Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Condura Skyway Marathon Run for for a Hero 2015

“We could be heroes… Me and you!!!” (Heroes by Alesso) – This was the song that played after gunstart, as the runners crossed the starting line of the Condura Skyway Marathon – Run for a HERO last February 1, 2015.

This was my second marathon. 

My first 42k was The Bull Runner –Unilab Active Health (TBR-ULAH) Dream Marathon last February 16, 2014.  Just like my first marathon, I trained with my husband and our coach.  Training for this marathon was different with the TBR Dream Marathon even if our Coach Mike prepared a detailed training plan. Let’s go back to the day when my husband registered.  We were so excited to run the Condura Marathon because we never experienced running the Skyway and this will be our first time.  

He was eager to register that he went to Asics Bonifacio High Street on the first registration day to purchase prepaid cards and avail of their promo (buy a pair of Asics running shoes worth PhP5,000 up and run the Condura Marathon for free) which was a good deal considering that the registration fee is PhP2,000 and he was due to buy a new pair of running shoes anyway.  So he had his gait analysis again and finally bought the Nimbus 16.  A few months after registration, it was time to “officially” begin our marathon training.  It wasn’t tough in the beginning since we do our regular weekday short runs and weekend long runs.  However, we were not as “OC” as how we were when we trained for our first marathon. Here are the reasons why:  


The Christmas season was definitely a challenge.  It was not so much about the food from all the Christmas gatherings (or gaining weight) but it was the ALCOHOL that made it a challenge.  Unlike our first marathon where we had ZERO alcohol months before the big day, we just had so much drinking sessions during the Christmas season which I would say made a difference with our training. Our weekday tempo runs were always shorter than what was in the training plan, because it was tough to wake up early from drinking the night prior to a scheduled run.


As part of the training program designed for us by our Coach Mike, we were scheduled to have a three hour long run on the second weekend of December (which did not happen since it was our 6th Wedding Anniversary Weekend), and another 3hr 30min long run on the second weekend of January which happened, but we did not reach our target mileage (we ran in Nuvali and we did not bring enough hydration for the long run – in other words, we were just too lazy to complete our long run).
After our last long run in Nuvali - before we officially  started tapering for the Condura Marathon

Post long run breakfast with the husband and the coach (the Mikes) at Army Navy, Solenad Nuvali

In short, I did not have a run over 25k while training for this marathon. My longest run was the NB Power Run way back in November. 

Now fast forward to the race kit claiming and days before the marathon…


We claimed our race kits at ASICS Bonifacio High Street last January 15 – Thursday. We knew that in a few weeks we will be running another marathon (a second one for me, and third for my husband), and all we could do at this time was to be physically healthy and mentally prepared for the marathon. 
Photo with Gerlene and Allan - fellow TBR Batchmates while waiting for our Condura racekits
Photo courtesy of Allan Lim 

Pic with the husband after claiming our Condura racekits at Asics Bonifacio High Street 

Since we had the best marathon training during our TBR –DREAM Marathon, we knew that the days leading to the marathon day are very critical in terms of hydration, nutrition and rest.  We were able to successfully taper for the race, sleep enough, and also had “sufficient carbo loading” prior to the race. 
"Carbo loading" prior to the marathon
Baked Fusilli cooked by my Mom 


Since I am a worrywart, the hours prior to the marathon would always be the toughest.  I would worry about the smallest and slightest thing, EVERY.SINGLE.TIME! 
My Condura Skyway Marathon Outfit
Customized New Balance singlet ordered by my Mom ("Forget the glass slipper, this princess wears running shoes.")
So while I was gearing up for my 2nd 42k race, I was just nervous because I was not supposed to use my new running shoes since I haven’t used them for more than 10km. But I had no choice because my old running shoes were worn out. My right knee would already hurt when I run a few kilometers with them so I had no choice but to use my new pair. I was also worried on our way to Alabang because Filinvest Exit was a bit traffic and it took us quite a while to get around Filinvest due to the road closures. Although the traffic marshals were very helpful, I was frustrated while driving around Alabang as I made several u-turns because of the re-routing.  Since I was jittery and restless prior to the race, I panicked especially when it was past 11pm (gunstart was 12mn) and we were still on our way to Bellevue Hotel where we will meet our coach. 
L-R: Coach Mike, Macel, Chix, Mike (my husband) at Bellevue Hotel where the Janeos were checked in
Photo courtesy of Gaby Janeo
But everything eventually fell into place… we walked to the starting line from Bellevue hotel and I was glad to be welcomed by one of my running idols, Mr Patrick Conception (one of the organizers of the Condura Marathon) near the starting line, as we walked and joined the rest of the runners in WAVE E, a few minutes before gun start, eager to start the marathon.


