Last night was my second time to join a night race, the Greenfield City Sunset Run held at Sta. Rosa, Laguna and it was fraught with both excitement (running on a new course) and chaos (having to run side by side with vehicles). While the first night race i joined, the Urbanite Run held last year started way after the onset of darkness, last night’s (or yesterday afternoon) race started even before sundown when the heat of the sun was just starting to recede and traffic within the vicinity was starting to grow.
June and i arrived at the Paseo de Sta. Rosa at about 4:00pm after almost 2 hours of travelling from Quezon City. Traffic was moving for vehicles travelling to the south but the gridlock started to appear while approaching Greenfield City and it took us another 30 minutes before we could park in front of the commercial center. Good thing we left early to anticipate the long travel time it would take to reach the venue.
We met up with our group of Betty, Tonette, Mel and his wife, Yhet and other hoards of friends. The mood was festive amidst the humid and dusty conditions as we jogged for several laps around the grassy part of the square.
We started the 21k race at about 5:30pm, running in mostly cemented roads inside the Greenfield City Parkway, past a hotel and 2 hospitals until we crossed the main thoroughfare of the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Highway leading to a vast, mostly undeveloped subdivision area with open spaces and wide cemented streets.
The route is flat and fast and in some portions of the highway, huge speakers were set-up to provide music and energize runners. BDM finisher Mel, who did the pacing chores for us led our group during the first kilometers into a fast clip, way too fast for all of us as we ran an average of 6:00 min/km and hit the 5k mark in exactly 30 minutes! We sort of panicked as none of us has run a 30 minute 5k going into a 21k race! Mel, now used to our invectives and other forms of verbal abuse whenever he leads us too fast, tried to slow the group down into a manageable 6:30-7:00 min/km pace as we still had 2/3 of the distance to hurdle!
After the first turn-around mark at 7.5 kms, we sort of drifted away from each other as we were now in our own paces with Mel, who now couldn’t control himself and have to run ahead while i followed at 120 meters behind, then Betty, June and Tonette trailing our group. I was running with James (journeyingjames) but he too had to cut loose and sped away. At the 15km mark, we were back inside Greenfield City and were directed to a new highway and entered a residential park called PRAMANA, an upscale residential subdivision. It was like being led into a “runng tour” of the premises with tree-lined streets and newly built houses. I didn’t mind much of the surroundings as i was more concentrated on my breathing and sagging running form.
Soon, we reached the second and final turn-around bend at about 18kms. At this point we were now competing for road space with motorists who were driving againts us as we had to dodge them by running in the middle of the road or taking the dirt-trail edges of the streets to avoid being hit! Their headlights provided our lights as it was pitch dark around the area. It was like a run for survival as we had to get away from the area fast and avoid smoke, gas fumes and other pollution that affected most of us.
I was very tired and almost exhausted at this point as water have ran out at the last 2kms. I was now struggling and paying for the fast paced running we did during the first 5 kilometers. Good thing i was now inside the parkway where vehicles were at a minimal. The last kilometer was probably the longest kilometer i have ever ran as i was nearing exhaustion and the road seemed endless. At the final straight, i trudged to the finish, blinded by the strong flood light that was hitting my face as i crossed the finish line with a number of runners.
Walking at the finishers area afterward, my arms tingling and my legs cramping from exhaustion and dehydration, i was both elated and dissapointed. I was hoping to achieve a sub-2:20 but finished with a time of 2:21:36, almost the same time i did at last Sunday’s 21k Earth Run.
There are many instances when, despite our best efforts and thinking that we had achieved a PR, our bodies have limitations and restrictions to drown our ambitions. It might not be a perfect race but nevertheless, it is the thought that we gave it all our best that remind us why we all love the sport. Our sheer determination has pulled us through and with this, we are all winners!
Here are some of our pictures at the race:
See you at the races!