This was my first time to join this half marathon challenge. With Pinoy Fitness races, you not only have to have the endurance to finish the distance but the speed as well to complete the race within the cut-off time. Early this year I was able to complete the sub-60 Pinoy Fitness 10km. It was my most pressured 10km race and it took a lot of weeks of preparation just to make sure I am able to cross the finish line in under one hour and get the medal.
Same goes for the Half Marathon race. They had three categories: sub-2 2XU which is impossible for me, sub-2:30 which is possible but not 100% sure and the sub-3:00, which is definitely doable for me. Aside from this, gold medals are given out for the first 300 finishers for each category.
I wanted to join this race but didn't know whether I wanted to do the sub-2:30 category and train hard for it or take the easier route via the sub-3 category and try to aim for the gold medal. That could also give me a fast time with minimum risk of not getting a medal should some thing unforeseen happen during the race. But I realized that if I took the sub-3 category then I am not challenging myself. So last month I took the plunge and registered myself for the sub-2:30 category, paid Php 1,000 and got my race kit.
As an added bonus, the medal for 2:30 category is bigger than the 3:00 one (about half inch bigger I think).
My training is to do short 8-10km runs at average pace of 7:00 and I also joined the New Balance 25km to build endurance. I did well in New Balance
so that helped build confidence for this race.
The gun start was at 4:35am and I left the house early as going to MOA is always unpredictable: sudden traffic jams due to roadwork, long lines for parking, need to search for toilet. Logistics was a problem and unlike other Half Marathons where i can be late, I can't afford that luxury here! Being 5 minutes late here can spell the difference between me getting a finisher medal or not as they based it on the gun time of the race!
Thank goodness God guided me and I was able to park in a place where there were no lines, found a toilet I can use and no traffic whatsoever in Edsa! Praise God!
I got to the starting line at 4:30am, just in time to see the first wave of fast sub-2 runners go off.
Then it was our turn to be at the starting line. This is it!
The route for this Half Marathon consists of two loops, made up of four turns around the area. My strategy is to go at 7 minute pace for the first loop, which is my target pace for this race and if I am feeling good, to go faster on the second loop.
I had hoped this race would be easier for me given its flat route and that I had a good time in last week's New Balance 25km race, which was hillier and longer! But that wasn't to be as I was struggling in this race.
I took GU gel at 12km and at 17km. No banana stations here but didn't plan to eat this as that is additional time that I can't afford to waste. There were a few Pocari Sweat stations so that posed a challenge for me as water wasn't enough for this race. Luckily I have an extra GU gels for emergency use (which didn't end up using).
Thank God that on the second loop I was able to go faster and went at 6:35 pace during that time. So that brought my average pace down and gave me more allowance for a sub 2:30.
But I was getting exhausted. Just two km more...
And then it was there, the final turn to the finish line!
Thank God For this race and for helping me make it! I was praying at various times in the race and I felt God was with me all the time. I was never truly alone in this race.
The sub 2:30 medal was put around my neck and I headed to the finisher kits area but with the long line there, I went first to the PF booth so I can get my self imposed reward: PF Trucker's cap for Php 250!
I was prepared to buy it and had money with me during the duration of this race. After getting the cap, I went back to the finisher kits area where it was a loonng wait before I got my finisher shirt. But I am not complaining as got my qualified time, medal and trucker's cap. To God be the Glory!
Awesome medal! To Him I dedicate this prize!
Note: race results and photos are now out via Pinoy Fitness website and their facebook page