Monday, August 30, 2010

Running the Milo Marathon Davao Leg: Taking it as it is

I really didn't know what to feel after my 34th Milo Marathon 21k elimination run in Davao City last Sunday.

I was gunning for an improvement of my 1:48:15  finish in the Kadayawan Festival Run 21k August 8, and at the same time submit a clocking within the 1 hour and 50 minutes qualifying time for my age group for the Milo Marathon National Finals. Although I wasn't sure of running the finals in Manila if I did make it, it would be good to know that I was capable of breaking into that group of qualifiers. In the Philippine context, that would be like qualifying for the prestigious Boston Marathon, a runner's dream.

The Kadayawan 21k was run on the course that has been advertised as the Milo Marathon race course. The race map uploaded by Milo and the race organizers on the Milo Facebook fan page showed exactly the same route that was used for the Kadayawan run, an out and back course starting and finishing at Roxas Street with a turnaround point at the old Davao airport at Sasa. Nothing more, nothing less.

Surprise, surprise! On race morning, minutes before the starting gun was fired they tell everyone that there will be changes in the 21k race course. We would have to go through two turning points, one at the center of Sasa before we run back, turn right towards the old airport where the second turnaround point is located. By my estimates, that would roughly be an additional kilometer or something close to it.

Immediately I had second thoughts about being able to improve on my 1:48:15 Kadayawan 21k. And in all probability, I would also have to kiss my dream of qualifying for the Milo Marathon National Finals goodbye.

Still, I thought, I was feeling good. Who knows? I just might be able to make 1:50:00. I kept track of my time, glancing at my Timex Ironman whenever I can. I noted running some of the early kilometers in the lower 5-minute range. I exchanged paces with a number of runners I was able to catch up with before leaving them behind for good going into the Sasa turnaround. By the time I glanced again at my watch after I passed the second turnaround at the old airport, it already indicated 56:59. My goal of improving on my Kadayawan run was already down the drain, and I needed to run the remaining distance to the finish in 53 minutes if I was to make 1 hour and 50 minutes.

My effort wasn't good enough for that. My Timex Ironman showed 1:51:27 when I stopped at the finish line.

Even with that, I would say it was a good run for me. I was able to catch up with and pass a seasoned age category runner who always finished ahead of me in previous races. I traded paces with a couple of younger runners who caught up with me after the old airport turnaround before finally leaving them about three kilometers from the finish line. At the finish, another seasoned category runner said he was trying to catch up to me but I was too strong for him today. In previous races, he easily breezed past me. I wasn't as tired as I was in the Kadayawan run going into the finish. I did good. Not good enough for 1 hour 50 minutes maybe, but still good.

When I told my son about my race, he said my 1:51:27 finish wasn't bad at all. If the organizers added a kilometer to that course, I still ran it faster per kilometer than I did at the Kadayawan 21k. Who was I to disagree?

We are runners. We are given a route to run, a distance to tackle, and we take it as it is. Conquering it and conquering our limitations in the process make us winners, even if someone else has reached the finish line ahead of us.

My Milo race bib, finisher's certificate and medal


Anonymous said...

Congratulations Caloy! You handled the situation very well despite what happened with the course. A number of people would have complained, maybe to the point of not running and wanting their money back.

Take care my friend and keep on running!

Late Bloomer said...

The most important thing is, you didn't quit! You are a winner in my book! Kudos to you for a job well done!