After almost 3 weeks in the U.S., I touched down in Manila on Thursday, August 14, late in the evening on NW 01 from Los Angeles. I was fortunate to have landed just before a 4-day long weekend. It gave me the opportunity to acclimatize myself to Manila time again just before the Men's Health Miracle Run on Sunday, August 17. I thought I should be fairly in shape given the running I did around the roads and hills of Laguna Niguel, Orange County, where my sister lives. Somehow, it didn't quite translate as so. I tried putting in a run on Friday morning but I manage to eke out a 2Km run before feeling quite fatigued. I guess it's part of the jet lag. Still, I think I should be able to do well on the Sunday run.
The Men's Health Miracle Run is supposed to be a 10K run. If 1,000 runners join and ran 10K each, we would reach the target -- 10,000 km. Each finisher would mean a P200 donation to the GMA Kapuso Foundation. Okay -- so it's with the rival network, but, what the heck, it is for a good cause!! There were two options for joining -- the first is for a runner to complete the whole 10K course and the 2nd is for a tandem of 2 runners to complete 5K each. I chose to run the tandem race. This time, I was paired with Lauren, a member of the BayanTrade Running Club.
I woke up before 4:30am on Sunday -- due in part to jet lag. I was told the race would start at 6:00am but it was actually scheduled for 6:30am. I was at the Starting Line behind the NBC Tent before 5:30am. I was supposed to meet up with Lauren and Ting there to pick up my race packet since they registered me while I was still in the States.
I believe there were 2 other events scheduled that day -- one was Takbo Bayani and another race was supposed to be at U.P. - the Run for Your Life: Passed the Picture Based Health Warning Bill. As such, I noticed that there weren't a lot of runners compared to previous events at the Fort. Still, there was a festive atmosphere at the site.
Both Ting and Lauren were running late -- it was almost 5:45am when I caught up with them and got my race packet. The other BayanTrade runners started trickling in soon afterwards. Ting decided that it was time to make a comeback after the long hiatus because of her hip injury. She was given the green light by both her doctor and trainer. As a testament to her pent-up desire to run -- she decided it was time to run a full 10K!! That means that I was the only one left in the 5K corral!! he! he! Rico was also there to run the full 10K.
The race started fairly on time at around 6:30ish. The 1st runner of each tandem team was supposed to start with the 10K runners. The 2nd runner was supposed to wait at the holding area and start when the 1st runner completes the 5K. Unfortunately, the sun was now high above and it was getting hot. Lauren and the other Bayantrade tandem runners decided that we should just all run together and complete the 5K at the same time because it would have been really hot by the time they actually started their leg. Of course, that means we didn't follow the rules and as such we officially did not finish -- no actual finishing time. Oh well -- we all just wanted to run anyway.
The course was supposed to be fairly flat -- instead of passing through the hills around McKinley Hills and the Philippine Army Headquarters, it went through the International Schools area. But, somehow, the heat became a factor -- inspite of adequate Gatorade stations. I paced myself as best as I could but at the u-turn point at International School way, I knew it was going to be a difficult race for me. It was only through sheer mental control that I continued running without stopping. When I reached the finished line and stopped my watch, I was happy to have bettered my San Francisco Marathon 5K time -- I finished with 34:14.
My BayanTrade runmates were already at the finished line and that was when they told me that our race would not be counted because both runners in our tandem started at the same time. I also saw some familiar faces in the crowd -- Ellen Cayanan and her beau Bong Zandueta, as well as one of our co-Finex basketball players, Allan Esguerra, who also decided to run a race first before playing in the basketball game later.
I stuck around and waited for Rico and Ting to finish. Rico was the first one to appear less than 20 minutes later. He also felt the heat impacted on his performance -- he said he already went below 50 minutes for a 10K but this time it was not a new PR. We both waited for Ting and at around 15 minutes later, we spotted her on the home stretch. She was told she finished at around 1 hour 16 minutes -- pretty good for her first try at the 10K distance!
After the race, we went for our usual post-race breakfast. This time we decided to go to UCC Coffee Shop. I was able to hand over Ting's Aquajogger belt which she ordered actually for all of us via the Internet but only the first 2 belts arrived in time for me to bring home. But, I guess, now that she is well enough to run the 10K, she actually doesn't need the aquabelt anymore!! I also gave Rico and Ting their own San Francisco Marathon souvenir caps. We're talking about running with the same caps in the next race. Should be a good photo-op!