I Wasn’t Prepared for the QCIM (Part 2)

I wasn’t prepared for…

…the video collage Carina prepared for me with the very appropriate Defying Gravity song from Glee but originally from the play Wicked. I know I did all those things in the video but I didn’t realize how many I did it to.  I forgot a lot of those already.  What I remember was the feeling of being able to help as a support or cheer crew and knowing that you have helped these runner friends.  It felt good then and it felt awesome watching it.


…the Facebook well-wishes that made my wall look like Christmas and New Year all at the same time.

…getting tonsillitis 3 days before the race hence Doc T prescribing a very strong antibiotic.

…not knowing what to wear on race day. Timmy kept asking what I was going to wear so he can find me when he goes back for me.  Hindi ko nga rin alam.  I know I needed to wear a white top and a white cap so the heat wont get to me so much.  But I didn’t like my white top.  If I wear my takbo shirt again, it meant I needed to wear my black top too with the red cap, which would be bad because of the heat and this is all I wear every time! Maiba ka naman!

I wore the black shorts, black top with the black takbo singlet and the red cap.

…PatCon saying good morning to me near the baggage counter and asking how my tonsillitis was. Sweet!

…Doc Roy braiding my hair at Jollibee.

…the calm I was feeling before and pretty much throughout the race.

…the perfect weather. The sun would shine just to smile at us and show us the beauty of the route – La Mesa Ecopark was gorgeous in the heat – UP was magnificent when you look up and see the outline of the leaves in the sun.  But Mr. Sun would hide behind some clouds when he got to be too bright, always at the perfect moments.

…the patience and care of my pacers: Rod, McCoy & Marky. They went far and beyond the call of duty even when there was no duty to be called for to begin with.

McCoy was the most excited to pace me. He was the one who texted to GO GO GO when I said I wasn’t doing it na dapat. My Star Pacer-he paced me on my first 15km, my first 21km and he now was fulfilled his promise to pace me for my first 42km.  Mind you, this halimaw is runner in its truest sense.  He did a splendid job at T2N and he could have gunned for a good time for his first marathon—yes ladies and gents, QCIM was also his first marathon—but he opted to race at my pace, a pace he will do 100x better the next time he does it for himself.  And I will be there. J

Rod. My Rodalicious.  He was the one of PM’d me and encouraged me to still do it.  This guy has always been an inspiration to me.  BDM 102 and his tears of joy at the finish. Near in ages (I had to say it, Im sorry! lol), we have the same issues of hypertension and for whatever else reason, we took a liking to each other.  During the race, at every incline I’d walk, he’d hold my hand and short of pulling me, make sure I won’t fall behind in an uber walking pace.  Unfortunately, when he went ahead of us,  someone told him, he had to ride the ambulance already because he was the last runner.  When he said, no, I still have 3 runner friends back there.  They said, no, they already rode the ambulance.  Cut off na po. He seceded.  *sad*   It was unto his shoulders that I bawled at the finish.

Marky.  Ultramarathoner. I didn’t know Marky was going to pace me.  I knew he was running his first marathon too but to pace me was something that I did not know of.  But he was there, impatient with me but there (lol).  He was my pusher.  But no one can really push an exhausted runner. Sorry, Marky.  But you did awesome with me.  Thanks!

…the patience and care of my bike support: Ronald. Ultramarathoner. Ironman. When I ‘supported’ Ronald at BOTAK 100 years back, I did not know him. I did not know he was doing 100km while I did my 10km. My sister, Iris and I called him Yellow in the pictures because he was wearing a yellow top and that was all we knew of him. When he started his path to becoming an Ironman and was sputtering in the water as he didn’t know how to swim yet in November, I called it…I said, this guy will do awesome on his Ironman.  His swim will be fast.  I was there for his first Ironman and I couldn’t be happier to see him at the finish line.

