I was in Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental last weekend for the 37th National Milo Marathon. I really had no plans of running there since I’m already a virtual lock for the Dumaguete Adventure Marathon (DAM) in November and to be 100% honest I was so damn undertrained in the past weeks since conquering the Tacloban CIty Marathon. But since my running buddy Kuya Herbie asked me to sign up because it will be his last run for the year before heading into a 6-month government work-related training, I delightedly obliged. I just can’t help the idea of visiting Dumaguete once more.
I mindlessly signed up for the 21k. I just want to make the most of that P600.00 registration fee since the 10k cost P500 so economy wise I can save a lot if I sign in for the 21k. Idiot. So fast forward to race day, by the time I reached the 12th K mark I knew I ran out of gas and the rest of the Ks are going to be an all-out grind relying solely to youthful vigor/stubbornness against the cut.off time . Oh man, what have I got myself into? I asked myself.
So what have I really got myself into? For starters, physically I was not ready (obviously). Second, there’s the dreaded cut.off time which is set at 2hours and 30 minutes; thus to get the medal I have to beat the cut.off by beating my current 21k PR (which I trained for 2 months). The odds don’t look good, right? And last, the other runners. I was surprised there’s only a few runners in the category just around a hundred and they all looked fitter and stronger. “Oh syet, magka-on ko’g abog ani styla.” That’s my gut feeling. But I knew those runners are not my competition. They are fellow travelers towards that green destination called Finish Line (they all left me behind anyway haha).
Whether he like it or not we just simply have to get a picture of Coach Rio a few minutes before the race! Such an honor to meet and greet him. Good vibes thank yous and well wishes were exchanged. I think he just want to say “Don’t suck guys! Kaya nyo yan!”
And the race started! Ah wait, 5 minutes before gunstart there was a brownout. Total blackout, pitch darkness. “Oh sh** mao na lage bad signs ni for a kagid-lay performance” Fortunately, the power came back just exactly a minute before gunstart. Whew I thought I’ll be running in darkness and into the arms and fangs of the backstreet dogs of Dumaguete. *BANG!* Gunstart and everybody launched their rocket-propelled legs towards the glory road ahead. I ran last, I think, basta I was at the back of the pack because I just want to finish this race seconds before cut.off so go ahead people follow your dreams and chase those PRs for this morning I am going to suck, big time! haha
My cousin, Atty. Dinah Chu who was running at the 10k category, gave us a tour of the race course the previous day so I was all aware of the tough road ahead: Concrete road in the early kilometers, then asphalt roads with mini-craters along the way until the turning point. But in my personal opinion, I was a little disappointed with the choice of race course. The organizers got a beautiful and peaceful city to rock on for one morning, and we travelling runners got to visit the city for a piece of the city, but only to see a race course that briefly touched the city streets and instead went directly into the suburbia and deeper barangays away from Dumaguete. It’s as if we were told “Hey runners, the city is still asleep so you have to run somewhere away from the city streets.” There was hardly any cheerers and supporters from the locals unlike in the Cebu, Ilo-ilo and Manila legs which have festival feel kind of races.
But hey no excuse. Good roads or off roads does not matter it is how you perform in it. My performance, unfortunately, wasn’t something I want to be proud of. I was actually furious at myself because of the lack training. I know time is hard to find, but I could just at least made or stole a few hours a week to run and get ripped at the gym it would have been a different second half of the race. I could have finished stronger and still have the energy for a sprint finish. But my body was simply not in good condition to run 21 full kilometers. I had to slow down, significantly, from my comfortable pace.
It was indeed a surprise I still finished a few good minutes ahead of the cut.off time and, well, setting a new PR too! Thanks God, what a challenge. It was all heart and determination got me through the last kilometers. Thank you Lord. And yeah, lusting secretly for that shiny medal also helps. “My precious, my precious…” I swear I heard my conscience say that at the finish line. hahaha #gollum
Every runner has their own reasons to run. For me, on that very weekend on Dumaguete, it was not about the race itself nor the finishing the course at all. I was running for the love of Dumaguete City and I want to share that love to my running buddies I was with. It’s the city that I’d love to visit over and over again; it’s peaceful, beautiful and it has that distinct charm that will caught you off guard in every visit. And by the time I was nearing the finish line I saw my friends and travel buddies cheering for me and suddenly all the pains and suffering vanished. I didn’t feel tired at all after the race, maybe it’s because I can see in their eyes that they were happy to be there running and having suroy2 for the weekend. It was like magic beans, I’m so thankful I brought them in Dumaguete.
The post race happenings was quite a blast by the way. I found out my cousin Ate Dinah placed 8th in her 10k age group (ig-agaw na naho bai!). Kuya Herbie had a strong comeback race after that horrific ordeal in the Tacloban City Marathon where he injured his left thigh. And his sister’s ate April and Hasmin both finished really strong on the 10k race (OK OK they simply beat my 10k PR) . And we got ourselves some pretty nice photos too with Coach Rio!
It was a hell of a race, an incredibly memorable weekend and a great travel experience to be out there in Dumaguete. So until the next run Dumaguete baby!