2009 Philippine International Marathon: A Run For The River 42K Marathon
After joining the Subic International Marathon and the ADIDAS “KOTR” Half-Marathon two weeks ago, I rested for one week with only one running workout. But for the week (6 days) before the Pasig River Marathon, I started to do my long runs where I was able to run a total of 78 kilometers and had two days of rest before Race Day. My first mistake!
On the last kilometer before the Finish Line at the Subic International Marathon, I was attacked with “muscle cramps” on my left calf muscle but it disappeared after running lightly until I reached the Finish Line. As there was no pain during my trip back to Manila, I was comfortable in joining the next day’s ADIDAS KOTR Half-Marathon with a plan to finish the race at my own pace. After the race, I felt that there was a “pain” in one of the inner muscles of my calf and I decided to have a massage. More daily sessions of massage was conducted to my legs and they relieved the pain as I pushed to build-up my mileage for the week before Race Day. I did not wait for my “strained” muscle to “heal” before doing my long runs and tempo run for the week. My second mistake!
After shaving, shower, and preparing my running kit, I went to bed at 8:00 PM on the night before Race Day and had my alarm clock set at 3:00 AM. I arrived at the Luneta/Quirino Grandstand area at 3:45 AM and did my stretching & slow jogging immediately. Before entering the Starting Line Area, I was able to talk to the ABS-CBN Foundation officials, Finishers of the 1st BDM 102, my friends & supporters of my road races, runner-bloggers, runners from other Running Clubs, and readers of this blog.
The race started at 2 minutes before the scheduled time of 4:30 AM, a sign that the Race Director is Mr Rudy Biscocho. I went with the flow of the runners beside and infront of me. My GF 305 registered an average pace of 5:56 mpk for the 1st kilometer and I was comfortable with the pace. I was trying to expect a Water Aid Station in between 2K & 3K mark but I was surprised that the first Water Station was located on top of Del Pan Bridge which is at the 4+K mark. I took a cup of water and made a sip after taking my first GU Power Gel for the Race. I continued the race and relied with the assistance of the Race Marshals positioned in intersections as the traffic was building up on the surrounding street of Luneta Park. I also relied on the runners infront of me in order to be in the right track of the course. For the past Pasig River Marathon editions, I became one of the “lost runners” along the streets surrounding the Luneta Park due to lack of race marshals on the early part of the race.
Crossing the bridges were memorable during the race because each of the Water Aid Stations was located on top of the bridge and at the same time the location of the Relay Stations for the Relay Race runners. I was feeling okey and comfortable passing along the Jones Bridge and McArthur Bridge where I was running at an average pace of 5:30-5:40 kpm . It was at the approach of the Ayala Bridge that my support team met me and started giving me water and Gatorade drinks in ice candy plastic bags. Gerald Sabal, one of the early relay team members who finished his 2-kilometer run joined me and paced me from this point.
After crossing the Nagtahan Bridge, at the Km-15 mark, I started to feel a pain on my left calf muscle, the very same muscle that I had problems after the SIM and ADIDAS KOTR runs. I tried to slow down at first to find out if the pain will subside as what I’ve experienced in my previous long runs before the race. However, the pain would not disappear and I tried to keep my pace faster thinking that the pain would completely cease. I don’t advise this “technique” to the “newbies”! Even after a few yards of talking to my left leg, the pain would stay! I started to limp and slow down with my pace. As soon as I saw my support staff and vehicle, I stopped and asked one of my elite athletes to apply pressure and massage to the affected area and it gave me relief from the pain.
So, I continued to run and forced the pain to go away from my legs by running as fast as I could. After passing the Lambingan Bridge, I felt that the pain started to spread on the side of my lower leg and no longer at my left calf muscle. As my left foot would strike the ground, it caused an unbearable pain for the whole of my left leg that I have to take a light footstrike to the ground. The pain was still there and my left leg could no longer force my body to move forward. I decided to stop in one of the Waiting Sheds and had my lower left muscles massaged by my Elite Team runners. After a brief massage, I tried to alternately jog and walk until I saw my support vehicle and I was offered my usual Instant Oatmeal at the halfway mark. At this point, my GF 305 registered a distance of 19.63 kilometers with a time of 1:58+ hours!
As my leg-in-pain was being massaged, I saw a lot of runners passing me and asked what is happening. I answered them that I have a strained muscle and told them to continue their running. Some offered help, sports drinks, water and food. Thanks, guys for the show of concern and offers of assistance. I will never forget your faces!
After finishing my Oatmeal snack, a decision must be made! Do I have to DNF or Finish the Race? In my entire running career and adventures, I never experienced a DNF. I told my Elite runners who were assisting me that I really “walk the talk” because I always tell them to finish every race they have started and don’t want them to be dropping their race once they know that they could no longer place on standings where there are no cash prizes to receive. So, I made my decision to finish the race even if it will take me a longer finish time. This is the time to prove what “warriors” are made of!
I removed my wet bandana from my neck and tied it around my upper left calf muscle to relieve the pain I felt everytime my foot strike the ground. I got some relief by doing this. I took my GU Roctane Sports Gel & drank a lot of water as I started my brisk walking up to the Finish Line. I need to walk a distance of 22 kilometers from the Mandaluyong side of the Pasig River up to the Finish Line. My walking pace started at 10:30 mpk and making it fastest at 8:45 mpk along the remaining parts of the route. More of the slower runners would overtake me and I could see in their faces of their disbelief that the Bald Runner is walking briskly instead of running fast towards the Finish Line. Well, you can not win them all, as they say! There are ups and downs in running and I am trying my best not to be a DNF in a Road Race where I started.
