Running a marathon is never easy. Deciding to run another one after bonking big time on your first one is even harder. So I figured if I pretend it wasn’t a Full and just a typical long run it would be easier.
And long runs, of course, is best shared with friends. So early one morning, my friends all got the usual BardsBaliwText. It read, “You wanna do a 42K long run?”
And you know what they say, “Birds of the same feathers … must be the same birds!” One by one, they replied and agreed to run long with me at the Botak42K. We all had different goals, 30, 32 and 35. Last week, we were even kidding ourselves that we won’t run the whole 42. Intense state of denial. I, mistress of evil plans, was of course planning to run the whole 42. Sabi ni BR kasi to train for a Full, its okay to run the whole distance. So why not!
Prep to the next level. Once it was agreed that we will really run Botak, preparation went into full gear. We actually had 2 meetings, one was to analyze the race route and decide pitstops (Dear Mr Organiser: Sir we committed the race route to heart. I even posted it on my desk so I can look at it often and slept with it under my pillow. Sayang naman effort ko.) The second meeting was also our carboloading and thanksgiving/welcome back to NotIronNose. Before the videoke started last Friday, the race map was marked, support teams paired up and runners matched to their favorite Gatorade flavor.
Drafting Ria. I was ready to try the Full distance again but it didn’t mean that I was no longer traumatized by SG. The thought of running another Full makes the the tip of my nose cold.
And so I decided to seek a little help. Officemate Ria who has several marathons under her belt was recruited to help me cross the finish line running. She asked me if I had a time goal. I said I just wanted to complete the distance running. She knew my SG story, so she nodded and said that we will cross the finishline running. And that is how I ran my second 42K. I drafted behind Ria.
Ria, Maraming Salamat!
Pre-race Panic. Minutes after getting to our meeting pace, I had to rush home again. I forgot my race bib! And so my impromptu warm-up was a mad dash to the taxi line near Ascend. I got back way before gun time because the race started late.
Km1-20.5: The BHS-MckinleyHill-Heritage loop is my playground. So I was comfortable during this part of the race. We were going faster than I wanted but the 630-645 was manageable. As Ria said, it is better to keep at this pace because we can avoid the harsh sun at C5. Once we settled on our pace, a few more people joined Dindo, Ria and I including Chito (Sundaywarrior). We pretty much stayed together for the rest of the 42k.
Running C5 was extra tricky last Sunday because of all the roadworks and occasional dead rat. I was just thankful that one of the runners had a back-up vehicle, a Landrover, that helped screen us from the fast vehicles along C5.
Upon reaching Km20.5, I was so relieved to see another T2 support station. Lito and Angela was on hand to provide us Gatorade. Mesh, Lester and CoachSalazar were also waiting and ready to join our “long run”. After putting sunblock, quick massage with giga no pain and drinking gatorade, we were off again. Mesh, Lester and CoachSalazar joined our merry pace group.
Km20.5 then up Kalayaan, down to Buendia up to Pasong Tamo Km21 and beyond is the start of the danger zone for me. I have done a few Halfs and I’m able to sustain my race pace. But after Km21, the little devil started playing tricks with me. I was chatting and singing but I was getting worried. Can I maintain this pace? This is where I bonked in SG. No, no, no!
I was so glad that CoachSalazar started running beside me. His quiet confidence helped drive away my doubts. So what words of wisdom did he tell me. Nothing much, he just reminded me to stay relaxed and to focus on my breathing. Even after we parted, whenever I felt fatigued, I could hear him saying over and over again “Inhale 1,2. Exhale 1,2.” These simple phrases kept me focused, thanks coach!
Meeting Km36 Marshal. After the the turn around at Pasong Tamo, the original race route was a right towards Ayala and left at Makati Ave. However, when we were approaching Pasong Tamo for the first time we saw a km marker that says Km36. We all looked at each other and collectively said that it couldn’t be right. MarshalDude insisted that he was Km36 and that we should head back to the Kalayaan Flyover. No way! We ran a few more meters to look for another Marshall who instructed us to head towards Ayala Ave Extension then right to Kalayaan.
As I write this, I realise that MarshalDude was right. He was Km36 … after you have done the Rockwell loop! He should have been checking on the bands and strings runners were wearing before giving directions.
To Rockwell and back to Pasong Tamo. This was probably the hardest stretch of the race for me. It was getting hot and people are beginning to walk. Very tempting. But Ria kept running and I kept on drafting behind her. Fort Strider volunteers helped a lot of runners in this stretch by giving water. Thanks Fort Striders.
I don’t know if you were lucky enough but one houses near the Estrella turn around was hosing down runners. Thanks so much sir. It was a very kind gesture and we all appreciated it.
Buendia up Kalayaan down to the FinishLine. After the 2nd turn around at Pasong Tamo and finally completing 36kms, Ria finally inserted walking breaks for us. Thank goodness. I was starting to go deaf again. We would run on pace and insert a walking break to recover. We repeated this from Ayala up to the finish line.
The End. I crossed the finish line with an unofficial time of 5:22. Far from a BQ, but the start of my marathon redemption story. I am happy.
T2 and friends had a great long run last Sunday. Harry and Dingdong have their own redemption stories. Keti and Bogs finished their first Full. Kristine, Vince and Essie ran their goal distances. Emer looks like he is all set for Secobia.
And I have to admit, I was worried, but I was happy to see NotIronNose but definitely IronWill Mesh back and running.
PS. Oh and I finally got a race jumpshot! Up to now, I don’t know how I was able to land this jump. Pure dumb luck!
And now … Xtn is asking again, “What’s our next race? ”