Category Archives: Skyway

Marathon Running with a Vengeance: Condura Skyway Marathon 2010

This is it! There’s no turning back now. I need to finish this race or else all the hard work and training will just go down the drain. Days before Condura, some of my friends have asked me whether I have a target time or am I aiming for a PR (Personal Record). But I kept mum about the whole thing.

At the back of my mind, I’ll try to improve my time. I’m not competing with anyone I know. My only opponent is myself. My goals in this marathon are to at least improve my running with no cramps and finish with a decent time. My training program will be put to the test.

I arrived at the venue with only twenty something minutes to spare to deposit stuff at the baggage area and for warm up exercises. Sigh. It took me sometime to get out of the taxi, as I couldn’t find my sunglasses. And, I was running out of time!

The mood was festive. Saw the Asics exhibits. To my left, I saw two familiar faces, that of Vener a.k.a. Run Unlimited, and his wife Cristy. They were busy fixing their race bibs so I joined the two of them. Not far ahead, we could hear the emcee calling all 42k runners for check-in. As I was about to lock my bib belt, the lock got destroyed and I had to find a way to quickly fix it. Good thing, a guy appeared behind me, in his hands are plastic straw strings. Talking about good timing, eh? I asked for one to tie my belt.

With 15 minutes to spare for warm-up and stretching, I took advantage of it. Saw some of the elite runners doing the same thing while camera TV men focusing their lenses to people around them. It was at this time when I saw PatCon a.k.a. Running Shield, one of the pillars behind Condura, sitting on the sidewalk while waiting for the gun start.

As I looked around, I saw more familiar faces, mostly friends from Takbo.ph. I was at the back of the pack. Fireworks display kicked off the start of the 42-kilometer race.

Running along Bayani Road was not easy. Part of it has no lights. But still you had no choice but to run in pitch dark. I started slower than my race pace and started to pick up the speed only after nearing Buendia-Kalayaan flyover. It was here that I finally maintained the pace, stopping only at water stations to hydrate since I didn’t bring with me any hydration belt. Seeing the Skyway ramp, I couldn’t help but feel awe at the feeling of running the Skyway once again, this time, until Bicutan. It was so nice to run it gazing at the scenery—the breaking of dawn—passing by. And while running, I kept on praying, “no cramps for me please, Lord.”


At past 4AM running along Buendia Avenue; Reflector is shining bright! (Photo Courtesy of Carmen C. and Pepsi)

Condura marathon was my second marathon and my first race this year. As I was on my way back, I saw some runners stretching on the side of the Skyway due to cramps. As for me, still a long way before I could get off the Skyway ramp leading to Buendia Avenue. And when I finally saw the signage, “400 meters,” I felt relief. It only means one thing, 10km more to go! As I was running along Buendia, I felt the festive mood at the aid station where Sir Amado a.k.a. Reinier6666 of Reinier Pacific was busy clicking his camera every time a runner passed by. The aid station was put up in cooperation with Takbo.ph to help both half and full marathon runners. Surely, one could see volunteers having a good time handing out bananas, water, and applying liniments to runners.

I conquered Condura Skyway Hill, a very steep hill, indeed! Super duper thanks to Pat Concepcion a.k.a. Running Shield for sending this photo.

Dog-tired but I conquered the Skyway! I looked so awful! hahaha!
(Photo Courtesy of Carmen C. and Pepsi)

Coming down from Buendia-Kalayaan flyover, with five more kilometers and 47 minutes to go (as per Garmin), I resigned to the idea that I’ve reached my goals for the day. Suddenly, I felt so tired. I walked. Ran again. It was a walk-run-strategy until I reached 32nd Street. My eyes lit up when I saw Takbo.ph peeps cheering, “go, go, five more kilometers, go, go!” Oh my, one of them, was Gail, my savior, during the crucial moment of my first marathon last year.

I walked once again at University Parkway but when I saw Gab, he kept on cheering, “two kilometers more to go!” and he signaled at me to hurry up and I had to force myself to run. So I did, even if my legs were too heavy already. Whew!

This is usually the most critical part of the marathon; the last two-kilometer stretch seemed to be the longest distance a marathoner could run. Thankfully, I saw Coach Salazar and Sir Leo Valdez running behind me and they urged me to go with them. So, I did!