Ronald was my bike support and whether he liked it or not, he knew he had to see me finish (lol). He was in pain seeing me walk – hahaha.  He even made a halo halo promise if I made it at 1pm. Sorry, no halo halo for me. Hahaha.  He became the official photographer, carrier of all water and hydration and he did such a wonderful job.  Best job he did that day?  He called Neville the organizer when the marshalls, ambulance, motorbiked cops, MMDA’s, were calling me to ride the ambulance already as it was already cut-off and we wouldn’t stop.  He called Neville and made the concession that we should be at UP by 11AM  (we were at Litex at this time).

Bestest job everyone of them  did?  They had the patience to literally be bored to tears as they waited for my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, whatever numbered wind I’d have at nag-kibit balikat na lang nang hindi siya dumating Hahaha. Thank you. Thank you.

…for the number of people who shouted their Go Marga! to and from Commonwealth Avenue.  I had to hug a couple of them and literally shout their names as I was so happy to see them, Gail in particular were we both got teary-eyed.  Unfortunately my pacers made me stop hugging people as it was unnecessary energy to spend when I should be spending it on running. Fine! (lol)

… Bong and Rej of Team Boring to go back for me with cold water and Gatorade and see me to the finish.  Awesome!  These were guys I didn’t know, really. But they walked with me.  Incidentally, they also just finished their first marathon in QCIM, and  going back for me made it another ultramarathon for them. Crazy people! J Marami pong Salamat.

…Timmy, Raf, Sid, Rico, Emil & Erick to be additional bike support. Emil and Erick rode with us to the finish, keeping Ronald company-hehe.  Rico was great as he went back and forth ,bringing  back cold drinks to us with Let’s Goya chocolate for me J .  Seeing Timmy, Raf and Sid was simply refreshing in that heat.

…2 marshalls relieving my pacers their pacer duties at the Eco Park as they encouraged me to run uphill instead of simply walking them.  Bounce lang. Kaya yan.

… the non-water station after La Mesa Ecopark to the finish. Buti na lang my bike support were there.

…at least 10 officers (marshall, cop bike, cop car, MMDA) telling us throughout Eco Park to UP that we should ride na the ambulance as it was already cut-off. They told us this a little before 10AM and through out.  I said cut-off was 11:30.  Marami na daw kaming naaabala sa daan.  Marami na daw nagagalit.  Kami na daw ang last.  These were said  in authoritative voices with people in uniform.  Kinda scary.  I had to tell 2 ambulances beside me, sorry po, pero tatapusin ko to. Hanggang mamaya pa po kayo.  1 said, sigurado kayong ayaw niyong sumakay? Another said, sige po ma’am, takbo lang kayo, experience din po ito para sa amin.

Mga marshalls, mahirap po ang 42km, lakarin or takbuhin man.  Pag nagyayaya po kayong isakay kami sa ambulansya, napakadali pong mag- Oo dahil kami po ay pagod na, mainit, masakit na ang katawan, at oo, nahihiya rin po kami sa mga taong naabala, pero kailangan po naming tapusin eh.  Hindi ko po ma-e-explain pero kailangan ko pong tapusin.  So, next time po, alam ko po na trabaho ninyong i-ascertain kung may maitutulong kayo, pero, mas mainam na maitulong niyo ay ang i-encourage kami.  If you don’t see any dire emergency, we’d appreciate it if you could just encourage us and let us be, but let it not be that the first words out of you mouths be, Sakay na po.

My pacers had a good laugh when we had a good number of hagads as we crossed over to the other side of Commonwealth – 3 ambulances  with wang wangs (sorry, PNoy), 6 motorbikes stopping traffic, 6 more motorbikes behind the ambulance.  Hirits of, Wow, Celebrity. Saan mo pa ma-e experience to na hinahawi ang traffic pa ra sayo? Daig mo pa si PNoy!

McCoy telling me, takbo ka naman, para makita ng mga bus at jeep na hindi ka naglalakad. Tumatakbo naman ako tuwing may audience amidst the pain on soles of my feet.  I am embarrassed by all of these but know that the hagads had no choice but to protect us.

