Time: 2 hours and 19 minutes
Date: February 5, 2012
Pace: 6:37 minutes per kilometer
Condura Skyway Marathon 2011 (Read Here)
Condura Skyway Marathon is a once a year chance to run in the Skyway but it is also one of the most organized and planned race by its organizers. This year, it came up with an additional feature of being the first midnight marathon in the country and had the mangroves as its beneficiary. There was a large buzz even before registration began as the organizers was taking the runners inputs on the shift of gun start. Being part of half marathon category with a 3:30 am gun start, we stayed in B hotel just 2 kms away from the start area to have additional sleep. In terms of race expectations, I really don’t know what to expect as this won’t only be racing against time and fatigued but you’re also racing against your body clock so it’s a nice challenge. It was also nice seeing a lot of people in the run community as this one was one of the most anticipated and attended runs in the country.
Race course and elevation
This is one of the more interesting races even it just follows a straight course as it passes through several cities. It starts in the skyway entrance in Alabang Zapote road and it take about 3 kilometers going to the first toll booth. At kilometer 4 is the Sucat Exit and around the 8 km mark is Bicutan Exit. The 10.5 kilometer U-turn slot near the C-5 exit of the Skyway then it goes all back to Festival mall for the finish.
The Skyway Marathon is not a flat course and it starts with a slow climb from the entrance ramp until Sucat exit at 4 Km mark. After that you get a kilometer and a half steep climb covering 40 kilometers of elevation to the highest peak of the skyway. It then goes on some short climbs and descents until the U-turn slot at the 10.5K mark with a total descent of around 4o meters of elevation. Going back you get to climb back to the peak of the skyway at around the 15K mark covering another 40 meters of elevation. Next up is descents and short climbs until the 20K mark covering 50 meters of elevation and at the last kilometer, it’s another 10 meter worth of elevation before you hit the finish line.
I registered early enough to form part of Wave A so was one of the first few to hit the sky way. 21 Km is such a long distance to take as a single race so I try to cut it down to shorter races based on the profile of the course to make it more manageable and exciting to run the half marathon. I planned to test my limit and try to run faster than I normally would in a 21K distance because somehow I felt I’ve set some preconceived limits and this time, I wanted to test myself to go at a faster pace and lets see if I can set a new PR.
This part was advertised to be the narrow part of the run equivalent to a one lane road so there was no water stops for this part. I started fast for this one and planned to finish this part as fast as I can to avoid any clogging so was going at 6 minute per kilometer pace and planned to take a short rest on the first water stop at km 2.9 mark.
This is a hilly course and even had a steep climb between kilometer 4 to midway of the 5th kilometer. I settled to a 6:10-6:30 minute kilometer pace and tried to see the race as a series of 1.5 kilometer race with the water stops as the markers where I can talk short walking breaks. The good part of being part of the first wave is that it’s not yet crowded in the first half of the race and it was nice to appreciate the view from the skyway as it was well lighted and you can see yourself cross each city. It was nice going at a fast pace as I also was ignoring some minor pains in my calf muscles and some friction burn in my back.
Km 10.5 to 19
It was refreshing to go past the U-turn slot and that the race is half way done. It was great seeing some familiar faces on the other side of the Skyway. I was still going at around 6:30 minute per kilometer though slowed down a bit to 6:40 minute per kilometer pace at the 15 kilometer mark but this was the part that I started to be able to overtake some runners as some runners were slowing down. I broke my 15K and 16K PRs at the 15th and 16th kilometer mark. It was nice counting down the kilometers til you reach kilometer 21. It was fascinating to see some fireworks a few kilometers approaching the finish line.
Km 19 to 21
The last three kilometers going down the skyway was a struggle as my calf muscles was real sore and cramping already so just went on a 7 minute per kilometer pace for the next two kilometers and was running near the railings so when my muscle cramped I am near the railing so I can stretch. At the last kilometer, I slowed down to 8 minute per kilometer pace walking and jogging as I felt my calf muscles was about to go and it also was an uphill climb in the last kilometers. Just a few steps towards the finish line and a new PR in store and there it goes my right calf muscles cramped and was down a few steps away before the finish line. I had a few minutes to recover and walked myself to the finish line. On an afterthought had I thrown my shoes with the d-tag after I fell I could have a new PR (=>) but falling a few meters short of a PR finish, this was a great race. I tested my limits and fell a tad short but even with the recovery time, it was still near my PR so this should make me stronger.
Condura Skyway Marathon
It wass another well organized race by Condura. Hydration stations were sufficient and the runners were properly advised on some limitations on hydration. The Skyway was well lighted and it was a great experience starting the run under moonlit skies in the wee hours of the morning and finishing a run with the sun still not up. It was nice to have a hard earned finisher medal overcoming muscle pain and running outside your normal comfort time. I’m sure everybody would have jet lag (let’s call it Condura lag) in the next few days. Condura has set the bar high this time for being one of the best races of the year. I’m sure come end of 2012, it’s gonna be in my best races list again (my 2011 best races lists).
Running is more fun in the Philippines
Because running is more fun in the Philippines. I got myself a Pinoyfitness singlet at their booth in the Condura village. It’s a nice singlet featuring the Pinoyfitness colors and it says, “Running is more fun in the Philippines” at the back. It’s also affordable at P299. Aside from being part of a team, I’m also part of a community and Thanks to Pinoyfitness as I post most of my reviews in their site to promote my blogs. I’m also happy that the running community is growing… definitely more people are having fun running in the Philippines.
Team Total Fitness Running
It was great running with Team Total Fitness. Moby for running with me within the first four Kilometers… Sir James with his awesome 1:42 21K time… Gryf for a new 21K PR and Richard who also had a strong finish and Andie who’s working hard to improve his time… Team Total Fitness conquers Skyway and see you again in our Group training runs.