How To Claim Your Free QCIM Race Packets

If you won or were awarded a free QCIM3 race packet from one of the esteemed bloggers, please be guided of the following:

  • Redemption of the packets will be this Saturday, December 3, 2011 from 9:00am to 6:00pm at the 3/f, Bahay ng Alumni Bldg., University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City.
  • For those claimants whose last names starts from A to N, redemption should be made from 9:00Am to 1:00PM while those with names starting from O to Z can claim their free race kits from 1:00PM to 6:00PM. This will avoid over-crowding and confusion at the claim areas. Priority will be given to those who follow this schedule.
  • The organizers have guaranteed your preferred distance categories specially the 5k, 10k and the 21k distances. However, slots for the 42k distance have ran-out but are trying their best to include all 42k runners whose names were submitted before Saturday’s deadline. A race packet for 21k will be given for those who will not be able to get their 42k packets.

3rd Quezon City International Marathon Now Set

3rd QCIM Registration starts October 17, 2011

3rd Quezon City Innternational Marathon

December 04, 2011 @ 4am

  • Quezon Memorial Circle (In Front Of Q.C. Hall)
  • 5k/10k/21k/42k

Race Organizer: RUNNEX

Race Director: Gerry Manlapaz

Operations and Technical Consultant: Neville Manaois


Registration Fees:

Registration Dates: Starts October 17, 2011

Where to Register:

SMDC Showrooms:
MIZUNO Outlets:
  • FIELD Residences
    2/F North Wing,
    SM Mall of Asia
  • SM Megamall
  • SM Mall of Asia
  • Bonifacio High Street
  • BLUE Residences
    5/F Building B
    SM Megamall
Teachers’ Village, Quezon City
  • GRASS Residences
    Interior Zone,
    SM North EDSA
304 Bahay ng Alumni
Magsaysay St., U.P. Diliman

Philippine Road Running: Its Humble Beginnings

One of the pillars of the RUNNEX Running Club is 86 year-old Ruben “Direk” Trinidad who is the club’s de facto historian. Author of many books, he has single-handedly documented the rich history of the club from its inception in 1983 and still serves as advisor to the many activities of the group up to now. 

Rich in information about the birth of running in the Philippines, he has witnessed the slow growth of running until he got involved in the sport himself, running his first marathon at the Band-Aid Running Clinic in 1983 at the age of 60. He ran his last marathon during the early 90s at the age of 75. He now is content walking his dog, “Pom” at the Quezon Memorial Circle. He shares his story way back during the end of the Spanish-American war in the country. 

Direk Trinidad

When the Americans were victorious in their war against Spain in the Philippines in 1898, the Thomasites, the first group of American Teachers who established the American School System in 1900 were the ones who introduced Running in the country. Running then as a sport was hardly known in the Philippines until the coming of the Americans. Other sports that were introduced during this time were baseball, indoor baseball (softball), volleyball and basketball (which the girls enjoyed but was shunned by the men as they deemed it a “sissy” sport) as part of the PE and Sport curriculum. 

When the First Far Eastern Games (now the Asian Games) competition was held in Manila in 1913, Philippine Road Running was introduced. The first Filipinos who participated were Desquitado and Enerva who were 4th and 6th place, respectively in the 5-mile run. 

The first marathon in the Philippines covering the official distance of 42.195 kms. was held in 1967 and participated in by collegiate students from the towns of Rizal Province. The rules then at that time was very unusual in that the marathon was ran in four (4) installments– on the first day participants ran 10k in the morning and another 10k in the afternoon. On the second day, another 10k was ran in the morning and the remaining 12.195kms was ran in the afternoon! 

All four races were won by Benjamin Silva Netto with an aggregate time of 2hrs, 26 mins and 49 secs. Currently, Mr. Silva Netto is the Secretary General of the Philippine Track and Field Association (Patafa). 