…to trudge on even after the cut-off. But McCoy was telling me, ngayon pa tayo hihinto? Maski walang ng ambulance sa likuran natin, tuloy tayo.  To Finish lang kasi ang goal. Wala na yang time na yan (*sniff).

…for my pacers not telling me the time or give me my cell phone so I won’t be distracted. I couldn’t tell you which kilometre we were at what time.

…me whining at the last 3km at CP Garcia that the soles of my feet were hot and in pain na.  Rej said, o sige, tigil na tayo.  Ayan na ang taxi, parahin na natin.  Sabi ko, I will use all my energies left and push you onto the oncoming traffic!

…not knowing where the turn-around point was at CP Garcia because at this point, there were no markers already.  Buti na lang Rej and Bong has finished the course and knew exactly where it was.  McCoy became my turn-around point like  a game at Christmas with person to turn-around in.

…Ronald telling me sige, sakay ka na ng bus. Tapos pagdating sa Finish, kuha ka ng medal ha?  Hindi ito ang unang beses na nagbike support ako at mangyari to.

…a whole entourage of friends at the curb in the last 900 meters. Teary eyed me. McCoy saying, hindi po to ang finish.  Sa Philcoa pa. Aagawan kita ng eksena sa pag-iyak!  I see Pio running beside me.

…another set of friends waiting for me at the last 400meters. I see two beautiful banners.  I hear people clapping.  I can’t see anymore.  My eyes were blurry.  I felt Jinoe placing the finishers medal around my neck.

McCoy saying, hindi pa ito ang Finish .  Sa Philcoa pa. Ngayon pa ba tayo ma-DNF? (akala mo naman at this point may organizers pa who cared about us. lol) Sprint to the finish Marga. C’Mon!  I ran and I knew everyone of them were running behind me.

I ran even if there was no path to run in because of the bottleneck of jeeps, buses, cabs towards Jolibee.

I know that there was not going to be a Finish Line for me.

I know that I will not step on the timing chip mat.

I know I will not see the Time of my Finish on the clock.

But as I sprinted to that non-existent Finish Line,
I also know that I have finished 42KM in 9 hours.

To a much better Finish Line anybody can ask for –

Into the arms of my friends who waited for me.

Some may say that that was an embarrassing run.  That they could walk the same route and finish way before 9hrs.  And that when you run a marathon, you run it,  not walk it.

But this was a perfect run for me. This was My Perfect Marathon.  Perfect Weather. Perfect Route. Perfect Pacers.  Perfect Support.  Perfect Finish.

I know I am not a marathoner in the athletic sort of way.  I will not break records.  I have no delusions of grandeur  about this.  I do have, though, my whole being put into a personal challenge, that I thought impossible, that I now have conquered.  The banner  said it all: Nothing is impossible.  The impossible just takes longer. (This made me laugh and cry at how apropo it was at that exact moment)

I know my place in the Running Community.  I am the lower bar you set your times against—and this is not a bad thing.  If Doc Pinx is our high bar (she finished 4:24 in SG) and Julie Hotlegs is our middle bar (she finished 5:19 in LV), I am the lower bar.

I love being that bar. If I  finish a marathon and people are inspired to say , ‘if Marga can do it, I can do it too,’ then my work here is done.

The other good thing about being the lower bar?  I have no way to go but up. *smiles*


92 thoughts on “I Wasn’t Prepared for the QCIM (Part 2)

  1. marga i am super teary-eyed now after reading your post! truth be told, im actually crying na. haha! babaw ng tears! 🙂 love u marga! i am sooooooo proud of you! mwah!

    • thank you gail-y. you have inspired me when you did the dream marathon early this year. i cannot not do mine in the same year too, right? hahaha.
      each journey is different. each journey is beautiful. each perfect on its own.

  2. Ninang!!!!! You did it! (Gosh I’m crying na din, ikaw kasi eh . hehe) I like your upper.. mid.. and lower bar… Get the bar!!! Aylabmargamarathoner!!!

