(This is a long-overdue gratitude blog for Jinoe and Que; am glad that it comes on the heels of this voting thing as a game changer for the tattawards.)

My foray into running began in 2008 when I got sick and needed to drastically change my sedentary lifestyle.  Not only did takbo.ph give me an opportunity to read through accounts of hundreds of people who ran,  takbo.ph also allowed me to be who I am without being a subject of ridicule or judgment – considering running is a sport and I’m ahhh, well, ahhh….not sporty J  I was big and beautiful.  But I was accepted.  I was made to feel welcome and loved.  As slow as I was, as big as I was, I had a place to be as slow and as big as I needed to be.

It was in takbo.ph that I found really good friends – the kind you find in elementary or high school – where it’s a little bit more pure as when you’re older – you know what Im talking about  – the same interests, humour, wavelength, music, writing style, the same type of kindness – where most believed in good and positivism, where hardwork and discipline are part and parcel of the running lifestyle.

Poster Making for First Time Marathoners

People at takbo.ph are good people.  They are not mean, they encourage, they wait for you to the finish, heck they even pace you from start to finish, they make posters and banners for your first marathon, and much much more.  How much more?  Let’s see…

TAKBO.PH is a Venue to Get People Together

  • Although there may be dissenting opinions in the different fora, it’s managed really well by the administrators; such that when it gets too personal and mean, it gets bumped off; it truly is a venue for togetherness and respectfulness (I know wrong grammar.)
  • As cheesy as it is, there are many a love affair that hails from the site (Aminin! Natuloy man o naunsyami, kinilig pa rin kayo diba? LOL)
  • Businesses made; business partnerships forged (parang LOTR lang ah)

The Iconic TAKBO.PH Tarpaulin

The TAKBO.PH  tarp is an iconic tarpaulin in all the races–every runner wants to have a picture with that tarp – it used to be just one; but as the family grew, and different running groups  were formed, Jinoe and Que had to produce more and more.

The Iconic Banner at McDo

Various Advocacies TAKBO.PH introduced, initiated, and maintained

  • The Breakfast Club was the brainchild of Que and Mar if Im not mistaken, where runners contribute to a gathering for children without homes at Jollibee, play games with them, have a meal with them and have them bring home a loot bag of groceries for their families.

Breakfast Club, Pasay

Botak 100 at KM 81

  • Angel Brigade. Takbo.ph is a staple of Angel Brigade.  When typhoon Ondoy hit, it was takbo.ph who built care packages of sardines, noodles, crackers, milk, water , clothes and more.  They would of course do this after their runs at BHS, but always ready to help…until today when AB asks for volunteers, you know at least 20 pairs of legs will be at the AB Headquarters packing as fast as they can to get the relief goods to our kababayans

Tired Packers

Med Mission, Rizal (Tent City)

Medical Mission, Rizal

  • Mountain Climbers are also runners and through AB and takbo.ph,  we built packages of slippers, blankets,  kulambos, and school supplies and they brought it to the literally far flung areas of the north

Marky on the mountain of Benguet

  • Pencil Project, Better Bones Project are only a couple of individually-initiated projects that tapped into the takbo.ph database and knocked on our hearts to donate items and time, which we all happily did.


Such as the Cervical Cancer and Sports Injury Talk by Doc Dianne and Doc Rannie;  Biggest Loser 1-2-3 where those who joined really fought for this title; as well as the Wine and Cheese Parties at 7 in the morning; games of patintero and luksong tinik even before the BHS backyard was done; of Girls Night Out, concelebrated birthdays, the traditional Noche Buena Run, Bisita Iglesia Run the missing CP2, of bloggers and such

Wine and Cheese

Girls Night Out

Noche Buena Run in UP

Bisita Iglesia Run (From UP to Quiapo


Luksong Tinik

The Mysterious CP2

Blogger Friends (Photo by Jazzrunner)

