Extra Challenge.A few weeks before QCIM, my ITB started acting up. And as if it was not enough, Typhoon Ondoy dropped by my beloved city and gifted me with an indoor swimming pool. A wading pool in my bedroom. What a treat!
My training was a mess. The house was a mess. I was a statistic. One of the hundreds of thousands Pinoys displaced by Ondoy.
The Saturday before the marathon I busy was cleaning and scrubbing away at our house. It took almost 3 weeks before the water went down in our area. Lysol and Zonrox were my bestfriends. Not exactly the most ideal way to spend the day before a marathon but life has to go on.
Km 1 – 15 . I knew that there would be pacers during to race so I decided to put myself in between the 4:30 and 4:45 pace group. I figured as long as I can still see the 4:30 group then I’m in good shape. If I fall behind, I will still have the 4:45 group. As long as I stay ahead of the 5:00 group, I would be fine.
T2 Harry and Dingdong will be running a much faster pace so I started the race with Chito. We spent the first few kms of the race catching up and trading Ondoy stories. At UP, we went in, around and out without much drama. It was still too dark but it was good to start in familiar territory. I looked at the map the night before but some parts of the race was unfamiliar to me so I just decided that I will just enjoy (or grin and bear) whatever this route will throw at me.
At Commonwealth, I kept my sense of humor intact despite its many uphills and downhills. It was crazzzzy! The 4:30 pace group picked-up speed here and I was left behind. I settled on my 6:30 – 6:40 pace and made peace.
After km7, I was running alone and chasing white-green-red trio (Jay, Jaymie and Raymund). I knew they were at a much faster pace. They seemed to be in non-stop chika mode. Fun! I however knew that I would crash and burn if I pushed too early.I partied alone at my 6:30min/km pace.
Km 16 – 21. After Commonwealth Ave., we turned towards a subdivision. Coach Salazar was at the gate and offered me a banana. Tempting, I only had a piece of toast before breakfast, but I said no. I was afraid that my stomach would turn funny if I eat something. I was sidestitch free and I planned to remain that way.
The subdivision was our access road to the La Mesa Dam segment of the route. The night before, we received advice that hydration belts will not be allowed inside this segment. I was carrying one of my nathan flasks. I was ready to surrender it if asked but I was hoping that the marshals would let me bring it. Nobody stopped to ask for my flask. It was a stroke of good luck. The whole La Mesa segment didn’t have a single water station. Ironic to be near so much water but no water station. Ohwell… I can’t complain I had water.
As we were going in, one local runner reminded us to pace ourselves and prepare for the uphills. I started to worry and wonder how steep the uphills would be. Turns out they were not very steep. Gentle uphills … that went on forever! Haha! I was just too happy that I had a few hill training sessions under my belt.
The route was challenging but this was the most picturesque part of the route.
Km 22 – 32 : When we exited La Mesa, I was expecting that they will have water for us. My flask was empty. It was almost km22. There was a waterstation. No water. This will be recurring theme for this segment of the race. Waterless water stations.
I just wish and hope that someday, somehow, race directors will figure out a better way of ensuring that enough water is supplied to the water stations and a system of delivering water to augment initial supply.
My thanks to Ben of Photovendo, the staff of some dude likely a politician called Templo and the sari-sari stores along the route for providing me with water.
I was tired and thirsty. My walk breaks started getting longer. Hala! I was in trouble!
When I got to a water station with water, I refilled my flask and drank…too much. Lagot!
You see, hydration has always been my biggest enemy. I drink too soon, too much and I get side stitch, stomach cramps and even throw up. A definite pain.
I was doing well with my hydration before this point. I was just having one mouthful of water+gatorade every 2km. Even though I was really thirsty at km15, I reminded myself that I just need to rehydrate and not quench my thirst. However, that faithful cup of water at km22 made me suffer.
Somewhere along Regalado, the water I drank started to come back out. Gross! No pain, I was running still running on pace but I was throwing up every few meters. Talent ito! I was just glad that I was running alone at this part. Well, if I had company, I’m sure they would have left me.
This was not a fun segment!
Km 33 – 38. Back to commonwealth. The sun was up and I could see the uphills clearly. I just closed my eyes. The 4:45 pace group was long gone but my math is telling me that I could still come in under 5hours. My average pace was still under 7min/km.
This is where Arman caught up with me. He was the 5:00 pacer. Ohno!
No one was partying at his pace but he said that he will cross the finishline at 5hours. Saved! Arman of Team Hardcore finished SG in 4:30ish, BDM 102 in 15hourssumthing i think. I knew that as long as I can hang on to his pace that I will cross in sub5.
He told me that our first goal was to reach Km34. I gamely followed his pace. Grin and Bear! Another runner, Edward Villareal from Vigan (he is the friend of Jun and Jessie who paced with me at the Milo Elims) joined our party. Edward was quiet and just kept pace with us. A comforting presence. Misery is really best shared haha.
At this segment, we had lots of water. Kim and Glen of Fortstriders and Celine, Mesh and Ray of TriPolar we also there to give additional support.
When we turned to NorthAve towards Trinoma, our party of 3 increased. Pacer Arman kept us motivated and was even kind enough to allow us to walk. My kinda pace!
Km 39 – 42. When we hit the Trinoma turnaround, I was so happy. I knew then that I will finish in sub5. No wall! I was still running! My legs were tired but no ITB pain. Woohoo!!!
Arman, Edward and I ran to the finish line and crossed in 4:54:59 (unofficial chip time).