#Takbo.PH20 Miler was an Afro-distance marathon and at the same time, a great way to build up for the upcoming Marathons and Ultra Marathons. #Takbo.PH and #Leadpack was able to create a hilly course utilizing both the climbs at Kalayaan Flyover and the long climb at 5th Avenue, which you had to do twice, to add to the challenge of the race. The cool January weather also gave the runner an extra boost to be able to run strong for a 20 miler course.
Takbo.PH 20 Miler
I’ve been running the Takbo.PH Runfest ever since I started running. With so many marathons scheduled in February and March, Takbo.PH and Leadpack came up with the Takbo.PH 20 Miler (32 Kilometers) to give runners a venue to prepare for their big races. It’s a big race in itself being an Afro-distance Marathon. I was not originally part of the event since I was scheduled to join Corregidor International Half Marathon (CIHM). As things would turn out, there would be a no-sail policy in the area with the Pope visiting the Philippines, which resulted to CIHM being rescheduled to March. Call it divine intervention perhaps, I ended up inquiring on the availability of the 20 miler. Thanks to Donna Fuentes, Leadpack and Takbo.PH, I was able to secure a complimentary slot in the 20 miler. Then comes the thought, am I ready for a 20 miler??? I did finish with a good time doing 21K at last week’s Egg Power Run so let’s see if I can find a way to do another 11K to finish 20 Miles (32K). This would be the final dry run for my 42K happening in 2 weeks time. Game plan is just to be consistent and finish the race.
Race Course and Elevation
The Race starts at 9th Avenue corner 34th street and proceeds to 38th Parkway via 11th Avenue and 32nd Street. The race proceeds to Triangle drive and enters 8th Avenue as the race heads back to 32nd street. From 32nd Street, the race goes to the climb at Kalayaan Flyover and then proceeds to Buendia until Osmena Boulevard for the u-turn midway into the 9th kilometer. The race goes back to Bonifacio Global City and climbs 5th Avenue via Rizal drive for the next u-turn midway into the 15th kilometer. The race then goes downhill at 5th Avenue and 32nd Street where you do another loop of the course. After the second loop, you can now cross the finish line at 9th Avenue.
The race starts with a short climb to 32nd Avenue before a descent into 38th Parkway and Triangle Drive. The climb begins upon reaching 8th Avenue until the end of Kalayaan Flyover around the 5 kilometer mark. The race then goes downhill at the other side of Kalayaan Flyover and then has a slow descent going to the u-turn in Buendia at kilometer 8.5. The race then goes on a slight climb until kilometer 11 before the big climb in Kalayaan flyover until the 12th kilometer. The race then descends the other half of Kalayaan Flyover before the climb resumes at Rizal Drive at the 13th kilometer until the high end of 5th Avenue for the uturn at kilometer 14.5. The race then descends to 5th Avenue and 32nd street for the first loop and goes through the same course again for the second loop and the finish.
More than a race this was a dry run for me. So I had everything planned even before race day. One was to tire myself for Friday night so I’ll wake up late on Saturday and also scheduling an afternoon nap to adjust my body clock a bit. It’s always difficult sleeping before the race so I had to invest on sleep the day before the race. Fortunately, I was able to have a few more hours of sleep the night before. Next was hydration, I don’t usually bring hydration during races but since I was planning to bring hydration on my full marathon, I brought my simple hydration bottle as well. For nutrition, I had 4 Unilab Active Health sports gel to be consumed 1 each per hour of running and I also had salt stick as needed.
I was in the race 30 minutes before gun start and went on to get my bib from Donna and joined the warm up. Running Host Boy Ramos did a great job entertaining the jittery crowd who’s about to start with their 32K run. After the warm up and the opening ceremonies, it was then gunstart. Everybody was starting fast, which also meant I started fast at a sub 6 minute pace and I noticed the crowd was not slowing down. That got me thinking, Am I in a 32 kilometer run or a 5 kilometer run because everybody was really fast at the start? I started to pull back and do some walk just so I can run at a more controlled pace.
I also noticed that I am starting to get the pre-warm up muscle pains with some pain on the shin, calves and hamstring in the first kilometers. I went on with several walking breaks to warm up the muscle groups. Despite the walking breaks, I was able to keep my pace within 7-7:30 minutes per kilometer into the first few kilometer. Every time, I’d feel uncomfortable, I’d pull a positive memory or thought from my mind to power me up. It really works. Going to the 4th kilometer, it was the climb at the Kalayaan flyover and I really needed the hills so I went on running that climb part of Kalayaan Flyover.
Going to the downhill part of Kalayaan Flyover, I was about to speed up because of the descent but I felt my right calf muscle cramping a bit so I ended up walking most of the downhill part. I paced myself further in the next two kilometers just to allow my calf muscles to recover and the salt stick also did help on that part.. At around the 7th kilometer, I felt it was better so I went faster once again until the u-turn slot at kilometer 8.5. I also went on a mental note that this was four 8 kilometer runs instead of one 32 kilometer run. I had to review my pace and strategy after every 8 kilometers. First 8 kilometers was around 56 minutes. I went on faster after the u-turn since I know I would slow down during the climb at Kalayaan Flyover at kilometer 11.
The climb back at Kalayaan Flyover was a chance to rest a bit and let the load shift to the quad muscles. I did 40 seconds of run and 20 seconds of rest until I reached the top. Upon reaching the top, I took the downward part of the Kalayaan flyover to speed up to go on longer stretches of run until the climb resumed at Rizal Drive. Rizal Drive is known for its moderate climb and I still went on with the same pace until 5th Avenue. The 5th Ave til the top is a more challenging climb so I went on running 1 minute and resting for 20 seconds until I reached the top and it’s kilometer 14.5. The rest of the first loop was downhill which was a great way to start the second loop. Kilometer 16 at 1:55.
I felt more comfortable on the second loop and first target was to reach 21K and then I’ll go by feel by then. I was playing around the 7-7:30 minute / kilometer pace. The muscles felt better on the second loop with me managing the pace based on the elevation. I was pushing myself on the descent and then slowing down on the climbs. The challenging part would be the big climb at Kalayaan Flyover and I still went up with a decent pace. Midway at the Kalayaan Flyover, I was able to hit kilometer 21 and I still felt I had a lot left in my tank.
After completing the half marathon, I was able to speed up again on the way to the u-turn at about 24.5 kilometer in Osmena Avenue reaching the 24th kilometer around 2:53 and it was down to the last 8 kilometers. Compared to the remaining part of the course, Buendia area would be a flatter one so I took this part as a chance to run faster until kilometer 27. Last 5 kilometers of the race. The climb at Kalayaan Flyover was a challenge so I did 30 seconds run walk interval until the top of the climb. I then maintained a 1 minute run, 20 seconds walk even on the descent to conserve energy until kilometer 30 before the big climb at 5th Avenue.
I went back to the 30 seconds run walk interval on the climb before coasting to the finish line on the descent and eventually finishing at about 3:58 for a sub 4 finish. I remember last year when I was training for my first marathon, it took me 4 hours just to finish 30 kilometers so this is a big improvement and something I didn’t expect. I guess if you just be consistent with what you do and get powered by positive thoughts, you just get better, Thanks a lot to Takbo.PH with the concept of the 20 miler. I’m a step closer going into my second full marathon. It was a well organized race and the chilly weather was perfect that also came with some drizzles and some cold winds.