It has happened… I finally met THE icon of Philippine running, I finally met the Bull Runner! After the run, I was introduced to her by runMD (thanks!)… and the three of us had a picture taken together 😀 I wasn’t able to chat with her though, as many of her adoring fans also came over to meet TBR.
About the run… well, it was one of my weirdest running experiences so far. It was one big event since about 5000 runners signed up for the race. However, with a big event such as this came some big problems.
I arrived at the Fort at 5:40am, a good 20 minutes before the start time. I was looking for the baggage counter when lo and behold, I saw this very long line of runners, with bags at hand, moving very slowly towards a booth. It was the line for the baggage counter! So I went in line, changed into my running kit, pinned my bib number, and did my stretching. As I approached the counter, I noticed that there were only 2 marshals taking the runner’s bags, there was no delineation between the 3k, 5k and 16k runners, and the area was not properly cordoned off. I wasn’t even near the drop-off point when I heard the start gun go off for the 16k race! So I had a dilemma, wait for my turn to deposit my bag, start out really late and risk getting lost (the route was a bit tricky), or just leave the line, start out a bit late and run with my bag… well, since I didn’t want to get lost, I decided to just run with my bag on…
Although my bag wasn’t really heavy (I don’t think it was even a kilo), the added weight probably contributed to my slow pace. I just wasn’t used to running with extra baggage. The bigger problem I had with the bag though was that the straps were rubbing on my neck and were beginning to chafe. Also, the bag prevented me from the doing my usual arm swing, in a way affecting how I ran. Hence, this is one experience I hope I don’t get to repeat in future races 🙂
Since I was late, and I had my bag on… I decided to just run this race at long run pace and just treat this run as an aerobic work-out. One thing I noticed is that at the start, many of the participants really run out very fast too soon (it seemed many were running at least a 5:30min/km pace). True enough, many of these runners were already burned out at the midway point of the race, as I began passing many of them who were already walking. I hope these guys visit the BaldRunner’s blog and read his running 101 page so they can be properly guided as they train for future races 😀
After being spoilt at last week’s Manila Marathon with the conduct of their road marshals, this race didn’t have a lot of them. I think some runners, especially the 3k and 5k runners, ended up getting lost since marshals were not clear in directing them the proper route. The signs were also not clear contributing to the confusion. In addition, the marshals at the intersections didn’t manage the traffic very well as cars were allowed to pass even though runners were fast approaching.
One thing the organizers got right though was that there was a lot of water of stations, which had a lot of water! I particularly liked the fact that they served water bottles rather than cups. This allowed me to grab one, tuck it in my shorts, and have water in reserve for the whole run.
I got to meet other runners… I saw Jan and Roselle (both of Happy Feet) at the baggage counter line. While running, I saw Doknoy and Marga (also of Happy Feet), JunC, George, and runMD (who I got to keep up with for the most part of the race). After the run, I also got to meet TBR (the highlight of this race event 😀 ) and I had a small chat with coach Rio at the nike tent.
The race involved running two loops of the designed route. It was relatively a flat course with just a sprinkling of uphill areas, which definitely were not in the same class as the Mizuno route. I ran the 15.2km (yep, the race was short) route in 1:26:55 (unofficial) with an average pace of 5:43min/km. The first loop, I ran at ~6min/km, while I ran the next loop at 5:30min/km. I was able to mini-sprint the last 300 meters. So, even if this was just a LSD run for me, I was still able to practice running with negative splits, with a short sprint at the end 🙂
In spite of how the race I was organized, I still had fun. A run is still a run, and all runs are enjoyable 😀 The question now is: will the guys in blue one up their friends in green and come up with a bigger, better organized race in the future? 😀