The P and the D.
These were the two powerful elements which I brought along with me as I clinched my maiden marathon on February 3.
The PRIDE all began when I’ve finally announced that I would already run my first mary at the Condura Skyway Marathon 2013. From that day on, I chronicled the training which I had been doing.
However, this was the fact at hand.
Within the almost four-month preparation, my psychological, emotional and physical state experienced a pendulum swing. At one point, I was very focused and intense, and then suddenly I would have thought of backing out.
Until my pride confronted me. It’s out-of-my character to give up on a goal without even trying. Being a risk-taker, I was not expected to withdraw from something which is a test and a gauge of my capabilities and abilities. To add, I did not want my confirmation of doing my first marathon this year to be labeled as just pure publicity.
So the night of February 2 saw me joining the throng of seasoned and neophyte marathoners at Filinvest City. I was soooo relaxed. Sans the harassed feeling which I usually experienced during runs, I took my time changing to my running gear, observing fellow early runners, having the documentation, and exchanging pleasantries with my running coach-buddy-pacer-kindred blogger Vicboy.
Entering the Condura Village, I also had the chance to meet Val “Greeneyes” Caro Jr., one of my original running buddies. He had witnessed my journey as a runner. Seeing him that night brought back priceless memories when we were both straggling 10-k runners. Sharing again the road with him, who is now a certified ultramarathoner, added more meaning to my first marathon and to our friendship which I also share (in a different level though) with his younger sister, Janet.
We lingered in the area for a few minutes after paying the reservation for the on-sale CSM souvenir shirts. Then, I noticed my “maestro’s” scribbled WORLD PEACE on the blank of his bib while mine was still unfilled up. I immediately borrowed a permanent marker from someone at the baggage area and completed that personalized pledge: I am running for LIFE.
“Let’s go?” This succinct inquiry from Vicboy was a reminder that the pre-run photo shoot was over and it’s time to proceed to the wave A runners’ start area.
Each step I made heightened my excitement as we looked for our spot before the gun start at twelve o’ clock in the morning. I savored the serenity which I was feeling. I had to thank God for it. Oh yes, despite not being pious, I knew whom to acknowledge in moments like this.
As the countdown began, I could feel the adrenaline pumping in my system. Adding to it were the sight of fireworks in the sky, the cheers, and the claps which had me imagining them as a sneak preview of what awaited me if I crossed the finish line.
This intensified my DRIVE.
The first 25k was the best part in my first marathon. Strictly following the 3:1 Galloway method, it was my first time to run with so much ease. Tiredness and numbness seemed to have forgotten me. I found myself mentally singing along with Hugh Jackman’s Valjean’s Soliloquy and Anne Hathaway’s I Dreamed a Dream as I repeatedly play them in my mind. In rare occasions with my companion, I allowed myself to be photographed in the middle of a run. I even found time to talk and joke with him. How I wished I could have stayed that way!
Then, the inevitable struck.
My legs started to feel the heaviness. It slowed me down and had me dependent on Bodivance lotion and energy gels. For three times, I had to seek the medics’ own formula in abating whatever physical pains I was suffering from. It was a real struggle for the last 17 kilometers.
From long strides, they became shorter. my steady breathing was replaced with puffing of air. My lips could no longer offer that congenial smile. My eyes were already slits as I fought the muscle pains I was having. While walking, I did a quick massage to my back, to my shoulder blades, to the sides of my arms, and to the lower part of my booty. The pains were really giving me a hell of a discomfort.
I was in this mode that my pacer’s pushiness did not diminish even a bit. Dialogs like:
“Come on, we have to stick to the program.”
“Maintain your form.”
“Do short steps, lean and swing your arms.”
“Do power walk.”
These were the commands which I wanted to stubbornly counteract and disobey, but did not even dare.
Obviously, each of us was a boss to two different entities. I was the BOSS of my own muscles while Vicboy was MY BOSS who confidently knew how to survive a marathon.
Four kilometers from the finish line, I recovered. My pacing became fast again leaving my coach behind once in a while. I thought he would be commending me. What he expressed next sounded more like a warning (he gave me a post-run explanation that he didn’t want me to be suffering from cramps a few kilometers away from the finish line in full view of the other runners).
I knew it. One thing that he didn’t like to do or to see in others is simply walking while crossing the finish line. I assured him that we were on the same page in that view. I, myself, didn’t wish to be in that kind of a disgraceful finish.
Thus, a kilometer away from setting foot on the 42.195-k mark, I reserved my energy. Vicboy was ahead of me. Upon realizing that I stopped, he also halted and clapped again urging me to resume running. That was the instance where I snapped at him to just go on.
Nothing changed in his expression. I think, he sort of expected it from me or may be he was used to seeing it from first time marathoners whom he had paced.
Regaining some energy from the unapproved walking that I did, I continued running through the curve. Then, I finally saw the arch. Its sight served as a refill to my human fuel giving me the boost which I needed.
And as I followed the assigned lane for the 42-k finishers, the ever supportive and humble Bicolano Penguin lagged behind allowing me to relish my winning moment as I succeeded in fulfilling a DREAM.
I conquered Condura Skyway Marathon 2013 in 6 hours, 35 minutes and 4 seconds, considered to be a strong finish for a beginner. I could vouch that the Galloway technique did a wonderful job in me. This benefit was what Vicboy had been emphasizing why we had to set a pace and stick with it all throughout.
Serving as a strong back-up to the Galloway was my maximizing my locus of control in full force. Admittedly, I crammed for this marathon. No doubt, it was my own doing. The appearance of the different body aches after 25k was the result of this half-baked training. My muscles were not used to long mileage of running. Faced with this realization, I had to redirect my thinking to positivity. I told myself that I could and I would finish the race at all costs. Losing in this personal battle would wound my pride as a royal lady knight who I claimed to be. With the victory I had last Sunday, I can now shout to the world that I will always be the maker and the master of my own destiny!
I am thankful that CSM 2013 provided me the best venue to accomplish my historical marathon. To show my gratitude, I am pledging my annual support to this event whose advocacy has also turned me into a socially responsible citizen. I am very very happy to have run for the mangroves for the second time!
Furthermore, the organizers were true to their words of providing the registrants a fantastic run through the hydration zones which offered overflowing water, energy drinks and bananas. the presence of race marshals and on stand by medical personnel convinced us all that our safety was their priority.
Three days after setting that milestone in my life, I am still feeling its after-effect physically. But, the intermittent pains in my legs will never give me a reason to entertain any negative thought about it.
I know, I am not expected to deliver a thank-you speech just like in awards night, but I won’t end this article without including this portion.
Topping the list is the number one reason why everything became possible – the unparallelled Runner Himself, my Creator.
Next is my sister Cristy, who despite worrying for my health, willingly agreed to “babysit” for my boys so I could run.
Third is my three sons – Arthur, Alexander and Lancelot. They, too, were my important drive to run safely and finish the race triumphantly. I knew they were my prayer warriors because I told them about it.
Fourth is Vicboy, whose belief in me never wavered. His patience, pieces of advice, and reminders as I did my training for the marathon made me gain the self-confidence which I needed. What counted most was his presence and words of encouragement during the run itself.