Due to all the brouhaha of this half marathon, I was signed up and ready to race before I realized that it had a hot pink political color. My Aha! moment came when I was typing the name of the race in one of my entries here. Slow duh!
After bouncing back a few emails and comments in our respective blogs, DATC, MISh, runMD and I were ready to run the half marathon. We also ended up with a bike support when PrometheusCometh volunteered to help us out. The race began to show promise.
Conscious of the political agenda of this race and the fully aware of the jeepney filled route, I was still excited to run last Sunday. I have logged enough mileage to run a half marathon so I was confident I could finish this race as long as I stick to my long run pace. This is not a key race so I don’t have the usual pressure of meeting a personal time goal and having something to show for all the train runs I put in. This was just a long run.
Mesh and I met up with the group at the parking area. We watched PC on the bike and my first thought was… Oh geez, there goes our bike support! hehe Luckily, he quickly made peace with DATC’s bike.
At 5:45 we headed towards the starting line. We met up with Grethel, Erskine, Gabby and Des who registered the 5K and 10K races. These 4 have joined us in a few races and we are working on bugging them to be regular runners too.
Since there were very few runners, we only had one gun time and it was scheduled at 6am. A few minutes before 6am, the sun was already starting to rise, some runners were getting impatient and wanted to start the race already. The host patiently explained that we were waiting for BF and MCF but when the murmurs grew a bit louder he cheekily invited those who wanted to run to start running. A bit cheeky but I figured, we all knew the purpose of this run, it cannot start without the Couple. To their credit, they arrived at 6am and the speeches lasted less than 10mins. We were running at 6:09:45.
I read earlier blogs about the Pasig Marathon so I was ready for the narrow road before we hit the main road. I was with Dindo, Des and Gabby up to somewhere in Km2, then I had to drop pace to fix my shoelaces again. I eventually settled on 6:30-7:00min/km pace. The hill climb to Katipunan was tiring so I decided to try the chi running technique of running sideways. I knew I looked funny but seriously, it works!
30 or so minutes into the run I saw the little boy who ran 10K at Milo. He’s been to the turnaround and was on his way back. He was such a joy to watch but what was more amusing was the reaction of the other 10K runners he passed. I swear, two guys in front of me looked at the boy, then they looked at each other and started sprinting.
At Balara, I started pacing with Alex from Navotas. He was running his first half marathon and was taking it easy. Somewhere towards Tandang Sora, a crazy garbage truck driver decided it was a fun thing to release his airbreaks. And yes I shrieked and leaped towards the sidewalk.
Commonwealth was a pleasant surprise. It was not too busy and we didn’t have to fight with the jeepneys. We were joined by another Alex – fellow FuegoMizuno 10K alum – and his friend Allan. We had a pleasant chat and they told me how they helped out a mother whose kid missed the 5K turnaround. Ran most of Commonwealth and Batasan with this group. I developed a sidestich and had to drop pace at the foot of the downhill.
Batasan and Commonwealth turned out to be my favorite part of the route. This is where we passed a group of kids who heartily cheered for us and gave us high5s. This is something new and I enjoyed it. You don’t experience this when you race at TheFort.
JP Rizal was painful for me. It was hot. It was noisy. I really appreciated PC popping up every now and then and asking if I was okay. I think I managed to answer “Kaya pa!” most of the time. He gave me an orange energy drink and really really cold water which helped revive me a bit. Too bad he wasn’t there and I wasn’t pacing with anyone when one of the pedestrians tried to harrass me. I think it was somewhere around Km14 or Km15, I was maintaining pace but I knew that exhaustion was written all over my face. I saw 4 men about 5feet away and they were walking towards me. The one nearest my right side was swinging his arm at an awkward angle. It was very far from his body and at an angle that would hit me when he reaches my side. Luckily, I had the presence of mind and flicked his arm before he touched me. I then turned around pointed my finger at him and gave him my fiercest look and ran away really fast. Hay!
I really faded away in JP Rizal and to motivate myself I decided to do walking breaks everytime I saw a pedestrian lane. Winner! Marikina had so many pedestrian lanes. Yey!
DATC and runMD’s Garmin’s measured the distance at 19.6. Im only logging in 19kms for this race because I made the wrong turn towards the finish line. I just followed the two runners in front of me when they turned right at Zapatero St. Mesh told me later that the turnoff to the finish line was on the next street. Opps…sorry.
Overall, I enjoyed this race. My average pace was 7:05min/km which is an improvement from my Subic Half Marathon performance. This is the only race I ran without repeatedly asking myself, “Why am I doing this again?” My reason for running this race is very clear in my head. I knew I had to finish and finish this race strong to prove a point.
Btw, they will hold another race in Baguio. They said the winner will win a free trip to Japan and entry to the Tokyo Marathon. I would love to run and join a race in Baguio but I think I will be giving their Baguio leg a pass. Why? Same reason this entry has a generic title. I like pink but I don’t like giving it a political hue. I like running but I don’t think I am willing to run for anyone this early.