As I write this entry, the rain poured again. I thought typhoon Gener (international name: Saola) has left the country. Last Sunday, July 29, the Manila leg of the 36th National Milo Marathon was my fifth marathon. It is my second marathon with Milo and my third time to run (my first was running in 5k).
Just like last year, it rained with Juaning (internation name: Nock-ten) flooding the streets of Roxas Boulevard. This year, Gener was a bit kind and only rained when we needed the refreshment!
I am not as prepared as last year. Last year was a master plan of getting a decent time, hoping to shave off the time from my first marathon (5:13) and successfully I did (5:09) and since then I haven’t gotten to get faster than that. Why? Let me count the ways.
One, I really do a positive split. I find myself in 4:30 pace, running with some of the faster friends in the running community. The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon experience came into mind and find myself knocked down after half the marathon. Second, the moment I give myself a chance to walk, it also gives a chance for my heel to hurt rather than the ball of my foot. I am forefoot so I have mastered managing the pain but when my heel also hurt then a slower pace as slow as 7:30 will really sacrifice a lot of time! Third, the transition from Roxas Blvd. to Buendia is quite a challenge because of the smoke coming from the vehicles, jeepneys and buses alike. A new one, fourth, I depended on the hydration stations this time. I didn’t bring my hydration belt. I used to have my own hydration and won’t get until the 19th or 20th km. I wanted to take a risk and so I did and realized a carbonated drink is one of my weaknesses; it brought a pain at both sides of my lower abdomen. I tried drinking water but left me feeling heavy; I need to review on water intake when running.
I finished at 5:36 (official 5:40) just within cut-off. I got the goodies (thank you sponsors!), got the medal (twice the size of last year) and got Large size for my finish shirt–an indication I was too slow. Yes, this is how I evaluate myself as a runner and as a marathoner. I wanted that sub-5 because I know I can do it. Maybe next time, I will try harder.
But beyond the demons inside my head, this marathon is the second time I ran alone. You see, I am a social runner: I enjoy the company of others. I may have my iPod but most of the time I love listening to the stories of the people I run with that is why I enjoy pacing others. I get to learn from them and pick some highlight of their lives. While running, I enjoyed the different scenes of my fellow marathoners. This year’s theme was right, “Iba’t ibang hinahabol, iisang takbuhan.” So what am I running for? I actually ran for myself: determined to finish the race. I wanted to be proud of myself for once. Running has given me the chance to be proud of others and running a marathon has always been a self-fulfillment. It gives me an assurance that I deserve to be among these marathoners BECAUSE running a marathon is hard work; running long distances is harder! Running for 2 years, I saw familiar faces and I salute them for their love for the sport and for actually running in a constant pace.
I crossed the finish line, like everyone else with a smile, satisfaction and grateful as the weather improved. Like last year, Coach Rio was there, meters before the finish line encouraging everyone with Sir Andrew Neri. I wish they have a picture as they cheer the finishers.
Going back and talk about the pain, I have to complain about 100 Plus. Sorry, I am not a fan of carbonated hydration drinks. I know you have a non-carbonated drink so please introduce it soon here in the country. Then I was a bit disappointed when the hydration stations suddenly prepared Powerade cups only to find out it’s filled with the 100 Plus. I have to content myself with it, sipping a bit but by Km 28, I can feel the pain in my lower abdomen so I started getting water instead. I apologize for this but I just have to air my side. I hope you understand. Don’t worry I’ll try to train with the carbonated 100 Plus maybe my stomach will be friends with it, if not then I’ll go back with my hydration belt next year.
After the marathon, I met with some of my running friends and six:30 running group and we had lunch at Bon Chon. To everyone, congratulations for a great race and another amazing Milo experience!
Pictures taken from different sources. Thanks to everyone who took our pictures!