Milo Marathon has been an annual pilgrimage for Van and I so even with more than a week of disruption in our training sessions (a bad flu reminiscent of my dengue bout in 2012 when I missed Milo) and minimal mileage (our longest was more than a month ago at 15 kms.), we plunged into the unknown. It helped that we had no expectations so the pressure to maintain a certain pace and target times was inexistent. We were there to just have fun and hopefully register a decent finish time. And what a race.
With a storm brewing, we were treated to a windy and cool race along Roxas Boulevard, Buendia Avenue and around Fort Bonifacio with minimal rain (bummer). It was initially a strong start for us (finishing at 59 minutes at 10 kms) then dwindling little by little (21 kms at 2:10). Still, our spirits were on a high. Perhaps, my intermittent intake of energy gel and Saltsticks helped keep the cramping at bay.
Before entering the Bonifacio area, the cramping intensified and I had to resort to walking breaks. But it was nothing full blown to totally slow me down. From KM22 onwards, there was minimal or no episodes of cramping. It was fatigue which took over and wore me down. Many a time, I told Van to go ahead so I can keep my own pace but every few hundred meters, he was there to egg me on. So I had to keep chasing his lime green presence from afar.
On our return trip along Buendia avenue, I surprised myself by jogging longer and walking more briefly. I kept telling myself that I have no stomach issues, the weather was perfect, I have little cramping and I was running for a dentist friend who’s recovering from a neoplasm excision. Plus I have the most patient pacer in the world who knew how to push my buttons. So along with music and a lot of positive energy, I was moving and grooving towards the reclamation area.
The final 4 kilometers of the Milo Marathon had always been a hellish ordeal for me punctuated by fatigue, cramps and long walks. In this edition, it was a bit of cramping and fatigue which thankfully were overpowered by a lot of good vibes and a comfortable weather. It has been some time since I’ve crossed the final 200 meters smiling and soaking in the boisterous cheers from the waiting crowd. And here I was with hardly a trace of grimace or pain (though it had to do more with the photographers strewn along than my actual physical condition), strutting and preening along the last few meters as cameras clicked and people roared.
And just like that, it was over, 4hours and 52minutes later. It’s my 7th Milo Marathon and my 24th full marathon since 2010. It’s been a long journey with hopefully, no end in sight. Congratulations to all 32,000 participants!