I’ve been joining races for a year now and from what I’ve experienced, it’s a hit and miss thing. Races, sometimes are a hit, at times they just miss the spot. Recently, race organizers have been coming up with runs that are all hits, and so far, the runaway number 1 hit would be this just concluded race.
I arrived at the main gate of Clark at around 3 am. Since the start of issuance of the RFID chips was at 4 am, I decided to start my warm-up jog from here. It was my first time in Clark so to make sure I didn’t get lost, I brought with me a map which I periodically looked at as I jogged my way to the parade grounds.
– M.A. Roxas Avenue –
Clark’s main road. According to the map, I just had to follow this road until it reaches its end which was marked by a monument of Pres. Roxas. What the map didn’t tell me though was that this road was slightly uphill from the start almost up to the finish (about 6 km). At this point, I didn’t realize that this was just a preview of things to come.
– Pres. Manuel Roxas Monument –
From here, I turned right, and jogged until the intersection… where I saw this sign…
– glad to be still on the right track –
When I arrived at the registration area, the NB people were still setting up and since I didn’t want to stay idle too long, I decided to continue my warm-up and jogged around the area some more.
Running around Clark was quite a treat. Even at that early hour, I felt relatively safe since the roads were well lit and there were roving guards periodically making there rounds. The air is definitely fresher and less humid than it is in Manila… thanks to all those gigantic trees within Clark. Lucky DATC who considers this area his weekend long run place 😀
After feeling already warmed up, I went back to the registration area, picked up my chip, and chatted with the other runners who were already beginning to fill up the place. I then met Jonel, left my bag in his pick-up truck (thanks!), did a little stretching, before proceeding to the starting line…
I went to this race without a definite plan. Was I going to really race, or treat it as a long run… as it turns out, I did neither. I initially wanted to just make this as part of my long run for the week, and I was on my way of doing just that. However, once I reached the 1st set of hills at around the 2-3km mark… I just felt an urge to run up fast and thus zoomed up the incline. So from this point on, I decided to treat this run as part of my hill training by doing intervals (~ 4:50-5:15/km) on the hills and recovering (6-6:30/km) during the downhills and flat portions.
At the Fontana area, I continued this ploy of mine… even if that stretch of road turned out to be around 2-3km of a continuously uphill road! The incline wasn’t jaw dropping but it was still a difficult run up the road. My pace was beginning to slow down near the turnaround point but it was still a little bit faster than the other runners as I was passing a lot of them. But as I reached the crest, I slowed down my pace to help me recover for the grueling hills that I knew I was still going to meet in the course. As I slowly jogged going downhill, almost all the runners I passed on the way up, passed me by on the way down 😀
Somewhere before the final climb (which was steeper than the Fontana incline) in the area called “the Ruins,” I was able to catch up with Coach Rio’s running group which included Doc Doray, Jaymie and Mark Parco. Just before the uphills, Mark and I decided to try and speed up our pace and to try to maintain it as long as we can. Surprisingly, we were able to maintain a steady pace of ~5:15/km the whole stretch of that long uphill climb (~3km)! After the last hills at km 23, I told Mark that I was already spent and that I would only run the last few kilometers at my recovery pace. Mark also slowed down and I was content to run at this pace up to the finish. However, nearing the last kilometer mark, Mark began to steadily increase his pace. Since I didn’t want to be left behind, I foolishly also increased my pace and kept up with Mark. We ended up sprinting the last kilometer at a 4:10-4:20/km pace. Nearing the finish, I think Mark noticed that I was losing steam so though I knew he could have gone faster, he instead was egging me on as the finish was already so close. I think we crossed the finish at just the same time. (unofficial time – according to the extribe website –> 2:30:19). Thanks Mark for the company and the push! As always, I got to meet and chat with other runners, bloggers, and this time other doctors at the finish line area.
At the finish, I saw Jonel (who at that point had already run an extra 5km) and joined him for additional kilometers. However, after running 2 kilometers, I already felt tired and my feet were already aching so I decided to call it a day… as Jonel still continued to add on the miles. Along the way, Jonel and I ran with Bards and Chito as they were also running extra in preparation for their Singapore run this coming December.
Stuff I Learned/Appreciated From This Race
- Extribe and New Balance organized one of the, if not the best, races so far. The route chosen was great and challenging. There were so many water stations, serving bottled water and the occasional 100plus, that I’d reach the next station and yet the bottle I got from the previous station was still half full! There were marshalls, arrows and kilometer markers to make sure we wouldn’t get lost in the course. There were also a lot of freebies at the finish, bananas, an energy drink, multivitamins, bottomless water and 100plus, and a finisher’s medal 😀
- Running with company can push you further. I probably wouldn’t have been able to maintain my pace during the last few kilometers of the run if I was running alone.
- Runners are a wasteful bunch. Though it was great that water and the 100plus were being given away by the bottle, the problem is that the runners would only consume half of them at a time. The rest, they just throw away. Such a waste.
- The 100plus drink can be tolerated during a run as long as it is de-carbonated. During the Adidas 21k, I remember a lot of runners complain that their stomachs became upset after drinking 100plus during the race so when this was the drink offerred in some of the water stations, I was a bit apprehensive to get one. However, I knew I needed a source of sugar during the run especially since I was going to do hill intervals so I still grabbed one. I “cured” it of its stomach upsetting properties by shaking it and releasing the gas as I ran. Once de-carbonated, the drink became just similar to the other sport drinks in the market.
- I love hills.