4:29 AM 11 October 2009 @ Luneta Park
In last year’s MILO Marathon Finals, I was able to peak for my marathon training and I was able to register a finish time of 3:48:32 hours. I was not able to join the Marathon elimination run last year but I was able to make some arrangements with the Race Director for me to join the Finals, hence, I was able to participate in the said race.
This year, I was able to participate in the MILO Marathon Eliminations but I was not able to qualify because I finished the race in 4:20:45 hours. This was due to the fact that I participated in the 2009 Los Angeles Marathon five weeks in between two marathon races. However, with the popularity of this running blog, I was able to make some arrangements (again!) to run the FINALS as a “guest runner”. But I have to “pay back” for such request as I was requested by the Race Organizer, my friend, Mr Rudy Biscocho to deliver an inspirational message to the Finalists of the Marathon Race during its Carbo-loading Party last Thursday evening at North Greenhills Clubhouse. The gist of my Inspirational Message speaks well of the title of this post.
I arrived at the Luneta Park at 4:00 AM and I immediately set my GF 305 and made a slow jog in order to warm-up. After a few minutes, I joined the members Team Hardcore and Finishers of 1st BDM 102. We had “photo-ops” and brief chat with one another. From there, we proceeded to the Starting Line. At the Starting Line, I was able to meet the other runners and Executives of NESTLE/MILO who are joining the 42K Race.
At exactly 4:29 AM, the starting gun went off and I placed myself at the back of the runners. I planned to run with an easy even pace for the whole race and I was hoping to have an extra strength at the last 10 kilometers to have a finish time of less than 4 hours.
After running through this course for so many times, I was already confident to finish the race right from the very start and did not mind about the terrain of the route. The thing that kept me worried was at what point or distance where I will encounter my first “muscle cramps”? Three weeks before this race, I did a 40K long steady run as part of my preparation for this race and I never had any cramps during this workout. As compared during the last Elimination Race, I had my muscle cramps at Km #16 and it affected my finish time.
I finished the 1st 10K in 56:15 minutes and I was confident that I could meet my objective for this race. After running 20K, I was still within my planned finish time but I started to slow down while I was on my way back to the Finish Line. The heat of the sun and the humidity made me slower but I was able to maintain a sub-6-minute per kilometer pace on the last 10K. It was only at Km # 36 that I checked on my GF 305 and my time registered at 3:22+ hours. I started to panick and tried to increase my pace. At this point, I knew I could make it but every time I increased my pace, my legs would act otherwise and they became heavier. I did not feel any cramps but I could not simply lift my knees higher and drive my arms faster.
Along the last 3K before the Finish Line, I was distracted by a number of cyclists who were going on counter-flow right where the exact direction of my run. I could not understand why these cyclists would meet head-on with the runners while the road is too wide for them on my right side. I had to shout at these cyclists and told them to clear the path for the runners. I even dared one of them to collide with me! But, on the last few feet, they had to avoid me. It was a better option for them to avoid me rather than the cyclist falling to the ground.
Except for this negative observation/experience during the race, the MILO Marathon Finals have improved a lot. At last, I was able to see long tables filled with lots of water cups up to the last water station before the Finish Line. There were lots of route marshals and Traffic Enforcers of each City were properly briefed on what they have to do in order to give way for the runners and at the same time decongest the traffic brought about by the Marathon Race. The presence of Reinier Pacific & Takbo.ph Volunteers and Aid Station at Gil Puyat Avenue (Buendia) was very helpful to all the runners which offered chopped fresh fruits (apples & oranges) and efficascent oil spray for the muscles. My sincerest thanks to Mr Amado Castro, Jr for having the initiative to bring to the country what he had observed and experienced when he “racewalked” the 2009 Los Angeles Marathon last May. How I wish that those “more influential” runners who have experienced running Marathon Races in other countries would also take the initiative to offer support to runners in Marathon Races. “Mayayabang kayong sabihin sa mga “media releases” ninyo na natapos ninyong tumakbo ng Marathon Races sa Europe at America, pero wala naman kayong ginagawa para tulungan kaming mga mahihirap na mananakbo para pagandahin natin ang Marathon Races dito sa Pilipinas”.
Not only the presence of abundant water stations, MILO’s Race Organizer made good in making it standard to have “Gatorade Stations” along the route which were located in between the Water Stations. I also appreciate the presence of a Fruit Stand/Station at the corner of Lawton Avenue and Bayani Road.
Gone are those Maynilad Water Lorry Trucks that we always see parked beside the Water Stations! Instead, I was able to see lots of Nestle Bottled Water containers and I assumed that we were drinking bottled water during the race as briefed by the Executives of MILO during the Carbo-Loading Party. This was a nice improvement!
So far, the most commendable innovation in this edition of MILO Marathon Finals is the RFID Timing Chip! I was happy to see the “sad faces” of identified consistent cheaters of this marathon race as I met them near the turn-around points along the route. However, I got an information that one of the top 15 finishers in the 42K race was “caught” cheating (by making the race as a relay run of two runners).
I finished the race in 4:03:54 hours (based from my GF 305), a few minutes from my target finish time of sub-4 hours! I did not encounter any muscle cramps during the run and I was fully satisfied with my performance. My average pace was 5:44 minutes per kilometer with an average HR of 152 bpm. However, I don’t complain this time that my GF 305 registered a distance of 42.46 kilometers.
Congratulations to Mr Rudy Biscocho, to the NESTLE, Philippines and to the Volunteers for a “world-class” marathon race in the country. MILO Marathon Race proved it once again that it is the most prestigious and well-represented marathon race in the country today. I just hope that NESTLE/MILO would bring back those times when the Champion/s of the Marathon Finals were sent to Marathon Races in key cities in the United States/Europe. Who knows another Manny Pacquiao or Efren “Bata” Reyes would emerge as Marathon Champion in one of these International Marathon Races. This is a dream but it could be done!
See you at the Starting Line in the next Marathon Race for this month of October!