2015 Dream Marathon: Run, Learn and Dream Again

TBR Dream Marathon is on its 6th year. Every year, except in 2012, I have always been around to help friends and other dreamers finish their first full marathon. “Helping them”, that’s what I thought until the 2015 edition

Read more about my previous TBR Dream Marathon experience here:

Kaye in 2010. Read here

Helen in 2011. Read here

Tere in 2013 . Read here and here

George and Arlene in 2014.

2010-2014 Lower Right: Who's Next?

Lower Right: Who’s Next?

(Oops sorry that I didn’t get to share anything about our journey George and Arlene. Those were the days! :))) … Their training started when I have just finished joining a 200K race in Pangasinan so my recovery days/months were spent prepping them. Arlene is the OC one, she would note down each training session including the number of hair loss she had every kilometer. Kidding! George is very disciplined and will just do her homework even if that meant running on the treadmill for hours to keep up with her family duties. Both of them finished and successfully got their target goals. For Arlene, she finished in 5 hours just before the scorching heat of the Nuvalli sun is out that kept her fair complexion intact. For George, she finished and got rid of all the post-preggy weights during training…and got pregnant again after a few months so we have Erin, a TBR Marathonie baby now whom we wanted to call TBR or Jaymie or Thonie. 😛

2015 TBR Dream Marathon

It is Che and Donna’s turn to conquer their first marathon. We rarely were able to run or train together due to conflict in our schedules. We would just keep updates on each other thru whassap.

Like the previous years, I went to Nuvalli before midnight to prepare the Simple Hydration booth (This year with the Cordillera Great Traverse selling booth for CGT shirts. Please support CGT and buy here.

#shamelessplug  Visit www.cordilleragreattraverse.com to learn more.
Email us at marketing@cordilleragreattraverse.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CordilleraGreatTraversePH
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CGT_PH
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YouTube Channel: CGT2015 –http://goo.gl/DIu1yb

I have a pacer bib which allows me to run on the race course to cheer, support and pace the Dreamers. My plan was to run to each aid station and HELP anyone who would need a pacer along the way and push Che and Donna when I see them especially on the last half of the race. I had no plans to run the whole stretch.

I haven’t been joining races like before. If I do, it is usually a trail race which I RUN not RACE. (Personally, when I say I am racing, I am toeing the starting line with a challenge for myself: a PR, a top finish, a training goal. When I have none of those, for me, I am running – running because it is the goal-to RUN .)

For 2014, I only joined Pangasinan 50k, Ugo Marathon, TNF50K, Soleus 32K, Milo Marathon, Miyamit Falls Marathon, CM50 Ultra 60K and Samal Marathon. A total of 372 kilometer of long distance races , in which, I just all try to wing and finish (except for my only road ultramarathon last year – Read here). Believe me when I say, I didn’t train for most of it. I have joined most of these races just because I just want to run.

No regrets though, it was an enjoyable year. I discovered more about myself, explored the outdoors (finally) and enjoyed nature at its best, gained more friends especially by joining the CGT Team.

As 2014 closed and we welcomed 2015, and with work load as a CPA/entrepreneur and CGT team member increasing, running has taken a backseat. Before I knew it, I couldn’t even get myself to finish a 5K run. Not because, I can’t but because I can come up with reasons to stop valid or not. Running in itself has become a challenge.

Anxious like a first timer if I can actually be an ideal pacer...

Anxious like a first timer if I can actually be an ideal pacer…

Okay, so much for the intro, my point is I wanted to help as a Pacer for TBR but I am not prepared! I wasn’t worthy of my bib, haha

The race started at 2am. Che and Donna have already got in the chute when I approached the starting line. I went in so I can wish them well. Before I knew it, it was already gun start. I had to keep running faster to be able to catch up with them while saying hi and cheering the runners I pass.

Around kilometer 3, I caught up with Donna who was huffing and puffing. Perhaps she got carried away with the fast pace at the start having stayed near the front during gun start. I paced her until she felt okay and got her iphone which will be too heavy for her to carry.

