Before the roosters crowed, at around 5 a.m. yesterday, a large number of giddy runners, including myself, had gathered at NBC Tent for the VSO Bahaginan Run. After two short trips to the rest room, I made my way to the assembly area in search of my training group for our 15km run. JunC, Jay, Dindo, Dra. Doray, Levy and I had agreed to run together at a relaxed 6 min/km pace for this run. At such an early time, I wondered if I’d ever find them in the dark. Good thing Levy is a runner/triathlete stuck in a basketball player’s body so I caught sight of him first. Pretty soon, the others appeared; we were complete.
I almost regretted waking up early for this race, as it started 20 mins. late at 5:50 a.m. instead of the 5:30 call time. However, the long wait gave me the opportunity to finally meet Wayne (who just flew in from SF), Nora (truly the golden girl because her mere presence lights up the room, or in this case, the road) and other runner friends that were just everywhere!
The course was similar to Mizuno and Nike Human Race’s course; in a word, it was challenging. By now, most of us know that when McKinley Hill is included in the map, one should take extra steps to train well for the race, plus make the Sign of the Cross soon after the gun is fired.
When the race started, our group stuck like glue running out of Bonifacio Global City. As soon as we made our way to Lawton, however, we had split into two. For the most part though, we managed to stay within our goal pace running at around 6 to 6:20 all throughout the run. Running with a group made the entire 15km more enjoyable and a lot less gruesome. Chatting was light and free-flowing with exceptions in the uphill portions and last few kilometers of the race where all talk had stopped (either we ran out of stories or energy—you decide.)
The organizers did a good job as well to make the race as pleasant as possible. Water was overflowing as is always the case when it’s organized by Coach Rio. Half of the road was closed so there was less traffic than usual to contend with. Large and accurate mile markers were also placed along the road to remind us 15km runners that we still had a long, long way to go before we reached the finish…hah!
As for me, everything went smoothly. The only nightmarish incident I (and other squeamish runners) faced was the last kilometer’s veritable obstacle course where hundreds of higads hung from trees waiting to pounce on our sweaty faces. Aaaack! Thanks to good samaritan Mark Parco who warned us all about our entrance into higad territory. I was ready to get run over by a car rather than have a higad land on my face!
According to my Garmin, I ended my 15 km run (exact measurement from organizers…great job) at 1:33:14 with a pace of 6:11 min/km. After crossing the finish, I took a few gulps of water, had a few photos taken with Nora and Bald Runner, and run off to the comfort room for a quick change before our 2nd portion of the run.
– With superfast women, Annie (3rd place 15k) and Lala –
– With my favorite coach, Coach JoAr. You have to check out Photographer Ben’s cool photos of him here –
Within 5 to 10 mins, JunC, Jay, Dindo and I began our next run at a slower 7 to 7:30 min/km pace. My goal was to run a total of 22 km and initially I thought I could do it. However, after one loop around Market! Market!, with the sun beating down on us at 7:40 a.m., I decided to call it a day a little before 2km. My total for the day was 17km.
When I got home, I wanted to slap myself in the face for making the impulsive and foolish decision to quit with only 5km to go before I reached my goal. Argggh. Sayang! Oh well, I stopped beating myself up for it this morning when I woke up with a sore left thigh; I guess it’s good I got some rest in preparation for NB 25 next week. As for how I’m going to finish 25km with only 20km as my highest mileage ever is a question that I have yet to answer…gulp.
– Nowadays, once you take out a cam, everyone just comes running! In this photo: (FRONT ROW L to R) Coach JoAr, Vince, Coach Rio, Mark P., Master John Ting. (BACK L to R) Taki, TBR, Jaimie, Zinnia, Philip, Glenn, Tiffin, Mon, Ipe, and two other running friends. –