they say that the first time is always sweet and painful... indeed it was!

Tin, Edward our support crew, and I left the condo at 0230H. We then called Iah to tell him that we are on our way. Tin need to find a good parking slot, we find one very near the finish line.

I am not really sure how I was feeling during that time; I can’t even find the word to describe it… I didn’t know that my first time will be like that. I was unusually quiet on our way to the starting line – I got a lot of ribbing from Tin and Iah about the silence 🙂 that is not so like me!

The Captain, the muse, and Mr President

After visiting with some friends and going back to the portalet three times, we entered the starting line. The excitement was palpable; green was all I see. I’m not kidding when I tell you that I was so nervous; I could even hear my heartbeat. I tried to shake it off by chatting with my friends – I am so lucky to be surrounded by people who believe in me. We were having our picture taken with Sir BR when we heard the gun start… it went off just like that – no warning at all.  

The Team BR-P with Sir BR

I am not use to wearing a watch during races… I just always rely on the time at the start and finish lines. I am not saying I don’t want a Garmin, I do… the only problem is I may not be able to handle it – I am low-tech!

I know from our recon that the distance from the starting line before I turn to Macapagal is almost 8K so that will be the time to take Gerber. I plan to consume 5 to include one Roctane, which I planned to take before the turn around going to the finish. I am not good in remembering streets during races so I tried to take note of land marks where I will take that much needed energy boost. PICC, Blue Wave, first fly-over…

The first loop was generally a walk in the park. I know that I am on target since Tin is still with me; we were not pacing each other but I knew that she’s just behind me judging from the sound of her shoes 🙂 Learning from my past experiences on dehydration, I made sure that I stopped in all water stations. I also brought extra hydration in case I will miss some. I also left a considerable amount with Edward and Manong Vicente. I was more than surprise to see Jucel before my ascent to the flyover on my first loop. That thoughtful gesture will always be remembered, Jucel.  

still strong on the first loop

I was generally oblivious of what’s happening around me all throughout the run. I was just looking down and tried to look up from time to time. I was actually praying… it took me one Apostle’s Creed, one Our Father, three Hail Mary’s, and one Glory Be to reach the top of each fly-over. I did that all throughout the 10x that I negotiated that ascent. I doubled it though on the last two on my way to the finish line.

I still have no issues on my second loop… I was still with Tin. I am still pretty strong and hoped that if I will maintain such pace before I reached the third loop then maybe just maybe I’ll make it to the qualifying time.

still looking good on the second loop

I saw all the designated support areas of my takbo.ph friends, the team CB at the shell station, and the team of Miss Nao of ANR Alabang near Blue Wave. I didn’t stop for posterities in those areas; it would have been nice to have my picture taken with you guys especially with my placard (thank you ate Luvs! Thank you Maccoy!) which I saw on my way to the second loop… I regret it but as I said I was really bent on qualifying. Thank you so much! I truly appreciate your presence, the cheers perked me up.

It was I guess along Metrobank when I saw a familiar figure ahead of me… I thought I was just mistaken but when I looked up I saw Iah walking… He’s cramping up. It was pretty humid by then; I myself was having hard time breathing. The stench is taking so much of my energy as well.

Jucel was again at Macapagal before KM22… the water he gave me was a welcome treat; I just downed my third Gerber. I also gave him my flask with a request for replenishment. I told him to look for Edward at HK Plaza. It was also about this time that Tin went ahead of me. That was actually the plan – for her to be in front of me so I’ll be motivated.

I saw Ma’am R of the Team BR who gave me ice candies which I also consumed in record time. I was thirsty! She also asked me if I need food, I said no. Thank you very much, Ma’am! That was so thoughtful of you.

It was still a breeze going through that road… I am imagining Km30 near Sofitel. I also know that this is my last loop before I finally do the turn-around. I wasn’t just prepared for the little incident that awaits me at Km30.  I don’t know what came over me but I suddenly felt really tired when I turned left where the band was stationed going to the direction of Sofitel. I just felt the need to stop, to sit, to just disappear. It was exactly at the KM30 marker when I was jolted back to my senses when somebody asked me where Iah was… I said “Nasa likod nagka cramps” then he said “huh? Anong nangyari sa inyo, diba nag training kayo?” I was taken aback – what was that about? I didn’t bother say anything; I just looked at him then took off.

