I Finished A Marathon: My TBR Dream Marathon Experience

The Calling

I never planned on running a marathon this year. Besides, I still have a few years before I turn 30 (being part of my 30 things before 30). My fellow runners are getting excited to this “The Bull Runner Dream Marathon (TBRDM)” thing. I told them it’s not for me yet. Though sometimes I will watch videos and check out blogs about this run and then listen to my running buddies’ stories on why they want to join. Still, doesn’t feel like ready to do it sooner.

Came registration day, I was in my usual Facebook weekend time. Suddenly, messages are popping up in my chat windows. Jonah and Belle, my usual running buddies, telling me to give it a try and register. Anyway, I’m just reserving a slot and still can go out anytime I feel like not doing it. Of course, I did move on with the registration and everything. I told myself, everybody I know is doing it in 2013 at the TBR, might as well join them. Besides I got a few months to train.

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With around five months to prepare, I know I have a good feel of long runs already. Being able to join a number of half marathons within the year is a good jump-start for my training. But still, 42km is twice the distance and might be more than twice the pain. What’s good about the TBRDM is that they provide you with the program on how you will be able to finish your first marathon. Though it really requires focus and discipline. For a full time employee rendering 9 hours or more everyday in the office and an MBA student taking 4 hours of my weekend in school is already a lot. Now I need to squeeze a little more time for training.

What did motivated me to train is my running club buddies and the Ayala Triads group training every Tuesday. I would admit that I didn’t really execute the program as said by our coaches. At least 2 short runs and 1 long run every week doesn’t fit my schedule so I tried to have at least one training on weekdays and register for longer runs on weekends. Still I don’t get to stick on it on all weekdays and weekends due to time and money constraint.

Two months before the event, I decided to enroll on a weekday MBA class so I can have the weekend available for training. Also, my running buds and me plan on checking in at a nearby hotel on the Saturday before the marathon so I’ll be available that day and never have to miss a class. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that I enrolled on a Tuesday class. That means I will be missing my trainings with Triads. So everything is upon my hands to really have the effort to train on my own. And I only had 25km for my longest run so far. (See my other blog for my 25k experience)

Three Weeks on Taper

Condura Skyway Marathon was my last long run, running my half marathon to prepare for TBR. I planned on going around the race route to complete 30km but one of my running buddies told me I should not stressed myself to running more and just concentrate on conditioning myself for the marathon. And so I did, even feeling relieved that I didn’t force myself to run under the heat of the sun.

After my half marathon, I realized that I feel some pain on my right big toe every time I do long runs. Being worried that it might affect my performance during the marathon, I went to see a doctor. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with gout – a type of arthritis cause by high level of uric acid where uric crystals are deposited in the joints making it swollen. I had to go through medications and limit the type of food I take to lessen the pain and to avoid worsening the condition.

That last three weeks doesn’t really feel like taper for me. I have less mileage than anybody else, which is what I believe in. My longest mileage per week could have been 30km and that happens a week only per month. So taper period was just my usual run. I only did 6 to 10km of run once each week during the taper period. The last weekend before the event, I did a 12km run. Three days before, I did a 4km run on a night with rain shower. Then I remembered what Coach Lit said, do not do anything that will risk your health before the marathon. And my gout medication lowers my immune system so I have to stop for a few days. After running in rain shower, I have colds right in the morning. Fortunately, I drunk lots of water the whole day and were able to feel normal again.

A Day Before the Event

The day before the marathon, I met up with Karlo and Mark early in the morning. We are in Paseo de Sta. Rosa around 12nn just in time for lunch then checked in by 2pm at Technopark Hotel. We planned on taking more rest and getting ready for the marathon. We had all our things checked, race belts, GU gels, compressions, rocktapes, shades, sun visors and anything we plan on putting on during the run. Our room has poor phone signal and no wi-fi available so we just took some sleep.

It was not so much of a sleep for me. I was playing on my iPad then tried to sleep but I feel that I just rested my body but didn’t get the nap I want. I went outside for a wi-fi spot. My running buddies eventually get up also and we decided to have an early dinner. Food delivery came by around 6pm and we got our last carbo-loading meal before the event. After that, we slept and woke up by 10pm to prepare. We planned to leave by 12mn to the event venue.

The Marathon

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12:30AM, we were picked up by a free ride to Nuvali. Upon arrival, we deposit our stuff, get our timing chips and do some stretches. At exactly 2AM, we have out gun start. I told the two guys I will do the 2:1 pace, walk on uphill and run the downhill. Every 10km, I will do my break and have some rest at the pump up stations. I will do my first 10km slow to preserve energy and see after that how fast can I go further. Then Mark will tell me if I’m already going faster.

The three of us run together until around 2 or 3km. Karlo was trying to get a feel of his injury, checking if he can go faster. He already mentioned he might declare DNF (Did Not Finish) if he feel he can’t go further with the injury. Eventually, he went his way faster and left Mark and I behind.

On our first 10km, everybody was relaxed, having a light mood and greeting familiar faces. I was excited, but have worries thinking whether I will still feel that great on the 21km mark. I wanted to go faster, but didn’t want to reach that thing they call the “wall”. All I wanted is to enjoy my first marathon.

The second 10km is more of the uphill and downhill part. So this is the part that we need to stick to our rule. And even with uphill challenges, it was too early for pain. At around 16km, I feel little pain but more of the usual ache when you stand long hours. When we get to the 20km mark, I did more stretches. Trying to pump up for the second part of the run. The pain is there already but it was tolerable. My mind was still set that I will finish the race and no pain will stop me.

For the second part of the race, I made sure that I won’t feel dizzy or inadequate. I stopped at every hydration station and ate something just enough to keep me going. I was not able to follow the every 10km mark during this time. Whenever I feel the need to stretch and rest for a while, I find the time to do it. At 31km mark, I feel the pain crawling from my feet to my legs. My muscles are starting to get harder and we’re already trying to walk backwards just to try to ease some of the pain.

When we reached the station where we can get massage and some liniments, we took our time and grab some food as well. We asked for the roller massage to soften our back leg muscles. It did work and we keep on running. Rain showers start at 33km and then stopped and we were welcomed with a rainbow. Then the sun starts to rise and kept us warmer.

Pain and a little impatience are starting to creep over me. Still, we do our 2:1 program except for uphill roads. Until we reached our last 4km and I was surprised to see my Triads coach and running buddies. It had lighten up my mood to see some familiar faces supporting us to go a little more on our last few kilometers. I was already pushing myself on those last 4 kms. Having a positive mind set under the heat of the sun at past 8AM in the morning was a challenge. On my last kilometer, I was already feeling light headed and hungry. So we slow it down for a while. Then run our way through the finish line when we see our avid cheerers waiting, standing under the heat of the sun. I finished my first marathon at 6 hours and 53 minutes. While Running Host tells everybody that I just crossed the finish line.

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