The Yakult 10-miler. A must-run race for me. As early as May, I had set my eyes on this 16km race as the best distance for me to challenge my body before aiming for a half-marathon. I was going to join this. I had to partake of this. Unfortunately, due to my moody knee (one day he’s fine, the next his injured) my one chance to join Yakult this year was shattered. Unwilling to pass up this race, I registered for the 5km instead.
I arrived at the CCP Complex at 5:10 a.m., way too early for a 6 a.m. run and a 5km at that. Frankly, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about this 5km run, but after skipping Milo and Animo, I desperately needed to feed my hunger for a road race.
So, there I was, half awake (or half asleep) chatting with friends from Happy Feet, Mon, Ben, Joms, and Aljo, and meeting Oknoy and Jan for the first time. I was definitely keeping an eye out for Monica who had registered for me. (Thanks again, Monica!) Wait a minute, where were all the Happy Feet women anyway?
– Renz, Ben, Coach Rio, and Joms –
By the time I found Monica and received my race packet, I only had 10 minutes before the gun was fired. It was only a few minutes before we started running that friends pointed out I had a 16km bib on. Oh no, please no. Yes, they agreed in chorus. After two past races where I was listed as MALE in the final results due to registration errors, I was pretty much resigned to the fact that this would be the third race where I would again not be officially listed correctly. Oh well, at least I would definitely be 1st place for 16km with a time below 30 minutes. Hah!
Once we started, I went out too fast. I remember glancing at my pace and seeing a number 4 as the first digit, so after making a left along Roxas Boulevard, I came to my senses and slowed down a wee bit. I ran a hard yet comfy 5 to 5:15 min/km pace which I was sure I could maintain all throughout with enough energy to perhaps speed up the last few meters.
At around 2 km, I found myself running behind a tall, medium-built man who stood out from the crowd despite the low profile he tried to keep. At first I thought he was a foreigner. Then, it hit me like a thunderbolt…or more like a blessing from the god of all things running. By golly, it was no other than Fernando Zobel in the flesh! Little ol’ me was running behind my highschool (or more like working girl) crush of all crushes!
Mind you, I am a happily married woman who is fiercely loyal to the hubby, but a dash of wholesome infatuation over Fernando on the side makes life more meaningful, right? Now, I’m not one of those girls who shrieks and sighs over her crushes. That is way too childish for The Bull Runner. I simply let out a little “Oh my god! It’s him!” deep inside, blushed a little bit, then proceeded to attempt to outrun this crush of mine. I failed miserably. This man stayed fast and focused and would not let me “chick” him. Way to go, Fernando!
To be honest with you, that encounter was the highlight of my run. When Fernando left me behind after the 2.5 km turnaround, I basically maintained a steady pace with an almost tipsy smile on my face. My knee didn’t bother me at all, probably due to the distraction or inspiration that Fernando so generously provided.
I ended the run at 26.04 mins. According to the official results which I received just now (thanks Patrick!), I actually came in 5th! This calls for two Yahoos! One “Yahoo!” for 5th place. Another “Yahoo!” for Yakult actually counting me in despite my wrong race bib. Oh, one “Yeeehah” for running alongside Fernando.