Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Sweet First 21K Experience

21 Kilometers... A race for serious runners. It left me with much hesitation to join in but I know someday I will do it so I've decided to stage it at adidas King Of The Road last October 23, 2011.

Why KOTR? Simply because I want to give back to adidas for bringing aNR (adiNation of Runners), the reason why I keep and get motivated in training, and most of all, the great friends I met because of it.

My Race Bib

When I registered for the race, I still have 3 months to train so I feel I can do it. I was seriously training that time since I am out of work then. But in my last month of training, things went out of hand. I got a new job that is very demanding of my time and requires me to work in shifting schedules. That's the start of my anxiety attacks as the big day draws near.

My training was sabotaged by my work, and I did try to train but I was already dead tired I just find myself sleeping. Since my job now requires a lot of analytical thinking and problem solving skills, it was a brain drainer! One of my mistakes is I gave in to munching food while I'm in my workstation since I feel better with it, but to my disappointment it made me gain additional weight of 5 Kilos, not pounds...

I gained so much weight because of eating out of schedule and lack of exercise (Photo from

I started to have nightmares of the race a week before it. I dreamed of fainting along the route and many of the worst case scenarios I can think of. Before this I am facing a great challenge at work as well so I was really not in shape to do it. Three days before the race, my supposed to be pacer became hesitant to pace me so I liberated him from doing so. That started a much heavier trigger of anxiety and nervousness. The thought of doing this for the first time, unprepared and alone was really mind blowing!

I was having sleepless nights and bad dreams... (Photo from

My boss didn't allow me to be absent from work the day before the race, meaning I will be home at 1:00am and the race gun start is at 5:00am, hello tiredness and no sleep! I was keeping myself pre-occupied with work so I won't get the anxiety attacks again, but no, I still had it the whole day and it just triggered headache.

No training, no sleep, tired from work and no pacer? It was such a heartbreaking feeling

Race day came. I arrived at around 4:00am and many runners are already on their way to the venue. I'm just quiet because I'm tired and sleepy. I discreetly made my last preparations and headed to the Starting Line. I got to chat with good friends before it but they noticed that I am different, because I was nervous, really!

When I'm at the starting line I want to quit and just go home to rest. I was with Mommy Gi (HuggingFit Mum). Something inside tells me that I'll fail on this race, but my determination won over it. I will do this no matter what. At the middle of the noise from the happy 21K crowd I found a way to get inside myself, in my own quiet room and say a solemn prayer of guidance and help from God.

The gunstart sounded like it was the loudest one I've heard. The 21K runners were all happy and clapping as we all slowly move towards the line. When I stepped on the first timer marker everything sinks in, this is it, 21K is happening now!

My first 2 Kilometers went in like a breeze but when I'm on my third, I already felt beaten. My chest started to feel tight and it prevents me from breathing properly. I had to walk to keep my very high heart rate down. This is the start of my struggle and hardships on the race. I'm keeping myself psyched up that I have a few Kilometers to finish.

The weather was so forgiving. At a route going to Kalayaan I saw a very beautiful flash of rainbow over the skies, it's like telling me that there's hope after the struggle I'm in. It was such a refreshing sight! Even other runners took a slow pace to enjoy the scenery.

I bet the fast runners didn't see the breathtaking scenery that looks much like this! (Photo from

At around Kilometer 6, Kuya Zaldy and Ate Gia saw me and my desperate condition so they committed themselves to pace me. It really gave me a boost. They were very supportive of me and was able to tolerate all my rants and whinings.

with Ate Gia and Kuya Zaldy at Kalayaan. I can still make face here. (Photo by Mommy Eve)

When I saw Buendia flyover, I just wanna get this race over and done with so I ran my way through it but when we reach Kilometer 13, we saw Ate Mel with Ate Lara, limping in pain. She is complaining about her left leg and her face is really pale and she looks like she's gonna faint anytime. I also started to feel chills down my spine, not from nervousness but a sign that sugar depletion is coming in. Before the race I failed to take my breakfast. I lost appetite because of the anxiety. I had a gel with me that I took in small amounts to ease my grumbling stomach.

At Kilometer 15 Kuya Jake steps in so Kuya Zaldy and Ate Gia went on to assist Ate Lara. He was really good at this pacer thing. What he did is we ran for a short while and rest in a short while as well. I know it's a Galloway Method but I think it's the 1:1 interval thing. The sight of the train tracks gave me hope because I know that's the turn around point. Going back now we headed to Ate Lara at the ambulance and then the couple was with me again, Kuya Jake stayed with her.

