I'm happy to say that I capped 2009 with my longest run ever.
From Second Wind Running Store in Teachers Village down to Katipunan Ave. to White Plains to the People's Power Monument in EDSA to Ortigas Extension to C5 and back.
Just typing it all down brought back all those kilometers spent- 27.5 or 28, depending on who's keeping track.
(I know I'm supposed to be doing at least 30-32 km for my longest run before my marathon, but I'm hoping this will do. Any last minute gifts, I mean TIPS, would be greatly appreciated!)
Strangers in the Night
When I told my friend, Hector, that I would be doing the Cebu Marathon on 01-10-10, he gamely invited me to join him and other runners for a long run. Most of the people in the group were training for their own full marys too. Some in Cebu, one in Tokyo (wow!), some would be training to beat their marathon PRs in the upcoming Condura Race this February, while some would be marching to their own deadly beats in the Bataan Death March 102K on March.
So, last Sunday, at 4:45 a.m. (it was still so dark and chilly. I love running in December!) a bunch of running strangers, were cooped up in Second Wind, busily applying sunblock, buying last minute paraphernalia (it is a running store and technically still the Christmas rush, after all), and looking forward to a long way ahead.
This being my first real long road run, I was pretty psyched and, well, a bit paranoid. I made sure I wore brights, since there wouldn't be marshalls to barricade the traffic. Besides, it's party season, and there will be people who would be on their way home from a bubbly (the drink) celebration. A bright, traffic cone orange singlet and lime green shorts sounds clashing, but it was a sure-fire way of not getting run over (And like hell would I be run over before I can even conquer my first marathon!).
The group divided into 2 groups. There were the seasoned marathoners and the newbie and "healing" marathoners. I'd be running with a very, very stubborn friend, the injured Ting, who yet again, exceeded her limits. ;)
Katipunan Ave. was surprisingly a joy to run in on an early morning. No flyover running here. We took the foot route and ran up the pedestrian walkway to cross it. Now this, we joked, was the real urbanathlon experience. Real people, real traffic, real obstacles, real risks.
9 km, and surprisingly still an easy run. If you think about it, the route, even by car, was already somewhat far. I think I'm kinda liking this long run...
A Moment in the Monument
The People's Power Monument now holds a new meaning for me.
Still feeling strong and free from negative thoughts.
I think it was about 13 km now. I didn't get to eat breakfast. So, at this point, I was just really, really, really hungry. Everything seems so long when you're starving. I guess I should've wished for a water station with bananas on my running Christmas list.
Fueling Up at C5
We all met up once again in Shell Gas Station along C5. A sugary cereal bar never tasted so good as it did now. Lemon Square Vanilla Cereal Bar, I love you.
Halfway done, and a lot of high-five's later, we started out running back to base.
Long Way Walking Round
I'm tired... and it sucks that I've been injecting a lot of walking already. Probably just over 15 km, but the traffic along c5 is growing. And it is getting smoggier. I'm trying not to breathe in now. Yech. Not to mention weaving in and out of the sidewalk was a feat. I was really paranoid about running in the road and getting sideswiped. I kept staying on the sidewalk, and hoping not to trip on cracks, tree roots, or slip on mossy puddles.
Ateneo Under Trees
After trudging along half the route back, we finally reach Katipunan. One more stretch, and we're home free! Problem is, now it's hot, super sunny, and the pollution is still killing me. So, I pleaded to my (remaining) running mate, Dave, to go off the route and pass through Ateneo instead. I was thinking more trees, more clean air.
For this green alumnus, I had to grudgingly admit, Ateneo was a respite. Passing throught their little zen garden was the right move (plus, added an extra distance, I think). And I even had a sight-seeing session- their new library is so nice!
Back to homebase. I was tired, but this feeling of accomplishment was awesome. I knew that I could've pushed myself more as I wasn't that exhausted yet, but I was afraid of getting injured. In any case, I'm saving that extra push for the marathon day itself. For now, I'm just concentrating on logging on the miles.
P.S. The other runners ran up to U.P. to log in 35 km, I think.
To the amazing runners I met during this run. Thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me run with you, and for the moral support. It was a terrific experience worth doing again. Oh, in fact, I think I just might. Hector/Second Wind is organizing another casual long run again this week. If anyone else is up to it, I'm sure they're more than willing to take on more runners. Just holler, I guess. Everyone's supposed to be tapering off, so it'll just be a half marathon this time.
To my readers who shared all the ups and downs and running around in 2009 with me- Happy New Year!!! ;)