I’ve been joining fun runs since April 2010 and had set a goal to join events at least once a month. But I never thought I’d be able to run more than my usual 5k. I had my first 10k on the Nike We Run Manila just because they had a lot of freebies at stake. Then went on my second at the last leg of Run United 2011. I started 2012 with two consecutive weeks running 10k. Though before that, I had planned and registered for my supposedly first 16k run in the Condura Skyway Marathon 2012. Eventually, I was excited enough to go for 16k that I registered for an earlier event 2 weeks before the Condura Skyway Marathon. My first 16k didn’t turn out good for me but it did helped me learn stuffs to prepare for the skyway run.
Challenges and Preparation
It was the toughest month for me, it’s high season for my allergies, stress from work and my 3 week consecutive running events had got the best of me. My two weeks preparation after the last 16k will not be enough. I got no time for long run training as I still feel less stronger. After getting better, which happened only days before the event, I only did 5k training with my running buddies and watched my diet. Mostly, I got lots of carbs and less or none of the junk stuffs (even fast foods is not an option). I get the most of meals at least 3 times a day and had enough rest and sleep for at least 3 days before the event.
Our Travel and Arrival to the Event
Alabang is the farthest running location I have gone so far. So I got my running buddy took a cab and picked me up at Boni Avenue at past 2 in the morning. I have gone a lot to the south of Manila since its our way to Quezon province (my hometown and where I usually go on vacation), but it feels like a long ride to Filinvest Alabang. It feels like we are already in the province nearby Manila, include the high amount of taxi fare and the toll fee we paid.
Arriving at the event venue, it’s around 3 in the morning and the people in the finisher’s area are already looking forward to the first 42k finisher. They should have been running 3 hours already conquering 5 cities within Manila. Our first stop is to look for the baggage area and the portalets. We’ve got no idea how the village was designed so we just followed the crowd. We found the portalets near the baggage area though the way to that portion is a little dark. Still we survived moving around inside the portalets.
We geared up after and left our baggages at the 16k baggage area. Next mission is to find our running colleagues. We went near the starting line to check on what’s happening. Our gun start is 4am so we have enough time to stretch and warm up. While doing our prep drills, we found one of our colleagues just behind us. For a large area with a lot of people going around, you wouldn’t expect to see somebody familiar that easily so we were surprised during that moment. She promised to take pictures of us the day before and so we had our pre-running photos from her.
Gun Start and the Rest of the Skyway
All the 21k category waves was already released and its our turn already in the starting line. We find our way to the front of the crowd since we are part of wave A. At 4 in the morning, we feel the air colder. Our warm ups are not enough to literally warm us up. And it feels like a long time just standing there waiting for our gun start. Then the fireworks for the 16k category started. Personally, I didn’t get excited on the view. All I was thinking is the excitement to start running. I can feel I’m on the right condition and I have enough energy to conquer the skyway that day.
We were part of the second wave of wave A. Releasing of runners have been a tough priority of the organizers to avoid congestion on the road. It’s a good thing for us because we didn’t want to have a lot of bodies blocking our way especially when we go faster than the others. On our gun start, me and my buddy started it slow. I usually start the run slow so I can preserve enough energy during the middle and last part of my long run. The first part of the run was going up the skyway, just a good way to warm up my muscles. After a few minutes, I noticed my running buddy was already running behind me. But I didn’t want to waste time walking while I can still run. I may have enjoyed running on the skyway so much I didn’t stop until the first water station, which is 2.90 km away from the start line. After sipping enough water, I walked for a while and then run again. It was always a run-walk thing for me but I tried my best to run longer and walk shorter.
On my 6km mark, I saw some of my running colleagues on the other side of the skyway. They are running the 42k category and was doing some stretches on their last few kilometers. I called their attention and they gave me good lucks on my 16k. After a few minutes, I found another familiar fellow (who we thought was not able to start his 21k) already going back. Before I reached the turning point of 16k, which is in the Bicutan area, I was called by another familiar face who was also running the 16k category. So much for socializing, I still got half of 16km to be covered. And there was Tessa Prieto again running the 16km. And she did it again, starting after me but finishing ahead of me. Once I tried to follow her pacing but she was too fast for me so I just relax and do it on my own speed.
I already finished 1okm and the brightness of the morning is already coming. I did expect that I’ll be running the whole stretch of 16k in the same dark sky but it turns out I will welcome the morning sun. Still it was a great moment seeing the sun rises while I run in the Skyway. And at that very moment, I wanted to shout good morning to everyone. I also thought of posting a good morning greeting in Facebook but too bad I don’t have my phone with me. So I just enjoyed the morning running and sometimes walking my way through.
At around 6 in the morning, the skyway is already building up with runners as the rest of the categories (10k, 5k and 3k) are being released. It didn’t bother me since their presence had encouraged me to run more, like they are my pacers or better yet, I made it a point to outpaced them. And then, after 2 hours and 11 minutes running, I finally reached the Finish line. I had an aching feet and a tired body but it still feels good.
After getting my finisher drinks, baggage and medal, the next mission is to find my running colleagues. Though I was more focused looking around the booths around the finisher village and checking what’s in store free for runners. So I just walk around and then, surprisingly, I found the same familiar faces at the 42km recovery area. They already have rest, others just got their massaged and some took some photos in the Condura wall. So I just sit there, waiting for my running buddy who I left in the 16k run. Once we were complete, we just stayed for a while, took some free ice cream and milk and got some breakfast from Tapa King. And then we call it a day, we rode a bus going home. It was a long day for all of us. Running in the early morning is just the beginning.