Since the final week of April to early June of 2014, we’ve been training and working out like hell (via the Milo R2 Running School) with our eyes trained on the big day of 27 July 2014 – The 38th Milo Marathon, my 15th full marathon. We peppered our training with biweekly Payasso speeds (a month before) and some official races (RU2 32KM, Soleus Nuvali Trail Run 50KM, etc.).
Days before, even in the face of restlessness due to tapering and decrease in physical activities, I was savoring 8-hour sleeps and eating quite prodigiously so I was confident I had the factors of a strong performance by my side. Did I mention that the Manila Bay weather was the perfect nippy kind? So at 3 am by the starting line, I was confident of nailing this race and qualify for the Milo Finals at 4:10 or faster.
The starting line was brimming with hope (this year’s qualifying times have been increased by 10 minutes) and electrified as we set out around the reclaimed area into Roxas boulevard, leading towards KM0 (Rizal Monument) then heading towards the Uniwide area then back into Buendia Ave. Van and I paced each other for a good 6 kilometers before he took off with me just a few meters away. It would be this way until KM26. At 54 minutes, I finished my first 10 kms. while reaching the 20th at 1:56, still within my sub-2 goal. At KM25, I was struck down by mild crampping every now and then. I just ignored it and kept on with my steps.
By the time we were rounding out the streets of the Global City, the inner thighs (adductor muscles) of both legs were hardening and becoming bothersome that I had to make stops for some liniment (?) sprays which hardly had any help. Soon, I was already slowing down as runners from behind started overtaking me. But I was still within my goal by KM30 (that’s the start of the Kalayaan flyover returning to Buendia Ave.) at 3 hours flat.
So that’s technically, 12 kms. to burn for 1:10 if I want to qualify for the finals, still within my possible limits if the contractions would diminish. Unfortunately, the muscular twitching worsened by the time I entered Buendia, where I started my cycle of run/walk/stop. Two capsules of Mefenamic Acid were of little help to diminish the burden and discomfort. With the clock ticking, I soldiered on and not let all my preparation and training go to waste.
Upon finally reaching Roxas Blvd., I knew I won’t be able to reach my goal but I was also bent on not throwing it all away. I’ve been caught in worse situations than this and have always pulled myself out of the muck. Once I got to the MOA Arena area, the cramping grew more painful and the episodes longer, slowing me even further. Finally, for what seemed like eternity, the final 800M of Ocean Drive came into view. Photographers were strewn at every corner, recording our final surge into the finish. Unfortunately for little old me, the most I could muster was a lame jog for every time I tried to push myself, the twitching would surface again like some creature from a 50s B-movie.
After 4 hours and 36 minutes, I finally reached the finish line and an hour later, after resting from pounding the pavement, all that cramping disappeared. And my latest 42.195 saga ended, not in a spirit uplifting manner but still a memorable experience to ponder on, analyze and pick some lessons from. In a week or two, I will have gather most, if not all facts, opinion and studies on cramping for at the end of the day, knowledge and the right information easily trumps out any physical ordeal that comes my way. Cheers, everyone!
Photographs are by Photo-Ops, Jon Las Bruces, Running Photographers, Bon Aga and Adrian Aquino