I started running faster again to catch up with Che. I finally saw her after the first turn around point. Whew!!! It already felt like I have been running for a long time when it was just the 5th kilometer then. Give it to my mileage, except for a few climbs of 10 to 14K distance ever since December and a training run with Girls Run For Breakfast, I haven’t really ran longer than 5k. I now feel like I have hit my wall. Crazy, right??!! Che was running perhaps at 6mpk and it was all uphill, I stayed in pace with her. The marshall said we are in top 10. It was a light bulb moment! I said, “”Che you have to stay at this pace. Race this, don’t just finish.”

Ang bilis lang!

Ang bilis lang!

I know she can do it with the progress she had during her training. I would ask her to go ahead at aid stations while I get some refill for myself (an excuse to rest haha) or try to take videos. The thing is, it was so hard to catch up with her again. I must have trained someone to be a beast! hahaha At some point, I decided to wait for Donna again to check her out and pace her. I returned to pacing Che again at the downhill back to the starting line where they are to take the second loop.

On our way back, around the 14th kilometer for Che, and perhaps 12th for me, I was already mentally bonking and is already hungry as I didn’t bring any nutrition. This is my longest distance to run after a few months. I was pulling myself to keep running so I could push her. It is not a good idea to tell her I am tired so I silently keep up.

I went back to the booth to get some nutrition at the turnaround and missed the 2k loop before the mid-point of the marathon. What was funny though was that I confused the photographers when I passed by the chute. Everyone just started to click on to capture the new world record of 1:58 marathon finish. Anyway, back to the race. I finally got re-energized by my chocolates to tackle the last half of the race.

It was all uphill from there. It was a pull and push strategy. Che’s pace was pulling me to keep running. I stopped at kilometer 24 so I can get the perskindol spray to help her loosen up and avoid cramps later on. I actually needed the spray as well…


With more than two hours of running and with my last longest half marathon dating back to November, my legs are starting to feel the shock by then. I returned the spray and asked her to go ahead and that I am to meet her again at the junction. Soon as she is back to the junction, we started running again together. We are almost at the 30th mark. Last stretch and I want her not to bonk. I want myself not bonk.  At the last steep climb near the wake park, Che asked to rest. My usual dialogue that has worked in this portion for the past few TBRs is on repeat, “don’t walk long. Run again. Just 10 counts and run. It will hurt more if you take it longer.” It was on repeat up until she was able to overcome the wall and started running fast about a few hundred meters before the junction. It will be all downhill from there. (Almost). Last 10K I said! Push! And she did…challenging me to keep up. I tried to maintain a distance where I can still push her so she wouldn’t hear my breathing which is not very encouraging. Heck, I was struggling. It was the worst last stretch in a race for me. Normally, I would feel energized knowing it is the last 10K. My legs felt okay, I wasn’t hungry, I was well hydrated but my mind is telling me otherwise. “You don’t need to go further. It might hurt after. This is not your race” Sometimes in a race, I would be too focused to go and reach the finish line. This time, the Dream Chasers were just what I needed. “Go Tin, Ikaw pala pacer kaya mabilis. Second female siya” and I would say…”pagod na ko mag-pace ang bilis!” Their cheers were such a boost.  We crossed the finish line in 4:40. I let Che finish on her own at the finish line chute, it was her moment. I stayed on the side and crossed a few seconds after. Jaymie and Tricia were there to welcome and congratulate each runner crossing the finish line, including me.

After a brief chat with other finishers and friends I saw, I rested a bit and then walked back to the corner where runners will run their last two kilometers. My plan was to cheer the runners who by then is expected to finish between 5:30ish onwards. Based on our plan, Donna should be on the spot between 6 hours onwards for a sub 6:30 finish. I was tempted to run two more loops of 2k with runners who needs a pacer to complete a 40K and reserve another two kilometers to complete a marathon with Donna. But I was already too drained.  I was trying hard to keep myself awake and keeping my energy up to cheer runners who pass by going towards the finish line. Donna arrived just in time, we ran the last two kilometers with Tere and Arlene and before we know it…Donna is a marathoner finishing in 6:22!

“Another TBR Dream Marathon, Another Chance to Help Fulfill a Dream” – that is what I thought it was but I learned that was not the case. For 2015, I ended up running “almost one marathon” and learned three things:


“As we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Chito and Mel who have finished xxxxx miles worth of races paying it forward.

Chito and Mel who have finished xxxxx miles worth of races paying it forward.

