Tuesday, March 8, 2011
2nd Animo Run, Clark - 21km Distance
Flashback to November 18, 2008 - it was my first run in Clark via New Balance 25km. At that time, it was my longest distance and I did it together with Janine (her longest distance as well). There were 14 of us in the group and I was able to invite all but two of them to do a fun run (ranging from 5km to 10km). We had a great time there and I vowed to return again to Clark for another road race...
More details on that race can be found here: New Balance Power Race
2009 - the New Balance Race returned but this time, it was held in Fort Bonifacio instead of Clark. The reason is that there were more runners in Metro Manila who had access to Fort Bonifacio than that of Clark. No 25km race but they did have the 21km race, which I did there. The finisher medal was quite similar to the one held in Clark a year ago..
2010 - No New Balance Race (either in Clark or in Fort Bonifacio). They moved the date to March/April 2011 but it seems it won't push through again.
2011 - Saw in my email that there was a race to be held in Clark with a 21km distance. But it was at the same day as RunRio Leg 01 and this one had finisher medals for all 21km finishers. And I looooveeee these shiny shiny things!
A quick email to the race organizer of the Clark race (2nd Animo Run) revealed that there were also finisher medals for all 21km finishers for this race. Being a La Sallian, I coveted the Animo Run medal more than the RunRio series and set to work to invite the same group of people as that of 2008.
It was basically the same people with a few additions/ subtractions in the group bringing our total to 13 people (from 14 for 2008). Whereas in 2008 only two people didn't run a race, in 2011, only two WILL run a race! I guess my powers of persuasion only works for out-of -town trips and not out-of-town runs! Boo!!!
But I was still excited for this race - for the new scenery, for the new route, to face the famous "Wall" of Clark, and to get another finisher medal (God willing) that would serve as both my 2nd La Salle medal (both done on La Salle's 100th Year Anniversary) and my 2nd Clark finisher medal. But I was scared too as the only running I did for the entire week was one short 5.6km easy run on Friday night (two days before the half marathon). Not enough training indeed for this RUNNING FATBOY! Good thing the 3.5 hours cut off time should be more than enough for me to complete my Half Marathon.
I woke up at 4:00am, ate half a sandwich, got dressed and met Jeanne at Holiday Inn's lobby at 5:10am. There was ample time as the race venue (Clark Parade Grounds) was just a 5-minute drive from hotel. Unfortunately, the way to the parking area (via hotel's back entrance) and to my car was closed and I had to jog around the hotel just to get to it. Oh well, I needed to warm up anyway.
I made it to the Parade Grounds in time and saw that there were only a few of us doing the 21km race. We did the opening prayer, sang the Alma Mater song, and I heard the opening remarks (which included a description of the race route). Then the fireworks were launched into the sky (just to make sure that everybody was awake and ready for the race). And the gun was fired at 5:50am (20 minutes past the scheduled gun start but I didn't care as I enjoyed the atmosphere in the morning).
I was at the back part of the race as I didn't want to risk burning out too quickly for something I didn't even train for! Right then, we went up to a series of hills as we headed to Fontana area. So this was the "Wall" of Clark! Good thing the weather cooperated nicely and it was really great to run where there were hardly any cars or jeepneys around. I could really smell the fresh air there!
There were ample signs to make sure the runners won't get lost and one strategically placed timing mat at the 5km mark (so that 21km runners would hit it twice - at the 5km and 16km mark). Route was very basic as it just keeps going straight for most of the way until we make a turning point on the 10 - 11 km mark and receive a straw necklace from the marshals as proof that we made it to that area. Going back was hard as I was tired already, the sun was burning us as there were a few trees on the wide open road, and I was feeling the hunger pangs. But I kept going as I played a mental game of counting the number of steps I make before taking a walking break. I stopped at every water station (at every 2km marks), had two bananas, two half cups of sports drink and used two of my three GUs.
Running back from the 11km mark, I was able to overtake some male/female runners who looked to be more tired than I am. Special mention goes to two of these runners, who just irritated the hell out of me.
The first guy was walking when I neared him and when I overtook him, he would start running by my side the entire time and singing! There were no other runners at that time except the two of us and when I stopped running and walked instead, he would do the exact same thing! Arghhh! So I would run off again, and he would do the same thing again. What are you? My shadow???? And I would stop to walk and he would do the exact same thing. All the while singing just to prove that he wasn't really tired but wanted to follow my pace.
Ordinarily, I wouldn't mind this especially if I got to talking to another runner but this just felt... weird! And the space between us was really really small. It was a really wide road but why stick so close to me when there wasn't anybody else running in this area right now? Was I emitting some sort of smell that attracted you to me? Arrgghh! Well, that kinda motivated me to run again and not take a walk break until this dude would tire out and leave me be. And he did... he stopped to walk while I continued running but the funny thing was that he was still singing when I left him. Good riddance Shadow Guy!
Then there's runner #2. Yes, I saw him way ahead of me and walking. It was around the 17km area. And when I got near him, he would sprint away from me, look back and start walking again. I was running at a steady pace so when the time came when I was by his side again, he would run off again at a fast pace. So this guy was a complete opposite to runner #1 but it seems he was using me as a gauge on when to run and when to walk and I didn't like that one bit. I mean, why wait when I am by your side before you take off again? Well, this went on for a while until he basically gave up on it and I passed him too. Goodbye Mr. Competitive!
For the most part, I would yo-yo against a lot of runners: there was a couple doing the Galloway method, there were two girls running together, another couple wearing white compression socks, running at a steady pace and to whom I was using as my motivation as well (girl had QCIM white singlet on), and a nice girl whom I exchanged some words with (and to my big surprise recognized my blog... awwww shucks!).
Yes, I use people as targets and they use me as their targets too so that's a normal thing. We use what we can to cross the finish line, but please don't be too obvious (like the two male runners) and give importance to one's personal space too!
The final stretch of the race was all downhill, which was perfect for one's aching muscles. I crossed the finish line at 2:39++, beating my Condura 21km time and giving me a new 2011 21km PR.
Congrats to all runners who joined this race.
Road to the Finish Line
Animo La Salle!!!
Jeanne (who did the 10km race) and I having fun after the race. All of our other friends were still sleeping at the hotel!
21km race conquered!
Loved my bib number and loved my finisher medal!
Added bonuses: Singlet's XXL size fits me! It's rare that even a XXL race singlet would fit me these days so this was a definite bonus for me.
The race bib also included a "20% off on all NB items" coupon at Marquee mall and I used it to buy myself a new pair of shoes (NB 1226 in new gold color scheme) that same day. Call it a reward for completing a half marathon. :)
Overall it was a great run and hopefully there would be more half marathons in Clark so that more people could experience what I did that day. Great job to the race organizers!