#PF21KChallenge is not only a race against time but it is also chance to push ourselves further to make the finish line faster. It’s definitely an adrenalin rush whether you are chasing a sub 2 or 2:30 finish or just want to have a decent finish in a challenging course.
Pinoy Fitness 21K Challenge
If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been running fast lately. I just go for the distance within a reasonable amount of time. The last time I was in the sub 2:30 level was during my half marathon in Hong Kong last year though there was a time that my finish time ranges within the 2:18-2:20 region. That’s like ancient history for me. Right now, I need to log more distance as I build up for my marathon next year. That’s also one of the reason that I’m doing half marathons regularly. There are three categories for the 21K Challenge, one is a sub 2 distance (not in my wildest dream), sub 2:30 (that’s possible on a good day) and the fun wave (that’s just right for me). I ended up going for the sub 2:30 challenge category or what I call fun wave with a chance to earn a medal. I haven’t really regained my speed yet but I’m steadily improving on my endurance. I went on with the simple plan of just sustaining 7 minute per kilometer for the duration of the race. I also took out my visor and shades so I can race lighter for this one. It’s a long shot but it’s not impossible. Let’s do this.
Race starts at the corner of 9th Avenue and Corner 34th Street and then proceeds downwards to 8th Avenue before heading to the 38th parkway. The race goes to 11th Avenue until 26th street at the High Street Area. The race then descends to the full length of 26th street and 3rd Avenue before the climb to Kalayaan Avenue for the u-turn slot before the intersection in EDSA around 5.5 kilometers into the race. The race then goes back to Rizal Drive and passes through 26th Street for a long climb in 5th Avenue all the way to Essensa for the u-turn slot. The race descends back to 5th Avenue and proceeds once again to 26th Street and 11th Avenue. The Race goes back to 38th Parkway for the u-turn 11 kilometers into the race. The runners then do another loop and returns back to 8th Avenue for one final climb to 34th Street and the finish line.
Woke up 2:30 am for a 4:35 am gunstart and 3:30 am assembly. It’s been an exhausting stretch having to do the board meeting last Friday and Berghaus Urban Adventure Games on Saturday. I just made a mental note as soon as I finish my race, I could finally take some rest. It was faster preparing since I would be racing with less accessories today. After a long queue for parking, I was in the race area less than 30 minutes before gun start. I did some stretching already as I can’t afford to be stiff at the start of the race. It feels more tense racing in this environment but I’m sure I would love the adrenalin rush during the race. The plan was to maintain a seven minute pace and limit walking breaks to just a few seconds.
After the sub 2 wave were released, it was our turn after 5 few minutes. I went on to run at below 6 minute pace taking advantage of the descent in 8th Avenue before going for a more stable 6:30 pace as we went to 38th parkway. I made a mistake of spending too much time at the first water station, which took away the fast 1st kilometer. I tried to catch up lost time after the water break to manage to close in again on the target 7 minute pace on the second and 3rd kilometer. The 4th kilometer was a descent in 26th Street and 3rd Avenue so I made the most of it by running non stop and just resting on the water station. I tried to maintain the pace on the climb at Kalayaan Flyover and I was able to sustain the pace for Kilometer number 5 but ended up too exhausted after the climb.
Speeding up on the climb was a wrong move as I ended up spending more time in the next 3 kilometers which also was a tough climb in 5th Ave until Essensa and the false flat in 26th street. By the 9th kilometer, I took advantage of the descent on 11th Avenue to speed up once again to have a faster split on the 9th to 11th kilometer for the first loop. I was still off my target time by several minutes already.
By the second loop, I already changed my strategy. I’m gonna do more elevation management. So the goal was to slow down or run steady on the climbs and speed up on the descents. I’ll have to time my walking breaks as much as possible on the climbs. I am now consuming my energy better and have better and more stable splits in the second half. I slowed down on the climb at 11th Avenue, Sped up on the descent at 26th street and 3rd Avenue. That’s 16 kilometers into the race.
It’s down to the last 5 kilometers and definitely out of the 2:30 cutoff so the plan was to still give the best effort. It was also starting to heat up but I didn’t want to even think of the weather as a factor at this point. I segmented the remaining race further with kilometer 17 and 18 being long climbs and the rest were descents with a final climb in 8th Avenue. So once I reach the u-turn in 5th Avenue, it was the easy part of the race. I did a 1 minute run, 30 seconds walk on the climb and felt much better compared to the first loop. As I made my u-turn in Essensa, this was a done race since it’s mostly descents.
It was down to the last 3 kilometers or so I thought. I sped up going down 5th Avenue and went on moderate effort the short climb in 26th Street. I went faster with gravity on my side on 11th Avenue all the way to 38th Parkway and by the time I’ve reached kilometer 20, it was already 2:30. I’ve miss the cutoff by a full kilometer. Even if it’s way past the time, I just went at it and realized that this was a long course as I was still somewhere in 38th Parkway when my watch hit 21 kilometers. There was one final climb in 8th Avenue where I alternated short runs and walks and went on to finish fast as I entered 34th Street. Total distance on my watch was 21.8 kilometers and ended up running at 7:30 minute/km pace instead of 7:00 minute/km pace . It felt great even if I didn’t make the cutoff as running at this level was something I missed. Too bad though that I was too exhausted to claim my finisher shirt. I ended up having breakfast with Team Suunto Philippines at Ihop. Great job Pinoyfitness!!!