” is over and that I have to start donning my running gear again.

Hard or not, training has to be done. After all, this is the only activity that has been keeping me in shape. This means that in the coming months, I will be back to my old training ground that is the UP Diliman Campus, there will be more LSDs with runner-friends, probably running clinics if my schedule permits it.

The bright yellow sunflowers 'beautify' the view along University Ave. - a nice site after a grueling run.

The bright yellow sunflowers ‘beautify’ the view along University Ave. – a nice site after a grueling run.

So as a “come back” run, I went out today running from my boarding house going to UP.  The plan was to slowly adjust to running again so I did not really set a target in terms of distance or time. I just planned to stop whenever I felt tired already. Surprisingly, I was able to cover 10 kilometers one hour and 20 minutes.  Of course as expected, it wasn’t an easy run – even though I really took my time. The first few kilometres were specially agonizing and it took me a while to adjust. My feet initially hurt and my breathing was strained. And when I thought I’ve adjusted already, I started to feel tired and hungry. So I started walking back home covering and additional 4.45kms, stopping only for a quick bite.

“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.” — William James

Running marathons: It’s more fun on the Skyway

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Condura 2013d

The beautiful monster

The best thing about not preparing myself well before running the Skyway Marathon was that I got to run at a very relaxed pace. Because I was slow, I spent more time on the elevated road and just enjoyed the views. Yes, even in the darkness there are nice views around Paranaque, Muntinlupa, Taguig, Makati and nearby cities, thanks to the billions of lights that look like stars on a cloudless night. Every now and then, I would see a distinct light and wonder where it is located, how far it is from where I was, and why is it so distinct from all other lights around it. Every now and then, I would see a sleek yellow line or a pretty little arc in the darkness and wonder what the row of lights could be. Even the neatly aligned street lamps of the Skyway was a sight to behold as they looked like lighted spikes on the back of very long serpentine monster that was trying to lead the runners into the darkness. The straight lines created by these lights were just as beautiful as the curves and arcs that guided the runners as they seem to run in packs, each looking for that monster’s head, trying to conquer it before it conquers them. There is no other running event that can provide this kind of view other than the Skyway Marathon. And I am thankful for the rare opportunity of running this route and appreciating the big city’s beauty from a different perspective.

Reality check on the slow lane

My first medal

My first running medal was for a 5-km run during the Run for the Dolphins in 2011. 

The truth is, appreciating the beauty of the night was just my excuse for my less-than-ideal performance during last Sunday’s Condura Skyway Marathon 2013. While I truly appreciated the beauty of the lights and was actually awed by the views, this was really not the reason why I had to be very slow. I was slow because I was afraid that if I push myself so hard, I would end up with a lot of problems that are usually associated with not being prepared. I was slow because I was afraid that I would again experience muscles cramps (usually on my thighs and calves). I was slow because I was afraid the pain on my lower back will kick in before I even reach the finish line. In other words, I was slow because my body was not in proper condition. This is a lesson I thought I already learned in the past but for some reason, I am still stuck. Perhaps, I still lack all that discipline that runners have engrained into their systems. And unfortunately, I have no excuse for that – not even work that usually keeps people busy.

Mixed feelings

Condura 2012

I really have mixed feelings about the way I finished my third marathon. On one hand, I am very happy that I did not end up with any major injuries or problems. And for once, I actually got to enjoy a marathon like I never did before. As I mentioned, the views it offered are a rarity plus I got to interact better with other runners. But on the other hand, I was also a bit disappointed with the results because I know that I could have done better. Yes I was without major injuries but truth be told that even before I reached the finish line, I was already feeling exhausted. Unlike my last marathon, I felt unusually very tired just a few kilometres after the halfway mark. This is why I had to walk a lot in the last quarter of the route. I don’t see anything wrong in walking during a marathon (us average runners have that privilege because we don’t have to deal with the pressure of besting all other runners to be able to stand at the podium) but this time I think I walked more than I wanted to. I know that in more ideal conditions, I could have registered a better time and still end up with no injuries. But I did what I was capable of at that time so regardless of how it turned out, I still have to say that I enjoyed the experience.

