At the very last minute (Thursday to be exact), I asked my friend Mon to register me for the Takbo Para Kay Ariel, a small race for the benefit of 2nd Lieutenant Ariel Toledo who had been diagnosed with cancer. I felt that I needed a real pick-me-upper to get me out of the minor rut I found myself in last week, so I thought of joining this 10k instead of training all by my lonesome in Alabang.
– This is what was parked in the Assembly Area. Sure way to beat your PR! –
At 6:00 a.m., I arrived at the assembly area in Villamor Airbase with the mindset that I was absolutely NOT going to race; I was going to run at a moderate pace and enjoy watching other runners huff and puff around me. I got the shock of my life when I learned that the 10k was called off. We were all running a 5k! Okay, what could I do then but employ Plan B…which was… uhm… to run as fast as I could.
By 6:15 a.m. I found myself doing—do not laugh—morning exercises alongside Anton and all the other runners at the grandstand. After jumping jacks, stretches, and jumping jacks again, we lined up at the starting line and we were off by 6:30 a.m.
Wow, I got off to a way too quick start. I was panting by 0.3 km… how pathetic! Less than a half kilometer into the run, Lance Armstrong tells me that my pace was 4.37 min/km—a pace that I knew I could not maintain unless I hitched a ride on a tricycle on the way back. I slowed down a wee bit to 4.50 min/km and maintained this pace except for times when I climbed hills (ooh, these were challenging little hills that I will be cursing until I hit the sack tonight!) and when I tried to leave competition behind.
The entire time, I set my eyes on chasing down one woman before me. Let’s call her Dark Horse because she ran with her hair down donning an all black outfit (No no no, she didn’t look like a horse! Such evil minds!) I knew there were just a handful of us women in the front pack but I had no high hopes of making it as first (perhaps only in my dreams) so my sole mission was to have this woman eat my dust. After seemingly endless attempts to catch up with her, I finally succeed and leave her behind. Aah, the sweet taste of victory! Before I can even raise my arms up in triumph, she blows in with a vengeance. Gosh, I must have made her terribly mad. She runs at breakneck speed like a raging bull… er that’s me… so perhaps like a zipping zebra or charging cheetah or… you get the point. I never ever catch up with her again.
I reach the finish line a few steps behind Dark Horse at 32.55 min. A very reliable source tells me (okay, it’s just my Nike+) that the distance was not 5k but around 6.8 km! (I don’t have the exact distance because I forgot to end my workout.) I came in at 5th place in the Women’s Category.
– Top 10 Men and Women. We all look so ecstatic, don’t you think? –
Before the awarding, I congratulate Dark Horse and learn that she has been running for 10 years. She says she’s much better at 42 kms. Oooh god, I won’t even go there. I learn too that she has a more approachable name, Daisy.
I leave the race with more than when I arrived. On one arm, I carry my prizes (a Petron bag and Unilever products) and, on the other, my free food (bread, water, banana, and a hard-boiled egg). I gained a few more running friends (Hi Odie, it was nice to meet you!) And, I carry a renewed sense of peace and calmness. I am not overly excited about my placing 5th nor am I glum about it. I was just happy to be running. Period.
– Happy day for Happy Feet. All women won: Me 5th, Chaia 9th (not in pic), Roselle 17th (2nd from left). From Right: Anton, Ben, and his friend –
– After the race, runners enjoy the free snacks –