two and a half hours of dizzying scenes of chaos, heroism and catastrophe later, i found myself exhausted despite not having moved from my seat. this is what you get when you watch an action-packed film from the third to the front row of the cinema. i can't really complain, kuya's friend had to wrestle people for these tickets and seeing friends i haven't seen for a while is worth the vertigo and fatigue.
i had second thoughts of watching 2012 that saturday night actually. it would be the TIMEX race the next morning and thought that i would really need the rest. however, it bothered my conscience and the social butterfly in me that too many weekends of mine had already been laid to waste, not having seen friends because of (*cough* work *cough*) one reason or another. so against the psycho-running-freak in me, i went ahead to have my leisurely saturday night. kuya had suggested that i stay at makati with him so we would not be too pressed for time the next morning. truly, my last race, i got to the assembly point just at the nick of time. considering i like to acclimate myself, it need not be said that my anxiety level that day was very high!
TIMEX would be my second 21k run. why do i feel like this one will be quite different from the last? i couldn't shake the feeling off. though i wasn't as nervous anymore, there was still that feeling nagging within. 2012 ended near midnight. we bid our friends goodbye and kuya and i headed towards his flat. after all the necessary preparation for bed and the race, it was near 1am when we went to bed. 3hours of sleep. i wondered how this will affect my performance, hopefully not for the worse.
my alarm rang at 3:45 am. i got up. took a warm shower and donned on my gear. i decided to wear the singlet kuya bought for me and my nike compression tights. i really liked how the tights kept my legs warm and how they supported my legs from too much jiggling. the tights however didn't feel as snug as the first time i wore them. it could be a slacking of the elastic or i could have lost some more mass, either way, it got me a bit concerned. kuya and i departed at 4:30 and got to the fort not too long after. we arranged for a meeting point since we were joining different races, him a 10k run. after agreeing to meet at the gym, i went off to join the gather crowd of 21k runners. i was trying to look for narnian but could not spot him. i was hoping it would be nice to run with a friend and keep each other company. 21ks are LONG, with lots of boring stretches. being distracted with great company is always welcomed. however, i could not spot him (or his nadia auermann legs) anywhere. i later found out he got to the race late.
the starting time was a few seconds away and narnian no where to be found, i realized this race will be a long and lonely one. hunky papa piolo gave an opening prayer and a speech from coach rio later, papa P fired the gun shot, sending the wave of runners bolting forward. rather, sending all of us runners to run after the KENYAN leading the pack!!
as i did on my first 21K, i took my time running. i wanted to use the first few kilometers to find my resting rhythm and get all my muscles in tune. however, in the mad dash to break away from the crowd, i think i needlessly accelerated to much ans wasted valuable energy. mistake number one. a few kilometers down and i could feel that something was already amiss. i was beginning to fatigue and i could sense my heart was beating faster than my normal PR. lack of sleep, definitely, i thought. mistake number 2, and i wasn't even at the first U-turn. i had hoped that i could compensate by taking more stops and rehydrating as often as i could. i had hoped too that this race would have ample supply of bananas like my last race. sadly, it was only water and energy drinks for me. the frequent stopping also affected my run since u expend energy to stop, and expend more energy to gain back ur running speed. i didn't care though, i needed to listen what my body was telling me and right now, i needed to fuel up.
despite efforts of rehydrating as often as i could, i was sweating BUCKET LOADS. so much that my sweat could not evaporate fast enough, soaking my tights all the way to my socks. since my tights weren't as snug as well, it left ample room between the fabric and my skin to accomodate excess fluid, leading my legs to feel uncomfortably heavy. soon after, i noticed salt stains forming. this was not good i though. salt stains meant i was loosing electrolytes as well, then i did the math (pardon the geek). lack sleep + dehydration + electrolyte imbalance = cramps!!!!! my worse fear was looming its ugly head, this and the 10k mark was still a long distance away. it certainly dampened my spirit, but i'll get there when i get there, i thought.
i met the wave of 10k runners (with GORGEOUS papa P) not too long later as i was running back up the buendia overpass. i finally saw narnian, a few friends and kuya later. spotted carlo agassi as well but could care less about him. reaching the end of the hill, i saw tessa prieto-valdez ina cute pink number, cheering fellow races to not give up. seeing her adorableness, in FULL make-up made me forget for a brief moment that my body will soon give way. it happened sooner than expected actually.
essense, mckinly road. another long incline and my hip started to complain. my knee began to buckle and my heel hurt like hell. the life of my shoe decided to end while i was in the middle of my run, its advanced cushioning rendered useless as my feet pounded the pavement. the fatigue caused me to loose good form, resulting to undue stress on my legs, made worse for by my now uncooperative shoe. but i trudged on. no stopping now. cannot stop now... PHOTOGRAPHERS ABOUND!! curse you piolo and the starpower you bring! hehehehe.
lawton and bayani road were long flat stretches of uneven hard terrain. so long, i regretted not running with an ipod! there's nothing really more discouraging than to see endless stretches of road in front of you and realizing how much more you have to go. by this time, my right calf was already hinting it will be seizing soon as it would tighten occasionally, to which i would try to shake it off. it would relent, thankfully, probably responding to the surge of adrenaline triggered from my worry and panic. the course took a turn into the heritage park, to which we ran the entire perimeter, THE BIGGEST U-TURN EVER! it was a beautiful memorial park with lush, well manicured greens and a spectacular view of the fort. exiting the park, we were finally given our first banana! huhuhuhu. this won't do. i was tired. i was hungry. i and i had to make do with this pathetic little fruit. i gobbled the thing down as fast as i could and continued running, hoping i could replenish my electrolytes from another drinking station.
my calves finally had enough. they started seizing as i was running back lawton road leading to essensa. the intervals became shorter and i was bracing myself for the worse. my leg had salt stains all over and i knew my efforts to rehydrate were useless. i walked every time i felt a surge of pain, never allowing my muscles to cramp. as soon as i felt it was safe, i would jog again to recover the distance i lost. i know i really should not feel ashamed but i do. i could not help it when you see these runners run past by you, leisurely keeping their form and pace. looking almost impervious to fatigue while here you are, almost limping, defeated and exhausted. as soon as the essensa towers came to view and knowing the finish line was near, i began to run again, praying my legs would allow me to finish strong at least.
the final leg was the hardest. i guess my body realizing the race was almost finished, began to relax, adrenaline and endorphins began to run low. suddenly, my body began to hurt and i felt the full wave of my impending cramps, now in both legs. i stopped dead in my tracks, the pain, unimaginable! what made it worse, i only have about 1km to go. mustering all the psycho-running-freak that was left in me, i stretched my muscles to lengthen and relax, and made my made dash to the finish line. my legs continued to seize but i ran anyways, a few meters to go and it will be all over i said. in my head i was screaming. at the last moment, my body pumped me with the last bit of adrenaline to dull the pain.
exhilarating and euphoric. i wanted to MURDER someone!!!! i tried to look for a water shower, something they usually provide in runs to cool down but could not find any. my kuya spotted me soon after. just in time as i was was starting to feel faint. he gave me his energy drink and later accompanied me to get my loot bag.
overall, this race was to be my template for singapore. now at least i know what i need to prepare for that run. i was slower by 2 mins from my first 21K, finishing at 1 hour and 56mins. not bad considering what i had to go through.
2 more weeks to go and it the standard chartered marathon na!!! good luck to me!!!