Yesterday, July 31 was the Milo Marathon once again. This time under RunRio, estimated 33,000 runners joined the annual event to help 10,000 kids have their own running shoes (see link for more details of the cause).
Last year, it was hot and humid and some unfortunate things happened; nevertheless, last year’s Milo event in Manila went by. This year was entirely different: it rained the whole time! Last year, it was my 2nd 5k (see link for that story) and that time 21,000 participants registered to help.
As early as 2am, I met up with Hendy, Henson (Hendy’s brother who ran 5k) and Kit at Ministop in Maginhawa. It was already raining and I was thinking if RunRio will eventually postponed the event because of the unending rain.
We took a stop at 7-11 Caltex Station in Annapolis and bought our last minute things. We arrived at MOA (parking behind one e-Commerce building) around 3:15am just in time to prepare. Still it was raining and we were awkward as we go out and prepare our things while our other hand is holding an umbrella.
My mom wore the new drifit shirt of six:30 and went to McDo to take a breather and saw John.
After much preparation, we went in front of Fitness First and saw the others taking shelter from the storm. There were no lines outside the portalets: a different view from the usual race. Some wore jacket hoping to find comfort from the rain and the wind but I guess if I was running a shorter distance I might opt to wear a jacket too but I wanted to wear light every race.
It’s my 2nd marathon after The Bull Runner Dream Marathon last March and I wanted it to be as memorable as my first and I think I got my wish: it’s raining!
The gun went off at exactly 4am and runners of the marathon started. At first, John, Hendy, Doc Noel and I were pacing and later on Hendy and Doc sped off leaving John and I on a constant pace.
Looking at the Macapagal Avenue in the dark with the pouring rain is quite interesting especially when everyone seems to be running blindly hoping to finish at their best. Before even turning left from Aliw Theater from CCP to Luneta, everyone’s shoes are wet and I tried running faster to lessen the rain going in the shoes.
As we made our first U-turn from Km 0, funny when some runners went to the island and pee! It was surprising but it’s my first national marathon and I’m not in the position to judge other runners of their behavior so went on.
The whole stretch of Roxas Blvd. was surprisingly longer than I have imagined! After 2 flyovers, a lot of puddles, slippery road, and a lot of flooded areas, we were like experiencing an urbanathlon! John kept on joking as we saw Sir Jonel (frontrunner) ran at a steady pace with his signature running gear: shirt and running shorts. Just looking at the BDM tattoo at his right calf makes me wish I can run soon and do an ultramarathon under his program and Sir Jovie (Bald Runner) who by the way was having a good time trailing behind the rest of the marathoners. I supposed he was doing an LSD that time. (Side note: In my opinion, once you’re an ultramarathoner, you are after the distance not after the time…but of course you wish you can finish before cut-off.)
We haven’t reached the end of Roxas Blvd. route when we saw the lead pack and we were clapping that a fellow Filipino is leading us!
On we went, so did the rain. We turned right to Buendia and John said it’s our turf. I tried running at a constant pace with him but the flat terrain, wet shoes and the impact it did to my calves and hamstrings was no longer favorable that I have to start walking and just look as John go on. I really admire the guy, it’s his second turn to do the Milo marathon and he promised himself he will redeem himself from last year. A good 100-200 meters as I saw him and as long as I can see him in this distance I will keep up.
The Buendia flyover came, Rizal Drive, 5th Ave and Lawton Avenue where runners seem to start falling off. Others are walking, in a steady pace, while others just couldn’t believe (myself included) that we’re here in BGC. I got hungry that time and I grabbed a banana, drank Powerade and took the last of my Hammer energy gel (Espresso flavor) and walked. This is when I saw Sam YG (of Magic 89.9, Boys Night Out) doing his first marathon (I heard) and you just have to admire all the marathoners’ determination to finish the race, hoping to get in the cut-off (5 hours or 9am at Km 32).
