Monday, June 9, 2014
My goal for this race was simply one:
JUST TO FINISH!
That simply meant reaching the finish line from the starting line in one piece regardless if I ran or walked the entire way. Pretty much relaxed way to go about it. My end goal was simply to complete the Run United Trilogy for this year so that I can get the Trilogy Award at the end of the year (or at the start of the New Year).
No pressure right?
Well a day before the race, I read on Facebook they there is now a 7:30AM cut-off time for all runners! For the 32km race category, that was a 4 hour 30 minute finish time requirement before roads are open to vehicles.
Suddenly, I got a headache! How do I go about this? I started thinking what my pace should be like, how much GU gels I should take with me, what to eat the day before and the morning of the race.
It has now become a race to finish it before the cut-off time!
On the race day, there was an update on their Facebook page saying that shuttle buses will leave CAVITEX (where the midpoint is located) at 7:30AM, so there would be plenty of time to get to the finish line before the bus comes and gets you! But I wasn't sure how strict they were with the cut-off time. Maybe I might finish after 4 hours 30 minutes, but then there won't be a medal. Or I do get the medal, but I won't be in the official results.
I can't let the leniency of the race director be reason for me to slack off during this race as that was the same kind of thinking that lead me to not getting a finisher medal in last year's Milo Marathon (when they became strict with the cut-off vs not being strict two consecutive years previous said race). Not only was this race riding on my time, but on the entire trilogy too!
Now, add to this anxiety, was my 32km time a year ago which was at a horrible time of more than 5 hours and you get some idea of the stress I was feeling the day before the race.
My goal unfortunately has now been upgraded to
FINISH AT 4:30 OR LESS (GUN TIME).
One good (and surprising) thing was Per offering to drive me to the race. Wow, I was shocked as I know how much she lacked sleep due to her pumping and here she was, offering me a free ride to the race start. That would eliminate added stress of finding a parking spot in Luneta Park! Of course I took that offer and gave my thanks to her!
We left the house 30 minutes before gun start but even with that early departure (or was it late), we had a hard time going there. The reason? They closed off Roxas Blvd., to all traffic and we were forced to take the small, tightly spaced service road to reach our destinations. Of course, there were a lot of cars on this single lane road. The clock ticked. Now I am worried about getting to the starting line before their starting line cut off time!
So that meant we had to get there before 3:15am (gun start at 3:00am). Getting there past 3:15am meant an automatic disqualification! Oh man!!!!
This is definitely a race of stresses!
So my immediate goal was (drum rolls please!):
GET TO THE STARTING LINE BEFORE 3:15AM!
We were caught in traffic once again but I saw more runners so I asked the security guard where Luneta Park was and he pointed to the Philippine flag nearby. Yes, there it was. I gave my quick goodbyes to Per, left the car and fast walked to the starting line. The gun went off while I was still walking and I saw the 32km runners pass me by. That is okay. I am going to make it before 3:15am. Hahaha!
Yes, last goal down!
I started the race around 3:08AM, so I had to mentally compute how much time I had left for the 7:30am cut-off (whether imposed or no). Getting to race a tad later meant you had to run a tad faster as well!
The route for this race was different from all other Run United races of this year or that of previous years in that it started from Luneta Park (or Kilometer Zero) and headed toward CAVITEX for the U Turn back to where the starting line was. A pretty straightforward route and one I liked. Of course it still involved going up two flyovers twice but for most of the way, it was nice and flat.
Having the race start at 3am was good too in that we would be able to avoid the sun for at least the first half of the race.
What was unfortunate was that their banana stations ran out of bananas quickly so I had to make do with Gatorade and water (all cold Thank God) and my packed GU gels.
My pace was good in the beginning but at the second half, I was getting weaker and running slower. My back was hurting at the last one third of the race and my feet were sore from running. Still, I kept going because of the fear of not making it to finish line.
I slowly counted down the last kilometers and looked at my watch. Looks like I am going to make it!
I crossed the finish line at 4:15:40 gun time (with chip time at 4:12:15), got my medal and finisher shirt! And made it to all my goals! Praise GOD!
Chip time wise I ranked 1262 out of 2794 runners with a 45% percentile! AWESOME!!
Better news was me beating my last year's time by nearly AN HOUR!
THANK YOU LORD!
Some bad things though:
1. Ran out of bananas twice! So didn't get a chance to eat it. The last banana station was near the finish line so I decided to forego it and just finish the race.
2. Slower second half of the race. Positive Split. BOO!
3. Back hurt. Feet hurt. And I couldn't walk properly for the next two or three days.
But even with this, I gained so much more from a good time in this race. Thank you Per for deciding to drive for me even though I didn't ask of it (was that the Holy Spirit talking to you?). Thank You God for keeping me safe the entire time.
Next race: Independence Day 50km! GULP!