To marshal or to run, that is the biggest question I have to answer upon stepping into the start/finish chute of the Rebisco @50 The Gold Rush fun run. The former would mean a good enough honorarium for a hefty buffet meal with the Fabulous Running Divas while the latter a chance to redeem myself.
Blame in on age! Blame it on the rain! Blame it on the lack of training due to time constraints provided by other sports activities I took up lately like biking and paddling! Blame it on anything but myself! Such is how I make out of my running conundrum of late – the ever slowing of my race time. When before I can navigate the 21K route in more or less 2:10, my recent times are pegged at 2:30 and slower! I trained mustering the gusto I have had when I first started running to stop this downhill trend and the result can be read here. My 10K performance is yet to be checked. Of late it was pegged at 1:06 when usually I can do a sub 1 hour without batting a false eyelash. The time I believe is now.
So ran I did and had a blast every second of it! Here’s why:
Baggage and Before Gunstart Activities
After depositing my bag full of my things for the swimming outing later with Coach Roel, I proceeded to the starting area where lively hosts carried on with the program which included some messages from the organizing heads from Rebisco and Zavier Batch ’88. I woke up not really feeling ready for this so when a gorgeous guy from Fitness First did some stretching moves to an upbeat music blaring from the sound system, I made sure I did some moves in exaggerated extensions of arms and legs that those around me are staring me down in disgust. But the greater goal with life and death intensity is at hand so I have to make sure my muscles and bones are limber enough for it. Not even Diana Meneses and Jasmine Curtis Smith who are going to run in the 3K can distract me from the buff guy, este, from my goal!
The gun start is on the dot. I timed myself on my watch as well as on my mobile phone running Endomodo for pace and distance. My pace music is playing in my ears just loud enough so I can still hear my marshal friends calling out my name, ahem, feeling popular hehehe.
Along The Route
BGC, the most utilized of all Metro routes seemed a bore to most but not this one! The route is familiar (well, where else in BGC is not?), but seemed different. Maybe it is the C5 flyover that is why. So far I can recall only 3 runs that went its way – the Rescue Run, a run that followed it which I cannot recall and this one. This added a new dimension, a challenge you may call it, to this ever so familiar route. When a runner starts to curse a portion of it and become less confident of his or her running because of it, it sure will either be loved or hated. For me, and for many who experienced it last Sunday I guess, it is more of the former. Why so? Every runner who earned his/her mileage through the weekly grind with the road would sure as I am fabulous (?) love that which gives them challenge, that which respect them and equally demands likewise from them. This route does and many will come back to it for more.
Hydration is like a true friend – always there when you expect it to and more! Isn’t it grand to see colored 100 Plus sports drink even for a 10K race? Well it used to be the norm but with the increasing price of sponsorship, it became far in between. This race, thanks in part to its event organizer – the Leadpack, made sure all aspects when it came to hydration is covered efficiently.
The marshals (most of them my running friends so I will try my best to be impartial in my evaluation) are fabulous! Even though they were required to come hours earlier than the runners and thus were sleep deprived, tried their very best to appear not so and pump us up with their energetic cheers, greetings galore of “good morning”, “push”, “go, go, go”, claps and whathaveyous! They sure helped me a lot most especially in the second half of the race when I am at my “edge of consciousness” (ika nga parang magpapass out na) after starting a bit faster than my beauty (meron ba?) can muster! Feeling Lydia de Vega for all of 3K! Ha…ha…ha….. By the sheer power of encouragement rubbing off on me, I felt the wind beneath my whisper with wings! So my wholehearted cheer goes out to them, “bravo!”
The Finish line and the Activity Area
There was a promise of medals for top 50 finishers. Not that there is ever a glimmer of hope of me having that around my swan-like neck, though it would be bonggacious, it still crossed my mind in some flights of fancy while in endorphine induced stupor while breathless and almost fainting at my break neck speed (for me!) of 5:45 mpk. With the number of 10K runners pegged at around 800, I believe that with a performance matching those of my previous ones, I would be somewhere around the top 15% or 120th something churva. So realistically it is goodbye medal of me. I did not see how the medal looked but reading some after race forums and reactions over certain blogs and websites, there was indeed the medal which, by the way, I did not feel bad not getting.
Around less than 200 meters from the finish line I saw very promising digits flashing by the timing clock overhead the start/finish chute. Mustering the very last of a sprint queen persona in me, I clenched all of my false teeth and extended my “long legged legs (Melanie ikaw ba yan?) to speed by the one who overtook me a kilometer earlier for a photo finish at the timing mat. He must have been perplexed at my sudden appearance at the fl. Had he not been that tired himself, he must have scampered at seeing my ghost-like, paled-by-the effort-and-not-face-powder look. Anyways the time is of the essence than looking fresh and effortless at the fl. That, after all, is my very running motto in life (for as long as my lip gloss is on hand that is).
The Activity Area and the Snafu
Almost at puke level by my effort, I scanned the area for some water or sports drink hoping that there is one or I’d be a goner in a minute time. Luckily, there were a line of booths offering bottled mineral water to every dehydrated runner so they seemed heaven sent and with halos to boot from my faint point of view.
Then it dawned on me, “the loot bag”! I have to quickly make a bee line to the booth giving them out for a deserved reward lest I will run out of one! If the medal was out of my speed’s reach, I would never forgive myself for not getting something which is for “everybody”. That would be the eventual “end of my career” if ever that happens to me! Upon reaching the volunteers though I was immediately brushed aside with an admonition that I wore a different bib. Thinking that as a blogger, I did receive a different one which is not entitled to a loot bag.
With a heavy heart, I left for the baggage area where I met a fabulous friend, Pam Magampo, and told her what happened to me. She comforted me and encouraged me to demand for it after having run 21K! 21K? What 21K? The longest distance is only 10K so how did she come up with that thought of me running the half marathon? Maybe it’s in my totally fagged out look? I know I still need to take my lip gloss out of my bag at the baggage area but did I really look that bad?
At the baggage area the volunteers where confused at the number at my bib and made not only a second but third hard look at it for confirmation. I described the color and the size of my bag and for further ease I took my bib out of the holder to spell them out myself. Lo and behold, I wore the wrong bib from a much earlier race! That’s why the blotched loot bag! That’s why the 21K Pam was mentioning about! That’s why the confusion at the baggage counter! And worse, the performance of a lifetime was down the drain as there was no proof in black and white as to my race result! Blame it on the unlit area where I hurredly pinned it on the race belt before depositing my bag. Blame it on jeepney that took a second too long at numerous points along the route to get passengers. Blame it on the old bib finding its way in the Rebisco Run envelope where the correct bib is. Blame it on everything except myself!
The Rating and the Result
This was a superb race sans the humongous lootbag with supersized Rebisco products like crackers, chocolate bars and chocolate margarine with zero cholesterol among other things. Every nitty gritty of that which makes for a great run was covered nicely and efficiently. But what makes this race great and significant for me is the fact that I have proven myself here that age is not yet a factor in my declining performance. Training is! After some deep soul searching (that deep?!!), I realized that I still have it in me and given a great race with fabulous event organization, I can still deliver. Just be consistent in injecting speed training okey?
Sub 1 hour and a PR are in the bag. I feel fabulous despite the “no proof.” I am the proof!