my day started at 4:00am. well, actually no, it started way earlier than that since, like how i was on my last marathon, i barely slept a wink due to nerves. i just got back from a food tour with friends the day prior and considering that i was so tired, it was still not enough to knock me out. not being able to rest for an endurance sport should really be a cause for concern, but quite frankly, i was the least bothered by it. i was actually more worried for my weight! a food tour means exercising gluttony and packing in unwanted pounds, pounds that i seriously cannot afford to pack in! i kinda tried to salvage my situation by going on an instant fast as i got home, which i eventually failed at since i recall gorging on a pack of instant noodles and a couple of bananas at around 1am! too hungry to think straight apparently. so with tummy full, mind racing and conscience disturbed because of my lack in will, i braced myself for my coming run.
i got to the venue at around 5am, much later than what i would consider comforting since i like getting to a place much earlier, say, 2 hours earlier. kuya was a prince to offer to drive me there and since i was still sleepless, who was i refuse a free ride? but then again, kuya hasn't had sleep himself either. o well! needless to say we got to fort bonifacio without any untoward incident.
maybe it was the insomnia taking over me but i was surprisingly unexcited with this race, considering this was a major event for the running year, as compared to the event i joined last november. sponsored by Botak, the race attracted many participants, newbies and professional runners alike, as well as many running teams. there was even this one guy who was in a zorro outfit walking about, proving something a cousin of mine once said that these events attract the weirdest of people.
i did my usual routine, warming up, stretching and most importantly... finding the loo. unlike the first race i joined, this one did not seem to have enough toilets made available. in fact, i think it was due to this that a lot were not able to start the race in time. the morning was exceptionally chilly that day and i guess it made a lot of people fall victim to their accursed pea-sized bladders. upon hearing the organizers give the heads up for the racers to file in the starting line, i decided to take my place. i wanted to get psyched since until that point, i was still craving for my bed... and a big bowl of noodles, hangovers from the binondo trip (kasi!!). people started to flood in, the 10K runners making their way to the front of the pack, us 5K races slowly being eased to the back. i have always wondered how the officials time the runners accurately if we all start at different spots with some being ahead and some, behind. a friend told me our official times all start at the same time since it was a pack race. that said, i HONESTLY didn't want to be cheated of my efforts. i may not run as fast as that super lean, mean running machine with the p*k p*k shorts but heck! my minutes still count. much to the ire of the 10K runners i bumped into, i tried to squeeze my way further near the starting line. satisfied with my position, i waited for the starting gun.
the gun fired at 6:15am and sent a frenzy of eager runners bolting ahead. i started slow. it was part strategy, since i wanted to conserve my energy for the long haul. partly, i also had no choice since the freaking runners in front of me were walking. WALKING!!! like in the mall! i quickly lost my patience and the "pakistani cab driver in desperate need of a pee" in me immediately kicked in! thank goodness i live in tondo and had all that practice weeding in and out of stupid tricycles, jeepneys and pedestrians. it took me a few minutes of maneuvering but i eventually got myself out of that gridlock and soon found myself in the company of serious runners. by this time, we were nearing the u-turn along Essensa. this was a downhill track, much to my delight since i wasted a lot of energy trying to loose those misplaced mall rats and needed to replenish my energy. it was a long slope down, which also meant, a very long slope up upon turning. thankfully so, i have calves of steel and found that i run better uphill. i guess i enjoyed the uphill run so much that i noticed that i was already very near the front of the pack. not wanting to sense victory this soon, i quickly dismissed my unfounded joy and focused back again to the run. there was still a long way ahead and the finish line was still no where in sight.
this route was rather unusual compared to my first race. for one, this had more slopes and longer stretches of level planes. i have found from my practices before that i waste a lot of energy changing speeds due to change in terrain. though gravity can help in the downhill runs and my calves can easily manage the uphill inclines, the real test comes when i find myself on flat ground since then, all that propels you forward is the strength of your will... unless you are also coincidentally aerodynamic! (hehehehe). this route also had weird turns and for me, poorly considered paths since i often found myself running alongside cars! endurance runners only think of one thing, running forward. for you to add traffic control into our task is not only insensitive, but dangerous as well since by now, our judgement is most probably compromised due to fatigue. because also of the weird path and the slopes, it was difficult for you to spot the finish line, thereby not being able to gauge how much farther you had to run and if you were doing good time. if you were i who does not wear a watch to keep track of your speed, then this really does pose a problem. thank goodness for faster runners.... as long as i can run alongside them, i thought, i was ok.
there were no celebrities this time who served as a threat for me to run faster, unfortunately. no cuties running in front of me either to chase. all i had to serve as motivation was this little girl who was running beside her dad. cute i thought. she was indeed fast and despite her age, quite competitive as well since as i slowly inched my way ahead of her, i distinctly heard her calling to her dad that i was coming. "punyemas tong bwisit na to ah! what are you two trying at? sabotage!!!??" needless to say, i was too tired to give a shit, more so give in to the taunts of this pig-tailed squirt. i kept my pace and throughout the remainder of the race, the squirt-dad tandem and i were on constant head to head, that was until we neared the finish line and they zoomed past ahead of me. i swear, if i were not as nice, i would have pulled on her pig-tails and would have loved to see her kiss concrete! (ehem...)
i crossed the finish line with the time at 24:33, almost a full minute faster than my last race, though it's not official yet. not bad i reckoned considering i didn't practice as much this time and was heavier to boot.
i certainly hope i would be more disciplined next time. how else will i survive running a 10k!? :) wohoo!!!