TAKBO.PH  Does Not End with Finishing a Marathon

  • Because of the discipline developed in training for longer distances, inclusive of recovery runs, speed training, tempo run, drills, cross training (swim, bike),  proper nutrition, and plenty of reading , there are different ways of growing in this beloved community
  1. Your Personal Record (PR) is the best way to measure your development in this sport.  This entails listening to your body and not copying your neighbour’s training plan or PR.  Your growth is your own.
  2. 3-5-10-15/16-21-32-42-50-60-70-80-102-160-250km.  I know, I know…the 250km is a relay – hahaha.  As you develop endurance and stamina and a true love/craziness for this sport, you also tend to up the ante as far as distance is concerned.  Have you noticed though that longer distance runners are thinner? hahahaha
  3. Triathlons.  A natural progression to running is multisport /triathlon.  The transition to this is amazing.  I’ve literally seen a n ultramarathoner  – non swimmer (sputtering at the army pool) progress to a couple of Half Ironmans under his belt as well as a Full Ironman Distance  in just 12-18n months time.  As more runners are getting more and more into multipsort, I cant help but be glad that their base is running, for a triathlete can tell you that the game and therefore the finish is made in the run.

Runners turned Triathletes

My life is full and meaningful because I googled running in 2008 and found TAKBO.PH – I read, participated in the fora, shoutboxed during office hours (shhhhh…), bought the takbo singlet, happily wear them in all my races, ran 5, 10, 21, 32, and 42km here and abroad, all the while enjoying the camaraderie of friends  who I know will last a lifetime.

Game Changer you say? I say Life Changer 


Anonymous Runner (Part 2)

KM 81

We saw our van parked by a dirt road at the foot of the bridge.  We parked the car behind them as Nick made us wear reflectorized sashes so we can be seen in the dark.  When we got out of the car, holy kamote!  It was sooo dusty.  We decided to turn over supporting duties at a better location.  So at this point Pat had all of his 10-member  support crew waiting for him at KM 81.

Crew # 2 stepped out of the van and waited because Pat was waaay late in his time.  Sheila told me, “ang pangit na ng itsura ni Pat”, which I thought to mean since it was dusty, and he was sweating, na hindi na gwapo si Pat. Boy, was I wrong! I learned later that she meant Pat was really pale when they left him at the start of the bridge pa lang but that they couldn’t obviously stop at the middle of the bridge so they waited at the end of it.

Irene was the one who saw him from afar.  Walking.  She couldn’t believe that it was Pat, seemingly holding on to dear life on the bridge rail.  She ran to him.  His eyes were closed and using the bridge rail as his only guide. By the time I saw Irene and Pat at the foot of the bridge,  I went to Pat’s right side as Irene was on his left and put my left arm around his waist.  I was whisper-shouting into his hear (amidst the noise  of the busy bridge), ‘what happened? Are you just sleepy?’

And then it happened.  He leaned his whole body weight on me.  It took me a moment to realize he was collapsing unto me.  I grabbed my right hand around the front of his waist to carry him while still walking and called to Nick and Dado and Beeps, “Nick! It’s dead weight.  I can’t carry him!” They were there in a split second and supported us to the van.  Someone removed one ice chest likod ng van so Pat can sit down.  Doc Pnx was on him with a  sphygmomanometer and Doc Apple was taking his heart rate in mere seconds.  Sheila and someone else were massaging his legs.  I think it was Aileen who gave him ammonia or white flower on a cotton ball to wake him up.  His eyes were still closed and he looked pale as heck! And he still was not speaking.  And when he did speak, it was to say with a shake of his , ‘hindi ko na to tatapusin. hindi ko na kaya.’

I stepped back in fear.  As everyone was working on him, I stepped back looking to gain a little bit of sane perspective of the situation. Crap! Think, Marga. Think.  I felt him collapse on me.  I saw his pale face maski it was dark.  He was cold to the touch.  But he was still walking.  Kaya pa ba niya? Do we push?  Or when we do push, will he be worse off in the end? We’re here to make him finish , but in this situation, is it the right thing to do? Man!  He can’t go out like this.  He can’t DNF at a point where he’d really feel the DNF as a failure. (As a runner, you know what this means.)  There’s giving up and there’s giving up.  Lord, help.  What do we do?

