Dear MARS Coaches,
I regret to inform you that I failed to hit the target we’ve set for me for the 39th Milo Marathon Manila Eliminations. In fact, instead of shaving off minutes from my previous personal record, I actually added seven minutes. I understand perfectly if you feel a little disappointed as my performance failed to give justice to the kind of trainings and preparations you have provided the past two months prior to the race. I am very disappointed myself and I cannot even take comfort in the fact that I finished the race in under five hours. That is not exactly what we aimed for. In my disappointment, I actually did not feel like my usual happy self when I crossed the finish line.
Please know, however, that my failure was not because the training I received from you wasn’t enough. I know in my heart that you’ve prepared me well. The truth is, I started the run with so much confidence because of this preparation. Also, the fact that I did not have any major injuries and did not have issues with my breathing (which had always been my problem during the first few kilometers during runs) are signs of that good preparation and training I’ve had from MARS.
The failure was all on me. I can come up with a number of possible excuses (if only to justify such failure) but that’s not really how I was trained. The bottomline is, I relaxed too much three quarters into the race and that has cost me valuable time. I just lost focus and miscalculated my pace in the last quarter. It was already too late when I realized this blunder and even though I tried to recover, I’ve already lost too much time to catch up.
On a positive note, however, I am still happy because I finished with no major injuries or health issues. I felt discomfort (stinging pain) on my right knee after around the 38th kilometer but it wasn’t really that much of an issue. In fact, the pain was gone after a few kilometers and I only felt it again way after the run was finished. The therapist has taken care of it already.
I am also happy to say that it is during this race that I achieved some sort of PR-like records for a 10-km run, a 10-miler, and a half marathon. A review of my GPS records show that I’ve actually done 10 kilometers in 56 minutes, 16 kilometers in an hour and 33 minutes, and 21 kilometers in two hours and five minutes (my half mary PR at the moment is two hours and four minutes). And yet, even with this pace, I was still running comfortably.
Let me say that in my previous marathons, I was always a little too cautious because I was always afraid of hurting myself and also because I wanted to ‘conserve’ energy to last me until the end. But this time, it was different because I knew that I can now sustain a respectable pace and not worry about anything (except, probably, going hungry…lol). This is also why I know that had I not lost focus, it would have been very easy to finish the full mary as planned.
Nevertheless, I would still like to reiterate my gratitude for all your support. Your words of encouragements are always a source of motivation. Special thanks to Coaches Jim and Toni for the opportunity to learn more about preparing for a sport that everyone now loves. Thanks also to all the other coaches, for the guidance in making sure that the workouts were being executed properly. I think I’ve encountered every one of you at some point during the sessions and I know that each one of you has valuable input in my preparations.
I apologize for not giving my 100% as you would have expected me to but I promise not to repeat this blunder. I promise not to drop the ball again next time. Rest assured that the lessons I learned from you will always be with me. I will always be grateful as I will always be proud to have learned from the best.
Here is hoping that I will be able to continue learning from you in the coming seasons of MARS.
Phillip BF, Proud MARSian
It wasn’t because I was injured that I had to slow down. Neither was it because I encountered any problems. And while I don’t look at it as an excuse, my only reason for slowing down is because I thought I can relax a bit since I did very well in the first half of the run. Nakapondo naman na e, I remember thinking for a while.
The fact is, for the first time in a marathon, my first 10 kilometers was under 60 minutes and my first 21 kilometers was just a minute longer than my personal best for a half marathon. [See screen grabs from my phone below.] On top of this, I was still running comfortably. With this ‘achievement’, I was confident that I was well within my target of finishing the run in around four hours and 30 minutes.
Unfortunately, I feel that it’s this confidence that made me complacent. At some point after the 26th kilometer, I started doing run-walk combinations because I thought I have so much time in my hands. In fact, at around the 32nd kilometer, I remember thinking that even if I did a maximum pace of 10 minutes per kilometer for the rest of the run, I would still have finished as planned. But obviously, I miscalculated because at the last six kilometers I realized that time was no longer in my favor. At that point, I knew that even if I duplicated my record for the first five kilometers, it wasn’t enough. While I knew that I was well within the cutoff time, I also knew that finishing within my target time was already out of reach. But of course that did not stop me from trying to recover – to try to still finish as close as possible to my expectation.
Here’s a look at my GPS records:
[For the photos, I’d like to thank Running Photographers (Manong RJ, Tsip 98, Papa Jack, Reggie Cruz, LJ Miranda), Rikki Suarez, Flat Ironman, Donald Ancheta, MARS Season 10 classmate Dan, and everyone that I may have missed. If you did not pretend to be busy checking your camera when I passed by you, thank you very much.]