A few days before this exciting event, I tried to reminisce my first half-marathon attempt more than a decade ago. That attempt was unexpected, disheartening, and really body cramping! Comparing it now, I could say that at this time, I am much more than prepared and fit to re-brave another 13.1 mile distance.
Although at first, I was very hesitant to join this event. MinnieRunner, ChickenLegs, and ProgRunner registered as early as they can while I was left behind on a corner still contemplating of why will I join and if I would really join! But after a few days of thinking, I thought "who would want to be left out on an out-of-town, and unique sunset run event?" Well, the encouragement of joining longer distances was because of Ms. Kundiman, and Sir Rene's inspiration of getting out from our comfort zone, and also for me to get trained for my upcoming TBR Dream Marathon.
With Timmy and Kassy
Come race day, I travelled to Kassy's house together with Trick for our shuttle service courtesy of Timmy Dadia (hey, thanks bro!). The travel going to Nuvali was full of fun as Timmy never stopped shuffling his play lists and made us shake and rock our heads (I think one of the passengers had her heart quiver, sshhhh... ) with every beat of the music. In no time with a little traffic upon entering Nuvali, we arrived early enough for us to get fueled up at Razon's, roam around the venue, and have some photo shoot before the race.
Few minutes before the race assembly for the 21k, Me and Kassy warmed-up together for a few minutes of running. I was afraid that I might trigger her foot's plantar fasciitis pains as early as 5:20PM but I felt the need to have our warm-up run so off we went for a round of not less than 600 meters and some stretchings. At the starting line, we saw James and some runner/bloggers that we've got to know in our AnR sessions - JP, and Maan. Then for around 5 minutes, fitness instructors lead us in another session of stretchings and warm up which made my engine roared for a "good-to-go" signal.
The Challenge BeginsOff for the race without a gun-start (there's still a gun ban!), I felt a sudden rush of my adrenaline. But having learned from my previous races, I was able to get in control of the involuntary push, thus I was able to keep a slow starting pace. In just a short while, a lot of runners have already passed me by, from the elite-looking runners, basketball-players-turned-into-a-runner, leisure runners, and even strongly-aged runners. I suddenly felt weak as these runners pass by and leave me with their unforgiving dust.
At each hydration pass, there's always an available water and 100plus drinks for rehydration. Since my hydration pack only has a 500ml gatorade, I opted to take a sip from these stations to be able to reserve my gatorade for the last few kilometers when the water stations have already dried up. There was also a banana available at around 8th to 9th kilometer, and warm sponges that didn't helped much to cool down my body.
The SunsetA few kilometers before reaching the halfway, I was able to witness the grandeur of the Sunset at the Greenfield City. It was awesomely inspiring, giving me sudden relief from the physical and mental fatigue and stress of City life. I wish I had a good camera to capture this spectacular sunset. I remember the last time that I witnessed such a beautiful Sunset was when I was still in my third year high school in Baguio, together with my brother on a hill near Irisan Cemetery. As the sun bids goodbye for the day, the wind was also much cooler, and I could smell the farm-like smell (combination of grass and horse or buffalo crap odors) that I have missed for two decades already.
The best that my camera can capture :(
On The Half-SplitPassing the 11th kilometer mark at an elapsed time of 1:08, I added up a few speed on my pace while I mentally analyzed my energy level and physical capacity if I could still run the remaining 10 kilometers. It isn't that dark yet, my sweat is just enough, my legs and feet are still landing properly, my hips (and core) can still hold the weight of my upper body, and my pace and breathing is still on par. So based on my personal assessment, I concluded that my body can go on for the remaining distance. I think the absence of the sun has also helped me preserve my energy, as well as the wind that helps to keep us cool.
After a few moment, I crossed by JP (our buddy at AnR Ortigas group), Kassy, and for a few kilometers, I was also running side-by-side (not really side-by-side, I was at his back, hehehe!) with Mr. Patrick Concepcion - one of the man behind the Condura Run.
