There was only one reason that I wanted to join this race and it was this: I wanted the very cool yellow singlet that comes with the Php 700 registration fee. That’s it. No time goals but only to finish the 10km run as quickly or as slowly as possible. I didn’t care. I just wanted that singlet and was even willing to incorporate this into my long run for that weekend.
Alvin even made my day brighter by saying, “we won’t do any long runs that day.” Yes! This was better than what I expected! I can finish quickly and go back home to sleep. No tiring 16km or 21km run! No long runs! Just one short and easy 10km run for that Sunday morning (big smile plastered on my face).
But then, Alvin continued by saying “we will race that day”. What?! And he finished by saying, “we will target an hour or less than that”. No way is that possible!
And here are some (very valid) reasons why this isn’t happening:
- I’m slow! And fatter than I was 1-2 years ago.
- I can’t even remember the last time I was sub-60! That seemed like a dream when it happened and something you just reflect upon that you were able to do when you were younger but now cannot.
- My 2011 10km PR was at 1:03:58 and although that was just 4 minutes more from Alvin’s “target time”, I suspect that race could have been short by few meters from 10km and was on a very flat course.
- My average (and even most recent) 10km performance ranged from 1:10 to 1:15, a far cry from sub-60!
- Not helping with this was the difficult 10km route where it passes Lawton Avenue and Bayani Road before making the turn back to BGC. The hills are steep on this route and I always walked here as it was too hard to run on it.
Five good reasons but all fell to deaf ears as Alvin ignored them one by one and kept saying that I’m just being negative. Two weeks before this event, I was stressed by it. Man, I shouldn’t have joined this race for the singlet!
The run started at 4:30am, probably the earliest in all of the 10km races I’ve joined in my entire lifetime! The reason for this was that it would be followed by two bike races. With my top five reasons above comes my 6th reason as to why it would be impossible to reach that goal:
6. The race would have a mass start for 3km, 5km and 10km runners. More people = slower finish time.
But I didn’t want to disappoint Alvin so I would try my best with my own secret goal of beating my time of 1:03:58. Not an easy feat too but at least I tried. It would be a good consolation too from the sub-60 goal. Hehe!
During the race, I would stop at one or two water stations to get a gulp or two of water. I would practice my breathing and run steadily at a normal pace, making sure that I wasn’t going out too fast. At Lawton and Bayani area, there were no lights and I had to run in the darkness. Good thing Coach was boy- scouts prepared and had a mini flashlight with him and lead the way out of that area. As I got out of it, I realized one thing and that was that I actually ran the entire thing! That alone was a huge achievement on my part and I didn’t know how that happened!
My average pace was around 6:10 – 6:15 minutes/ km so I knew I wouldn’t reach the goal of sub-60 but at least I was on target of beating my 2011 PR time. But at the last 2kms, something happened. I just kept thinking about the finish line and that I wanted it to be over as quickly as possible. It was downhill too and that made it easier for me to go faster. And run faster I did. Pretty soon I was gasping for air and wheezing loudly but I saw the finish line and the bright red time clock on top of it. I focused on that and kept on pushing myself. I couldn’t even hear the words that Alvin was saying to me. I was just so tired. I crossed the finish line and immediately looked at my watch. It said 58 minutes ++ (or was it 59 minutes++). Yes, I did it. Sub-60!
But it wasn’t over.
I had to run 200-300 meters more to reach the 10.0km target as race was short by that distance. Argh! This was the most difficult part here as I had given everything just to cross the finish line only to hear that I had to run some more. It was crazy! But I continued on even though it was really, really hard with my jelly-like legs!
I must have looked silly to the casual joggers when I finished my 10km run, far away from the finish line but making loud vomiting sounds and grunting the whole time. Time was at 1:00:12 (pace at 6:01). If you think about it, I did finish my official 10km race at sub-60 (unfortunately, up to now, there are no official results so didn’t know at what point I crossed the finish line).
Even at 1:00:12, it was a very surreal moment for me. How did this happen? How did I run the entire course, including the very hilly parts of it? How did I go faster in the last 2km when I was exhausted at that point? How did I achieve the 10km 1 hour goal?
I don’t have all the answers but I hope this trend would continue…
As for the event itself, well, the singlet was really nice (it even had two side and zippered pockets for your things) and quite wearable. There was a small loot bag at the finish line. But there were places that were dangerous to the runners (the dark areas of Bayani Road and lack of marshals) and not much water stations here as well. I don’t think it was well advertised as well as just a low turn out of runners (and didn’t see any familiar faces, which almost never happened). And no official results yet as of this writing.
Big thanks of course to Alvin for the push and the flashlight! Hehe!