I literally crawled back to Buendia flyover hoping to get that second wind but alas I can only cheer myself up as I replayed the playlist my sister prepared for me (courtesy of RX93.1 latest chart) and saw John looking back. I wanted to say sorry but I know I can keep up soon. As I finally reached the end of Buendia, I saw John took a break and we went back to our pace. He was having a side stitch even before going to BGC but with his constant pace, he got over it.
We took the run-walk method (call it Chi Running or Galloway) to save our energy for that last stretch as we saw Km 33 (crossing Buendia train tracks), the support (besides RunRio’s hydration stations) just kept on coming: liniment, chocolates, water spray, pictures, cheers…it was surreal and for a while, it stopped raining.
From Km 35-38, John encouraged me to run at a constant pace. Literally, he was behind me as his right hand pressed on my left shoulder pushing me to run; not on a race pace but at a constant pace as we were hoping to do a sub-4:30. I got optimistic despite the pain throbbing on my left calf thinking would it have been different if I wore full compression tights instead of the half? The liniment from the guys under Pasay flyover (do you guys know their name? I need to update it here!) was a big help for me to go through as my muscles burned and paced with John until that last Km 38.
By the right turn back to Roxas Blvd. before turning left to CCP, I let John run ahead as I saw others run ahead. This is the time that I almost wanted to quit. I was in disbelief that I am walking and that I cannot push myself further to my limits. I thought about my life and my decisions, if I was doing this as well: just letting everything pass, letting everyone walk by. John was nowhere to be found and inside of me I wished him the best: that he gets his sub-4:30 and he redeems himself from last year’s wrath (his time was 5:46 last year! Nice one!).
Before turning left to CCP, I saw Madol and Marga and the rest of the takbo.ph guys and I felt I was revived with their cheers and support. I forgot I was hurting until I turned left to what it seems to be the longest 3k of the route!
A good 100m distance apart from runners are very much seen as most of us are walking and some of us tried walking the 50m and then breaks off to walk again. The effect of the rain has already made its way to all of the runners, adding onto the time we would have wanted.
As I saw the Snail Runners of Alabang cheering everyone, giving their famous water spray at the Manila Doctors College I was thankful that I know some of them from TBRDM and I thought: how many marathoners are going there alone mustering all their strength, now that is one courageous feat!
I turned right to see the globe of MOA seeing how far it is just walking for it. I tried running as I saw some marathoners I have seen earlier smiling and telling us we’re almost there. We turned right once again and turned left for Seaside Blvd. as I saw a finisher cheering everyone and the Alabang people in unison.
Crossing the Finish Line
That last 500 meters was amazing as I saw Coach Rio on his scooter telling everyone, “Pasok pa, pwede pa!” And I saw from afar I’m way past sub-5 but I thought of my first marathon and I know I have done better so I ran, not in a sprint this time but on a pace that I can see my parents cheer for me.
I saw them and I saw my running friends, this is it: another marathon finished!
Congrats First Time HM Barneys!
Besides congratulating my fellow Barneys who finished strong in the race: Hendy, Coach Kampuger, Doc Noel, John, Jay, Matt and Bong, I would like to give my shout outs to first time HM Barneys: Phevie, Kit and Tina!!! They have graduated from their usual 10k and finally made their debut as half-marathoners (pikermis) in this year’s Milo event. Congratulations as well to Louie, Igy and Jonj as part of the list of Barneys who finished their half-marathon!
The race went well. The rain gathered the people closer. Hydration, just like the rain flooded the route thanks to Powerade and Summit Mineral water. Sponges are all over the last kms which is great! Bananas as well for the hungry stomach and the aching legs. Running groups to cheer everyone. Medics situated in every hydration station. Ambulances roam the entire race (I think I heard them 4 times!). There were boom boxes to awaken the human spirit with the chanting of the Milo theme. I guess the only common comment that linger would be some results of the Bazusports are erroneous: our Barneys Bong, Kit and Imee’s results are still missing as of this post. I hope they can correct this. Overall, the race was another winning moment and a gold for RunRio and Milo!
So after that the Barneys enjoyed a hearty brunch and have that sinful food: bulalo!