The country’s first official “standard” marathon was held the following year in Roxas City during the 1968 National Track and Field Championships to choose the country’s marathon bet for the Mexico Olympics on the same year. Again, Ben Silva Netto won the race, topping a field of 27 other runners by clocking a time of 3:37:23 to become the First Filipino Marathon Champion. He then proceeded to the Mexico Olympiad and came in at 49th place among 82 other runners with a PR of 2:56:19, thus earning himself and the country the honor of being the First Filipino Marathoner in the Olympics. Among his well-known rivals in this marathon include Mamo Wolde (1st, 2:20:26); Derek Clayton (7th, 2:27:23), Kenny Moore (14th, 2:29:49) and Abebe Bikila (DNF, ran the race with a stress fracture). Eight years later, another great Filipino marathoner, Victor Idava would run the Montreal Olympics. 

The recognition of running as a sport followed with the homecoming of Silva Netto from the Mexico Olympiad. Thereafter, visits to the country were made by Drs. Jack Schaf and John Wagner, the principal creators and Marathon trainors of the Honolulu Marathon Clinic in the early 70s. Dr. Wagner, together with Dr. Aparicio “Perry” Mequi, then Dean of the UP Institute of Sports Physical Education and considered father of the Physical Education Curriculum in the country; Ben Silva Netto, the Olympian and Jose “Jun” Castro, Jr., a chess promoter and founder of the Filipinas International Third World Marathon organized the first running clinic at the Quezon Memorial Circle. Soon after, other running clinics were established at Roxas Blvd., Paranaque, Makati and Greenhills. 

The running boom started in the US when Frank Shorter won the Munich Olympic Marathon in 1972 although in the Philippines, the first running boom was actually felt during the early 80s.

Adventure Run At Ipo Dam

I had originally planned to run another 32k last Sunday to complement the 29k run i did the Sunday before figuring it would be a good way to get back to back LSDs before the big one in Camsur, three weeks from now. However, with regular training partners Betty and Mel “out of commission” (Betty is abroad while Mel is still recovering from his PAU 70k run last Sunday), i called up Harry Contreras, another Runnex member and asked him if i can join his group on their Sunday run. Seems that they were going to do a 19-20k mountain run and their destination…Ipo Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan. So great, another adventure run!  

Harry fetched my at the Q.C. Hall at about 4:30am and he was with his son, Brian, also a runner. We arrived in Lagro before 5am and met up with his group and turns out to be other Runnex members (Obet and Gani, among them) who were also preparing for the Camsur Marathon. The drive to Norzagaray took another 25 minutes as we finally arrived at a Maynilad Office’s private compound where Obet’s brother works for.  

The Runnex group at the Maynilad compound in Norzagaray

Before long, we were up and about and did some warm up jogs and light stretching as we were warned before hand the the first 2.5 kms were all uphill and the rest of the route would be rolling up and down (whew, another Tanay-like route!). The distance up to the entrance gate was about 8kms and from there up to the Dam itself would be another 2k so it would be 10k, one-way. I was going to approach this run just like an easy training run, walk the ups, run the flats and speed-up the downhills. It would basically be a nice training run, with no expectations of time nor pace–just a fun day of adventure running. 

There were about 14 of us who lined up the narrow but scenic roads with Harry and Gani leading us to the ardous uphill passes that made me breathe heavily while trying to break those hills in segments. To keep the uphills more manageable, i tried to concentrate more in taking the views around me with mountain mists and flora that were attractions to itself. Here are some pictures: 

The run started with a 2.5 kilometer uphill climb

One of the breath-taking views along the way

Lush foliages at the right side of the highway

Continuous uphill going to a place called "Hilltop"

A rice paddy on top of a hill

Foggy mountain crests on the horizons

There were more of this views all throughout the run

Taking a break, from left Edwin, Gani, me and Harry

L-R: Edwin, Gani, Harry and Harry's son, Brian

At the 6th km mark

Coundn't resist taking a picture of this

After 8 kms, we're at the gates of the Ipo Dam at last

Thank God, "Running" isn't included in the no-no list:-)

The Ipo Dam is located at Baranggay San Mateo, here in Norzagaray where it siphons the water from the Angat River direct to La Mesa Dam and ends up at the Balara Filtration Plant in Quezon City. Ninety-five (95%) percent of the water requirements of Metro Manila come from Norzagaray through Ipo Dam. The compound leading to the dam itself have wide streets with tall Ipil-ipil trees lined-up in both sides which zigzags its way down to the bridge area. It somewhat resembles the roads going to Loakan airport in Baguio City except that on this area, the temperatures were now in the mid to high 80s, really hot if not for the trees that shaded us. 

