Saturday, November 22, 2008
running... for life!
i seriously could not keep still. i found myself pacing my room like an expecting father waiting for the doctors to give me the low-down on my offspring!
doctor: congratulations sir, it's a baby boy!
me: it can't be! my partner's gay! he can't be PREGNANT!!!!?
doctor: ay! sowi! wrong patient. kabag lang pala, po, sir.
i eventually found myself doing jumping jacks and sit ups to tire myself out, just so to calm me a bit. my brain was racing at F1 speeds and i could tell my nervousness was bordering on giving me nausea. i turned on the TV and started watching nat geo, thankfully so, the topic was so brainy, it was good enough to keep me occupied till it was time for me to go.
registration for the race was scheduled for 530am. i wanted to be there by 430 since i wanted to give myself time for certain "emergencies" like a.) getting lost b.) finding parking space and finally c.) needing to go answer the holler of nature. i presumed that an hour grace period for myself was more than enough for these minor inconveniences prior to race time. by 350, i was out of the house and heading my way to meet my fate.
as per plan, minor emergency "A" happened. i got lost. though i did scope the site a few days ahead to familiarize myself of where i had to go, i neglected to consider that things look different in the dead of night. for one, ALL my landmarks disappeared in the dark. hence, i overshot the designated assembly point. no problem.... i just needed to waste some more gas to make the LARGEST U-TURN ever, taking careful attention to not miss the site the second time. since i was crazy enough to get there so early, parking was a breeze. i found a great spot just in front of the starting line, ironically, underneath a "no parking" post. i was one of the first few who registered and had enough time to take a leak. refreshed and settled, i decided to start psyching myself to game level... as if i wasn't psyched up enough!?
i changed to my racing shirt, pined my number, wore my shoes and started to warm up. i walked around and tried to loosen up my joints, my ankles in particular. as i did, i also started to look around an see the other ppl who were slowly trickling in. since this was my first marathon, i thought that it would be nice to get a feel of how the other people, the pros especially, handled themselves prior to the run. you know, just in case i could pick up a few pointers here and there :)
the racers that started to gather there were truly a diverse bunch of people. young, old, male, female, local, foreign, pro, amateur, cute, ugly, commoner, celebrity! the people watcher in me was definitely THRILLED. in no time at all, i was relaxed, calm and slowly, starting to have fun.
as the sun slowly rose in the distance, the races were assembled and divided into 2 groups. those running the 10K were in front and us running the 5k were behind. despite the race time drawing nearer by the minute, i noticed that there were still so many who haven't showed up. typical of us i guess, late for everything, even a race. the announcer however was adamant, we WILL start promptly at 6am. i was already in front of the 5k pack as i awaited the start of the run. while counting down the minutes, i decided to do an over check on my gear. number, check! shirt, check! lucky underwear, check! shorts, check! comfy shoes, check! belt bag with keys, money and phone, check! that seems to be it i guess. i suddenly felt a bit under dressed since the people who gathered around me had all these fancy looking race gear and all i had was ur typical gym get up and a small belt bag. o well, i told myself, this isn't a fashion show anyways. let's see what good their designer duds and ipods can do :)
6am. it's time. the official gave the signal for the racers to get ready.... BANG! the first shot went off for the 10K runners, sending the mob in front of us scrambling ahead. it was a fun sight to see them run off since they sprinted away with such gusto. we waited around 5 more minutes before our turn came, i guess so that the track wouldn't be so congested. the signal was given... BANG! the second shot was sounded and we started running as well.
as i advanced forward, i started to form a strategy in my head. winning was not the goal really, but outlasting was! i was running beside pros, and well, PROS (all the novices were left far behind the pack) and my pride sincerely did not want me to look like the runt of the herd. a plan is needed, i said. if i cannot make it with brawn, then i can make it with brain! within the first few minutes, i was able to concur with the voices in my head (more on that in another post) on the following points on how to survive till the finish:
1. do not run after the guys wearing the pekpek shorts. those guys are WAY beyond ur league. but do run after them if they are cute. nothing beats eye candy as motivation!
2. do not entertain the tendency to accelerate. pacing is key.
3. use the downhill to add to ur speed. i am heavy... gravity is our friend.
4. use the uphill to your advantage. i have calves of steel! hiking uphill comes naturally.
5. stopping is NEVER an option. if when crossing the street and a vehicle comes ur way... THEY have to stop because YOU are running the race!
6. having kids, old people and girls overtake you is shameful.
7. having paolo bediones (who is running behind you) overtake you is even worse!
8. taking the water bottle is a death trap.
9. to add fun (like pounding pavement isn't fun enough!), play connect the dots with fellow racers. you are the line, the cute guys running ahead of you are the DOTS. go... connect :) if you can bag yourself a date in the process, then even better!
10. finish strong. crawling your way to the finish and looking like u got robbed is like making paolo bediones win!
with my steps to success in continues playback now in my brain, i ran the course, determined that i will have fun, that i will finish and that paolo bediones will eat my DUST!!!! (my apologies to mr. bediones, nothing personal. i just needed a focal point to channel all my aggression at. you seemed to be the best subject, ehehehe.)
i got to the finish line in about 25:14 mins based on my watch, though the official clock said 29. i really couldn't care less since at that point, i was just RELIEVED that i got to finish. i finished and i didn't DIE as how my parents feared of happening. i finished with my bearings, balls and belongings intact. i finished without ever stopping to walk. i finished... and paolo bediones is NOWHERE in sight... YES! :)
i lingered along the finish line for a bit longer and watched the people start to come in, one after another. though exhausted from the run, i have yet to see one that did not look happy as they crossed. everyone, after they have recovered were in high spirits, a sense of fulfillment etched on their faces. we all congratulated each other for finishing and for a great fun run, for truly it was.
overall, despite the soreness and the fatigue, i honestly had a BLAST! it has been something i have always wanted to do and now, i have done it. i never would have imagined that i could after all these years of people telling me and me telling myself that i couldn't do it. but now i have! and i have no plans of stopping now. i want to run again! maybe run farther this time, 10k? 15 k? maybe, if God is willing, a full 42K! time will tell.