We see Team Boring’s crew park beside us waiting for Gab, Mar and Doc T.  Their crew came to see how they can assist Pat and I hear Bong B (who’s running his first 102 next week) say, “ Pat! Mag donate ka naman ng support crew mo sa amin next week!” which drew laughter to all who could hear him.  Even I smiled.

I saw Gab walk to his crew and I gave him a hug.   He looked really strong, this one.  And as if the angels told me what to do, I told Gab, ‘ Please talk to Pat.  He’s thinking of dnf-ing.  He’ll listen to a fellow ultramarathoner.’  Gab went to Pat.  ‘Ano ka ba, Pat?!.  Kaya mo yan! Maski lakarin mo. Aabot ka ng cut-off.  Kaya kami nag ultra dahil sa yo! Ano ka ba?”

I was softly crying at this point, praying Pat heard him and gets re-inspired by the same people he inspired before.

I saw Ronald next and told him the same thing, ‘please talk to him.  He’ll listen to you.’ Ronald goes to him and like a bother spoke to him in a firm but caring voice. ‘Hindi ka pwedeng huminto. Maski lakarin mo.  Marga, maski i-pace ninyo na siya. Kesa naman bumagsak na naman yan sa gitna ng daan. Bro, kaya mo yan! Lakad lang! Tapusin lang natin.”

I was crying na talaga.  I told Beeps, can you please call Mrs. BR to ask if we can pace Pat already?  Natatakot  tayong mag-collapse na naman siya.  We know its only KM 81 but we’re really worried.  Beeps called.  They said for safety we can shadow him rather than leapfrog.  But we cannot pace him.  He’d be disqualified.  We understood.

While all this was going on, Pat had his eyes open and the crew was feeding him.  Gutom talaga.

He stood up and stretched. And took stock of everything that was told to him.  He said, ‘1K.’  Which meant he didn’t want a pacer and he sure as hell wouldn’t want us shadowing him.  We’d leapfrog. That was a small miracle we thanked God for.  He’s getting back on his feet.  He’d walk until he’s digested his food.  But he was ok.  I looked to Doc Pnx asking with my eyes if he’s good to go.  She nodded.  Moments like these were everyone’s focused on one goal, you can actually talk to each other with your minds.  There will be many of these moments later on in this story.

Pat started to walk on the dirt road.  Doc Pnx ran after him to give him water.  I see them talking.  She walked back to us and said, ‘hanggang 102 nalang daw ang kaya niyang tapusin’.

We drove about 400 meters into a gas station and Crew 2 turned over to us everything.  We decided that we will push him until he can’t be pushed anymore.  But we had the goal of finishing 160km and by golly, we sure as well will try our darndest!

KM 81-86 was a walk struggle for Pat and for us.  Very conscious of the 2 .5 hours delay we have on our target time as well as the 11:30PM cut-off at the KM 102 marker, we were computing and re-computing at every km.  What pace he needs to run in so he can make it and all that.

It was at KM 86 that Doc Pnx and Nick told Pat that he needed to pick up his pace so he can make it by cut-off time . Doc Pnx was not allowing Pat to stop anymore.  We were rushing everything to him- water, water with electrolytes, chocolates, egg para lang hindi na siya mabigyan ng dahilan huminto sa van.  And at the rate of 1km per leap frog, stopping is no longer an option.  Nick told him he needed a 9 or better pace. Jog lang huwag lang maglakad ng matagal.  Lauren said, if he just shaves off 2 minutes at every kilometer, he can make it with time to spare.

KM 87

It was at KM 87 that he began his rally and Doc Pnx and Nick decided to not let him stop longer than necessary. Doc Pnx was an awesome motivator, literally dragging Pat when he was slacking. ‘Hindi na pwedeng huminto. Hindi pwede maglakad. ‘ Of all of us, Doc Pnx had the only credentials as far as a runner is concerned in pushing Pat this way.  Pat will listen to her in sheer fear or embarrassment . Whatever works. LOL.

