Let it be known that whatever setbacks Nike We Run Manila 2013 had, this would still be in my list of fave runs.
Hereunder are my reasons:
1. This is my son Alexander’s initiation in the 10k distance.
2. I have my first ever pacer’s job.
3. This is my first time to join a Nike run where I got my mojo back and working.
4. I have finally toured Marikina City with my support “crew” Jerry Mayo and Lancelot.
5. I am delighted to see the rules and regulations being enforced by no less than Rio De La Cruz.
6. The organizer fulfilled its promise of giving the water jug on race day.
Ever since my experience in one of Runrio’s forgettable events due to truth in advertising law “violation,” I became critical with Runrio-organized affairs. My critique would surely be harsh when expressed, but I believe that I always sought balance in my stories. Others may refute what I write here, but just like Anderson Cooper, I was there “to see the situation on the ground.”
A first timer in a Nike run, I was surprised of the turn-out of participants yesterday. We were around 15k runners who painted the charcoal-colored Sumulong Highway with blood red. I had to remind my son to stay close to me especially when we already entered the start area. as a result of this big number, we were released by waves. My running buddy and I belonged to wave 2.
Thankfully, the race started on the dot. Setting my watch, I told Xandie that we would run side by side this time. The sight of the sea of runners had my judgment call activated for fear that I might lose him in the crowd. To add, he was not feeling very well due to his colds. A real trouper and warrior when challenged, he still joined the race.
The narrow route which met us made me realize that we would be running along residents and houses in Marikina City, the Shoe Capital of the Philippines. The space became congested that I had to slow down lest I ran into someone. This fact plus the danger that the runners were subjected to began taunting me to finalize my first negative note about this run as I continued running and pacing my buddy.
But lo and behold, I held my reins. The sight of people lining up and giving us cheers gave me a different kind of upbeat. Several houses were playing loud music in their sound system. It was a festive mood in the whole course of the run.
One unforgettable part along the road was the children who were extending theirs hands to be tapped for a high five. Immediately, I followed my reflexes and ran near them and made contact with these small open palms. The effect was amazing! The touch seemed to pump a different energy into me which had me not feeling any tiredness and shortness of breath which I expected as a result of my irregular training.
At 31 minutes, my son and I had run 6 kilometers. It was here where I saw Xandie really slowing down. I constantly checked on him everytime he lagged behind. Well, I have not yet introduced the run-walk program to the younger twin since I wanted him to do the pace where he’s comfortable with. My pacing job only comes in when I had to remind him to maintain his core, to continue swinging his arms, and to keep inhaling and exhaling properly. I almost sounded like my “senior” running coach/buddy as I parroted these reminders. When I noticed that he would be walking long, I had to urge him to resume running. Funny. Towards the end of the run, I saw myself in him as he turned deaf ears to a couple of my directives. Karmic law? hahahaha.
A kilometer away from the finish line I saw that my son regained some of his energy. “You’re doing good,” I told him. He was stoic.
So we ran, until we reached the 250-meter mark before entering the Marikina Sports Center. And there as our feet touched the oval, we knew we would no longer stop until we crossed the finish line. As we neared it, I was clapping my hands while fighting the sudden kick of emotion that partly reached my eyes. I told my son, “Dood job, Di” a few steps before clocking our 10k together at 1 hour, 43 minutes, and 12 seconds.
I wanted to hug him, but I knew my son too well to do that in public. I was already happy to hold his hand on my shoulder the whole time while we found a spot where we could pause and regain normal breathing before proceeding to the stall where we had to claim our loot bag. Instructing him to go to the booth marked “men-M” I was preparing myself to go to the one labeled “women-M” if I were not reminded by Xandie that my record is “male-M (medium)” in the database.
Getting our freebies and being satisfied with them especially the finisher shirt, we went out of the still crowded “labyrinth” and waited for Jerry and Knight at our meeting place roughly 70 meters away from the race village. And after an almost two-hour travel, we finally reached our place not forgetting to give a simple treat to my running buddy in his favorite Reyes Barbecue diner at Pergola, BF Homes, to celebrate his momentous run.