I always saw each race as a different story but there are those moments that stood out and it was not those PR breaking ones. The ones that stood out were the bloopers, mishaps and injuries that came along the way. I’ve gone from a newbie to a passionately-driven one and at times, chill-paced runner in my years of running. Let me share those moments and the lessons that came along the way.
I’ve been running for over 5 years now and it started by accident when my friend registered me for a 3K race. She didn’t even expect me to show up. I was wanting for a change as things were not on the finer side at those time. Crossing my first finish line had me wanting for more. It started from short fun distance to a fast 10K and eventually moving on to half marathons, full marathons and duathlons. That’s over 100 races worth thousands of kilometers racing and training. I’ve joined runs as a newbie. I passionately chased Personal Records, Longer Distance and New Disciplines. I joined races as a lifestyle and for the fun part of it.
Condura Skyway Marathon (February 2011)
By the start of 2011, I was just a minute away from reaching my sub 1 10K finish time goal and I chose Condura Skyway Marathon as the key race to meet the goal. Everything went well as going to the first 5 kilometers with most of the hilly part done, I was around 27-28 minutes in my 5K time. I just needed to sustain it for the next half of the race to finally break the sub 1 hour time. That was until I saw the area below the Skyway in Buendia which was serving bananas to the runner. I never had banana in a race before and I rely more on energy gels for my fuel. I got one banana and rushed on eating it to save time and the expected energy boost from the banana turned out to be a struggle as my system can’t digest the banana immediately. I ended up struggling in the next 3 kilometers before recovering in the final 2 kilometers for a finish time of 1:04 for the 10K distance. I did meet the sub 1 goal in my succeeding races during the month. Lesson Learned: Never Try Something New On Race Day.
Corregidor International Half Marathon (December 2011)
Corregidor was a race like no other with different surface and terrains to challenge you.
I finished my first half marathon last September 2011 with a time of 2:24 minutes and the next big race I joined was Corregidor International Half Marathon. It’s one of the most unique course as you get to experience different surfaces from cement, paved roads trails, grasslands, rocky beach, stairs and dirt tracks with long and steep ascent all over the course. It was tough from the start as we had to start on an incline passing to the creepy Malinta Tunnel before going to a series of long ascents and descents heading to the Corregidor Resort and the Airfields and then Back to Malinta Tunnel. I was running slower than my usual road pace but it evens out because of the descents. The second half of the race had us climbing for the next 5 kilometers along the paved roads, trails and the historical sites of Corregidor. Approaching kilometer 16, it was a descent for the next 4 kilometers and that got me excited. As I was about to take advantage of the descent, I had cramps on my right calf muscles. I recovered a bit and it was great that there were runners who helped me out. I went on to cruise on the descent before the steep climb at the 19th kilometer. By the 20th kilometer, it was mostly downhill. When I made my turn on the final descent, I felt both calf muscles cramping which led me no choice but to jump on the nearby grassy part since I have now cramps on both calf muscles. I never even thought that was possible. Luckily, there was a medic nearby so she started to ease the cramps one muscle at a time until I was back on my own two feet where I went on to finish the race with a time of 2:51. I felt so low that time because I felt that I failed big time until Coach Andy congratulated me for reaching the point of total muscle failure. It did make me stronger in my future races. Lesson Learned: Failures can make us stronger as we push ourselves beyond our preconceive limits and going to the next level.
Condura Skyway Marathon (February 2012)
I tried breaking my personal best at Condura and I almost did.
I was able to set my personal record for 21K at Subic International Marathon in January 2012 with a time of 2:18 and I was determined to set a new one come Condura Skyway Marathon that year. Condura has always been my yardstick when it comes to races so this was months of preparations and a goal I know I can do. I went really fast to start the race and have set personal records as I went to each milestone. It was a well executed race. I timed my short rest on the water stops and maintained a 6-6:30 minute pace. Approaching kilometer 19, it was still below 2 hours, which meant I could finish around 2:12-2:15 time and it was mostly downhill. Things changed quickly heading to the last 3 kilometers as I felt my right calf muscles cramping. I slowed down to insert walking breaks so I can relax the muscle a bit and pulling down my pace to about 8 minutes per kilometer. The 3 kilometers felt like forever since the calf muscle could go anytime. I persevered and was able to reach the last 200 meters of the race around 2:15-2:16 mark and that got me excited. As I was jogging my way to the finish line, my right calf muscle had to give in to cramps just a few meters into the finish line. Had I thrown my shoes towards the finish line, my timing chip would have recognized a new PR. It was that close. After a few minutes, I was back on my feet and walked my way to the finish line with a time of 2:19, which is 1 minute over my personal record. Lesson Learned: Cramps is an impulse so don’t get too excited.
Immuvit Fearless Challenge Leg 1 (August 2012)
Immuvit Fearless Challenge was my first trail race.
Immuvit Fearless Challenge Leg 1 was my first trail race. It was a mud fest and had a lot of obstacles along the 10K route. It was not only my first trail race but it was also my first time to try out obstacles as Fire Jump, Mud Crawl, Log Hurdles, Military Wall, Mud Wall, Tires and Lunges. I seriously had no idea how to get past these obstacles before the race. I ended up finding ways and means to complete the obstacles as I encountered them. I also didn’t know how to pace myself during the trail and I was conservative on the run side. The challenges were tough but it was the slide after the military wall that got me injured. After climbing the 45 degrees military wall, we had to slide at the top of the wall. Since I felt that was easy compared to other obstacles, I ended up sliding like a carefree child on playground slide. Weeeh and then a big thump. My tailbone hit a hard surface on the bottom of the slide with my full body weight adding to the impact. Ouch!!! My butt hurts like hell but I did resume the race. I went through several obstacles including tires, more log hurdles and a scary 20 feet mud wall climb. I then went on to finish the race. The pain in my tailbone stings a lot that it felt like I was hit by a jolt of electricity each time we passed a hump on the road on our way home. It was that sensitive. It turned out I had an inflamed tailbone and had to rest a few weeks and also had to get some soft pillow as an added cushion whenever I sit. I recovered in a few weeks to finish all 3 legs and was way more cautious in the slide at the 3rd leg. Lesson Learned: Never underestimate obstacles.
ASTC Asian Duathlon Championship (November 2012)
Joined Duathlons in 2012
I started joining duathlons early 2012. The ASTC Asian Duathlon Championship was my 3rd duathlon for the year. This was for a feel good distance of 5K run, 20K bike and 2.5K run. It was a shorter than my previous duathlons and it had Subic as a scenic backdrop for the run and the bike. Everything was in place. We were able to recon the route the day before and it was a distance that’s short and sweet. The run leg went fast finishing 5 kilometers in 31 minutes and it was off to the bike part. As I was pulling my bike in transition, I dropped my bike and immediately picked it back up. As I went on the bike, I was struggling on my cadence. At first, I thought that it was because my legs were tired from the run part. I keep pedaling and I was moving just around 20 kph. 6 kilometers into the bike leg, I dismounted to check if there was something wrong with my bike or maybe I had a flat tire. And there it was, my brake was hitting the steel part of the wheel which made it a struggle to pedal. It turned out that the brake was misaligned when my bike fell. After I fixed my breaks, I tried to catch up on time by going at over 30 kph over the next 14 kilometers to transition. I went on to finish the last 2.5K run in 16 minutes for an overall time of 1:41. It was still a good finish in my books.Lesson Learned: Always check your gears before you go.
I guess the cycle of being a runner went full circle when I finished my first marathon in 2014. Of course, I still am running, chasing goals and adding more races and memories to remember to this dates. I hope you had fun on this throwback post.