I first joined MILO National Eliminations in 2009 when I debuted in the half-mary category. Unfortunately, I came up real short at that time because of my injured shins. At 2:47, MILO was my worst 21k record ever and if it weren’t for dear friends at Takbo.ph, I probably would have done worse – if not altogether quit the race.
But, it’s all behind me now because last Sunday, at the 35th MILO National Eliminations (Manila Leg), I had my shot at redemption; grabbed a hold; and sort of ran with it all the way through the tape – doing twice the distance as my first Milo appearance.
My second marathon after my debut at the Condura Skyway Marathon in 2009 certainly did not disappoint. Although I was hoping for a sub-4:30 finish, I am still grateful that I crossed the finish line with a sub-5 record; about 6 minutes faster than my Condura time.
I liked (my) MILO marathon experience for a lot of reasons.
First – although MILO had nothing to do with it at all – because of the rain. Like I told my Boss just minutes before gun start, I was looking forward to running 42 kilometers in the rain because it reminds me so much of my hooligan days in the province when I would would wait for the steady snoring of my Dad during siesta, escape through the backdoor and run around the plaza with friends. On one or two occasions that I got caught – soaked and mud-covered – I got some mild flogging; vaguely remembered being asked to kneel for a few minutes because I was caught playing by the river which had swelled all the way up to the hanging bridge because of the steady downpour which lasted several days; but that did not exactly deter me from escaping a few more times. Good memories.
Second, water stations aplenty. For someone with serious hydration problems, I totally loved the fact that MILO and the organizers did not scrimp on this one. I found myself making a pitstop at nearly every station not because I was parched but because the water-filled cups lined up like robots in TRON look so inviting I just had to get my hands on them!
Third, the runners. It was just awesome being in the company of runner friends and even those I only get to exchange ‘hi’ and ‘hello’ with on Twitter and Facebook. What’s even more awesome was seeing older people (men and women alike) who would just zoom past me and you can tell by their gait and that they were once among those lording it over in marathon circa 60s, 70s, and 80s even! I remember this lady who’s probably in her 50s who ran along side me somewhere in the Kalayaan flyover just before we hit KM31 or 32 and told me to push harder. I was already taking walk breaks at that time due to my cramped quads and left hamstring. She said ‘jog ka lang iha‘ and when she probably saw there is no way I could keep up with her, she said ‘Una na ako sa’yo ha‘. That moment was so cute I just had to smile!
Fourth, the support teams. Having people call out your name (though most of them I only recognize by face) with some words of encouragement can be very…encouraging.
Fifth, my ‘accidental’ pacers. Alex and Gab, you guys helped me get through the race – thank you! Gab, whom I’ve known for quite a while now – he was among the first runners I made friends with through Takbo and paddled with in Manila bay on maybe three occasions – would pace me on and off during the race. He even gave me a chocolate bar before we hit KM30 which helped me loads in the stored energy department. haha. Alex, my Reebok teammate, was my mainstay pacer. I would lose him a few times during the course because I tried to keep a steady pace at least before the cramps cramped my style, but he would no sooner find me and run/walk my pace. We took several walk breaks which was a pity because we were doing pretty well until we weren’t any more.
Sixth, I also liked the fact that my bag was kept safe at the baggage counter the whole time! At first, I was really apprehensive to leave my bag with money, phone, and camera inside (with no lock whatsoever!) because of the horror stories of some runners losing valuables at the races. Every now and then while I was running, I would worry about my bag so I told Alex that we should head down to the baggage counter soon as we cross the finish line. But my worrying was all for naught because MILO employed the best people to man the booth! Awesome!
Seventh, the speedy release of results! Just like everyone else who ran that day I suppose, I couldn’t wait to see the results – and gush about it.
Lastly, the photographers who took thousands of photos of the runners in various state of wetness and exhaustion. Special mention to KB Runner (who ran the whole course half-naked buti na lang he’s super lean, hihihi), A Runner’s Circle, Jojo Pauly, and Mediabetes Runner for the lovely photos I shamelessly grabbed and posted on my FB Milo album!
***Edited to add this: Needless to say I was (and still am) mighty pleased with my race results. Like I said, I managed to shave around 6 minutes from my first marathon time in 2009. Not only that, I was ranked 497th overall out of 1,053 runners; and 6th out of 9 in my age category. I am 32 years old, so yah, you could say I am quite mature. hihihi.
Having said that, CONGRATULATIONS MILO and RUNRIO for staging one of the best races I have ever joined!
Now let’s take a look at some of my priceless 35th MILO Marathon moments. But first, here’s a look back at my MILO moment in 2009…
I’m such a naturally happy person that even when beset by injuries aplenty, one would rarely catch me in a frown. It doesn’t show in the photo but at that time, my shins were crying bloody murder and would swell up in a freaky way Dinzobear refused to look at it when we had dinner/movie shortly after that 2009 race.
And now, say hello to the two-time sub-5 marathoner. Wooot!
Oooops, by the way, I would like to thank Kassy for lending me her Garmin which I totally forgot to set in my haste! We arrived at the starting line just seconds before gunstart and of course, I scampered just like everyone else when the countdown ended. Garmin turned out to be just a fashion accessory, hahaha. But you gotta admit, it made me look even more legit! Thank you Kas for being the wonderful supergirl that you are!
Much love to REEBOK for the support! Bruno was awesome on the flooded roads! I did not get blisters this time around but I went home with two dead toenails which is kind of a normal thing for me when I do long distance runs. Dead toenails = sooo un-girly-girl! hahaha.