I thought I will not be able to run at Run United 2 once again.
I have this big race jinx that whenever a popular race is coming I usually get sick a week before it. I really do not understand why. Maybe it is because I have a tendency to overtrain for them expecting a large number of participants and consequently, a good number of competitive ones. Throw in the presence of a few running friends who will be gauging themselves against one another. Against me!
And I got to wake up on time despite having only 2 hours of sleep!
I and Jerome, a neighbor, arrived at the 0Km marker in Rizal Park where the start/finish area was situated with 30 mins to spare. This after an unfortunate incident happened inside the jeepney wein – a drunk man blew on our feet as he was about to alight! Yucky! Well, what can you expect at this very early hour of day.
We headed immediately for the baggage upon arriving. Gunstart was at exactly 3:30 and, luckily, I got to step into the back portion of the big group of 32K runners after a hurried trip to the portalet just in time.
The route is to carry us from Rizal Park all the way to Cavitex and back. It is just as simple to and fro route. However, since this is my first time to run the portion of Cavitex, I was excited as I set my Soleus Fit watch to gps lock, turned on my mp3 player and got carried with this adrenalin pumped bunch. But my mp3 did not play any of my Madonna music! I cannot run without Madonna music! Only to find out later that I forgot to replace the memory card. Duh! And by the way I did run without my Madonna music.
The good part of the first 16K, I was flying. Save for some 2K heading to the u turn where the road was elevated and undulating, some sort of an overpass. Sorry I cannot totally give a good concept of the area I was running since this is my first time to pass Cavitex and it was still dark. Neither was I able to identify some running friends cheering me on save for some who were directly beside or in front going the opposite way. I am ashamed of this inability when there is limited light and when they are in complete running wear with head caps, shades, face guard and all! Not even when they are running in front or even beside me! For those I may not have recognized and cheered on, sorry dearies.
I ate a total of 3 bananas! And mind you I liked the size they came in. Just perfect for a few seconds of chewing and gulping while running and gasping for air at the same time. And they need not be halved which exposes them to contaminants. There was even a banana station almost near the finish line! In my most recent 42K run, there was only half a banana offered around the halfway point. So there, Run United was a winner by a full bunch of bananas point. Ask Banana Girl. Sorry I just cannot resist to drag her in this.
Amor, my gorgeous running friend whom I encountered just after the start, told me she was doing a run-walk. I countered that me too am doing the run-walk method! Only I will run the whole half and walk with some “kembot” run the last half. Hahaha…. Somewhere approaching Coastal Mall, I saw Zane and a companion running at somewhat manageable pace for me albeit somewhat faster. I tried to pace with them and in fact, at some point (mostly about some hydration stations), overtook them. Near the u turn though and even before the elevated overpass point, I just cannot hold on to them anymore and they left me in their wake. Huhuhu….
Bad, bad bad! And I thought I would not find anything bad in this almost perfect race. But given the sheer volume of the 2 longest distance categories, and given the metro traffic and infrastructure, there sure will! And I was not wrong. It was around the turning point of the 21K where the 32K runners merged with them. It was just too crowded! It started from this point until about the NAIA road. Almost 2K of languishing with samely languishing 21K runners! “Patintero ba ito?”
The hydration stations during the first half of the run was perfect, immaculate! But going back for the last half of the distance anthere was mad scramble for a filled cup of water, if there was a cup to be found! The sheer volume of the 21K runners plus the 32k runners were just too much for some 10 marshals each station to handle. This was something not manageable though with a little initiative from the runners themselves. The marshals were obviously doing their best to cope. It was just humanly impossible, plus the fact that they had no sleep themselves, to cater to the deluge. The water though for the most part were ice cold and the Gatorade in good quantity overall that I was properly hydrated and cooled.
All throughout the Roxas Blvd. part of the route, I was doing my “kembot” run and walk. A kilometer down and some more to go. Then there were just 2. Now only 1! And then I saw it, the finish line! I may have wanted my pace and gracefulness from the first half to carry over to the next but it may just have to wait for a more opportune time. Maybe next race? Well, given good health, why not?
Then I was off for work. Aling Teysi Ng Tahanan was waiting for her make up.