Thank goodness we didn’t get lost. Hubby and I are from the “province” of the South so racing in U.P. was akin to venturing out into the wild blue yonder—or shall I say maroon?
We arrived at the Runnex assembly area at around 5:30 a.m. giving me just enough time to line up at everyone’s favorite—the portalets. Soon after, I still had a few minutes to warm up and stretch. I was feeling some discomfort below the left knee which was making me feel anxious and frustrated.
As hubby and I were checking in, Coach Jo-Ar came to explain the route and reminded me for the nth time: “Pakiramdaman mo yung tuhod mo!” Yes Coach, I was not willing to waste weeks of rehab work for one race so this was definitely going to be a training run for me—a 7k training run, in fact, so I planned on running an additional 2k after the finish.
When the gun went off, I ran easy—overly cautious about the knee. According to my Garmin, my average pace for Km 1 was 5:49 min/km. Surprisingly, I felt no pain! Perhaps a go-signal from the heavens to go a wee bit faster? I eagerly complied.
By Km 2, I was averaging 5:28 and by Km 3 I was running at 5:18. The great thing about all this was that I was not tired nor out of breath. I felt like I was on a hard training run, not a race. So, I allowed my eyes to wander enjoying the beauty of U.P., the trees that shaded us, and the runners around me.
There were a couple of times I allowed myself to race. One with a girl probably a decade younger than me. She was definitely fitter than me, probably a college varsity player in a sport other than running. I chased her down and overtook her. She ran faster and passed by me. When time came for a small uphill, I sped up and didn’t see her after that. Thanks to those deadly stair climbs!
Then there was Mr. 10k guy who appeared from nowhere and ran by my side. I tried my best to leave him behind but he wouldn’t budge. After a few minutes, I was able to outpace him…at least I think so. And I thought to myself, “Yes, he got chicked! Woohoo!” But, I do have a feeling he overtook me at some point without my knowing.
By Km 4, I slowed to 5:38 but sped up again at the last km to average 5:17. I didn’t know when this race would end! “Why was I still running at 5 km?” I thought to myself (as I’m sure other 5kers where thinking.)
I ended the race at 31.20 according to my Garmin. Whhhaaaat?! Too slow! But, then again, I wasn’t focused on my time for this race. I went straight ahead to run another loop to finish my 7k, so I want to slap myself in the face for not peeking at the race distance. My guess is that it was around 5.6 km. Anyone had a Garmin at 5k to confirm?
This was another well-organized race for me. I especially liked the clock which had separate times for 10k, 5k, and 2.2k. Runners could also view the countdown to the start of their respective races. (Now, why can’t everyone use that?) I just wish the clock was bigger and right on top of the starting line for all eyes to see. Runners were also well-hydrated with Rush and mineral water bottles being distributed.
The only negative for me was the portalet. I hope someone thinks of a better alternative soon. I dread going in there before a race, moreso after! There was no dressing area for women (no race organizer ever offered one) so while the men easily change clothes in the car looking and smelling fresh after, women like me suffer in our drenched clothing hoping that we still look great despite the sweat dripping down our faces. Oh, and yes there was the extra half kilometer at the 5k.
Before leaving, I finally met my now ex-virtual acquaintance and now real world friend, Neville Manaois of the Pinoy Ultra Marathoners. He got me all excited about the ultramarathon training program and race that they’re planning and I can only hope I’ll have half the energy that he and his team have to run those ultras. (Thanks for the token, Neville!) It was also great to chat with Mark and Tiffin of Happy Feet again. I just love seeing couples run together.
– Me with hubby, Pinoy Ultramarathoner Neville M., Mark and Tiffin –
To Jhamfrens and Eric (Passion Runner), sorry we didn’t see each other! Next race nalang. Cat of Binan and friends, great to meet you. Master Mon and Beni V., nice seeing you again!