The Road To 42.195 Kilometers

*** Time Period: September to October 2011 ***

Officially Registered

As soon as the registration for the Cebu City Marathon (CCM) 2012, which will be on Jan 8, 2012, opened last Oct 7, 2011, I immediately signed-up without hesitation! For me, it’s now or never! It will be a fulfillment of a dream – running a distance of 42.195 kilometers! Yes, I’m fully aware that the road towards CCM will not be easy and it will require a lot of discipline and sacrifice but I will trust on GOD’s promise that “I can do everything through HIM who gives me strength” – Philippians 4:13. After all, human as we are, we can’t achieve anything without HIM!

35th Milo Half Marathon – Cebu Eliminations 21Km (Oct 2 2011)

Two months into my training, I steadily build up my running mileage and inserted weekly tempo runs and speed workouts, as well. I also found a training and pace partner in Cesar Bordalba, Jr. or Sarsi, who is also planning to achieve his first full marathon via CCM 2012.

Sarsi & me crossing the finish line together (photo by Reynan Opada)

I believe it’s best to have a training and pace partner because you will always have somebody who will push you to your limits, encourage you when you’re down and celebrate with you when you succeed! And that’s exactly what happened to me and Sarsi during the Cebu Eliminations of the 35th Milo Half Marathon, where we paced all throughout the race, even when I needed to walk the entire 13th km stretch because I accidentally stepped on a nasty rock that caused pain on my right foot for a while. And we celebrated when we crossed the finish line together after 02:24:36 official chip time, which is a new personal record (PR) for both of us! Also, we made it thru the cut-off time of 2 hours 30 minutes and received a very nice finisher’s medal, which I dedicated to my nephew Jed Francis Gerodias’ first birthday on that same day! Thank You LORD!

1st PMAP People Run 12Km (Oct 23 2011)

The Personnel Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP) Cebu, Inc. organized a fun run for the education of some less fortunate children. My employer, Union Galvasteel Corporation, is a member of PMAP and supported the cause as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects by sending 30 personnel to join the race – including me, yehey! I invited Sarsi to register, as well.

12K Finisher @ 1st PMAP People Run (photo by Alan Macatangay)

My goal was to finish the route in 1 hour 12 minutes. When the gun was fired, I forgot to start my running app so I thought I would just run and enjoy without any pressure of the time. Pacing with Sarsi, we kicked off at a 5:30/km pace. On the 3rd kilometer, Sarsi said he would slow down but I felt comfortable with the pace. Maybe I’m well conditioned on that day, thanks to the carbonara my wife Espie prepared for me the day before the race. I maintained the 5:30/km pace and even, increased speed at some point.

As I approached the finish line, I raised both my hands because I’m about to finish in 01:04:04, exceeding my target and just 5 minutes 20 seconds behind the 10th placer in the male category! I ran at an average pace of 5:20/km, which is good to shave off 26 minutes from my previous time in a 12km race for a new PR! Sarsi also fared well, registering a PR of his own with his time of 1 hour 10 minutes! Wooohooo! Consecutive PRs! To GOD be the glory!

Incidentally, a Run for Melinda Ponce was being staged simultaneously with this run. Since I can’t join the tribute event, I dedicated this run to honor the ultra-marathon champion. I never knew her personally but I’ve read and heard a lot about her. She was an inspiration to many runners.

Seriously UltraHamster 3 Hrs Category (Oct 30 2011)

The second edition of the UltraHamster Running, I am glad to be a part of this again! The venue was still at Cebu Memorial Park (CeMPark), where a closed loop of approximately 2km was pre-determined. The tagline this time was “Test of Determination”, and consisted of 3 categories – 10 Hours (minimum of 30 loops or 60km, gun start at 3:00 AM), 5 Hours (minimum of 15 loops or 30km, gun start at 4:00 AM), and 3 Hours (no minimum loops required, gun start at 5:00 AM). In fact, the 10 Hours Category was considered by the Cebu UltraRunners Club (CUC) as an official ultra-marathon event! However, erstwhile champion Dr. Willie Estepa can’t defend his crown as he is nursing a right leg injury.

3 Hrs Category Runner @ Seriously UltraHamster

A lot of improvements were made. First was the giving of race number to the participants so that tracking of the loops finished per runner would be easier. Another is the finisher’s medal to be given to those who made the minimum loops required, except for the runners in the 3 Hours Category. And to think this event is for free! Kudos to the hardworking organizing team of minimalist running masters Tsinelas Runner, Edward Tan Ting and Richard Manila, including Jhito Cabral of Jhito Limited!

Since the event was a simulation for the ultra-runners preparing for the Cebu Century Challenge this coming Nov 20, 2011, the number of participants doubled, if not tripled, from its first edition held last May 2011. And just like its maiden staging, the event was on festive mode as many runners brought in food (lechon, spaghetti, pansit, bread, etc.), drinks (soft drinks, sports drink, water, etc.) and sweets (chocolates, candies, etc.)! Having the best and more than sufficient nutrition and hydration has now become a trademark for every UltraHamster event!

I arrived at the venue late, so I was able to start “hamstering” at 5:15 AM. I managed to complete 10 loops, good for 20km before the official clock striked 8:00 AM. But that’s alright with me, because the best part of the race really was meeting a lot of my dailymile friends, then later on eating and chatting with them.

Seriously UltraHamster Champions Joel Cuyos & Lyra Valles with the Tsinelas Runner (photo by Cecillie Milan)

I left CeMPark after receiving my finisher’s medal at around 9:30 AM. I just learned later on that perennial ultra-marathoner Joel Cuyos completed 36 loops or a whooping 72km to bag the 10 Hours Male Category, while Lyra Valles achieved 60km after 30 loops en route to winning the Female Category! Congratulations, both of you are certified UltraHamsters!

Overall, it was an eventful two months for me as far as running is concerned. I got to jumpstart my training for CCM 2012 and gradually increased mileage – 137km total in September & 166km in October – and reach 1,000 dailymile kilometers logged in the process! I dedicated this achievement to my wife Espie, who supported me all the way in this hobby of mine! The best part of it was the improvement of my overall health, which became apparent during our annual executive check-up last Oct 28, 2011, after hearing the doctor say, “Your liver is now normal! No more fatty liver!” Yahoooooo! That was a great turnaround from last year’s findings! Thank You LORD for healing me and sustaining me to practice self-discipline and self-control! And thank You LORD for giving me a special gift – the gift of running!

21K Finishers @ 35th Milo Half Marathon - Cebu Eliminations
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2 thoughts on “The Road To 42.195 Kilometers”

  1. Hi Dennis, I love your desire and determination in preparing for your 1st marathon. Having a training partner or partners are very good, especially when it comes to the LSD portion. When I was in Cebu last November, it was awesome to hear and talk with the Cebuanos regarding CCM. I was supposed to be there in January but because of funds and an issue with my passport, my trip to Cebu is delayed until probably the Fall!

    However, I’ll continue to do my best to encourage and motivate. Believe me, all of us need it when it comes to running. By the way, a really nice blog and will continue to read it. Thanks again for the encouragement as well. – Wayne

  2. Thank you Wayne, your words are very heartening! I’m praying there would be no setbacks like injuries, etc. Please do inform me when you’re coming to Cebu. It would be an honor to meet you personally. GOD bless!

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