My First Marathon Race

If my recollection serves me right, I had my first marathon in 1981 after I successfully proven to myself that I could be a better competetive runner. The PMA Alumni Race where I won number 2 inspired me to plan and run for the Marathon Race.

At that time, I was assigned in Region 1 (Northern Luzon) and my work included going to all the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Abra, Mt Province, and Benguet conducting seminars, lectures and meeting local government officials. However, most of the time, I stay in Laoag City because my office and staff were located thereat.

I am a product of the “Old School of Running”—build-up enormous mileages for 3-4 months and slowly build-up and combine speed workouts for 2 months and “simulate” running the marathon distance for the last one month before the marathon race.

In order to build mileage for the week, I have to run early in the morning for 10 kilometers and another 10 kilometers in the afternoon/early evening. And I did this from Monday to Friday. I usually run from our office in Laoag City to the Ft Ilocandia Golf Course and sometimes from Laoag City Poblacion to the Ft Ilocandia Hotel. The road/course is nice. And at that time, there were less traffic and vehicles plying those routes. On Saturdays, I do my long slow runs reaching up 20 to a maximum of 25 kilometers. Sunday was my rest day. Sometimes, I do my long runs on Sundays and make Monday as my rest day, and start my weekly runs on Tuesdays. Progressively, I increased my daily runs up to 15 kilometers per session and increase my weekend long runs up to 30 kilometers.

My speed workouts were done in the athletic oval of Laoag and sometimes in the athletic oval of Teachers Camp in Baguio City (the one that was used by the Gintong Alay athletes of Michael Keon). My speed plays vary when I am in the oval but most of the time they consisted of 400-meter fast and 400-meter recovery runs by jogging slowly. I usually do 10 to 15 repeats of the speed runs. However, I became creative with my speed plays. I did my speed runs on my road runs by using the kilometer markers as my reference points (alternately, running faster in-between two kilometer markers and then doing my recovery/slow jog up to the next kilometer post). Sometimes, I use the electric posts along the road/streets as my reference points for shorter speed plays. But what made me more creative was when I discovered the “color-coded” foot trails around the perimeter-slopes of Camp John Hay Base in Baguio City (when the Americans were still running/managing that camp). In every sector of the perimeter of the camp, the trunks of the pine trees along the trails were painted with spots of dark red, green, blue, orange, and white paints. So, I alternately did my speed plays every other colored trail while running. I really don’t know if these “color-coded” trails are still there.

To “simulate” or practice the marathon one month before the race, I should be able to run at least 35 kilometers during my weekend long slow distance workout with minimum effort. I have one of my men “leapfrog” every 3-4 kilometers for my regular water intake/supply. I start my run at the same time with that of the race starting time.

I did my practice runs alone on the road, ovals, and trails.

I finished my first Marathon race, the Manila International Marathon, in 3 hours; 24 minutes; 46 seconds.

Finishing my first marathon race entails planning, hardwork, persistence, patience, discipline and commitment to finish the race. Such values and attitude I need to pursue my life and carreer in this ever challenging and unpredictable world.

Marathon race is life in itself.

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