Monday, January 30, 2012

Subic Marathon 2012 - Part 2

The Subic International Marathon had the 10km, 21km and 42km events for January 22, 2012 (Sunday) and the 3km and 5km events for January 21, 2012 (Saturday).

For the full marathon, the registration fee was quite affordable at just Php 800. Of course, once you factor in other items such as gas, lodging, toll fees, etc, then it becomes expensive too. Haha!

The race kit includes the official Subic Marathon singlet, bib number and guidelines for the race (such as race map, rules & regulations, etc). Since I registered late, I didn’t get the singlet size that I wanted but luckily, it fits Per perfectly!

Our hotel (Poca o Poca Hotel) was just a few hundred meters away from Remy Field and we did an ocular the night before on the starting line, just to be sure we won’t get lost on the race day. My carbo-loading dinner was done at the very delicious and very cheap Xtremely Xpresso Café, which was also near our hotel and near the race venue. They served big portions of pasta and pizza and the place was crowded when we got there (but we were still lucky enough to get a table).


On race day, Per drove me to the starting line, leaving the baby and yaya at the hotel to sleep some more. This was our daughter’s first out of town trip so it was also a milestone for her!

Since we got there early, Per decided to stay a bit and see the event being set up. It was kind of a scary feeling being there as everyone was fit and slim! Oh man, I hope I didn’t join a marathon where only elite runners were part of it!

One of the fast runners we saw was RunUnlimited Vener!

The starting line was held inside the oval track and once the race was on, we had to run 200 meters around it before leaving the area.

One last photo taken by Per! Thanks!

The course was quite straightforward: out Remy Field and pass Subic Bay Yacht Club and Pure Gold before turning right here. Then straight all the way to Ocean Adventure for the U Turn back to Remy Field (with a minor detour in between). (It was only after finishing the race did I realize how far Ocean Adventure was from main Subic area – 20km!)

As is usually the case, I started the race slow and at the very back of the pack (I think there was just one guy behind me and he seemed to be in his 50s!) but I didn’t care. The important thing was to finish this race strong and not burn out mid-way. So, it was slowly and surely for me.

What I didn’t expect was how hilly this race was! It has got to be the hilliest long route that I ran in my life! So many uphill climbs! And it doesn’t seem to end. Once the road leveled off and flattened again, it would just last for a few 100 meters before we had to climb again. It was tiring and that worked hard on my knees and calves! Luckily, Coach Alvin incorporated some hill training in our weekly workouts and that helped a lot in this route! But even with the training that we did together, the hills here were just too much and there were instances (to my frustration) that I had to stop running and just walk on the road to catch my breath again. But I caught up with some runners and that motivated me to start running again, albeit at a slower pace.

In between, I would pray and talk to God, thanking Him, praising Him, and worshipping Him. I would thank Him as I cross each KM mark, knowing that I had to run one less to reach my goal.

The water stations were ample in this race, being placed every 1.5km and there were Pocari Sweat drink stations too. The weather was nice and chilly so these were things that helped us get through this. Of course, the nature scenery with its ample trees, bats flying overhead, the ocean to the right of us, etc. made me appreciate the works of God more and I was glad to be running this race and seeing all of His creations before me. Who needs to listen to an IPod when you can just listen to nature around you?

I took my first GU gel at 12km and my second at 17km. By that time I was nearing Ocean Adventure and seeing a lot of runners heading back already. A lot of strong military guys were part of the pack going back. Of course, Kenyans were at the front again as is usually the case when they join any local race. Vener was part of the front pack as well!

There were bananas and crackers being offered at 19km, along with the usual water and Pocari Sweat drinks and I ate a banana before going off again. It was here that I first saw Barefoot Daves and we were both surprised and happy to see each other in this race. We shook hands and wished each other good luck before we separated again.

I ran downhill to Ocean Adventure and to the beach area for the U turn back to Remy Field. Walked for a few seconds here to enjoy the ocean view and see the various marshals cheering the runners. Halfway done! 21km more to go!

There were some hills here as I climbed again from Ocean Adventure and did some run-walk strategies. A guy ran with me and told me that it will be downhill soon after. I didn’t quite believe him as there was another hill in front of me! So we both ran-walked it till we reached the top and I saw a bit of a descent. It was here that I ran again, sprinting and enjoying the speed. I figured that I might as well sprint now and make up for some lost time and try to bring my pace lower. At that time, my average pace was close to 8 minutes per kilometer and with the run, I was able to bring it down to 7:45 before another hill emerged. This was really a difficult race!

But I can’t complain as just being part of this race was an awesome experience. Pretty soon, the road started descending and I went running again but not as fast as the first time as I was already tired. But I was able to bring the pace further down. More good news: I was feeling strong!

I crossed the 32km mark and just kept going. From that moment on, that was the farthest distance I ran for the past two years! What a wonderful feeling! Praise God!

So I kept going even with the sun out already and little shades available. I kept thinking to myself, “I am going back to see my family!” and that motivated me to run more and walk less.

Slowly, little by little I closed the distance between me and the finish line. I went pass the airport again. I went pass the car dealership area, pass the Yacht Club and pass the Pure Gold store. It was the final stretch but I was tired too.

I walked again and stopped at various water stations to drink or to pour water on my head. But I kept going and just looked at the time.

I told my wife that I should cross the finish time between 10:00am and 10:30am so it would be great if she was there with Dani. So it was my fault when I crossed the finish line at 9:45am and didn’t see her (she came at exactly 10:00am and I was able to meet her at the parking lot).

I got my finisher medal and bonus finisher dog tag and walked a bit inside the Oval Track to loosen my legs. There were no loot bags given out but I didn’t mind it as for me the important thing were the ample hydration stations inside the route and the finisher medal (of course).

From my usual 2:45 – 2:55 half marathon finish times doing races by myself just a few months back to a 5:08:53 full marathon finish time, I owe A LOT to Alvin for training me and getting me into shape!

I wouldn’t have thought this finish time would even be possible!!! My goal back then was for Alvin to train me for a sub-6 finish time. This definitely goes above and beyond a sub-6 finish time for an IMPROMPTU MARATHON! A VERY BIG THANKS TO COACH ALVIN FOR MAKING ME GO THE DISTANCE AGAIN! (I guess all those vomit-mode speedwork and interval training works!)

Thanks also to Per, who never complained in any of my training runs! Without a supportive wife, I don’t think doing a marathon would even cross my mind as a lot of time and effort goes into it. Training for a marathon has to be 100% committed!

Thanks to Extribe too for making this a very nice and memorable race that I have nothing to complain about. This would surely go down as one of my best races EVER - Negative split and a strong finish! (Having a 2nd best PR for a full marathon doesn't hurt too!)

A very big thanks to God too for making me enjoy running and racing again and for giving me this wonderful Blessing! It is through this race that I was intimate with Him and I hope to continue that intimacy all year round and throughout my life.


The family finally arrives! Yay!
Two for the price of one!
(Obviously) very happy with my race!



run unlimited said...

Congrats Dennis, well done. It's good to see you there and Per too. The course was tough but you pulled through it, trainings really work. And prayers make wonders. Good luck on your next and see you again.

P.S. Nice pics, good job Per.

Running Fatboy said...

thanks Vener!

nat said...

Good one Den!