Continuing our run down the tree-lined roads, we saw a small waterfall where we made a stop to freshen up. I had noticed the gushing water below that indicated we were nearing the dam. So close to it, we rushed down to see what’s in store… 

Now inside the reservoir, we re-grouped and took on the downhills slowly. L-R: Harry, Gani, Linda, Rizza, Doc Benny, Doc Lito and Glenda

We had the road all to ourselves

The view atop a zigzag road

Saying "hi!"

Enjoying the downhill but would be a torture later when we climb back those hills

The trees offered shade on a very hot morning

Linda, on extreme left is about to stop and buy a rice cake from that vendor

Just a few hundred meters from the dam

We see a small waterfall up ahead and rush to it

The waterfall can be barely seen, at right

Another shot after cooling ourselves

Winding down the stretch

Getting down to the dam which from here is now visible

Here we are now at the bridge stern of the dam

The view, at last!

The old Ipo Dam

We all were glad to have seen this place for the first time

At the other end of the dam which is all but dried up

A memorial marker which commemorates the recapture of the Dam by the Filipino-American forces from the Japanese invaders

Applying sun-tan lotion and hydrating for our trek back up to where we came from

The painful journey on the way up back those hills. "Gallowalking" rules!

Time seemed to pass quickly and soon we made the exit out. Harry, Gani, Obet and myself decided to run an extra 2.5 kms up the “Hilltop” which was the route going to the entrance of the National Power Corporation where the Angat Dam ( read it here)  is located. Obet, who grew up in the town himself, almost knew all the people we encountered at the streets saying his highs and we joked that if he would run for Mayor here, he would get all the votes, hands down.:-). As we stopped at the hilltop mark, with a birds eye view of Ipo Dam, we met some cyclists who were also on their way to Angat Dam. 

Cheers with C2!

Making our way to the "hilltop", we met these bikers who were on their way there too.

We got on top of the hill near the National Power Corp going to Angat Dam. At the back is the Ipo Dam

Ipo Dam. We were just on that bridge an hour or so ago

Completing about 18k, we headed back the main road on our way back to the Maynilad compound. I took my last sachet of GU banana-strawberry flavored gel and gobbled it down with some 8oz of ice-cold water before the descent. That was a nice long gentle downhill (part of the 1st 2.5k uphill start) that seemed to go on forever. It was an easy 6:30/pace coast until we reached our starting point. We covered a total of 22k. We all had a giant sized breakfast of eggs, giant tilapia fish, spare ribs, corned-beef, egg-plant garnished with tomatoes and onions, rice and even tasted for the first time “baboy damo” (wild pig) cooked as adobo. Yummy! 

Thanks to Obet and family for hosting us a great breakfast and to the Runnex club for taking us in an adventure run. It was a wonderful experience–the scenic route, fresh air and wonderful people–it’s one of the joys of running! 

On our way back to home base, we saw some trails that lead us to this stream

The water streaming here came from the Dam itself, as we were told

When Harry met Obet...Obet, a Bank Manager (in singlet) has about 12 full marathon finishes under his belt

This General Has Returned…To Running

I don’t run at the Quezon Memorial Circle as often as i used to and when i do run the 3.5km route twice a week from my home to get there, it’s usually to do cross-training of TAEBO with some of the runners i train with. A good complement to running, TAEBO increases strength, flexibility of the upper body muscles of the arms and shoulders. I just so love the feeling after a good 30 to 45 minute work-out…the arms and shoulders have been flexed a bit and with the usual boxing and karate chop moves, who knows– i might be up to martial arts someday.:-) 

This morning was a little different as i got to meet one of the running icons during the 80’s, a military man who had a best time of 36:00+ for the 10k and a 3:06 for the full marathon. I wrote about him in a past blog (here) and now that he’s out on provisional liberty, he’s bound to regain back that speed by starting to do short runs and eventually train for another marathon. General Danny Lim has gained weight and his planned runs would probably get him to regain his strength and speed and ditch some unwanted fat. 

