That was what I was telling myself going into the Kadayawan Festival Run 21K in Davao City this morning. And with enough reason.
The Milo Marathon Davao City elimination race is on August 29. I have already decided on running that. A new course has been mapped out by the guys at Vantage Sports Promotions led by Kenneth Sai, Milo Marathon's partners in Davao, for the race, and the Kadayawan Festival Run will be held on that very same course.
Doing another half marathon distance run before Milo, and a preview of the race course at the same time, was a pretty neat idea. It would also be a chance to see if I could run this course within the set 1 hour and 50 minutes qualifying time for my age group.
That being decided, I registered for the race on July 28.
I timed my departure for Davao yesterday so I can be there before 5:00 in the afternoon and still have time to pick-up my race packet. Unfortunately, the Vantage guys have already left the Adidas store at Gaisano Mall as early as 4:30. I had to make do with getting my race bib and singlet early this morning at the race assembly area.
I was glad they decided to send off the 21K runners at 5:30. That meant the sun would not be as hot on our run back to the finish line. I have never been good at running in the heat.
At the starting line, I stood at the back, just before the first line of 10K runners that were assembled behind us. It didn't really bother me to be standing there and not at the front or at least nearer. Experience has taught me that I would be passing some guys who have started faster ahead of me as the race progressed.
At the bark of the starting gun, I started off on a what I felt was a nice and relaxed pace. No need to rush, I was telling myself. We had a long way ahead of us.
I steadily made my way through the line of runners ahead of me. A couple of runners I passed run back past me but I decided not to give chase. I just maintained my pace, eventually passing them again before we crested the first uphill. I felt good, and started picking up my pace a bit.
I passed several more runners on the way to the turnaround point in front of the old airport in Sasa. It was a fairly long climb going to the halfway point of the race, but I had run higher and longer ones. There is no scarcity of hills where I regularly run.
I glanced at my watch. The halfway split read 53.33 minutes. That was good for me.
I knew that there would be more downhills than uphills on the return route and perhaps I could come up with a faster second half. But after two younger runners passed me and I wasn't able to keep pace, I felt that was it. I haven't done enough long runs. I did only one 20K training run before this race and the tiger just wasn't in the cat. The best I could do was keep a steady pace.
A little more than a kilometer to the finish, another runner went past me. I tried to keep up again, but I did so only for a while. Still I was happy to have been able to pick up my pace a bit and pass yet another runner before I hit the finish line.
I pressed the stop button on my watch. 1:48:15, a little more than a minute faster than my last half marathon, the 32nd Milo Marathon Davao City 21k Elimination Race two years ago. And below the 1 hr 50 min 50-54 age group qualifying time for this year's Milo National Finals.
I cannot complain. I have earned myself a medal just finishing this race. Still, I am already thinking of doing a 10K tomorrow to start off my transition to longer runs starting this week - in my new shoes. But that's another story.
|My Kadayawan Festival Run 21K bib, finisher's certificate and medal|