The moment at Buendia and the flyover causes so much pain on my right knees and my body really wants to stop. I also experienced side stitches but Kuya Zaldy was so helpful that he did assist me on stretching so that the pain will go away, but I know it did not. What the stretching did to me is it increased my tolerance of the pain, so I'll be able to move forward.

At around Kilometer 16, Kuya Rej came back to pace me. Reginald Santos or "Rej" is my teammate from Team Philippine Diabetic Athletes, a Type 1 Insulin Dependent Diabetic like me since he was 13 years old. He managed to do Marathons, long distance running and even finished BDM 102 Race (Bataan Death March 102 Kilometers) just early this year. Because of him, I believed that Diabetics can do the distance! Ate Lori came in to join me at around Kilometer 18.

Kuya Rej pacing me a few meters before finish line. Tearjerker moment! (Photo by JR Garing)

The last 2 Kilometers was the longest of all! I felt I was taking forever to reach it. The sun started to shine so bright that it is burning my skin but I don't care. At the last turn point there goes the finish line. I was to burst in tears but I'm hiding it. At around 500 meters, Ate Lori told me "This is your moment, go on and finish this". They left me and I was alone running to the finish!

I was about to cry... No I won't! Dang! I did! (Photo by Flyingboar Carina Manansala)

The cheer from my runner friends near the finish line was really a very heartwarming moment. The tears I'm trying to hide just flowed out. Finally, all the hurtful moments, anxiety attacks, pains, hardships I went through has paid off, and my struggle will soon end in just a few meters ahead.

I can't explain the pain but moreover, the feeling of being well-loved by my runner friends was a tear-burster! (Photo by L.A. Tomas of Team USB)

I finished without having an exact idea of my time. I don't really care about it. All I was after is to finish. To prove and show those who don't believe that I can do it that I CAN, and I did it!

It says on the clock 3:24:28 so I assume I finished 3:25. Fair enough! (Photo by KB Runner)

My Official 21K time. Kinda embarrassing but at least I've finished...

I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to adidas, Runrio Inc. and everyone who made the event smooth for us. Thanks also to all the runners who took a moment to stop and cheer for me along the race and those who cheered for me at the finish line. Special thanks to my unexpected pacers, Kuya Zaldy, Ate Gia, Kuya Jake, Ate Lori and Kuya Rej that made it possible for me to finish. Most of all, thanks to my Team Kamote Runners  and Team Philippine Diabetic Athletes Family, to MultiSport Magazine and to Sir Poch Bermudez who always believed in me, to Ms. Gina Reyes and Novo Nordisk Philippines who's very supportive of my cause and to our almighty God for his never-ending love, guidance and for the extended life I had. I can never be thankful enough!

More than the 21K medal, the true achievement comes from what I felt within when I crossed the finish line... (Photo by: Iris Rivera)

After the run, I just freshened up and went to St. Michael's Church to support the Run In Peace for Melinda Ponce, our fellow runner who died in Cebu City.

Thank you so much to everyone who supported. (Photo credits to Sir Victor Ting)

Ofcourse, after all the hard days "work", time to fill the tummy and ofcourse, the heart! ^_^

The After Run Lunch at Kanin Club and Coffee & Cake at Momo Ayala Triangle. (Photo by: Tong Pascua)

When I woke up after a deep sleep, my body is aching all over and I can barely walk. But after a full day of rest I am as good as new. Though I told them I will not do this anymore, I'm pretty sure I don't mean it. I love joking around right? LOL!

Am I ready for my next 21K? How about in Run United 3? Well see...

Good Vibes everyone and Sweet Running! ^_^


jazzrunner said...

Bravo anak, bravo! That's one truly inspiring story! See you again at RU3!

Arthur said...

Congrats on your first 21K, Amanda! After conquiring all these challenges, everything else that will come in the future will be just a piece of cake.

Your experience will motivate me in my quest to run 3 marathons in 60 days @ age 69.

Arthur said...

Job well done for your Half Mary debut, Amanda! ;) See you at the next few races.

The Sweet Life Runner said...

Thanks everyone! Will do my second on RU3! ^_^

Anonymous said...

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