Sunday, January 08, 2012

FAir Play: Running, it's more fun in the CCM

(This is the draft of my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu, Jan 9 issue)
ARMED with two relatively long runs, I had no problem in the first half of my first 21K but it was the final half that killed my confidence and legs.

Thankfully, I am here in one piece, writing—albeit with my creative juices sapped out—about my first 21K.

I had such a lackadaisical preparation minutes before the race that I didn’t even warm-up. While most followed the warm-up routines and others did their own routine, I did what I usually do when I’m excited (or nervous). I lit up.

When I met John Pages near the organizers’ tent, he had to tell me to get to the starting area as it was 10 minutes away from the gun start.

There was nothing note-worthy in the first half of the race and since I have yet to establish my pace, I ran for 10, 12, sometimes 15 minutes with brief rests.

Rico Navarro told me at the start was on a 2 and 1 pace, while, I overheard others, talking of 5-1.
Me? Nada. I simply ran. Sometimes, I’d just take a walk after reaching the water station, confident that my no-training-program preparation, coupled with an over-confidence of having attained 80 percent of my high school fitness would be enough.
Which was, of course, a big mistake as I would later learn that an old high school foe would come back to haunt me.

I was still pretty confident when I got out of the SRP tunnel, just barely after the 60-minute mark, since Bro. Carlo Bacalla told me the half-way point was just 800 meters.
Half-way at a shade over an hour? Not bad, eh! I was planning to rest just as I got out of the tunnel but hearing Bro. Carlo’s words, I thought, heck, why not rest at the half-way point?

But half-way to the half-way point, I told myself, “I’m going to have words with Bro. Carlo regarding accurate measurement” but thankfully, his promised “dancers and singers” that would wake up your spirits were really there.

At about 1:30 into the race, I was in unknown territory. This was the longest time I have spent on the road, and I got hungry. I bought crackers and for the first time ever, ate a banana that wasn’t fried or boiled.

Though I may have paid attention to fellow runners in the first half—there was this one dude trying to hit a girl and one who looked at another girl’s behind that would have landed him in jail—from the BSP office to the finish line? I just focused on the road ahead.

I got a second wind of sorts from Fuente OsmeƱa to Cebu Doctors University but just as I was about to turn from Escarrio to Gorordo, my old high school foe—cramps--said hello.  I was planning to take a piss at that time and I remember once I had to leave a game in high school because a teammate jumped on me to celebrate a goal and I kept telling myself, please don’t let the cramps attack me in such compromising spot.

Folks say no pain, no gain, right? I tried to follow that and I ignore my cramps and planned to run all the way to the finish line but I had to stop at JY as it attacked again. I was wincing and grabbing my right thigh and I thought that was it.

Thankfully, Frederico Garganera was there and he talked me through in the final stretch.  So I ran, again, but had to stop, again, when my right leg sort of gave up and I wasn’t able to complete a stride.

And, as if on cue, a runner just a few paces ahead of me fell, a reminder of what happens if you try to run through cramps.
“Reserve some for the finish line,” Federico said and I dutifully followed his advice, walking for a few minutes before running to the finish line in 2:43:17.

P.S.  At the start of the run, I didn’t have a goal so a crazy thought got into my head, I was going to aim to be in the top 10 percent. Thankfully I wasn’t that crazy and instead aimed not to throw a single trash (I even brought one cup from one station to another since I saw no trash bin) and to thank anybody who hands me water.

Now that target, I was able to reach.

To the CCM organizers, volunteers and marshals, especially to the cop who put an obnoxious motorist in his place, and to Federico, my escort. A big thanks. You guys make running the CCM, more fun.

And, as the finisher’s shirt says, “I survived the CCM and I’m thirsty for more.”  Of course this time, it will be after proper training.

1 comment:

Azkaholic Anonymous said...

su-weet! great job, mike!