Normally, I register for races way ahead of time but running at Fort Striders’ OctobeRun was a last-minute decision. For those of you who bother reading this blog, you might have surmised from my previous posts that I’ve been wanting to do a sub-50 10K run for the longest time. Yes, I did register 48:55 at the Clark Du, but it didn’t feel like a sub-50. Twas was a very fast course at Clark, I’m guessing around 1.5K of the 2.5K loop was flat and downhill. So, there’s still that itch of doing a sub-50 that needs to be scratched. Hence, this last-minute decision.
As luck would have it, I was at the Fort area Saturday night for a dinner with the family and was surprised to learn that ROX was still accepting registration for next day’s OctobeRun. Was glad to see Jay (Prometheus Cometh) who was registering as well and Coach Rio. I also registered the family for the UNICEF run this November 🙂 Really looking forward to this Fun Run.
I was at the NBC tent at 5:15am. Did some warm-ups and then proceeded to the starting line. The course is a familiar one. It is the same Mizuno 15K course minus Heritage Park and McKinley Hill. Even without the dreaded McKinley Hill, the course presents quite a challenge with its rolling terrain. My plan for this race was to try and keep a steady cadence of 90 footstrikes for each leg and try to attack the hills. When I saw Philip at the start, I sought his advice about my strategy. He told me to go easy on the first 5K so that I’ll have enough energy coming back as there are a lot of uphills on the way back. Saw Jay and wished him luck at the start.
Race finally started at around 6:15am. In order to establish some semblance of a rhythm, I kept counting to myself “1-2-3/1-2-3” (3 footstrikes per second) and maintained a pace of about 5 min/km at the start as I reminded myself to take it easy as per Philip’s advice. Saw Philip making his way back at the front of Heritage Park. At the turnaround, I glanced at my watch and saw that I did 24:28 for the first 5K.
On the way back, I saw Gerard (Team PMI) and decided to pace behind Don Fernando. I was observing the runners beside me and was really envious of the way they make running seem effortless. Even Don Fernando was not employing the recommended 180 footstrikes per minute. Must be an easy run for everyone else except me 😦 My version of attacking the hills meant just trying to keep my pace steady even as the terrain sloped uphill 🙂 And then recover on the descents. Don Fernando was surging ahead but his stops at the water stations would enable me to catch up to him until the turn from Bayani back to Lawton when his shoe laces must have come loose and I was able to overtake him 🙂
At this point, I began to cough. You know, the cough that usually precedes the vomit 🙂 So, I eased up a bit and shuffled my way towards McKinley Hill. I just wanted to get that one last remaining hill after Essensa over with. I was already laboring at that last hill. Checking my HR at this point was pointless because the HRM slipped down to my stomach right after the turnaround 🙂 It was already 44 to 45 minutes at this point and while I knew gravity can help me run faster after the McKinley Ave. intersection, I was wondering if I still have one last burst within me. In fact, I was no longer checking my watch as I was a resigned to a time of 50 and change at this point. As I made my turn at Pier One, I was wishing very hard that the first intersection would be the last left turn to the finish. But Nooooo, that first intersection was still 7th Street. Upon making the last turn towards the finish, I saw that the official timer was at 49:50 and counting. Oh My!!!! Sub-50 was still within reach after all. So, I made one last dash to the finish and finally pressed the stop button on my watch at 49:57.92 🙂 (2nd 5K split: 25:29)
So there you have it: my sub-50 story 🙂 Afterwards, I was so happy to see Philip to share the good news. And was equally thrilled that both of us achieved our goals that morning. Philip did a 43 for his 10K run. Joe (LoonyRunner) with his trusted backpack also showed up and said, “O, bakit parang pagod na pagod ka?” 🙂 Oh man, if you only knew. So sorry guys I couldn’t join you as you made your way to Baldrunner’s spot. I was that TIRED and had to go home for family obligations as this race really was a last-minute thing and I didn’t want to abuse wifey’s graciousness in allowing me to join.
Just want to thank the running gods for blessing me yesterday and giving me the opportunity to do this. Sub-50 has become a barrier of sorts and it really felt good to break it by 2.08 seconds 🙂 While reports have it that the course was off by 100 meters, I’ll take it 🙂 Baka di na kasi maulit ito. A loose shoe lace here or a momentary stop at the intersections to let the cars pass and I most certainly would not have made it. One thing’s for sure, after yesterday’s race, I won’t take anything for granted anymore. Cliche as it may sound. Every second counts 🙂