  3. Hi Marga. I did my first half marathon in QCIM and clocked 3:41:30, the slooowest in my group. I went ahead with the run despite swollen knees, praying that my spirit will accomplish what my knees could not. At 18k, every step I took was painful but thought if i put a foot forward one step at a time, makakarating din ako sa finish line!

    Now that you have tested the limits of your human heart, can you imagine what ELSE you can accomplish?

    Am doing my first marathon next year, hope to catch you on the road some time!

  4. I’m also a runner and so far, I’m at 10km level.. I guess this is one of those stories I have to keep because it inspired mo to reach 42km just like you..! congrats marga! hugs!

  5. hi marga. saw your link @ Vlad&Kevin’s NeverRunAlone and followed it. Man, hate to admit – got to wipe my eyes out. I wish i could do the same thing, but i know i cannot rush my self to do it, that was very brave! You’re lucky too, dami ka friends to cheer and support you (i wish i have those kind of friends too:-( ).
    Congrats! You inspire me…

    • Hi Jun. Do not rush. Your time will come when it’s the right time. And its only you who can make it right. 🙂 Let me know when you run your first, k? 🙂

      My friends are awesome! The best even. When I started running in 2008, sila na ang nanjan and I continued running because of the amazing camaraderie they put forth and made me so much a part of.

    • PatCon! I was trying not to be starstruck with you at the 4th FrontRunner Lecture Series. You made it so easy with your self-effacing demeanor and I am impressed with how your wife and your family supports you in your passion as well. A true icon in the community that we all emulate. Thank you for the words of encouragement before the race, during and even after. To Condura and Beyond! 🙂

  6. Your effort,grit, and heart in finishing is worth its weight for every sub-4 hour finish out there. Me and Abby are so so proud of you dear 🙂 What an experience 😛 As Patcon said, welcome to the club 😛 Huuuuugs!!!

  7. Congrats Marga. Oo matagal ka, oo masakit na, pero ang point is kinaya mo and with that hats off to your first FM. Yung iba still dream of having their FM and you already did. Bow kami sa’yo and to your support.

    • Bow rin po ako sa aking support. Believe me. My level of support to them cannot compare to what they did for me in that nine hours. A-mazing! How can I not finish with six of the best people you’ll even meet, believing in you that you can finish? How can I not when there were 20-40 people waiting for me, at the finish?

      I finished because of them. 🙂

      Thank you for writing in your comment 🙂

  8. Congrats Marga!
    You were always the one who’s willing to go the extra mile for these people, and now you know how much you are loved by ’em! Congrats again! 😀

  9. Glad to read about your first marathon, margalicious! I admire your grit and never-say-die attitude. I was truly happy when I saw you on Commonwealth that day. Parang I felt good that you were there in the thick of things, doing a full marathon! You have one up on me! I don’t think I can do that yet.

    But the main point is you finished, and that means, mission accomplished. The best thing about this is, nothing can stop you now.

    Really proud of you, Marga!!

    Keep moving forward!

    • It felt good to be in the thick of things too that day. 🙂 It was my day. Kahit ano pang sabihin ng kahit sino, it was my day to finish my first.

      ‘Great to see you. Condura na? 🙂

  10. You have an ordinary talent. Even below normal some would say; however, your extraordinary perseverance and passion made you finish the race.

    Congrats Marga!

  11. Hi Marga!

    Last Sunday was also my debut marathon. And we share the same feeling of fulfillment.
    I finished the whole distance in 6:36 (according to my TIMEX chrono). It was the exact moment that the crew had already put down the START/FINISH line banner. Yun tuloy ang tinapakan ko na parang timing-chip mat 😛

    The first time I saw you that day was in Jollibee-Philcoa. Then after a while may nag-a-ayos ng buhok mo 🙂

    Then next time I saw you with your friends/pacers was along the route of La Mesa Ecopark.

    Until I got already home, hindi kita nakalimutan.
    I admire your determination plus your very supportive friends 🙂

    ONE BIG CONGRATULATIONS MARGALICIOUS – for a very great achievement!

