The bitterness I felt from not making it to the cut off time and eventually not getting a finisher’s medal at Salomon Xtrail Run 2013 still stung. Another one like it would hardly hurt much more than the first one had already done. That is why I was quite prepared to accept yet another disappointment of not finishing a run before or within the established cut off time. Especially if the time I need to shave off for me to enter the 6 hours cut-off time at the 37th Milo Marathon was 40 minute from my previous 6 hours and 40 minute finish at the 42k category of the 2013 Condura Skyway Marathon. To my mind it was such a tall order that I was just as much happier if I could simply finish the run without injury. To further console myself with the eventual short coming, I tried to convince myself the Milo Run would just be a preparation run for the 42K run at Run United Philippine Marathon on October.
Like a replay of my last year Milo Marathon Run in the 21k category, I arrived at the race venue with a little time to change into my running attire and deposit my gears at the baggage counter before I find myself being herded at the starting chute and into the long road that will take us runners back to the very spot where I tapped by wrist watch to signal the start of my run and for my watch to start timing my run. I was really in no rush. My watch told me after about 3 kilometers of running that my average pace was just over 7 minute per kilometer. I can even go as slow as 8 minutes and still make it to the finish line before the 6 hours cut-off. At 7 minutes pace per kilometer I would cover 8.5 kilometers in an hour. If I kept at it for 5 more hours I would cover 42.5 km with still an hour to spare.
However, I was not able to track if I remained consistent with the average of 7-8 minutes per kilometer pace but I was making good with my time. At around 30 something kilometer, I noticed I still had at least an hour and a half to cover the remaining 12 kilometers of the race. But the tightening of my left calf, a sure sign of cramps, was threatening to take away my chance to not only make it before the cut off time but establish for me a new PR at 42K. Then at about 5 kilometers away from the finish line I felt I have already exhausted much of my stamina. Every inch of my stride whether by walking or by running became a struggle. I was again consoling myself that in the event that I didn’t make it on the dot for the cut-off I have already beaten my former fastest 42 k finish.
With the sun beaming intensely and my body already pushed to the limit, at every water stops, I saw to it to guzzle up two cupful of water. I checked my watch I still have more than enough time to make it to the finish line but I was really spent. I resorted to psyching myself that once I crossed Macapagal Avenue near the Libertad Flood Gate I will be turning to Seaside Boulevard and into the finish line. But it turn out the right turn was still near Blue Wave along EDSA extension then right turn to Road 1 before heading Seaside Boulevard and into the Finish line. Cut-off time was closing on me. I was walking most of the way and was even contemplating to walk until the finish line. The last kilometer must have taken me 10 to 11 minutes to cover but that doesn’t anymore concerned me for as I stare at the official clock hanging just underneath the finish arch read 5: 42. By the time I crossed it I was an hour earlier from my previous record at Condura. I made it. I couldn’t believe a large metal plate was being hung around my neck for conquering the 42k category of the 37th Milo Marathon.