It was 2012 when we joined our first 5km. I was in awe at the people who lined up at 4:30 am to run a 16km distance. My husband and I reacted with “wow ang tindi nila” expressions. Imagine, gigising ka ng maaga para tumakbo? Fast forward to 2015, we’ve become run junkies. Not hard core but we do it for fun. A year of half marathons made us feel we were ready to level-up our game. Last March we finished the RU1-21km decently. When RU2 opened its registration sabi ko kay OJ “ano lakasan ng loob nalang? ” and our deal was sealed.
Part of our dream as running enthusiast was to make a marathon a reality. We took on the guidance of Coach Titus Salazar and would trek to Ultra MWF every week, rain or shine. My husband was more religious, I wasn’t. Work got in the way, sometimes, I wouldn’t feel well. OJ told me, “paano ka na sa 32k, hindi ka nagprapractice?”. I knew he was right, I wanted this but dreaded it the same time. Mind and heart told me I can do it, but my legs which suffered a bad case of shin splint since Feb told me otherwise (buy shoes that works for you…learned it the hard way). Still no excuses….
Having a coach has improved us in so many ways. I used to run my 21k in 3 hours but now I can run it in 2hrs and 40 min. I will never look at stairs the same way again and you’ll get your speed with drills. Feeling ko, kung wala kaming guidance from Coach, sa kangkungan na kami dadamputin.
Two weeks prior to race day, I was ill and I mean ill. Having a bad case of diarrhea, that went on and off got me thinking. Itutuloy ko ba sya? Go lang? Kung di ko matapos, at least hindi sayang ang reg fee. When the day before race came I was drowning myself with Pocari and water, LBM was at its peak 14x a day!!! Nilalakasan ko lang talaga utak ko, replenish what is lost ang drama ko. We slept early and woke up at 12:30 am, Sunday. Our assembly time is at 2am and parking was already long. I told my hubby to park sa MOA building carpark kasi I needed to go to the CR (for the 4th time since I woke up). Aah… kailangan ko ng tubig! I was praying to God, “Lord, please wag po masyadong mainit, paulanin nyo na po wag lang po maaraw, at kung pwede lang po after the race na po ako mag CR ulit”. Lining up made me feel numb, I did my usual warm up, stretch, run a bit but I know something is kulang.
We were part of wave 2. At first ok lang, but feeling bloated kasi I took loperamide the night before was a bad idea. The first 2 km went by smoothly, then I felt the first urge. Natagtag! Dasal na ako ng dasal, Lord, kailangan iraos ko to, 12 mins palang ako tumatakbo. Come km 5, alam ko hindi ko na kaya, my body was rejecting pocari (nasusuka ako sa bawat sip), I knew water was the only safe way to rehydrate.
Somehow feeling ko pinapadalan ako ni Lord ng tulong at binibigyan ako ng encouragement. People would say hi, talk and sometimes run beside me. They would say, “nakita kita sa RU1 ang bilis mo di kita mahabol sa 21k” (naks, di ko alam kung bola yun kasi di naman ako ganung ka bilis pero nakaka flatter naman). Some would make kwento saan saan na sila tumakbo or would high five just to say go go go! These people came in at the moment I was feeling like I want to run to the ambulance and give up.
I saw OJ and he was 2 kms ahead of me. Bilis nya! He was running my ideal time. Nilampasan ko ang City of Dreams, Buendia hanggang Paseo at nung pag-ikot ko sa u-turn last 5km…alam ko kaya ko syang tapusin in 30 mins. Sadly, hindi ko nagawa dahil hinang hina na ako. Di ko na alam what to feel. My legs were starting to cramp, nanlalamig at ang tindi ng sakit ng tyan ko. Visions of me crossing the finish line collapsing wasn’t far from happening. Still, I pushed myself. tapusin mo ito ng mabilis kung hindi aabutan ka ng sweeper bus!
It was the last 2 km and I was at the intersection of Buendia and Macapagal, I had to sit down, no medic in sight. Nandidilim na paningin ko. Then one guy told me, “Ate tayo ka na dyan 2km nalang”. God, thank you for sending me angels!
That last stretch was where my interval training kicked in. Sprint for 200 meters and walk the next 100. I did that until I got to the final 200 meters where I just ran as fast as I can. I was shaking..I don’t know where to look anymore. The girl removed my tag, and gave me my medal. I heard OJ call my name and that was the time I totally lost it and broke down. All I can say is “ang sakit sakit ng tyan ko”. We went straight to the carpark after receiving my finishers kit.
When we got home, I couldn’t eat, and I collapsed on the bed after taking a shower. I was staring at the medals weakly, and told myself, I did it. Blackout.
It wasn’t the best, but who cares, it was my own. I made it happen. I raced it fair and square despite the many challenges. I didn’t give up. Will I do it again? Of course, but not on a bad tummy! Congratulations to all finishers! You are your own champion! God speed!