How to begin this entry? I have no idea...
Shall I start with all the negative signals I got prior to this race? Sure, why not! Well, first of all, I am injured. I have a lingering heel pain that just won't go away. I went through massages, myotherapy, heel cups, ice therapy, compression, elevation, kensio tape but the one thing I couldn't really follow was ample rest. Yes, I was that addicted to running and not in a normal way. I had to go for the full marathons! 42.195km for Cebu Marathon and now another 42.195km for Condura Marathon.
Normally, it should be a 6 months period to do another marathon after completing the first. And that's with no injury. For me, I was crazy enough to register for two races that were less than a month apart..... 27 days to be exact. And the heel pain was getting worse!
Evidence No 1 - Last Sunday's 10km Book Run. It was supposed to be my last long run before the Condura race. The finisher medal doesn't hurt either. My target goal for that day was 21km but hopeful for a 25km distance to build up the confidence I needed to finish Condura. I woke up late, did 2km easy run, and a 10km tempo run (Book Run) and....
I was limp walking badly after the race. That ended my long run. That made me doubt myself and second guess whether I can finish the Condura race. Per said I looked so exhausted after the race. But I was happy with my medal. I was happy with my finish time and I was happy that I finished my first 10km race without stopping by at a single water station. Yes, I had to challenge myself again. Crazy!!! Total km for that day: 12! Mission not accomplished!
Evidence No 2 - I had an X-ray done on my left foot. Possible evidence show a bone spur. This was not good. Readings will come out on Saturday (the day before Condura) and they will recommend whether to still run the next day or not. (I did not tell them what race event I'm joining for fear of getting discouraged by the shocked reaction of their faces!)
Evidence No 3 - my left foot was swollen! Yikes! Per was getting afraid of it and suggested that I back out. I was thinking the same thing. Even super hyperactive coach Alvin was 50-50 on me doing Condura and he NEVER DISCOURAGES me to quit a race. Even Mr. Positive Energy become Neutral! Oh no!
But I had a way out: my sister Nats was registered for the 21km event and didn't mind switching with me. She had her weekly long runs (and they are LONG!) and completed two full marathons (both sub-5 finishes) so it shouldn't be a problem with her should she take up the 42.2km distance. But I still wanted to try Condura as there might be a chance I regret it if I didn't do it.
So I prayed for guidance, for humility, and not to let ego/ pride get in the way. I hoped to get better and will look at the coming days leading to Condura to assess my situation.
To be fair, it's not all bad news...
1. I did an easy 5km run with Per a few days after Book Run. I felt great! I had minor heel pain and I figured if running at an easy pace (instead of running at tempo/ race pace), it won't stress my heel too much. But running at an easy pace for 42.2km is still running 42.2km so it's not really comparing apples to apples. More likely comparing apples to a lot of apple trees filled with a lot of apples!
2. I had massage done on my legs and had it checked. The person said it wasn't swollen anymore. That removed my fear and brought in some hope to me...
3. The day before Condura and X-ray analysis have not come out. I figured if no answer that day, then it's a good reason to run. (I know its illogical but better than an answer and telling me NOT to run).
4. I got the Condura race kit. I super liked the Philippine Star race edition and knew how much I wanted to do this race. So I decided to run it but still had reservations. Worst case scenario was I would quit early in the race, ride the ambulance to finish line and be a DNF record. But at least I tried and tested myself. I got motivated by the race kit and hope that willpower is enough for me to finish this race.
No hitch getting to race start. We were there by 3:40am and met a lot of friends. Saw some people who are doing their first full marathon. The first question they asked were, "But I thought you were injured?" (Yes I am). A variation of this question was repeated during the day. Janine would ask "How's your foot?" (Not good). Bullrunner would say "Aren't you injured?" (Yes). Jay N would ask "How are you doing?" (Okay).
Pray! Pray! Pray!
At the start of the race I prayed to God with the Lord's Prayer. I prayed to Mary. I praised God. I asked for strength. I ran for Him.
We (42.2km runners) ran in Fort Bonifacio first heading to the dreadful Lawton. Some slight heel pain but tolerable. I prayed again for strength. I saw the fast runners disappear. I got a pat from Vener, I ran side by side with Janine before she too went ahead of me. I saw Chito whom I met in Cebu Marathon. He also went ahead of me. I took it slow, promising to do it at an easy comfortable pace so I won't get the heel pain yet. So, I ran at 7 min/km pace. Coach friend Alvin came later and surprised to see me running. Same with Jay. Both were late for the race but quickly caught up with the fast runners.
We left Fort Bonifacio and I thanked God for achieving this part of the race. I prayed to conquer Buendia. I know I had to do my part too in this race so I took GU every hour, took water at most of the water stations and did some walking bits. But I knew I couldn't do this by myself so I continued talking to God.
"We Walk By Faith, Not By Sight" - 2 Corinthians 5:7
In this case, I was running by faith and not by sight. I was running not because I was strong or ready. I was actually weak from injury and from too much running. But I had faith that God would protect and take care of me and would give me a sign if I needed to quit. But that sign never came.
So I continued talking to God. It was my quiet time with Him. With all the distractions these days, it is nice spending the next 5 hours of my life talking to Him.
I thanked Him for getting me out of Buendia. I thanked Him for making me reach Skyway. I thanked Him for making me see the sunrise on top of the Skyway. I thanked Him for reaching 18km, 21km (halfway mark), 25km mark, 30km mark and I thanked Him for conquering Skyway.
My heel was still okay!!!
I praised Him, I asked for humility, forgiveness, strengths. I reach Fort Bonifacio. The heat was on and I was getting burned from it. But I continue running because I realize that I am not running for myself anymore but for His Glory.
I crossed the finish line at a time of 5:13:16 (pace of 7:28). It was the first time I crossed the finish line with a BIG SMILE on my face. Now you know why!
I beat my goal of a new Philippine PR time. I beat my goal of going under 5:30 and of going under 5:15. What a day!
Big thanks to my wife too who, although did not agree with my decision with regards to doing this race, supported me until the finish line.
Thanks to Conception brothers for doing a super cool race. This will forever be etched in my memory (especially the roller coaster road of Skyway) and I was glad to be a part of your first full marathon event!
The 42.2km came and went by quickly. I realized how much I enjoyed talking to God that everything else were zoned out of my mind. It was good talking to Him again and if it means doing a marathon to do it, then so be it.... but not this soon yet. I will do my rest, relaxation and recovery first.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
A new marathon addict! 2nd marathon in less than a month!
Skyway, You were Conquered. That hill was nothing compared to the power of God.