Jul 1, 2011

Din: The Road To Becoming a Marathoner

Update: 
1/26/2012 - I decided to complete this post rather than have it in 2 parts.

More than three months after running the TBR Dream Marathon 2011 (my first marathon!), when the euphoria has died down and the hustles and bustles of daily routine and work has taken over again, it is now the best time to look back and reflect on what led me to finish this great endeavor. Looking back will give me the insights (hopefully) to look forward and plan the next phase of my running activities.


The Decision
It was September last year that I made the big leap and decided to sign-up for the TBR Dream Marathon 2011. I was able to document what I felt back then here and here in making this decision. It was quite nerve-wracking since I felt I was not yet ready to take the plunge and run a marathon. In fact, my longest race back then was just a 16K!

What drove me though was the rising passion on running and the thought, "It is better to aim at the sun and hit the moon rather than aim at the moon and hit the rocks." Looking back, I thought, sometimes, there was indeed a thin line separating bravery and stupidity! =)



The Preparation
I learned that fear and uncertainty were great motivators. So much so that I took everything to the extremes especially my marathon training. I immediately worked on running half-marathon races. As a result, I ran two half-marathon races in two consecutive Sundays, the October Running Festival followed by the Adidas King of the Road.



You might be wondering, what were I thinking? Yeah, fear and uncertainty really makes you do stupid things. Great thing was I held back in these races meaning I did not race them until I "redline." I just considered them as "training runs." Most probably this was the reason why I did not incur any injuries.

Foolishly boosted by the "successes" in these two half-marathon races, I ran 3 more "challenging" (well from my standards) races in the two months after the Adidas King of the Road Race. These were:


Run United 2 32K


Corregidor Half-Marathon


Rizal Day Run 32K

All the while I thought I was doing something right when I successfully finished these races. I was even proud that I was ending 2010 with lots of confidence that I would be ready for the TBR Dream Marathon or even "I am now ready." Little did I know that I was setting myself up for disaster.


The Setback
I started 2011 with a bang by joining the Cebu half-marathon event. I was feeling great in the race that I decided to forego my run-walk strategy for the first time and ran the whole course non-stop!


Cebu Half-Marathon (I didn't noticed that the runner besides me was cramping. I only saw it after I downloaded the picture.)

I was on cloud nine because I considered this as a big achievement resulting from my training. Here came the start of the setback though. A few days after the race, I felt spent and wasted. I didn't have the energy or even the will to continue with my training. I was clueless on what was the cause of these challenges. As a result, for about a month, I was not able to rake in the necessary mileage indicated in my training program. Sadly though, I still had the bravado of thinking that I would post a much faster time in the Condura half-marathon event which was my next scheduled race after Cebu.


Condura Half-Marathon (This was near the 16km marker where I hit the proverbial "wall" and beca a walking mess afterwards.)

This was when I experienced the rude awakening. I ran Condura non-stop, just like Cebu, but I ran it fast from the start. Since I lacked the necessary training and mileage between Cebu and Condura, the outcome was already obvious. When I reached the 16km marker, I was already running out of steam. By the time I reached the 18km marker, I was running on fumes.

It was my first race that I felt very bad, physically and psychologically; that I just want it to be finished so that I could go home already. I felt really bad not because of the race (it was a great race) but because of my bad decisions.

A day of recovery did wonders to my spirit. I immediately set out to understand what happened to me.

After reading several articles, I thought I found the culprit. I peaked too soon! I was at my peak when I ran the Cebu Half-Marathon which resulted to my excellent performance.

This was potentially the result of running longer distances too early too soon. Looking back, I ran two 32K races one and a half months earlier that what was suggested in my training schedule. A big lessons learned indeed. I took heart though for this was a great lesson. It actually even energized me since I understood the cause of the challenges I encountered. It was a natural part of the cycle of peaking.


The Comeback
With these newly acquired knowledge, I set out to jumpstart my training to make the most out of the remaining 30 days in my training schedule before the big day. I was inspired and this could be seen from the mileage I racked.








The Race
A picture is worth a thousand words. What more if you have several pictures and a video to boot! As a result, I would let the pictures speak for the emotions and eventually the euphoria that I (and my batchmates) experienced before, during, at the finish line and after the race.


My lucky bib number which made me win a New Balance backpack bag in the TBR Dream Marathon send-off party raffle.


We were already at Nuvali around 12:30am. This showed how jittery and excited I was.


Less than 1 kilometer to go before the finish line. If you have noticed I used the Vibram FiveFingers Bikila as my shoes for my first marathon. I was not crazy. =D I will explain why when I review my FiveFingers shoes in a separate post.


Fist pump! All the pain you endured and struggled with especially at the last 10 kilometers of the race would surely disappear once you are 10 meters away from the finish line!


I read somewhere that only an idiot can finish a marathon. I proudly exclaim i am one now!


Another shot of the momentous moment.


With my #1 fan and the best support crew!


This summed it all!


There were plenty of "surprises" along the "killer" route.


This was the message at the back of our finisher's shirt and look at that kick-ass race medal!



This was the TBR Dream Marathon 2011 official video. Please check out the 12:13 section of the video. =) Enjoy!







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