It was a very special day for me. I turned a year older! A new leaf was added to my book of life.
It was also the date for the Quezon City International Marathon. And I’ am registered for my second half marathon. Since we live just a few kilometers away from Quezon City Hall which was the starting point for the marathon, we took our time to check stuffs we will be bringing. Power Gel (check), Gatorade (check), Bananas (check), Race kit (check), water (check), extra money (check), tissue (check). Everything’s ready and Erick and me are both ready for a great run in store for us.
We left the house 10minutes before 4AM, we would be taking the Quezon Avenue leading to Elliptical Road, only yo find out that it was already closed for vehicles. Off to East Avenue instead, upon reaching the corner of Matalino Street the the road was already barricaded and was only open to vehicles of registered runners. We were able to find a good parking slot inside Quezon City Hall, which was I think was guarded and hoping that no theft accident happened.
Ate a banana, gulp Gatorade and then went to starting line, and saw a lot of runners whose excitement can be seen through their face. Saw the familiar faces from the Takbo.ph family, Jinoe and Queenie, seasoned athletes, and the Kenyans who came a long way just to gazed the Philippine running community and spiced up the competition. At exactly 4AM, the 42K runners were given the GO! I was still in line to take a pee when I heard it, I saw Erick running towards me, gave him a good luck kiss and whispered prayers asking God to guide us and give us the strength to finish the race. I would be waiting for him at the finish line.
I went straight to the assembly area and did some warm-up. I took a spot in the middle of the pack, at exactly 4:30AM we were sent off, which I think was a good thing, I wouldn’t want to run under the heat of the sun. I saw Gigi aka “Fitmommy” in front of Kalayaan Avenue, chatted for a bit, but off she go, she’s really one fast mommy. I was targeting 2:30 finish time and decided to keep pace with the official pacer for this time who happens to me Roselle aka “Running Diva” whom I’ve known in the running community since last year.
While approaching Philcoa, I ran a little faster than my usual pace and was able to keep pace with the 2:15 pacers. I also saw these three guys who were in front of me who were chatting, told myself that I would just run behind them if they keep their constant pace. On our way to UP Oval via University Avenue, we saw some of the 42K runners on their way to Commonwealth Avenue. I tried to keep my 7:00minutes/km pace so that I would be able to conserve my energy throughout the race.
It was a breath of fresh air running through Commonwealth Avenue vehicle-free, and for sure I would be joining the 2nd QCIM next year. It was such a festive mood along the avenue, there were Drum and Lyre from different schools who were there to give us a good beat. Cheerers along who also offered sliced bananas, water,Salonpas, and petroleum jelly. This was one of the BEST race I’ve joined so far. Whenever and wherever I saw a runner I know, I would often shout their names and would give a thumbs up sign or would give words of encouragement which I also got from them whenever we saw each other. The likes of SecondWind Team Hector, Mikey, Neville and Jeremy.
Upon reaching Tandang Sora Avenue, I notice one of three guys I mentioned earlier running besides me. So what I did was I kept pace with him since we were both running in a constant pace. Was able to chat with him while running, his name is Dennis, wearing Bib # 8761, and he’s good-looking(Hi Erick, :D). We ran almost all throughout the race, we would chat for a while, and would sometimes coach me, since he’s been running longer than me. He would then remind me of how many distance still left, how would we finish if we continue our pace.
There were still a lot of the 5K runners as we head back to Elliptical road. There were still a few more kilometers to go before the finish line and I was still in my groove at this point (Praise God!). Honestly, I didn’t felt that much pain in the legs compared to what I had when I did my first 21K. And I’m more comfortable with the distance, I’m no longer afraid of it, I think I would be doing a lot more 21K in the near future. And hopefully, I would be able to train for my first full marathon at the Condura next year.
There have been a change in the 21K route, rather than going through Batasan Road we had our turn-around point at Batasan Avenue corner Commonwealth, and instead of passing through the UP Ayala Techno Hub, we ran inside Trinoma compound. As per the water station, it was GREAT! I didn’t have problems at all with regards to hydration, I didn’t bring my own hydration belt and just put my trust with the organizers and boy, they didn’t let me down, most of us I guess. Since I know the route by heart (because I’ve been living here in Quezon City for more than a decade), as we reached Trinoma, I knew inside that there were just a few more kilometers to go. I have to sucked it in and think of the finish line, think of how glorious and elating it would be. I was still running with Dennis, he told me that if I can no longer run, he would push me (literally!)
We were 500meters away from the finish line, when Dennis saw his buddies, he told me to go ahead and he would wait for his buddies. I got tempted to walk, and walked I did! 100meters to go! I have to run, looked at my watch 2:29:35! Got to do it, I could almost smell the sweet taste of victory, finish line was almost at reach. Managed to clocked in my 2nd half marathon at 2:30:22. A new PR for me, did beat my first half by 3minutes which was an accomplishment for me. (BTW, Dennis was just right behind me, along with his buddies) Thanks to Dennis for pacing with me. I also got my first medal for doing a half marathon, I’m so proud of myself, BUT I wouldn’t be able to do it without GOD. And I just bring back all the glory to His Name.
I waited at the finish line for Erick. And saw MJ and meet Ron.
With MJ and Ron, we all did 21K. (Thanks MJ for the picture)
Erick crossed the finish line at 4:15, a PR for him also, breaking his 4:17 record. But he was wasted, I can see how hard he took his full marathon and how it took it’s toll on him. By the time we got home, he literally went straight to bed after taking a shower. Told him to take a rest and we would have a massage later. He was also craving for food, he was looking for gotto, liempo, lechon manok or whatever food comes to his mind.
The day ended with a half marathon in the morning, lunch out with my family in the afternoon, and a fellowship with close friends in the evening. What’s a better way to celebrate a birthday than this? Thank you so much for those who greeted me, personally, called me, texted me, send message via Yahoo, Facebook, Friendster. I love you all guys and may I celebrate my next birthday with you again. God bless us all. 🙂