The day before the race, I was invited for a long run but I declined. I heeded the advice of my coaches not to run. They told me it would greatly affect my time or performance during the race.
“Another 15k. Another Personal Record (PR) to beat. Down by at least three minutes from your previous 15k race,” I told myself silently.
I arrived at the venue with enough time to do some warm-up exercises. As I was on my way back to the Start/Finish area, I met Run Unlimited and we did extra warm-up runs. While waiting for the gun start, I looked around but couldn’t see familiar faces. Well, except for one, Bald Runner, who was swaying a bit to the music. It was a good music alright. I, too, swayed a bit and felt like dancing already. Then, the gun was fired!
It was a quiet run for me. Most of the runners, I observed, were really concentrating. I ran faster thinking that at least I could see more Happy Feet runners. Alas! There was Renz! But he was just too fast for my steps. So, I just slowed down. On our second round along the area of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, I saw Coach Rio running effortlessly. Then, in a flash, he too, was gone.
As we were back traversing Macapagal Highway, I was a bit confused. I didn’t know where to go. Go straight or turn right after the bridge? Just then, I saw most of the runners turned right. I was on the right track. Another confusion arose when one of the marshals didn’t inform the 10k runners to do a turn around and the 15k runners to turn left towards Mall of Asia. But I didn’t let this simple confusion affect my running. I just followed where the runners were going. Again, I was on the right track. I bet there were some runners who got lost. May be some 10k runners who ran the 15k route instead of the 10k route. As I was running towards MOA somebody behind called my name. Because he was running a bit fast, I just simply told him to go ahead. However, the runner, paced with me, and cajoled me to run with him. So I did.
His pace was a bit faster than what I used to. I paced with him. It was a “silent” challenge for myself. I was glad I did but not for long though. The runner was a bit talkative. Not in a bad way, of course. In fact, I admired him because he still had that energy to talk while running. I told him that no matter what, I just couldn’t talk or else my energy would ebbed away. So as not to offend him, I just silently smiled and said some few “uhms.” But there was just no stopping this runner from talking. He had something to say about the long route. About his fellow runners lagging behind. About the distance. Et cetera. La la la. Even if I encouraged him to leave me behind, he just wouldn’t. Instead, he waited for me at a water station. He encouraged me. He gave running tips. What he did, gave me power to move on even if my feet and legs ached already.
“How come he didn’t get any colored band at every turnaround point,” I asked myself silently. Then, it suddenly dawned on me. The runner who paced with me was a renegade runner.
After I got my last colored band, he asked me if we could add more speed. Gosh! My chest was already bursting with exertion but I just said, “OK, I can try.” So we did. “Are we still far from the finish line,” I asked. He answered, “we’re almost there.” So, as we both headed towards the finish line, he suddenly said, “make that woman runner ahead of you, your target.” I tried to increase my pace but I just couldn’t. A few meters more, the renegade runner shouted excitedly, “the time is still 1:33…beat it!” He left me then.
I ran the remaining distance and tried my best to beat the time not to go over 1:33. Betcha by golly wow! I finished the race with an unofficial time of 1:33.25! At the end of the chute, there was Coach Rio who congratulated me and told me to get a drink.
With Happy Run, I only clocked 1:41.23. My Power Run PR exceeded beyond what I expected of myself. Unbelievable! No exaggeration but I just couldn’t help it. I felt mixed emotions. Elation? Gratefulness to the renegade runner who paced with me? I just said a silent prayer of thanks instead.
I may not have won in this run but it surely made me felt like a winner!
(Photos Courtesy of Run Unlimited)