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My Third Full Marathon

Last year, I ran my first full marathon last May 22. Six weeks later I ran my se
cond full marathon on July 4 - one day right after my birthday. My birthday was
a great excuse to run another full marathon even though most of my friends would
probably have told me that it was too much too soon. I wasn't actually even pla
nning on running that soon. What got me into thinking that I could do it and tha
t I should do it was when my friend Noelle posted on her blog what the Milo Mara
thon finisher's medal looked like. And that was that! I told myself - I'm going
to run this full marathon if that's the last thing I ever do. Wait, not really t
hat thought. Maybe that was at the back of the back of mind. But what was at the
back of my mind was that I really, really liked that shiny medal and the fact t
hat Milo was supposed to be the most grueling full marathon in our country made
it all the more challenging. And run I did - so if you actually included the 50K
ultramarathon that I ran on November 14 last year then the Condura full maratho
n that I ran yesterday would be my fourth full marathon but as a technicality le
t's just say that it was my third full marathon. It was special a full marathon
for me because I paced a friend from start to finish and we finished at 5 hours
and 33 minutes (unofficially). My friend Ino was trying to bail out of the race
because he had a case of a nasty viral flu about 10 days before the full maratho
n. The good thing was that through rest, medicine and a lot of prayers, my frien
d was able to start on full marathon day. It was the perfect day to run a full m
arathon - the weather was balmy and cooperated with the runners. You could see t
he sun trying to just enough to peek out of the clouds but never really making i
ts way out. The course was amazing also because this would be the first time tha
t runners would be allowed to run from Makati CBD (Central Business District) al
l the way to the farthermost end of the Skyway. The course was very memorable fo
r me because I lived more than 3/4ths of my life in the South and I lived in sub
divisions in suburban Parañaque and I would usually commute via bus on that route.
I had never imagined that I would actually run the very route that I passed by a
lmost everyday while riding buses and jeepneys. We started at a nice pace of abo
ut 7 minutes per kilometer and gradually settled to about 8 minutes per kilomete
r as the race went on.

Just before we left the Skyway, we bumped into Jose who is also known as Ques
t in the hip-hop world. What's amazing about this man was that he was running h
is first full marathon with a completely torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).
He was actually scheduled for an operation to repair that ACL and he intended th
e full marathon to be his way of strengthening his legs so that he will have a s
horter time in rehabilitation. I know that ACL injuries are usually caused by la
teral motions and the good thing with running is that there is almost no lateral
motions unless of course you run side-to-side or while doing jumping jacks. I t
ried to press Jose on when his knees were in pain but he just waved us on. He wo
uld finish a mere five minutes behind us and he would tell me after the race tha
t he actually liked the pace and that I should have stayed with him. The good th
ing was that our ultramarathon coach, Joshua, was just behind him and actually p
ushed and paced him to the finish. But that wasn't all the drama that was unfold
ing that day. Joshua was running with our friend Vince who had been having issue
s with his ITB (ilio-tibial band) and it gave up on him at about the 32nd kilome
ter. Joshua actually saw something that he had never seen before - muscles implo
ding inwardly (that's his description). He told Vince he was willing to walk wit
h him even past the 6 hour cut-off time but Vince got into the ambulance and thi
s allowed Joshua to finish within 6 hours. What was amazing was that Vince actua
lly finished the race at 6 hours and 30 minutes and even got a finisher's medal.
Wow! That's simply amazing! That's the triumph of the human spirit and enduranc
e. I actually tried to motivate Ino when he wanted to go at a slower pace at the
Buendia flyover with us missing the cut-off time. I told him that if we didn't
finish before cut-off, it would have been as if we never ran because our names w
ouldn't be in the .pdf files of finishers. True to form, he decided to pick up h
is pace and he actually sprinted to the finish line for his first ever full mara
thon. He told me later that he couldn't even see his finish time at the LED boar
d because he got teary-eyed. I could relate - even if you don't have enough tear
s to cry - there's always something special about your first full marathon. Hey,
it's still special even though it was my third.