3rd Quezon City International Marathon – The Year Ender Full Marathon

For whatever reason, this race also coincided with my THIRD full marathon.  Friday night, I had my night shift at work.  Took a couple of hours of sleep and rendered weekend overtime.  I went home around 4pm to prep up for our year end party.  Around 10pm, I dropped by KYSS Bar along Makati Avenue, where our year end party was being held.  After photo ops, food and some drinks, I bid my colleagues goodnight as I have a race early Sunday morning.  I left half an hour past 1 in the morning. That was already December 4, barely three and a half hours before the 42k race gunstart.

I got home around 2 in the morning and had my favorite sinampalokang manok to wash away the tipsy the feeling.

Photo Credit: 3rd QCIM

  Took a bath and geared up for my third full marathon.  I barely had any sleep — which translates to at least 20 hours being awake by the the time gunstart for 42k category fired.  A cab took me to Quezon City Memorial Circle, just in front of Quezon City Hall – the start line of all race categories.  While in the cab, I had to fix my race bib just to be ready when I get to the venue. I arrived at the venue 10 minutes before my gunstart and I had to rush to the baggage counter to deposit my backpack.

Now that I have settled a little bit, I did a some stretching to warm a bit, then I positioned myself in the start line. 4AM – a gun was fired to start the 42k category.  I was feeling uneasy and uncomfortable.  I could feel the pain on my right shin.  And my stomach was crumbling due to some alcohol intake a few hours ago.  My pace wasn’t my normal pace – I was slower than my slow runs.  But I had to take my time.  It was pretty dark when we set off.  Roughly some two kilometers later, we entered the grounds of UP Diliman.  This part of the race route was pretty familiar to me since I’ve done a few practice runs here with my Pinoyfitness running buddies, and there was Tiktakbo 4 back in September.  Then some familiar voice called out my name, and I can’t decipher who that was. I was trying to catch up so I could match that voice to name.  But somehow, I failed.  Along the Commonwealth Avenue, I chanced upon one of my coolest running friends – Tita Anjie Lintao.

About two hours after, I was in the vicinity of La Mesa Eco-Park. This was the best part of the route, I would say.  Upon entrance to the park, there was this signage that runners should leave their hydration bottles and belts at the entrance.  A significant number of runners complied.  But there were others who are hard-headed and still brought in their hydration packs. That was sad. As runners, we should have a sense of responsibility and follow simple rules. Nonetheless, this was something that I didn’t really pay attention to because as I go further, running along the concrete pavement within the Eco-Park was so refreshing.  The cool breeze blowing through your face was envigorating.  The weather was good – there were rain clouds hovering that helped cool down the temperature.  We ran past the water treatment facilities and out to the seemingly outskirts of the La Mesa Watershed.  And this time, I still have not made my 21k U-turn. I was a little too tired and I had to stop running. I had to walk for about a kilometer and a half to recover.  Then there was Ok Ok Otek. Man, you’ve improving a lot..!  Finally, there’s the U-turn point.  That’s when I came across Mark Andrew, who handed me a cup of Gatorade which I needed so much. And, Grace Lao – the face behind that voice who called me out earlier. It took me 21 kilometers to know who owned that voice! Ahahah…!   But it was a really good motivation for me to get going.

And there’s my really good friend – Team Alpha 1’s Martian, Marvin Jusay, who debuted with his first Full Marathon.!

The way back was not a very easy one.  I had muscle cramps on both my inner knees that I had to walk to ease out the pain.  Despite, I was still in high spirits to finish the race.  There were runners who, despite making their own PRs, took time to check on me if I’m okay. And I really appreciated it.

And I just hit the wall at around 33rd kilometer.  I had to practically walk for about three kilometers or so. And run-walk for another four kilometers. This time, the rain had been pouring continuously.  I’m back in the UP grounds. I was soaking wet, and my feet have been enduring the pain.  I can feel the stinging pain of the blister on my rightmost toe.  I was thinking about going barefoot.  But it could be another mistake. So, I held off taking my shoes off.  Barely two kilometers away from the finish line, I was TOO exhausted to run.  Thirsty and hungry.  And good God, there was a van parked along the road on the way out to Commowealth Avenue loaded with good Samaritans who offered me water and a pack of energy bar.  There were four of them, and I can only remember a couple of names – Rose and Marvin. Sorry, my bad. It was more than enough to boost my moral to get on with the race and cross the finish line.  It wasn’t long and I made a left turn heading for the finish line.

A few meters from the finish line, there’s my OK OK Family cheering for me as I come near the finish line. Despite the endless downpour, they were there waiting for people who matter to them.  And Shan,  kindhearted and sweet as she is, handed me a bottled water – which was I badly needed. Then the photo ops — we can never do away with it..!

I haven’t crossed the finish line yet, but I felt I have already finished the race. Officially, I had to cross the finish line to get third Full Marathon Medal. It felt great to receive that medal that I have worked hard for.

The race may not be that grand compared to the other races that I have participated in, but I am satisfied. I can’t complain. I finished in 5 hours and 35 minutes – and have been awake for more than 24 hours.  It took a lot of determination, perseverance, patience, faith and PRAYERS to make it to the finish line.  The friends I met along the way have made a strong impression on me that I need to complete the race, no matter what it takes.  The race route was a challenge – starting off with the gradual upslope of the Commonwealth Avenue, the uphills and downhills when you get to the Eco-Park, the drinking water provided by Manilad Water (there were no bottled waters) but there was an ample supply of energy drink, in my opionion – but all these form part of the challenge called The RACE.

Having said all these, though I made it to the finish line all safe and just with minor injury – the blister that is, it was still unhealthy to run this distance without sleep. It was a big risk that I have taken on my part, but like what I would tell the other runners – ‘always listen to your body’. And that’s what I did. From the very start, I wasn’t thinking about beating my previous 42K PR. But rather, just finish the race all safe.

Thank God that He gave me this opportunity. And to our Wednesday run coach, Coach Mherlz, I come to live and breathe the advice you give me to become not necessarily a faster runner, but a better runner. And to my friends, your presence was a big boost to my moral. I have come this far.

Until the next race..!


2 Responses to 3rd Quezon City International Marathon – The Year Ender Full Marathon

  1. Pingback: I Touched The Sun — Literally! | Stories of My Wandering Feet (& Mind)

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