After two consecutive Sundays of driving to the far ends of the Metro, I find myself plopped in the bedroom devouring the last pages of ‘Kitchen Confidential’ (by the very acerbic and clever Anthony Bourdain so expect some tongue-in-cheek prose from hereon in). Not that I’m slowing down. Since last Sunday, Dave and I have been trying to pack in the miles along our newly hyperextended training route (around 8.3 kms from 4.4) but we still have to exceed my set goal of 50 kms per week. So far, it’s just 36 kms since Sunday. And the Nuvali 50km and Manila Marathon clocks are ticking fast. I know I shouldn’t be making excuses but the erratic weather has been disturbing my sleeping patterns and my sensitive respiratory system, developing into a near flu last week.
Anyway, I was a lot better when I drove down South last May 15 upon the invitation of Kassy Pajarillo’s group, the Lifeline Foundation, to participate in the 2ndedition of Run4Life which aims to raise funds for their many causes – cancer patients, education, outreach programs. Sorry, I’m a sucker for these part time social workers who really work their ass off in helping the less-fortunate of our brothers and sisters. Perhaps, one reason I’ve stayed a Rotarian.
I woke up at 3 am, fetched a fellow runner, Carl Balagot along Marcos highway on our long sojourn to the South end. That’s in East Gate, Alabang, Muntinlupa. With me behind the wheels, we wiz by C5 and SLEX and were in the starting block by 5 am. It’s a small group consisting of around 1,000 (a trickle of the running world which have all assembled at BGC to ogle over Dingdong Dantes and company) with around 300 of us shooting out of the starting line at 5:20 am. Seeing a thin bunch of runners, I had visions of a podium finish (2nd, perhaps) swirling in my head. It’s my first speed run after BDM 102 so I was quite fired up joining the front liners. A little over the 1stkilometer, I started feeling difficulty with our pacing and breathing.
The road was very leisurely and verdant circling around the rich enclaves of Alabang with minor hills or descents. Soon enough veterans like Ton Concepcion, Jonel Mendoza and the gleamingly tanned Vicky Ras were running past me. Around the Festival Mall area, the continuous running had deteriorated to jogs and walks. It’s quite frustrating as I had barely passed the halfway point.
The final return featured a lot of short walks and sudden runs. Since I was nursing a mild flu, my body was beading with sweat all over but they were cold and clammy, 2 adjectives in medical books to describe sweating when one is experiencing hypoglycemia and worse, a heart attack. I knew I had to take it easy as this is the first time I’ve experienced this on my many races.
The road seemed to go on forever and all the motivation from my MP3 player and memories of BDM just won’t push me to fly to a rousing finish. On our way home, Carl was also recalling his own not-so-impressive performance. We could only point out one culprit – our lack of long runs during weekends. Oh well, next time.
The chance to redeem one self came only a week after. Ron Provido, suddenly dangled free run entries for the Greentenial Run happening on May 22 at MOA area among Team Boring members. And it’s the same distance – 16 kms, even if the maximum distance was the 21-km category.
Another early morning drive and I’m at the Starting Line with Team Boring ready to take off and maybe correct last week’s anomaly. My opening 2 kms had me pacing with Topher under a cool and slightly cloudy weather – so far, so good. Later, I was sandwich between two Boring peeps – Doc Maya and Paolo maintaining a pace of 7 mins/ km.
The breathing was still continuous but I’ve managed to adjust and keep up with our group. Soon enough, the sun started coming out and spraying heat all over. Water was all over – whether from a fire truck or the many stations so I hardly had any pangs of dryness and thirst.
In the final kilometers, Paolo kept up with the fast pace leaving me and Maya to conquer the last leg. Later on, I went a little faster and left Maya behind. The finish had me sprinting a bit with a jump shot on the final 200 meters.
I felt I had finished at a faster time but the clock indicated 1:39 (while in Run4Life, it’s 1:38). I turns out Run4Life is .4 kms short while Greentenial is .2 kms longer. But I’m quite happy with my improvement even if it’s 1 minute longer. The satisfaction of crossing that finish line, smiling and dashing like the Flash sure beats that (after-race) nagging feeling of barely running, panting, nearly collapsing finish. Now got to rev up on my speed and burn more miles – the long races are just across the horizon.
The awesome pictures are courtesy of Carl Balagot, Leilani Seculles and the albums of Run4Life and Greentenial.