Conquering the Skyway

I don’t really subscribe to the idea of a running anniversary but if I were to start, the Condura Skyway Marathon actually marks the beginning of my running calendar. The very first organized run that I ever joined was the Run for the dolphins during the 4th Condura Skyway Marathon on February 6, 2011. Back then, I did not have any idea what happens during an event like this. The only thing clear at that time was that I wanted to join a fun run for the experience so I thought I’d just put on my running gear and go with the flow. After I crossed the finish line five kilometers after, everything changed. I already knew I was addicted to running. The rest, as they say, is history.

So after a year of joining more runs and going on regular trainings with new found friends, I ran my first full marathon during the 5th Condura Skyway Marathon: Run for the Mangroves. That would have been my first year anniversary. At that time, I thought I have gone full circle already. From a 5-km fun run, I sort of advanced to more gruelling runs and finally culminated with a full marathon. That was both an end and a beginning of a period in my running. Just like what many others would say after that run, I was now a “certified marathoner”. Fast forward to February 3, 2013 – the 6th Condura Skyway Marathon is already my second time to run on the Skyway (back in 2011, the short distance runners did not have the chance to go up the Skyway) but I have to say, the experience is still just as awesome as the first. The best part is that on both occasions, despite a little struggle to reach the finish line, I conquered the Skyway by finishing without any major problems. The route may have offered numerous uphill climbs (which I found out to be my waterloo) but I was able to overcome them, one crest at a time. So yes, despite being a little disappointed, I still proudly say I conquered the Skyway (twice and counting).

Running: It’s more fun on the Skyway

Condura 2013

One reason I keep coming back to this event is that it is well-organized. In fact, I think it is one of the most organized runs I have ever participated in. The hydration stations were aplenty making sure that runners do not run out of something to drink. There were banana stations which is really a big help. It’s also nice to note that the medical personnel were noticeably more attentive to the needs of the runners. They don’t just wait at the ambulance. Instead, they were more pro-active by seeking out people who may need their help. In other words, they ask instead of waiting to be asked. Their alertness and responsiveness was comforting. Things like this, little as they may be, actually make a run more satisfying for runners. Congratulations to the organizers for making sure that the concerns of the runners are taken care of. It’s been two years already since that first fun run. And it may be too early to say this but I am already excited for the next edition. Because it is a rare opportunity, running on the Skyway is something to look forward to. I just hope that when the next edition comes, I am more ready. For now, I’ll try to look back at those great two years and see what I can bring into this year to make my running experience more satisfying.

See you all on the road – elevated or otherwise!

It all started with a 5-km fun run.

It all started with a 5-km fun run. A year after, a full marathon completed the circle. Two years after, another full mary was added to the fun.

Rexona Run 2012: A bitter-sweet finish

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When I went to Mall of Asia for the Rexona Run 2012, there were a couple of things that I wanted to happen. One, I wanted to finish the race in under two hours. And two, I wanted to finish it without any injuries, serious or superficial. The first one is something I thought to be within reach considering that my best time is just a couple of minutes above two hours. Plus, a sub-two finish also meant I am entitled to an additional token – a key chain –  that was given to all runners who finish with the cut off time. The second one is something I always aim for and in this particular case, my thoughts keep going back to the same event last year that left me almost ‘crippled’ – I wasn’t walking normally for a few weeks after the run.

Well, it did not work well for me, on both counts (although I have a feeling that things like this almost never work well according to my plans). I finished the half marathon (21 kms) in two hours and 15 minutes so clearly I missed my mark – and it’s not even close to my personal best. As for the second one, unfortunately I really cannot say that I finished with no problems or issues. The problem wasn’t really that serious and it’s nothing compared to my almost debilitating injury last year but it was there alright and I cannot just ignore it. The truth is, I felt better when I crossed the finish line for a full marathon last month than when I crossed the finish line this time.

