Time flies so fast and before we know it, it’s already the middle of March! New Year seemed like yesterday and with all the crazy work that I have in the office I didn’t notice the first leg of the Run United 2013 series coming. Of course I wouldn’t just let RU1 slip just because I got “lazy!”
“No excuses.” Or make that “motivation.” Run United 1 practically kicked my butt and told me to “get up and run!” I honestly didn’t notice the days approaching so aside from my regular gym treadmill warm-ups (which is 1K at most), I absolutely had no other run to prepare me for the 21K. If this wasn’t a Run United leg I might’ve eloped, but since it is then there’s no other option but to run. After all, there were so many runners who’d love to run but wasn’t able to because they ran out of slot. Precious slot indeed, not to be wasted by laziness.
The good thing about not running a race for some time is that everything feels like new again, like a first time. I even arrived quite early at the race venue (despite the much earlier than the usual gun start), SM Mall of Asia, so even if I had to search around for the baggage area, the portalets, and the starting line, I had ample time. I actually didn’t realize how many runners turned up for the 21K (until during the race itself) since I was a bit in the middle of the first wave.
They said never to try anything untested on races, but I did exactly that during this race. First, I’m testing a new shoe: an adidas Energy Boost. Second, I’m trying it on without socks! Even without a prior test run I’m quite confident with this shoe, but the reason for wearing it sockless wasn’t for testing or anything too technical—I just didn’t have socks that’d look good with shoe! I was a bit nervous at first because I may be getting a bit careless, but once I started running I totally forgot about it.
The 21K event started 4AM, much earlier than the usual 21K gun start. At first I was clueless on why it was so early, and even thought maybe Unilab and Run United were sparing the 21K runners from the heat, but later on I think I figured the answer. Anyways, this year’s 21K route is new and it starts and ends in the SM Mall of Asia compound. It is pretty much flat with not so many corners (as compared with races held inside Bonifacio Global City) with hydration stations around 1.5K to 2K apart. And speaking of hydration, the stations were just perfect: very long tables with more than ample supply of water and sports drinks (Gatorade). There were even bananas served in two stations.
“Use it or lose it.” I’m not running regularly recently, so there goes some of my endurance for long races. I wasn’t pressuring myself to set a new personal best, but a “decent” finish time would always be welcome. Of course time isn’t everything, avoiding injuries is also a must! Everything was “steady” for the first 16K, but without much mileage my feet really felt heavy afterwards. Oh well, I can always have some short walk break at that hydration station! 🙂
The sun was just rising when I was heading back to the finish line. As I slowly inch to the finish I realized that the early gun start for the 21K wasn’t really just about the sun, it’s about all the other legs converging at the relatively small area towards the finish! Had the 21K started closer to that of the 10K (and the rest of the legs) there would’ve been quite a lot of runners that would crowd us already tired 21K runners as we approach the finish line! Clever!
Overall, the first leg of this year’s Run United was off to a very good start. The 21K route was great since we end where we start. The hydration stations were just perfect with lone tables, cold water and sports drinks. The gun start was excellent as we avoided the sun and the crowds. And of course the finisher’s medal was also something to be proud about. The race marshals were also quite helpful and friendly, and I even saw Coach Rio a few times as I ran the race personally manning the race on his bike! Even the baggage counters were improved (bags were segregated by the last digit of the runner’s bib number). Truly I can say that this race was “perfect” for me. The only thing that would make the race better for me was if I didn’t take a restroom break and had untied shoe laces during the race as I finished 12 seconds after my target time of two hours. Oh well, more practice!
To Unilab, RunRio, and all the people behind this excellent race, thank you for constantly making an already great event even better!
To all the finishers of Run United 1 (2013), Congratulations! See you on the second leg on June 02!