After recuperating from my operation and getting clearance to get back to running from my doctor, I was just too excited to be back on the road again. With the Run United 3 in the horizon, I know I have to get some milage. I started by “testing the waters” with the Adobo Run After Dark 3K costume race and then slowly built mileage. I also registered for the New Balance Chevrolet Power Race 25K distance. I was not so sure I can do it but I registered anyway.
“Yabang at kapal ng mukha” has always been a battle cry for me in this running thing. Its more of making yourself believe that you can do it and actually doing it. So there I was registered for a 25K run 3 weeks after a major operation with only 11K mileage for the week. Registered or not, I will still be having a long run that weekend anyway so it would be better to do it in a race.
A friend wanted to hang-out Saturday so I took it as a chance to carbo load. I ate a lot of pasta in preparation for the race. A Venetto was the chosen place and we feasted on their sea food parmigiana and some chicken tenders while catching up.
“This is going to be a long run, not a race.” I kept reminding myself. So when I was preparing for the race, I opted not to wear my usual race day stuff. Shorts not tights, training shoes, not the lighter race day ones. I also did not buy energy gels as I don’t usually take them on long runs.
3:05 AM on the race day, my alarm went off. It was raining very hard. I wanted to go back to sleep but a message on my phone from a runner friend was asking me where he’d pick me up at 3:30. I replied telling him that i’d be in the nearby Shell gas station and started gearing up for the race. My race gear included a big transparent laundry plastic bag to keep me warm and dry before the race starts. So that was it I am running a race!
“Long run, not race,” I kept reminding myself as we queued to the starting line. I kept on reminding myself as we started running. I had a good 1st 3K run averaging at 5 minutes per kilometer pace. I told myself that i’d start slowing down after the 5K mark. I stopped at all the water stations and continued my easy pace. While running, there is still this question in my head whether I will be able to finish the race or not. I took note of the aid stations where there is a parked ambulance just in case. A couple of times in the race, I had to slow down as I was already running faster than 5 minutes per kilometer. Of course I always check my neck if it is still ok as i was feeling great while running and greeting friends along the way. Most people who knew what happened to me were surprised to see me.
Every water station was a walk break for me. I imposed my usual no walking unless there is a water station rule. I tried walking going up the Kalayaan fly over but it felt better and easier running so I started running again. “Ok, i’ll start waling when I reach 20K,” I promised myself. At the 21K mark, I was still running at sub 2. I deliberately slowed down and started walking at some points in the route. i would slow down when I see photographers for me to have a good picture.
I finished the race with a time of 2 hours, 26 minutes. It felt really great. I am so happy to be back!