For my 13th Full Marathon, I chose it to be Run United Philippine Marathon for a couple of reasons:
1. It starts at BGC instead of Mall of Asia so it is nearer to my house and more convenient to get to. Bonus is that only 42km runners will start in BGC while for all other race categories (500m dash, 5km, 10km, and 21km) will be at Mall of Asia (MOA) Ground. So parking would be easier too for me and place would be less crowded as well.
2. Milo Redemption! After not making it to the cut-off time of Milo Marathon by a few minutes, I didn't want that to be my last marathon for the year. So, along came this race, with a 7-hour cut-off time and a nice uniquely shaped finisher medal, and I immediately wanted to run it!
3. This is Year 2 for this event and my 2nd year of running it. I wonder how long I could keep this going!
I had about three hours sleep, which was good enough for me given that this race would start at 3AM. My quick breakfast composed of a peanut butter sandwich and two bananas. Unfortunately, I think the bananas may be overripe and after forcing myself to finish them (sayang kasi!), I ended up vomiting four times afterwards! That definitely wasn't a good sign for me.
At BGC, with still about 15 minutes to spare, I couldn't find an unlocked toilet in that area. I ended up foregoing it as the only open one had a long line and there were less than 5 minutes to go before race start (yes, it took me four attempts before I found an open toilet - Section B8 for your future reference). Again, not a good sign for me.
I did a few quick stretching at the parking lot adjacent to the starting line before I met some fellow runners and had a quick pre-race photo with them.
|with fellow 42km runners Elmer and Carlito|
I took it easy this time around, hoping that the second half will make me stronger. I prayed every kilometer, thanking God. And I followed the crowd as we went around BGC area. Chatted a bit with fellow marathoner Leila, who is off to do Toronto Marathon in just two weeks time!
My legs were okay and my stomach wasn't acting up (Thank God)! I saw some familiar faces on this race but not that much.
The run around BGC passed by quickly and effortlessly. Then we headed up Kalayaan Bridge and out towards Buendia Avenue, where it was the long stretch to Roxas Blvd. Here, I was doing good too and was consistent in my pace.
Along Roxas Blvd., we made a left turn and kept on going. My enemy, the sun is slowly coming up to taunt me.
We passed the 21km mark and I reached it in under 3 hours. If I was consistent or even a bit faster for the second half, then I could make the goal of sub-6 hours.
But unlike Milo, I wasn't that pressured here anymore and didn't force myself to run at a pace I wasn't comfortable with. I just kept going, stopping at times to eat a bananas or GU gel or to drink water or Gatorade.
|still happy at Roxas Blvd.|
Then at 25km, I started to falter. Tiredness suddenly hit me and I walked a bit. I forced myself to run again and I prayed for strength. And God was there and I felt good again. But it was getting hotter and I was now stopping at water stations not only to drink but to pour water on my head. Luckily, all the water and Gatorade were served cold here and sponges were also offered to us.
At 30km, I felt tired again. There was 12km to go and that felt F----A----A-----A-----R!
Oh my, what is happening to me! But as I looked around me, I knew I wasn't the only one as almost everyone was walking too. The heat was making it worse for all of us.
I had become grumpy and wondered why I was running this race. I wanted to just sit somewhere and not move. At. All.
I gave up on my time goal and changed my goal to finish below 6:30. And where did I get the magic number?
Because the free shuttle bus from MOA to BGC will end at 9:30AM, 6 hours and 30 minutes after our race started. I wasn't sure how strict they would be with the bus time but no way was I risking it!
Even with this thought at the back of my head, I still walked more than I ran in the last 7 km. I was spent and I was afraid I may have over hydrated as well. Then, it became a safety issue for me so I was careful too.
The last 2 km took forever! Even near the finish line, I was still walking! It took Vener to shout out my name and encourage me to run the few hundred meters that I ran again.
A small Philippine flag was handed to me by a marshal (only 42km runners received one). And I was able to cross the finish line.
Not with a big shout or smile but with a very tired look. But I still felt proud when the finisher medal was placed around my neck and the word, "Congratulations", was said to me. Then I felt happy and excited to go home!
There was a red carpet walk for the Marathoner finishers, free drinks and some photos as well. I didn't linger long as there was a bus for me to catch so after gathering my finishers' kit, I went directly to the bus stop!
It wasn't much of a Milo Redemption as my finish time was similar to Milo at 6:09:30 (vs Milo's 6:09:34), but at least this time, I got a medal and finisher shirt out of it.
Marathon # 13 - Done!