13 July 2014 — When I looked at my mobile phone clock it said it was 3:24 AM and I have a race at 4 AM. Failed to set the alarm. Yikes! Luckily, I had everything readied the night before. That was the quickest dress changing ever done by me! Whew!
I arrived at the race venue with just 10 minutes to spare. From afar I could see the start arch where frontrunners have congregated. I was finding people I knew who were running but couldn’t see any familiar faces except the ones on stage. A lady marshal approached and instructed me to have my bib checked. When all of a sudden, I heard my name being called. It was Jez D., my choirmate. Beside her is another familiar face, that of Ferdie from the earlier batch of Takbo.ph runners whom I’ve met years before. Didn’t even know they knew each other. What a surprise!
My goal for this race is “to run by feel” since I intentionally didn’t wear my Garmin watch. Then the countdown begins…
I have run this race route quite a number of times already. More or less, it was familiar. A much preferred route actually. After the first turnaround point along Buendia near the South Superhighway, a runner said to me, “I think I know you.” It was Patrick Concepcion aka Running Shield or PatCon to us, Happy Feet. We’ve known each other from the forum site called Impromptu Runners way back in 2007. Suddenly, I found myself running with PatCon. Unbelievable! Running Shield is a fast runner. No way could I run with him. Yet here I am, running with him. And we conversed. Epic! Thank you Running Shield for the opportunity. Eventually, I had to slow down a bit and let him go ahead. We saw each other again along Lawton Avenue near McKinley Road, did a high five and cheered. Him done with the second turnaround point. And me, still on my way there.
With a few remaining kilometers, approximately 7 KMs to go… it was here that I chanced upon again with another founding Takbo.ph forum members and now an accomplished sports person himself, Reggie or Rej to his teammates. It was just a spur-of-the-moment decision to run and pace together. Rej is an ultra distance runner. He finished the Bataan Death March 160, or popularly known as BDM Ultramarathon recently and is also into multisport events. I had the chance to run with him in past races and LSDs (long slow distance) especially during training runs prior to running the Bataan Death March 102 Ultramarathon race in 2011.
We attacked the remaining kilometers by combining power walk and running, and targeted each hydration station as a good break or rest. The last kilometer where the new overpass to C5 northbound from Bonifacio Global City, we tackled it by walking the uphill, stopping at the last water station, and running all the way to the finish line. Just a few meters ahead, we bumped into another Team Boring ultra runner, Doc Topher on his bike, who exchanged jokes with us and was kind enough to hand us a bottle of energy drink which we gently declined. The finish line is not too far, anyway. Then there it was, the Finish Line right before our eyes. Done! What a great half-marathon running!
A personal congratulations to Jinoe and Queenie Gavan of Takbo.ph, and the rest of the crew of the Leadpack Team for organizing such a good race yesterday. It was my first time to run the new overpass to C5 and to me, a best feature of the race. Two thumbs up! There was no problem with hydration, bananas are a plenty, energetic cheerers and volunteer marshals. I had a blast! One of my favorite organized races I have done so far.
Until next time!