This was undoubtedly an Adidas race. It was deja vu for me as little race details brought back memories of the Adidas KOTR—from the previously well-received red race singlets (only with a Run For Love stamp at the back) to the banners and streamers that lined the start/finish line. Perhaps the glaring difference was the significantly smaller number of participants who waited for the race to start. This was understandable though as this was not a “race” but a fun run for the benefit of Gawad Kalinga. Had I not seen other runners wearing their race bibs, I would’ve thought I mistakenly stumbled upon a fair as booths, a huge stage, and even a kiddie area was set up for the Gawad Kalinga expo.
I lined up at the starting line chatting with other Happy Feet members—Chai, Roselle, and Renz—and other new runner friends, Lala and Ina. Before we knew it, the run had started in an almost calm, happy send off. No firing of the gun to jolt our bodies and awaken the competitive spirit within us. Is that a good thing? I don’t know.
This was a run I strategized over the day before. My goal was 47 mins. (I wanted to break my 46:57 PR at Run To Bring Hope, which technically should be around 48-49 mins since distance was below 10k.) So, to achieve this, I needed to reach an average pace of 4:42. Of course, I planned on negative splits so I was aiming for a pace between 5 to 5:30 in the first 2km, then up it to 4:50 km (a pace I knew I would be comfortable in) and speed up to 4:40 near the end. Being a newbie with competitive racing, I wasn’t sure if this was the right thing to do or if this would really allow me to break my PR, but it sounded like a good plan (hah!) so that’s what I kept in mind as I ran through the course.
I started out slow trying my best not to compete with the faster paced runners around. My legs were a little bit stiff so I didn’t have much choice anyway. By around 2km, as I found my rhythm, I increased the pace and started enjoying the run. I focused on my form applying lessons from my recent training with Ige Lopez and even a few tips from Jujet de Asis during last Thursday’s Mizuno Run Club. Boy, did their tips make a significant difference! I felt stronger and more confident. I was pretty sure I could follow through with my strategy for this race.
As I passed the 5km mark, I checked my watch to find my time at 25 mins. so I knew I had to go a little bit faster to reach my goal. Then, a race personnel shouted out at me “Pangatlo ka!” (You’re third!) which hit me like a much-needed shot of adrenaline. Inspired, I pushed harder with a smile since this was the first time I had ever gone this close to the front.
Okay, inspiration could only get me so far. By 7-8km, I was feeling exhausted. I was definitely running at a 5:00 pace below my 4:45 goal. So much for negative splits! All I could think of by this time was the end. I would be happy to just maintain this pace. Hang on, I thought. Just a little bit more now.
Boy, was I wrong. At 10km, I was surprised to find myself still running. As I ran closer to what I thought was the finish line, I was shocked to discover that we had to run past it and make a u-turn to reach it. Nooooooo! I didn’t know how much more energy I had left in me to maintain my pace.
I glanced at the man beside me and was surprised to see a familiar face; it was the same guy at Adidas KOTR who, at the finish line, shook my hand and said he was chasing me down because he would not let a woman ran past him. I then replied in spite (but with a charming smile) “Well, I would not let a man ran past me either.” Hah!
In between breaths, I told him in tagalog “Hey, it’s you again. This is such a long race.” He replied, without giving in to my negativity, “Tapusin mo! Tapusin mo!” with as much gusto as Freddy Roach coaching Manny Pacquiao. I gathered the little energy I had left to put more power into my legs and pick up the pace. I crossed the finish line at exactly 55 minutes. The distance was 11.2 km.
– Runners line up at the finish –
I asked the race person what place I came in at and he said he didn’t know. Duh. I didn’t recall any female passing me after the 5km mark, so I could only surmise I kept my place at 3rd. Of course, it’s nothing official until the results are released. This was a fun run, so there were no awards at the end. We all just parted ways in peace after a gruelling (but absolutely fun) run.
At exactly 10km, my time would have been around 49 mins. Placing in a suspected 3rd was just a bonus. I didn’t break my PR, but I’m still happy with my time. I gave it a good fight and that is something to smile about.
– with Happy Feet –