She would run after him after force feeding him chocnut so he can wash it down with water. And for Pat force feeding was our game plan at this last stretch.  Our mistake of letting him be when he said he’s not hungry or does not want to eat earlier will not be repeated.  We know better now.  He metabolizes really fast so he needed to be fed every kilometre.

We were so ecstatic every time we would see him from afar gaining speed and not walking.  In the dead of the night, Lauren, Doc Pnx and I would scream our cheers to him. It was pure joy to see him running and seeing that determined look on his face after what we witnessed at KM 81.  Every kilometre became a celebration.  And he was passing some runners already.  And we knew he needed to see that he can still pass some of them to go on.  As we leap frogged, we’ll see runner x and runner y and we’d scream inside the van ecstatic with the fact that he really is gaining ground-literally!

At one point in a long straight stretch of the road, we saw at least 10 vehicles with their hazard lights on parked on the right side of the road.  Dado, Nick, Lau and I looked at each other and said, ‘it means he has at least 10 runners he can surpass!’  This realization made us girls scream again! We see a group of runners walking.  I see Gab saying in a booming voice looking up in the sky, “Come Holy Spirit!…” I see Coach Mar going strong like an ox! Grabe! When he said the Angels were with him, he was not joking.  He looked really strong.

It was my turn to run after Pat at KM 100 na yata yun, I’m not sure.  He said, “Papahinag muna ako ng sandali pag dating sa van.”  I said, “ Do you see that line of cars with their blinking lights?  That’s how near you are to the other runners.  You can’t let up now!” (In my head, patay ako kay Doc Pnx pag huminto ka.  That was our pact.  To not make Pat walk at all anymore.)

Lo and behold, he didn’t stop at all and continued running.

Doc Pnx was in needles and pins because it was 11:03 or something and we led her to believe that cut-off was 11:30 when it was 11:45 because gun start was late.  So she was pushing Pat to his limit because she really thought cut off at 102 was 11:30.  She couldn’t stand it that  the buffer was mere minutes.  So she was pushing Pat like crazy. Hahaha

KM 102

Because we were all stickler for rules, we didn’t turn into the left turn for the 102km marker.  The support van went around so we didn’t see Pat beat the cut off time and essentially his finish.

I see him sitting down where Team Boring was and Doc Pnx talking to him and I see Doc Pnx eyes wet with tears.  I sat beside Pat., and with a questioning glance, Doc Pnx shook her head and bowed her face.  In my head, Oh no, I think Pat just DNF’d. His first words to me were, “Sorry.  Alam ko disappointed kayo.  Pero hindi ko na kaya.  Promise.”  Me: “Pahinga ka muna.  Don’t think about it.”  Pat: “Hindi na talaga.  Ganito naramdaman ko sa Botak when I was rushed to the emergency room. Kilala ninyo ko, hindi ako quitter.  Pero …” Nick: “Pare, pahinga ka muna. Relaks lang” Gab: “ Mamaya ka na mag decide pare. Pahinga muna.” Pat: (shaking his head). Me: myHoff, hindi ka naman naming pipilitin kung hindi mo na kaya, kaya lang, ang lakas mon from 87-102 eh.  Marami kang nalampasan and you finished. Ngayon ka pa ba hihinto?” Sid: “pare, game. Masahihin muna kita. (as he lays down the black bag so Pat cay lie down)”

When you touched the side of his thighs, he would scream in pain.  Doc Pnx, Nick, Lau, Dado and I looked at each other to see what we can do, vacillating yet again between allowing him to stop and pushing him some more with just hand signals.

I said to Pat: “ myHoff, you can’t stop like this.  You just can’t.  You’ve done this 102km twice or thrice already right?  This should be more than 102km.  C’mon, you can give us another kilometre.  Maka 103km ka lang, ok na. If you still feel you can’t, then  I’ll shut up (I said this on the premise of how he rallied that last 15km strong and I said, ako lang anmana ng mag shut up, not any of the support crew. Hehe). He didn’t say anything.

