I am thankful to Noelle of Kikayrunner.com for sponsoring this race. She was patient with my E-mails. She even gave me tips on how to train for my first 21k.
At 4 a.m., we arrived at BGC and started doing some warm ups, knee highs, butt kicks, loosening up those tight muscles. I also did my last minute bathroom breaks.
Bong and I waited at the middle of the pack of the starting line for the gun start. While there, I noticed that were so many foreigners. The front line was like a delegation from the United Nations. It was estimated that eight thousand (8,000) people showed up for the race. There were some African runners too, but I really can't see them because it was dark. I was interested to find out sana if I can recognize them from previous races. It has been said that Kenyan runners are making a business out of the running scene here in the Philippines.
With cameras in front of the starting line, it seemed like a photo shoot for United Colors of Benetton. "How sosyal naman this race, international 'tol." - I told my running mate Bong. I was expecting that NatGeoRun 2012 (with its super mahal na registration fee 1300Php) would at the very least be at par with international standards.
At gun start, everyone was running so fast. My friend Bong was pacing me. He's the faster runner between the two of us. He was very patient with me. He didn’t have to, but he waited for me in times I had to recover from running.
We ran steady for thirty (30) minutes without water breaks, and how can there be water breaks when there were very few water stations? I told Bong, "Bro galit ata organizers sa water stations eh. Ang konti at ang lalayo ng water stations." You can count the water stations with your fingers.
At fifth kilometer, I was thirsty and really felt the need for a water break. I had Gatorade in my kidney bottles but I wanted to reserve it for the latter part of the race. But wait! Is it really the fifth kilometer or tenth? No one really knows because through out the whole race, there were no kilometer markers! All the race had was arrows, directions, telling runners where to turn. The lack of distance markers made it hard for runners to pace and plan their run.
It was supposed to be Earth Day, but there were almost very few efforts to promote how to conserve mother earth. The giant screen before the race started merely featured NatGeo program ads, but barely any information about Earth Day. The streets were a mess with water bottles and paper cups, too. A lot of runners just indiscriminately threw their paper cups on the road. A lot of runners seem to have forgotten that it was Mother Earth's birthday and the race was an environmental advocacy. Part of the blame goes to the organizers, too. Very few trash bins were provided.
Somewhere in the race, (No distance markers, argh.) someone shouted, "Last 3k!" I felt that I still had the energy to push my speed to the max. My NatGeo jersey was drenched in sweat and was sticking to my body. Since it was really slowing me down, I took off my shirt off and tucked it behind me.
Finally, the finish line. I saw a stranger walking five hundred meters away from the finish line. I told him, "Kuya, konti nalang, kaya natin to." He told me, "Oo nga bro. Kaya natin ito!" Then he took a walk break, while I maintained my steady pace. 10 seconds after, he sprinted towards the finish line surpassing me. Talk about giving someone a boost! :)
At the finish line, I saw Avril taking my photo. I wanted to hug her. She was so supportive. She's all I wanted to see after the race. Natanggal pagod ko.
A guy in a cap stopped me and gave me a finisher's medal. I didn't expect that there was a medal. They didn't announce they medals will be given to the finishers. It was my first medal ever. Sweet victory. A new mile stone in my running career.
I felt happy running my first 21k. For some people, there are more important things to do than just running. I don't blame them, I mean, whatever floats their boat, I am not running for them. Instead, I am running because I believe running makes a better person out of me. It's for my Boo. It's for my friends. It's for that 2013 one sweet day. It's for those who believe in me. It's for the things I believe is right. It's for God, my offering, my gratitude.
|Pre-race rituals, visualizations, inspirations.|
|Bong, my running mate, and yours truly.|
|I heard someone shout, "Last 3k!" and I ran like hell.|
|Bling bling with Avril my love.|
“I still cannot define precisely my joy in running… Who can define happiness? To some, happiness is a warm puppy or a glass of cold beer. To me, happiness is running in the hills with my mates around me.”
Have a great day everyone!
Avril, you are my soulmate.
Noelle of Kikayrunner.com for sponsoring my registration :)
Bong Cendana my running mate
Glenn and Sigue Correr Runners for the photos