There is, of course, a perfect explanation for what happened but it only sounds like a bunch of excuses (even for me). So for now, I’ll just write it down under my “things to learn from” list because right now, excuses only spoil the fact that despite everything, I am still comfortable with how this year’s Run ended for me.

Outrun Yourself

Even before the Run started, I was very confident that I would greatly improve my previous year’s results despite being in almost the same condition. It wasn’t really a hard assignment considering that my race results for the Rexona Run 2011 is still my worst – in terms of time and post-race condition. This is why the challenge wasn’t really whether or not I will finish faster than last year. Instead, it was whether or not I would finish in less than two hours as planned.

I was so hyped up that I started very well. For the first quarter of the race, I would say that not only did I outpace myself, I actually did it in a manner that would have left me out of breath (literally) a year ago. Unfortunately, the strong start did not last long because after the first half, I started to slow down. By kilometer 17, it was already very clear that the planned sub-two hours was impossible. If it was any consolation though, at least I was still in better shape than I was last year at that point.

When I crossed the finish line, I was able to slash at least 50 minutes from the previous year’s run. I’d say that’s a great improvement considering that even though I wasn’t totally pain-free, I was still walking normally unlike the year before. Unfortunately, the finish time still wasn’t enough to make me eligible for the token that the organizers gave to those who finish the half marathon in under two hours. Yes, I am talking about a keychain and it may be just a small item but for many a runner, it’s a status symbol. Or at least, that’s what I think. And it makes me a bit sad that I don’t have one.

Perhaps, another day. Another run. What’s more important is that even though I did not finish as planned, I was still able to outrun myself, defied the odds stacked against me, and thereby surpassing what I truly expected from myself, given the circumstances.

Rexona Run: Surpassing expectations

Sometimes, when we run in events like this, we cannot stop ourselves from expecting certain standards from the organizers. These expectations usually cover several aspects of the event from organizing, to the route, to hydration, and even the after-race freebies. And I have to say that this year’s edition of the Run did not fail to satisfy what I expected. Well, there were a few things I wished to have been looked more into but they are so minor that I just thought of them as something I could have avoided had I prepared myself better.

As far as organizing was concerned, I have no complaints. From the time I deposited my baggage at the counter up the time I claimed by goody bag, I really cannot say I had problems. Everything was in order.

I also like the fact that there was a 21-km relay. I think this is one factor why the regular half marathon was not really crowded, because a great percentage of runners who would have registered for the category settled for the relay. Around 3,000 ran the regular distance, of course, but if not for the relay, there would probably be an additional 2,000 starting at the same time. As per experience, a crowd that big means congested road for at least ten kilometers.

As for the route itself, I liked it very much. It was generally flat (save for one flyover), but the numerous turns provided enough challenge, time-wise. I also like the fact that there was overflowing hydration. My favorite station was the one at the 10th (and I think the 12th) kilometer because they had the small water bottles. It was more convenient to carry while running which meant one can have water between water stations. And with the heat that was brewing that morning, coupled by my profuse sweating (which is my normal thing by the way), that was just what I needed.

The large nets to catch used cups were a very nice reminder for runners make sure they don’t just scatter the cups along the road. Of course, there were those who still do but it was minimized this time.

Aside from the overflowing hydration, I also liked the fact that there were a lot of bananas. This is way better than previous experiences when bananas usually run out after only a couple of hundreds of runners thus leaving the average and slow runners with nothing but peelings at the so-called banana stations. This time, I helped myself to several of these bananas. I got hungry trying to outrun myself big time in the first half that bananas in the second half were a blessing.

And who would not be satisfied with the loot bag given after the race? It was practically bursting with products that one can actually use. Well, there may be a few things that I would not personally use but at least I can give them to someone who would.

All in all, I’d say the Rexona Run 2012 was yet run I enjoyed and liked. And if there will be another chance, I will run the same Run again.

