Retrospect 2013 : February | “Long-Distance Love”

Ah, February…the month of love. In my case, however, it was a case of hard-hitting, tough, SELF love. This month was special because of my first ever FULL marathon at Nuvali, Laguna on 24 February 2013. Basically, I took to punishing myself to be a better person.

TBR Dream Marathon is basically a low-pressure 42-K run catered to first- and second-time marathoners. It is organized annually by the team behind The Bull Runner blog and magazine, spear-headed by supermom and now-triathlete Jaymie Pizarro (who is super cool, obviously). I’d been hearing about it for two years before I finally caught the sign-up window last October 2012. I got accepted, paid the race/training fees, and started run/walking as recommended by the coach (and renowned CEO) Jim Lafferty.

The following 6 months was filled with detailed Bull Circles (seminars about running), grueling Bull Sessions (group runs), and FREEBIES (Gatorade, running gear, training sessions, etc). We even had a final party and pep talk the week before our run, complete with food and awkward parlor games.

Nevertheless, I’ve got to be honest. I was horrible during training. From an average 6:00 mins per kilometer when I started, I degraded to a pathetic 10-12 minutes ESPECIALLY during the long runs. I was clearly horrible at motivating myself by the time 2013 rolled in, with the looming Thesis and the bleak future that awaited me after the finish line.

Getting pretty tired. Still, trying to smile for the cameras.

Getting pretty tired. Still, trying to smile for the cameras.

My parents were completely bipolar about the marathon, alternating between “you’re wasting your time” and “finish what you started” during run days. Bahaha, it didn’t look good at all. Still, I paid 3,000 pesos for the experience and I might as well get my money’s worth in DOMS and false accomplishment. 🙂

On race day, my parents, the boyfriend, and I took the 2-hour drive to the venue, then wandered around the starting line until the 2am start time. It was cold, dark, and yet strangely crowded with all the other families cheering their respective members on. There was no shortage of reflective materials, crinkly race numbers, cheesy “power names,” and other runners’ paraphernalia. Personally, I had this special timer strapped to my ankle, an iPod holder around one arm, a water bottle belt bag, and a visor. It was going to be a long night.

And we were off. You don’t start marathons quickly, apparently, so here I am (about 30 minutes in) happily running into a bunch of photographers at the first 5-K. Seriously, there were cameras EVERYWHERE. I am warning you in advance that a slew of unflattering pictures will follow as I grow tired.

Smiling for the cameras.

Smiling for the cameras.

It didn’t go smoothly, obviously. I was just past “halfway” when my goal time of 4 hours came and went. The sun was on the rise. People were already finishing, and I was WALKING past tired joggers and injured parties who wanted to talk to you about how horrible the whole experience was. o_o Plus, there was free candy, Gatorade, and energy bars at every water station. It took every fiber of my worn down, over-heated body to not stop and gorge myself on the freebies.

After all, I’m horribly competitive when I want to be. I decided to just keep going, walking and running, walking and running. Never mind the throbbing ache in the toe boxes of my Nike Frees, damn the short battery life of my 2nd hand iPod, fuck the REAL runners wooshing past me with the determination of a pack of vengeful primates (complete with obnoxious battle grunts)… I was going to finish this.

Here’s the overly-dramatic, runners’-high drivel I posted on Facebook post-marathon. It sums up the worst and best parts of the experience.:

Today, I ran 42 kilometers in 6 hours at Nuvali for The Bull Runner Dream Marathon. I saw the stars, the sunrise, and a double rainbow. Strangers cheered us on, and water stations handed out candy, gels, and Gatorade. I was feeling good after the first 21k loop. I felt like I could do it, easy.

Then I reached 32k. I was so disoriented, I stopped thinking about how close I was to the finish because it always felt too far. My body hurt so much at 39k that my run/walk ratio was less than 1:1 (from 3:1). My breathing sounded like a pressure cooker past boiling point. I had sweat so much that nothing was coming out anymore. Thank god for the wet sponges they gave out. My legs were burning. My abs were cramping. My arms were numb. I felt like I was running on needles (damn you, Nike Frees!). I was dying. But I was SO near.

Let me show you how tired looks like.

Let me show you how tired looks like. FYI: 32k is “The Wall” zone. This part of the Marathon was also the highest slope upwards. I only ran by the cameras. Then I walked for a LONG time.

In the final stretch, with the finish line in sight, I wanted to cry. I started to run non-stop– It was much slower than I started, but I didn’t care. It didn’t hurt anymore. I was going to make it. That was the longest 2 minutes of the race. They took my picture. I held the medal in my hands. My parents [and my boyfriend] were laughing at me and telling my how proud they were. I was euphoric. Kinda delusional. All I wanted to do was sit down.

Not one picture of me at the finish line was flattering. HAHA

Not one picture of me at the finish line was flattering. HAHA

At home . . . My entire family congratulated me and helped out any way they could– mostly by carrying my things and supporting me. Haha. Right now, I am covered in blisters and I have DOMS so bad I’m going to need a sedative to rest….but who cares?

I’m a marathoner.

Cue obvious “victory picture”:

I am a marathoner! 8D

I am a marathoner! 8D

So there. That was the highlight of my February. And, also, the last time I ran this year. Unfortunately. The muscle soreness was enough to put me off exercise for the next 3 months. Needless to say, I got fatter in the coming months. The conceited entitlement remains for a bit longer. Sorry.

Official Result

Official Result

Total Marathon Time – 06:07:12
(#233 out of 584)

10.1km – 01:22:17 (included a 10min warm-up, so yes)
19.1km – 01:12:24 (lol, did say I was feeling good at 21k)
30.3km – 01:51:41 (WORST 11k ever haha)
42.2km – 01:40:50 (Last push! :D)

Despite every painful thing I’ve mentioned in this blog post, however, I will always strongly recommend running a marathon at least once in your life. Get into it gradually, though. Don’t cheat with the training (like I did). Here’s a funny and brutally honest comic on The Oatmeal about why people run long distances. Enjoy!

For more information on The Bull Runner Dream Marathon, regularly check out the events page at the Bull Runner blog, and the TBRDM homepage. The next marathon is scheduled for 16 February 2014.

~ by xenoslaura on Thursday, 25th April 2013.

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