On the last 500 meters towards the finish line, Coach John and Gab paced me. I reached the finish line with a time of 4:58.01. My Garmin registered a finishing time of 4:51.19 and a distance of 42.40km. No matter what, I was very glad with what I did on that day. Why? I was able to run within the targeted race pace up to Km32, after passing Km34, and up to Km37, I didn’t have any cramps (and this is what I was praying the whole time while running the Skyway). To top it off, I finished it at least sub 5, chipping off 23 minutes from my previous marathon time if based on the official results. However, if I based it on my Garmin, I improved by 30 minutes. I felt I did my mission with nothing as profound as a feeling of pride.

Relieved upon seeing the aid station. Almost there! Woohoo!
(Photo Courtesy of Jinoe G. of Takbo.ph)

I couldn’t have done it, of course, without the help of those who supported and encouraged me.

First and foremost, to God, who continually blessed us with good health to finish each race.

To Coach John Lozada, for the training program you personally made for me. Though it was difficult and even if I had to spend Christmas holidays running and doing it, the results showed what training can do coupled with sacrifice and hard work. Ey, congratulations, too, for finishing 12th 21k overall!

To Coach Allan Ballester, for your personal stories as a runner and invaluable tips you shared, maraming salamat. Congrats for finishing 5th 21k overall!

To Coach Mark Peralta, for your patience, moral support, and for pacing with me during my two long lonely runs.

To my Mall of Asia (MOA) running mates, Gab (Dirty Sanchez), Rod (RodRunner), Jet (JetPaiso), Cindy (Drunken “Master” Lily), Vic (Hagibis), Tin, Ziggy, Morgan, Aleth (Sexyladeh), and AnPaul (Solidsnake), thank you for your patience, your time during late dinner, ensuring I get a taxi after each workout, and for trading stories as well while running.

To Takbo.ph first time marathoners, half-marathoners who were in deep training, thank you also for your shout of encouragement while I was running the Skyway. It should have been me who should be shouting at you guys but you respected my silence. My silence didn’t mean I didn’t cheer. I did! Seeing each one of you reaching the finish line, made me so happy. Now you’re already a bonafide marathoner. Again, it’s not the PR time that counts but the courage to start and reach the end of each race no matter what happens.

To Brando (a.k.a. Ace Balasador), Jinoe (Takbo.ph/Manokan Runner), PatCon, Carmen, Pepsi, and Sir Amado for the photos.

To Coach John and Gab, for waiting and coming back for me to pace me during the last 500 meters. It’s not the distance, but the support coming from friends. Thank you so much!

To Pacific Reinier and Takbo.ph volunteers, thank you so much! You guys rock! Mac (aka Japorms), the efficascent helps! 😉

To PatCon and Ton, for providing a race where runners can run the Skyway. More power to you and your Team!

To the cheerers, Zinnia “Z”, Que (ChicksniManok), Ellen1, Ellen2, Master Eo, Neil (Crashburn), Joyce, Gail, Pepsi (goodness, I forgot to thank you for the Gatorade you gave me), Tracy (Digital Dash), Carina (Flying Boar), Sam (Running Ninja), Jet, DocT, Ian (Onemelc), Erick Guieb, Isko, PatCon, Tere (El Capitana), and Mark B. (Markathon), and (oh, my) to the many runners whose faces seemed to be familiar and who said “hi”, “hello”, “go, go!”, “ang lakas mo!” as they were running the Skyway and whose faces I couldn’t remember. Thank you so much!

To my fellow runners, regardless of distance or category, congratulations!

The pairs of shoes that brought us to the finish line! Roll and glide.
(Photo Courtesy of Brando a.k.a. Ace Balasador)

Condura 2009: Skyway Conquered

Condura mania was really in the air. A total of 6,243 runners registered in this race.

In my previous post, I mentioned my goals for this run. First, to have fun. Second, to beat my Adidas KOTR Personal Record (PR). Third, to reach the finish line. Did I achieve all of them? Definitely, a YES to all!

It was fun, indeed. While running, I was greeted by fellow runners and bloggers. Some shouted my name, said ‘hi’ or ‘hello, Running Diva!’, and others said, ‘go, go, go!’ Truly, you inspired me for this show of support. For those of you who greeted me along the way and never got a response from me, please, don’t feel bad. Honestly, I admired your stamina for saying something while running. Simply put, I couldn’t do it. I tried to recompensate it, though not in words, but by just raising my hand, meaning, I did acknowledge your greeting.

