Friday, March 1, 2013

Conquering Skyway A Second Time Around

Condura Skyway Marathon would always have a special place in my heart as this is the event where I did my first ever 21k (Flashback: Condura Skyway Marathon Run for the Dolphins 2010).

Having missed the previous years' CSM editions, I promised myself I would definitely run this 2013, though not the marathon. I'd run 21k again as part of my Tokyo Marathon preparations. (I followed Runningshield's advice not to run 42k as I might get injured if I push myself to run this category).

I'm excited because the race route is new to me (2010's route was from BGC to Buendia flyover until the Skyway Toll Gate and back). Coming from Alabang, the 21k route would cover a lot of Skyway, actually crossing Sucat and Bicutan exits before going back to Alabang. This is home turf!

Me and my running buddy Ryan stayed at Acacia Hotel (one of CSM's partner hotels). Ryan's doing his first 42k so he'll start the race earlier at 12am. Unfortunately though, while preparing his race gear, he found out he missed packing his pair of running socks! I lent him mine since I'm just doing 21k anyway. He contacted another runner to lend me another pair.

After witnessing the gun start of the 42k runners (and the fireworks), I returned back to Acacia, and took a nap. I woke up before 3am, and started my short walk to the gun start area, where I met my blogger friends Thirdy and Run Adobo King CJ. We went to the race village where they deposited their bags, and there I waited for the runner who'll lend me the pair of socks. In vain I waited, and as the gun start for the 21k runners neared, I accepted the fact that I'll be running the race sock-less. I did not register early to be part of the Wave A runners and miss running in that wave. And so after another set of fireworks display, 21k runners were sent off!

Shine bright like a diamond! Me and Earl doing the superposition (I missed doing this!). Photo courtesy of Early Runs.
Photo courtesy of Active Moments - running in the Skyway's a blast!
Toll Fee is FREE!!! Hahaha!
Those thinking the Skyway's just a straight flat course, better think twice! The terrain is rolling and there are a lot of long, gradual inclines! I was targeting a sub-2 finish and was on track until I felt blisters and a small wound on my right foot which affected my performance. I was also carrying my mobile phone (which I did not plan on bringing during the race) and was transferring it from hand to hand, something I'm not used to doing on races.

Running backwards: My photographer friend Lem asked me to look back for a photo just before the finish line. Wet look!

I managed to finish in a decent time of 2 hours, 1 minute and 9 seconds. I felt great after the race and felt I still have reserved energy to run a few more kilometers, which is a good sign for my upcoming marathon.

Some Race Observations:
- Waves were organized. Unfortunately though, I saw a runner blogger in Wave A but shouldn't be there as he has a lower wave bib. I guess with this big number of runners, the marshals could not really check each and every runner.
- Hydration was good. I'm not really a fan of 100Plus so I just had water on all hydration stops. I heard feedback that hydration was an issue last 2012 and this is something that definitely improved this year.
- I saw a number of marshals along the Skyway sitting down or taking a nap. I understand they're tired as well from waiting long hours, but as marshals they should at least provide some cheers of support to runners.
- A foreigner runner approached me at the race village and asked me where I got my 21k finisher medal. After pointing her to the race village, she had a sudden burst of rants, asking me why medals were not handed out to 21k runners in the finish line area. I told her medals in the finish line area were exclusive to 42k runners and she went off, still pissed-off. I had no issues with this set-up; 42k runners are supposed to be the stars of this event anyway.

Rank 218 out of 3442 21k Runners. Top 6.3%. Happy with my results.
Managed to run a constant good pace throughout the race.
After the race, we enjoyed a superb breakfast buffet at Acacia Hotel, along with a number of CSM participants.

Buffet breakfast at Acacia Hotel
Hopefully, I'll be able to run 42k in CSM2014! It's definitely on my marathon bucket list! Congratulations and thank you to the Concepcion brothers for giving runners this once-in-a-year opportunity to run the Skyway.