Manila Elimination Race
4 July 2010
Photos courtesy of Dr. Jun K. and Jhuvy from Takbo.ph
I was apprehensive how I would fare in this race given that my training was disrupted with some family concerns. I had to be honest with myself. I couldn’t do as much as compared to what I have done during the Condura Marathon. To qualify in my age category was already out of the question.
I consoled myself instead to finish it within the given cut off time, or, better yet finishing it in five hours, get the precious Milo medal, run it within the usual 6 to 6.3 min/km pace with no major cramps, and treat the 42K marathon as LSD for “ahem!” another ultramarathon. Gulp!
Dr. Jun Kagaoan of Vigan Tarayem Running Club, yours truly, and ultramarathoner, Mel
At the starting line, excitement was in the air. There were quite a good number of familiar faces and 42K runners. It started with stretching exercises. A multimedia presentation followed showing the new route to the delight of the crowd. It looked so easy with the arrow jumping from one flyover to the second one. Then I heard the gun being fired, signaling the start of the race.
I was doing fine during the first two loops (18.5KM). I was still strong even after passing the lively and supportive aid station provided by Takbo.ph volunteers. Takbo.ph administrators, Jinoe and Que, were also there to give support. On the third loop I could feel fatigue slowly seeping in my leg muscles.
Walking really is a “no! no!” for me. The first time I was forced to walk in a marathon was during the Pasig International Marathon last year (please read my previous account of my first marathon) where I could no longer even take a step and felt this fist-like muscle slowly crawling up to my butt. I suffered major muscle cramps then. And I didn’t want that same experience to happen again.
Though the recently staged Milo Marathon was marred by some runners who cheated, what I’ve experienced during the third loop and during the last seven kilometers was the exact oxymoron, that instead of seeing cheaters, they were act of kindness or good deeds from strangers who are also runners themselves.
The Runner in Red
As I was nearing the water station after that corner along Macapagal Avenue, this elderly runner, wearing a red singlet, asked if I were feeling OK when he saw me walking. He only continued to run after I assured him I was fine.
The Water Runner
A particular area along Macapagal Highway was both good and bad news for runners. Good: you could eat banana. Bad: no water. You had no choice but to run first before you could reach the next oasis.
My throat was dry after eating three slices of banana. However, there was this runner who smiled at me and offered his bottled water. Blessed him!
I dreaded the thought of not finishing within the cut off time. My legs felt heavy already. I had no choice but walk. And at times, I forced myself to run. I caught up with a runner whose strategy was to run/walk. That young runner named John, pushed me to run. Upon reaching Kalaw Avenue, I told John to leave me and run ahead.
The Instant Pacer
The last few meters toward the finish line, I was paced by Cyrus aka Cloudshocked of Takbo.ph. Whew! Thank you so much Cyrus!
Random Thoughts After the Race
It was no easy route.
And the scorching heat!
I had blisters for the very first time.
My legs felt heavy.
My feet hurt.
My body ached.
I finished within the cut off time.
Train hard so you could qualify next time.
My third full marathon (freakin’ 42.195)
My second MILO® medal.
Didn’t have enough preparation for the half marathon race. On top of that the weather the previous week didn’t cooperate. It rained when it was time to have a practice run. But that didn’t deter me at all.
Friday night, I had to meet Queenie to get my road ID but ended up in a Milo Support Group Meeting by takbo.ph runners. Though I didn’t know most of them, they’re a good bunch of people to be with. Had to leave early though since Friday’s the best time to get a good sleep before a race.
IT’S RACE TIME!
Woke up as scheduled and left the house in high spirits. Arrived at the venue with enough time to deposit stuff at the baggage area and do warmup exercises. As I was on my way to the baggage area, I saw Doc Lyndon. After exchanging pleasantries, off I went to the baggage area then jogged the remaining distance going to the starting line.
Inside the holding area, saw some takbo.ph runners. Team Logan (Craig and family), Run Unlimited and his wife Cristy. Bro J was also there.
Running in this race was a new experience for me since it was like beating my 10k PR two years ago and going beyond the 16k Yakult route. The other major challenge was going up and down two flyovers once again. “I wonder how how the 42k runners are doing by this time?” Just a thought of mine while waiting for the gun start.
Last minute instruction was announced by the race organizer. One thing that registered in my mind was the cut-off time for 21k–two hours and a half. “Can I beat that?,” I said to myself. Then, the gun was fired right on time.
As I’ve mentioned before, I rarely talk during a race. I do acknowledge a fellow runner by just raising my hand. Running past Baclaran area, one of the lady runners asked me why I was not in the 42k. I tried to answer her politely (even out of breath that time) that I was not ready to run that distance. To discourage further discussion while running, I had to slow down a bit and allowed her to run past me. Effective!
After the Heritage EDSA flyover, saw the 10k runners. Ahead of me was a familiar runner and I just said “hi”. I was caught of guard when from a group, a 10k runner tried to talk to me. “Oh no, not again!,” I said to myself. I had to shift gear (just like a car) and increased my speed (literally speaking). Hahaha! That runner was a classmate of mine during the Mizuno Running Clinic. Sorry classmate. Let’s chat when I’m not doing a race pace, please.
On my way to the second turn around point along Buendia, I saw Lonerunner doing his practice run. After a few minutes, a Milo car following a fast runner with a board on top of it showing race time 2:16, and with seconds ticking. I was pretty much below my target time.
Then I saw them. The bubbly takbo.ph support group who excitedly asked me what I want. I did ask for a bottle of water. Hearing them cheering was enough encouragement to run. Thank you takbo.ph support volunteers. You know who you are.
On my way back after the last turn around point, I saw them (takbo.ph) volunteers cheering, giving me so many stuff. Gene (Barracuda Running) I will never forget your stance! What spirit! What energy!
This photo was taken by Marvs as I was on my way to the Finish Line which was approximately 800 meters away. But that few distance seemed to be an eternity of running. One thing I couldn’t forget was Marving shouting at me, “serious!” Which means, I was not smiling when this one was taken. Thank you Marvs. I was dead serious to beat my Condura PR and the Milo cut-off time, you see. Reaching the finish line was a mixture of feelings–tired but happy. I made it! I beat my Condura by three minutes. Made it within the cut-off time! Run Unlimited and his wife Cristy were there to congratulate me. Thanks to both of you.
Amazing day! It didn’t rain!
It was the first time to have a 21k event included in a Milo Metro Manila eliminations. Kudos to the race organizer! A pretty much improved race organizing! I take my hats off to the leadership of Mr. Biscocho and the Milo team.
(Photos Courtesy of Marvs, Rachel, and Bro J)