    • Congratulations Marathoner Arianne Ortega!!! 🙂 (Ang sarap basahin, noh?)

      Thanks for thinking of me and let’s share our experiences with others. Write about your own story. Show them your medal. Be proud of it. Let you be the inspiration you can be to others. 🙂 See you on the road.

  12. OK I know I commented on your FB already but I realized I also have to post it here. Coz in FB matatabunan sya. Here it’s gonna be forever. So let me copy and paste it. =)

    Marga babe, I posted this on my FB page the day before my marathon…

    “The first and last thing to keep in mind is — whether it’s Chicago or another marathon — it’s a journey. And the point of the journey is not just about arriving at the end, it’s about everything that happens along the way. Embrace it, draw from it, endure it and own it: the spirit of the marathon.” – raymund britt

    You did it, my love. And that’s all that matters. It’s your journey and no one dare judge it kung hindi uupakan ko sila! LOL! I read your blog while we were on our way back from Vegas using Mike’s iphone and I was in tears reading it out loud to him. How I wish I was there for you, babe. But I did think of you all day and prayed for you 3 times. Seriously! Come visit me here. Stay with me and let’s join a race together, ok? Ako naman ang magpe-pace sa yo. =)

    Thanks you for being such an inspiration. In my list, you are way up there. Number 1, in fact. =) Love u!

    • It is everything that happens along the way. If you don’t enjoy it, what’s the point in all of it? And I know the only way to enjoy it is to make it my own. And it was mine. I just had to claim it.

      Thank you for praying for me always. I am sooo proud of your own marathon. ‘Cant wait for your story. I am honoured to have shared December 5, 2010 with you. 🙂

      Offer to pace me, accepted! 🙂

      I love you. Ever so proud of you. Miss you!

  13. congratulations Marga! I’ve heard this hype of yours last week during the aNR UP Diliman. I even saw you at the oval. I told myself, I gotta witness your success and finish and I did.. It was a very courageous effort, forget the time! It’s all about how bad you want it, your desire and i admire that! CONGRATULATIONS once again 🙂

  14. Nobody would know how a marathon is unless they actually participate in one. It is useless to even describe it to them. What’s the problem with walking? Remember SUBIC INTERNATIONAL MARATHON? I caught up w/ Mar and he said he’s not gonna run anymore and we walked the rest of the way, halfway thru the race…you ask them… do you know anyone who would walk from SCTEX to sbma?

    • Doc Roy!!!! Agree. Everyone has their own amazing story to tell. I remember Subic. I will never forget Subic. I remembered you in Subic. I was proud of you then. Proud of you now. Pang ilang marathon na nga ito? 🙂

  15. you mean they measure run in hours? basta ako, i measure it in love and in love units, you’re the fastest and greatest runner that day.

  16. Marga, I’m so proud of you. We were so worried kung ano na nangyari sa inyo nina Mccoy, Rod at Marky lalo na nung buksan nila yung traffic sa commonwealth. But I know you have an iron will and strong heart. Despite all the hardship, I know you won’t quit. I believed in you! (sensya na kung di na kita naabangan sa iyong pag-cross ng finish line pero I know you will finish it)

    Congrats marathoner marga! 😀

  17. Congratulations on finishing your first marathon! To conquer your own fears and doubts is the greatest achievement. And you have the love of your family and friends all the way to help you take that one step forward towards the finish line. I am confident that this will not be the only marathon that you will finish. There will be others races to conquer. I always love the underdog and believe in what you say that there’s no way but up. So just keep going at it, keep working at it because you’ve just managed to finish something that only about less than 1% of the entire world population would ever dare to dream of and accomplish.

    God bless you always and see you on the roads of life again!

