Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Running My First 10K With The PSE Bulls

Every race is a whole new adventure. The PSE Bull Run last Jan. 18, 2009 is no exception.

Before the Race:

My alarm clock was set at 4:00 AM but to my dismay, Jenny (my official photographer friend) woke me up at 3:53 AM! How I longed to wring her neck for I wanted to maximize my sleep before the race. With my eyes still closed, I reluctantly proceeded to the bathroom and took a quick cold shower to awaken my lazy joints.

I was trembling when I was putting on my running outfit, not because of the morning chill but because I was nervous to the bone. I couldn't believe that the time has finally come for me to run my first 10K.

Back in May 2007 when I seriously decided to run, my only goal was to finish 5K on my 50th birthday. I didn't plan for anything beyond that. How could I? When, during the first few weeks of my training, I couldn't even walk for 500 m. without stopping to drink water and catch my breath!

It took me 14 months to be fully fit and ready to join a 5K race.

Yet here I am, about to challenge myself if I already have the gall to finish 10K--six months after I ran my first 5K.

Am I ready to face this challenge?

The jolly hot pandesal with heaps of cheese-- together with its life-long partner, the steaming hot chocolate topped with marshmallows--somehow eased my troubled nerves.

We arrived at the Fort @5:00 AM . We were searching for the parking space when I spotted Jay enjoying his morning run. There were already a number of runners claiming their race packets and singlets. I claimed MJ's singlet then went in front of the stage.

There's still no runner friend in sight. That's MJ's singlet I was holding.

A few minutes later, I crossed path with Johnny Sy.

I received the shocking news from Johnny that he'll be running 15K at the Happy Run this Sunday! Good luck, Johnny!

Then my dear friend MJ came, followed by my guardian angels Vener and Christy.

When the emcee announced that the 10K runners should now proceed to the starting area, we obediently obliged (I'm very sorry Anna for not waiting for you).

While waiting, I exchanged hugs and kisses with Sir Jovie, Jay, and Bro J. but I only had a photo shoot with Jay (my official photographer was outside the pen).

Race Proper:

Instead of the usual gun shot that signals the start of the race, the bell that signifies the opening of the stock market trading was used. I didn't hear the sound of the bell, though. Just the loud voice of the emcee shouting "Ready, Set, Go!" He instructed us to yell "toro!" and I was among those who did just that.

In an instant, the raging bulls rushed out to the open field. MJ and I started slow, simply enjoying our first run together. We were taking our sweet time, for both of us just wanted to finish the 10K race without any injury.

Gigi and Wilbert passed us by and we excitedly exchanged hellos and goodbyes.

Then MJ stopped at the first water station so I went ahead.

As expected, the route was uphill and downhill. Hah! I was trained for this, I said to myself.

Just when I was about to feel lonely for not having anyone to talk with, runner friends started to appear at the other side on their way back: Jay, Vener, Bards. It was my first time to see Bards.

Thank you, Bards, for calling out my name. You seemed "normal" when I saw you. Your running form was so perfect it didn't show that you were running without your socks! It's a pity, though, that we didn't see each other after the race.

Photo of Vener taken by Jenny. Inggit ako, kasi ako walang picture na ganito!

Then came a steeper hill. I was almost tempted to walk but I remembered that I should take fast, smaller steps. Besides, I saw from afar a lady in peach whose weight was probably twice as mine and she wasn't even walking! But she stopped at the next water station so I had the satisfaction of running past her.

For the first time, I formally introduced myself to Master Mon of Happy Feet. He told me he was taking it slow because of injury.

When I passed by Jesse, he asked me why I wasn't wearing my takbo.ph visor. I told him I was afraid to catch cold because it has no cover on top.

I had a pleasant run with Tanya. She asked me how's Wayne doing, and I told her Wayne is fine and is planning to stay for 3 weeks during his vacation this year. I told her I missed the Kapampangan feast that she served the Happy Feet runners before the New Balance Power Race. Hopefully next time, I could join the gang.

