I nearly missed out on this race when my phone alarm didn't go off. Good thing there was a second alarm and once it went off 10 minutes later, I hurredly fixed my things and drove off to pick up my girlfriend and head to Luneta Park. Then the second problem occurred. The race organizers have closed off Buendia Avenue in preparation for the full marathon. I didn't know any other route to Luneta Park except through Buendia Avenue! Forced to look for another way, I got lost twice before finally finding my way there. Then I encountered another hitch when they closed off Roxas Boulevard too! Today definitely wasn't my day. Things just couldn't get any worse than this. As cliches go, things did get worse as it started to rain hard. And I still couldn't find the way to the starting line! I was on the verge of panicking as know how late we already were. By stroke of luck we found the place (still didn't know how that happened), parked twice and sent off twice by marshals (no parking zones!), before we finally settled down to a spot about a minute walk from the Starting line. By the time we got there, the 5KM race had already started. The 10KM race started much earlier which was what I registered for! I was so late for this but determined that I will just finish the race for the experience of it. Then it rained even harder.
But instead of getting depressed, I was smiling. All around me were students running and walking in the rain. Some were wearing jackets while others were holding umbrellas. Some were avoiding the rain and shrieking/ screaming as they ran. Others purposely jumped into the puddles in front of them. It was fun watching all these people doing their own thing in the rain. I was having a good time. I was enjoying the rain. It was a "fun run" for me. A welcome break from all those runs where I try to beat my PR. This was a run I would just enjoy for the heck of it. Hell, I even stopped to take a leak in a toilet nearby, which I never do in a race. And it was here that I had this weird encounter with a runner who told me to use the urinal when he was still beside it, clearly done, but wouldn't leave it! I mean he even motioned to me twice to use it. In that span of time he could have made one step backward to give the much required space but noooo he just wouldn't leave!!!
Anyway back on the run... It was hard to weave among the students and people choosing to walk instead of to run. In the end, I just ran on the sidewalk but it was still crowded. It was a good feeling though, to be among all these people and take part in the biggest running event in the Philippines (here at Luneta, it was already huge but they did 3 more Milo races in the country, which all started simultaneously).
At the 2.5KM mark where the 5KM runners were making their U turns, that was when I really ran. I was among the last already for this category but didn't let that discourage me as kept telling myself that it is a fun run for me. The route is just along Roxas Blvd. heading up the flyover before heading down again for the turning point. It is relatively flat all the way and only hurdles were the huge puddles of water around me. At this point the rain had already stopped so there was a cool clean feeling in the air as I felt all the dirt and smog were washed away by the rain. There were ample water stations (half expecting it to be filled up with cold Milo drinks but that was not meant to be).
At the 7.5KM mark, there were more people already as 5K and 10K runners merged together but with the wide road and late time, it was easier to go around some of them. I crossed the Starting line and made a left turn to run to the Finish line but before reaching it, I had to run among students eating fish balls, double parked cars and runners taking pictures.
I finally crossed the finish line and according to my Nike+ watch at a time of 1:06 (but inefficient at recording distance of only 4.23KM! what the $%#@!). I had a very slow time but with the huge crowd and the walk and toilet breaks, I was expecting my time to be 1:10 so still quite happy. Official time though was at 1:16 which showed how late I was in starting the race.
Next year I will be more prepared and will definitely beat my Milo time! Eventually had two cups of Milo drinks at the finish line and saw a little bit of cheerdancing performance at the stage.
After the race, I took some memorable pictures with my friends before heading off to Max's Fried Chicken for some breakfast. And as for my girlfriend's run? Well, when it started raining really hard at start of our run, she made a quick U-Turn back to the car and spent the next hour catching some Z's. Nevertheless, I am still quite happy that she was part of this event. Expecting her to beat her Milo distance next year too. Haha!
Group shot with Jeanne, me, Janine and Per.
Per looking so fresh and clean! I wonder why? :)
With fellow runners Janine and Jeanne and my first time at Luneta Park.
Cool! The 0 KM mark at Roxas Blvd. Didn't even know they had this!