"I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith."Yesterday, I ran my 2nd half marathon. It was another twenty-one kilometers of hard-on-the-knees pavement, blacken-me-now sun, and who-cares-if-you-can-see-thru-my-shirt sponge bathing on Buendia.
I know I've been saying this for the past how-many races I've signed up for but really... this one... the Nat Geo Earth Day Run 2011... I was seriously NOT prepared for. The only run I was able to tuck under my belt prior to yesterday's event was a quick 40-minuter on the dark streets of Brgy. Laging Handa about two weeks ago. Haha! Yes, last run was 2 weeks ago! No wonder I hurt like hell.
In the last few minutes before gunstart, I was constantly asking myself, "Why?" I swear, I have nothing to prove. I've done 21 before; distance in the bag! So what was I still doing in the corral utterly unprepared for the grueling task ahead?
I was anxious, nervous, unsteady, but THERE because Nat Geo marks my 1st year as a runner. NGEDR2010 was my first EVER running experience. I ran the 3k route with nary a practice, a warm-up or a training day. Now, a year later, I'm running their longest event.
I knew it was going to be painful. I wasn't at all prepared for a half-mary, but I was there and not about to back down from the challenge. Ah yeah, always been the problem of headstrong lassies like me. When the official stopwatch hit 0:00:00, fireworks brought 5:10 AM sky to life. What a great way to start the run. Fireworks, for me, can only mean good things ahead.
Hydration stations were well used, thank you. Statement earlier about public sponge baths was true also. Of course I had to cool myself down with water logged sponges, 'cause if I didn't I'd likely have fainted from heatstroke, and swept off by the sweeper van at kilometer 16. That was my low point, really. After crossing the 16th km marker at 2 hours and 33 minutes, I was seriously considering quitting... or jumping off the Buendia flyover to save me from humiliation.
Amazingly, my feet kept on going. I was still able to run in short spurts, and the good morning smiles of race marshals pushed me ever on. They were cheering on all the runners in the heat of the 7:30 morning sun and holding up traffic for the lagers like me. The small cheers of encouragement helped... A LOT... I truly appreciated it. At the final turn, one marshal tells me, "400 meters na lang!" and eggs me on to run. When I made the turn, the giant "FINISH" mark nearly made me cry. I couldn't breathe right, I was tired as hell, everything ached but there she was. So close!
I crossed the finish line at 03:08:18 by my chip time (based on NGR Results) and I was greeted by the best cheer squad in the world: my best friend, my Palawan Buddy, my #1 secret keeper and Diether. :)) Them greeting me at the finish made all the pain (in my head) disappear.
In the end, I'm truly proud of myself for seeing this through, despite the lack of training and discipline. I've proven, yet again, that when I want something, body parts conspire and work to get it, even if my brain's saying otherwise. It's true matter over mind in action!
My love affair with the escapist sport of running has hit it's 1st year anniversary, and I'm still madly in love. My everything hurt like hell today but the cool feel the NGR 21k finisher's medal dulls the pain away. Happy Running Anniversary to me!
King Of The Road, you're next!