Then I saw a lady running with a bandaged leg. It was Vimz! She assured me that she's fit to run 10K and I believed her.

There were no markers but I presumed that it was 5K at the turn around point. I looked at my stopwatch and it registered 38 minutes. I remembered my first 5K race where I also finished at 38 minutes. But that was then, when I was still a newbie. I ran the KOTR at 31:45. Surely, I could duplicate that. With this in mind, I slowly increased my pace.

Then I saw a man holding a flag that said 7 minutes per km. I learned that he's Rudy, a pacer from Fort Striders. So that meant, my finish time would be 70 minutes if I didn't stray from him.
Rudy is 65 years old, started running at age 35. He told me that he never change his pace. He always run at 7 minutes/km at every race that he joins. He runs because of the health benefits that he gets from it.

When we were about 1.5 km away from the finish line, we passed by Johnny and called him name twice but he didn't hear me. Probably because of the earphones he was wearing.

I thanked Rudy for keeping me company and when he told me that we would already be turning right to the finish line, I prepared myself to sprint. I visualized myself raising my hands in jubilation when I cross the finish line as Bong (of bongpagong) suggested. (For the record, he is the only person I know who has read all my blog posts. Thank you, Bong!)

But I'm very sorry our plan didn't materialize. When Rudy and I made the final turn, a long queue of runners prevented us to proceed any further.

There was nothing left to do except drink my water, which Jenny gave me.

See the 7 minute pacer flag beside me? That was Rudy holding it but unfortunately, Jenny wasn't able to capture him.

Then Johnny arrived and introduced me to a fellow laSallite, Joaquin (if I remembered right).

Then at the other side of the chute, there was Roselle congratulating me. I was happy to see her once again!

While waiting, other runner friends came to congratulate me.

Thank you G. It was sweet of you to wait for me at the finish line.

With Vener, who didn't experience what we went through 'coz he arrived very much ahead of us. That is Rudy at the right side of Vener, holding the 7 minute pacer flag. And is that Bro J in the red shirt?

With Johnny and Joaquin following the line of runners. We saw Dindo outside the finish chute and said "hi" to each other.

After the Race:

Meeting runner friends after the race was enough to make me very happy. When I ran my first 5k during the Manila Half Marathon Challenge, not one runner blogger was there to cheer for me. I am so blessed that this time, the runner bloggers whom I now consider as friends were there to support me. Thank you, thank you to everyone who congratulated me and lifted my spirit!

With Gigi and Wilbert (pasalubong ko ha!)

With MJ (the lady behind the blog One Snap at a Time).

With Tanya and Cathy (of Cathletic) whom I met for the first time. I'm not that short. Cathy just happen to be 5'7" tall. It was great meeting you Cathy! Thanks for introducing me to your friends.

With Vener, Jinoe, Cathy, Chris and Anna. Jinoe told me that he didn't run. Dunno why. I finally met Anna after the race! Next time, please come early so we can run together. Thanks for helping me and MJ with the PSE registration.

This time, Jay, Wilbert and Christy joined us in the picture. Isn't that Rico behind Anna?

With Christy and Roselle while registering for the Happy Run. Thank you, Roselle for inviting me to Chowking. I hope next time I can join you and the Happy Feet runners.

With Vimz, the kulit but ever joyful runner. Good luck in your first 15k race this Sunday!

I might as well have a photo with the finish line as background.

One last photo with Jenny, my official photographer friend. She will be accompanying me and my 2 kids run/walk the 3K race at the Happy Run this Sunday. Hope to see you all there!

Take care, everyone! Thank you for making my first 10K run truly memorable.


After our last shot, we made a quick stop at my friend's condo in Boni. And boy, oh boy--she served us a hearty breakfast that filled my stomach until dinner!

Thank you Malou for the sumptuous longganisa from our native town Marbel, South Cotabato, your mom's original recipe ham, and the unlimited yummy garlic rice.

