Running the Condura Skyway Marathon is ALWAYS a challenge. It’s a rolling course with really long stretches of climbs and descents. It’s been a tradition for me as I’ve been running Condura for the past 5 years and it never gets easy but I’m always loving the experience of running in the Skyway.
- Condura Skyway Marathon 2011
- Condura Skyway Marathon 2012
- Condura Skyway Marathon 2013
- Condura Skyway Marathon 2015
The Condura Tradition
I’ve been joining the Condura Skyway since I started running over 5 years ago. I felt it was graduation of sorts when I completed the full marathon last year so it took me a bit more time to decide in joining this year’s edition. I guess some traditions are worth keeping so I registered again but this time back to the 21K distance. It was a different game plan this year though since I’ve been spending more time on trails lately. I came up with an experiment of sorts on whether I can post a decent time even if I spend most of my weekends in the trails with short maintenance runs on weekdays. Like I always say, each race is a different experience and let’s see how Condura Skyway Marathon 2016 turns out.
Race Route and Elevation Profile
The race starts at the Skyway exit at Alabang Zapote Road. It goes on a long uphill stretch towards the first 5 kilometers heading to the Sucat area covering about 30 meters of elevation. The race shifts to a rolling terrain over the next 3 kilometers. The race then descends over the next 2.5 kilometers heading to the u-turn slot. After the u-turn, the climb resumes over the next 2.5 kilometers until km 13 before shifting back to the rolling terrain over the next 3 kilometers. The last 5 kilometers is a descent to the Skyway Exit and a short climb going to the finish line at Spectrum.
I booked a room at Azumi Boutique Hotel the day before the race since I would want to have sufficient sleep the day before the race with a really early 3:30 AM gun start. We had a shuttle service to the race venue and we got there by 3:00 AM enough time to warm up before the run. The only different picture was that there were no wave flags where runners can assemble. It turned out that you can opt to start on different waves so we ended up on the second wave of runners released.
I saw Jinoe and Adrian of Takbo.PH, Roselle and Marga of Team Endure at the starting line. We ended chatting and barely noticing that it was already our gun start. Yes, I was that relaxed for this one. The game plan was go for a modified run-walk set and not to run lazy. I’ve devised my own run walk set that have variety of run split depending on fatigue and terrain but reducing walking sets to just 20 seconds. The starting line had a smoke effect as we passed by the starting line and it was time to go.
The challenge on the first kilometer is that it’s a bit congested since this is the one lane exit road heading to the toll booth. I started slow to properly warm up my muscle especially on the climb on the first kilometer. I started to speed up a bit after the climb. The next two kilometers were moderate climbs on a one lane road so I took the outer side of the road except when I had to overtake. I kept reminding myself to conserve my energy on the congested part and use it once the road widens after the toll booth. Once in a while, I’d take few 20 seconds walk just to control my pace. It was also a good day to run with the cool weather that gave us same rains and drizzles along the way.
After crossing the toll booth, the Skyway shifts to a steep climb over the next 2 kilometer heading to the Sucat Area. I shifted to a 60 seconds run and 20 seconds walk to hurdle the climb. It really helped that my quads were ready for the burden of the climb with all the mountain climbing lately. The good thing about the climbs in the Skyway is that it can be steep but it’s something that you can run. It’s attitude building course at its finest. I went on with the climbs at a controlled pace as I would want to keep that energy high when I hit the flats and descents.
After the long climb, it was time to let go. The Skyway shifts to a rolling terrain on the next 3 kilometers. By this time, I’d go with long stretches of run especially on the descents to catch up on time while maintaining a steady effort on the climbs. I also saw Roselle again who went on to become my virtual pacer during the race since we were running about the same pace. I was able to have a better pace on this stretch and went on to speed up even more as it was a long descent heading to the u-turn slot 1t 10.5 kilometers.
I always start counting down the race after the u-turn. The next 2.5 kilometers had us climbing again so I was back to running 60 seconds and resting for 20 seconds to cover more distance without being idle. It’s ok to run slow but not to run lazy. This is the reason I keep the walking part to 20 seconds or at most 1 minute because walking is so comfortable after a long run. If you don’t set a time limit on the walks, it’s tempting to just walk the remaining part. I put in as much run as I could and then put on a brief recovery walk until I got to kilometer 16.
Starting Kilometer 16, gravity is now on my side as it’s mostly descents from this point on. The problem was my calves were starting to get stiff. I took time to stretch on the side of the road and also had some liniment to relax the muscle abit. Running with stiff legs is like running with weights on it. I still went on with the run walk sequence even with the heavy legs. It’s never easy running in the Skyway, there’s always a sting that comes with the elevation profile of the Skyway.
By kilometer 18, I felt a pain on my left foot. At first I thought it was sprain since I can feel the sting at each step but it turned out to be a sore nerve because of how I pronate when I hit my strides. I was limping. It’s painful whether I run or walk anyway so I might as well run it. It was also a good thing it was on the final descent already. I took several run efforts with brief walks until I’ve covered the remaining kilometers in the Skyway en route to the finish. I did have a decent time too.
It’s another well organized run by Condura and Runrio. There were sufficient water station that had both water and Gatorade. There were a lot of marshals all over the Skyway and a lot of them have liniments to help those like me with muscle pains. Of course, I am also supporting Condura for the cause of the Hero Foundation. It’s never an easy run but it’s always a worthwhile experience. It was also nice to see running friends as I spend most of my time after the race to go around the village to meet friends.
Outfit of The Race
- Singlet – Oakley with My Runs design by Breakout Design
- Shorts, Calf Sleeves, Visor – Under Armour
- Shoes – Asics Gel Nimbus
- GPS Watch – Suunto Ambit 3 Sports
- Socks – Features