|21km bibs with medal stubs still intact|
John Bingham: 'The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.'
The 36th edition of Milo National Finals held last December 9th, 2012 came and went quickly. Per and I had signed up for the Half Marathon event as the Full Marathon is only reserved to those runners who were able to qualify from the various Elimination legs that Milo had all over the country (not that we wanted to run the full marathon!).
As Philippine's premier road running event, there is a certain prestige in completing this race especially since there is now a cut-off time of 2 hours and 30 minutes for the half marathon event that would entitle the finisher to a finisher medal. This would require a runner to run at an average pace of about 7 minutes per kilometer for the entire 21.1km distance.
Our objective was simple: complete the race, regardless of our time or pace and run 9km more for the needed 30km we had to do for this weekend.
Unfortunately, Per developed some severe skin rashes at the beach during the week and was in pain when said rashes spread out to her legs and soles of her feet. We were able to contain the rashes on the legs but the big problem was the rashes on her feet as it made walking (never mind running) difficult for her.
There were times she would tiptoe inside the house to go from one place to another. We applied some medicine but there wasn't enough time for it to heal given that the race was just one day away! If just walking a few feet inside the house was giving her problems already, what more would running a 21.1 kilometer road race!
I was contemplating foregoing this race entirely and just having the feet heal naturally but Per was insistent that she could do it. When I asked how she felt walking on the skin rashes and having her entire body weight on top of it, she answered back that it was like walking with pins and needles that just won't go away! Crazy to still push through with the race but it was Per's decision and all I could do was back her up and be there by her side for the entire race. If needed, we can just quit the race anytime and just run another day!
(To describe this skin rash, imagine both the soles of your feet covered 70- 80% by large red marks that goes from the heels to the toes of the feet and having full body weight on these things as you merely make a few steps. Sweating would irritate it further too.).
We were at the starting line few seconds before the race started and moved at a slow pace. 98% of runners were in front of us but I didn't push Per to go faster as she was having difficulty with each foot that she was putting in front of her.
Given the circumstance and this happened to me, would I still continue or quit altogether? The most likely answer for me was that I wouldn't even run this race and just lie in bed that day!
But Per didn't quit and we kept going...
One step ahead of another and even a toilet break at 4km!
Our pace was slow but Per was still determined here and so we kept moving.
I was having problems of my own with my Plantar Fasciitis but didn't speak a word of it to Per. She had her own problems that day and I should be there to lift up her spirits and not the other way around. And so we kept going.
The sun coming out around 6am wasn't helping but still we trudged on the road. At the 18km mark, we went a little faster, overtaking some runners who were walking on the road. We were definitely going to finish this race!
And we did at 3:16++, our slowest time ever. So slow that we barely made it to the Milo loot bags having received the last batch there (a runner right behind us got the final loot bag)! No finisher medals (duh!) but getting the loot bags was a testament to our achievement that day.
I was so proud of Per that day that she still pushed herself to start AND finish the half marathon race in that condition and I thought to myself, "I married a Road Warrior!" Wow! REALLY, REALLY IMPRESSED with her! UNBELIEVABLE!
Well, we didn't complete the required 30km distance but rewarded ourselves (but more for Per) by having a nice buffet breakfast while watching the Pacquiao match vs Marquez.
The skin rash is now nearly 100% gone from her legs and feet and that's something both of us are happy about!