My friend did not only satisfy us with a 5-star meal, but we also left her place with her christmas gifts that are sooh cute!

Thanks, my friend . . . (next time ulit ha)


  1. Congrats Nora! Well done and great run! But woe be thy be :-( Nora, I think I was only guy there that missed you at the race. I was hoping to see you before the race starts para sabay sana tayo first kilometer. Good thing there's a whole year of race to look forward :-) I'll see you at the next race!

  2. Congrats on your first 10K! At the rate you are going you will be running the half at the Condura race! I was happy to share that moment with you and hope to see you in the coming races!

  3. Where o where art thou Gene???

    I saw everybody there except you!

    Will you be joining the Happy Run?

  4. It's always refreshing to see you Jay. And I admire your faith in me. But running 21k in March is too early for me. I need to run a 15k first before jumping to a half marathon. If I were 20 years younger, that would seem possible. Thanks for the encouragement Jay. See you again this Sunday!

  5. You are an amazing character, my friend. I think your mere presence in a race venue paints the entire town red in joy and liveliness!

    Nice meeting you at the race, and I'm sure I'll see more of you soon! ;)

    BTW, let me just say that was a fast first 10K. Take it from someone who's younger, yes, but a lot slower than you are. CONGRATS!

  6. Thank you, Cath! Sobrang touched naman ako sa comment mo. Yes, we'll definitely see each other again and again in future races.

    Cath, as long as you enjoy your run, it really doesn't matter whether you're slow or fast. Speed is not for everyone. Each one of us has his own strengths and weaknesses. Just be Happy, no matter what . . .

    THANKS again!

  7. Hello Nora. Congrats on your first 10K. Your pink cap looks good on you by the way. See you again on the Happy Run.

  8. Hi Nora. Congratulations! It was a joy to read your post, it's like watching a video of your race from start to finish.

    Your memory is so amazing. You remember every little detail in the race and you must have known, talked to, or have your picture taken with a hundred people before, during, and after the race. And your great pictures show that you and your friends had a lot of fun despite the not so perfect finish line scenario.

    A half marathon in the future?

  9. Dearest Nora, congrats on your first 10k! I should not have minded too much that joke of a finish and instead jumped up and down with you in jubilation for your amazing, fast and furious first 10k. Ha-ha. Let's save that victory dance for our first 15k :-)

    Thanks for all your help. It's really much appreciated.

    Hugs, MJ

  10. Congrats, Nora! I was never wrong when i told you to register in 10k kayang kaya mo talaga!!!

    Enjoy lang muna tayo dito sa distance natin tapos before the end of the year lets move na sa 15K? Good luck to us!

    Btw, join ka sa min ni Jun sa C-5 extension this Sat? I'll wait for you in front of Golden Haven, please call or text me to confirm. See you again!

  11. ei! congrats on your first 10k nora. sorry i wasnt able to chat with you longer ha. but i sure am glad to have seen you there. see you again at the Happy Run! ;) btw, i grabbed our pic here already. thanks!

  12. Rico, we didn't get the chance to talk anymore! Thanks ha.

    See you Sunday!

  13. You're right, Rico. I was really happy with my first 10K race 'coz runner friends were there to encourage and support me.

    Yes, a half marathon in the future (maybe next year when you run your first marathon here?)!

    Thank you and take care.

  14. I'm very sorry Bong but the above comment's supposed to be for you. I was thinking kasi that Rico still owe me one cup of taho hehehe . . . that's why my fingers pressed Rico instead of Bong (sign of the times na siguro!)

  15. Hmmm . . . a victory dance for our first 15K finish MJ? Let's better practice soon 'coz I want to run it sometime before June. It's sad that we live far from each other. We could run together 3X a week!

  16. Anna, I'm thinking of running the half at the Condura Race . . . (joke!)

    Let our goal be the NB Power Race. Let's run 25K by then!

    Will call or text you tomorrow.

