TBR Review: Run with M.E.
Organizer: Ateneo Management Engineering Alumni
Venue: Ateneo de Manila
– Challenging course: a mix of ascents and descents on the road, rocks, and a run through the Ateneo Highschool field
– Ample supply of water at stations
– Directional signs and race course marshals
– No singlet but was announced early on as funds were directed to the beneficiary: 40 scholars
BETTER JOB NEXT TIME:
– Race start mixed runners of all distances
– Narrow strip of road climbing up from the gym
– Long lines to claim free shirts given to the top 50 finishers for each race distance
Run with M.E. was a relatively small race with around 1,000 runners showing up for the event. The usual spoils of a bigger event were not available, and rightfully so since this race was a fund raising event to send 40 scholars to school. Despite the limited budget, organizers successfully provided runners with an enjoyable event covering basic requirements for a good race. The atmosphere was more laid-back and friendly, less hectic than the more commercialized races, but just as fun. Congratulations to the Ateneo M.E. Alumni! I hope you make this an annual event.
It was 1996. My best friend and I joined the Ateneo Taekwondo Team to obtain exemption from P.E. classes. One training day, our coach surprised us with a new warm up: one run around school grounds. My best friend was a smoker while I never smoked a cigarette in my life (and I never will.) But, there we were, both gasping for air as the rest of our team mates happily jogged along. That was the last time I ran in Ateneo.
Yesterday morning, I found myself at the starting line of Run with M.E. ready to conquer the roads that once challenged me. I was near the front of the starting line along with my hubby and right behind the elites. The race organizer announced that 5k would go first, 10k and 3k would follow. Perhaps we were busy chatting or we were too excited to run, but when the gun was fired, it was only then that we realized that were running the 10k and we shouldn’t have been there! So, we ran a few steps forward to let the 5k run their race, laughed about our foolish mistake, and made our way back to the starting line for our real start.
When the race started, I didn’t have a plan. Nothing, nada, zilch. Then, my Garmin—whose software I updated the night before thanks to good friend Alvin’s advice—died once again. I relied on my Nike+ Sportsband instead, but couldn’t quite read see the pace as I was maneuvering the slippery, scary roads. So, my impromptu plan was to give 90% effort: fast but not the vomit-at-the-end-of-the-race fast.
We ran downhill towards the gym and up again a very narrow, rocky path. Then, we ran on the main road that led us to Ateneo High School. As I was running, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic about my fun and carefree college days. I passed our old hangout, the cafeteria, and even those far off classrooms at Bellarmine Hall which I deplored walking to (as if it was so far!) Then, I spotted my old Theology teacher, Fr. Dacanay. I called out his name and he stared at me blankly. I yelled out “Old student!” in between breaths and he smiled back. If I had more time, I would’ve stopped to remind him that I was the student who arrived late for class and, in front of everyone, he ordered me to get out because no late comers were allowed. How embarrassing, but I loved him still.
My favorite part of the race was the run around the high school soccer field. It was unique for a race and a good break from the tough roads. After one loop, we ran on the road again and made our way back towards the Blue Eagle gym for another 5k loop.
By 5k, I was exhausted. It was due to lack of training, really. But, I pushed myself and focused on finishing the race at almost the same pace as I had started.
As I ran around the same loop again, nostalgia took a backseat. I was already tired and out of breath. I stopped at every water station to sip water and pushed myself forward again. The second half of the race came and went quickly. I basically shut my eyes to run as fast as I could.
I finished the race at exactly 53 minutes for a distance of 9.07km according to my Nike+ Sportsband. Hubby’s Garmin says it was 9.67km while my friend Harry’s Polar registered 9.33km. Not bad at all for an overly sentimental runner who hasn’t done any speedwork in weeks.