My First 32K at Run United 3

True, I already did ultramarathons in the past, but this year’s Run United 3 was my first ever 32K race.  Unfortunately though I came to race partially injured because I had thought I’d missed it.

32K Finisher’s Medal

I was so busy with office works that I actually forgot to register myself for the race.  It was not until the extension week of registration was I able to drop by Bonifacio High Street, but as I walked towards the registration site I noticed something on my voucher: it’s already expired!  Oh no!

Thinking that I was going to miss Run United 3 I just decided to take the 32K in installment throughout the week, starting that night which I called my “tantrum run.”  I guess quickly raising your mileage from practically none does take its toll as I felt my calves a bit sore.

Later on that night I spoke with Vima “Kulit Runner” and told me that my voucher is still valid since registration was extended.  The expiry date on the voucher reflects the original last date of registration, but since registration was extended, so does its validity.  Yay!  I’m back in the race.  Oh no!  I have to take another trip to BHS.  My usual trip from Ortigas to BGC (at least 6K) is by foot so there’s no rest for these sore calves of mine.  That’s what I call crunch time!

Finisher’s Bag

Come race day, my calves were still sore!  Two consecutive days of running (first BHS trip and the second one to register) which included at least a five minute per kilometer pace at McKinley Hill and just a few kilometers short of a half marathon from practically no mileage weeks prior was punishing me.  There goes that decent 32K maiden finish time!  Oh well, it would be another in-race endurance training.

For my debut 32K race, the game plan was simple: maintain an easy, steady pace that won’t trigger pains or cramps.  No clocks, no personal best, just easy pace.  Speaking of no clock, this was also my first race since I got a GPS watch that I didn’t have my GF405.  I forgot my charger at the office and my GF405’s battery was practically empty so I had to run without it.  Taking its place is my BB Curve 3G with Endomondo, wrapped in a zip-lock plastic and placed inside one of the pockets of my Deuter hydration belt.  I’m not gunning for the clock anyways so an accurate timing isn’t as important as the GPS route.

The race started at the SM Mall of Asia, and the route was practically 2/3 of the Milo Marathon route.  It was a bit off the usual RunRio race as distance markers were a bit inconsistent and the flow of runners near the turnaround at MIA road was a bit disorganized.  What’s notable though was the always hydrated hydration stations, some of which served bananas.

The busy event stage

Distance-wise, the 32K route was long!  Despite not being able to see the actual GPS distance, I can feel that it’s long, the last one being the culprit.  I was running at a practically even pace so I have an idea on how far I actually did so when that 31K marker appeared, I knew that the last kilometer was much longer than intended.  Not much of an issue for me as I wasn’t keeping time.

Route-wise, it was excellent.  Flyovers were used sparingly, and roads were maximized wherever applicable.  There was just that part in Buendia where there was really no choice but to condense the route into a single lane.  This was midway to latter part of the race so unless you’re running with a pack (which would’ve been dispersed by the time you get there), it shouldn’t be an issue.

As per my sore calves, well, they behaved.  I thought I was cruising at 6:00/km pace but actually ran in the range of 6:33/km to 4:51/km, averaging at 5:51/km.  What’s great about my capped pace was that I didn’t really got that tired and was even able to maintain the pace even on the uphills of the flyovers’ ramps.  I actually had a 21K race where I felt much worse at the finish!  This is definitely one lesson I may incorporate in one of my long distance races soon.  To sum it up, find that pace you’re most comfortable with, run in that pace (resisting the urges to go faster), and keep that pace regardless of the terrain (uphills or downhills).  Personally, I was able to resist the urge of running faster (especially on the downhills) because I felt my calves would have cramps the moment I do, and surprisingly since I wasn’t that tired I was able to keep my pace even on the dreaded uphills.

Where I was when the winner finished his race

I was expecting several “acceptable” finish times for myself with this race: 3:30:00 on the slow side, 3:15:00 as the realistic, and 3:00:00 as the overtly optimistic (but honestly quite unrealistic given my condition) but I’m glad to have finished my first 32K in 3:09:08.  Knowing how much energy I still had left in my system after crossing the finish line this is actually in the zone of a new marathon (42.192K) personal best for me so I’m quite happy with this “acceptable” performance.  Will I be incorporating this into my next marathon?  Probably not with the immediate, but this is definitely under consideration.  I’d be happy to share with everyone my progress as I “perfect” this technique.

After the race was another excellent post-race activity area with food concessionaires for the famished ones like myself (although I didn’t get as much free food as with my previous one) and many interesting booths from sponsors.  Anyhow, Run United 3 is another great race that I’m glad I didn’t miss.

To Unilab and RunRio, thank you for a great race, and to all the finishers, Congratulations!


You may view your race results here.

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