This morning, I ran my first full marathon on top of the Skyway, an elevated toll expressway that runs from Alabang to various exit points in Parañaque and Makati. Along with approximately 2,650 full marathoners, we began our Skyway journey on foot at 12 midnight. We started in Filinvest, Alabang and ran/jogged/walked to Buendia, traversing about 16.6km worth of asphalt. Then we did a U-turn and headed back south and turned right to the NAIA toll plaza. After finishing the “heartbreak hill” NAIA flyover, we once again found ourselves having to go back to Buendia to do the last U-turn. After that, we had to go all the way back to Alabang to finish all of 42.195km of the race.
The road to the finish line was not an easy one. The Skyway is full of uphills and downhills that would literally kill your legs, knees and gluts. Aside from that, there were really stinky parts where the smell of the public market was a force to be reckoned with (Bicutan) and the smoke from exhaust pipes was so strong (EDSA). Good thing it was a good night to run; the wind was not so strong as to provide additional resistance and it wasn’t raining which would have made the roads slippery. And a great kudos to the organizers who provided plenty of hydration stations (25 Summit water stations and 13 stations of 100 Plus) plus three potassium stations filled with Dole bananas (so yummy!). And another important thing that they did not neglect were the portalets. Many were already available at the Condura Village but there were about 4 portalets per hydration station. But wait there’s more. The organizers were also keen on ensuring the safety of runners and giving medical assistance. They provided 13 ambulances and 25 medical tents with 200 medical personnel spread all throughout the course. The medical personnel were very accommodating in providing liniment to runners who were already experiencing muscle pain or cramps. One was even nice enough to give me some toilet paper when I had to pee about less than 10k from the finish line.
Despite all these, the organizers could only do so much to help us in our endeavor. I, for one, didn’t think I could finish the whole thing. I experienced side stitches as early as .78km which lasted all the way into the 10km mark. I couldn’t run very properly because of it. And more than half-way through I experienced some plantar fasciitis, wherein the soles of my feet felt like they would tear apart with every step I took. Running was the less painful choice but I could not sustain that for very long and the going was really slow because my gluts were literally killing me. I was across the airport when Moche caught up with me and a lot of my walls came crumbling down. I saw that my “jog” had the speed of his brisk walk and it was then that it sank in that the finish line is so far away! Embarrassing yes, but I will admit it anyway, I think I teared up about three times, my feet more than ready to give up on me. But running is not just a physical activity but also a very mental one. My mind told me that I could do it, so do it I did. And because Moche was there to urge me on, I managed to cross that finish line still (limp-)running and not crawling as I previously imagined.
Reaching the finish line, seeing that according to Nike+ Running (via GPS) that I ran 42.8km and receiving that 42k-finisher medal took about half of the pain and fatigue away. Yes, I was still cranky because of the pain and exhaustion but I was also excited to get my finisher’s shirt (so happy that I still got an XS even if we finished so close to the cut-off) and have my graduation picture taken.
Yes, I have given it much thought and I would be on a running hiatus from now on. I don’t know how long it will last but I’m not too sure if I could subject myself to another 42km run. I am thinking of focusing on swimming and yoga this year and maybe a little surfing. But I must bid running farewell. For now.
Condura Skyway Marathon
Run for the Mangroves
3 February 2013