Until the night before, hubby and I were unsure of signing up for Bald Runner’s 32km Rizal Day Run. I knew I wanted to run, but for how long? I wasn’t quite sure what distance I could handle now that my body and brain are both in off season mode. I ran a 10k yesterday and it went fine, thank you. But, running past that distance is an entirely different story.
After much texting and thinking, hubby, Jun (The Solemates), and I decided to just go for the race. Thank God for onsite registration!
BURN BABY BURN!
The race was a no frills, no fanfare kind of event, which was just the kind of race I needed after all the glitz and gluttony of Christmas parties. There were a few hundred participants (most of them training for Bataan Death March), a minimalist set up, and a very simple race route: 7k loop to be run 4 times plus an additional 4k to cover 32km around Camp Aguinaldo. The race started and ended at the Camp Aguinaldo Grandstand.
My goal for this race was simple: Have fun! With one foot recovering from NYC Marathon and another foot still deep into holiday festivities, I respected my body enough to know that it wasn’t ready for any pushing and prodding. My plan was to run a minimum of 21k (I had no qualms about a possible DNF by the 3rd loop) yet still try to cover 32k if I felt strong enough.
TIRED AT 10
I thoroughly enjoyed running on the asphalted, quiet roads of Camp Aguinaldo (it was my first time!). Running at the crack of dawn before the rest of the world woke up made it even more enchanting. For a while, it was even relaxing with the cool weather and a soft breeze blowing on our faces every now and then.
But, with the cool weather, it took around 2km for my legs to warm up. Then, after around 5k more, I was actually feeling a little bit tired. Alarms started ringing in my ear. Could it be the lack of sleep? The extra weight? The tight compression socks? The lack of training? The fast 10k run the day before? It could’ve been all of the above! All I knew was that I felt tired earlier than usual and it wasn’t good.
Looped courses can be a double-edged sword. It’s good because it’s simple and easy to understand, one’s chances of getting lost is minimal. You also know what to expect after the first loop. But, it’s a course that plays with your mind and tempts you at every single turn to quit, quit, quit. It requires a lot of self-discipline and willpower to say NO when your legs start feeling numb, your throat is dry, and your tummy starts growling and your car starts beckoning for you to just head home.
I passed the grandstand at 7k and stopped for a bathroom break and change of shoes. I initially used my Brooks Glycerin 8, which was a half size too small for me, so I switched to my trusty ol’ Nike Lunar Glide 1 to avoid killing another toenail. Good thing I brought it as backup.
By the 2nd loop, at 14k, I passed the grandstand again for yet another bathroom break. This time, I had a chance to exchange a few words with Bald Runner before we sped off again. I was tired, yet I plodded on again resisting the temptation to quit.
By the 3rd loop, at 21k, hubby, Jun and I were exhausted. Hubby stopped at this point since he had covered a much too high mileage for the entire week. Jun and I pushed forward, forcing our bodies to deal with the pain and allowing ourselves to run/walk through the course. Somewhere in the middle I remember yelling “This is tougher than a 42k!”
GOING FOR 4
Jun and I reached the 4th loop at 28k and I was ready to head back to the car. Then, we thought we should go for a solid number and hit 30k despite my wooden legs and throbbing big toe. So, we ran down towards the end of the road and climbed back up the last ascent before heading back into the grandstand. We reached 29.4 km, a few meters short of 30k. We could’ve covered the last 2k, but we didn’t.
DNF at 30k for the last race of the year! At that time, it seemed like a wise decision. But, an hour or two later, I wondered what the hell we were thinking. 2k more and we didn’t finish it. I wanted to yank my shoes out and hit myself over the head with it. What kind of endurance athletes are we? What a dumb mistake. What a way to end the year. But hey, I’m not being too hard on myself just yet. After all, there’s still 4 more days to 2010 to make up for it.