Today was the Champion Run at Marikina… and a lot of things went wrong for me prior to the race…
- I woke up late… I had planned to wake up early enough (around 3:30am) so that 1) I can do all my pre-run activities without having to rush; 2) it was my first time to go to Marikina, so I had to give me some leeway just in case I got lost; and 3) I had wanted to arrive early at the run-site so I can warm-up properly before racing. However, when my alarm (phone) went off… I think I sleepily pressed the snooze button 3x before finally waking up from bed, which was around 4:30 am. So instead of relaxingly going through the motions, I was in a panic mode!
- I almost rode the wrong jeep… I was standing in the wrong side of the street waiting for the right jeep to ride on but I couldn’t see one. It was a good thing I saw other people, wearing singlets J, who were rushing across the street. They looked like runners so I went after them… that’s when I saw rows of jeeps that went to Marikina 🙂 (the time then was 5:15 am)
- I went down the wrong area… I was on the jeep with other runners who were also nervously looking at their watches… they asked the driver to let them off at the Marikina River Bank. Since I didn’t know where that was, I decided to just go down where they would go down. Once we arrived at the “site,” it was quite a surprise to see an empty lot. There were no runners, no start/finish area! I had the feeling we were at the wrong area, and this was confirmed by the guard there… who exclaimed, “yung takbuhan, sa Marikina River Park yun… MALAYO PA!” GRRRR…. so my companions and I rushed back to a waiting jeep, which thankfully brought us to the right place. And as I glanced at the starting area, I was relieved to find out I arrived ~15 minutes (as shown on the clock) before the start of the race… WHEW! 🙂
The good thing about me almost being late though was… I FINALLY GOT TO MEET BALD RUNNER! 🙂 I was doing a little warm-up jog when I noticed someone waving me over… to my surprise, it was BR! We had a pic snapped by his staff, and a few seconds later, I also got to meet (and have a pic taken) with Passion Runner… I got to chat with them a little bit but this was cut short since the race was about to start… It’s a great honor and privilege to have met you guys! 🙂
The race was well-organized and very well attended, as shown by the large number of runners both at the 5 and 10 km starting points… The number of drink stations were adequate and well spaced, though I would’ve preferred small water bottles (just like in Runnex) be handed out rather than those small cups. I appreciated that coach Rio announced the expected length of the course (~11km) before the run, since it allowed me to adjust my pacing and how I would run the race. The course was a cemented jog path along the Marikina River bank, with a lot of greens around, though they weren’t enough to provide us shade from the sun.
BR and I started at the back end, initially starting with a walk, before progressing to a jog. There were really a lot of runners and the jog path wasn’t that wide, so maneuvering was a little bit difficult. This was ok with me though, since I wasn’t able to do a proper warm-up (ang warm-up ko lang ata e yung nerbiyos na naramdaman ko nung akala ko malalate na ako hehehe 🙂 , the start of the race became my warm-up. Around the 2-3 km mark, some of the front-running runners began to slow down, so this served as the cue to speed it up a bit to tempo pace. At the halfway point, as planned, I decided to proceed to do some speed interval training. I would run 1 km splits at super speed pace (4:30 min/km), then do a light recovery jog for 500 m before starting my next split. I couldn’t maintain my super speed though, since the sun had really risen at this time and was bearing down on me. It’s probably the only complaint – though just a very minor one — of running in the river banks at this time since it could really get hot from the sun’s rays. (This could be avoided if runs during summer start at 5:30 am, but, it was good thing it wasn’t so for this race… because I would definitely have been late! 🙂 At km 10, with the finish line in sight in the horizon, I sprinted to the finish. My unofficial finish time was 56:24 for a distance of 10.94 km, giving me an average pace of 5:09 min/km.
After the race, I lingered around for a few minutes… ate the give-away crackers, drank water, and did some stretching. As I walked around, I saw BR’s “Donate a Shoe Booth” and there on top of the table were entry forms for the half-marathon scheduled for June 15. So I picked one up, filled it up and paid for the registration. So for June, there will be two highly anticipated > 10 km races, the DND half on the 15th, and the Mizuno 15 km on June 29. I’m already getting a bit excited thinking about these races!
All in all, it was a great race. Congratulations to the organizers, sponsors, and to the City of Marikina!