Three years ago, when I started running I never thought of doing a marathon or a 42.195KM distance in one single day. My main objective is to maintain my weight and release the stress through running. However, my perspective changed when Jaymie, the Bull Runner launched the first TBR Dream Marathon for beginners last year. My husband and I together with our two grown up children joined that TBR Dream Marathon and we all finished it well. It was an experience worth remembering for a life time.
For this year, we initially planned to pay it forward by joining the chasers or cheerers in the TBR Dream Marathon 2. But last month, we have to change our plan as Pie Chua, a registered TBR dreamer for 2011, decided to give up her slot and nominated me as her replacement. On 15 February 2011, TBR or Jaymie approved and accepted my nomination as officially registered runner for my second marathon. Although a bit late in training, I tried to religiously follow the program of Coach Jim Lafferty. I also joined the remaining sessions of long runs. Everything went well and alright.
Six days before the big day, I was bothered by stomach pain or indigestion which led me to vomiting. I felt a bit weak and bloated but with prayers and goal, I was able to recover and revive my strength. I even did several short runs in the wee hours of the mornings of Tuesday and Thursday. Suddenly, another distraction came in my physique, as my monthly visitor surprised me with its early arrival on Thursday. With this, I knew that I will surely be running with my period which is very difficult and painful for me. I felt uncomfortable yet there is no turning back. I took a lot of iron (iberet) to combat the blood loss and to avoid lowering my red blood cells. I load some vitamins C and B complex. I also add up some hours in my sleep. And I told myself over and over again, I am confident, I am ready, I will go. But on Friday, another obstacle cropped up which is work-related, much that I tried to be unaffected, still I cannot totally detach myself from the problem. I even stayed late in the office despite my plan to go home earlier than usual. I even confirmed my attendance to an 8 am meeting Monday morning after the marathon (I did it! I walk my talk!).
On Saturday, I mentally prepared myself. With my ever supportive family, we billeted ourselves in El Cielito Hotel and even took an early dinner in Paseo de Sta Rosa. I made sure that at around 6pm, I can tuck myself in bed. I tried so hard to sleep at once but it still took me a while to slumber. At around 11:30 pm, I got up to check on my time which should not be the case as I set my two reliable cellphones as my alarm clock already. Realizing that it was too early yet, I tried to sleep again but cannot. Around 12:15 am, I finally decided to take my oatmeal for breakfast. I took a bath and prepared myself for the race. By 1:10 am, my husband and I were on our way to Nuvali.
It was cold and dark. I felt I was not in perfect shape. But the stubborn and hard-headed me, will not turn my back to this very rare opportunity to be a back- to- back TBR finisher. Moreso, at the back of my mind, I already devised my fall back position should the pain persists. I also told myself to listen to my body. I also reminded myself that I can always walk just to finish.
At the starting line, I saw Let and other friends. We had a short talk and photo ops before the prayer and short briefing. With the contagious excitement of runners, I felt good. I got strength. I was ready to be a marathoner again. After the countdown, I went with the crowd. Ran with them and enjoyed the music and cheers.
