I haven’t been blogging the past couple of months but it doesn’t mean I haven’t been running. I was hard at work all this time preparing for Condura. Condura was my second full marathon but it would have been my first time to appear in the finisher’s list, since I didn’t make the cut-off time the first time.
I actually had quite a case of performance anxiety for Condura, since my 2 previous Condura races in 2008 and 2009 didn’t go too well. I think I have a tendency to get too performance-conscious in the bigger races like Condura and end up not pacing properly, unlike in smaller races that I treat as a training run but end up setting PRs.
My initial intention was to run by target pace in order to meet my goal time but 2 days before the race, I checked my Milo stats and realized that even though I was running at an easy pace from km 7-22 during Milo, my heart rate was way too high, close to redline, and that probably explained why I hit the wall as early as km 23 and I had to run-walk to the finish and endured cramps the last 10 km.
This time around, my plan was to make sure that my heart rate would not exceed the low 150s the first 32k and push hard only from that point on.
I made sure I didn’t exceed my heart rate target and to make sure, I walked through every water station I passed. I resisted the temptation to keep up with friends who passed me to make sure I had energy all the way to the end. I kept a good pace going until km 26 when I reached the NAIA exit ramp. I pass the skyway everyday and the ramp looks like any ordinary exit ramp but that morning, it looked like a huge mountain with the runners looking like ants trudging uphill. I decided to walk up the ramp since it didn’t make sense to exert all the extra effort to gain a few seconds.
I survived km 32 near the end of the skyway with energy to spare and luckily, Que was around to capture the moment.
Photo by Quennie Gavan
Now this is where the real marathon begins, at km 32. I tried to increase my effort but I couldn’t sustain the pace and I had to take walk breaks from this point on. At Buendia near Pasong Tamo, I finally reached the much-awaited Takbo.ph – Reiner aid station. A volunteer offered liniment spray and a leg massage which I gratefully accepted. I really wanted to linger around the station but I had to give way to other runners who were also in need of such treatment. I grabbed a banana and I was on my way again. By the time I reached Kalayaan flyover, it was close to 9AM and it was getting quite hot but I had to make one last loop around the International School area. I was tired and wasn’t thinking straight, and there were no marshals in the area to guide runners, so that from 38th Street, I almost made the mistake of running against the oncoming runners emerging from 10th Avenue, when I should be running counter-clockwise along Triangle Drive. I even saw a couple of runners make a left turn along 11th Avenue, when they should have run all the way to 10th Ave.
I finally emerged from 38th Street after what seemed like forever and pushed on for the last few hundred meters. Finally, I crossed the finish line in 5:28, besting my Milo time by 24 minutes, and finally earning my place in the finisher’s list.
I chatted for a few minutes with Vener, Cristy and Janine at the finish line, afterwhich my legs were so wobbly so I decided to walk to the car a few hundred meters away and go home. I was already headed out the parking lot when I realized I didn’t get my finisher’s medal! I didn’t have the energy to go back to the race area and decided to worry about it when I got home.
POST SCRIPT: The Finisher’s Medal
After asking around, I learned that you had to line up somewhere to get the medal, and something went wrong so even Ton Concepcion was personally handing out the medals.
By Monday, I read Pat Concepsion’s email in the egroups explaining the security lapse that happened that day and that if we emailed the secretariat our info, they would mail the medals to us. Lo and behold, I received a packet sent via courier by Wednesday! The packet included Monday’s copy of the Philippine Star that featured a front page shot of the Condura skyway run and a personally signed letter of apology and explanation from Ton Concepion explaining the medal incident. Condura showed a classy response by going out of its way to get medals to the runners as quickly and conveniently as possible and they diffused a situation where we might have heard runners griping through the blogs and e-groups about the “lack of medals”.
Congratulations are in order for Patrick and Ton Concepcion and the rest of the Condura team that made this race truly memorable and worthwhile!