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**Thanks to Jose Ramizarez, Pinoy Fitness (Jeff Lo), Edrick Nicdao, and Hendrick Or for the photos

**Thanks also to Allenstein Co, Aquiz Minlay for the other photos.

My Milo Experience

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“The marathon is a charismatic event. It has everything. It has drama. It has competition. It has camaraderie. It has heroism. Every jogger can’t dream of being an Olympic champion, but he can dream of finishing a marathon.” – Fred Lebow

After doing two marathons this year, I can now call myself a marathoner. I have not really considered myself one after my first marathon because I thought I was only testing the waters that time. It was as if I was only trying out the experience enough to get my feet wet. But after the second one, I can now proudly say, “I am a marathoner.” I can also proudly say that I did not just finish the race. More importantly, I finished it the way I wanted to.

I went to the 36th Milo Marathon – Manila Eliminations a little apprehensive. I knew in my mind that I once I start, I was going to finish it no matter what happens. But I still had doubts about my preparations. Have I trained enough? Will I be finishing with no injuries? Will I be able to achieve what I want to? These are just a few of the questions that were bothering me before the race.

To add to my worries, I arrived at the venue with only just enough time to deposit my baggage at the counter. The race was going to start in a few minutes and I did not have enough time even for warm up and proper exercise. This worried me because based on experience, my old knee injuries would almost always kick in if I go for long runs without proper stretching. Muscle cramps are not far behind once that happens.

But not wanting to be at the tail end of the group (which usually causes me to go on an abnormally faster pace at the very beginning), I went immediately to the assembly area and wiggled all the way to the middle, still worried of what could happen. Four hours and 46 minutes after gun start, I had answers to my questions. Yes, apparently I had enough preparations. The fact that I finished it a little earlier than I expected (because I ran a little faster than my planned pace) is a confirmation that I was in better shape than I thought. I might just have exaggerated my apprehensions. But ironically, it’s this nervousness that kept me calm during the whole run. It wasn’t also completely pain-free of course, but I finished with no injuries (unless the “re-awakening” of old blisters count as injuries). And to top it all, I finished the race the way I wanted to, and more.

When I signed up for the race, there is one thing I really wanted to achieve – that is to shave off at least 20 minutes from my previous marathon’s record. In doing so, I should be finishing in under five hours. When I crossed the finish line, I could not be happier when I realized I actually slashed 30 minutes. That extra ten minutes was like an extra incentive.

The little bumps along the way

“Tough times don’t last but tough people do.” A.C. Green

As I’ve mentioned, the run was not completely pain-free. It was a great one but I have to say that I also struggled, although luckily, on not so serious matters. At several points during the race, I had to break my stride because of a lot of things. Of course there is always the factor of getting tired after some time and that had caused me to walk some parts of the race, especially after the 21stkilometer. And then at one point, I had sidestitch. Luckily though, it did not last. Neither did it get any worse. Thanks to what I learned from some running clinics, proper breathing can do some magic. I also thought at one point that I was feeling some pain on my knees – right where my old injuries are. And it had to happen within the first ten kilometers. I thought that was the end of it already but for some reason, it went away. Perhaps it was just my mind worrying so much to the point of panic. At one point also, I thought I had to stop for some meds for hyper-acidity, which I expected because of my experience with the energy drink that was served during the run. But perhaps I was just hungry because after two bananas at the next station, by stomach settled down and I did not have to take the meds. I resumed my pace but I was really alarmed that I had to slow down a bit. Still at one point, after 28 kms, I realized I might have worn the wrong underwear. I was feeling some pain down there because of chaffing. It was not really that bad but when you feel that stinging sensation every other step, it becomes annoying. Still at one point, sometime in the last five kilometers, my thighs started to feel tight. I thought I was feeling the beginnings of muscle cramps. For a while I debated with myself whether to keep pushing because anyway I only had around five kilometers left or to slow down if only to avoid finishing with a limp. In the end, I decided to go on a run-walk combo and it worked because I was still able to run the last two kilometers and actually finished the race running (unlike some other runs in the past where I approached the finish line with a little limp because of some pain on several parts of my legs).

