Online Gamer, Basketball Player, Mountaineer, Recreational Runner, Blogger, Weekend Warrior

Monday, March 25, 2013

My First Full Marathon Experience

February 24, 2013
Nuvali, Sta. Rosa Laguna

"Thought I'd be dead in the end.
But it was the other way around.
I felt even more alive."

I took running seriously when I felt weak after finishing my first official 3km run at Run United 2 2011. Since then, I have progressed to a level wherein I can say I have improved since I ran my first official 3k. 10k became my favorite distance and I never imagined that I would be running beyond that distance. I was quick to dismiss any invitation to run a half-marathon until I finally gave it a try on Run United 2 2012. I was never the same (it was for the better) after completing my first half-marathon.

Fast-forward towards the end of August to the beginning of September 2012. I found myself securing a reservation for a slot for the 2013 edition of The Bull Runner Dream Marathon. I have read previous blog entries about stories of previous batches and I was convinced (by running friends from HyperSports) that if I would run my first full marathon, this would be the perfect and knowing that I have five friends from HyperSports in the same event won't make me an outcast. As the training progressed until the send-off party, I gained more friends from the running community.

When I confirmed that I was officially in the reserved list, I immediately prepared myself for what is ahead. Vacation Leaves filed very early for approval for the Bull Sessions, modified shifts (I am working on graveyard shift) for Bull Circles and Send-Off Party and of course, training schedules were modified so that I can follow the program of Coach Jim Lafferty.

Five months passed by so quick and before I knew it, it was race day. Necessary preparations was done, all I need to do is to cross that finish line. At the starting line, I felt excited and at the same time, terrified. The longest distance I ran before this was a little more than 21k. I already ran pretty much the route at Nuvali last November 2012 at The Bull Runner Dream Team Run and the Bull Session last January 5, 2013. With that in mind and the generous cut-off time for first-timers, there is nothing left to do than enjoy every kilometer of the race.

A few minutes after the gun start, I was fortunate enough to have someone run with me to complete the entire course (I already have the mindset to run alone for 42.195 kilometers but I was blessed to have company along the way). Sammy asked me if I had a target time and when I responded that I didn't have any, we went on to finish together.

We did the first in a little over 3 hours and it was an indication that we are on the right track to finish in an acceptable time. However, fatigue caught up with us and we had to walk for most of the part of the last 10 kilometers of the course.

At the last 4 kilometers of the course.
Many thanks to Sir Jeff Lo of Pinoy Fitness for the singlet.
Photo credit: Lucky Jackie

Whatever challenges we faced in the last 10 kilometers was nullified when running friends and other dream chasers pushed us towards our goal. The last 4 kilometers gave me all sorts of trouble. I had to remove my shoes and run barefoot briefly as my socks got wet in one of the hydration stations and I wouldn't want to have a blister. I also removed my knee support in the last 2 kilometers and run without in my shoes without the socks that got wet. I removed my arm warmer in the last kilometer and finally ran barefoot the last few hundred meters to avoid having blisters from a wet shoe.

Victor Cruz was more than willing to carry my stuff so that I can run and complete my first full marathon. He encouraged me to finish strong and gave a few pointers in barefoot running to help me finish.
Photo credit: Lucky Jackie
We were fortunate because one of our friends, Victor Cruz, who finished earlier was there to wait for us, provided encouragement and ran with us for a few hundred meters until the finish line. After crossing the finish line, I felt relieved. We were on the road for a little over 8 hours, barely beating the 9 hour cut off. We were congratulated by the "Dream Team" who were waiting for the finishers at the finish line. We got our medals and it was time for a photo-op before claiming our loot bag. 

We Are Marathoners!
Photo credit: Sammy Salud Dela Cruz

With Sammy who was with me until the finish line.
Photo credit: Sammy Salud Dela Cruz

This experience taught me to persevere in times where it seemed like all is lost (the thought of quitting crossed my mind a few times during the last 7 and 8 kilometer mark), never lose sight of the goal and be positive all the time. It is better to finish last (luckily, I wasn't the last runner) than never finish the race and be sorry at the end. I never imagined that I can actually finish a full marathon until I crossed the finish line.

Less than two years ago, I never thought that I can play another game of basketball (or participate in  fun runs either, let alone, finish a half-marathon) because of a hyper extended left knee and difficulties in finishing my first few half-marathons. I am glad that I was brave enough to even try and now am happy that I was able to get through this.

July 3, 2011: Before I got serious with running, I hyper extended my left knee in a basketball game.  I was down for four weeks then ran my first official 3k at Run United 2 2011. The rest was history.

February 24, 2013: I can now call myself a marathoner.

I was having difficulty in calling myself a "runner" for the past year and now will have to adjust because I am now a "marathoner". The past five months was an awesome experience, I learned a lot of new stuff, met wonderful people and have more friends now.

I hope that in finishing this race, I can inspire the people around me that they should face their fears and work hard to reach their dreams. I did it. There should be no reason that others cannot. They just need to be braver.

"Because fears, like limits, are often, just an illusion."
- Michael Jordan ending his speech at his hall of fame ceremony.

Thank you The Bull Runner for this event.
Thank you to our Coaches for helping us along the way.
Thank you to our Speakers at Bull Circles.
Thank you to our Pacers at Bull Sessions.
Thank you to all Dream Chasers for providing extraordinary support.
Thank you Batch 2013, we encouraged each other to never give up.

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Online Gamer, Basketball Player, Mountaineer, Recreational Runner, Blogger, Comedian, Weekend Warrior, part-time TriAthlete (Kain, Tulog, Gala)