Distance: 21.1 Kilometers
Date: March 16, 2014
Venue: Mall of Asia
” #RunUnited1 creates the perfect running environment for you to #ExceedYourself with a course crafted for a faster (Citius) split with a flatter elevation, ample hydration support and the Manila Bay backdrop to relax your senses while you give it a big push to the finish. “
R U Ready? – Not
I promised myself a full month’s rest after my first full marathon at TBR Dream Marathon 2014 to rest my legs from months of build up and fatigue. 1 month falls on the day of Run United 1 and for some reason I signed up for the 21K distance. I always go for the longer distance by default. So days before Run United 1, I was going on fresh legs but 0 mileage. I just went on a few tune up short runs just to regain a little bit of muscle memory on the legs. I got my rest and now, I have to find a way to surpass a half marathon distance. That would be the challenge for Run United 1 and this is where the Run Walk Method would help a lot. So am I ready, I say not but I know I’ll find my way to the finish line, I always do.
The race starts at Seaside Boulevard and goes to Macapagal Avenue via Ocean Drive and enters the CCP area going to Roxas Boulevard for the first 3 kilometers of the race. The race the shifts to Roxas Boulevard going to NAIA Road where you get the first you turn at around 7 kilometers. The race then goes to the other side of Roxas Boulevard all the way to Luneta at 14th Kilometer mark before it heads back Mall of Asia again for the finish line. The race is relatively flat except for the climbs at the two flyovers in Roxeas Boulevard, one intersecting Buendia and another one intersecting Edsa.
Pressures off for this one as my goal is only to finish and I choose to go with a 3:1 run walk strategy and just be consistent. For one, I am not sure if I still had the endurance and muscle memory coming from a long layoff. I woke up before my alarm at 2 am so I was at Mall of Asia by around 3:20 am for the 4:00 am gun start. At that point runners were already assembled in the starting line so I positioned myself in the middle of the pack as I wouldn’t want to catch the pace of the lead pack and run out of endurance in the process. The starting line was packed with about 5,000 runners in the 21K distance. I met up with a few runners I know and ended up chatting before gun start. At gun start, it took me a few minutes to reach the starting shoot which is common for big races. I am again in a familiar territory, the race course.
After going through the starting line, I positioned myself on the side since I’ll be doing a run walk interval and wouldn’t want to ruin the pace of the speedsters. It was a hot and humid morning even at 4 am, I can already feel the humidity at the area so had to make the most out of the water stops. Going to the first 3 kilometer from Mall of Asia to Macapagal and eventually entering Roxas at the 3 Kilometer mark was a breeze. I still maintained the steady pace and the walk interval.
The one thing I noticed running after a long rest was that my muscles were tight and rusty. At kilometer 3, we went to the road in Roxas Boulevard heading to NAIA road. It had two flyovers and at past 4:00 am, it was dark except from additional lighting provided by Runrio. There were also some construction going at the area. I went back to my run walk routine ignoring the tightness in my legs. I slowed down on the ascent of the flyovers and went faster on the descents. At kilometer 7, we took the u-turn to headed to the other side of Roxas and would once again go up and down the flyovers. I still maintained my pace which was around 7:30-8:00 minutes per kilometer pace. By the 10th kilometer, I decided to shift at 4:1 Run Walk interval and caught familiar faces in lovebirds, Glads Jane and Mark Chico at the 12th Kilometer.
Glads also did TBR last month and also took a break from running so eventually paced with them since the run walk interval we were using were just 5 seconds apart. I even joked that it’s about 13 kilometers and my legs was still stiff. So I paced with them going through the different scenes of Roxas Boulevard from U.S. Embassy to the manila bay side view and to the u turn slot at kilometer 14 in Luneta. I think I was running more comfortably at this point. I lost their group at one water stop around the 16th kilometer since I got mixed up with my run walk routine. I went back to 4:1 run walk interval until the 18th kilometer which was back to the area in CCP.
It’s time to start counting down the kilometers, 3 kilometers to go. I decided to go back at 3:1 run walk interval towards the finish line. It was slower than the usual but I eventually found a way to be a few kilometers away from the finish line with almost 0 mileage in a month. I guess, the endurance level I had during the Marathon was still there and I just have to work on my cadence for faster runs.
2 kilometers to go and with 10K, 5K runners merging already, the area gets a lot more crowded and it’s also at this point that I started seeing familiar faces especially among the Photographers, Lem So of Pinoyfitness at Ocean Drive, Justin Gomez, Lestsky and Passionate Runner Pat Concepcion at Seaside Boulevard, Jose Ramirez and RJ Knight Runner of Running Photographers and Aquiz Minlay before the finish line. Oh yes, I still have to finish the race.
The last kilometer was a run at Seaside Boulevard before making a u-turn to the finish line and there was a sprinkler about 100 kilometers before the finish line to refresh the runners. All the photographers were packed in this area so naturally for someone far away from his personal record, it’s nice to enjoy this part as a testament of the 21K distance just completed and with that I can say, I’m back!!!
I did enjoy this run. It was not as fast as I used to nor as slow as I expected but I’m glad to be back in my element and crossing finish lines. Glad I was consistent on this one and still had a lot energy at the end of the run. It’s always a pleasure running at Unilab’s Run United Series as even if it’s a challenge to mount runs with more than 12,000 runners, they always deliver on race day. Great Job Runrio and Unilab.