Monday, October 13, 2008

My First KOTR: Impossible is Nothing

The ADIDAS King Of The Road last Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008 is a record of firsts for me:

1. It's my first race inside the Fort.

2. It's my first time to finally meet Johnny Sy.

3. It's my first time to win in the 5k race (in my age category)

Sure, I know where the Fort is. You just enter Forbes Park and you'll end up there.

Problem is, I've been there 5 times, and for the 5x I went to the Fort, I got lost 10x!

Even though I had with me the race map (courtesy of Jinoe), I still couldn't figure out where the starting line was. I had to ask a couple of guards for directions where in the world was KOTR.

Ate Ella and I arrived at the Fort @5:10AM. I was confident we had enough time to meet the 21k runners and have our pictures taken. I was wrong. We were following a snake-like queue of cars trying to get inside the parking lot. By the time we positioned the car, it was already 5:35AM. I almost broke into tears to have missed the 21k runner bloggers.

My cousin Jun Muego whom I convinced to run with me was already at the 5k entrance when we got there. We managed to sneak a picture in spite of the many runners around the area

After the picture taking, I decided to join the line of female runners for the use of the portalet. Then out of nowhere, I suddenly heard someone mention my lovely name and there in front of me stood a tall, gorgeous kind of guy who introduced himself as Johnny. I screamed "Johnny?" but he was in a hurry to go to his car. Told me he'll catch with me later.

When I learned that there's a different entrance for the 10k runners, my heart sank (again). That meant I will miss Jaymie, the Happy Feet and the other 10k runner bloggers. My primary purpose for joining the KOTR was to meet you guys.

I also didn't see any 5k runner blogger but Johnny Sy and I were meant to meet that day. When I saw Johnny again with Dante and Mama Ting, I requested Ate Ella to take our picture. She's quite far and didn't know how to use the Zoom so here's the memorable pose:

Then I said good luck to Johnny and reminded him that our priority was to run injury-free.

As in other races, one cannot really run at the sound of the gun. It took a while before we could normally pace ourselves. I was behind Johnny all along but he wasn't aware of it. It's my first time to run in the Fort and I didn't know where to turn right or left. I just followed Johnny.

Unlike in the Manila Half Marathon Challenge where markers were visible, there were no markers in the KOTR. I absolutely had no idea whether we already ran 1k or 2k. And I wasn't sure whether I was running too fast or too slow. That's when I ran beside Johnny and asked him if he knew our pace. He told me he didn't know. His only goal was to finish the race.

I wanted very much to run with Johnny but had to catch up with my cousin who joined the race for the first time. Promised him I'll run side by side with him.

It's so ironic that I didn't get thirsty during the Manila Half Marathon Challenge but there was overflowing water anywhere and everywhere. Whereas in the KOTR, my throat dried up during the race but there was not a single water station in sight!

When I was given the pink straw in one of the turns, I presumed it was the 2.5k mark. I looked at my watch and learned I was already running for 20 mins. Oh no! I had to run faster! Otherwise, I'll finish the race at a horrifying time of 40 mins.

I ran faster--though very difficult because my throat was craving for water. I saw an old man ahead of me. That inspired me to run even faster. I asked him how old he was. He told me he was 71! That's it. Surely, I could run faster than a 71-year old man . . . I'm only 50!

With all the strength left inside my almost dehydrated body, I headed for the finish line with the crowd as my guide. I glanced at the time on top and it read 31:45. Was that good or bad? I didn't know for sure.

Joe, the loonyrunner answered my troubled question. He posted a comment in my previous blog that he heard my name being called as winner in my age category! It's a pity Ate Ella and I left right after the race because of family obligations. It was my chance to experience a moment of fame and I missed it. But as the saying goes, family comes first.

I talked with Mr. B this morning and he confirmed that I did win in my age category. Tomorrow, I'll take a trip to Greenhills and claim my prize.

Impossible is indeed nothing.

One last picture with Ate Ella and Jun. You're looking at the future 5k winner in the 60 - above age category. Yes folks, Ate Ella will be joining the OctobeRun Festival this Oct. 26. And Jun, my cousin who ran for the first time finished at 29:27. Most likely to win in future races.