Tuesday, September 27, 2016

New PR... at being late! (SMDC 21km race)

I haven't join any road races since the 40th edition of Milo Marathon last July.  My running has been reduced to two short runs in a week. And yet I have the final leg for Run United coming up soon and I needed to do a little training for that.

I was able to increase my long run from 10km to 16km.  With SMDC's 21km race kits still available at Chris Sports branches, I signed up for it to see how
I would fare on this distance.  My goal was slow and easy for the most part and just re-assess on last 5km.

The gun start for the race was moved to 4:15am from the original gun start time of 4:00am but that didn't help me as I turned off both alarm clocks and went back to sleep!  The next time I woke up it was already 4:45am!

Wow, 30 minutes late! The best solution is to go back to sleep or just run on my own.  But no, I quickly dressed up and drove myself to Mall of Asia.  I don't see any runners on the road!  Have they opened up the roads for vehicles? Oh man, what do I do now?

By the time I parked my car, it was already 5:15am, an hour after my race had started.  Is the starting line still up?  Will they allow me to run?  All these questions in my head as I jogged to the starting line.  

Thank goodness the starting line was still assembled and there were some runners near there.  As I peered at some of their bibs, I saw that they were running the 5km distance.  So at least I wasn't by myself on the road.

As I ran with the 5km runners, I was thinking whether I should just stick with the 5km route but I felt it was too short for me.  

A little bit further down the road, I saw some 10km runners.  Well, this was a group I could follow next.  It won't be so bad if I ran with the 10km runners as distance wasn't that short.

But then how would I explain to marshals at the finish line that I did only 10km.  How can I justify getting the finisher medal or shirt?  I would look like a cheat claiming these things. 

So as the 10km runners made a U Turn at the 5km mark and headed back to where the Starting/Finish line was, I kept going.

And this was the hard part as there weren't any runners on my side of the road.  It was empty except for a few marshals whom I assumed were surprised to see a runner at 6-7km mark, nearing 2 hours from the gun start!

I was embarrassed to be on the road by myself and even uttered sorry a few times to the marshals who saw me.  Praise God for these marshals as rather than giving me disappointing looks, they were actually cheering me on.  One even said how daunting my distance was.  To them I must have looked super slow but they didn't show this and instead encouraged me to keep on going.

I saw a lot of 21km runners but they were all heading back to the finish line while I was the lone runner on the rightside of Buendia Avenue.  They were some who saw me on the road and I was embarrased to look back.

With this situation, I didn't or couldn't slow down as I wanted to catch up with some runners if such a thing was possible.  I also wanted marshals to finish their work and not wait on me anymore.  So I kept running (and on an empty stomach too).

I took my first GU gel at 9km mark as I headed toward lonely Kalayaan Bridge. At this point, I was able to overtake three women runners who seemed to have gotten late for this race too.  I was consoled knowing that I wasn't alone in this race anymore.  But I still wanted to see more runners.

And I did...eventually.

I was able to overtake a few runners on Buendia Avenue as they were hurting and were walking on the road.  

I had my second GU gel and kept going, even skipping the banana stations as figured it would lose precious time for me.  

Some water stations were closed and I had to request for some drink from the marshals which they obliged with no complaint whatsoever.

The sun was up by this time and it was getting warm.  At 18-19km there were more runners and I was glad I wasn't by myself.  Water stations were open at this area and got to drink some water before I kept going.

I crossed the finish line, tired and exhausted but also happy that I didn't give up at any time during and before this race.

And I got my finisher medal and shirt afterwards.

Congrats to Leadpack.ph for a well executed race and thank you marshals for the encouragement.  Most of all, thank YOU LORD for giving me a chance to do this race.

Chip time: 2:28:06
Gun time: i guess 3:35 ish!
Pace: 7:01

Results are posted now