DNF the NatGeo half marathon at 10km – that was my plan.
You see, earlier that week my blood pressure shot up to 160/100. Was it because of something I ate or was I too tired from spinning on Monday? Or maybe it was because of the scorching heat of summer? I honestly do not know.
By Saturday it was down to 140/90 and at 1 am on Sunday it was a normal 120/80. I decided to go with a plan to take it easy and to stop at 10km or anytime I would feel something is not right. You might think it was a bad idea but three of my siblings were running too and I didn’t want to miss out on the fun.
At around 3:10 our wave was released. Joy, Jehan, and I ran together. After a few minutes, somebody tapped my arm – it was my dermatologist. So we chatted while running and after a few meters, I realized that I have lost my sisters. “Ok then, I will have to do this on my own,” I thought. I had no GPS devise with me which didn’t really matter.
“One, two, three, exhale, one, two, three, exhale,” I counted for five kilometers then I didn’t have to count anymore. I knew how to breathe like clockwork.
I slowly cruised along the course, relying only on the mileage markers. At 4 a.m. it was hot and humid. Some runners, wearing black singlets with yellow rectangles on their chests, huffed and puffed. Good thing the hydration stations overflowed with iced water, sponges, bananas, and Pocari Sweat.
I felt fine except for the big toe on my right foot hurt like crazy and I knew I have lost my toenail. I was sad for a while but the grieving for my black toenail was cut short when I saw a mileage marker: 11 Km. “Eleven! I was supposed to DNF at ten! Might as well finish this race,” I thought. I kept remembering what Paul Tergat said, “Ask yourself: ‘Can I give more?’. The answer is usually: ‘Yes’.”
At 19km, a lot of runners were already walking and I was pleased that I was still strong. Slow but strong. Does that make sense?
Again, I made a mistake of not checking the race course and I thought that coming from Macapagal we would go straight to the finish line. But to my dismay, we had to run around MOA. Those turns really tested my will to finish.
I don’t know with you but something magical happens to me when I see the finish line. There’s always a surge of energy as if I wasn’t tired or have not run at all. I finished at 3:18:23. My slowest, my Personal Worst record. Haha.
When we got back to the car, Joy again took my blood pressure. “Hay naku, 120/70, mas mababa pa. You’re healed,” she declared. Thank God. 🙂
It’s supposed to be hard. The hard is what makes it great. ~ Jimmy Dugan
National Geographic half-marathon, check!