As I was preparing for the race day, I kept an eye on the weather forecast. The temperature should be at it’s lowest, a slight drop down to 27°C during 1-2 am, and then gradually go up to 29°C around 8 am. The race starts at 3 am so we should have a run in 28° degrees.
Pre race preparations:
- Start early with drinking heavy amounts of fluid
- Carboloader at least 4 days
- Buy electrolyte salts
- Buy energy gels
- Tape feet
- Put heating lotion on calves
During the meet-up, the temperature was it’s coolest. Still, standing there waiting for my friends, out of built up anxiety and anticipation I started to feel sweaty. We met up and decided to go to the starting area straight away, as we didn’t expect anyone else to show up 15 minutes late.
I knew I had to slow down if I was to finish.
First 4 km was a nice speedy run at 04:31 min per km pace. I followed along three pacers that all had 1:45 finishing time on their backs. As I have done one 21 km race on sub 1:45 I felt that this is a good start, let’s see where this takes me. As every journey brings experience I felt ready to fight from the beginnings. However in hindsight I wish I would have done a personal pace in the beginning. As it turns out the front most 1:45 pacer had a rather drifty way of running, he was doing sub 4:50 min per km.
After about 8 km the pacer I was following took up an energy gel. I did the same, problem was I totally lost focus when doing so. I got aware of my surroundings in a very clear state and my head started to spin, lost the previous full focus on the race. I felt as if I wasn’t running my own race. This could very well have been a feeling of heat stroke. I couldn’t push enough as I wanted and kept on in a comfortable pace. My friends in the opposite lane kept cheering me on, but I couldn’t let anything get my focus switched, I put both thumbs up, didn’t look up, didn’t cheer back. As the traffic was let in batches in the intersections, I saw the pacer was standing still for a few seconds. As soon as he got the chance he started full speed again. The pacer went further and further away from me for every step.
At around 9.5 km a friend comes up right next to me; “Hey Robert, This is Amy, Are you doing 1:45?” Yes, I said, trying to push it. With that we ran together without a word and finally she said, “Good luck” and was on her way, and soon out of sight. I knew I had to slow down if I was to finish. This wasn’t a problem, in previous races people keep on rushing by. Knowing that, I kept on pushing where I sought possible and holding back where the energy felt misplaced. Drinking water at every station, and energy drink where I saw suitable.
I finished sub 1:55. As this was my second half marathon in the Philippines I can’t be happier. Sitting down at the finishing area, I felt really sick, ejecting the food I had last night did not help. After a quick photo shoot with my friends, I told them I needed some time alone. Sleeping in the shadow for a while, I got back enough energy to head to the start area for my belongings. I switched clothes and gulped some water awaiting me in my bag.