  17. Vimz, meron pa akong ipapadala sa yo via e-mail. Close-up version ng picture natin. See you this Sunday!

  18. Congratulations on your 10km run. You're still great even after finishing the race, you looked like you just did a 3km run though. That was a good start for the running year and I'm looking forward to see you more often.

    Nice recap, very catchy. With regards from Christy.

  19. Congratulations Ms. Nora on your first 10k. After the race, my hands were itching to type a comment but when I visited your site there was no article yet about your first 10k Bull Run finish! Told you, you would finish it like a bull! :)

  20. Talaga Vener? Thanks! Pero inggit pa rin ako sa yo. Nakunan ka ni Jenny, ako hinde!

    Congratulations to you and Christy for breaking your PRs. See you Sunday!

  21. Ganda ng picture natin Roselle!
    I was really happy hearing you call out my name and congratulating me for finishing my first 10k. Thanks!
    Hahaha . . . kung wala sanang pila sa finish line, I could have finished it like a bull! I was planning pa naman to run with all my might. Sayang!

  22. Nora, my apologies that this took longer than 70 minutes but congratulations on the 10K. You had great support from Vener to Bards to many others. Now you know how a 10K race is and undoubtedly, I have great confidence that a 15K may be in the future.

    However, 5Ks and 10Ks are great running builders for any runner. It was great that the "inner voice" urged you to continue. If I were there, I would have been out on the course cheering and taking pics.

    Thanks again. I'll be doing a tuneup 10K this Sunday before the half-marathon.

  23. Hi nora, congrats on your first 10K run. Galing naman!Hindi nga pala ako yung naka red shirt sa likod, hahahaha. See you next Sunday! Hinahanap ka namin nina Baby and Mae last Sunday. Di na tayo nagkita after the race.

  24. Thank you, Wayne. This 10K race was long overdue but I'm glad I postponed it from November 2008 to January 2009. Yes, I will now start training for 15K. I hope to run 25k with you at the next New Balance Power Race when you return to the Phils.

    Good luck in all your races, Wayne. Take care.

  25. Hah hah . . . are you sure you don't have a twin brother, Bro J?

    I was also looking for you and Baby and Mae! I wonder why we didn't meet. We were at the registration table of Happy Run. See you Sunday!

  26. Hi Nora! Congratulations on your first 10k!
    Once again, I was missing in action. Haha. I think I'll be missing the Happy Run, too. :-( Hope to join the other upcoming races and see you there!
    Cheers! Next up, half marathon! :-)

  27. Thanks, Trace. Yes, M.I.A. ka lagi!

    15K muna bago Half. One step at a time.

    Hope to see you soon!

  28. Congratulations on your first 10K race, Nora!!! And good time at that!! I bought these new earphones that plugged deeper into the ears so that it doesn't fall out when I run -- unfortunately, it makes me concentrate only on the music and not on people calling me -- sorry!!

    Good thing I saw you and the pacer -- it helped me with the last stretch of the race.

    See you again on Sunday -- I'll be extremely nervous for the 15K. Bahala na!!

  29. Natawa nga ako sa sinabi ni Rudy. Kasi he heard me calling out your name twice but didn't seem to mind. Sabi niya, kung minsan daw, nakakabingi yong sobrang pagtakbo hahaha . . .

    I'm happy that you're doing the 15K Johnny. Good luck! Just remember to enjoy the run and finish injury-free. See you tomorroow!

  30. Congratulations Nora! I'm so happy for you! Feel so bad I wasn't there to congratulate you in person! We'll definitely see each other in your next 10k...or maybe your next 15k or half? :)

  31. Nice one! Good job Tita Nora!!!! :O)

  32. Jaymie! Doray! Missed you both in my first 10K . . . Di bale. Meron pa namang 15k (or maybe half sabi nga ni Jaymie hehehe . . .)

    Take care, Jaymie. And for you Doc Doray, congratulations in advanced (when is the THE DAY?)