An old newspaper clipping from his 80's running years

I took some pictures of him this morning but accidentally deleted most of them while transferring it into my usb. 

I’m posting below the remaining ones and i hope the good General gets into shape soon and see him run in one of the local races. 

General Lim is 3rd from right

With some of the Runnex members

The General in black shorts at the Runnex shade in QMC

The Graduates: First Half of 2010

Last Saturday, the Executive Runners Club of the Philippines (RUNNEX) held a general membership meeting and among its agenda were the induction of its newest members and a special recognition to members who finished a marathon in the first half of 2010. Also on hand to grace the occasion were Dr. Aparicio “Perry” Mequi, long-time mentor and adviser of Runnex and Dr. Vicente Valdepenas Jr., economist and member of the monetary board of the Central Bank. 

The occasion was held at the Max Restaurant at the Quezon Memorial Circle and since the venue is within QMC’s running grounds, i decided to run there from my house and did a couple more rounds before attending the meeting at 7:00am. 

I congratulate all the new members who were inducted and hoping that you enjoy the camaraderie, fun and social responsibilities of being a Runnex member.  Back in the 80’s, a pre-requisite to being a member is that one should have finished at least one marathon before the membership committee can accept them. Now, the norm seems to be, “be a member now, and run the damn marathon later…the sooner, the better!”

For the first half of 2010, the following members have finished a marathon/ultramarathon:

1. Susan Lee –        Condura her first marathon finish

2. Rene Villarta  –  Condura marathon.

3. Lito Duran     –   Condura

4. Pio Sugay        – Condura

5. Mel Severino-   Cebu Marathon, Condura, BDM 102km Ultramarathon, PAU 50k Ultra Run

6. Obet  Alano   –  Condura

7. Jay Sabido  – Condura and Dream Marathon

8. Norio Tanaka – Boston marathon 2010

9. Benny Jabanez – Dream Marathon

10. Reylynn Dela Paz – Dream Marathon

11. Dante Briones – Hong Kong Marathon

12. Dee Allas – Singapore Sundowm Marathon

Special mention goes to Benny Jabanez and Rylynne Dela Paz for topping both male and female categories of the TBR Dream Marathon (

Marathon graduates: First half of 2010: L-R, Reylynn dela Paz (TBR Dream), Dee Allas (Sundown Singapore), Obett Alano (Condura), Jay Sabido (TBR Dream and Condura), Jazzrunner (Condura), Norio Tanaka (Boston Marathon), Mel Severino (Cebu Marathon, BDM 102 Ultrarun, Condura, Pau 50k Ultramarathon), Dante Briones (Hong Kong Marathon). Not in photo, Susan Dee (Condura), Doc Lito Duran (Condura), Pio Sugay (Condura) and Benny Jabanez (TBR Dream)

Benny Javanes, tops the TBR Dream Marathon

Reylynne, tops the womens category of the TBR Dream Marathon

L-R: Dee, me, Reylynn, Ebong, Mel, Rose and Baby

The new Runnex members

A combination of the young and the old

 Best of luck too to those scheduled to run a marathon during the 2nd half of 2010!

Core Muscles or Leg Muscles?

During the middle part of Lit Onrubia’s talk on Chi Running (CR) last Sunday at Cafe Iana, U.P. wherein he emphasized that a runner’s power comes with using your core muscles more than you use your leg muscles, i heard soft muffled voices and saw some puzzled looks from the runners who were mostly trainees of the Runnex Running Clinic.  

It was a different school of thought from that espoused by regular clinic coach Jojo Macalintal where a strong toe-off comes from the leg muscles. Lit’s was a completely different approach and the way he presented it, it felt effortless and less technical.  

Simply put, CR’s way is getting off the heels, lean forward slightly while engaging the core muscle and let the gravity pull you forward, land at midfoot and take small strides. It’s an alignment of everything, your body, mind and the forward movement.  

