New Balance Power Run 2012: A Journey to 25K

After my four 16km and seven 21km run (counted my medals and that’s what I got), I finally conquered my farthest distance so far. The decision was made when New Balance, in cooperation with RunRio, released the photo of the 25km finisher medal. Without any second thought I registered to the event. Though at the last minute I realized that it will be a week before my 21km run at The Bull Runner Dream Team event, I told myself I already done a three week three consecutive long runs before (21km – 21km – 16km distances). What is it that I can’t handle? So I registered and looked forward for November 11.

PRE-RACE PREPS

The usual early bird that I am, I get out of bed at 2:30am in the morning of November 11. After 5 hrs of sleep, I drag myself out of bed. Still the same feeling where I would think of “Would it be better to stay in bed rather than run 25km?”. Good thing that I still have the motivation to select the latter. So I prepare on my early morning shower to help me wake my nerves. Turns out that it’s the first day of my monthly visit. Damn! It’s actually the day I feel the most pain. After taking my bath, I thought maybe some medicines can help me out that day. After checking if its safe to take the meds with an empty stomach, I took one and geared off to Bonifacio Global City.

I arrived at BGC past 3:00am. I found a spot, put on my race bib, my armband and my earphones. My next stop is the baggage area and thankfully, it is not yet crowded. After disposing my things at the baggage tent, I finally got to stretch and do warm ups. There are still few people but after I completed my routines, the streets are starting to get crowded. And I see Coach Rio starting to give guidelines to the event staffs and marshals while riding his bicycle in the early morning.

To complete my pre-race to do’s, I setup my Nike+ app in my iPhone. I created a target to complete the race at the most 3 hours and 30 minutes. And then I setup my Soleus sportswatch for my interval timer. Since I did 3 – 1 galloway on my last training (3 minutes run and 1 minute walk), I thought its going to work as well during my 25k run. After all the setups, I finally walk through the crowd of people and waited in the start line for the program and some warmups.

DURING THE RACE

After the simple stretching and a video showing of the 25km route, the countdown started and then we’re off at 4:20 in the morning. I started my Nike+ making sure GPS is strong. I was planning to run as long as I can before I can start my interval timer. After all the trainings of run and walk intervals, I think I got the most of it. On the first hydration station which is around 1.5km, I already started walking. After getting some water and a minute of walking, I started my 3-1 galloway.

I was actually doing fine with the intervals but after 4 or 5km, I was being anxious on the time and thought 3 minutes run is too much for me. I still need to preserve my energy to finish the race and the technique is not really helping. So in my 5km mark, I setup my watch to count 2 – 1 interval instead. Then after 2 to 3km, I was again being anxious. I was always checking my watch if its already time to walk. There will be some point where I will just walk even if its still time to run. At that point, I told myself I will pace myself according to what I can handle. Since I observed that I run less than 2 minutes but I can also cut my walking time to 30 seconds, I think I wouldn’t slow down that much doing my own pacing. So everything will be based on the capacity of my body and mind conditioning.

At around 11km, I can already feel my back shoulders aching. So while on top of Kalayaan flyover, I decided its time for my packed CLIF energy gel. I was hoping that it wouldn’t stress my stomach since its the first time I’m taking this new brand of power gels. I bought two of it from Healthy Options which I think is good because they are 90% organic and costs almost the same with other brands. The mocha flavor tastes good that I can consume it without the immediate need for water.

I reached Gil Puyat Ave. after 1 hour and 15 mins, that’s around the 12km mark. Since my target to finish is 3.5 hrs, I think I’m still good with the current pacing. I continue, running and walking and getting to every hydration station for water, until I reached the U turn mark at the Makati – Pasay boundary, that’s around the 15th km mark. At that point, I can already feel my feet aching. Though I cannot tell it if really hurts bad, taking pain killers in the morning must have lessen my burden. But I am also worried that I might not able to realize early if I have cramps or anything. Some moments I will feel my left foot getting a tinge of pain, so I would slow down or try to be conscious about the fall of my foot on the ground. Still I continue with my run and walk pacing.

I took my second energy gel at the 18th km mark. I would need it for my last 7 kms. The morning is getting hotter already and I haven’t reached the Kalayaan flyover. I started to use the water at the hydration station to keep my temperature lower. I walked longer but I ran faster for a while. After completing the stretch of Kalayaan flyover, I was left with my last 3kms. I was welcomed with the event band playing a Christmas song. How’s that for my last few pushes?

At this point, walking is more painful than running. But my heart would not be able to handle continuous run. So I tried to run as long as I can and walk once in a while. After a few rounds on the streets of BGC, I can already see the finish line. I checked my watch and its 7:30am. I thought, I’m finishing in less than my target time. A few more push and I can already see photographers in the area, capturing photos of the finishers. I completed my first 25km at 3 hrs and 22 minutes, so far that’s what my Nike+ had recorded. And finally I got my first 25km finisher medal. 🙂

POST RACE

Straight from the finish line, I got my finisher kit and my bag from the baggage tent. I checked on any freebies in some of the booths but its getting hot already and my feet would not be able to handle waiting in line with the other runners. So I just got a discount coupon from New Balance booth and I’m off to find a place to rest for a while. After changing on a more comfortable sandals and eating the free banana from my finisher kit, I met up with my running buddies whom I saw around the finish line. We had a big meal at Giligan’s rice all you can and then we call it a day (a long one for that matter).

Amazingly, comparing my first 25k with my 21km runs, I feel a lot better on this one. I wouldn’t be surprised that New Balance Power Run is one of the best organized running event, knowing it was in partnership with RunRio. But also, I never had a problem during the race like getting injuries and walking my few kilometers to the finish line. After finishing, my feet didn’t hurt much and I can even walk straight. After this run, I’m looking forward for my first full marathon on February. I hope I’ll have a great time as well just like my 25km experience. 🙂