It was a big day for most of the runners. For most, it is considered as the most prestigious marathon here in the Philippines. For others, it is a dream that they want to fulfill. For me, it is a race that I am really looking forward to :)
It's my 2nd 42K in my running career (after a bad yet learning experience in Condura). I really prepared for this event, increasing my mileage per week and eating like a pig to gain a few weight. I'm positive that I won't make it to the qualifying time of 3:45 minutes but nonetheless, I would try my luck and set a new PR. For me, it's time to redeem myself from the last full marathon I took.
I went there at around 2:30 am to beat the traffic and get a decent parking space. Met the takbo.ph folks who will also run the race. We went to the starting line at around 3:30 to warm-up and stretch. The last few minutes we were there chitchatting and talking about the excitement about the race.
By the way, this year's route was different from the previous one. Instead of the long route from Km 0 to Heritage and back, the organizers set it with loops within the NAIA road - Vicente Sotto rd. 3 freaking loops with two huge fly-overs which we will be passing 4x during the race (that's 8 fly-overs!!!). It was relatively flat aside from the road passing the fly-over. People thought it would be easy but little did they know...
Gunstarts at 4:10. On to my first loop, I decided to do a relatively slow pace because I don't want to burn-out early. There were many gatorade and water station available along the way plus the Hammer Gel around the 16K mark was a huge help. It was still dark but fortunately the path was lighted so I think it was a good start. Passed by the takbo.ph aid station, saw a lot of support already cheering for us warriors made me feel good about the run. That was the first loop!
On the 2nd loop, the sun has started to rise and again passed thru the lane. No cramps or pain in the legs yet but I'm already starting to get worried about the "wall" (point where you can't run because of exhaustion, etc.). I still increased my pace, hoping to finish the race within my target of 4:10. I took my first fuel before the first flyover at the 2nd loop but realized its effect after around 5 minutes. It was really a good booster! :D. Passed by the takbo.ph station again, this time Macoy gave me a "hug" err Pocari Sweat.
On the 3rd loop, fatigue starts to kick in. I decided to have a short walk break after every hydration station. On km. 28, I saw my PPB teammate Ka Totoy walking because of his injury in the previous epic race. I decided to walk with him to save some energy and at least know what was he feeling that time and how we can get some help. I paced him to the next aid station but eventually he walked because of the pain. I went ahead and asked Marga to assist him when he passes by. Too bad on the 3rd loop there were no more Energy Gel so I consumed another packet to get my feet going. My pace was also dropping as well because of the heat and fatigue already. Passed by the takbo.ph for the 3rd and last time, I asked for a bottle of water. I remembered to bring one and thank God I made the right choice because of the last set of things to happen.
After the aid station, I decided to do a run-walk-run strategy. I can feel cramps building up in both of my legs so for every run up the fly-over, I would walk while making up for it on the downhill. I saw and cheered a couple of my TPPB teammates doing their last few kms (They are really fast!). Eventually, I'm almost burned out that on the last fly-over before the turn-around point, i have to walk.
The last few km was hell. Walk-run-walk (majority walk) was still my strategy. There were no more hydration station available for the last 4 km. I did the right thing of bringing up a bottle as I refilled it with water when I passed by guys with water containers. I asked them to douse me with water as well because the heat is building up. There was even a guy with a water gun, squirting me with some cold water. Normally, I will get pissed off but by that time I was thankful for such ingenious and effective help.
Down to the last 2.5 km, I decided to walk up to the finish line. But when Noelle passed me by, I was inspired to help her qualify for the finals. So with the little strength left, I paced her towards the finish line. Road after road after road, I was really eyeing for that freaking finish line. I was no longer minding the pain, all I want was to finish this race so I gave my last push. I hate the crowd near the starting line as they are blocking our path. No marshals were insight; no crowd control was found. Damn it!
Time is running out for Noelle so we dashed towards the finish line. I was getting impatient already because of exhaustion, no hydration and people blocking our path. But all the hardships were worth it as we crossed the finish line! At 4:18:xx, I beat my previous PR and helped a fellow runner qualify for the finals!
It was a nice feeling! But it didn't end there. I'm going to claim a prize for another goal. On that day, I passed my 1000 km mileage and qualified for BR's club! It was a simple shirt really but it reflected on my commitment and determination towards my goal. It was a few goals that I would really really treasure in this lifetime.
God, it was a long post. I know it's overdue but I want to have this remembered as my first Milo marathon and the day I got my BR shirt. Thank you to the people who helped us during the race (panalo kayo takbo.ph), BR for setting my goal and the new friends I met as I made my journey.
Sa wakas natapos din! :D
P.S. "Milo" is the name of my shoes which I will be using in every long distance race that I will have for the year and made it's race debut last Sunday. I found it light with the right amount of cushioning and no blisters at all! Love those shoes :D