Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Milo Marathon on my mind

My race kit for the Milo Marathon 21K regional elimination race in Davao City on Sunday, October 13, arrived Friday last week.

This will be the 4th time that I will run this yearly event since I came back into running in 2008 after a brief hiatus. I failed to do the event in 2009 due to work schedules. Last year, I opted out of the race because I felt I wasn't physically and psychologically ready to take on it four months after I have recovered from a metatarsal stress fracture earlier in the year.

In 2008, on a relatively flat out-and-back route from Rizal Park to Sasa, I finished the race in 1:49:45. I hoped to improve on that in 2010 and hurdle the 1 hour and 50 minutes qualifying time set for my age group to get into the 42K national finals. Even if I wasn't sure of running in Manila, qualifying would be an achievement. The race took on a new route with a moderate climb to the old airport in Sasa thrown in making it a bit more difficult than the 2008 route. I could do no better than 1:51:27.

The following year, 2011, my hope of finishing within the qualifying time for my age group was boosted by a 1:41:31 finish at the Araw ng Dabaw Phoenix Run 21K. The race, held in March, was run on the very same route of the 2010 Milo Marathon regional elimination. The organizers however decided to put more challenge in the 2011 edition of the regional elimination race in November and had it climb all the way to the Diversion Road with more hills coming before the turnaround point just a few meters past the Davao International Airport. It was a killer. I finished in 1:42:04, not a personal best, but more than enough to make me the top finisher for my age group.

I had earlier planned to run in last year's qualifier. After nursing a metatarsal stress fracture for two months, four weeks of those wearing a cast on my right foot, I had slowly walked and jogged myself back to recovery. By race month, I had already run a couple of 10K races and a relatively fast 5K. But I was not ready for just another finish. I knew deep inside I would only be ending up frustrated if I did the regional elimination and didn't finish very close to my 2011 time if not surpass it. I finally decided against doing the race.

Now comes another opportunity to qualify for the nationals and break my PR.

Time hasn't been as available this year as it was when I trained for the 2011 edition. Partially employed with a lot of idle hours on my hands, I didn't only have the luxury of ample training time but also more than enough time to rest and recover after. I was in fact having the best year of my second running life - my second wind. While work hasn't robbed me much of training time, gone now are the long resting hours I used to have. Job-related tasks have taken over.

As I finished my easy 8K run this morning, I thought about how I felt. My breathing was good, my body relaxed, and there was that spring in my stride going into my final stretch. My training times tell me that a finish below the qualifying time for my age group, more relaxed this year at 2 hours, is very likely. The PR is another matter.

There is simply no predicting what will happen on race day. All you can really do is run your best and hope that it is good enough to bring you where you want to be. That is the simple truth of racing.

These you get easy.

This you have to earn.
(Photo from Kamote Biker)

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