Warm-ups. Runners are encouraged to warm-up before a workout and specially before a race. I normally just jump up and down and jog in place to warm-up. I don’t like jogging around or doing strides. I love the first jolt I get when I zoom away from the starting line. Settling to my cruising pace after zooming out of the chute helps to calm me down.
At the CIHM, Dingdong said we should jog a bit to warm-up. Since I haven’t logged a single km for 2 weeks, I thought it would help to build up my confidence before the race. We ended up jogging towards a chapel. I popped in and said a little prayer for all the runners. “Please keep all the runners safe during the race,” I prayed. Then, we jogged back to the starting line. As we crossed the starting line, I simulated how I will cross the finish line. I ran with wide open strides, arms pumping up and down and the next thing I knew I was falling.
My left ankle turned and I fell and landed on my right knee.
I tripped over one of the cat’s eye on the road. Good news was that my tights didn’t get ripped this time. My right knee was not so lucky. The spot that got scraped at TNF Baguio then that got scraped again last June was badly grazed again.
Specificity again! I should have stopped at “Please keep all the runners safe…”
At the starting line. Running friends have indeed converged on the island for this race. I think Edward and Raymund’s dream of making this a running party is going to happen.
Race to the Km10. I was certain about one thing when I joined the group at the starting chute. I have enough power in my legs to finish a 5K in 32ish minutes. That would leave me with 1:13 to complete the next 5K to meet the cut-off. As long as I don’t see 10K Terminator Bob, I’d be fine.
I did not know the exact route but I have an idea of how tough it will be. I’ve seen the island and seen parts of the route. We even found one of the km markers when we were exploring the day before. I knew how it was going to end but not how it will start.
When the runners were released, we climbed the hill to the Malinta tunnel. That was a good taste of the inclines and hills we will climb for the next 21km.
The grassy part of the race was also tricky for me. The grass was about 2inches and I was careful not to trip. My ankle stopped throbbing but I was running carefully. One more slip and spill might spell the end of this race for me.
Conscious of the difficult route, I opted to walk all the uphills and race down the downhills. My strategy worked. I was able to cross the 10km mark in 1:15. I was so thrilled!
My favorite part of the route was the downhill trail on the side of one of the hills. I found this video of Bearwin in YouTube. And yup, he’s the artista na nagmamagic din. Fast runner na sya. The view here was fantastic. Definitely my favorite part of the route.
As I was approaching the 10km mark, which was halfway a steep hill. There was a group trying to encourage one of their friends to rush to the cut-off mark. They were shouting, “1:44 na, 1min to cut off …Push! Push! Push!” Tsk tsk tsk … considering that was just the start of 1km steady climb. If they were my friends, I would have bonked them silly.
The last 11km. I reached the 10Km mark before the cut-off! Woohoo! The rest was going to be so easy. And it was. Running 11Km was still not a joke but without the burden of being eliminated I just enjoyed my morning run. Plenty of water. Superb route. Friendly faces. We were all alternately groaning and laughing about the really hard route.
I continued with my strategy of walking the uphills and rushing the downhills. This race is really the best way to explore corregidor. We saw all the ruins, the tourist spots and all the battery. I was playing a game with myself every time I went through a battery. I pretended that instead of big mean guns, they were actually energizer batteries and I get recharged every time I pass one.
The race marshals and aid station crew were all very encouraging. It was not easy but they cheered for all the runners. Instead of the catatonic marshals we often encounter here in Manila, these guys were very enthusiastic and energetic. Maraming salamat, you guys helped a lot.
Dreaded Km19-20. I turned right into a corner and found myself at the dock where we started. Straight ahead was a familiar road. Oh dear Lord! I knew this road. I crawled up this road during the test run. The last 3km was going to be painful! To climb the hill I walked, zigzagged, walked backwards, jogged a bit and smiled a lot. What can I do? I need to get to the top to cross the finish line.
It was downhill all the way to the finish line. On my way down, I saw Running Atom, and he said that we had 1.1km to go. I ran all the way down. Ohwee! I was really going to pull off the stupidest stunt I’ve ever attempted. I can actually finish the most difficult half marathon of 2010 without training.
Triumphant. As I sprinted towards the finish line, I realised that my legs may have turned to flab but my runner’s heart continue to beat strong. A swollen ankle, grazed right knee or the craziest hill cannot keep me away from the finish line.
I finished in 3:14:58.
The medal was amazing. The long-stemmed rose was an unexpected treat. I was so proud of what I have accomplished. I walked around wearing my medal even during the lunch. Finishing this race meant so much to me.
Never again. This is the probably most irresponsible thing I have ever done as a runner. I dared to toe the line in the toughest half marathon I’ve ever joined without proper training. Luckily, the running gods smiled (and even laughed) at me brightly that Sunday morning.
Salamat. To Raymund, Edward and Vanessa of Phenomenon Sports and Events Management, thank you for bringing this race to us. You guys do live up to your name.
The race was a phenomenon.
I’m so excited to run CIHM 2011!