Photo by Lestsky Photography

Before I could be accused of making up excuses, I want to make it clear that I am not and I do not have to make excuses. I am happy with my results and making excuses for nothing would only spoil the fun. I cannot really say that I could have done better had I not ‘suffered’ from these pains. No, that is not my point in enumerating them. The point is that these things either happen inevitably or they can be avoided totally. Either ways, these “down times” are part of the whole experience. To an extent, they are part of the lessons we learn as we continue to develop ourselves in the sport.

Truth is, because of these small problems along the way, I kept ‘panicking’ and that made me check myself from time to time. Yes, I was pushing hard enough to make sure I am within (or even doing better than) my planned pace but every time I feel something out of the ordinary, I would assess myself if I was still capable of pushing harder. In other words, I wanted to make sure that I was having fun – that I don’t end up suffering from more serious pains when I cross the finish line. I wanted to make sure that at the finish line, I would still have enough energy because I knew that a lot of friends will be there and being in pain while in the company of probably the most energetic group is not what I picture myself to be in.

The driving forces on the road

“We can’t all be heroes because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.”- Will Rogers

Another reason I really wanted to avoid the serious pains at the end is the fact that this run is meant to be fun because of the very reason it was organized. It may sound cliché but thinking of the recipients of the activity also made me want to make sure I enjoy it as much as I could. I was imagining myself being watched by those kids and if they see me wincing in pain if only to bring them joy, would they enjoy their gift as much? I know my involvement is just a drop in an ocean of offerings but if you are tired after running a couple of hours, your thoughts start to wander and look for some kind of motivations. During this run, that was my other driving force.

On the other hand, I also had to keep going because I was racing with myself to beat the medal cut off. As if running a full marathon was not challenge enough, Milo posed another one my imposing cut off times. (The qualifying cut off time was already out of the picture even before I started the run so I had to be content with the medal cut off.) Beating that medal cut off was an additional incentive that was worth looking forward to. At least that’s what I was thinking while on the run.

Of course, I also cannot discount the boosting effect of the cheers and encouragements from other runners and spectators who were there to support their friends. If I have to mention some, I’d start with the ever-supportive Ok-Ok Running Family. Ours is a relationship that extends beyond our common passion for running. We are already like brothers and sisters who just happen to live separately. And just as biological siblings would do, we encourage each other for the better and our support for each other cannot be taken for granted. Thanks very much.

Then there is A Runner’s Circle. Their presence during the run was like a breath of fresh air. Honestly, I felt like a kid making his daddy proud as I ran past Dad Raul and his family cheering for the runners. The short chat with Perkins and Ria at the finish line was just as refreshing. Nothing beats the feeling of sharing your thoughts right after the experience and while you still seem to be in Cloud 9.

Photo by Jesselyn Morales

The Running Photographers and other volunteer photographers who patiently endured the rain just to take photos and cheer on the runners is another thing I have to be thankful for.

Thanks also to the other running groups who, just like the volunteer photographers, were there to provide support for the runners. I took advantage of that, I have to say. I’m sure I have seen Snails cheering. Then I think I’ve seen cheerers from Eat, Pray, Run. I even think one of them handed me a banana while another one offered massage. Then I think I saw a group from Hypersports. They may think they were just enjoying – having a time of their lives – but their presence was a great boost to many of the runners, me included.

Still there are others that I should be thanking but I have to offer my apologies for not being able to name all of them. You know when you run that long, at some point you become so engrossed in what you’re doing that you fail to notice a lot of the people who, in their own little ways, have offered you great help. That is my excuse but from the bottom of my heart, I am thankful.