Runners i have talked to who have actually trained under Lit’s series of seminars say that it’s harder than it looks and it would take months or even more than a year to master its technique. It would have been more effective had Lit showed the participants a brief demonstration on the way it’s done but given the limited space in front of the cafe, a demo was out of the question.  

An overview of the whole Chi process was discussed and some tips were imparted directly to the newbie runners.  

1. Not to overstride as small steps would settle more balance to the body.  

2. The lower body should not be the dominant force in running, that the upper body should take the other half of the task in exerting energy to create a balance.  

3. Shoes should be tied in a way that it can be easily removed and easily be put-on without re-tying the laces.  

Clearly, there are plus factors that Chi Running brings and its success cannot be doubted. Still, one shouldn’t also dismiss other running approaches which are also successful (like Coach Jojo’s running drills which helped a lot of the trainees finish their first 10k).

Like i suggested in my previous entry (here), the trick for all runners is to find out what works for them, personally. Learn from the experiences of others, read more on forms and techniques, get advices from experienced runners and most importantly, try it yourself. 

Enjoyment and running injury-free should take precedence than anything else. 

Lit discussing the mechanics of Chi Running for the participants of the Runnex Discover Running Clinic at Cafe Iana, U.P.

Triathlete and businessman Cliff Eala welcoming the participants

Runners at the Chi Running discussions

More of the crowd

From left, Danny Villavicencio, Risa Mantaring, Rudy Fernandez, Lit, Cliff and Art Disini

In Focus: Runnex Executive Classic

The Runnex 10k Executive Classic Race has weathered the many high quality races that had mushroomed every weekend. For one, it’s not a mega race that everyone could enter to nor is it one which is endorsed by celebrities or organized with high tech gizmos.

Yet, one thing has remained constant: It has still retained its exclusivity by serving the Professionals and Business Executive runners have their own race and it has been anticipated by its long-time followers. When last year’s race was canceled to give way for the preparation and staging of the first QCIM, a lot were quite disappointed as they had the race earmarked already in their racing calendars. When Runnex decided to hold it this year, plans of  staging was going to be low key, as registration was initially planned to be by “invitation” only.

However, when word spread out that the run was going to push through, a lot of requests were received from former participants to make this an open registration race, Runnex decided to open the registration barely a week before the race.

Its re-entry into the local racing calendar was welcomed by many as the race was also used as an opportunity for the Runnex Discover Running Clinic participants to use as a graduation run and finish a 10k ( story here ) .

Last May 23’s race had a new course inside the UP Campus that traversed past the Observatory and reached the newly paved rotunda that has become a new route for the running habitues of U.P.

This race will continue to be a simple event and it will remain a special one for those qualified to run the race. Perhaps it’s special because of its location, new route and the community spirit every runner feels when they join there. Maybe it’s the competition between middle of the pack runners, the awards and perhaps the great gathering after the race that entices many to come back.

Whatever the reasons, this race is here to stay and will continue to serve its purpose for the running community!

Here are some highlights of the race:

The start

Rites of Passage: Clinic Participants Finishes 10K

One of the sidelights of last Sunday’s Runnex Executive Race was the 10k graduation run of the participants of the Runnex Discover Running Clinic. After more than 10 weeks of training under the leadership of Coach Jojo Mac, the trainees’ endurance and skills were put into test. Majority of the participants were now going to run their first 10k, while a few who may have missed part of the clinic sessions would run 5k. 

Standing at the starting line after the Corporate Executives runners were fired off 10 minutes earlier, i felt a little concerned about my role for this graduation run but excited for these first time 10k runners i was going to pace. The day earlier, Danny Villavicencio, convener of the running clinic, assigned me to pace these newbies to finish their 10k at the same route where the Executive Run was being held. Aside from myself, the pacing chores will also be shared with Betty and Tonette. 

Although i was regularly promoting this running clinic through this blog, i rarely attended the Sunday clinics as i was either on out-of-town work related activities or was running some races elsewhere. I hardly knew any of the 72 participants although many recognized me through this blog. 

We started at a cautious pace of 8:00/km although Betty and Tonette’s group, who were leading the faster runners forged ahead in a 7:00-7:30/km clip. During my pacing with my group, i was bombarded with questions on running form, nutrition, speed drills and everything that pertained to running. It was a great feel interacting with them on a gut level and listening to their experiences gave a me a greater understanding of their concerns and aspirations. 