And like a precious kitten, we moved him to the van not saying much so as not to mess up his thought process.  Maybe he was thinking of a come-back and he’s not just saying it. It was a long walk to the van, though.  He couldn’t  bend his knees.  Both knees. Tsk.Tsk.  We were half carrying him and as he tried to move into the van, I felt him shiver. We all forgot that he had his shirt off and he was having chills as his body temperature levelled down. Nakow!  Jacket please!  Since he couldn’t move fast enough to get into the van, we scrambled for anything to cover him with.  Body warmth was his first line of defense.  He got into the van.  We told him to sleep for at least20 minutes and we’d talk to him after and decide if he was to continue on.  After a few minutes, his whole body was having spasms.  He still was not talking. We covered him up at which point Doc Pnx said, “Ano, swero-han na kita?” said in half-jest.  Pat said in a very small but lucid voice, “Pag nag swero, DQ…” Lau and I shouted with joy because it meant he wasn’t DNF-ing.  Not yet at least…

As we silently closed the sliding doors of the van, you could see from the outside an exhausted warrior sleeping in the dark, using two (2) sarongs as blanket.  You can hear the faint sound of the soothing music of waterfalls and the ocean to aid in hastening his sleep.  The good healer sitting beside the warrior regularly checks his vital signs making sure the spasms that manifests itself every once in a while is just spasms and nothing more severe.

As we walked into the road, we saw the almost fallen soldiers recuperating in their own way – massages in the ambulance, dinner, music, resignation, a quiet jubilation.  At 12:40AM Sunday, February 27, 2011, the second to the last warrior left KM 102 and continued on to attempt to run 58 more  kilometres.

The last warrior left at almost 12:50AM struggling with every step, with a friend by his side and his carriage with his ladies in waiting patiently seeing him through the last kilometre he promised to run/walk for them.  That was the most joyful DNF anyone could have asked for.

KM 102-103

Poor Nick. He was soooo excited to pace Pat not just 10km as planned but 58 km if need be. But alas, the fates were not with him that fateful Sunday dawn…

Or maybe Fate was with Nick…laughing behind the clouds as it made Nick pace Pat at the bestest pace Nick can muster…

40 minutes to a kilometer…

Pat could barely walk and was just trying to do so, so as not to disappoint his Entoraj (we fondly call ourselves Pat’s entoraj). Excited Nick (I can’t stop laughing!) realizing this was going to be the longest kilometer of his life, gets 2 packs of chips from the van. Akala namin for Pat. Para sa kanya pala. Chika pace kung chika pace! hahahaha

Lauren, Doc Pnx, Dado and I were laughing so hard at the picture this 2 brought to the fore that Pat was getting annoyed already. He has no choice but to take in the ribbing because he was in too much pain. hahaha

At exactly KM 103, Pat said. Oh, 1 kilometer na. Nick asked again, ‘Oh, mag de declare na ka ba ng DNF?’ Pat said with no hurt in his eyes, ‘Oo. DNF na’

Funnier part: As Pat was getting into the van, I thought Nick had him and Nick though I had him and we both left him at the same time. Next thing you hear, “Hoy! Mahuhulog ako,” as we saw him slipping down the side of the van. I couldn’t help him in because I was laughing so hard.

*We called in a DNF for Patrick Winceth Alcomendas at KM 103 at 1:30AM.  Proudly and with Love.

Epilogue1: We proceeded to the hotel  where Doc Pnx quickly administered to run 2 bottles of dextrose on Pat for dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.  His body would still involuntarily go into spasms even when he was asleep.

The Nightmare of Botak 100 Still Hounds Pat.

In the morning, Crew 2 would run an ice bath for him which was the funniest thing in the world .  Doc Apple would take pictures of Pat inside the tub of ice as Sheila would count to 20 seconds.  He hated it. LOL.

Epilogue 2: I asked Pat if I could write about this whole experience and he said, ‘pwede bang Anonymous Runner na lang ako?’  Sabi ko, ‘Sure!’ Hence the title. Bow.

