*** Time Period: March 2011 ***
March 2011 was my most memorable month so far in running because it was my half marathon debut! My preparation was pretty consistent as I did my weekday practices and long slow distance (LSD) trainings every Sunday. For three (3) weeks I endured hardship while enjoying at the same time. I did not falter, even with some discomfort felt like ankle soreness, foot blisters and a bruised right knee caused by a freak accident in the office a day before the CitiGym CitiRun 2011.
It also helped that I have running partners because sometimes it really gets boring, specially on long distances. On weekdays, I ran with Kuya Raymund and Val at a relax pace, chatting at the same time. Sometimes with my younger sister Mikai and Mayong. Then, on Sundays, I ran with my wife Espie and Joan on the first Sunday, and with Marlon, also a half-marathon first timer, on the next Sunday.
Two weeks before race day, I had a chance to practice with Bataan Death March (BDM) 102 km finishers Homer, Steve and their buddies twice at Asiatown IT Park. I tried pacing with them but only for a limited time. Man, they are fast! Nevertheless, I’m sure it helped me because it became my speed trainings as well. I also got a lot of tips and motivations from them.
My diet was also consistent and balanced, having fish and vegetables diet for 4 days a week, and pork and chicken meals for the remaining 3 days. I also ate a lot of fruits in between meals and sustain a daily hydration of 10-15 glasses. Five days before the half marathon event, I started to load more carbohydrates as what is advised in some of the blogs that I follow. Internet is really a big help for me!
CitiGym CitiRun 2011 Half Marathon 21km (Mar 27 2011)
Race day came and my excitement was sky-high! Good thing the rain stopped, though it left the road wet. I arrived at the starting line a few minutes before commencement, just enough for a short prayer and a little stretching but not adequate for a 1 km warmup jog. I revised my plan to do a warmup jog on the first kilometer before proceeding to race speed. My target was to finish the 21 km route in 2 hours and 27 minutes. It’s always nice to have a goal in mind because it keeps you focused and time-conscious.
A few minutes after gun start and few meters from the starting line, I felt some sting on the inner side of my right foot. I stretched again and ran but it won’t go away. I decided I have to run with this pain and it subsided a little as I increased my speed on the second kilometer.
I maintained a pace around 7:00/km, which I now identified as my comfortable pace, for 13 km up to the last turning point in Cabancalan area. On the 14th km, my right foot started to feel pain again, this time it’s not just the inner portion but also on my toenails. I continued to run but the pain steadily decreased my speed until I have to stop on the 16th km, still in Cabancalan area, and checked on what’s happening with my right foot. I took off my shoes and socks and found out that I have three blisters and a dead toenail. Running on partially wet shoes and socks would make one really vulnerable to such injuries.
Surrender was a thought that came in to mind, but I remembered to “fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith” written by Paul to Timothy. I also remembered my trainings and the support that my wife Espie and my family are giving me. Somehow, it re-fueled me and I asked GOD’s help to let me finish the race without any additional injuries.
I slowly tied my shoes and got up, then started running again. I stopped to drink and walked the first 100 meters after every water station from thereon. It doesn’t matter that the 2:30 official pacer already went ahead of me. I cannot keep up with them anymore because of the discomfort I am feeling. My pace dropped to 8:00/km up to the finish line.
It was such a fulfilling moment for me when I received my finisher’s medal (my very first finisher’s medal!) after 02:35:55! Despite the blisters, the dead toenail, very sore ankles and a painful right foot, I managed to finish my first half marathon! Wooohooo!!!
By the way, my hat’s off to CitiGym. This was the best race I have joined so far! A very nice route, lots of marshals, water station every 2 km and they even gave out bananas and chocolates for energy boost!
The event was the icing of the cake for an eventful running month for me. I logged in my highest mileage so far with 116 kilometers and to top it all, I lost another 4 pounds! I weighed 200 pounds at March’s end! Thank You LORD!