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Friday, January 15, 2010

MMM, Good! (Cebu Marathon 2010)

When I said that I wanted my first 42K to be a destination marathon, I couldn't have picked a more perfect race than the 01-10-10 Cebu Marathon.

...4, 3, 2, 1 Fireworks!!!
By far, the most exciting and magical way to kick-off a race. The fireworks at the gun start alone made waking up at 3 a.m. worth it. Looking around, you can see faces glowing and hear the adrenaline pumping. The spirit of the marathon is indeed in high gear. As I counted down with the crowd, I could hardly contain my excitement. It took a lot of effort to check my pace, and start off nice and easy.

The First 10K
The first 10 kilometers was blissful. I was running alongside my friend, and we even managed to chat and sight-see. At the end of the town proper, just before the bridge to Talisay, it was time to take in those Salt Stick capsules. It was my first time to try it out. You can barely taste or feel anything . I was just excited to be injecting a new ritual to my running.

A Minute of Panic
On the 13th kilometer, my right instep started to ache. I felt a momentary jolt of panic, since it was the first time I've felt that kind of piercing pain. All I could think of was "Oh-no, I still have 29 kilometers to go". Thank God the pain subsided after a while. It helped that there were lots of pleasant distractions like the friendly locals and entertaining dance numbers. Their energy and enthusiasm was enough to reinvigorate any tired runner.

Dancing Distractions
Though not a novel sight in present Manila races, the dancers lent a nice touch. A prelude to the Sinulog Festival, the colorful characters did a great job entertaining the runners and distracting them from the long way ahead. A note to the organizers: This is a great way of infusing the Cebuano culture to visitors. Maybe they could also put labels/signs to each dance for an educational spin next time. You may not have broken a PR (personal record), but you’ll definitely end the race with a little more knowledge than when you started, right? (Okay, that was kind of a nerdy request. Haha)

20K Strong
Half a marathon covered already, and I was still feeling pretty strong. I was loving every minute of the run. No signs of cramping up at all. The Salt Sticks really helped. But more than that, I have to give my thumbs up to the organizers, who really delivered on their promise of drinking stations every 1.5 kilometers. I hydrated in every single stop.

30K and Beyond
By this time, the sun was already getting hot. A big, fat floating ball of orange staring down at the crazy marathoners. All I could think of was the cold, pulpy Minute Maid bottle sitting in my airconditioned hotel room. Even the dancers were tired and hiding from the heat. Seeing that my farthest run was a mere 28K, I was expecting to hit "The Wall" anytime soon. 31, 32, 33, 34… I was dreading it. But, surprise, surprise, the pain never came. I could actually feel myself smiling throughout the difficult route back. I’d save my “runs" and walk during uphills, but generally, I felt really good. I was running high.

That Darn 37K
Just as I thought I’d be coasting the last 5k home free… Wham! 37K hit me. And boy, did it hit me real bad. My right calf started cramping up all the way to my thighs. It was awful. I was limping in between attempts of running and evil thoughts of ripping my useless legs off. In one pit stop, a volunteer was slathering efficascent oil on the runners. I asked him to go higher and higher and higher. There is no shame in pain. Only the ticking clock prevented me from requesting for a full leg massage.

The People
Oh my God, the people. What can I say? I’m guessing I’m not the only one who fell completely head over heels with their friendly and carefree nature. It’s no exaggeration when I say that they were probably the biggest reason that I survived this race. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, from the race officials, volunteers (their homemade signs and impromptu ditties were adorable!), jeepney passengers, sari-sari store owners, and co-runners were naturally warm and supportive. On the last stretch of the run, as I wallowed in a pool of doubt and self-pity, a group of runners in a car even rolled down their window to cheer on me. Go, go, go, 42K!!! Now who can argue with that?

Marathoner, Officially
I crossed the finish line with my friends cheering and a mango hanging proudly over my neck. I half expected to cry upon finishing, but there were no tears. I was simply happy. I was a few minutes over my marathon goal, but that's okay, my results were pretty decent. More importantly, I had a terrific and truly memorable time getting there.
{Thank you for waking up early and taking pics, Kerv!}

{All smiles as this marathoner crossed the finish line. Woo-hoo!}

{With the gang}
{Thanks for all that cheering action, guys!}
{This was probably the BEST, most refreshing drink I've had in my entire life.
Nevermind that it was lukewarm. I was sooo thirsty!!! Gulp, gulp, pulp!}
{TRIVIA: Oranges are a great "after run" treat. It alleviates muscle soreness (ugh!) and quickens the healing process. Perfect after a good, looooong run.}

{Marathon Buddies}
{Dennis, who still ran the 42K despite an injury.}
{Dave, who also conquered his first full mary. Yay!}

{Mmm, good!}
{Mangoes (slash-orange), marathons and memories that will last me a lifetime.}

Did life change after my full mary? Sure, I had to report back on Monday and resume that pile of paperwork. I had to act normal even if my legs felt like lead. Everything is the same, and yet, everything is different. It’s knowing that you conquered what you initially thought impossible. It's empowering to have made that extra step. It's liberating to have ticked something off your bucket list. It's refreshing to have woken up to a new you.

Life, after 42K, is exhilaratingly awesome.
Have you ever wanted something so bad you could actually taste it? Click here to check out other pulpy moments.


  1. ... and my toes still tingle in the morning, and I think I'm actually suffering withdrawal symptoms haha. My biggest regret: missing the lechon!

  2. congrats! What's next? 50km? Its just 7.8 km more....

  3. WOW congrats Janine on a sub-6 marathon debut! ang galing galing!

  4. good recap, janine!
    nice to meet you during CCM. =)
    oh, mind if i add you in my blogroll? =)

  5. Heya, marathon buddies!

    Racerhead: At least you got to eat authentic Yellow Cab pizza from Cebu! hehe. ;)

    RFB: You, crazy Fatboy, you. Hmm... ;) hahaha

  6. Hi Daytripper.

    Thanks, thanks! =)

    Maybe next time I should aim sub-5 para may allowance pa, and get my sub-530 goal. haha.

  7. Hi Carlo!

    It was really great meeting you guys. Manila represent! ;)

    Hope you're all patched up and back to running.

    Add me up!

  8. Hi there "Let's go!" hahaha remember? congrats on your strong finish despite the cramps... Chito

  9. Hi Chito!

    Nice of you to drop by.

    I believe it was "Let's go, let's go!" with matching pom-poms. hahaha. Cebu was a blast. Thanks for being a terrific cheerleader/ running seatmate. hehe ;)

  10. Awesome indeed! Congratulations Marathoner Janine. You looked like you never battled cramps when I saw you in the last 500 meters. Happy face was all I remembered.

    Btw, your Minute Maid photo and inclusion is a creative touch. Swell!

  11. Naks sub-6 :P You were all smiles crossing the line :D Yeaah! At least you didnt trip around and made tambling lol :p

  12. hahaha. Thanks, Rico! ;) Subliminal images playing in my mind. It's the heat. Mirage na mirage ang dating.

    I was so happy to see the finish line, nawala lang bigla. Running is really mind over matter talaga pala 'no? hehe

  13. Hey Luis!

    Masmasaya yung story mo pag-ikwekwento mo sa mga apo mo. My lolo, he's sooo cool. He can tumbling-tumbling while running! ;)



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