Monday, November 21, 2011

Care. Give. Help. CGH MSA Fun Run 2011

Caveat: This is an uber late post about my race experience in CGH Fun Run. Now that we've settled that, please proceed reading the rest of my blog entry. Enjoy!

Registration. I've noticed with small races that the registration sites are quite either quite troublesome or always brings the question "where is that?" I guess it comes with a premium when races have an online facility or a registration venue where it is accessible to most runners. And this race is no exception. In order for me to participate, I have to spend time going to Chinese General Hospital to sign up. So the only option left is to register onsite. But I don't want to come down to CCP and ending up unable to participate in the race because they wouldn't allow race day registration. So the next logical thing to do was send them an email in which no response was received

Race Day. With four hours of sleep and my fingers crossed, I drove myself to the event area. As I make turn towards CCP, I started to see people with the event's singlet. I immediately found the entrance to the nearest parking area and rushed to one of the tents of the organizers. Almost immediately, a smile was planted on my face when I learned that I'll be able to register for the race. I grabbed one of the registration forms and hastily filled up the details required. Even ended up using a red marker because their pens are occupied with other runners who wanted to join and support the cause of CGHMSA

Three Kilometers. My original plan was to sign up for the 3km category but was told that all slots was taken. There was even who backed out at the last minute learning that there were only 5km and 10km race bibs left. Since I wasn't able to run for a week, it was only logical for me to take on a 3km race especially when I intend to set a new PR. Yes, you read it right. I want to set a new personal best even without training for it. My idea was to evaluate my current fitness level. I also wanted to try my luck and see how far my competitive nature would take me

Next Best Thing. Since the 10km runners has already gathered in the starting arc, I was able to see the front liners. They do look terrifying. Terrifyingly fast. Because of that I opted with the 5km distance. While waiting for the 10km participants to be released from the pen, I did some warm up to start the blood flowing and the sweat glands to open up. It is always essential to keep the heart rate elevated before a race to prevent rapid lactic acid buildup.

The Elite. A few minutes after my warmup, the 10km participants was given the go signal and sped off. I then went inside the assembly area and slowly inched my way near the starting line arc. Once there I've spotted familiar faces. Saw at least 2-3 elite runners. There may be more but couldn't deduce it further if I will only take into account physical appearance. With that in mind, landing in the top 3 is a far fetched dream. I know how difficult it is to compete with athletes who breathes the sport especially with a recreational runner like me.

Glimmer of Hope. The host started to enumerate the prizes for our category. I learned that the prizes isn't exclusive to the top 3 but was extended to the first 10 finishers. Since a podium finish is already impossible the next best thing is to run as hard as I can and be one of the top 10. Bringing home a P200 voucher from a fast food chain ain't so bad. At least I get something out from the P600 registration fee that I shelled out. But with the thought that the proceeds of the race will go to the charity ward division's indigent patients, I know that everyone who participated the event is already a winner

I Got Smoked. The countdown was pretty straightforward. Nothing fancy. No grand fireworks. It was a simple - "3! 2! 1! Go!" As expected the elite runners flew with lightning speed. But much to my surprise, I saw 20+ other runners who composed the lead pack and sadly, I wasn't a part of it. This was a good example of the old adage - don't judge a book by its cover. I guess not having my regular training session has taken its toll. Since I don't want to be gasping for air in the middle of the race I opted not to chase them but just kept with my pace

Zone 5. Soon enough I was catching up with the some of the lead pack runners because they gassed out too soon by running too fast since our gun start. This has kept me mentally engaged with the race. My strategy was to keep on running at Zone 5 (at least 90% of my maximum heart rate) and pausing very briefly to grab a cup of cold water to douse myself and hydrate. At times I'd find myself running at a slower pace but I simply continued to plow the road with every glycogen left in me. One trick I'd use is find a fellow runner and stick with his/her pace for as long as I could

Finish Line. With 500 meters left, I was beginning to see stars. I quickly glimpsed on my watch to check my heart rate. It was already at 99% but my pace felt so slow. Even got scared with what could possibly happen if I kept my heart rate that high. Knowing that the finish line was just around the corner, I continued on pounding the road without any hesitation

Surprise! Surprise! Since my 10km race last year at SCMS, I promised myself that I'd always give everything I've got in an event that I chose to be competitive.  Its always refreshing to see how far I've come from the numerous speed work sessions and long runs.  Just running at my heart's content and without looking back if I could have done it better.  Since I was missing a lot of my training sessions, I wasn't expecting to land on the podium but a top 10 would be nice.  And I did!  Time ain't that impressive since I was hoping for a sub-20 but still good.  Gotta hit the road and train hard once more


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