Condura Run 2010 realized the vision of the Concepcion brothers of having their own marathon race. For many runners out there it was also the realization of their dreams of running their first marathon. For me I just realized that I want to run this race—no pressure, no commitment, and no target—just enjoy the ride. It was the first marathon in the country for this year, and it was also my first race for the year—after two months of slumber.
Coming into this race was like coming into my first marathon—I was practically unprepared. During my first marathon I was essentially fresh off my first ultramarathon, TNF100, so my training was centered on endurance, not speed. Likewise now my body is being prepared for yet another ultramarathon, BDM102. No disrespect to the marathon, I wasn’t totally unprepared—prepared to endure but not to be fast. As a regular person with no special genes for running I can only choose between endurance and speed—I can’t have both. Just as with my first marathon this race was a mere test—a test of my “raw” skills. This was why I refused to commit to any pacing duty. This was why I didn’t have a specific target time.
For the first time in months I saw many of my friends that I missed dearly. Not before long the marathon had begun. It was 4AM and it was still dark. I was off to a great start and I was exceeded my expectations. First 5K in 26 minutes, 10K in 54 minutes—I guess SIM was a good training after all for running blindly in the darkness! 13K, the Skyway ramp—here we go! Gradually the ramps were sapping my energy, 15K in 1:24, still within a decent time but I was starting to eat away my early gains. By that time I felt hunger—I usually get hungry after 21K and its early onset is not a good sign! And I didn’t have my regular marathon food this time! The next 5K saw my pace drop to below 6min/km finishing the first 20K in 1:56—uh oh! I wasn’t even completing the first half in 2 hours! (But at least was able to beat my last year’s 21K time also on the Skyway albeit a slightly different route) Energy gels are great but I was feeling the effect of lack of nutrition. From that point I know that everything was going downhill for me, while the Skyway’s uphills had barely been covered!
Slowly but surely runners overtook me—I felt like I was exerting the same effort but looking at my GF405 I was actually doing my “cruise speed” during BDM Test Run! My body had automatically switched to ultramarathon pace!
Uphills + ultramarathon pace + forefoot strike = plantar problem! I don’t know when and where exactly it happened; all I know was that I had this annoying feeling on my right thigh and by 30K I was totally spent, both my plantar was aching, and my pace was hitting the 7min/km mark. Goodness, I was craving badly for a banana.
Fortunately upon our return to Buendia it was raining bananas—or so it seemed! I was just so happy to see so much friendly faces, many of which I do not know but whole-heartedly offered bananas and even massages to those wanting it—you all know who you are and to us you are all angels, thank you very much!
Of course my pace didn’t improve immediately as I was starving for nutrients but I managed to hang onto 7min/km pace. Steady as I went enjoying every bite from that banana I got when I suddenly heard someone from behind speaking loudly, “excuse me but could you spare me half of your banana?” On my mind the thought of “but we just passed by those bananas…” came, but of course as a fellow runner I understood that you wouldn’t ask for something from another person if you don’t really need it, so I think you know how it went.
I think I had just swallowed my last bite of banana when I was upon the final stumbling block—the Kalayaan flyover. This was when I enforced my ultramarathon rule, “walk during uphills.” I’ve yet benefitted from that banana, the sun was starting to heat up the surroundings, I was exhausted, and it’s about 7K to go! The result was a staggering 8 minute pace for 35-36K! I think this can be referred to as the Galloway Method? 🙂
Final 5K, 32nd Street. It was just a matter of time until our “ordeal” was over but even if the terrain relaxed the sun refuses to make running easier as it shines bright above us, and it was just around 8AM! Of course it was obvious at this point that I wouldn’t be making any new personal record with this race, and just with my last long run (BDM Test Run) I just thought “let’s get this over with so I can eat!”
I have a ridiculously fast metabolism but for some weird reason bananas don’t “kick-in” as fast as I wanted. The half banana I took about 8K ago was just starting to take effect at 40K but late as it came it was a welcome boost for my final kilometer—finish strong! 41-42K at 5:56 and the last few hundred meters at 5:10 pace!
Crossing the marathon finish line is always special no matter how many times you did it before. That was especially true if you had a particular difficulty with the race. “Easy” races make you proud, but it’s the “difficult” ones that keep you grounded—reminding you that you’re still human—breakable. In the end I was able to keep the time I mentioned to be my “target” to all that kindly asked: between 4 and 5 hours finish (safe, whew!). Later on I found out that my average pace luckily was still within my recommended long run pace. A marathon ran with ultramarathon pace ending as a long run—interesting! Now my only problem is how to get back that 3,000 calories burned…
- Don’t try anything new on race day (yeah blame it on the socks, hehe)
- Eat properly and hydrate well before the race (you don’t want to run hungry quite early)
- You can get away with any races without training, but not with marathons! (Unless you want to finish in 8 hours or more)
- There are always lessons to be learned (as long as your cup is not full)
Special thanks to Sir Amado Castro, Reinier Pacific, and the volunteers for the bananas and their wonderful service. Thank you as well to my takbo.ph family for the cheers, support, and of course pictures! Thank you Sir Ton and Pat Concepcion for a memorable race and to the race volunteers, race marshals, and everyone involved that made this race possible. See you next year!