|Photo by: Norwin Detalla|
Last Sunday, February 13, 2011, I joined my first official 21k race - the SM2SM Run Half Marathon. I have to say, this was the best fun run that I have ever joined in, although I haven't really joined a lot of fun runs for that matter. But it was really well - organized, the hydration stops were at the right places with more than enough for all the runners, and the route was PR conducive. Also, this was the first race I'd been to where an energy gel was given to the runners halfway up the course. Plus, the weather was perfect! There were also other notable things, although not race related, such as the parking space was huge and I never had a hard time parking even if I didn't arrive so early at the site, the venue for the awarding ceremony being the SM North Wing (which was nice because the venue was big enough with lots of chairs, plus, it was air - conditioned!), the souvenirs included discount coupons and a shirt from Island Souvenirs (a shirt which I actually liked, if not for it being too big for me, I got a Large size shirt!), and the raffles (if only I won that Bravia!).
I arrived at the site at around 410am. I was actually thinking that the gun time for 21k was at 530am. It was at 5am. Yes, I wasn't late, but I could have been. Damn me for not reading the paper that went with the singlet. Anyways, it was a good thing that the parking lot was huge and that I had no trouble looking for a spot. I then put on my new pair of calf compression sleeves, my running footwear, my race bib, and went to a relatively open area near the holding pen to warm up. After some slow very easy rounds, I went on to the holding pen, ready for the race. I positioned myself somewhere near the front lines. I was thinking that since this one doesn't include timing chips, I should be starting when the go signal is given. I was standing in the sideline so that I wont be a hindrance to the elites competing in this race. Then, the countdown...
When the race finally started, I was running at a relatively slower pace. I tried maintaining a 5:00 pace for the first 2 kilometers, then went on to pick up the pace thereafter. I was criusing at an average of 4:30 to 4:40 pace up to until halfway of the race. I still take a pause on each of the water stops though. Hydration to me is very important, as it should be to everyone. And, eventhough some parts of SRP are still dark, I enjoyed running the entire stretch.
I brought with me 2 bars of snickers. I was planning to eat one of it halfway and the other when I reach the finish line. But, halfway up the course, I was surprised to receive an energy gel from one of the pit stops. I have never tried taking in any of those gels in any of my runs, but you know, there is always a first time. This time, it's for free! So I took the gel instead, saving the snickers for later. I didn't really take any time to look at the brand nor the flavor, but there was a hint of coffee in it. It actually tastes good to me. And I think it was effective, too. After about 15 minutes, it felt like I had a renewed energy source.
The scenes along the boardwalk was awesome. This was the second time that I ran SRP, but this was the first time that I ran closer to the sea along the boardwalk. I was able to witness the first hints of a very beautiful sunrise on my way to Sugbu.
From there, it was back to the finish line. I was already tired and was slowing down. My pace dropped to about 4:45 to 5:00 on the average. Still I was determined to finish the race strong. I passed along many familiar faces whose Hi's and Hello's were added motivations. I was still getting occassional stares, or should I say, my feet and footwear were still getting a fair share of stares.
When I finally made my turn to the finish line, I looked at the watch. I missed my target time by a little more than 1 minute. I wasn't sad though. I was happy. I gave it all I got. I clocked in at 01:41:23. And, I got myself a nice new medal!
As always, I would like to thank my ever supportive and beautiful wife and my son who were waiting for me at the finish line.
And, God, for the gift of life, love, and good health, I thank You!
Lastly, I would like to mention one of my inspirations, someone without whom I would not be who I am today - my Nanay. This one goes out to you. I wish you could see what I have become, and I hope I made you proud. God knows how much I miss you. Rest in peace, Nanay. You will always be remembered.