With a few weeks left before the HK Marathon big day, I was trying to increase mileage the last week of December. I did a 32km run on a treadmill December 26 (Monday), recovered for a few days, and then joined the December 30 (Friday) Rizal Day 32km Run. That's 64 kilometers in a week, the highest I've reached in my 10-week training thus far! That crazy move is now bugging me as a big mistake.
It was my first time joining a Bald Runner event, and first time running in Camp Aguinaldo as well. I did not know what to expect, but my Team Alpha1 running teammates were positive I'm in for a treat. The race route is simple, 4 and 3/4 times a 7 kilometer loop, roughly 32 kilometers. I got feedback though that this would exceed the target distance a bit.
Only Eugenator from TA1 was present in the event and I was expecting to be a lone runner (as his pace is impossible to follow). Upon gun start, Eug sped off and I was taking it slow, with the not-so-well-lit race path ahead. I decided to pick up pace once a little bit of sun appears. With only about 200 runners in attendance, the race was intimate, and in a few minutes I already felt the lead pack was far ahead from me and runners behind me were way back.
I got surprised when a familiar runner was already running beside me - Kampuger of Team Powerpuff Boys. I now have company! And he said he'd pace me as well. Him being a fan of BR events, this was his 3rd consecutive Rizal Day Run, so he's very familiar with the route. Any fear I had of getting lost inside the camp was gone. He was quick to notice changes in the hydration stations - he knew where they should be but got a bit disappointed when the stations changed as he has already plans on his hydration. There I was, a runner who never plans on my hydration, realizing I'm still a runner newbie. In the 7k loop, there were only 2 hydration stations, 3.5km apart. Kampuger kept mentioning we should take it slow given this hydration situation.
Ronnel aka Kampuger - my great RDR pacer
Running with the TPPB Mamaws - Ronnel and Mark
Kampuger was generous on giving training tips while running, so the repetitive loops did not bother me much. I was doing a good performance, with a 1:54 21km; I was ecstatic I could repeat sub-2 21ks! However by kilometer 25, I was already feeling tired. The sun was up and I am not used to heat trainings. Ronnel kept motivating me to continue running, and giving me some walk breaks at certain points so that I could rest a bit. The big race bonus is, when our Soleus GPS watches hit 32km, it displayed 2:58! Doing a sub-3 32km is so much an achievement, but since we're expecting the race to exceed 32km, we still had an unfinished business.
At the final stretch, with the finish line in sight, I told Ronnel to go on. He still has the energy to sprint the final part of the race; I didn't. Slow jogging, I arrived at the finish line in 3:06:52. My GPS watch registered 33.16km.
I found out I placed 20th overall (Eug was 2nd place, woah!). I should be celebrating but I was feeling something wrong. I felt a bit light-headed so I sat and closed my eyes at the covered area in the camp. Eug noticed something was wrong too, as he kept asking me if I was OK. I was already feeling numbness on my arms, making me panic more. The moment Eug suggested for me to drink more water, I ran to the nearest water station at the finish line area, splashed cups of water on my head (I think I wasted 5-6 cups) and drank 5 cups of water. The realization I was dehydrated and experiencing overheat came to me just in time. I don't want to think what could have happened if I ignored Eug's advice. I returned to the camp stage feeling better. Good thing there were also free doughnuts which were quite a life-saver.
20th place (out of 200) WOOT!
Official race results - 3:06:52
Race performance - what a slow final 4 kilometers!
I got 3 dead toenails, an injured left knee, and an almost loss-of-consciousness during this race. Will I do this race again? Definitely! Hopefully, I could recover quickly and be back on the road training.