Pat's Entoraj

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*

I Wasn’t Prepared for the QCIM (Part 1)

I wasn’t prepared for

…my first marathon

Sure, I started training first week in April with the last full marathon race in sight for 2010.  It was a choice of QCIM and SCIM.  I would have wanted to do it in SG and share the race with my sister. But the thought of the intense humidity I experienced when I did 21km last year, made me opt to do it in QC.  Home turf and all that, right?

I was doing well in my training.  I needed the extra months to lose weight, hence the early start. I was at the ULTRA Mondays and Fridays.  It was a steady dose that escalates, of 2km warm up, dynamic/static stretching, drills, a choice of interval training, hill training, stairs training; 2km cool down, core exercises and stretching again.

Wednesdays were reserved for BHS, mostly for tempo runs.  These 3 days were with Coach John.  Then I do my long runs every Sunday—doing the Commonwealth route from Batasan to UP and back and at one point, La Mesa Eco Park.

This was also when I didn’t see much of my runner friends, which I thought to be very Ironic.

My training  was a rain or storm type of thing from April to August.  Everyone will be out of the ULTRA oval when it started raining and I would still be at it because running in the rain was the best thing ever!

September onwards was when I would renege on my training days because of a hodgepodge of reasons – work, tired, traffic, rain, hot, lazy, etc. which were all the lamest of lames, I know.  I didn’t know this was also the start of an emotional sadness that I didn’t know could happen to me, but it did and I wasn’t prepared for it as well.

So my 4-day running, with 1 day strength training and 1 day swimming-week turned into 2 day running, 1 day swim, to 1 day run, to 0-run in a week.  My long runs would stop at the 10th km or the 12th, or the 16th km.  It could never progress past that (when I stopped at 26km in August. ) and I was getting scared. Really scared.  I wasn’t in pain. I wasn’t. My brain would just shut off from running and I’d walk.  I tried running with  a group-the UP group that went to Tiendesitas and did 21km.  I think I did 10km there. I tried joining Carina & Raff and do the Galloway method at BHS and even that I failed in.

Tiendesitas Group Run

The eureka moment that I can run began when someone told me that running is primarily  a race in the mind. And arrogant me thought, if I conceive it in thought, I can do it.  I can run.  This was what I was banking on in every race I joined. If you’re reading this and  know me at all, you know my gorgeous body is not made like an athlete.  I already know it would take a lot of mind power to trudge on carrying a me.  So you can imagine my fear when my brain shuts off and decides to stop running, decides it can’t carry me.

Two weeks before the race, I decided a do a make or break run in UP.  It was a Tuesday and I told myself, if I can do 21km as my last long run, then I will run the race.  If not, then I won’t.  I did 8.8km, a strong 8.8km, but I stopped yet again.  Take note, I was not feeling any pain. My lungs were ok naman, my heart was ok too.  My legs and knees were fine. No physical hindrance to stop.  And yet I did.  I went to my car and changed and waited for a friend to finish running. The sadness that enveloped me was in a new level that I’ve ever experienced.  I texted a couple of people and essentially said I wasn’t gonna run on December 5.  The moment I texted it, I cried. This is not new to anyone that I’m a crybaby.  What was new was that I actually threw up. I thought it was just the feeling of light headedness from doing a strong 8.8km.  Then I realize it was my emotional reaction manifested physically. Oh dear God, help.

Wednesday morning in the office someone FB PM’d me and encouraged me to still do it even without a 32km long run.  I got excited yet again (it’s not difficult to get me excited as you can see) with the thought of my first marathon.  What if I don’t finish within the cut-off?  So what? A cut-off is simply an organizer’s cut-off, not a testament to a runner’s endurance.  What if I hit the wall early in the race that I pretty much walk the entire length of the race? You won’t be the first to do it.

What if I embarrass my friends, my pacers for finishing last yet again? (I’ll leave you to answer this question after you finish reading this)

Calling all that is good and holy, I prayed.

I will run it.  As unprepared as I was, I will run it.

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