As I passed the Guadalupe Bridge, I was thinking that Mr Amadao Castro, Jr aka Reinier6666 would pass me and I was planning to encourage him to walk with me up to the finish line as I knew he planned to end his race before he trurns right towards the Pioneer Street. But instead of him, I was overtaken by Eugene, one of my sponsors in my advocacies, and the Team Logan with lots of runners from takbo.ph. As I was about to end my walking along Pioneer Street, I was overtaken by Polo Tri athletes who were also brisk walking! And then suddenly, something went wrong with my stomach that I have to drop by the Jollibee branch at Brgy Oranbo, Pasig City to use their Comfort Room. It was my first time to experience such situation in a Marathon Race even if I took an Immodium tablet hours before the start of the race.
At the Shaw Blvd, I was able to talk to a lady runner from the ABS-CBN Foundation who is a part of a relay team. I observed that she was running with a cotton T-shirt and a thick cotton jogging pants, running with sneakers and not a running shoes and holding a hand towel. She would stop after running a few yards, taking a lot of walking breaks and I could see on her face that she is just forced to run in the said relay. She finally stopped at the Relay Station where another runner would start after the lady handed a loop-string with a big Card tied around her neck.
From Shaw Blvd, runners would turn left towards Canley Road up to the C-5 Road which is a steep downhill street. I would walk briskly and faster on downhill parts of the route but I had a hard time walking on uphill approaches as the pain on my leg would be unbearable. As I turned right at the C-5 Road, I observed that there was a designated lane for the runners and the lane was strictly guarded by the Pasig City Traffic Enforcers and other Race Marshals from vehicles. I really commend the Race Marshals and the Traffic Enforcers in every City that the runners had passed through. Everything was orderly and the runners felt that they are really the King & Queen of the Road during Road Races!
Even if the roads I was passing through are familiar with me because of my past “runabouts” and road runs, I had more time to see the details of the places and the things I see along the streets while walking. However, the heat of the sun was making its toll to a lot of the slower runners. Walking along the C-5 Road and along the streets of The Fort offers no shade to the runners and it was like my experience with the 1st BDM 102. I had to drink water and Sports Drinks alternately coming from my support staff while the water I am getting from the Water Stations would be poured to my head and body.
As soon as I reached The Fort area, I made another Pit Stop to eat hard-boiled eggs and had my legs massaged for the last time. I removed the Bandana tied around my left leg and used it as my cap which I have to pour cold water in every water station or when I felt I needed some cold water to cool off my head and body. While I was at the Kalayaan Flyover, I was able to talk to a runner who was wearing a Buff on his neck, CW-X tights, and arm warmers with body tattoo design, He was telling me that the heat of the sun slowed him down and I suggested to him to pour some water on his head and body every time he is in a Water Aid Station. I left him as I was going down the said Flyover towars Buendia Blvd!
While walking at the Buendia Blvd, I was able to join the group of Nickko Nolasco and Atty Red Samar who are both 1st BDM 102 Finishers and other two runners. Later, members of my Elite Team aboard on their respective motorbikes escorted us from this point. They informed me that the Team placed 1st Runner-Up (2nd Place) in the 20-Man Relay Team and I was happy! Also, walking with Nickko and Atty Red was enjoyable as we started to exchange stories about the next BDM 102 and running/training. Nickko would always have the honors of finishing last among the members of the “Team Hardcore” in every Road Race and he would like to maintain such record.
Before reaching Roxas Blvd, I saw Sam, The Running Ninja and another runner at the side of Buendia and I encouraged them to join our walking group. I asked Sam to share some stories as we continued our brisk walking. In the end, I was the one sharing to him strories on how he will prepare himself for his participation in next year’s BDM 102. As I glanced my GF 305, we breached already the 5-hour elapsed time! Nothing to worry afterall after having these runners around you with only one thing in mind—to finish the race!
As we reached the vicinity of the Aristocrat Restaurant along Roxas Blvd, a Race Marshal with a handheld radio warned us that we still have 25 minutes to reach the Finish Line or else we will be considered DNF for the race. From here in my estimate, we still have 2.5 kilometers before reaching the finish line and I started computing if we have a chance to reach the finish line before being declared as DNF. I forced my body to finish this race up to the last 2.5 kilometers with a decision of not being DNFd for the race. Not at this point, I said to myself! So, we started to slowly jog. From a pace of 9:00 mpk while brisk walking, we managed to have a pace of 7:45 mpk pace and we maintained that pace. My escorts of my Team Elite on their motorbikes would cheer us up to make our pace faster and beat the deadline and cut-off time! I would shout at Sam & Nickko whenever they stopped and forced them to continue jogging.
Finally, Sam, Nickko and I finished and crossed the Finish Line at the same time with my GF 305 time of 5:52:31 hours!!! We congratulated each other and we were approached by the Race Officials to get our race stubs! More runners from the takbo.ph and the Team Hardcore would approach us and were surprised why I was walking more than one-half of the race distance. I told them that I had a strained muscle on my left calf muscle which slowly affected other muscles. I never had “muscle cramps” but a muscle-related injury because of some mistakes in my training! For the first time, “Tumirik Si BR” but the “warrior” attitude is still there—to finish a battle until the end!
If you are wondering why I am wearing a running singlet with the MILO colors, together with the Elite Members of Team Bald Runner, the explanation will be in another post. Henceforth, this will be my official racing singlet and for the Elite Team Bald Runner in the next road races to come.
My personal congratulations go to the finishers of this PIM: A Run For The Pasig River, most especially to those who experienced their first Marathon Race. In comparison on the previous 8 editions of this Marathon Race, this is the most attended Road Race so far with a very noble advocacy to clean the Pasig River.
At present, I am under R-I-C-E treatment!