On my first 5k, I ran with a new met girl named Ma Jo. We maintained our pace together using Galloway’s 4-1. We finished our 5K in 35 minutes. She was running with her twin sister but her sister ran faster than her. On our 6th KM, she increased her pace but I intentionally did not join her to conserve my energy. On my way to my 10KM, I met Jinky who was running very strong. We had our high fives before I took my CR break. I spent over 5 minutes waiting for my turn and changing my pads. Oh, what a waste of time. As I completed my first loop of 21K, I still felt good and strong. I was able to finish my first loop in 2: 50 minutes. I told myself, I can complete the race in 6:15 minutes. On my second loop, I was alone most of the time. I called those moments of my life as my time with my Creator. At that time, I also talked to the spirits of my dear parents. I enjoyed every moment of my run in the dark with the supermoon on sight. But on my 27th KM as it was getting brighter, I felt the stiffness of my calves, so I stopped at nearest aid station and requested a light massage with liniment. As my Garmin beeped, I asked permission to leave so I can resume running as I lost another 5 minutes again. With pains bothering me, the mental game did me a favor. In addition, the inspiring quotes posted on the trees which I can still remember perked me up. First is from Dean Karnazes, which I quote, “Run if you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must, just never give up.” Another one is from Steve Roland Prefontaine which I quote again “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” Well, those words did some magic to me. But when I reached 32KM, both of my legs were heavy and I can feel I am about to suffer from cramps. So I dropped by again to the nearest aid station. There, they again raised my legs, put some ice and gave me soft massage. Whew, I wanted to ask them to massage faster as I have to run and catch up with my time considering that this will be another 5 minutes lost. But on the second thought, I decided I should not rush things, otherwise I might find it hard to finish strong. So I obliged to sit back for a while, and let the muscles soften a bit. With 10KM to go, I felt that success is already within my reach but as to my time goal, I already knew that it would be longer than my target. On my 4oth KM, I saw my son, Sam and his girlfriend, Joy. They took my pictures and cheered me. I told my son, I was tired but he told me that if I have done the 40KM, the more I can do the remaining 2KM. I answered back, Oh, really? Because at that time, I felt that the remaining 2KM is the longest 2KM ever. I even told him that maybe I need somebody to carry me. When I passed through the Chasers Tent, Craig Logan told me, I was doing good and he handed me slices of oranges. As I proceeded, another Chaser offered me banana or Pringles. I opted for banana and continued running although my legs were turning heavier. Then, I met Mr. Runners Circle from Ermita and he offered a soft massage of my stiffed legs using his massager which is like the tiger tail. I got some sort of relief. Then, on my last KM, a chaser joined and ran with me. He was supportive and helpful but after a while he bid goodbye to go back to his station to assist other runners. On my last 750 meters as Neville told me, my children started running by my side. My son asked me to push some more as I will be the first in the family to have a two marathons under my belt. Well, I kept silent and internalized his words. Or maybe, I have no more energy to answer him. Then, I also realized that what he told me will be happening soon, very soon. After three turns, I saw the finish line, I felt triumphant as I survived all the pains and challenges. It was a sweet victory for me and for my family. Just right before crossing the finish line, I opened my tarpaulin with inscription – TBR DREAM MARATHON 2010 – 2011 FINISHER “The meek runner did it back to back”. What a proud me! I was so blessed and fortunate to enjoy that moment.
I thank God for the gift of life. I thank God for so many beautiful people He created like my husband, Faye, Sam, Sid, Joy, Anner, Babette, Peng & Hapi, Jaymie and TBR Organizers, TBR Chasers, Cheerers, friends, my TAs and EAs and everyone who helped me along the way. Thank you all!
After a very successful morning, we proceeded to my hometown as my brother and sister-in-law prepared a super heavy and delicious lunch. It was a victory party and a blow-out too. There were bulalo with bone marrow, pork with asparagus, steamed maliputo, sisig, calamares, etc. What a great lunch to share with family after a marathon. I ate a lot guilt-free. This could be a motivation in doing another 42KM. Thank you Anner and Babette for supporting me and for providing us with sumptuous lunch.
After lunch, we rested for a while before visiting the tomb of my father, who happened to celebrate his 18th death anniversary on my TBR Big day. How can I forget the date? It was no longer a day of mourning but a day of an affirmation that God is with me all the time.
By the way, before we call it a day, our family attended a mass celebrated by Fr. Gus O’Driscoll. After the mass, he asked if the family joined race together earlier in the morning. When my husband told him that I did my marathon again, he told me that I am a courageous woman running long distance alone. He also wondered how can I walk already after a long run so I answered him that I am still limping a bit. He was so proud of me and even announced my achievement to the ladies outside the church.
With all these things happening in one day, I again thank the Lord for his many blessings to me. I also feel that I did something very worthwhile and sensible.