Friday, February 8

Condura Skyway Marathon 2013

Picture by Jun Mendoza
It's my 3rd Condura Skyway Marathon!! my second full marathon running the same full stretch of the skyway. As Arvin said, "this is all because of the nice Finisher shirt & fortunately we got our preferred sizes. It was all worth it :-) "

I never thought of joining this race this year anymore. I run this event since the very first year it was organized (2009 I guess), had my very first debut of full marathon two years ago and did it again last year with the thought that it would be nice to think that  I was able to run the entire stretch of the skyway. But when I saw the finisher shirt for this year's race, I wanted to add one to my collection of  souvenir shirts again. I had the saucer sized medal last year but there was no finisher shirt. Fueled by Arvin's interest of joining this race, we rush to the last day of registration, took us an hour to decide if we will really register given that our preferred shirt size is not already available. We will have it repaired then if the organizer will not grant us the shirt size come race day.

Picture by Jun Mendoza
Truth to be told, every race is always a different experience. I may have run this event for the fifth time and on the same exact route the second time but as always I have another story to tell this time around. A thought of doing this at sub 5 hours runs through my mind, having to beat my PR on this distance will be too ambitious, I just come from an ultra trail race and haven't been back to work on my speed again two weeks after that. So I thought I'll just go with whatever pace I can do on this race.

Lots of familiar faces, festive atmosphere, heard lots of greetings not just before the start of the race but also along the race route and even after the race,  most of them I did not recognize or I was just too focused on my pace. I was with Arvin the first 20 kilometer stretch of the route. It was windier this time than last year. As we hit 10 km mark I know too well I will not be able to beat my PR. A push at the first half of the race has been my strategy before, upon reaching the 21km mark I was even slower than the speed I expected. Oh well, I 'll just push a little harder on the second half. 

On the distance beyond 15km I know I got to have something to fuel my stomach. Hesitant of using my shotz gel, I decided to have mini bite chocolates and candies. I know there will be supply of bananas in the next stations ahead. True enough few water stations more banana is already available. I started grabbing one, taking small bites while running and grabbing another piece once I run out of one. Until I already eat 3 pcs. But I noticed my stomach is starting to feel uncomfortable. Oh no, another stomach problem on just a full marathon. A not very good one. 

Before reaching 35km mark, I only have less than an hour to finish the last stretch, been wanting to push for a sub 5. But towards the 40km mark I just cannot take it anymore, nature calls, I need to line up in one of the portalets. I really can feel an upset stomach now. As much as I really want to push and not mind the trouble on my tummy, at some point I cannot ignore it anymore, I decided to stop, I do not want to cross the finish line smelling bad.

I lost more than 3 minutes on that stop but I hope that I can push a little harder and faster after that stop. Thanks to the presence of Alen, he was the one who inspired me to hang on and push a little farther. I do not want to eat another banana anymore. It was still dark, the route towards the finish line is an uphill part until it goes to a short 200 meter flat part towards the finish line, seeing the time I just want to get over this, it was 5:01:47. I cross the finish line with an upset stomach, hungry and thirsty. 

The race organizer did a great job, there were enough water and electrolyte drink despite the big number of runners, the atmosphere is festive, medics are available at every few kilometers, a roving ambulance is visible from time to time. A well organized race and not a crowded one, the release by wave helped not to crowed too much the skyway. This marathon never fails to be one of a memorable street party as ever.

Having been able to run the same route last year, the excitement may be lesser this time as compared before but nonetheless I am glad I cross the finish line still dark. I may be short by 1 minute and 46 seconds on my target time but I am still happy I did it. I ranked 565 of 2, 433 starters, I grab the shirt size that I wanted and most of all I indulged myself with  2 cones of cornetto ice cream and 3 ice cream sticks. That made my day. Happiness.

As always I thank God for giving me the physical strength and  the mental grit to endure every kilometer that I cover.

And yes I am running for LOVE, it's a Love month anyway.

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