I am not a fast runner but each time I join a race, I make it a point to run for PR. In fact, I even train as if I am a podium competitor complete with tempos, intervals, and whathaveyous! The pressure as a result shows on my face and in my condition right after. Knowing that I am not prepared going into this race to run my very best, if not my all, I took to everything Sole Racing with no expectations or pressures whatsoever.
I am Late!
As much as I can afford it, I usually come to the race with a good amount of information as to the place where the event is to be held (well, of course), the gun start, the route, etc. I do not want to be coming into it and be caught unaware of the changes and adjustments made prior to the event. However, this is not to be so.
The day before the event, I was not yet sure of where is it going to take place. All the while I thought it was BGC, the usual place of choice of big company sponsored races. Luckily, I found myself among a group of runners in attendance at the Enervon Activ Runner’s Summit with whom I got the place and gun start from.
Very early, that is how I subconsciously perceived the 4 a.m. gun start to be for a 21K run and consequently arrived 15 minutes late. Aggravating is the fact that when you say MOA, it is usually the area where Run United races camp their start finish area and activity site and thus where I went straight to. For Sole Racing though, it is more to the central back of MOA with the activity area entrenched within the building itself. This error added a good 100 meters, thus some precious seconds, to my walking distance from where I jumped off from the passenger jeepney that I rode in.
Upon arrival at the start/finish chute, the marshals kept pointing to me the time atop it. I know I am already 15 minutes late so there is no use in pointing that obvious fact. Upon seeing me sashaying as if I own this race, Ali, one of the officers of Run Rio, informed me that I am almost at the cut off time at the start area, which is 15 minutes! So that is the reason why the time pointing!
Running about not knowing where the baggage area is, I was set off another five minutes up until I finally found it and entered the start chute. Luckily, the bouncers still allowed me to continue with running this race. Overall, I was more than 20 minutes late!
Setting my watch’s chrono coordinated with my stepping on the start pad, I tried not to think of my solitary condition and advised myself not to over compensate for my lost time. Struggling to find my rhythm, the first few meters were a constant pace check and self-assurance that I can still make the 3-hour cut-off without extra effort, as I am a sub 2:30 pikermi runner.
I Ran with a Smile under the Rain!
Then it poured! The heaven’s floodgates opened with just a few Ks into my run! Moreover, the wind is surging past the runners most especially along the Manila Bay area with the strength that can almost carry a lighter set one a few meters away! It was Milo Marathon 2011 all over again for me! Recalling my horrendous first 21K run experience, I prayed that my up to knee socks would not weight too much when soaking wet as to cause my legs to cramp and my knees to hurt. With the help of this cooling downpour though, and the push of the tailwind I managed to position my body to act like a sail, I slowly achieved my rhythm and start to enjoy each piercing droplet and gustiness like a child at play.
Passing by this bridge and much further, the Manila Bay, proved a welcome distraction from a bugging concern of shoes getting heavy with water as the sound that the splashing waves created made me more relaxed. At both points and on the way back from the Roxas Boulevard route, I already managed to overtake a couple of runners but not reached the tail of the group of average speed runners yet.
Many Friends came out to Play!
Just recently, I learned to run without headsets with beat music blurting out during my running home days amidst vehicular traffic. I ran without them here. As a result, I was able to hear not one but more than a dozen runners calling out “Mader” from among the bulk of runners on their way back along Roxas Boulevard as I trudge by my smiling lonesome.
I was not expecting the presence of running friends, well maybe just a few, but not the number they came out in this race! Responding as much as possible to each greeting, I became more comfortable and fierce with each stride and with each pose to the cameras of Running Photograpers. Moreover, the smile, which I surprisingly realized to be permanently painted on my face, became more etched with sincerity.
Weeks into this race, I got some nasty cold. It was only on the race week itself that I managed to insert some 30 min. to 1-hour runs, three to be exact, plus the Mens’ Health Urbanathlon boot camp Tabata exercises, no more, no less. Given such and the added weight of wet socks and shoes, I began to feel some heaviness starting to creep past only the 10K mark. It was then when I started to do a 4:1 Galloway run I was thought in TBR sessions, my first marathon conduit. This I managed to stick with until the very finish line.
The abundance of ice-cold water and Gatorade (a RunRio stamp), likewise, helped tremendously despite the cool weather for internally I am heating up! Therefore, I guzzled a generous amount of both and let the marshals pour some ice cold water from a pitcher on me past the 10K mark when the rain is not anymore pouring. (Talk about creating my own downpour!)
Gun Time: 2:48:02
Chip Time: 2:25:18
Minutes Late: 23 Minutes!
PR Time: 2:08:00
It took me a race I did not prepare for to realize there is more to running than achieving PRs. This is the very first race I can think of that I am smiling throughout the entire distance despite some difficulties in the closing kilometers. (Well it helped that I got many running and photographer friends along the route or I would be looking like some fool.) The rain and the strong winds did not prove to be any difficulty for me at all. On the other hand, both helped me enjoy the race, being a water baby that I am, by playing amidst them like a kid frolicking in the rain.
Sole Racing made me a runner with the ability to adapt to varying training (or non-training) and weather (environmental) conditions. It made me more than a runner struggling to better his/her time and be a BETTER runner – a more mature and profound diva runner!
- Running Photographers
- Val “Yongski” de Leon
- Jose “Manghusi” Ramizares
- Geek Runners’ Manolo
- Lucky Jackie