It was the last five kilometers to the finish line of Che’s first marathon and I started to feel emotional, in tears actually. It feels so good to be running again. It feels so good to know that I can still go further. It feels so good to win against my mind that is telling me to stop. It feels so good to run like a dream pacer. It was Che’s Dream Marathon. It was my Dream Run. It was the RUN that I have missed for a while.

I paced and I got the help that I needed….to RUN.


“The best way to get along with people is to not expect them to be like you.” – Joyce Meyers

My OC-ness at times would even get me in trouble with this. Training with new marathoners, Che and Donna, meant getting annoying whassap message “Tin, I only ran 10 k instead of 25K. I will be late for family lunch and 9am na. Can I do it Tuesday?”…My response in bubble thoughts would be, “What!!!! Lunch is at 12, so you have enough time to finish. You don’t need 3 hours to prepare but you only have this weekend to do a long run. <insert annoyed emoticon>….But, there is no point in arguing, it’s a missed workout. It is her priority at that time. So, we end up with a workout adjustment to compensate and a promise to the Marathon Gods to not do it again and sacrifice.

Donna nearing the finish line. I gave my water and was actually saying. After that, run na. Faster! (Then...ha mag-lipstick ka pa? no I didnt say...)

Donna nearing the finish line. I gave my water and was actually saying. After that, run na. Faster! (Then…ha mag-lipstick ka pa? no I didnt say…)

A few hundred meters to the finish line, my friend, Donna said, okay retouch na ko. Bringing out her lipstick and me was like….hmmm <bubble thoughts: Donna, saying yung sub 6:20 finish kaya pa. the two guys are overtaking you na> But that’s her, it was her race.

Having paced and serving at aid stations during the Dream Marathon the past years, allowed me to meet runners of all kinds. It allowed me to see that we all are in the same sports, have the same goal- that is to finish a marathon but we have different definition of finishing it. If for me, roughing it out means running 6 marathons in two days; for some finishing one is tough enough. If for me looking great at the finish line meant I have no bleeding blisters; for some it can be a bloody red lipstick retouched before crossing it. If for me finishing strong will be finally shaving off 2 minutes off my PR and sub 4; for some it means crossing it at least two minutes or two seconds before the cut-off. I might be talking about extremes, but in a nutshell, the road is wide and our love for the sports is bigger. We can all co-exist with the same big love for the sports sans the difference in the way we see things.  I am myself is guilty of doing instant judgment and making comparison at times, being there last Sunday was a great reminder for me…


Psalm 26.2 Prove me Oh Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind.

A marathon is 26.2 miles, it is not a coincidence perhaps that this psalm speaks truly of this.

Life is a Marathon…

It is never easy,

His physical condition might show clearly that the Marathon won't be easy, but he proved otherwise, Allan finished! Photo from Jaymie

His physical condition might show clearly that the Marathon won’t be easy, but he proved otherwise, Allan finished! Photo from Jaymie

It will bring you joy,

Chippy makes you happy! #Runsimple Photo from Photo-ops

Chippy makes you happy!  It’s a joy to be able to keep going even if it hurts at times…
Photo from Photo-ops

It will test you

After 26 minutes of pain...

At times you just wanna sit down (or lie down)…but mainit! (Photo by Ian from 2012 Crossfit throwdown

But God doesn’t give us what we can handle, He helps us handle what we are given or give us people to help us….

Family and friends to cheer you up (Photo from Photo-ops)

Family and friends to cheer you up
(Photo from Photo-ops)

Pacers to help you... Photographers to capture your moments... (photo from Photo-ops)

Pacers to help you…
Photographers to capture your moments… (photo from Photo-ops)

Dream-makers who will ensure you cross the finish line from Day 1 till Race day

Dream-makers who will ensure you cross the finish line from Day 1 till Race day

Through a marathon, you…

Outsprint your mind so as not give up.

Outsprint your body when it’s tired.

Outsprint your heart that breaks every time your mind and body wins

 And that is a Marathon –  you Sprint to the Finish: All for God’s Glory


Last TBR Dreamer Finishers and her army of support.

Last TBR Dreamer Finishers and her army of support. (Photo from photo-ops)

Thank you TBR Dream Marathon for giving me the chance to Run, Learn and Dream again.  See you in 2016!

See you in 2016!

See you in 2016!

Categories: Musings, Race Reports

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