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).
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)