    Titanium Runner

  18. Marga, congratulations!
    I ran my 2nd 21K in QCIM and clocked in the finish line with 3 hrs 5 mins. I had to make 4 stopovers at 4 diff First Aid Station as Cramps set in as early in the 7th K. Had to run limping up to the finish line.
    After the run, I told my running buddies that It’s Over! NO MAS! NO MAS! It’s a Shattered Dream of being able to run a 42K Marathon as admittedly my aged body (51) can no longer take it. ( i started running only last year )
    Your story, hmmmm… very inspiring! Very Inspiring! …..Change of Heart…. Ha ha ha, maybe I’m really Crazy (as claimed by others)….hmmmmmm
    Thank you……Thank you!!!!!

  19. This is truly an inspiring story! (Nanikip din ang dibdib ko habang binabasa ko ‘to) Pinigil ko lang lumuha dahil maraming tao dito sa office 🙂

    I ran the 21k and finished it strong. Me and my wife watched the awarding ceremony and leave the area by 10am. And as we were waiting for a taxi at philcoa, we could still see a few number of runners on the other side of the road. And by that time, I realized that these runners deserved a lot of respect. With more hours exposed to pain, heat, and exhaustion. You must call yourself an EXTREME ATHLETE. I think, even kenyans runners would have a very hard time running that long in that kind of heat (baka hindi pa nila kayanin dahil sobrang payat nila) as they can naturally ran an FM sub 2:30.

    Again, congratulations on your accomplishment mam marga! Your marathon story has found a placed in my heart.

    Kudos! Salute!

  20. What an inspiring piece, Marga! Brought tears to my eyes. Such courage and determination.

    To Geesy: I’m 51 yrs old and this was my first marathon too. I did it in 4:51, so you’re not too old 🙂 Just make sure you train properly and copy the NBA players – soak feet in ice water and put an ice pack on your knees after very long runs 🙂

  21. wow, such an inspiring story, Can’t stop my tears, kahit nasa office ako… I will be running my first half marathon on January.. Your story, along with my determination and focus will serve as my mental power bars, to finish the race.

    Congrats po, I also run QCIM, 10k distance, with my new best PR.


  22. WOW, this is a very unusual Saturday morning for me.

    My usual easy Saturday morning breakfast momentarily became a bout between controlling my tearducts and swallowing my food as i was reading your story. Yours is a great story Marge. I ran the QCIM 10k and it was a great experience for me too. I was browsing through blogs and fb pages looking for stories that would inspire me for my first 21k tomorrow at the Milo and your story hit me right on the head. Very inspiring indeed!

    Congratulations Marge and more power to you! Keep running and writing too!

    Ben G.

    • Thank you for commenting, Ben. I am touched that you were touched with my story. Let’s continue inspiring others with our passion.

      Wow. You’re doing 21km tomorrow. All the best of luck to you and trust that if you will it, it shall be.

  23. Hi Marga,
    I saw you in la mesa….I am sure it was you based on the photo. But I don’t know if you would even recognize me.
    Your perseverance is very inspiring. You have shown us the heart and soul of a real marathoner.
    You’re also very lucky to have a very supportive friends….I extend also my congratulations to your friends.

    See you on the raod,

  24. Hey there Marga, what an experience! And what a great reward! a collective embrace from your friends and the running community. I bet that was a whole lot better than the lousy medals the organizers gave out. It may sound too cliche, but the person who said it was right on the money: “the point is you had the courage to start,” and let me add, finish. Congratulations.

  25. Hi Marga,

    We also saw your group at the La Mesa Dam area. I am also a first time finisher, and was running with 4 other friends. We finished in 7 hours, and I remember the police and marshals kept asking us if we were the last group. We kept telling them that we saw at least 4 more people, so they can’t pack up just yet 🙂

    Timing mat or no timing mat, finishing the entire 42K was definitely an experience. Just like you, our pace group really drew our strength from the people who joined and cheered us along the way (one friend even ran the last 5 km with us in his slippers!).

    Congratulations on your excellent finish!
    Let’s both try it at least one more time!

    • Thanks, Hazel. I saw your happy group going into La Mesa Dam. It’s such a wonderful experience to share, isn’t it? To run with friends…seriously, no matter the time, right? 🙂

      We will do it again. For sure. 🙂

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