Now that was a fine race. Let me rephrase that: it was one helluva race. This may just be rookie talk but truly for me it was the most well-organized and orderly of the mere five races I’ve joined so far. You gotta hand it to Adidas and RACE for taking care of us runners. From pre-registration (when will we ever stop talking about those red singlets?) to its start (aaaaw, did tears not well up in your eyes as you listened to the national anthem against the backdrop of a beautiful sunrise?) until its finish (or at least my own finish since I left before awarding started), I would say that almost everything was well-prepared for. The minor bumps along the road—long lines at the portalet and the wait at the baggage check-in—were exactly those: minor little flaws that I overlooked once I heard the oh so romantic and deep voice of that host!
– Err…next time, can someone please remind me not to come this early? –
So, anyway, there we were—Annie and I—impatiently waiting for the race to start as we stood just a few rows behind the starting line along with the sea of runners in red who were, needless to say, impatient as well. At exactly 6 a.m. the gun was fired and we were off. After making a right from the starting line towards Roxas Boulevard, I knew the route would be pretty simple. It would be straight, straight, straight, climb up and roll down the Buendia flyover, hit the 10k turnaround, climb up and roll down the Buendia flyeover, straight until you make a left back into the Quirino Grandstand. Soon after my brain had absorbed all that (which was just a few seconds, mind you!), Annie had skipped ahead…uhm…way ahead.
I ran at my own pace (around 75% effort if Coach B asked me) but, after a few minutes, doubts seeped into my brain if I could even keep this up. I had slept at 11:45 the night before (coming from a 10-hour road trip from Pangasinan) so I thought I could forgive myself for not breaking PR on this race. After all, I had a good excuse! Before these evil thoughts could get any further, I cleared my mind and focused on the race. Just enjoy it, I thought. If I get tired, I could always slow down. If I don’t break my PR, i’ll try again next time (although I would curse myself for weeks.) With that, I kept my pace steady, chatted with Renz, checked out the view in what was to me unfamiliar grounds, and relaxed. Surprisingly—and guys this is going to be dull and boring—but the entire run was smooth sailing for me. Why, even the Buendia flyover, which made me shudder when I saw it from afar, posed less of a challenge than I initially expected. As I climbed the hill, I could almost hear Coach B whispering “slow down, take shorter strides” and that’s exactly what I did. As always, rolling down freely with my arms outstretched was my favorite part. When I hit the 10k turnaround, I felt like I got my second wind with a sudden burst of energy pushing me further. So, off I went with the gusto of a runner who had just started a race. The last part of the 5k was quick as I remember it. I just ran, and ran, and ran and I loved it. Aaack, I so loved it! Before I knew it, it was over.
I checked the time and I was ecstatic: 56 minutes 27 seconds. I broke my PR. I shaved off a whopping 4 minutes! Wooohooo! “Yeah, I AM the Queen of the Road!” I exclaimed…to myself…silently…so no other runner would think I was crazy.
– Runners make their way to the finish –
– All queued up at the Finish Line –
– With Mars, a highschool batchmate I hadn’t seen since…uhm..highschool. See you at more races, Mars!
Before leaving, Hitme (and his macho driver) arrived bearing gifts. The best gift any runner could receive: a bundle of Runners World magazines! Truly, this man must be called “Running Santa” for his generosity, jolly disposition, and good choice of presents! Hitme, no, it’s not because of the tummy!
– Hitme’s driver delivering my stash of Runners World Magazines! Doesn’t he look like Rudolph? –
Driving home from the race, Annie texts me announcing great news: she won first place for 10k in her age group! I couldn’t be happier for the bestest running buddy one could have! I could go on and on about Annie, but I’ll save that for another post. For now, I shall reluctantly but humbly pass on my crown to Annie as the official Adidas Queen of the Road for 10k. As if I ever had the title anyway!
– With Annie, winner of her age group for 10k with a time of 47.43, and her friend Rose –
Winners of the Adidas King of The Road 21k:
Men’s Category: Eduardo Buenavista 1:07:28
Women’s Category: Jho-An Banayag 1:19:17