A satisfied runner

“I loved the freedom of running, the fresh air and feeling that the only person I’m competing with is me”- Wilma Rudolph

Truly, I may have gone to the Milo Marathon with a little apprehension but I went home fully satisfied of the results – now my PR for a marathon and I can only hope in I’d be able to match or do better in my next target run. Do I wish I should have done better? To an extent, yes, because I dream of joining the Finals. But I am fully aware of what I am capable of and at this point, I am definitely not cut for it. Otherwise, I would not change anything. But I will take note of the experience for when I run another marathon again, I would be wiser and more prepared. For now, my expectations just fell into place perfectly and as I said, I could not be happier.

A million thanks to Milo for bringing this experience to more runners. By making it cheaper for us, you are in a way making a statement – that a running event does not have to be expensive to be enjoyed. The fact that you are also doing this for charity makes it even more memorable. Thank you very much for the experience and may you continue to share your blessings to the needy. May you continue to inspire more people.

Race results

Although the rightmost part of the table says that I am not qualified for the National Finals because of my time, I am still proud of how I finished. If it comes down to numbers, apparently I am 501st among 1,619 finishers beating the 6-hour cut off.

[P.S. I originally wanted to talk about the run itself but I can only say one thing – it was excellent. I am sure there are some people who would not agree – just there would always be runners who complain on anything – but as far as I am concerned, it’s still one of the most organized runs I ever participated in.]

Photo credits: Thanks to Running Photographers, Pinoy Fitness, A Runner’s Circle, Team USB, Sigue Correr Runners, Team JRunning, Photovendo and other photographers who endured the rain to take photos.

Milo Marathon: Shaking off my pre-race jitters

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Saturday, July 28, 2012; 11:00PM

In a few hours, the 36th Milo Marathon will begin. I will be there. I will be one of the hundreds who will be pounding the road, come rain or shine.

The marathon has come to represent different personal goals for different people. While some runners just want to finish without major problems (i.e. injuries), others are dedicating the endeavor to some personal causes close to their hearts. And while some are just thinking about achieving better personal records (PRs), others are seriously considering qualifying for the National Finals. This is the Manila Eliminations, afterall. For whatever it is that we want to achieve by running this marathon, I wish everybody the best. May we all have the strength to run, the endurance to keep going until we finish, and above all the energy to enjoy.

As for me, I just want to make sure that I finish within my target time. Yes, a better PR is my personal goal. I do not have the illusions of finishing the race within the qualifying time but I’ll do everything I can to record a more decent time. If I can slash at least 20 minutes from my previous time, I’d be a happy runner (not that I would be sad if I won’t achieve it). I am still not sure of my conditions but this is not the time to start thinking about the negatives. Unlike some, I don’t feel the need to let the world know how low I am feeling before a major run or to let the world know how my training (or lack of it) was. Right now, the only feeling I can speak of is the feeling of excitement for the challenge this run brings – the same feeling of excitement that is now keeping me awake. And well-trained or not, I am still going to run like only death (or the possibility of it) can stop me. Although, of course, I’ll have to dig deep and check my notes on what I’ve learned so far over the past 16 months of “semi-serious” running.

Best wishes to all my friends, especially the first time marathon runners. And good luck to those aiming for the qualifying time cut offs.

But as we run to achieve our personal goals, may we be all reminded, inspired, and motivated more by the very reason for this marathon. May we all be inspired by the fact that our mere participation means a great help to the commitments of Milo as it continues to reach out to those who are in need. This marathon’s appeal is not limited to it being the “biggest, longest and grandest running event in the country” (Andrew Neri, Runner’s Handbook). It is, in fact, a run that is geared towards youth development through sports. This is through Milo’s shoe campaign which aims to provide shoes for children. May we be motivated by this campaign and that we continue to support similar causes as we continue to enhance ourselves in this sports that we have come to love.

See you all on the road. Kaya natin ito.

(PS: thanks to whoever made the image I used here. I just got that from somewhere and while I assume that’s from Milo, I cannot be so sure. Thanks anyway.)

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