We reached the first loop (5k) in 44 minutes which wasn’t bad at all. Those few who had minimal training opted to finish the run, their first 5k race. The majority of us continued as i continuously gave some pep talks and motivation specially when some were taking walking breaks, which was just fine. 

A kilometer at the academic oval, another 2 kilometers at the newly paved rotunda and the slight incline going back, we finally reached back the academic oval. One kilometer to go! The group was now very ecstatic, their pace grew faster as we were near the finish. 

We were cheered wildly as we crossed the finish line as the runners punched the sky with their fists and all of them had smiles big enough to light up Abelardo Hall. Our time was 1:31:00. These newbie runners represented the essence of what drew them all to the starting line last Sunday. The quest for better health and self-esteem. A sense of a fulfillment and direction to achieve their dreams. 

Crossing the finish line with them transported me back when i also was discovering running. I too had this sense of fulfillment and pride when i finished my first 10k. There is pride in achievement but most thoughts and emotions are internal. They have all finished what they came to aspire for and deep inside, they were  all proud of their achievement.

They now plan to continue with their training and pursue a larger purpose, to finish the 42k marathon this December 5. 

Way to go, guys!

Running clinic participants

Doc & Dra. Jun Kagaoan (1073/1072), Race Organizers of the Vigan Run taking a pose with Betty

Trainees in high spirits, ready to tackle their first 10k

My pacing group. Ecstatic with 1 km before the finish!

Pulling them to the finish! (Photo By Blas Tiangco)

Part of the 10k finishers

Doc Pinky Benitez winning the Runnex Executive 10k race (Womens Div) with Christy Roldan coming a close second

Cristy and Pinky holding their trophies with Runnex' Art Disini and Rudy Fernandez

Runnex's (l-r), Ofie, Owens, Rose and Armie

42Kms Worth Of Memories

What makes a marathon finish memorable? There should be a dozen different answers from runners who have finished one. It may be experiencing a new challenging route that you dreamt of conquering one day. It may be the support you got with your running group that made the run easier, more exciting and more fun. Or it may be achieving your one main goal, to be able to finish your first marathon.

For me, it’s a combination of all the above, when you feel that your body and mind have worked alternatively or in tandem no matter how difficult or painful the experience was and feeling the exhilaration once you cross the finish line.

The Condura Skyway Marathon just gave me reason to celebrate again! It’s good to be back on the fray, completing my first marathon run in 17 years and my 5th marathon finish over-all.

It was a long hard climb, two years after deciding to make a comeback to running last 2008 although i wasn’t sure i would be able to sustain the motivation. We all know too well that half the battle of training isn’t the running itself, that it’s finding the resolve to run each day and it takes a lot of commitment, goal setting and having a training plan to carry out such a formidable task.

When i was at the starting line yesterday at the Condura race, i didn’t have a race plan. Feeling like a beginner again, my goal was just to finish below six hours and run the best way i can. My stomach was having double-knots and the pre-race nerves was getting into me since last Saturday. I could not really shake out the fear that i felt and that was the fear of “failure” even if i came fully prepared. I was logging at around 70-80 kms a week and running distances of 34 to 45 kms on my Sunday long runs.

So, at the very last minute before the gun fired-off, i decided to join a group of runners from who were doing the Galloway method of running for 5 minutes at an average pace of 6:30/km then fast walking for 1 minute, the 5:1 run-walk ratio. It was tolerable running it the first 3 kilometers but i couldn’t keep up with the fast run segments as we were sometimes going at a 6:00 minute/km pace. I knew that if i stayed with them, i could not have kept up with the pace and still have any energy left for the middle stages. Much worse, i would have had great difficulty finishing the race if i stayed on so i cut loose at the 4th km and ran my own pace thereafter.

