I greatly enjoyed last year’s edition where I ran on the half-marathon category and vowed return this year to take on the full M. I booked my tickets as early as April and barely registered for the race at the last line. This year’s race is designed to be a walk in the park and fun filled day of athletic awesomeness and meet ups with old friends. But after finishing the race, none seemed to mattered than the fact that I just survived one hell of a run in the metro. It was survival mode.
I trained for RUPM since late June, pushed the grind in the months of July and August implementing a low carb diet, easy runs twice on weedays, a tempo outing and one LSD per week. I felt strong and leaner and meaner. But I wished I never slacked on September, not that I could manage my workload. I guess this boring and uneventful life of an accountant got the better me. I prayed that those 2.5months of training will be enough for a strong finish in October.
I was sluggish on race. I was weak and so goddamn slowly my only consolation is that I did not monitor the my progress during the race because I forgot my GPS watch. My plan is to go easy on the 1st 10k, build up some speed until the 32k before the sun comes up and the next 10k is as easy as pie. That’s the plan, but here is what happened. I was on great shape from start to 25k, I think I was going steady on a 6:30 min/km pace. But after those killer uphills on the flyovers, my knees started to cave in, my stomach starting to throw up at the site of Gatorade (but I kept drinking ’em anyway) and frankly I was dead tired.
They said the last 10 kilometers is the real battle in a marathon. Mine was the last seven-teen. Sun came up, uphill smiling, knees breaking and energy dropping, I knew I set my self up for one painful running (if you call it running). I said to my self I should be running, for pete’s sake this a running event not a damn walking event. 😦
I miraculously finished on 5 hours and 29 minutes. A respectable time, only 20 minutes shy of my Cebu Marathon time but it can have been much much worse. I just hold on to the idea that this is no personal run, this is for my kababayan in Leyte. They survived Yolanda to rise up again, and there’s no way RUPM will make me quit (not when you’re running with 3,000 marathoners). I thought I’d be swept past the cut-off time (the joy of not having a gps watch. But anyway, I’m not the type of runner who keep tabs on time. I measure a run not by hours and minutes but by the unwritten barometer called “awesomeness“. I grade my performance in RUPM a “C+” (for craziness), not good but not too bad. I’m just happy I managed to cross the finish in one piece. #bangonLEyte
But RUPM as a whole is definitely a great race to take on. The fast course of the 21k last year didn’t prepared me for the hell we have to go in the full M category. I did not see those uphills and elevation coming. The sun was shining bright and pusnishing as expected. There were loops and exciting turn on the course around the Manila. The cities we went through the race were Pasay, Quezon City, Makati City and BGC (I thought of stopping by for a Starbucks). It was fun actually seeing the sites, the tall buildings and the general urban jungle-ness of RUPM.
Defnitely, I’ll be back stronger to seek redemption one day in the future. Afterall RUPM looks a lot like the marquee running Marathon event in the country’s capital. It was so damn well organized, grabe. Not too crowdy as Milo Marathon but just big enough and stylish enough to attract runners from the provinces (me!) and even abroad. With RunRio helming their brainchild event, they cant seem to make matters wrong. The whole course is covered by lots of water stations complete with hydrations and medical teams. Traffic was controlled and some major streets were closed for the event. I had no major concern with the route. Kudos to the organizers! (and please more stuffs in the loot bags)
I guess to conclude this recap of the toughest race and definitely the toughest letter M in my running hobby, I have to list down the lessons I’ve learn in this race. One, never to underestimate a 42k no matter how hard you train because there will always be off-days. Second, I need to train more seriously. Third, I have to IMPROVE: get stronger on the lower body, master the core, do more long runs, heat training and I have to shed off lots of kilos. The next big M will be an even tougher, bigger and riskier with a lot on the line. In short I have to exceed myself in Singapore this December.