Yesterday was a big day for me. “Big” because it was my first 10k ever…hmmm perhaps I should’ve used the word “long”?
I arrived at the scene of the Champion Run at 5:30 a.m. giving me just enough time to do my warm-ups—some dynamic stretching techniques taught by Coach B followed by a quick run to the little girls’ room. That counts as a warm up, right? I bade my hubby and son goodbye (both came for moral support…ack, who am I kidding? I begged my hubby to come as my official photographer) then I slipped into the sea of runners impatiently waiting at the starting line right across Jollibee at The Fort.
The crowd that showed up on this sunny Sunday morning was an enthusiastic and happy lot—aren’t runners that way all the time? Most were men (well, a whole lot of them were PNP cadets) and I would say that majority of the registrants were serious runners who knew their stuff. Soon after the National Anthem, at around 6:10 a.m., we were off.
It was literally a mad rush to get out of the pack. Runners were scrambling to secure their own space, overtake the slower ones, or find and sustain a steady pace. I knew it was wrong for me to run like a bull at this point, so I kept my pace at around 65-70% effort with some bouts of power followed by short recovery periods every now and then. The first 5k of the course from the starting line till the end of Manila American Cemetery at the end of C5 road was relatively easy for me. I savoured the downhill runs and immensely enjoyed the idea of gravity doing all the work for me at that point. Passing by the water stations, I made a mental note to stop at one on the way back since it was located at the bottom of an uphill climb. At around 4.5k, I saw a couple of friends heading back already: Sen. Pia Cayetano, an accomplished triathlete who probably eats 10ks for breakfast, and Annie, my running group buddy who never seems to run out of energy (she can teach a spin class right after our 10k training runs!) Physically, I was still alright, but mentally I was getting a bit nervous about the thought of climbing up all the hills I had previously rolled down from.
Upon reaching the 10k turnaround, I felt like I still had a lot of energy left, but I needed water badly. I knew where the water stations were located so these became my goals—much like a dehydrated madman searching for water in a desert. I pushed myself hard and thought positive. When I saw hills, I reminded myself of our training runs in Cuenca Street in Ayala Alabang when I initially thought I couldn’t climb such a steep hill but surprised myself when I did so with ease. When I was tempted to walk, I reprimanded myself and said “No way you’re walking. Just run slowly until you recover.” With some patience and persistence, there it was…the next water station. Aaaah, at last! As I was about to line up for a glass, I was completely shocked to see (almost in slow motion, I tell you) one man pouring what was left of the water over his head. Just like a mirage, all the water was gone! Thirsty, tired runners were screaming “Tubig!” (“Water!”) repeatedly but no water came. OMG! When I reached the next water station, why was I not surprised that there was no water either? I was too thirsty to complain. Needless to say, I, and hundreds of other runners, ran the last 5k with nothing but willpower.
When I saw the finish line ahead of me, I was ecstatic. I gave it my all and ran as fast as I could. Boy, did I miscalculate the length of that road because I certainly did not have the energy reserves (nor enough training) to run a sprint that long. With a dry throat and tired legs, I forgot about everything and just went for it. Before I knew it, I crossed the finish line.
My goal: 1 hour. My time: 1:00:53. I was seconds shy of not reaching my time. But, sigh…I did it! Now, when’s the next 10k again?