Beyond My BoundaryReaching beyond 15 kilometer, I thought it is already time to run my race pace since I could feel that I am still fueled-up and I only have a remaining 6 kilometer distance to complete. But lo and behold, on the 16th kilometer, I suddenly felt uneasiness in my tummy. Immediately I know, it was the effect of drinking carbonated drink. My stomach have never really felt comfortable with 100 plus in all my runs.
Mind Over (tooottt!)....Here comes the most painful part! The balls of my feet started to feel some ache. I should've took heed of the advice given to me by the Salesman at Runnr when I bought my Boston (the shoe is not meant for longer distances). But that's not what really tested my physical and mental will. I guess Razon's beef tapa and 100plus does not coincide well with each other. My stomach upset kept on going that on each of my strides, I was also controlling my gut to prevent it from erupting in the middle of the race. My head and my eyes can't stop but to look ahead and around for a good place where I could unload and bury the debris from my stomach which growls non-stop. I was targeting a big tree with big leaves so that I could climb up and use its leaves to cover my presence. The leaves will also serve as my sanitary napkin (hey, farm-life, I miss you, lol...)!
Portalets, where art thou?
Reaching... Conquering...The remaining 6 kilometers seemed too long for me, and the last 30 minutes was the most boring time, excruciatingly painful, and most challenging of all my races. I could feel that in each of my stride, the volcano is about to erupt, and my knees gets weaker and weaker. I can't even run while pressing my stomach just to relieve some pain. I could feel that my lips are drying up, but I'm not thirsty. I am sweating hard, but it is a cold sweat. I am shivering and shaking, but not due to fatigue. As I pass each half-emptied water stations, I can't help but to swear the 100plus in my mind. But at the same time, I was thinking that if I give in to this carbonated drink-induced-nature-call, I would be losing a lot of time. So I just kept on running. I could already hear the emcees announcing something but the sounds are alien to my ears. My brain is floating from nowhere and it was only my eyes that's guiding my feet. I'm already half-zombie!
Finishing... Dying...A few more meters from the finish line, I tried to run faster, sprinted the remaining distance hoping to reach a portalet where I could finally burst out the madness of my stomach. I didn't even know that finally, there were already photovendo photographers taking our shots. As my timing chip beeped as I stepped on the mat, I felt so exhausted that I needed to breathe in much deeper and breathe out much harder for a while. My body felt numbed all over, my eyes are seeing a lot of random moving tiny colorful lights. I thought I was passing out, so I immediately emptied the remaining gatorade from my hydration pack.
Brain veins are also about to explode!
Not contented with the last drop of my gatorade, I searched for a finish line hydration station but I found none, except for the water dispenser inside the VIP's booth. So I begged the man inside if I could refill my two bottles and I was so thankful that he generously agreed.
RebornAfter consuming another 500ml of water, I proceeded to claim my finisher's kit and medal. And thankfully, there's another free 350ml summit water inside the kit, I did not spare another time for the water to take a few seconds time-out. I really need to rehydrate and flush out the 100 Plus. Ooopppss... while drinking the water, I forgot that I was previously fighting against the surging LBM, 'coz it was already gone! I think the sprint that I did has made the debris hold tight to the walls of my stomach. A loperamide effect?
After re-gaining my life!
So not wanting to spend my remaining time on a portalet, I lined-up on a free massage booth where I let my feet get pampered with some oil. I just told the masseuse to get hold of her nose 'coz my feet are all wetty and might stink (lol). It was supposed to be a joke but the lady didn't smile upon hearing it, instead, after I have removed my socks, she asked for an alcohol from one of her companion masseuse, and proceeded to liberally apply it in my feet. The other runner beside me just grinned with the masseuse's facial reaction.
Re-fueling with the gang
With Takbo.ph and AnR Buddies at the Bus going home
Distance: 21 km.
Official Time: 02:02:16
Official Ranking: 57th out of 435 overall 21k runners
When: Apr. 24, 2010.
Where: Greenfield City, Laguna
Event: Greenfield City Sunset Run 2010
You may download the official race results here.