Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Race Review: Condura Skyway Marathon 2011

Parking Strategy. Runners for the 10k, 16k, and 21k categories all has to start at the Ayala triangle and finish at Bonifacio High Street. I didn't liked the idea of getting a shuttle or a cab going back to Ayala so I decided to park my car in BGC and take a quick ride to Ayala before my gun start.  Woke up at 2AM to start my pre-race rituals.  I arrived at Market Market parking lot around 3:40AM then I immediately ran towards the taxi bay.  Good thing there was still a handful of cabs in queue.  "Lucky!", I said

Assembly Area.  I asked the cab driver to pull over at the corner of Ayala and Makati Avenue.  First thing I saw was a long queue of runners lining up to deposit their belongings at the baggage area.  There I was thinking that the line might even go longer especially with 1,700+ runners who signed up for the half-marathon race.  No idea how long the line got especially with the fact that I only saw 3 to 4 personnel manning the baggage area.  After that I proceeded to where the portalets were located.  I should say it was aplenty.  I saw a total of 20 portable toilets, 10 of which were assigned for the boys and the other 20 for the girls
Condura Skyway Marathon implemented a system called clustered gun starts, the organizers will be releasing 500 runners every 2 minutes.  This is to minimize possible clogging of runners especially on roads that are quite narrow.  I think this was a wise decision made

Since I still had time in my hands, I decided to go for a quick warm up.  I went in front of the starting arch and jog for a few rounds.  With 15 minutes to spare, I decided to go inside the corral where the other participants were and wait for my gun start.  Weaved my way up to the front, together with the rest of the Wave A runners

Race Pace.  My plan was to set a new PB (personal best) for the 21km distance by crossing the finish line in under 1 hour and 50 minutes. So the idea was to run every kilometer in 5 minutes and 12 seconds or less (8:23/mi).  That meant shaving off at least 10 seconds every kilometer from my current PB (1 hr 53 mins)
Time has finally come and the first wave was released from the starting line.  I was thinking of aiming for a negative split but once I've hit the timing mat my original plan was thrown out of the window and ran with gusto.  Though I still consciously held myself from running too hard early on.  I just want to experience and have fun running through Skyway as much as possible.  I'd really hate it if I would conk out halfway through

Kilometer Markers.  The first few kilometers went by without seeing any distance marker. Was thinking if I should use the water stations to record my split times.  Then on the 4th kilometer, I saw a distance marker.

I was trying to keep my distance with the other faster runners as small as I possibly could.  But even before I reached our designated turn around, the lead pack kicked it in high gear and found myself following their trail of dust. I was now running back to Buendia seeing only 3-4 runners in front of me.  I'd have to say that it got lonely.

Overall, the first 14 kilometers was a breeze as I was able to hit my intended pace.  I attribute this accomplishment to my fellow runners/friends from TAKBO.PH who was cheering/motivating me all the way
E is for Empty.  My performance started to dwindle when I was about to exit the Skyway and hit Buendia.  And it wasn't the banana that kept my spirit up but the tremendous love from the guys and gals at the TAKBO.PH aid station.  For the next 3 kilometers I managed to hit an average of 5:20/km (8:35/mi)

Bright Lights.  The succeeding 3 kilometers (km17 to km20) included the Kalayaan flyover.  Besides the ascent that one has to overcome, you should also be able to run with your eyes closed.  I really appreciate the effort done by the organizers by illuminating the flyover.  However the lights were pointed towards the runners.  Talk about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  Or should I say, tons of light that it made my eyes hurt

I checked my watch at the 20th kilometer to see how I did.  Realized that my kilometer splits was already 28 seconds slower (5:40/km) versus my target pace.  That meant that I only had 5 minutes and 45 seconds left to cover 1,097.5 meters.  If you do the math, it will take me at least 6 minutes and 13 seconds to run the remaining distance.  Unfortunately I could not summon any strength in me to ran faster
Pain is Temporary Quitting is Forever.  Finish line was now in sight.  I can now see the elapsed time at the arch - 1 hour 49 minutes and 43 seconds.  With a few seconds left and a couple of meters to conquer, I knew I wouldn't make it.  I already accepted the fact that I won't be able to achieve my target time

Then out of nowhere, when least expected, someone shouted "PUSH!"  The next thing I knew, I was already sprinting towards the finish line.  It was the divine intervention that I badly needed

I did it! To the unknown soul, whether the motivation was for me or for another runner, I wanna say THANK YOU!  The timing couldn't be better
Lesson Learned. Don`t give up till it`s over (lyrics can be googl'd)

(images courtesy of conduraskywaymarathon, runnersrunner, marathon-photos)


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