A year and two weeks after my first marathon, I finally nailed my first sub 2 at 1:59:44. Thanks to that 16 seconds!
My first half marathon was the Globe Run for Home in 2009, newbie mistake, I jumped in to the distance as all my buddies are running half anyway. I finished at 2:25 with lots of walking breaks in between. The QCIM was my second, which I ran again with my mileage coming only from me driving around the city for my Red Cross rescue duty from Ondoy. (I finished slower by 7 minutes with a dead toenail from my Newton shoes that overheat on the 16th kilometer). The New Balance Run at the end of November was third with a 15 minutes improvement from Globe. After the New Balance, I’ve sworn to myself that I will really start training seriously and attend the Team Bald Runner Clinic regularly. It was at that time that I decided to run my first Marathon at the Condura Run. From then on, all my runs are focused on gaining mileage and speed is tested on the track. Fourth half marathon before my first full, Assumption Run served as my tune up race. Better than nailing a sub 2, I finished second place. No, I didn’t go neck on neck with an Aileen Tolentino. (there were just no elites that lucky morning!). Distance was a kilometer longer and I did took a cool down pace when my garmin beeped 21. (Yeah, cool down pace as the third runner was still far and I have a FM to conquer the following week-a non-elite winner’s mindset). Going to my fifth half at the Globe Run, I finished at 2:10 and paced Tere for a PR as I got sored muscles from a new strength training workout I did that week(-bad move!). Now, going sixth – I finished the Phil Independence Day Half Marathon in 1:46! (Stop clapping, LOL! The route was 3 kilometers short with so many misadventures of making lots of wrong turn). I didn’t really bother sharing as this was my tune up race for Milo and I’m avoiding all the nega stuff around before the marathon.
Now, this makes Rexona Run officially my sixth half marathon. They say it’s a flat course. (I say, yeah right! It’s MOA! It’s Macapagal! Milo!!! Wahhh…Scared!) The mere thought of running the route dehydrates me. (I’m serious!) I was praying hard for rain, for enough water, for my trust in my strength and the source of my strength. I prayed for protection.
On to My Sixth Half Mary
We were supposed to run five kilometers prior to the actual race but due to some waiting time and long lines at the portalets, we entered the chute just in time. We settled nearing the tailend of the pack. It is going to be a long run pace, anyway.
I started quite slow and it even took a minute to cross the starting line. I was looking back every now and then for my buddies but I couldn’t find them. So I kept running at an average 6:10. I slowed down and didn’t bother to overtake when there is a slower group in front of me. After one kilometer, at the first the water station, cheerers and marshals abounding, runners started to settle at their own pace and the roads are wider. I took one of the SM water bottle and I realized, this is going to be a well-organized race after all. My fears were gone! I know I won’t be dehydrated despite the humidity that morning. I carried the bottle and threw it only when I’ve sipped them all. (With water crisis issues, maybe, this is my own little sacrifice).
Pace went up to 5:50, then 5:40, 5:36 and that was maintained throughout the course. The route seems confusing with so many turns, thank God for the marshals who really did their job and went extra mile of cheering us! (I owe this race to you!).
I would normally remember the markers for each kilometer but not for this route. I was just going with the flow.
Marshals and some runners would cheer me as “Go Team Ultra!”, or “Go K-swiss!” Some would read “Team bald Runner” at the back of my singlet. I wanted to look back and say “Uy, Professionals lang ha, not elite”, to lower the possible expectation. The Team Bald Runner – Elites are one of those who always bag the top 3 podium finish. Seeing my Team BR-Professionals and other running friends at the turnaround was a treat as well.
The cheering must have propelled me to speed up or maintain the pace.
The Edsa-Macapagal intersection is a killer! Not the route but the smoggy air around. I looked at my garmin and my pace went down to 5:40+ right after crossing these intersection, that was twice in the route. Could it be something I inhaled at the intersection? I don’t know really.
One of the memorable part of the race was when Running Shield (Mr. Pat Concepcion) appeared behind me somewhere on the 7th, I think. He is one of the runner-bloggers I look up to and the organizer of my first Full Marathon that I’ll always remember. So, it is either, I am up to a sub 2 finish or he is just taking it slower? I know he is a consistent sub 2 finisher. That must have pushed me. I told myself that I should be running a little behind or ahead of him, I might just PR and hit sub 2! That’s what happened. At the last three kilometers, I couldn’t find him anymore with the many turns before reaching the last kilometer. (Wow! That was a fast and consistent pace for him until the last stretch!). Thanks for the push Sir!
When my garmin beeped 20th, I pushed harder and maintained an average 5:20 pace until the finish line.
I finished in 1:59:44 (chip time). Finally-an official sub 2 finish!
Good that I breached my goal of making this a long run at kilometer 2. What a treat for my first half-marathon anniversary!
Just a trivia: When I ran my first half marathon, I was wearing a hydration belt and the small pocket of it has a mini-comb and hanging around it is a white face towel. Things have changed a year after! But, no, I didn’t lose the steam of gearing up. As my friend, Kaye told me, I look so “angas” from afar. Lol!
Lastly, I offered this run to a fellow runner, Remus Fuentes. The black band was worn throughout the 21K as I offered a short prayer everytime my garmin beeps at the kilometer markers.
Capped the morning with another five kilometer run, a three-kilometer walk around MOA to search for where I really parked my car and a big breakfast.
Thanks be to God! “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” I am back on race mode, without fear this time!
Categories: Race Reports