I had goose bumps when the race started since there were 44 PNP-SAF men at the start of the race who carried a picture each of the Fallen 44 who died in battle exactly a week before the marathon. I was teary-eyed at the starting line as all of us runners passed by while offering a salute to each of them.  I really felt that I was running for a hero.

Running 42k along the Skyway was TOUGH!

First half of the Condura Marathon
Photo courtesy of Photo-Ops

Running 42kms along the Skyway was mentally challenging. The route was simple.  You just have to start in Filinvest, Alabang, run to  Sucat – Bicutan – Magallanes – Buendia  then U-Turn, run to NAIA3 Skyway Ramp then U-Turn and run back to Buendia, make your last U-Turn and run back to  Magallanes – Bicutan – Sucat – until you reach the Finish line in Filinvest, Alabang.  See, it’s that SIMPLE… NOT!!!

The Skyway
Photo courtesy of Photo-Ops
The Skyway never felt this looooong… During the first half of the race, I was able to pray the rosary for the SAF Fallen 44, say quite a number of memorized prayers that I know and of course, I did enjoy waving and cheering my fellow runner friends, but apart from that – I just felt the road to the finishline was endless.  Considering that I ran with my husband and our Coach, it still felt like running forever! By Km30 I was too lazy to run, to walk, or even talk. I just want to finish the race… period! 
After running 30+kms at the Skyway during the Condura Marathon
Photo courtesy of Photo-Ops
I remember when my husband almost gave up at KM32 and told our Coach that he had cramps and he wanted us to go ahead and he will just follow.  But when our Coach said, “This is it! This is the start of the marathon,” we knew that we had to dig deep for us to go through the toughest part of the race (the last 10k) and that’s what kept us going.  At the 39th km, our coach said, “Chix, 3k na lang.” He said that to give me a “go signal” to go ahead and try to finish at a faster time while he runs with my husband, but I was just soooo tired. I couldn’t do it on my own. In my head I thought, "why am I doing this to myself?  Why do I have to run 42k when I could just run a 21k instead?" I have tried all the mind games I could think of to pass the time during the last few kilometers… I counted 1 to 100 as I ran, did it again and again and again.  I didn’t care about anything anymore, all I could care about was to see the FINISHLINE and go home and put my legs up… I’ve never felt so tired in my entire life!!!


A few hundred meters before the finish line, we were welcomed by spectators, family and friends of fellow runners, photographers, our dearest Macel, and Michelle Chan of the HERO Foundation (saying thank you to runners before crossing the marathon finish line - that was very touching). 

As I crossed the Finishline (5hrs 26 mins official chip time – a PR for all of us), I said a little prayer, kissed my husband, and hugged our coach.
At the Condura Marathon Finish Line
Photo Courtesy of Photo-Ops
We then walked to claim our medal and finisher kit, I was glad to see Mr. Patrick Concepcion again, who congratulated us as we finished. 

But the highlight of my Condura Marathon was when I got my medal from one of the soldiers in uniform, I cried when he hung my medal and as I said thank you to him. Running this marathon did not just change my life… In my own little way, I was able to help the families of our fallen heroes.

At Bellevue Hotel lobby while waiting for our car.
Photo courtesy of my husband, Mike

We were too lazy to eat or do anything after the marathon. So we walked to Bellevue (where our coach was checked in and where we parked our car), drank our recovery drink, drove home as fast as we could, took a bath, put our legs up and slept… A few hours after, we had our late breakfast and found ourselves talking about nothing else but the marathon.  We analyzed every single thing we did during training, our “what ifs” etc. etc. and made our “post-race discussion.” Of course when my husband asked me about running with my new running shoes, as expected, I told him, “The Kayano 21 did not disappoint. I think it is the best Kayano… yet!” 
My Asics Kayano 21 (thanks to my Mom & Dad for the pasalubong)
I have always been a lover of the Asics Kayano and even if I didn’t use it for any long run prior to the Condura Marathon, they were just perfect. As I always say, the Asics Kayano just keeps getting better and better. 


It was one of the most organized races I joined… ever!  I love that all the portalets I used (yes, all six of them – from the starting line to the finish) were clean, and there were no lines since they provided enough portalets for female runners.  Their hydration stations too were adequate as expected of any RUNRIO organized race. And, as always, their race marshals were very courteous and friendly. I only got the chance to grab one banana which was at the second to the last hydration station (all the other stations we passed by ran out already).  The people who manned the hydration stations and all the other staff who were on the race course were just more than willing to assist the runners - Kudos to the organizers of this race for a job well done!

Overall, the Condura Skyway Marathon was a great experience.  Of course it was a good race since we reached a PR (personal record) of 5hrs 26mins - official time. But will I run it again?  Definitely, but nothing over 21k! I just feel running the entire stretch of the Skyway (and back) once, is enough for me.

Catch you later!

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