The silent, eerie stretch of highway and the mixture of urban and rural vantage points atop the Skyway will make you forget your feet are pounding on hard cement. A good 15 to 20 kms of the Skyway was used for the route and i felt some kind of drudgery, running on one, very long, endless highway. The marching bands stationed along the Skyway who were supposed to play during the rush of runners who passed by them, didn’t help alleviate the boredom as they were just sitting and looking more tired and sleepy than we runners were. Some of the runners even coaxed them to play but it just fell on deaf ears.

The runner support was however, above par. There were adequate water stations not only at the Skyway but all throughout the route. The marshals were exemplary as they even handed out the water cups to the runners themselves. However, one sad note i experienced was when i saw some runners trying to revive two runners who collapsed past the 21k mark just before the turn-around bend at the Skyway but there was no roving ambulance on site! It was a scary moment. On my way back, i saw both sitting down on their own and somewhat revived.

At Buendia on to the Skyway

On my way back at 33 kms, i saw what seemed to be a transplanted banana plantation cum aide station at the middle of Buendia Avenue set up by Entrepreneur-runner Amado Castro and the group led by couple Jinoe and Queenie. The bananas were so plentiful that it could have fed the whole barangay of Pasong Tamo with still plenty to spare!

The last four kilometers was the most excruciating part of the run for me. After climbing up the grueling Buendia flyover on my way back to the Fort, i felt my body stiffen, my knees locked and couldn’t sway my arms as much as i wanted to. I haven’t drank water or Gatorade from my flask for the last 3 kms and didn’t feel like drinking at all although i knew i needed to. I realized then that i was crashing into the “Wall”. The only thing that was moving was my two feet which luckily were moving forward–but not by much. I began to feel a mild paralysis from my head down to my ankles. I knew that if i panicked, i might not be able to move my feet so i tried to stay calm.

I was still at Kalayaan Bridge, just about 250 meters away from 32nd Street, when i suddenly realized that i was at the exact spot where my running partners from Runnex, Betty and Tonette used to stop to walk and rest during our long Sunday runs. This time, they were not there to run with me (Betty had an urgent business call in HK while Tonnette had to attend to family matters). The 3 of us had paced each other, stop together when one felt like walking and each gave me their chocolate bars or bananas when i felt hungry. Now, i could barely move and not one of them was there to assuage me that everything would be fine. At this instant, i felt a little emotional and i was fighting back tears. I was getting frustrated because my body didn’t move as it should and i couldn’t think clearly.

In marathon running, you can program the brain for success or failure. It’s either the negative thoughts persists, like not being able to finish the race or you see the positive side that your hard work has brought to where you are now. I knew that my training was solid, carbo-loaded days before the race, that this run was just an ordinary Sunday long run and should treat it as such. I knew what to do and was able to focus on the physical and spiritual journey–the process–rather than a particular outcome. Slowly, i began to think of all the hard training i’ve done. Slowly too, my body began to move forward again. Clearly, my mind was taking over what my body could not do anymore.

There is such a thing as a second-wind. Just as i thought i would be trudging the last 3 kms to the finish, there is that sudden outburst of energy that’s just ready to be tapped from within when you need it the most. The last water station along the University Parkway was like heaven sent. I finally drank two cupfuls of the orange carbonated drink (i don’t usually drink them in races as it always upsets my stomach) and another cupful of water and it served like a jet-fuel that set me off to running form again. I realized then that all i needed was to hydrate myself which i avoided for the last 4 kms.

Near the finish, i was greeted by the hollers and shouts of encouragement of friends and running mates until i crossed the finish, just behind running friend, Doc Marvs who sensed that i was inching my way to overtake him and sprinted until he was clearly safe a few meters ahead.

At the finish

I finished with a time of 5:44 (5:42:43 Official Time) and just thankful i was able to cross the finish. I know that i can still improve on this, but that would not be so important at this time.

5:42:43 Official Time

So what now? In every experience like running a marathon, we always learn something about ourselves. We are always in the midst of an adventure, an inner challenge and learn to face fears and adversities that presents itself. On certain occasions, we push the edge of the envelope. Hopefully we become wiser, more confident and well-armed for the better.

Till the next great marathon!

Group pic

With Obet Alano, team mate from Runnex who also finished the 42k, his 12th, i think.

(Thanks to Brando and McCoy for the pics!)