Ever since I got into running, I always just wanted to make it my goal to get fit and start living healthy. But you know, joining run events and setting other goals in terms of running distance and time has also been on my mind a lot. We all want to be better versions of ourselves, and running, as a sport, helps us improve our hard work, patience, perseverance and translate it into real life as well.
I registered for this race at A Runner’s Circle Cebu, and got my singlet and race bib a few days before the race. What enticed me was that there was a finishers medal at 12K, and no particular cut-off. Now, I’m still a newbie runner, but I do want to improve, and get better each time. I had never run more than the 10K route we have at ARC, so this was one notch above that. But it was something of a goal that I had set for myself, to conquer this 12K distance and come out on top!
I didn’t really prepare all too much. This wasn’t a marathon or anything, but I just ran my usual distances of 5-10K and I just decided to take a slow and leisurely paced jog on Friday and rested on Saturday. Prepared everything for the race, got my race bib and singlet, asked my sister to prepare a breakfast sandwich, and tried to sleep early. Only, I couldn’t. It’s always the excitement and what-ifs as to what would happen in the run, so I ended up sleeping around 11:30 PM on Saturday night when the plan was around 9 PM!
So, on Sunday morning, I woke up about 3 AM! Took a bath, ate my sandwich, and borrowed the car. Picked up my friend who had partied the night before, so she was running on no sleep and a lot of adrenaline. It’s crazy, but that’s how it is. I was a bit sleepy, but at least I got a few hours in. It was fun driving around with virtually no traffic, and since it was my first time to try the underground tunnel going to SRP, it felt like something from the Fast & Furious!
Starting and end point was at the San Pedro Calungsod Templete. It’s basically this monument, and I actually thought it was a chapel, but the chapel is located somewhere else. We got there around 4, which was very early. Just a few people, and as you can see from the picture above, it was still really dark.
We had a prayer, race briefing and a Zumba warm-up! It was actually very fun, but I could still feel the sleepiness. Gun start for the 21K runners was around 4:30 or so, and we followed suit after around 15 minutes. I can’t tell you the feeling of dread and giddyness when you hear the sound of the gun, and you’re off running with hundreds of other people.
Now, this was my first 12K, and there were a lot of things that were different from my usual jog conditions.
1.) I was running on virtually 3-4 hours of sleep, and running so early in the morning, which kind of caused my head to throb ever so slightly as we were starting the run.
2.) I wore the race singlet that had sleeves. Now, I sweat a lot, and I usually wear sleeveless shirts for the breathability and comfort, and the sweat just clogged up on my back, and it was uncomfortable as hell!
3.) I saw lots of people run ahead of me, and I tried to follow their pace. This was wrong, as you should always stick to your own pace and plan.
Those were the main things that made the actual run difficult, but I reminded myself to just jog slow and keep a steady pace. Conserved energy at the first part so I could finish strong. My friend who was running on no sleep was a lot slower than how we’d usually jog, so I just tried to keep pace with her and encourage her to keep on going. Valuable lesson. Don’t ever run on no sleep. Adrenaline is there, but it burns out too. You’ve got to have that energy, as 12K is still a lengthy distance. You could probably run a 3K or 5K no problem, but distances like 10K and 12K might be a different story.
Just kept my pace, and it was so nice to see the sunrise and the blue sky greet our morning. Running along the SRP is not allowed, but on that day, they closed half of the road for us to run our hearts out. There were water stations every 1.5KM, so we made sure to keep hydrated. Now, the water stations were very generous, but you shouldn’t stop at every water station, only drink when you feel thirsty. After about 3K, we hit this building which was the first turning point, and collected a colored piece of rope to wear around the neck.
Everything else was just straight. I had seen a lot of people taking over me, which I tried to remind myself to not let it get to me too much. We all have our own race to run. I saw the people in 21K, and the other runners in 3K and 6K. There were some running for the prize money, and you could see it in their pace. Some were also just casually walking in the lesser distances, which was all a very nice change of pace. The thing about running is that it’s universal, everyone has different goals and intentions in mind, and we’ve all come from different walks of life, just trying to enjoy the moment.
Now, after around 5-6K, my friend was really lagging behind and I couldn’t really encourage her to go faster anymore, so I took it as a sign to pick up the pace a bit. The head throbbing was gone, and I had found a steady pace. I took some sips from the water stations, and just kept my eyes focused on what was ahead of me. I convinced myself to just haul ass, and take it one kilometer at a time, slowly reaching the finish line.
I made that second and final turning point at around the 7-8K mark. Collected the other colored rope marker, and turned around to start my way to the finish. I was a bit winded again, so I alternated going fast and slow, and even walked once or twice for a span of 20 seconds or so. I know it should have been a steadier pace, but I just wanted to get to that finish line. Tried to summon the so-called second wind, and even though I was sort of tired and out of breath, I just pushed myself. When I got to the final water station, I could see the monument again and the finish line. I really did try to break out running in the last 400M or so, even though I was dead tired.
When I crossed the finish line, and the girl handed my my finisher’s medal, it felt so good! I immediately got some water and some snacks. I caught my breath and took it all in.
12K in 66 minutes. Pretty good, if you ask me. I learned a lot, and it’s really a different experience when it’s an actual run. There are things that won’t be ideal and all, but you just have to adjust and keep pushing through! That adrenaline and willpower will push you into overdrive, so that was real nice too. I’ve got a lot to learn as well for future runs, such as training and other race conditions and preparation, but this was a very welcome experience. This definitely won’t be my last run, as I do want to get in a half-marathon or marathon before the year ends. I will be training for that!
As I headed home, there were some bumps along the road, such as falling into this manhole and getting my left tire stuck in it. Luckily, there were some Good Samaritans who had rope and an SUV to pull us out. It was very stressful, but I was determined to not let it sour the whole experience. Got home, took a bath and got some much needed rest.
Well, those were just my thoughts and experiences on the run. It was well organized, participation could have been better, and some warning signs on the parking area would have been nice, but all in all, the route, water stations, sponsors and race committee were good.
This is definitely one of those experiences wherein it feels good to finish something like that, but you only want to strive for more now! Time will tell what will happen, but hopefully I’ll still be able to get around to running if and when I get a job. Healthy living is something you have to keep working on, and one lazy day could just end that. It’s got to come from you, that drive and determination to get out and go up a notch.
So, until the next race,