Thanks to Ben Chan of Photovendo for the following pictures:
Instead of my usual bandana, I was using a “Buff” bandana on my head to absorb my sweat from my head and keep my eyes & face from the dripping sweat. As I passed the Water Stations, I usually grab two cups of water—one cup for drinking and another cup for dousing water on my head. The wet/damp “Buff” bandana also served as my head “coolant” most especially when the sun’s heat brought higher temperature during the race.
The race bib’s size was too big that I had to fold it on both ends to make it better looking with the MILO singlet. I had been consistently pinning my race bib on my breast and never been using some “race belts” and either pinning my race bib on my running shorts. Why? That’s is the proper way I know that even world elite athletes in international competitions would do to display their race numbers.
The MILO singlet was nice and I did not experience any “chafing” on my arms, nipples, or any part of my upper torso. You must have noticed the “ice candy” plastic bag filled with water on the side pocket of my running shorts! These are my “hydration containers” in marathon races! Yes, my running shorts from The North Face is now my favorite running shorts for the marathon distance because it has side and back pockets. One side pocket can accommodate two pieces of Sports Gel packets. I usually carry 4 Sports Gel packets during marathon races and this running shorts fits well with my needs. As for the back pockets, I used them as my “thrash bag”. Each side pocket could also accommodate at least two “ice candy” bags filled with water. I started using this TNF running shorts during the 2009 Los Angeles Marathon and I used it again during the MILO Marathon Eliminations.
I was using ASICS-Gel Hyper Speed 3 Racing Flat shoes with Drymax Socks and I found comfort and blister-free with the shoes and socks!
On my last 8K as the sun’s heat was too much to bear, I adjusted the way I wore the “Buff” bandana in order to cover my head and at the same time my nape. I usually tie around my wrist the blue-colored string given in one of the turn-around points instead of wearing it as a necklace! Lastly, the “ONE” White Wrist Band is always there on my right wrist as my “symbol” for my part or contribution in the worldwide advocacy to “make poverty a history”.
Thanks to the Finish Line of Coach Rio De La Cruz & Vince Mendoza for the Timing Chip & for the fast publication of the following RunPix Results:
Gun Time: 4:03:55 hours
Net Time: 4:03:43 hours
Finisher #92 out of 125 Finishers. I wonder what happened to the other 112 runner-qualifiers for the Final Race! They must have DNFed!
Finisher #82 out of 112 Finishers in the Male Category.
Average Pace: 5:47 minutes per kilometer or 9:18 minutes per mile.
Time of Finish & Average Pace:
From 0K to 9.8K—-57:32 minutes @ 5:52 minutes per kilometer
From 9.8K to 25K—-1:30:08 hours @ 5:56 minutes per kilometer
From 25K to 35K—-54:51 minutes @ 5:29 minutes per kilometer
From 35K to Finish—41:12 minutes @ 5:44 minutes per kilometer
So far, so good, this was my 4th Marathon Race for the year. Not bad for a 57-year old Bald Runner!
“Yes, I’m a candidate for ejection from the Philippine team,” said the four-time champion Martes, the youngest Milo winner at 21 years old in 1999. “I’ll just talk to them and explain. I need the money. I’m having laser therapy for my old injuries and I need to buy vitamins.” (Note: Copied from news report at www.inquirer.net)
These were the exact words from the mouth of Christabel Martes, Lady Champion of the 33rd MILO Marathon FINALS held last Sunday, for her reason why she ran and finished the race despite an strict memorandum from PATAFA (Philippine Amateur Track & Field Assosiation) that National Pool Athletes are restricted from running more than a distance of 10K competitive Road Races at least 3 months before an International Games/Competition Meet. The reason for this memo is to make sure that our National Athletes do not divert themselves to their training program in order for them to “peak” during the competition period/date and at the same time, prevent them from becoming injured.
In the reaction of the PATAFA officials, as published in the news, Martes will be definitely removed from the list of National Athletes slated to be included in this coming Southeast Asian Games which will be held on the first week of December 2009 in Laos. For winning a cash prize of Seventy-Five Thousand Pesos (P 75,000) or equivalent to $ 1,595.00 in the MILO Marathon FINALS, her chance of winning the Gold Medal in Marathon in the ASEAN Games is gone!
Money versus Pride For the Country? Present Reality of our Athletes versus Present Situation of our Sports Excellence Program?
Now, let us try to discuss the present condition of our National Athletes basing from the title of this post/comments from Christabel Martes.
It appears that our National Athletes are not properly or adequately supported by our Sports Federation or the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC). As per PSC’s guidance, for an Athlete who won Medal/s (Gold, Silver, or Bronze) in the previous ASEAN Games and other International Competition Events and presently training to compete in an International Games, he/she receives a monthly support of Fifteen Thousand Pesos (P 15,000) or $ 320.00 inclusive of food, vitamins, training needs, and stipend. While on training, with the guidance of their coach, they are left on their own and stay/live in Sports Facilities being managed by PSC. It is also concluded that the athletes had to deal with their own injuries and have to get the services of professionals to cure them for a considerable fee. Which means that our Sports Support Services (Sports Medicine, Nutrition, Sports Psychology, etc) are lacking! In short, 15K Pesos is nothing if we want our athletes to be “world-class”. The same amount of money is equivalent to a ONE-DAY MEAL for Michael Phelps, I guess!
For a potential medal placer and a “newbie” in the National Pool of Athletes, he/she receives a monthly stipend of Six Thousand Pesos (P 6,000) or $ 128.00. This is translated to P 200.00 per day meal for the athlete and he/she could not even buy vitamins and sports drinks for his hydration & electrolyte resplenishment needs during his training. And if he/she wants to compete in weekend road races, he/she is selective as to where he/she will compete because the registration fee will be deducted from this amount of money. But our athletes are “brave warriors” because they have to risk in investing their training money to weekend road races that have Cash as Major Prizes for the Top Finishers! If they loss and don’t get any cash prize, the more that they will train harder but their training money is now draining and they are forced to spend their money to their barest needs. In essence, our athletes are on “survival” mode!
This situation is not only applicable to our runners but to all our athletes in other sports!
Now, you know already why our runners in our National Pool of Athletes are only good for our local Road Races with Cash Prizes, not for the ASEAN Games, not for the ASIAN Games, and never for the OLYMPIC Games!
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!