It had a regular set-up the night before: fixing my running gear and setting my phone's alarm clock to 2:40am. Too bad at 2:40am when the alarm rang, I quickly turned it off and went back to sleep!!
At 3:30am, I was woken up by a phone call. It was Alvin calling me! He is at the house already as our race start was at 4:00am! Adrenalin rushed over me as I quickly went to the bathroom to brush my teeth, fix my gear and use the toilet. Even with the rush to get ready quickly, it still took too long!
We were out of the house at 3:45am, 15
minutes before race start but we had another hurdle to conquer: EDSA was congested with cars at 3:45am! Apparently one lane on the flyover to Mall of Asia had some roadwork being done on it. But after the flyover, traffic was light all the way to Mall of Asia. Parking was easy too as 21k runners were at the starting line and it was an hour away for the 10km runners.
We got to the starting line 10 minutes after the gun start. And did some quick stretching before starting the race at 4:13am, 2 minutes before the start cut-off.
There was one final hurdle to conquer and that was my upset tummy. I hoped to do the race quick enough that I won't need to use the toilet until after the race. As it was a 21km race, I wasn't that hopeful and I looked at the hotels nearby to see where I could stop for abtoilet break should the need arise.
The route was similar to last week's Yakult run in that it was mostly done on Roxas Blvd. I was able to spot three hotels as we headed towards Luneta Park.
My pace was at a constant 6:45 minutes per km, which was my target pace here. But at 8km, I felt my tummy grumble and felt that I had to go soon! I made it in time to the hotel's bathroom after talking to the hotel's security guard if I could use it. This happened at the 9km mark.
While there my pace went up slowly from 6:45 to 7:00 and to end at 7:11! I was so disappointed as felt that all the hard work just disappeared because of the toilet break. But what can I do?
I am reminded of the biblical verse,
"I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith."
- 2 Tim 4:7
With this reminder, I was convinced that the race was far from over! I may have lost precious time but I can try and make up for it. I shouldn't give up even with all that has happened and try to work back to my goal. My goal was 6:45 average pace for this race so now I had to do my best to achieve it with the last 11km of the race. Every flyovers that I would go to, I will be in attack mode and surge on them. There would be minimal walking breaks as well and some level of speed maintained in this race. I was pretty sure the 6:45 target was out the window, but I can at least try to be below 7 minute average pace.
As more distances are covered, my average pace went down as well. On the last 3-4km, I brought the pace during this time to below 6 minutes.
I knew by then that I should be below 2 hours 30 minutes and even below 7 minute average pace but had no idea how low it was.
Finally I crossed the finish line, drained and exhausted. I got my finisher loot bag and shirt before I took a look at my Garmin watch.
GOAL ACHIEVED!! PRAISE GOD!
It definitely wasn't how you start the race but how it is finished! That's the important thing! I was quite happy with this time and I hope that it would be enough for next week's PF sub-60 10km.
I end with one other biblical verse:
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"- Philippians 4:13
THANK YOU LORD FOR EVERYTHING!!
Just when it felt hopeless, God allowed me to not only reach my goal pace but even be 2 seconds faster from it. Moreover, this is now my fastest half marathon race since 2010! With all the hurdles at the beginning, who would have expected this to happen this way? Definitely not me, but I am sure God knew and He gave me strength.
1km: 6:53, 2km: 6:45, 3km: 6:41, 4km: 7:03, 5km: 6:39, 6km: 6:34, 7km: 6:42, 8km: 7:05, 9km: 6:56, 10km: 10:43 (or as I call it- THE TOILET BREAK), 11km: 6:38, 12km: 7:00, 13km: 6:22, 14km: 6:17, 15km: 6:12, 16km: 6:15, 17km: 6:29, 18km: 5:57, 19km: 5:47, 20km: 6:17, 21km: 5:57, 0.15km: 5:16
Pre-run Nutrition: 1 bottle of Gatorade and 1 pineapple cake
Race nutrition: water and Gatorade throughout race. 1 Gu gel at 10-11km. A second gel was distributed at 16km to which I ate it.