I signed up for this race because as probably most runners feel, there is not much motivation if you don’t join a race. My last half-marathon was back in August so I had about five weeks to train for another 21k.
I blew that training, in a bad way. I was sick for a couple of weeks, thanks to my inflamed tonsils. I also felt tired for many days because my body failed to adjust to a few things I did. So when I was meant to run 35 miles in a week, I only ran about 16 miles. I never even did speed training.
But first, let me tell you about things that happened before the race.
There was an incident that happened while on the plane. A woman’s plastic bag fell on her head while I was getting my bag. She ranted non-stop because she thought I didn’t apologize and I wouldn’t look her in the eye. I said sorry several times the moment the bag fell on her. I’m sorry if she didn’t hear that. She was also ranting because I did not make any effort to pick up her bag. I would agree I should have made more effort but there were other people between me and that bag, and that would have meant elbowing them. I believe there is no sincere apology if you want to justify something, but I would like to defend myself from what that lady said. She mentioned about me not listening to the flight attendant about being careful when opening the overhead bin. I was not the one who opened the overhead bin. My bag was not even beside her bags. I was seated on 15B. The man on 15C opened the overhead bin right above us, and the other passenger sitting beside her opened the bin above them. I ride a plane almost every week so I know how to be careful. I apologized to the lady again after I realized she wouldn’t stop talking about me not apologizing. I would not look her in the eye because I don’t look anybody in the eye. I get uncomfortable with making eye contact especially when I’m nervous. I understand she thought I was a jerk. I feel guilty but that was the best I could do at that situation.
I went straight to get a cup of coffee after that and the caffeine seemed to have calmed my nerves.
I went straight to Tino’s to get my suit. I love it! The master tailor was a little late and I became nervous at first, especially because my name was not on the logbook. I asked myself if I heard the master tailor incorrectly when he said I could come back on October 4th to get the suit. He arrived almost an hour later with my gorgeous two-piece suit.
After I got my suit, I went to check in at Microtel by Wyndham near the Mall of Asia. I chose this hotel because it was cheaper than the other hotel near MOA (Sofitel) and it was only a little walk from from the starting line of Run United. I requested a room on the highest possible floor when I booked and they gave me a room on their highest floor so I appreciated that. Soundproofing was a bit of a problem though. I could hear the children talking in the adjacent room and I could even hear the construction workers on the other side of the street, let alone the actual construction noises. But it was a nice room.
I had lunch at MOA, ordered room service for dinner and the rest of the day just went fine. I got to sleep right and thank goodness my own body woke me up. I set my alarm on my phone at 1:30am but my phone ran out of battery while I was sleeping. I got to wake up on my own at 1:45am to prepare for the run – eat, shower and dress up.
I left the hotel at 3am and arrived at the venue a few minutes after that. There were already hundreds of participants on the starting line when I got there. This was the most crowded event I have ever joined in. The 21k event started at exactly 4am and it took me 46 seconds from where I was standing on gun start to the actual starting line.
I knew going to this event that this was not going to be in my best form. I skipped a lot of days during training because I had fever, I had more important things to do or I was just too stressed to get up and run. I did not bring my phone fearing that it would rain so I had to calculate my pace mentally which was less stressful for me. I knew I could go below 6 minutes per kilometer but I was going at a lackluster 8 minutes per kilometer during the first few kilometers. I was thinking to myself that this was the right pacing and I could have more energy left for the last part of the route. From the 8th to the 12th kilometer, I started picking up my pace despite going through flyovers which I always thought was stressful. On the 12th kilometer, I started to get side stitches. I didn’t know what was causing it. I ate 2 hours before the run and I was breathing normally, but there was just pain on my abdomen. I managed to get through it until the end of the race.
As in my previous 21k races, I would start to walk during the last stretch and of course, that would slow my pace down significantly. I was already content to finish the race below 3 hours. But I felt this surge during the last 500 meters. I ran on a much faster pace and reached the finish line in under 2 hours and 28 minutes. This pace is my slowest in the three races I have joined so far, but at least it is still under 2 hours and 30 minutes. And it was Benjie Paras who gave me my medal. Ha!
So far, this was the most organized event I have participated in. Despite using a major road, we were never stopped because of vehicle traffic. There were hundreds of volunteers and marshals on the starting/finish line and the hydration stations.
I have not found any of my pictures during the race yet but I’m hoping I wouldn’t look like a funny dead man walking.