Race #1: 3rd Rizal Day Run (32.63km)
This would be my 2nd 32km race for 2011 and also my second time to run inside Camp Aguinaldo.
As a first timer for this event, I wasn't sure what to expect. Are there sufficient hydration stations here? Are there toilets readily available for use? How big or how little is the crowd here?
I was scared for this distance because of the return of my lingering body pains (back/shoulder pain, Plantar Fasciitis on both feet) plus the fact that the blister on my left foot was still there.
And there is always a fear of doing a long distanced race for me as the two recent 21kms I did gave me a disappointed/discouraged feeling at the end.
I hoped for that to change in this race and to renew my confidence level in finishing a full marathon.
Unfortunately, that was not to be. It started so well - with the cold wind breeze as the race started at 5:30am and no leg or foot pains. I ran at a comfortable 7:15 to 7:20 pace but slowly, the feet started to hurt. I was feeling the blister and the PFs!
I tried to motivate myself but it was hard to do when every step I made gave me some pain. Doubts crept into my mind. Why am I doing this? Was it worth it? How far more do I need to go? It was pretty discouraging and I felt like crap.
Worse was looking at my Garmin and seeing that the distance I had just done was a little over 15kms! I had a looonngg way to go!
By 17km, a new kind of LOW hit me. I Wanted to QUIT! Not running altogether but this particular race! I wanted to DNF which I never thought of before. More self doubts surfaced to my mind... "If I continue running and pushing it, I will get injured more". "It's not worth it to continue. Just quit and fight another day." "32km is a hard distance and it's okay to say that I tried but just couldn't handle it".
I was frustrated and wanted to throw away my shoes, blaming them for the lack of cushioning and the pain that's causing my feet. But truthfully, I was just exhausted from running. There were pains all over my body and I just didn't see any good reason to continue this so-called self-torment.
But as I looked around in one of my walk breaks, I saw that I was ahead a lot of people and even people in front of me were walking too. I started thinking that it was okay to walk. It was okay to feel tired and exhausted as the sun had risen and the temperature rose as well. It was okay to walk given the many hills that we had to run on. It was okay to feel discouraged as route repeated itself 4.5 times.
Besides, I had a feeling if I quit then, I could possibly be the only quitter in this race! So pride and a mild case of encouragement took over and slowly I started running again and walking and running back.
My goal reverted to "just finish this run" - a big scale down from my original goal of getting a PR but a big improvement from me wanting to give up this race.
So I kept going: walk, run, walk, run. I ate GU gels every 6-7km and even stopped to eat the instant noodles in one of the stations. I drank a lot of water (and some Gatorade and Coca-cola).
My pace slowed down significantly but I didn't care for it anymore. What I looked at instead was the distance I had finished and that one slowly went up - from 21km to 25km to 28km. I was counting the distance down. The hardest of course was the last 4kms. By that time I had exceeded 3 and a half hours and my feet were giving me a hard time.
Still I kept going - slowly but surely until I did the final loop around the route. At 32km, I saw Alvin standing on the road with a cup of water in his hands. I drank the water and saw BR pass me by (he started much much late than we did).
Man, I really wanted the race to end and thought of stopping my Garmin there and then and just walking the remaining distance (as I had reached the 32km mark but clearly the race was not yet over). But I changed my mind and ran again and pushing myself to run all the way to the finish line.
To which I did and awarded myself with some water at the finish line.
I wasn't able to get my Pink finisher shirt or medal (as limited to first 120 finishers). But I didn't care as I was just glad to have finish this super hard race. I was that close to quitting and I am glad that I didn't and pushed myself for two hours more to come home to my wife and say,
"I'm a 32km Finisher".
And to answer my questions prior to the race:
1) Yes, there are water stations here. Said stations also offered food like eggs and instant noodles and drinks like sports drinks and soft drinks but all (except water) were finished by the time I was on my 3rd loop. But water was sufficient during and after the race.
2) I used the toilet prior to gun start and didn't see nor felt the need to use the toilet again. It doesn't mean there aren't any!
3) The crowd for this race was a total of 189 finishers and I ranked 142 from it. Not sure if there are no-shows or DNFs here as I based this on official results found on www.baldrunner.com. That finisher list will be saved and archived in my computer! Haha!
Race #2: Rescue Run for Sendong Victims (5.08km)
This was a good race as proceeds went to Typhoon Sendong Victims. The route was two loops around the hilly McKinley Hills and prior to joining this event, I told Per that on a worst case scenario, we can just walk the entire distance.
It will be a very relaxed, recovery run especially after what I went through the previous day.
Surprisingly, there were no muscle pains in my leg that morning (that came later in the day) and I figured that maybe we could jog it on the flat part of the course and walk it on the hilly parts.
We ended up running the first loop of the race and doing a run-walk for the second half before sprinting the last 600 meters.
Unlike yesterday, I had an awesome time here! Now, this was a fun run! Oh how I missed short runs like this!
There were a lot of drink stations here and they also offered Pocari Sweat bottled drinks. Saw some familiar faces in this year-ender race.
A lot of photographers too (which can be seen at facebook page of Greentennial Photos).
A job well done for both BR for pulling off Rizal Day Run and for Greentennial for the Rescue Run. Truly a memorable back to back race for Running Fatboy!
Onwards to 2012!