I started running with the notion that a marathon is only for the very fit people. It is only for the athletes who are built for this kind of sport. It is not for everybody. But after several months, I noticed how running was a sport for everybody. But still, I kept myself in the 10K races only.
It was not until the Philippine International Marathon in 2007 that I started playing with the idea of running a marathon. I saw a marathon finisher walking tired and wasted towards the shade under the trees at The Fort. It was hot day and he was limping towards the tree. He sat down slowly with a wince on his face. Then he opened a box. It was a finisher’s medal. The tired look on this face, the agony of his heavy legs were all gone as he took the medal from the box and lifted it to his face. As he looked at the details of the medal, he smiled in satisfaction. At that point I said to myself, I want to have a similar medal myself.
Road to my first marathon
It has been my dream then to run the my first marathon during the Philippine International Marathon. It’s my anniversary run every February. Unfotunately, it didn’t happen last year in February. Instead, the race was scheduled in November. Worst, they didn’t gave any medal to 42K finishers last year.
The chance came when the Condura Run announced a 42K event for 2010. I practiced for that right away. Later, I realized that the Cebu City Marathon was a good tune up run for the Condura. Since Quennie and I still have a free travel voucher which will soon expire, we took the oppurtunity to travel to Cebu and experience running in the Queen City of the South. The Cebu City Marathon will be my first marathon then. Blame it on the nice looking medal. My plan is to make the Cebu City Marathon a practice run for the Condura Run.
With other 42K runners from Manila. Am I the only one in the group who is
not running this marathon for the BDM?
Too much, too soon
My previous half marathon races and great practice run gave me the confidence that I can finish a marathon with a good time. Maybe I got too confident that I decided to be evil for one day and squeezed in 38K run with my program. It was a bad idea. My knees hurt and was running with a bad right knee during the Rizal Day Run last December 30. I decided not to run until the Cebu City Marathon. So I took for than a week off from running to rest my knees.
But deep inside I know that the rest wouldn’t be enough and that my evil plans would eventually get back at me.
I started slow. I kept on recalling several advice. Since I am treating this as a practice run, I just want to finish this without the injury. Finishing it close to 5 hours is already a bonus.
The first 10KMs took me to the main city of Cebu. We passed to the Capitol Building, Fuente Osmena Circle, the streets of Colon and the historical Magellan’s Cross. In the first 10KMs alone were several water stations.
I was running according to plan for the first 10 kilometers. Slow pace at 7:00-7:30 mins per kilometer. Stopping frequently ala Galloway. I bought some knee support the night before the race hoping it will prevent the pain from occuring. So far, it was holding on well.
We entered the SRP. It a long strech of road that connects Cebu to the town of Talisay. Its a big reclaimed land that today is mostly empty. There were no trees or building to provide shade. Good thing that the race started very early.
I started to feel pain on my right leg. Oh no. It’s the same pain that I experienced during the Rizal Day Run which made me walk almost the last 8 km. But Im still at KM15 and walking more than half of the race is not part of the plan.
I was slowing down this time trying to ease the pain out. I would walk more often to let the pain subside and run again for a few minutes. So far, it was working. I also meet a pace group of doctors and soldiers. I joined them for a few kilometers but eventually dropped off from the group. I was on my own for the next 5 kilometers.
From Peter Yb Mancao’s photos. I tried joining this pace group but
was walking already as we passed this long bridge at SRP.
They say that this is point where it takes you to the unknown. Marathon training plans would end at KM32. So anything beyond 32K is up to you. I tried to avoid that unknown by training at more than 32K.
But still the marathon has it surprises. Aside from the pain on my right knee. I had my first taste of muscle cramps on my left thigh at KM30. All through out my running years, I have never experienced cramps. It was a painful one. More painful that it happened on my first marathon. Even more painful that I still have 12 kilometers to go. Why did I have to suffer like this?
At KM32, Quennie will be there waiting to pace me for the last 10 kilometers. I just have to reach that point and I’d be better. It was a difficult journey to reach KM32. I massaged my right thigh and the cramps would subside and later trigger again. Quennie didn’t wait for me at KM32. Instead she run to catch up with me. She knew something went wrong since I didn’t arrive at my predicted time.
The secret recipe of the Cebu Marathon was in the strong support and hardwork from the
organizers. Dr. Alex Junia and Dr. Raymund Bontol of Cebu Executive Runners Club
taking care of the support stations from KM30-35. Great job to all the organizers.
We were supposed to run the last 10K. It didn’t happen. I walked for most of the last 10K. The course was relatively flat. But it was the last 10K that was a series of ups and downs. I would only run if the road was flat. But once it goes hilly, I’d walk. And 80% of the time it was hilly. It could have been manageable but not with both legs in pain. I don’t want to aggreviate it so walking til the finish line was the only option other than taking a cab.
Almost there. Can I run the last two kilometers? I wished I could but Quennie was there to yell at me and tell me to walk or else…
One kilometer to go. Can I run the whole last kilometer? Still no. Bad legs. I wish there were spare parts for these.
I was only able to run the last 50 meters after the final corner to the finish line. I can see the clock. I have been running for 6 hours. Way too far from what I hope to be a good marathon debut. But time is no longer the goal. IT was to finish. Friends from Takbo.ph were there cheering as I gave a last push. Luis was holding a banner with my name on it. I learned from Quennie that it was reserved for my Condura Marathon. But they brought it all the way from Manila for my first marathon in Cebu. Thanks a lot guys. You’re the best.
Running buddies waiting for me at the finish line. Thanks for being patient and
for bearing the heat. You’re the best.
Six hours and eight minutes. My marathon debut. I received my medal right after I stepped inside the arch. My first marathon medal. Did I cry at the finish line? That will be another post.
My first marathon, my first medal and my first love. Sooooo cheeeeezy.
The Cebu Marathon was supposed to be a training for another marathon on February. It was to tell me how prepared I am for the Skyway. Instead, it told me to take a rest and be ready for another big run at the end of February. So I might be on the side line and man the aid station for the Condura Run.
I still have to go to the doctor to have my knees checked. Quennie insists that I should have a check up or else, she’d keep my race bibs, singlets and shoes.
I have a week of rest already. No runs for seven days. I still kept on thinking how better it was if my knees and legs were in great shape. But I guess pain is really part of the equation when running a marathon. Mine came just too early.
One week of rest. Seven days of planning for my next marathon.
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