Most of my friends know that I am never crabby in any race. The reason they call me Miss Congeniality is because I always see to it that I greet, hug, and do a high-five whenever I meet a runner friend along the way. I always motivate those I feel needs it even if I myself need motivation. That statement threw me off – I don’t think it is what I needed when I was so ready to give up. To you it was just a spur of the moment thing but I hope Gian next time be more sensitive. I accept your apology but then I also have to give you a piece of my mind… I know you are a very strong runner, but I guess you have to learn to be humble and be mindful of the things you say. I never doubted your capability. Indeed we trained… we trained hard because we know that we need it. We’re not elites but as what Iah said – EVEN THE BEST ATHLETES FAIL. NO AMOUNT OF PROPER TRAINING WILL PREPARE YOU FOR THE EXTERNAL FACTORS YOU FACE COME RACE DAY. I am not trying to make an issue or call attention to myself. I just thought you should know. Best of luck in your future races!

I passed the takbo.ph support station one last time before I finally turned right. Thank you so much friends for the ice cold pocari… BB, Maccoy, Gail, Cindy and the rest of the gang – Thanks so much!

The journey to the turn-around was uneventful except that I still want to walk… I took the last of my Gerber, the one they say that has extra kick for the added push. I have already consumed six and the last two is sort of not kicking in. I was on my way to the first flyover when I met BR, at first I thought he’s having a hard time but when he gave me a thumbs-up I knew he’s alright. I saw Macky next after that; the heat is really taking its toll and seeing the flyover made it worst…

I passed Tin along Buendia fly-over. I never knew that she was having a hard time already. I was actually hoping that we’ll run the last 5Km together since she always have that extra energy on the last 5Km.

I was happy to finally see the turn-around, but my legs suddenly felt heavier atop the Buendia fly-over. I am already slurring my prayer and I can’t seem to finish the Apostle’s Creed… I felt suddenly alone and the journey to the next fly-over is taking like forever… I also kept on glancing back hoping that I would see Tin or Iah, but they are nowhere in sight. That got me worried – what happened to my friends? It was blurry from then on… I really slowed down. I also ran out of Gatorade and there is no water station in sight. Godbless Jucel I saw him near Quirino. I remember he gave me something but I am not sure what it was – could be water or Gatorade. I really can’t remember…

It was along the Phil Navy headquarters when this guy with a 42Km race bib came to me and said “halika na, sabay tayo”. We were together intermittently until we reached the US Embassy. I so wanted to ask his name but I guess I was too tired to even speak. Another guy who was in black that looks like a tri-suit also told me “Let’s go, we’ll do 4:30, you will surely qualify” I can only shake my head and told him “wala na hindi na ako makakapasok 4:20 ako eh” then he said that’s ok you’ll still do sub5… Thank you to both of you! I can’t even remember your faces, but surely I will always remember that motivation.

I felt like crying from then on, not even the sight of the starting line could lift my spirit. Another runner egged me to run since the finish line is less than 500M away. I slow-jogged then increased the pace as I enter the finishing chute. Bing was the only person I saw during that time… I was hoping I’ll have a friend who would give me a hug, but nobody’s there. I clocked in at 4:38… I should be happy right? That was a sub 5, but at that point I was really disappointed with myself. I can only mutter “Sayang”…

I stayed under the scorching heat of the sun for ten minutes waiting for Tin and Iah… I only left when I saw Neil and Jerry. The first person I saw after that was Abby – I love the hug, sister! That was my first, then Luis…

Macky and I stayed at one of the tents with the other guys… I can’t keep still so I decided to go back and look for Tin and Iah, I was still outside when I saw my partner, Tin. She managed a wave. Then I saw Iah… both of them still managed a sub 5 despite the cramps, the injury, and dehydration… the two of you are so brave, you deserve my snappiest salute.

well done, Mr President!

 Generally, it was a good race, very challenging. To be honest, I really didn’t know what to expect. I am not saying I am over it, but I am getting there. My musings for the last five days has all been about Milo… I know I can do better; I will train to get better. Maybe next year I can finally use this title for my Milo entry… IT’S FINALS, BABY… SEE YOU IN DECEMBER!

To Team BR-P, Team TFC, and to Team UPLB Mountaineers – Thank you so much!

To Bald Runner, Ma’am R, and the Elites – Thank you po!

To Takbo.ph, Team Boring, Team CB, and the Adination Alabang led by Miss Nao – Maraming salamat!