Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sweet 04:05:55 Mary

Last january, 9, 2011, I joined a life changing event. The Cebu City Marathon. 42.195 long kilometers of a mix of sweat (who doesn't in a marathon?), and pain (I did feel a little pain in my calves, oh and there's my wound, too, of course, it was little, and it was a little painful), laughters (yes, we were laughing at the start, I think everyone was), and tears (and yes, I cried when I reached the finish line, I couldnt help it, it was an emotional moment for me, so say whatever you want to say, I don't care). Now, let me recount the experience...

I ran from the house to IT Park so I arrived at the site a little late than I planned. I thought it would be a good warm up before the race. I immediately went to the Runner’s World PH booth to get my singlet, then headed on to the parking lot to change and leave my things in my friend’s (KamikazeRunner) car. By this time, we were already hearing the announcement calling all 42k runners because the race was about to start. After making sure that we already have everything that we needed, we then went on to the runner’s holding area. There I met some of my runner friends from dailymile who were all smiles and excited for the race. Pictures were taken, greetings and good lucks were exchanged. There were many comments about my sandals (Kai Running Sandals), some of them in disbelief, some wishing me luck on finishing the race in it, all of them my motivation. Then, another announcement… “The race will start in 2 minutes…” or something like that. Now, the runners were shaking their arms and legs in anticipation, getting ready to march out. And then, with a fireworks above, off we went… 1000 plus runners gunning for the 42.195k experience…

Some people would prefer to not have a time target for their first marathon to take away the pressure. Not me. I was thinking that a goal is a good motivation. Kind of like a force that will drag me to the finish line. In my training, I was able to run 42 kilometers in 4 hours and 19 minutes, so I thought shaving off some minutes from that is a good and realistic enough goal. So… 4 hours and 10 minutes to 4 hours and 15 minutes – that was my target for my debut. I did not aim for a sub – 4 because I thought that it was too ambitious a target for me – a noob.

In the first 12 kilometers of the race, I was taking it easy. I was running at a 6:00 to 5:40 pace. I was hydrating at every water station, and ate a pack of honey (many thanks to my wife for preparing those) at a 30 to 45 minutes interval. I caught up with what I thought was the sub – 4 pacers at kilometer 8 and decided to run with them. I got a little worried when we entered the SRP tunnel because suddenly I was sweating profusely. Good thing there was a water station in the middle which helped eased out my worries. I drank more in this water station than in any other during this race. Then, at kilometer 12, I had a shocking realization… I was with the wrong group! They were actually the sub – 4:30 pacers…

From kilometer 12, I decided to speed up a little. I went ahead of the sub – 4:30 group to catch up on my target. I tried to maintain a 5:20 to 5:40 pace. I still hydrate at every water station, though. I promised my wife I will not get seriously injured, collapse, or die in this race, and I was making sure not to break that promise. There was only one incident somewere in kilometer 16 when I almost tripped because I hit a road reflector with my left foot. That’s how I got the wound in my left ankle. I hit it with my right sandal when I tried to recover my balance. But, it was nothing serious… so, promise still kept. I was able to get to the turning point in less than 2 hours…

Now, I was homeward bound. All the while, I had a smile on my face. You see, I also told my wife that there will be a lot of photographers along the route and I will make sure I will have good pictures. So, smile I did, all the way to the finish. I also noticed there were a lot of people looking at my footwear. Some of them must have thought I was crazy running in those sandals. While some of them shouted, “Go barefoot!” I smiled at them. I was thankful for the extra motivation, especially during this part of the race.

Entering the tunnel again, I was already feeling tired. Even before reaching it, a few kilometers before the tunnel, I was already having a hard time maintaining the 5:40 pace. I was slowing down. I was worried I wouldn't hit my target. When I reached the Colon area, I was positive I still have the chance. I thought if I could just maintain a 5:50 pace I might even be able to hit a sub – 4 finish. But, it was only wishful thinking. It was very hard to maintain even a 6:00 pace at that point in the race. So, I just did the best that I could, holding in my mind the only motivation that has kept me going – my wife and my son waiting for me at the finish line.

When I reached the UP area, I looked at my watch. 3 hours and 55 minutes had passed. The sub – 4 finish is already an impossibility, probably something to aim for in 2012, I thought. So, I eased out. I enjoyed the cheers, the motivation, and the smiling faces from the marshals, and the people along the route. Then, I saw the finish line…

I was a little emotional this time. I thought, looking back, what a great thing I have done! The immense sense of fulfillment from the whole gratifying experience, from the sweet victory of conquering 42.195 kilometers came pouring in. I couldn't help myself. My tears fell while I raised my hands when I reached the finish line.

Now, I have ran a marathon! Now, I thought, I will claim my prize – a kiss, yes, a kiss from my wife and a kiss to my son. A million times sweeter than the mangoes that I have on my neck… That was my prize.

Cheers to all of us who braved the 42.195 kilometers and reached the finish line!
Cheers to the organizers for a race that raised the bar a few knots higher!
Cheers to all of those we hold dear, whose support and love carried us through when we thought we couldn't make it anymore!
Lastly, cheers to God! To Him be the glory…

* Photo credit to Sydney Delos Reyes for the greatest photo that I have for this race.


  1. Passing through. Great run, man!


  2. congratulations bai!

    amazing kaau imong achievement... sa run, sa time, sa barefoot!

  3. @mark. thanks! im also reading your blog right now and reliving the experience... im also adding your blog to my blog list. ^_^ congrats again!
    @katol. thanks kaayo bay, esp sa motivation!

  4. Cheers to the man who wore barefoot just barely 2 months and ran a marathon! Amazing run rods! Congrats one again!

  5. Congrats, Kuya Rod! I wonder if your batch mates will do the same? There'll be three of us who'll be running the marathon come 2012.

  6. Congrats bai! You're one super fast barefoot runner!

  7. Wow running (and finishing) the marathon with those sandals... an amazing feat indeed. Congratulations bai Rod. Salute ko nimo bai.

  8. @epoy. thanks kaayo, poy!
    @ling. thanks, ling! congrats pud diay sa imong half marathon! ambot duda ko if managan ni akong mga batch mates. murag ako ra man jud ang na.ungo aning dagan sa amoa.
    @rh1. salamat kaayo! congrats pud nimo!
    @josh. thanks! thanks! ^_^