For the first time since the pandemic started, I ran a race in person via Run Ortigas 2022! It’s been so long since my last event that it felt like my first time again!
Since 2020, I’ve only done a handful of virtual races and short runs. They’re too far apart to even consider a routine making me doubt if I can still call myself a runner. And recent personal events made even my fitness routines stay on the side lines.
Fortunately, Ortigas and Co. Ltd. came along and gave me a chance to get my feet moving again with their Run Ortigas 2022 event held last Sunday, November 20, 2022. It was organized by Runrio which had always made the best races in the Philippines.
I meant it when I said it felt like my first race again as I tried to remember what things I brought to the event, my routines before and after, etc. And after years of not joining any fun runs, I no longer have on hand my race belt and my countless running singlets and shorts! So for this race, it was my fitness spilling over as I wore my stringer. Everything else I wore were being worn in a race for the first time as well. And I was also getting to an event from my new place so practically nothing was familiar except from waking up so early.
I signed up for a 10K run. It was my favorite distance at my peak as it’s fast enough to not make me spend too much time running (I used to finish in under an hour) and yet far enough to get a good number of calories burned and distance covered. These days, it’s beyond most of the “runs” that I did on occasions when I felt like it (usually just around 8K), but I felt like I had to push myself a little.
This event was actually one of the few races I’ve ever done in Ortigas. In the heyday of running in Metro Manila about a decade ago, it was almost always held in BGC or Mall of Asia Complex. And for good reasons, too—the terrain around the Ortigas business district is a challenge with steep hills in certain places. I was quickly reminded of this one as we started our slow descent from the stating area in Tiendesitas towards the business district.
It didn’t take long before the effects of lack of “training” became prominent as I started walking midway during the ascent. Aside from heavy breathing, I had to walk to lower my racing heart rate at the time. I’ve recovered from Covid-19 months ago so I’m not sure if it’s also a contributing factor to my struggle. Nonetheless, I kept “running” whenever I felt like my breathing and heart rate were back to manageable levels. And as an old habit whenever I “run,” I brought my own hydration so I didn’t have to slow down on hydration stations which used to be so jam packed that you’d be forced to stop just to get your drinks. In this event, they were hardly crowded but I never felt the need to refill. The first two along the 10K route were located approximately at 2.5K and 5K marks. I didn’t notice any disposable cups on the floor as I passed and I didn’t notice if runners were just refilling their own bottles or were just really responsible in throwing their trash properly as I minded my own business (aka struggle) during the race.
The route brought back a lot of memories for me as I worked in Ortigas for almost five years a long time ago, and many of the roads we used were also my past running grounds. The 10K route covered a lot of streets in the business district giving us a tour of how the area progressed recently. The roads were for the most part nice except for a lot of water puddles that accumulated from the rains prior to the event. We were fortunate that while it was cloudy, the weather was quite good for a morning run.
My favorite part of the route was the descent returning to the finish line. Finally, I was able to “ride” a downhill again. While I wasn’t able to run as fast as I used to (averaging just 5’12” pace), it was the longest continuous burst I’ve run in years—only abruptly cut short in the last intersection as vehicles were allowed to cross. And while there was the temptation to finish my race in under an hour, I didn’t punish myself when I saw the long ascent to the finish line. I instead focused on the dogs that were pulling their humans as the doggie run was starting on my way back. In the end, I was about two minutes over the hour mark.
In the tradition of doing race reviews, I could say that as always, Runrio delivered a high-quality event. The routes were good (for the 10K at least), the marshals were very attentive and helpful in guiding the runners and managing traffic, and there were sufficient markers and hydration stations along the route. The finisher’s medals were also good quality and the activity area was quite lively, although muddy from the earlier rains.
Personally, I would like to thank the people behind Run Ortigas 2022 for bringing us an event that allowed us to experience once again the joys of running outdoors, from the event owner, Ortigas and Co. Ltd., to the organizer, Runrio, and everyone behind the scenes. It was also a great opportunity for me to see my old running buddies after years! This event also paved way to my return to blogging with this story that you’re reading right now. I look forward to seeing more in-person running events in the future.