35th MILO Finals Half-Marathon

December 11, 2011

I did not qualify for the 35th MILO Finals this time as I did not have the time to qualify in the regional/provincial races. But with the start of my training season for my next year’s running events to attend to, I need to join road races which can serve as my training runs and make them as my guide in my training preparations. Thus, QCIM and MILO Races were part of the training program to build-up my endurance.

At the 3rd Quezon City International Marathon which was held a week before the MILO Finals, I opted to join the Half-Marathon event and I finished it in 2:20:50 hours. It was really a long slow distance run for me to start my training period. I was happy with the result.

After a one-day rest, I started to resume my “30-minute” daily runs; maintain my “30-minute” swimming drills at least 3 times a week; two visits at the gym where I did some light weight lifting (deadlifts, dumdbell exercises, and lunges) and stationary cycling for “30 minutes”. A massage on Friday evening and some brisk walking on Saturday completed my tapering for this event.

As in past MILO Finals, there was a festive mood at the Starting Line and I positioned myself at the farthest back among the Half-Marathon runners. I thought and planned of doing ala-Dean Karnazes style in this run—an LSD run from the back of the pack and slowly gaining some speed along the course with the objective of passing as many runners as I can along the route until the finish line. I have observed this kind of approach in running when I joined the Los Angeles & San Francisco Marathons with Dean Karnazes in the past years.

As soon as the Gun was fired, I started to walk brisky from the back and I was sure I was the last runner. I started to ring my mini-cowbell continuously which brought the attention of the MILO VIPs on the stage. Coach Rio, the Race Director of the Event, approached and greeted me. I thanked him for giving me the complimentary race packet for the event.

It was a very slow start for me as it was still dark and with lots of runners infront of me. As soon as there was natural light, runners would recognize me and I got a lot of greetings. Some runners would recognize me and see me in person for the first time and tried to start some conversation. Others would try to pace with me. Others would make me as their “target”.

At the Km #9, I briefly stopped and walked after I was fed up hearing the sound of dangling keys and coins from one of the runners behind me. The runner asked me why I stopped and I answered him that I could not stand the noise from his noisy keys & coins! When the runner was about 50 meters away infront, I started to run again. At Km #11, I passed the runner and increased my pace. I would never see him again.

On those fly-overs, I would pass more runners! I asked one of the runners who was pacing with me to pass two runners in triathlon suits as we attacked the fly-overs. The other runner nodded and we attacked the fly-overs and I left him halfway on the uphill portion while I overtook the two triathletes. I never saw the runner and two triathletes after that incident.

Believe me, I was having fun during the run. I overtook more runners in the Aid/Water Stations as I would not stop because of the handheld “Sprint” Nathan Bottle on my left hand with my cowbell on my right hand. To add more fun to the run, I would ring my cowbell to most of the ultra runners whom I would meet along the route. I even cheered to the top Pinoy runners using my cowbell. In short, I was running and at the same time cheering everybody with my cowbell!

At The Last Kilometer To The Finish Line

Soon enough, I was nearing the Finish Line. I tried to be relaxed as much as possible after I thought of those previous deaths in running events. One runner died last year in the MILO Finals Half-Marathon; another runner died in the Los Angeles “Rock N Roll” Half-Marathon last October; two runners died in the latest Philadelphia Marathon (one is in his late 20s and the other is a triathlete in his mid-40s); and another runner died in the latest SC Singapore Marathon. All these deaths happened on the last 2 kilometers of the race and/or after crossing the Finish Line. I found out later in my readings that experts would suggest not to “sprint” or do your “extraordinary fastest pace” on the last 800-1,000 meters of the race. Such action might do harm to the heart’s functioning. Don’t pay attention to what the EMCEE is telling to all the runners that “you are almost there” which would trigger you to start sprinting to the Finish Line. Runners should be calm and relaxed as one approaches the finish line!

What could be more relaxing than having a smile, ringing my cowbell, and waving my other arm/palm to the other runners and crowd as I approached and crossed the Finish Line? None! I finished the race in 2:09:25 hours which is a great improvement from my QCIM Half-Marathon result. After I got my medal, swags, and certificate, my day was complete!

Ringing My Cowbell Near The Finish Line

I found out later in the results that I placed #343 overall among the 1,432 runners who finished the race. I could not believe that I was able to overtake/pass 1,089 runners during the race. So far, so good!

So far, MILO Marathon is still the premier marathon race in the country! Congratulations to Nestle, Phils and RunRIO for a job well done!

Note: Thanks to Angelo Lagumbay & Angelo Maravilla for the Pictures


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