Race route was challenging and totally different. It was the first time half marathon runners ran part of the Skyway. And, what a portion it was! The long stretch of the Skyway was remarkable! One runner, who was really in a high mood, shouted, “Ang ganda dito! Ang luwang-luwang, kasya lahat ang runners!” (It’s so beautiful here. It’s so spacious it can hold all runners!) I just smiled and nodded at him.

As I reached the Skyway, the sun was up and it started to get hot! I had fun when I passed by a fire truck. Was that really a fire truck? I wasn’t so sure. What a way to cool off runners! For me, that was one of the best features of the race.

At a water station at the Skyway, a staff handed me a wet sponge. At least, I now knew its purpose. The first time it was handed to me during the Adidas KOTR, I didn’t know what to do with it that I just threw it away. That was a real blooper!

The water stations were placed strategically. I think I have stopped at every water station to enjoy the walk breaks and get myself hydrated. However, the only drawback, I didn’t do Number 1 until I reached a portalet along Buendia Avenue on my way back. It was an uncomfortable run for me knowing that my kidneys deserved a break. I tried to at a portalet provided at the Skyway but a guy who was not a runner beat me to it! It took him so long to finish that the runner in me decided to run instead. I wanted to beat my previous PR and I didn’t want to waste time. Every second counts!

As I was on my way near Makati Avenue, this was when I felt a cramp on my right thigh which slowly crawled around my butt. I had no choice but to walk and let it subside. After a while, off I ran again.

When I saw the Kalayaan Buendia Flyover, I tried to run at a pace but my feet were tired. So, I did a walk break again. Ahead of me, I saw some runners who were walking already and some were running slowly. I told myself to focus on the run. “Focus.” “Focus.” This was my mantra while running. “A few more kilometers then you’ll be at the Finish Line,” I told myself over and over again.

It was really hot while running at the flyover that I had another leg cramps. I stopped and stretched my aching right leg. This was when I started to check my watch and felt apprehensive whether I could make it or not. I walked a few meters and ran slowly. My body was helping me. Yes, I could still feel the pain but I just kept on running until the pain slowly ebbed away. Now, I was back to my racing pace. One by one, I slowly passed by the runners who were ahead of me. I said a silent prayer for this. As I turn left, 300 meters before finishing, a fellow runner cheered on me and that pushed me to run the last few meters. Then, as I was nearing the 21k chute, fellow Happy Feet Judah, who finished ahead of me, paced with me to the finish line.

Did I beat my Adidas KOTR PR? Yes, I did! I improved not by 13 minutes as previously mentioned but by 6 minutes only. A good improvement considering I had cramps and walked for the first time.

21k or Half Marathon Personal Record

2:27.44 Condura Run for the Whalesharks (2009)
2:33.42 Adidas King of the Road (2008)

Congratulations to all runners, first time runners in any race event, finishers of the half marathon and conquerors of the Skyway. This wouldn’t have been made possible by the leadership of the Concepcion brothers, Ton and Running Shield , race organizer Rudy Biscocho, and the many people who surely made this event a success! It was a great run and a race to look forward to!


With Running Shield and his wife, Mabu

Tiffin and Running Diva

Fast Runners, Cristy and Carmen

Carmen, Running Diva, and Ultra Marathon Runner Mikey

Craig and His Family with Cristy and Run Unlimited

Glad They’ve Made it! First Time 21k Runners, Mayen and Kulit Runner

Jorge and Renz

Running Shield and Run Unlimited

Mayen, Bobby, and Coach Joar

Our Finishers Medal … With Que

Happy Feet Post Run Breakfast at Chowking

A Pose with Jollibee Mascots

More Group Photos

With takbo.ph Forum Runners



Condura Run 2009: Run for the Whalesharks

ABOUT the Run for the Whalesharks

A much anticipated race of the year. Condura Run 2009, considered one of the best running events in the Philippines, will strike again on March 22, Sunday, with four races in one event: 3km Fun Run, 5km Discovery Run, 10km Challenge, and to top it off, a 21km Run that will lead runners to the Skyway.

This will be my second half marathon and the first longest distance I will run for the year. My goals are to enjoy this run, beat my Adidas 21km PR, and reach the finish line. My heartfelt thanks to Running Shield who personally facilitated my registration to this race.

See you all there!