More than the stars, I was in for the challenge of this course as it was a buffet of unlimited hills all throughout the race. It was a challenge to go to the rolling terrain in McKinley West as well as the long and steep climbs at McKinley Hills. And yes, there were obstacles too. All the shut up leg moments aside, this was a really exciting course that comes with a great cause, which is being able to increase awareness and #KickDiabetes goodbye. #Sunpiology2015
McKinley Hills is my favorite playground when I have to do hill work. The hills can really strengthen your legs, widen your strides and improve your breathing. McKinley hills have long and steep ascents enough to keep your lungs going on overtime and your quads and calves stinging as you navigate the hills. It’s tough but it makes you stronger. When Sunpiology made the area the venue for their 7th staging, I really wanted to try to run here again plus it now has the newly opened McKinley West area as an added change of scenery. I also was in the race for the cause which include promoting awareness and funds for diabetes. There were obstacles that reminded us of food groups to avoid and be healthy plus a chance to give diabetes a literal kick at the finish line. Of course, this one is also star-studded so it would be nice to run with the stars too. It’s like a run and a show rolled into one. It’s also gonna be a sunset run, which is more of my comfort zone compared to early morning run.
The first 3 kilometers of the course were doing loops around McKinley West and approaches the Lawton Area around km 3. From the Lawton area, the race heads to Bayani Road and goes back to the other end of Lawton until Upper McKinley Road 4 kilometers into the race. The race then heads downward via North Road for the next 500 meters of the race. It then shifts to a 1 kilometer out and back course at Campus Avenue and back to Upper Mckinley. The Upper McKinley Stretch is another out and back climb and descent area covering about one kilometer. It then goes to another 500 kilometers of climb via North Road including a steep climb of about 200 meters. It then goes back to Lawton this time heading to 5th Avenue and back to the rear Entrance of McKinley West for the next 1.5 kilometers. The race finishes off with another rolling terrain inside McKinley West for the last 1.5 kilometers.
I decided to park in the BGC area instead of the McKinley Hills Area. That would give me about 3 kilometers warm up and at the same time avoid the traffic in the McKinley area before and after the race. I was also in the venue early to see the pre-race activities. McKinley West is a great venue for the event as it had a lot of area for booths as well as a lot of open area to accommodate people. I hope they do more runs here. I was able to enjoy a chat with The Bull Runner Jaymie Pizarro about her upcoming dream marathon event this February as well as be able to watch the pre-race events. After the kids event, the 10K runners are up at 5 pm and I am just excited to run.
At exactly 5 pm, it was our gun start and we were running with Actor Piolo Pascual and Riza Mantaring, Sunlife President and CEO along with other celebrities and Sun Life Officers. There were about a thousand runners in the 10K category but we had a lot of leg room to run and didn’t have to queue on the obstacles. I started the first three kilometers around 6-6:30 minutes per kilometer pace just to separate from the pack, which included several obstacles like avoiding soda cans, crawling through candy rocks and jumping over candy cane obstacles. That’s to remind us that this food groups can cause diabetes.
Entering Lawton after 3 kilometers, I shifted to a run walk strategy on the climbs and would cruise on the descents. The course had long climbs so the run walk strategy should balance the effort and it won’t make too much dent on my time since I’m limiting the walk segments to 20 – 30 seconds at a time. I was still able to keep my pace within 7 minutes per kilometer on the next two kilometers covering the Lawton Stretch and the descent to North Road. There were sufficient water stations along the course so I also took a few seconds walking break with each water station. There was chocolate maze obstacle approaching the 5th kilometer.
I slowed down a bit on the 6th kilometer since this included the long stretch of climbs in Upper McKinley. I cruised on the first half of the 7th kilometer since it’s the descending part of upper McKinley. I maintained steady effort on the moderate climbs in North Road and walked the steep part which is about 200 meters. This is the first time for me to take the climb in North Road instead of the Upper McKinley side, which is a more commonly used area before. Upper McKinley has a longer but more moderate climb but North Road had a shorter but steeper climb.
Since I walked most of the hilly part, I was able to recover a bit at the Lawton part, which covers another 1.5 kilometers. It’s been a shut up legs moment the whole race and at this point, I can already feel the amount of pounding my legs has gone though with all the climbs and descent the whole race. It’s a bit harder maintaining the faster cadence so had to do with a steady pace on this stretch.
It was the last 1.5 kilometers into the race and there were a lot of descents already so it was time to speed up once again. It was great seeing the light show at the Reindeer Park going into the last kilometer of the race. It was already a painful race with the course so I am glad that I am approaching the finish. I went to go steady before the last 500 meters of the race as I was reserving my energy for the last push to the finish line.
i was surprised that I am able to finish within 1 hour 10 minutes considering the toughness of the course. I gave it all on the last 500 meters of the race. As I made my way to the finish something felt wrong with my right calf muscles… CRAMPS. It was just 5 steps before the finish line and felt the muscle tighten. I was able to skip the next to steps before I had to go down to let the muscle loosen a bit. That’s about 1:07 and 3 steps before the finish line. A Runrio staff assisted me and a medic even came with a wheelchair, which I politely declined since I just needed a few minutes to rest the muscle. After a short while, I was back on my feet and went on to finish the race below 1:10. I guess that’s good enough a sub 7 minutes / kilometer paced run with a hilly terrain, obstacles and cramps. I’m glad I pushed myself to the limit this time as failures (muscle) are just tuition fees to the school of success.
It was great to be a part of this event. I really love the challenging course. Congrats to Runrio and Sun Life for another successful Sunpiology. Star Magic also came up with a post run show to entertain the runners. That’s a great way to cap off this year’s Sunpiology and taking a lot of strides in kicking diabetes good bye.
Outfit of The Race
- Top: adidas Climachill with #TaleOfTheTrail design by Breakout Design
- Bottom: Under Armour
- Shoues: adidas Ultra Boost
- GPS Watch: Suunto Ambit 3 Sports
- Eyewear Racing Jacket
- Trucker Cap: Vans Disney
- Socks: Features