Having slept close to midnight the previous night, I desperately needed my morning brew to get me up and about yesterday morning. So, despite the coffee ban I declared for myself in the previous post, I had half a cup of instant coffee with graham crackers for breakfast. (So much for all the planning!)
I arrived at the race venue, Cuenca Park at Ayala Alabang, a little after 6 a.m. frantic over my tardiness as I still had to register onsite. As I lined up at the registration booth, I was met by Coach Patrick Joson, the race organizer, who welcomed me with a smile, personally handing out my race packet even if I wasn’t sure he remembered me at all when I met him at Mizuno Run Club ages ago. Turns out, I had enough time to claim my free Yabang Pinoy mug and band, put this back in the car, run to bathroom (twice!) before heading out for the assembly area.
This was a relatively small race in a relaxed, light, and fun atmosphere. It was great to chat with running friends at the starting line almost forgetting at times that we were at a race, not a cocktail party. No worries from me as this was going to be a training run; my goal was to run an easy 6:00 min/km pace for the race and run additional miles at 6:30-7 to reach my total of 18.5 km for the day. The race started without fanfare, someone just yelled and we were off.
As we headed out towards Cuenca, I knew that my pacing plan—just like my coffee ban plan—had flown out the window. I was running at around 5:15, even reached a high of 4:27 during the first kilometer. I couldn’t help it. This was much too fun.
After a few kilometers, I was running 3rd behind two fast women runners. I don’t recall how long we were running in one straight line, but time flew here as I just tried my best to keep up with them. When the 2nd woman slowed down to drink, I crept up behind her to grab 2nd place. Before I could yell “Wooohooo!” in my mind, I realized I had made a terrible mistake. Now, I knew she would be breathing down my neck the entire time and I had to push harder. Argh!
Pretty soon, this strong lady runner swept past me and I placed 3rd again. For the rest of the race, I ran close behind her running at around 5:20 to 5:30. It was pretty much like this all throughout the race. Phoooey.
As we neared the finish, I recalled that Patrick had run the route the previous weekend and informed me early on that it was short of 10km, 8.8km to be exact. So, around 8km, I slowly increased my pace to chase after the 2nd woman. Unfortunately, she did the same. As we neared St. James Church, we both managed to outpace the 1st woman.
We were soon sprinting towards the finish and, judging by her good form, I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch up with her. I crossed the finish line with an official time of 46:43 mins. for 8.6 km (even shorter than Patrick’s measurement) with an average pace of 5:26 min/km.
Woah, by far, this was the most competitive race I had ever run. Quite ironic, since this was probably the smallest race I had ever joined. I never got the name of that fast woman runner, but I did congratulate her after the run. It was so much fun!
She won 1st place, while I grabbed 2nd. Wooohooo!
Instead of waiting for the awarding, I met up with JunC (who won 4th place…Congrats!) and Dindo for yet another 2 loops of the race course for our long run. We ran an additional 10km at an easy 7:15 average pace which allowed for great conversation about running and family life.
I ended the morning in high spirits. The 2nd place finish was great, but it was the long run sans injury that made me jump up for joy! Singapore here I come!
P.S. Sorry no photos. My long run was a priority that day.
Congrats to Patrick Joson for a great race! Water was overflowing. Next year, hopefully we can make it exactly 10k. 🙂
Congrats to Mark Parco for placing 3rd (?) and bringing home a ricecooker! Me-Anne, glad your back into running. Nice seeing you Tiffin, Joe, and Eric. Patrick, sana you joined! Idnod, it was nice to meet you even if I had to force your name out of you! To JunC and Dindo, long run again!