It is that time of the year again wherein I once again registered for the Pinoy Fitness 21km challenge and as in the previous year, I wanted it to be easier by doing the Sub 3 Wave instead of the Sub 2:30. And just like last year, I went back to the Sub 2:30 wave. It is a challenge after all. Not just a Half Marathon race.
Given this standard requirement, runners who joined are faster and more serious runners. Not much for fun but more for determination to conquer the distance at a given time.
My fitness level has slowed down this year, doing a few 8km runs on my own and sometimes a longer 16km over the weekend at a slower pace. The last half marathon I did was Yakult Run last March 2017, six months ago! In order to get back into shape for this race, I increased mileage to one or two 10km runs on weekdays and 20km on the weekend. For the weekend long run, I had to make the pace faster too to that of 7:30 pace.
Hopefully all these things would be enough to sustain a maximum 7 minute average pace for this race (with enough leeway for below 2:30 which is equivalent to 7:09 average pace).
The route map was almost the same as last year making up of two loops around Manila Bay area. For each loop there are five U Turns in it (as opposed to last year's 4 U Turns). No Roxas Blvd but also no flyover bridges as well. I started at below 7 minute pace with intention of going faster at second half. By having two loops I should be able to remember where the hard parts were on the first loop.
I couldn't go faster though so just maintained pace at slightly below 7 minutes all throughout the race. I took two GU (at 12km and 17km), drank lots of water and Pocari Sweat drinks and even had one quick toilet break. It was hard, but it made it more rewarding once they put the medal around my neck.
Thank YOU JESUS for sustaining me all throughout this race. Thank YOU for giving me Strength.
Final time - 2:23:21 with pace of 6:53.
Need to train more as it was hard. But glad I made it. Alvin, who joined me for this race, got a gold medal as top 300 for sub 2:30 with finish time of 1:58ish.
Good news as well was that I was faster this year vs last year's time of 2:26:13, almost 3 minutes!