The event a lot of runners have been waiting for has finally arrived and it was met with excellent results!
Prior to this race, I was a little wary of being able to complete my Half Marathon at a good time given I had a hard time doing my practice run at Ultra last Friday. I was walking - running -walking around the oval track as I set to target 8km. I couldn't run the entire distance and was just so tired with some pains in my feet and thighs!
What more come Sunday and I have to run 2.5 times that distance! I was seriously contemplating downgrading my distance to 10km but one thing held me back - the news that race results will come out at Philippine Star! Oh man! I didn't want to be disqualified due to running the shorter distance. I was worried but in the end, I will push through with my half marathon since I have a 3.5 hour leeway to the finish line. FAT FINGERS CROSSED!
Per, on the other hand, seemed to be doing well at the Ultra track, even with a two-week hiatus from running. She did her 7km quickly and waited for me to finish my run. No running for us on Saturday and we went to the mall instead (to watch the movie Punisher, to which I liked and Per hated! hehe).
We arrived at Fort Bonifacio by 5AM and that was when I encountered a problem: my Garmin couldn't be turned on!!! What the F$%@! It was fully charged on Friday when I did my run, and then I switched it off immediately. What made it lose its battery power??? I was so frustrated and this added to my fear given I won't be able to know how fast or slow I'm going : too fast and I will burn out quickly and too slow means not using your energy at an optimum level. I was at a loss, having grown dependent to this GPS device in all my races.
Per was thoughtful enough to unstrap her Garmin from her wrist and give it to me, saying I need it more than her as I will be running long that day. She will be running zen instead. I was guilty in that I was taking away her chance for a new 10km PR but happy that she was willing to sacrifice that goal for me. I will make it up to her some day. :)
LESSONS LEARNT: 1) Always charge Garmin a day before race, regardless of how little you've used it. 2) Bring a back up watch with timer if Garmin still failed on race day.
We then walked to the Starting line where there were a lot of 21km runners positioned behind it. I stayed at the very back row as I didn't want to be caught with the crowd and I will be running slow anyway.
Race started at 5:30AM and we were off. The first thing I noticed was that everyone started slow, conserving energy for the race. It was a big contrast from the 10km races I went to before.
Pretty soon we were headed out of Fort Bonifacio and onto Kalayaan Bridge. It was a steady climb up and soon we were on Buendia, running the entire stretch towards the Skyway.
I stopped at each water station and at times, getting a water bottle and just keeping it with me. It was a back up plan so anytime I feel the thirst I can just drink from it. This strategy worked out fine for me and so I did it two more times. Later on, we were out of Buendia and each runner did the slow steady climb to the SkyWay. No fatigue or muscle pains yet so that sustained my confidence. The sports beans and Aktivate drink helped too.
On the Skyway, the feeling here was surreal. Wow! So this was what it felt like running here. I never thought this to be possible and yet here I am right now, running on it and having a great time. I was seeing friends and family and they were all enjoying this once in a lifetime experience.
The course was mostly flat except for the bridges and the weather was fantastic. I was quite happy with this race and just kept on going when right behind me (somewhere along Buendia), a guy with a yellow balloon sped away. His balloon said it was a 7 min/km pace. Checking my Garmin, I saw that I was doing 6 min/km and yet, he was running faster than me! Huh? What gives??? That was a weird moment and I hope he didn't burn out anyone following his pace.
I headed back to Kalayaan bridge with still no walking (except at the water stations which were quick stopovers anyway) so I was pleased with my performance. As I ran down to Fort Bonifacio, I saw that I only had 2km left to go to. YES! I was that close to the finish line but I still couldn't increase my speed. Haha. But I didn't care as long as I could finish this race....
And finish it I did at a Garmin time of 2:15:09 with an average pace of 6:24 min/km! My official time would have read 2:15:50+ as I activated Garmin timer after stepping on Start Mat some 30 seconds after race began.
My target for this race was at 2:15 to 2:30 target time but with last Friday's run, I expected to finish at 2:30 (to be at par with my first 21km race). I was surprised by my good time and that I finished strong. A new PR for this RUNNING FATBOY! Yehey! :)
I love the finisher medal and that was a nice addition to my collection! It felt wonderful having them put it around my neck!
I hoped there were more km markers in this race, more sports drinks and also correct pace for the pace runners with the yellow balloons but overall, I am pleased with this race and my performance.
Per didn't achieve her 10k PR (guilt guilt guilt!) but it was still a nice finish time at 1:12 considering she did zen running.
Congrats to everyone who joined this race!
Strong finish by RFB. Photo courtesy of Per.