Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Milo Race Report: Running in the nick of time!

“Puera visita! Puera visita!”  The shrill sound of the ship’s bullhorn jolted me awake. It was a dream, one that I knew only too well. I couldn’t help but be amused by the analogy of my recent (mis)adventure of the 34th National Milo Marathon just held recently in Cebu on September 5th.

The bullhorn was replaced by a pacer who shouted “1 more minute!” as a fellow runner and I sprinted the busy intersection of P. del Rosario St. never mind the impatient jeepney drivers. All traffic came to a halt as eyes bore on us runners hoping to finish the race on time.

“1 more minute!” echoed bystanders. It was still 200 meters or so to the finish line and my medal was slowly slipping away. I panted as my throat itched dry and I retched repeatedly. Gathering all strength I could muster, I sprinted and rounded the corner encouraged by rounds of applause from fellow runners egging me on. The word “FINISH” in bold letters loomed in the distance. Time-- a little over 2 hours, 30 minutes.

“Go go go!” I could make it, I encouraged myself. I ran even though I felt lightheaded and ready to collapse anytime. Then I crossed the finish line! I did it!

Time: 2:31:05. It didn’t matter. I knew I was earlier than the displayed time or gun start because of the timing chips which activated only when a runner crossed the starting line. And I had a good 15-20 seconds beforehand.

In the nick of time. 2:30+. Not bad considering…

A pretty girl in Milo uniform handed me my Finisher’s Gold Medal while another handed me my Finisher’s Certificate and loot bag. Dumbfounded and awestruck, I slowly walked aimlessly not really caring anymore if I was thirsty or that my legs felt like a block of lead. It was awhile before I realized I haven’t turned off my Garmin yet which now read 2:32! Now I will have to wait for Milo to release my official time.

The medal was heavy and shiny and I didn’t take it off displaying it proudly as I wandered around looking for my wife and friends.

Proud as I was, the medal came at a cost: 21 km long in a sun-baked atmosphere. 

Starting line. Trooping the line at exactly 5:30 am, the 21k runners started at an easy pace. I followed the 2:30 pacer marked by a green balloon. They were actually doing 6:20-6:30 mpk as we rounded the Provincial Capitol. I kept pace learning a cardinal mistake later on to run your own race. And for that I paid dearly.

My labidabi finishes her first 5k for a cause!
SRP. As runners entered the South Reclamation Property coastal road, we were greeted by the utter humidity and scorching temperature that permeated the air. With no shade in sight, majority of the runners suffered from fatigue and dehydration that slowed us down. I slowed down as well. My mind was already playing tricks on me to give up. I had long walking breaks that even showers and mist provided by firetrucks offer little respite from the blazing inferno.

There is no other way to say this but in Cebuano lingo “kalami iyaka ug ihilak!” The longer I walked the more stuck I will be in the SRP. And so I slowly made my way painstakingly while at the same time computing in my mind the remaining kilometers and the required pace I needed to do to catch up.

16k at 1:55. Barely 35 minutes left for the last 5k. I can make it, I thought. At 7:00 mpk, it would just be like an easy 3-miler for me. I prayed hard for strength and blocked negative thoughts away. I couldn’t have imagined more that I was right on cue and my finish was proof of that.

With fellow DOPMH Medics finishers: Marge and Lor in
their first 5k and Elvin in the 21k who finished
in a blistering 2:04. Not bad. Congratulations, guys!
However, as Milo’s official timings came out the next day many complained that it was off by 2 minutes as mine read 2:32:47 similar to my Garmin time which I forgot to turn off.

Adjusting discrepancies, I surmise that I finished in 2:30:47 for my third half marathon. In the nick of time! Although I was kind of disappointed that I finished better 2 weeks ago in the Aboitiz Race to Reduce (2:24:49) 21k, I couldn’t help but be amused by the eternal design of things. The night before, I prayed for a 2:30 finish, not 2:20, not 2:25, but 2:30 (although I thought of improving my 2:24). And God gave me just what I asked, haha!

I learned now that nature has a way with things. If on race day the sun burns hot, embrace it. No amount of teeth gnashing will help you run faster. Only determination and an aptitude for sufficient training can. And do not forget to ask the Supreme Being for strength and guidance. I promise you, He will help you make it through.

Just like me. In the nick of time!

See you on the next race, runners!

My family as my #1 inspiration!


  1. doc! congrats! as you can see in one of your images (kana ni-highlight ka sa imong name), ako na ang ika # 360 (bib # 2348) - Richie
    Al Villagante. i finished at 2:30:17 sa clock but the mylaps 2:31:56.

    way to go!

  2. Haha! Yes I know Katol nga ikaw na that's why I included you and Jack Daniel. Good race, bai, for your first half mary. Ila-ila na jud ta sa sunod!